A Gift in Sickness
by:a psycho chibi named Wendy
Disclaimer: No characters are mine, yadda yadda yadda, IstoleHaruka'steabowl, yadda yadda yadda
Warnings:Language, Gruesome topics, Shounen-ai
Pairing: Haruka/Kantarou fluffy bits here and there
Summary: Haruka becomes angry when he discovers Kantarou was cursed in the form of a serious fever. That anger is twisted into a confused fear when Kantarou offers a gruesome gift in the midst of his delirium. A gift Haruka is too tempted to take.
AuthorRant: Woot, my first Tactics fic. Let's just see where my ramblings take me.
The wind lightly rustled the large green leaves hanging high above his head. His glazed eyes focused on the way they seemed to shift and flow like water. "Leaves like water... How pretty..." he mused quietly as a faint smile twitched onto his lips.
"Kan-chan? What's wrong...?"
The wind blew past again, chilling his flushed skin and making his pale hair catch the light of the sun. He heard another voice calling his name, but it sounded muffled. His eyes drifted past the leaves to the cloud flecked sky high above. "The sky looks so peaceful... Wonder what it would be like..." he whispered as his hands clenched into fists. His joints began to ache softly. His muscles were sore, and he tried hard to suppress the urge to cough.
Red clouded eyes went out of focus for a moment. Making the pale brow furrow in confusion. "It's getting harder to see..."
There was that voice again. It sounded annoyed. "Wonder why... Wait... Isn't that my name...?"
"Kantarou! Snap out of it!"
Jolting back to reality, crimson eyes blinked in a daze when he was jostled roughly. "What?! What is it?" Kantarou asked as he tried to stop the arms shaking him.
When his master was finally back to his senses, Haruka held him at arms length and looked into the unusually glossy eyes. "What's wrong with you? Youko's been trying to get your attention for ten minutes." the tengu stated with a frown. His master was scatterbrained, but something was seriously off. There was a strange presence lingering around the pale man. One that Haruka didn't like.
It seemed to take the normally quick witted folklorist a moment to even register that a question had been asked. It took another moment before he was smiling and waving it off. "Oh, just got lost in thought for a minute. What did you need, Youko?"
The kitsune frowned in concern as she approached her master. "Kan-chan... You were the one that wanted to ask Sugino-sama something, remember...?" she reminded him while gesturing towards the white tengu standing behind her.
Even Sugino seemed uneasy about the human's behavior. "What the hell is with you, Ichinomiya? First you have Demon eater drag me all the way down here, now you go all spacey on me. What did you want to ask me?"
Kantarou's face went blank as he ran his hand through his hair uneasily. "I... I sent Haruka for you..?"
Sugino raised an eyebrow at the strange waver in the normally steady voice. "Yeah... Demon eater made it sound really important... What did you want to ask me?" he repeated as he clutched Muu-chan a bit closer to him.
For some reason his heart was pounding loudly in his ears and his throat tightened. "I... I don't remember...Heh.. Isn't that funny...?" Kantarou chuckled nervously, but it quickly turned into a hoarse coughing that shook his thin frame hard.
"Kan-chan! Are you alright?" Youko asked as she went to her master's side. "You've been coughing like that for days now... Are you getting sick?"
The silver head quickly shook. "No! No, I'm fine, really. You don't need to worry. I-" He was about to continue when he felt a light weight on top of his head. "Huh...?" He glanced up to see a familiar green face. "Muu-chan?"
Sugino blinked and looked down at his arms to see that he was cradling thin air. "Wah!! Muu-chan! How could you?!" he wailed, flapping his arms dramatically.
Ignoring her spastic husband, Muu-chan placed her tiny green arm on Kantarou's forehead. It stayed there for a second before a little line of smoke came drifting up followed by a faint sizzling sound. "MUU!!" she seemed to yelp while waving her reddened arm rapidly to cool it down.
The moment she saw that, Youko moved forward to place her own hand on Kantarou's forehead. The moment she did her eyes widened. "Kan-chan! You're burning up with a fever!" She didn't give him time to protest as she began feeling his cheeks and his neck before taking hold of his hands and arms. "Your entire body is over heated! Why didn't you say anything?!"
Kantarou smiled weakly. "I didn't want to worry you... I felt fine this morning..."
The soft voice had them turning to see Rosalie walking out from the house and into the garden. She was in one of her elaborate lace dresses again, but it was solid black. It looked as if she was about to attend a funeral, but in her arms there was a white cat plush toy that she was holding tightly.
Haruka looked between the girl and his master suspiciously. "What is he lying about?"
Rosalie pointed at the folklorist with her usual blank expression. "He has been ill for a week."
A frustrated pout formed on Kantarou's face from being outed. "Rosalie-chan! You promised not to tell!" he whined lightly.
"A week?!" Youko repeated, tempted to throttle the ill man. "Why the hell have you gone a week without saying anything?!"
"Because the doctors can't cure it..." Rosalie whispered softly.
Youko froze in shaking her master and stared at the girl. "W-what...?"
Now feeling actual concern, Haruka moved to the blonde girl and sat on his heels to be at her eye level. "Why can't the doctors cure it?"
Kantaro frowned deeply as he gave the small girl a pleading look. "Rosalie-chan.. Please..."
The girl looked at her ill friend for a moment before looking back to the serious gaze the tengu had on her. "He was cursed."
"Cursed? By who? When?" Sugino asked as he moved closer to the blonde girl as well.
Rosalie had to shake her head. "I don't know. I only helped him home after it happened."
His eyes narrowing deeply, Haruka stood and moved stiffly to his master. He fisted his hands into the front of his kimono and nearly lifted him off the ground as he looked into the glazed eyes. "What happened?" he asked on a growl.
His head became dizzy from the sudden movement, but Kantarou still winced at the angry glare fixed on him. "A.. An old friend of mine... She tends to a small shrine dedicated to Jizo... Her town was being afflicted with a strange sickness that no one could find the cause of. She was able to keep them from dying, but they wouldn't get better. I found a guy that worshiped Ekibiogami on the edge of town... He was cursing the people as sacrifices. I was able to stop him... But.."
"But he cursed you..." Haruka finished as his anger flared. Why didn't his master tell him about this?
Kantarou was quick to put up another weak disarming smile. "You really shouldn't worry.. My friend was able to help me break through all the curses. The sickness just has to run its course, then I'll be fine. Everyone in her town is already better." he pointed out quickly to ease any concern.
"But they were probably all in bed resting! You've been running all over Japan the past week!" Youko snapped, her own concern turning into anger.
Now becoming irritated, Kantarou was about to speak, but a piece of cloth was suddenly shoved into his mouth. "Mmmph!! Mrruuph!" he cried out in alarm.
Tying the handkerchief firmly around his master's head to gag him, Haruka pulled loose the ribbon that was around his shirt collar and roughly spun Kantarou around. Then catching both of the pale wrists, he bound them together tightly with the burgundy ribbon behind his master's back. "There. Now you can't order us to leave you alone." he stated in what seemed like satisfaction as he turned the startled man back around.
"Wow..." Sugino whispered in wide eyed wonder. "Tying up your master.. You're so cool, Demon eater!!" he nearly squealed while grinning evilly at the obviously pissed folklorist.
Kantarou could only growl around the gag, but it turned into another light fit of coughing. 'He's gonna pay for this...' he mumbled within his own mind.
Ignoring the death glare from his master, Haruka snatched up the annoying green youkai from atop the silver head and carelessly chucked her over his shoulder.
"Muu muuu!!" she cried out in displeasure as she sailed through the air.
"Muu-chan!!" Sugino gasped in horror as he scrambled to catch her. Once she landed safely in his arms, the white tengu sighed in relief, but was soon glaring at Haruka. "I take back everything nice I said, you bastard!"
Still ignoring him, Haruka pushed Kantarou to the kitsune. "Here. Get him in bed. Tie him down if you have to, but don't remove the gag."
A bit shocked at Haruka's behavior, Youko couldn't deny that his methods worked. "Right. Come on, Kan-chan. You need to rest." She guided her still glaring master to the back porch and smiled down at Rosalie. "Would you like some tea, Rosalie-chan?"
The small girl nodded. "Yes, please."
Once the three were inside, Sugino looked curiously at Haruka. "You're really mad at him right now... Aren't you?" he asked when he saw the glare was still on the black tengu's face.
Haruka nodded slightly. "It angers me when he keeps things like this hidden from me... I knew something was wrong, but he always brushed off my questions... It... It makes me feel..."
"Helpless?" Sugino offered. The way Haruka's eye twitched let him know that he had gotten it right. "You're worried that one of these days it's going to be really serious... And when the truth gets out it'll be too late."
Those words made Haruka's teeth clench as his heart pounded a bit harder. "I don't like this feeling... It's his own damn fault for being stubborn but I feel... Guilty..." He looked to his fellow tengu in frustration. "Why do I feel guilty?"
A sad frown fell over Sugino's face as he readily thought of the reason. 'But.. I can't tell him...' "I'm sorry, Demon eater... You're going to have to figure that out on your own."
Haruka was about to demand an answer when a flurry of white feathers blocked his vision. He looked up to see Sugino carrying Muu-chan off into the sky. "Sugino..." he growled deeply.
"Let me know if that idiot master of yours remembers his question!" Sugino called out before he flew out of sight.
His eye twitching even harder now, Haruka stomped his way back inside. He saw Rosalie sitting at the table with a cup of tea, and she readily pointed towards Kantarou's room. In an odd way, Rosalie was the only human that ever really made any sense to him. She was young, but she was blunt. He liked blunt. Why couldn't Kantarou be blunt?
He quickly made his way to his master's room, and was confused when he saw Youko standing at the door frowning deeply as she looked inside. "What's wrong? Did he put up a fight?" He half way expected that she did have to tie him up.
Youko looked at the tengu sadly before pointing to the room. "Look..." she whispered.
Haruka raised a brow and moved to stand next to her. He glanced inside the room briefly, but had to do a double take and stared at what he saw. "K... Kantarou...?"
Laying on his futon on his side, Kantarou's eyes were barely open as he breathed raggedly around the gag. His body was trembling hard, and large beads of sweat were rolling down his burning face. He looked so weak and helpless that Haruka felt badly for tying him up like that.
"Haruka-chan... Can we untie him..? He looks like he's in pain..." Youko whispered as her eyes started to mist over in worry.
Not answering, Haruka moved into the room and knelt down in front of his master. He hesitantly reached out to brush away the unruly bangs from his eyes, but his eyes widened when he brushed against his forehead. "He's even hotter than before... Youko, get a wet cloth and a bowl of cold water.. We need to cool him down..." He didn't pay attention to her response or her rushed footsteps that followed. He kept his eyes locked on the exhausted expression on the pain riddled face.
"Kantarou? Can you hear me?" He watched with a deep frown as those crimson eyes slowly looked in his direction. "If I take out the gag will you promise not to resist?" The faint nod he received was all he needed to convince him. He gently removed the gag and felt his chest tighten when Kantarou began to pant lightly for breath. 'He.. He's really sick...' He had held out the hope that this was just another of the writer's twisted games to test him, but the grimaces and the wheezing breaths were too real.
Jolted out of his thoughts by the weak voice, Haruka looked down only to be alarmed by the frightened expression on the flushed face. "I'm here.. What is it?"
Kantarou shifted uncomfortably and glanced around nervously. "Why... Why are my hands tied? How did I get back in my room?" he asked on a faint whimper.
"You don't remember? It was just five minutes ago..."
"Sometimes when a human gets a high fever they become delirious..."
Haruka glanced back to see Youko walk back inside with a bowl. "Delirious? So he really can't remember?"
Youko nodded sadly. "That's probably what made him forget about getting you to bring Sugino-sama..." She handed the tengu the bowl and wordlessly moved behind her master to release his hands. Once the ribbon was untied, Youko gently helped Kantarou lay down on his back. "Kan-chan...? Do you know what's going on?" she asked him slowly.
Kantarou's sweat covered brow furrowed deeply at the question. "What's going on? I... I was working on my manuscript because Reiko-san kept yelling at me again..." he pieced together between his gasps.
That answer made Youko's expression fall further. "No, Kan-chan... Reiko-san came by yesterday... Do you remember what you did this morning?" Maybe changing the question would help.
The writer frowned as he tried to recall. When his mind found nothing but a hot haze he began to panic. "I.. I don't remember.. I don't remember waking up.. I.. I don't remember anything.. Why don't I remember? What's happening?!"
"Kantarou! Calm down!"
Immediately silencing on hearing the voice, Kantarou snapped his attention to the tengu. "Haruka? I.. I don't understand.. Nn!" He gasped raggedly when all of his muscles seemed to tense up tightly. His body curled up into a ball as tears of pain left his eyes. "It hurts... Haruka..? I'm scared..." he whimpered before convulsing with harsh coughs.
His heart now pounding in his ears, Haruka found himself only acting. He didn't remember scooping the writer into his arms, but he held him tight. He felt hot tears soaking through his jacket as weak shaking hands clutched at his shirt. "I'm here... I'm here, Kantarou..." he whispered as he gently rocked back and forth with his master cradled against him.
Youko was stunned at the amount of emotion the normally distant tengu showed, but after a moment of watching she smiled sadly. 'I just wish it didn't take Kan-chan's pain for Haruka-chan to realize how much he cares for him...' She waited until Haruka effectively calmed their ill master before she moved to stand. "The wet cloth won't be enough. Kan-chan needs a cool bath. I'll go fill the tub. I'll return when it's filled." With that she quietly left the two alone.
However Haruka couldn't care less what she said or did. His arms tightened around his master and buried his face in his sweat dampened hair. Despite the pain Kantarou was in, Haruka found himself liking the faint scent of the silver hair. In fact he liked the color of it as well. It always seemed to glow in the sun light. 'The texture is nice too... So soft...' he thought while absently running his fingers through it. It didn't really occur to him what he was really doing. He was enjoying it, and the way Kantarou began breathing easier and cuddled closer meant that the action was easing his pain as well. He didn't think much else of it.
Pausing in his motions, Haruka pulled away slightly to look into the feverish gaze. "For what?"
A weak smile formed on his face as he clutched tighter to his shirt. "For not telling you... For being so stubborn... For being such a burden on you..." he finished as a few more tears slipped from his eyes.
Those words made a hard lump form in Haruka's throat. "You're not a burden... You're just delirious. It's the fever talking." he insisted while gently cupping the flushed cheek.
Kantarou frowned, but leaned into the kind touch. "Whatever you say, Haruka... I'm so tired..." he mumbled as his eyes drifted closed.
"Hey.. Wake up. You can't sleep yet."
A cute little whine left the writer as a pout formed. "You're so mean, Haruka..." His eyes cracked open as a smile curled his lips. "But... I'm glad you're still with me..."
Haruka's breath hitched slightly as he looked into the half lidded eyes. Tears were still welling up from the crimson depths, but they seemed brighter. Like shiny red crystals in two pools of water. Sparkling in the light. 'Why are his eyes sparkling...? I.. I've never seen them sparkle before...' He had to resist the urge to touch the still teary orbs and instead fisted his hands tighter in his master's sweat dampened clothes. A strong urge to have that red sparkle in his hands made his breath quicken. Then disturbing images of holding one of Kantarou's red hued eyes to the sunlight like a glass marble filled his head.
Kantarou frowned when he thought he saw the tengu wince. "Haruka...? Are you okay?"
'Leave it to him to be concerned about me when he's sick as hell..' Haruka thought ruefully. "I'm fine... Come on, you need a cold bath to lower your temperature."
As he was lifted into the strong arms, Kantarou hid his face back against Haruka's shoulder. 'You're still horrible at lying, Haruka... But... I would be sad if you ever became good at it.. I'm a horrible influence on you...' "I'm sorry..."
Night had settled hours ago, but Haruka wasn't going to let himself rest. He dipped the cloth in his hand back into the bowl of water on the floor next to him. His hands slowly wrung out the excess before gently wiping the sweat off his master's face.
He could still hear the gasps and the short scream that Kantarou gave when he sat him in the bath. He had no idea that cool water could be painful to a human with a high fever. He knew it would be uncomfortable, but then he realized that even the cool water had to feel like being incased with ice on his super heated skin. That guilt that was clawing his mind grew stronger with every pained whimper that followed.
What was worse was that he couldn't do anything. He couldn't fight off a fever. Only Kantarou could pull himself through this. All Haruka could do was watch and be there when his master called.
Immediately picking up the pale hand, Haruka clasped it gently. "I'm here... You should be resting."
Crimson eyes opened and stared at the ceiling above. "I'm trying... But everything hurts... Hurts to breathe..." he rasped out, his free hand moving up to run through his soaked hair.
Haruka found himself gently petting the pale hand in his grasp. "Is there anything I can do? Should I go find a doctor anyway?"
"It won't do any good... This curse is a stubborn one... Medicines will only slow the healing process... The evil energy is what's making me sick.." Kantarou moved to look up at the Tengu. "I'm sure you've sensed it by now."
"I have... I've felt something for the past few days..." Feeling worse now that he knew, Haruka bowed his head. "So your body and own energy are fighting off the evil energy of the curse?"
Kantarou nodded as he returned to looking at the ceiling. He really couldn't see anything, but he kept his eyes open anyway. "Medicines mess with a human's body... Changes how it naturally acts... A curse does a similar thing... Mixing the two would do more harm than good..."
A soft hum left Haruka when he noticed something. "You're a lot more coherent... Does that me you're out of the delirium stage?"
The writer chuckled lightly and shook his head. "No... I'm delirious as hell right now... I won't remember any of this..." He looked back to the tengu and smiled warmly. "I won't remember you being so kind to me... That makes part of me sad..."
The words coupled with those still sparkling eyes made Haruka forget how to breathe for a moment. "You.. Your eyes... How can they sparkle in the dark?" he asked quietly. There wasn't even a moon outside the open window. How could those red depths seem to glow?
Another giggle left Kantarou as he gripped the hand holding his. "It's the fever... It sometimes makes a human's eyes brighter... Some say that fever is the beautiful death... The body seems to glow even after a person dies.... Because that warmth and color lingers for so long..."
Haruka gritted his teeth and forced himself to look away from the smiling gaze. "Don't talk like that. You said you would be fine."
"I will, I'm just rambling. Delirium, remember?" Kantarou mused aloud.
"Well stop it. I don't like it when you say things like that."
"Haruka... Look at me..."
Having to obey since his name was used, Haruka was immediately entranced by those sparkling red eyes. "Yes?"
Kantarou was silent for a moment as he pondered why Haruka was looking at him like that. It seemed like a strange enchantment coupled with a faint desire. 'Desire for what...?' Curious, he decided to guess. "You love things that sparkle..."
"Yes..." Haruka answered quietly.
"Does that mean you love my eyes right now?"
The question made his throat tighten, but Haruka forced himself to answer. "Yes... I do."
Kantarou's smile returned. "Do you want them?"
His own eyes growing wide, Haruka released the hand in his and backed away slightly. "Wh.. What kind of a question is that?"
"An honest one..." Slowly, Kantarou was able to turn enough so he could prop himself on his right elbow. He then made sure to lock his gaze with the stunned one watching him. "Do you want my eyes?"
The almost serene way it was asked made chills run down Haruka's spine. His body was soon leaning forward before he knew it. "Are you offering them to me?"
The dry lips twitched into a wider smile. "If you want them... Then they are yours... Ha. Ru. Ka."
Haruka felt himself become warm with the way Kantarou punctuated his name. "You have no idea what you're saying.. Do you expect me to just rip them out of your skull?" he asked sarcastically, but he could feel his hands twitch slightly. 'Dammit, I'm actually thinking about it.. What the hell is wrong with me?'
"If that's what you want to do... Then do it..." Kantarou forced himself to sit up despite the pain and took hold of Haruka's larger hands. He then placed them on the sides of his face while the delicate thumbs curved just under his shimmering eyes. "Take them..." he whispered, smile still intact.
Feeling his heart pumping faster, Haruka watched as his thumbs lightly traced the curve under his master's eyes. The temptation was there. A quick flick of both wrists and the beautiful sparkle would be his. 'I.. I want to... I really want to...' he thought with a detached sense of horror. "Why are you doing this? If I did, it would kill you." he pointed out quickly. Not just to change his master's mind, but to change his own.
The smile on the heated face seemed to grow. "I know... I can't think of a better way to die.. Giving you something that you would love and treasure..."
"Kantarou! Stop it!" Jerking his hands away from his master's face, Haruka roughly stood and turned around. He couldn't keep looking at those eyes or the temptation would force him to do it. "Why..? Why are you saying things like that? Why are you offering me things that will hurt you?" he questioned on a shaking breath. He knew those sparkling eyes were still watching him. Just thinking about his eyes made his fists clench.
That blissful smile was still on the writer's face as he watched the tengu. His tengu. "Haruka... The only thing I've ever wanted is to make you happy... If it will make you happy, then it's worth any price..."
"You're insane, then.. Offering to give up your life for something so stupid..." Haruka growled. "It's just the stupid fever. Once you're better the sparkle will go away."
"That's why you should take them now... Before I get better."
Feeling his anger return, Haruka had to glare at the peaceful looking man on the futon. "Just shut up! I'm not taking out your eyes!"
Suddenly the smile seemed to grow into something darker. His shining gaze narrowed as a near sadistic light now formed in the crimson eyes. "I could order you to... Haruka..."
His heart suddenly stopped at the clear threat behind the soft voice. He was close to panicking when he saw that Kantarou was being very serious. "No.. No.. Stop it.. Stop it!" he growled as he closed his eyes tightly and clamped his hands over his ears. This couldn't be happening. Why was Kantarou doing this to him? 'Is it another test...? Why am I.. Scared..?'
The confusion and torment the black tengu displayed made Kantarou's smile turn sad. "Haruka..." When it was obvious that the tengu wasn't going to respond, Kantarou was forcing himself to stand.
Haruka was desperately attempting to calm his erratic heart beat as he tried his damnedest to ignore his master. 'Why don't I just leave...? Why am I still standing here..?' He wondered that briefly, but was startled when a pair a hot hands settled on his face. His eyes flew open only to widen in alarm when that red sparkle was only inches away. "Kantarou... You... You should be resting..." he stammered out weakly. The longer he looked into those eyes the more he felt his will crumble. More images of his hands covered in blood holding those eyes ran through his head. It almost made his stomach turn.
Kantarou simply stared into Haruka's dark eyes for a moment, but he seemed to be inching closer. He could feel the taller male's breath against his lips. Like a warm caress. 'Just a little further...' his hazy mind thought. But he stopped. Just shy of their lips brushing against one another, Kantarou stopped. He lingered there for a moment before he spoke. "Whether you take them or not... I've already given them to you. My eyes are yours, Haruka. Even if you don't hold them in your hands... They still belong to you..."
The heat off the smaller body felt good to Haruka. The words he heard made his heart thud softly. He liked them. "I... I think can live with that... You can hold them for me..." he muttered. His hands were fisting lightly in the white robes his master wore, and he had to keep himself from closing the near nonexistent space between them. 'I.. Feel like.... I want to kiss him...' The thought didn't seem that outrageous. Not when those eyes were looking so deeply into him.
But before he could act on the sudden impulse, Kantarou turned his head away. "I... I think I'm going to black out soon... So tired..." he mumbled as his hands slipped from the tengu's face to his strong shoulders.
When the eyelids slid closed Haruka was quick to wrap his arms around his master the moment his knees gave out. "Kantarou... Why are you so damn confusing?" he asked on a growl as he carried him back to the mattress.
A sleepy chuckle answered first. "Makes things more interesting..."
"Well.. I can't deny that..." Haruka mumbled as he pulled the thick blankets over the faintly trembling body. He gently replaced the wet cloth on the already sweat slicked forehead. "Just rest, Kantarou..."
A faint hum left the writer, but the eyes stayed closed. "I'm really sad... That I won't remember how kind you've been... Haruka...."
When his voice trailed off Haruka knew that he had finally fallen asleep. A deep breath left him as he slumped forward. His hand fisted in his hair, and his mind played through the last few minutes over and over. That sparkling crimson was still vivid in his mind even though the delicate eyelids were closed. 'They... They're mine now...?' Even though the words were spoken in a fever induced rant, Haruka felt strangely happy. Thinking that the human eyes that could see so much belonged to him was pleasing for some reason.
So was the knowledge that those eyes were safe behind the shadowed lids. His right hand reached out and tenderly touched the fragile skin that covered his new treasure. It felt so soft. Perfect for keeping the red sparkle safe. "Yeah... You can keep them for me..." Haruka whispered with the slightest of smiles.
Feeling his own exhaustion setting in, Haruka stood and quietly left for his room. However he would get little sleep when the warmth of his master's body refused to leave him.
This story is 6 chapters long.
I'll update randomly.