18 March 2012
Author's note. Some my guess that I don't particularly LIKE Hokuto. I have had Issues with her character and her behaviour since I was introduced to Tokyo Babylon. I personally think she was a very nasty and selfish piece of work. Just so you know.
lionette AT mailcity DOT com
Hokuto stormed down the steps of the apartment building and took a sharp turn to the left onto the footpath, ignoring the cat-calls and wolf-whistles that as usual followed her where ever she went. She shoved some people out of her way that simply refused to move when they damned well should have seen her coming, and she also ignored their cries of anger directed back at her.
/Damn that imposter!/ She thought to herself. Damn him for saying such things about her. Of course she wanted her brother back! How dare he ever suggest otherwise. /It's not fair! It's so not fair!/
/No, It's not fair./ It was a darker portion of her mind talking. It was a voice that she often found she had to shove aside, but right now it had free reign. /It's NOT fair. You were born first, yet look at you. Always scurrying around pulling that brat out of trouble. Always having to clean up His mess. YOU should be the one who is next in line as head of the family, but you're not, HE is. He should be the one who has to give up his dreams to look after you, not the other way around. It's not fair, and it's all because he was born male and you weren't. Why couldn't he have died cleanly when IT happened? It's not fair! And Grandmother doesn't even care that it's NOT Subaru sitting behind those eyes./
She wiped the beginning of tears away from her eyes, now feeling incredibly guilty to be wishing such things upon her brother, wondering if in fact her brother HAD actually died in the city... And this imposter was now some evil spirit inhabiting his body planning on murdering them all in their sleep!
She had to snort at that thought. /Kind of ridiculous considering just who it is exactly he is sleeping with!/ Then she remembered the absolute horror and anguish in His eyes and how his voice cracked when He had said "You know what he is. You always knew, and then you let him kill you." Again she felt the guilt hit, and not because according to His crazed mind she had been murdered by Sei-chan... but if she were really honest with herself... He had been right. She knew what Sei-chan was almost from the first moment she had met him, but she said nothing. In fact she actively encouraged their relationship, and not because she could see Sei-chan needed desperately to love and be loved and that Subaru was the kind of person who would easily do the job. (Which he HAD done, and remarkably well.) But... if she were honest with herself...she had always kind of hoped and expected Seishirou to pick her brother as one of his targets to feed his beloved death-tree. Even now it astonished her that he hadn't.
/The Imposter knows who Seishirou is, and was horrified about Subaru's relationship with him./ She slowed her pace, still ignoring the leering people around her. Again his voice echoed in her mind "You know what he is. You always knew, and then you let him kill you."
/What if.../ She ended sitting on a bus stop bench, swinging her legs under it, not caring if her wings got crushed against the bus stop wall. /What if he IS Subaru, but from the future? I wonder why it is I would LET Sei-chan kill me? How could life possibly get so bad to have that be the best option?/ She curled her lip up in a snarky smile. /By how distressed The Imposter was over it... It will probably be SO worth it!/
/Oh. My. God!/ Subaru's mind couldn't get over the mortification that was currently turning his entire body a very dark, tomato red. /Hokuto thinks Seishirou-san and I were!/ He couldn't even THINK the word. And here Seishirou-san was doing strange things to his ear, sending tingles all over his skin. /Hokuto thinks THAT even though Seishirou-san said it wasn't true!/ He wanted to curl up under a rock somewhere and die from embarrassment! And NOW Seishirou-san was asking permission to put those amazingly skilled fingers back on his body? To do those amazing THINGS that made him feel like he had melted into a pile of absolutely contented goo? And then, then, then? It was unthinkable. Subaru wondered if his blood pressure was high enough for him to stroke-out, or if the blood nose pressure relief valve actually existed?
So he did what came naturally to him when situations became too uncomfortable to deal with.
He pulled away and changed the subject.
"What are those?" He very deliberately asked, pointing at some photos and framed documents that were hung in neat rows on the wall.
Seishirou smirked in an indulgent way that said "I know exactly how and why you are changing the subject, but I'll let you because I find it highly amusing." But he turned to said documents and said "That is your Bachelor's degree in Zoology, and your post graduate diploma in rural science."
Subaru's eyes almost fell out of his head. He stepped closer, reaching out to touch the frame of the picture that showed himself in an orange zip up jacket leaning against Seishirou, who was as usual dressed in a business suit, with blooming sakura trees obscuring the back ground. They were both smiling. The Subaru in the picture actually looked... happy, not a fake smile for everyone else who expected him to be happy no matter what, but genuine happiness. Subaru ran his fingers over the alien expression, feeling bewildered and heartsick for both versions of himself. "...So happy."
"This was your first day of work as a keeper at Ueno Zoo." Seishirou whispered, pressing in close to wrap his arms around Subaru, and rest his chin on the top of Subaru's head.
"Zoo keeper?" Subaru had to fight the sudden tears that threatened to blur his vision while he continued to run his fingers over the picture of his other self. He forced a smile to his own lips, but knew it would be nothing as bright and beautiful as the one captured in that image. "he got to live his dream? I long ago gave up on that. Is it wrong to be envious of myself?" Seishirou's arms tightened around him.
"What stopped you?" Seishirou's jaw moved against the top of Subaru's head at he spoke. It felt very strange, but the warmth at his back was nice, so he leaned back into the solid strength that Seishirou was.
"Life." Subaru replied honestly. "After you killed Hokuto, just living was hard enough let alone doing something like studying. I dropped out of school and did odd jobs to earn enough to get by, but I spent most of my time trying to track you and stay out of my family's way. Hokuto died because of me, what right do I have to be happy?"
Seishirou gave him a quick shake and spun him around, hands gripping Subaru's shoulders hard enough that there could be bruises later. "Enough of that." Seishirou ordered. "Your Hokuto was a selfish bitch to cast that spell, and That Seishirou was a filthy bastard that doesn't deserve your thoughts. They both chose to die instead of face the situations they were in. It is THEIR fault, NOT yours! You have the right to be happy!"
"How can I be happy when they are both DEAD?" Subaru yelled, pulling away from Seishirou to tug at his own hair, tears now falling down his face. "They're dead! They're dead!"
"We're not dead here." Seishirou said quietly, holding a hand out in offering to Subaru. Subaru stared first at the hand, then back to Seishirou's eyes in question. "What's stopping you?"
"I don't know a thing about Zoology."
"Your workplace knows you had something happen to your brain that has affected your memory."
"We have all the text book and other resources here already. You could take the course again if you want. We sure have enough money sitting around that finances are not a problem."
Seishirou pierced him with a serious look. "Subaru. If you are given a second chance at your life to do the things you really wished you could have, don't throw it away." And he reached out his hand again. "Take my hand. I'll help you."
Slowly, trembling like he was icy cold, Subaru did.
To be continued...