Yeah, I pretty much forgot I'd written this.
Warnings: spoilers through TB and X/1999
Disclaimer: I do not own Tokyo Babylon or X/1999 or any characters therein. I make no money from this.
It's beautiful. Beautiful and tragic. No person should hear this music; it should be beyond their hearing, beyond anything they could ever make. And yet, Subaru can hear it, over the cars and the shrieks of children. Over the people and the birds. Over all the noises that make Tokyo, he can hear the music.
No-one else can. The people in the park laugh and chatter amongst themselves, never pausing to listen to the pervasive music. Subaru can't stop listening; it's so achingly beautiful, yet so sad as well. Lonely, he thinks, terribly, terribly lonely. As if the music's maker has never known another's touch, has never met another person. Subaru wants to reach out and catch it, tuck it away deep inside him so that it will never be alone again. He wants to reply to the music, but he doesn't know how.
Subaru is only nine the first time he hears it, and he doesn't yet understand what the music means. He follows it though, trailing after it until he finds a boy in a tree, and then there is blood and sakura and all Subaru can remember is the music.
Once upon a time, a goddess fell from the sky. She was more beautiful than the stars, brighter than the sun and lonelier than the moon. She wandered the land, and the people never came too close, for they feared her beauty. And so time passed, and she remained alone. She could not return to the place she'd fallen from, and the people of the land shied away, and so the goddess became lonelier and lonelier until one day she came upon a city. There the people fled from her, stumbling over their feet in fright and the goddess wept, for she had never had a friend.
And so the goddess transformed herself into a tiger, so that the people might truly be afraid of her. She roared and ran through the city and it was then she heard someone singing. The youth sat in the middle of her path and the goddess paused before him. He sang on, never pausing once, and the goddess found herself soothed by his voice. She lay down her great tiger's head, and the boy stroked her fur and presently the goddess fell asleep beside him.
When she awoke, the city goers had silenced the boy once and for all, and he lay dead before her.
The goddess unleashed her fury anew and she decreed that anyone who heard the music's call would find their truest love at the song's end. But before their lips would ever touch, the music would rip them from each other, just as she had been torn from the youth by the city's people.
Upon finishing her command, the goddess transformed herself again, and disappeared.
The people did not believe her at first, but soon all across the land, people followed strange music to the person closest to them. At first, the people rejoiced, for it seemed the goddess had given them a gift instead of a curse. But then the couples turned on each other, for the music that had so bewitched them was now unbearable to hear. They turned their fury on each other, screaming for the music to stop, to end and only when they had stopped it did any of them realise what they had done.
For the goddess' curse had doomed thousands to early graves, at the hands of their truest loves.
It was just a story, Obaa-sama had said. At least, it was just a story now. Perhaps it hadn't been once, but people didn't hear the music now. There had been few reports of it for decades, and most of the people who did claim they'd heard the music turned out to have been hallucinating. There was nothing to worry about, Obaa-sama said. Hearing a few bars of music didn't mean anything.
Privately, Subaru didn't believe her at all, and half-suspected that Obaa-sama was just trying to reassure herself.
But Subaru didn't hear the music again once they were back in Kyoto, so he didn't say anything else about it, not even to Hokuto. She'd always thought it was romantic, even if the music's call always ended in death.
Eventually, even Subaru forgot about it, until he went back to Tokyo and suddenly there it was again.
It has to be Seishirou-san, Subaru realises early on. The music is always louder whenever Seishirou-san is around; it isn't quite the same as Subaru remembers. The music back then had been... perfect. Beautiful and sad and lonely and perfect. But now, it hits wrong notes and there is a current of something dark threading through it; whenever Seishirou-san jokes about being in love with Subaru, the music twists itself in loops and Subaru knows that it's a joke because Seishirou-san has never loved- But Subaru pretends he doesn't know that. He isn't even sure how he knows it. It has to be the music somehow.
One day Subaru wakes up and he can hear Seishirou-san's music faintly, but it's all terribly, terribly wrong; dark and cruel and wrong and Subaru falls out of bed in his rush to make sure that Seishirou-san is all right. Hokuto stops him on the stairs, mumbles something about breakfast and I know you're eager to see Sei-chan, but I don't think he'd like being visited before eight o'clock, do you?
By the time they arrive at Seishirou-san's apartment, his music is back to normal again. It changes just slightly when Hokuto mentions Subaru being frantic to see him, and Seishirou-san frowns just the tiniest bit, but then the music twangs with false happiness and he's smiling again.
It happens again, and again, with alarming regularity, until one day the music changes and Subaru turns to see Seishirou-san in the doorway saying things he'd never say and then Subaru crumples to the ground.
When he wakes up, the music is still there, but Seishirou-san isn't.
You hear it, don't you? Seishirou-san asks after he's broken Subaru's arm. You hear the goddess' music. I wonder, Seishirou-san continues, I wonder what it sounds like.
Beautiful, Subaru doesn't say; he can't force the words out of his mouth.
I've never heard it, you see, Seishirou-san murmurs. Not once in all this time. But you, Subaru-kun, you've heard it every day I've been near, haven't you? Even when we first met, you could hear it. Can you hear it now, Subaru-kun?
Yes, Subaru can't say. He can hear it. That same beautiful music he'd heard when he was nine, clear and true and Subaru loves it.
I suppose the goddess was right, Subaru-kun, Seishirou-san whispers. You will never have your truest love.
And somehow Subaru knows that Seishirou-san thinks Subaru loves the fake Seishirou, the kindly vet and he wants to say no, it was wrong then, it's right now, you're perfect now but his voice has failed him and Subaru can't move anyway.
The music wakes him. Hokuto's voice wakes him. She says his name and there is blood and she has fallen, fallen, fallen and Subaru knows, he knows from the music that Seishirou-san is there. Gathering her into his arms, like she's a rag doll and the music is lonelier now, angrier now, sadder now and it reaches into Subaru and he breaks.
I, and only I, will kill him, Subaru says and he knows it's a lie even as he says it.
Do you hear the music, Subaru-kun? I can't, Seishirou-san whispers in Subaru's dreams.
I hear the music, Seishirou-san whispers as he dies.
Subaru is twenty-five the last time he hears the music; it cuts off suddenly, and there is only silence.
Thanks for reading.