Author's Note: There are way too few Shori/Janus fics out there (and also too few Shinou/Daikenja ones, in my opinion^^ ), so I've decided to do something about that xD Also, I know I wrote an odd mix of dubbed and subbed version here, so just to make sure I can't be held responsible for misunderstandings regarding the terms I used (lol^^ ), here you go:
Demon King = Maoh
Ohayo = Good morning
Janus = Geneus (though you will never see the day when I will mutilate the name 'Janus' like this ." )
Double black = Soukoku
Shinou = Great One
Great Demon Kingdom = Shin Makoku
Daikenja = Great Sage = Wise Man
Ore no Daikenja = My Daikenja
"You ready, Shibuya?" Ken Murata cheerfully asked the Demon King who was currently descending the stairs in pajamas, having only just been wakened and informed of his friend's arrival by his mother.
"Do I look ready to you? Honestly, at least on saturdays you could come a bit later..." Yuri replied annoyedly.
The other simply shrugged "I just assumed it was in your interest as well not to have to undergo the "About time you showed up, wimp!" and "I was so worried about your Majesty!" procedure that undoubtedly awaits you if you're late again. Your decision, of course..."
"Alright, alright, I'll be ready in a sec." Yuri muttered and returned to his room, leaving Murata to smile amusedly.
"Ohayo, big brother of my friend." he casually greeted Shori who had just entered the hallway. "Coming with us today?"
"I'm not. I have a lot to do nowadays, even on my days off work..." the older male answered, but still leaned with his back against the wall to stand beside Murata.
"So.. how are you?" asked Shori after a while.
"I'm fine. You?" Murata supressed the urge to sigh out his reply, knowing very well what the next two things coming out of the other's mouth would be. It didn't take the wisdom of a sage to know that when they had gone through the same thing regularly for months now.
"Alright, I guess. And... how is Janus?"
This time, Murata did sigh. "Shori..." The rare use of his name by the boy made the older one turn with interest. "You can't poke at a closed clam's shell and expect it to react. My body, being the shell, keeps his soul safe. Janus was fine a week ago, he will be fine next week as well." Murata finished.
Shori turned away in a slight huff "I know, but..."
"Yes." Murata smiled compassionately.
They stood like that in silence for a while.
Suddenly, the younger double black chuckled "You know, I always did wonder why you were the one who insisted Janus had a heart even though he had abducted you. Just what exactly happened between you two?"
"What do you mean 'happened'!" Shori shouted blushingly, much to Murata's further amusement. Said put up his hands smugly "Well I have no idea how thorough Alazon was in creating his body, so..."
"Wha-! Kh-" Shori gaped and spluttered, causing the other to laugh out loud.
While still stammering, however, something occurred to Shori, making him halt and frown.
"Wouldn't you know?" he asked.
Murata stopped laughing in confusion "Wouldn't I know what?"
"If something 'happened'." his frown deepened despite the blush that lessened only slowly. "I thought you had his memories..?"
The younger one stared at him in wide-eyed astonishment. Then, he exhaled sharply and smiled. "Good thinking, big brother of my friend. I guess I gave myself away. I mean, it's not like I decided not to tell anyone on principle, I just haven't felt like discussing the matter... Oh well."
"What?" Shori glared and grabbed the other's shoulders. "What are you hiding this time!" Murata's expression remained unreadable.
"I'm sorry I took so long, but I couldn't find my... Guys?" Yuri hurried down the stairs to find his friend and brother staring at each other in silence, the air charged. Shori turned to face Yuri in surprise, letting go of Murata. Said only looked up at the other with a cheerful expression "I'd love to stay and talk to you but it's time your little brother and I got going."
"Hold on, I've changed my plans. I'm coming with you." Shori stated firmly when the other two made to leave.
Yuri whipped around despairingly "Oh, come on..! Why?"
"Don't worry Yuu-chan, this once it is not because of you. I won't bother you." he replied seriously, much to his brother's bafflement.
Before long, the three of them were on their watery way to Shinou's temple, located in the Great Demon Kingdom.
"About time you showed up, wimp!"
"I was so worried about your Majesty!"
Yuri internally groaned at what Murata had fittingly called 'the procedure'. "I know, I know, I'm sorry. It's just that I couldn't find my-"
"You may explain the reasons for your tardiness later, for now we need you to return to the castle and attend to your duties." Gwendal scowled, as usual.
With that, the majority of the group went towards the exit of the temple. Only when they were out of sight did Shori turn around to find that Murata was already walking away from where he stood. He hurried to catch up with him.
"You didn't really think you'd get out of that one so easily, did you?" he glared.
"I didn't even try. I just wanted us to talk some place more peaceful than the hallway of your home." Murata smiled innocently.
"You little...!" Shori fumed. He hated to be deceived and outsmarted by the younger one, even if the other technically had more than fourthousand years worth of life experience.
Murata led them to a nicely shaded bench within the portico of the temple. Though Shori could have cared less about the exact location, he did take a moment to take in the atmosphere as he sat down beside his little brother's friend.
"So... what did you mean by what you said? Do you have Janus' memories or not? Did something go wrong? And why didn't you intend to tell anyone?"
"In order: I'll come to that, I do, no, and because it might take quite some time." Murata replied, finally serious despite his words. He concentrated before continuing "But first of all... you see, it is obvious to me that his soul has been burdened with the original Janus' memories. They are basically the same as my own memories related to "old" Janus, but I can feel what "new" Janus' soul felt while thinking about them, which is why I can distinguish between them. Are you following so far?" he asked, earning a nod from Shori. "Now, old Janus' memories extracted from the houseki are to be viewed as a matter of its own. They are more of a curse put on his soul than anything else." Murata lowered his gaze regretfully.
"But what about... "new Janus" own memories..?"
"Well, this is exactly where it gets complicated." the younger one smiled at Shori. "The farthest back his clear memory goes is the conversation he had with you in the room where he was made. Then they blur and blur until a very vague image of a forest and you is the earliest memory I can retrieve. Anything before that is a void."
Shori frowned "Does that mean he didn't have any remembrance before that?"
"Oh I think he did." Murata replied swiftly. "I just think those memories were bound to his body, rather than his soul."
"I don't unders... What is the meaning of this, friend of my little brother?" the older double black inquired, thoroughly confused.
The other stared into the distance, contemplating his answer. He sighed "It might be a long shot on my part, but my guess would be that he did not have a soul from the very beginning. I believe he developed one."
"... say what?" Shori gaped.
"Presumably in the time span I mentioned before. I figure it is logical that a soul can not hold memories that were obtained before it existed." Murata carried on unfazed as the other still tried to wrap his mind around his words.
"And you base the assumption that Janus initially had no soul on that alone?" Shori eventually asked, incredulous.
"No." the other replied decisively. "Even without the issue of his memories, I would have come to this conclusion. Probably."
The older one was now clearly losing his patience "Then explain yourself already!"
"Normally, there would be two possible explanations for the fact that someone has a soul; one, they had it from the beginning, or two, they developed one because of what was given to them by others. In Janus' case, number one is out of the question because no matter how you look at it, an artificial human is just not supposed to have a soul. Since the beginning of time there have only been few incidences of artificial things with souls... Morgif would be an example of that. However, even if Alazon had wanted for Janus to have a soul - which I highly doubt - I am positive not even a person with houryoku as powerful as hers would have been able to do it. This only leaves option number two: it was something given to him that made him develop one. Something given to him... by you." Murata concluded his speech with one deliberate look at Shori.
Shori's eyes widened and he had difficulties forming words. "Me...? What did I give him...?" he asked, his voice wavering with a rare insecurity.
Murata smiled brightly "As far as I can tell from his memories, kindness. Care. Compassion. It made him capable of interacting with you, regardless of his false memories and Alazon's orders. And from the moment some of his actions were driven neither by the remnants of the original Janus, which used to be the only thing inside him, nor his obedience to Alazon, who was necessary for the maintenance of his body, he began developing something that was purely his own; his soul."
"...Wow." Shori leaned back to support himself. "This is.. quite..." he trailed off.
"Something to be proud of, I'd say." Murata filled in for him, although it most likely was not what the other had intended to say, had he ever found his tongue to complete the sentence.
After what seemed like an eternity, Murata broke the silence that had followed.
"Do you wish he was alive?"
"I don't know..." Shori sighed. "He suffered so much in his short time here... Would he even want to be alive?"
"Well, in and of itself a soul is always alive. His lives in me."
"It's not the same." he scowled.
The other raised an eyebrow "I know. Yet subconsciously you seem to believe that. Otherwise you wouldn't have been treating me so differently since that day."
"..Just so you know, it has nothing to do with you." Shori narrowed his eyes.
Murata had to laugh at this, a benevolent laugh, and almost genuine "I know..! Believe me, I know. It's the same with Shinou. At times I feel like Shibuya is the only one who actually takes me for who I am, and does not treat me based on whose people's souls might be inside of me." he continued to chuckle.
All bickering aside, Shori felt a harsh pang of guilt at that. "That is..." he began, and halted when he remembered how those were the same words he'd used to comfort Janus when he had learned of his story.
Murata smiled and shrugged nonchalantly "It's okay, really."
The older one was quiet for a while. Confusedly, he spoke up again "But.. you and Shinou-"
"I play along because I know it makes him happy." the younger one cut him off. "Giving him a sense of having his Daikenja back, even if he knows it is not for real, is a small pleasure that I'm very willing to provide. I can not possibly return the feelings he harboured for the Sage, nor can I adopt the ones the Sage had for him, but this is something I can do, and I know he appreciates it."
"Feelings? You were...?" Shori stared disbelievingly.
"They were." Murata smiled. "And they will be again. Once I've died, that is." his face took on a slightly more pensive expression with these words.
In turn, causing the other to feel an amount of compassion he had never expected to feel for this particular person, of all people.
"What kind of feelings did you have for Janus, by the way?" Murata suddenly asked.
Taken by surprise, Shori replied "I don't know. Why do you ask?"
However, the other just smirked deviously. "You don't know? So you admit it?"
It took Shori a while to get the implication. When he did, he blushed furiously for the second time that day "That's not what I meant..!"
"It's okay, I see how it is..." Murata sat back and carried on amusedly. "The same thing happened to Shibuya: one minute you think you're straight and suddenly you're thrown into this world with gayness all around and - bang! You discover sides of yourself you never knew were there..."
Shori looked about ready to strangle the unfuriating boy. "You are such a-"
It went on like this for a while.
Once their little argument was finally over and Shori was well on his way to the castle, Murata went right to the inner sanctum of the temple, as he always did.
He was almost instantly greeted by the luminous figure sitting on one of the now harmless forbidden boxes. "Ah, there you are. What took you so long? I have been utterly bored around here."
As he adjusted his glasses, the younger one smirked "I have had many jobs where you were concerned; strategist, babysitter, ... but last time I checked, it was not my duty to act as your personal entertainer."
"Well," Shinou gave him his most charming smile "whether you intended it or not, you always have found ways to entertain me... ore no Daikenja."
Murata's only reply was a smile of his own.
Author's Note: You know, this was supposed to become a really short fic, consisting only of theories around Janus' soul, in the form of Shori's and Murata's conversation that should - as a whole - have taken place in the hallway... 1000 words, at the max ^^ But then it kinda got like this xD
I can't picture you complaining though, I've always had such nice reviewers (^-^)
Hope you enjoyed it :)