Last revised:
Completed: 05/05/2002

[fic][TB][au] A Necessary Evil (teaser)(very rough draft)

SUMMARY: Six years ago, the Sakurazukamori made a Bet and marked
Sumeragi Subaru as his prey. But in this mirror world, is Subaru the
naive innocent that he appears, or is Subaru hiding a terrible dark
secret of his own? Does Subaru himself know the answer? And what of
Hakuto and the rest of the Sumeragi clan? ^_-

I'm still trying to get familiar with the Tokyo Babylon/X fandom so
any C&C greatly appreciated! It's still just a rough draft, so
please excuse the typos or other stupid mistakes.

Title: A Necessary Evil
Author: Madamhydra
Email: madamhydra@aol.com
Status: WIP (work-in-progress)
Archive: www.madamhydra.net/TBX.html
Type: Alternate Universe
Rating: R (for now)
Spoilers: manga volumes 1-7
Pairings: Seishirou + Subaru

********** WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS ********* WARNINGS **********
Obscene language
Mature themes (possible references to abuse, nonconsentual sex,
etc.)
YAOI (male/male relationships)
LIME (implied sexual content)
********* ********* ********* ********* ********* ********* *********

Disclaimer: (Full Disclaimers at the end) Tokyo Babylon and X are the
copyright and property of its respective creators and legally
associated parties. Used without permission. Not for profit.

Credit: Thanks to my friends Amy-chan and Sakka-chan, who keep egging
me on, no matter how crazy, demented, and perverted my fic ideas get.


(...) represents internal dialogue
/.../ represent flashback dialogue

======================================================================
A Necessary Evil (teaser)
A Tokyo Babylon AU fic by Madamhydra
======================================================================

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I'm going to take my time
I have all the time in the world
To make you mine
It is written in the stars above
The gods decree
You'll be right here by my side
Right next to me
You can run but you cannot hide

Don't say you want me
Don't say you need me
Don't say you love me
It's understood
Don't say you're happy
Out there without me
I know you can't be
'Cause it's no good

I'll be fine
I'll be waiting patiently
'Til you see the signs
And come running to my open arms
When will you realize
Do we have to wait 'til our worlds collide
Open up your eyes
You can't turn back the tide

-- "It's No Good" by Depeche Mode
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

======================================================================

As the setting sun turned the sky a bloody red, an attractive,
middle-aged woman seated herself on the solitary cushion in the small
pavilion, gracefully arranged the folds of her elegant kimono, then
settled down to wait.

Perched on the edge of a sheer cliff, the rustic wooden pavilion
provided a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains and the
valley below. However, the woman had no interest in scenery.

She was there to deal with death incarnate.

-------------------------------------------------

The sun finally disappeared under the horizon, and darkness settled
over the mountains. With only four flickering lanterns for
illumination, the woman continued to wait with the disciplined
patience acquired over decades of practicing the occult arts.

Suddenly, the lantern flames flickered wildly as a cool breeze
swirled through the pavilion. The woman tensed slightly, but made no
attempt to prevent the unnatural wind from extinguishing the lanterns.
Blackness enveloped her, broken only by the distant lights of Kyoto
and the faintest glimmer of a heavily obscured moon.

"Lady Ashikawa."

The voice was cool, masculine, and directionless. Like the breeze
earlier, it came from nowhere and everywhere at once. Nothing -- not
sight, not sound, nor spiritual aura -- betrayed the speaker's
location. That was only to be expected. The ability to conceal his
presence so perfectly was only one of her visitor's formidable array
of talents.

"Sakurazukamori," she replied in even tones, bowing her head ever so
slightly in acknowledgement. Even though he was invisible to her, she
was certain that the assassin could see her every motion and gesture
perfectly.

"Your request for this meeting was somewhat unusual, given that your
family is traditionally allied with the Sumeragi clan."

"I'm grateful that you agreed to speak to me."

The male voice replied smoothly, "After all the effort you went
through to contact me, how could I refuse? So what can I do for the
matriarch of the Ashikawa clan?"

Her lips thinned slightly, clearly not deceived by the other's
polite words and exquisite courtesy. She knew the dangers of
attracting the attention of the Sakurazukamori, but she had little
choice.

"I have a simple request. Please listen to what I have to tell you.
I have information that you may find of great interest."

"I see. And this information concerns...?"

"A potentially serious problem within the Sumeragi clan. Or perhaps
it would be better to call it the rumor of a problem. Please
understand that I am only repeating the story told to me, and
therefore I cannot personally swear to its accuracy."

"But you apparently consider it creditable enough and important
enough to bring it to my attention. And you do not have a reputation
as a frivolous woman."

The assassin's words were not meant as a compliment, and she did not
make the mistake of taking them as such. She bowed her head again,
acknowledging the subtle, underlying threat. Put much more bluntly,
she had better not be wasting the Sakurazukamori's time, or else.

He continued, "The Sumeragi clan guards its privacy jealously, so
may I ask how you obtained this information?"

"The informant, Sumeragi Sana, came to me of her own free will,
after her warnings were ignored by her own family." Lady Ashikawa
shrugged. "We were schoolmates, from long ago."

"Warnings? In regard to what?"

"Two months ago, she told Lady Sumeragi that she sensed an evil
power hovering around one of the Lady's grandchildren and expressed
concern that the child had somehow become... marked... by some malign
influence. Lady Sumeragi was oddly unsurprised by the information."

She paused, evidently expecting a comment, but the assassin said
nothing. Lady Ashikawa found the silence curiously unnerving, but
after a moment, she continued her story.

"Lady Sumeragi informed Sana that the situation would be
'investigated and if necessary, addressed', and that she need not
involve herself further in the matter. However, Sana was not
satisfied with the Lady's response."

"If your informant was concerned with Lady Sumeragi's actions, or
lack thereof, the reasonable thing to do would be to talk to the clan
elders. Why seek out an outsider's help?"

"According to Sana, she tried to discuss her concerns with several
senior members of the clan council and found them unreceptive, even
hostile. Several of the elders went as far as to accuse her of
being... irrational."

"Is she irrational?" the Sakurazukamori inquired politely.

Lady Ashikawa hesitated, then replied reluctantly, "I will admit
that Sana can be somewhat high-strung and emotionally erratic. Also,
she has made her resentment of Lady Sumeragi's grandson well known.
Sana's own son has some degree of talent, but he's certainly cannot
match someone of Sumeragi Subaru's power."

She held up a hand. "However, Sana unquestionably possesses an
extraordinary sensitivity to negative spiritual emanations."

"A useful talent for a Sumeragi," he commented dryly. "But you
still haven't answered my question. Why did she turn to you for
help?"

"To put it simply, fear. Fear for her own life."

"Indeed."

"Soon after her conversations with Lady Sumeragi and the clan
elders, she was the victim of several suspicious and potentially
serious incidents. Falling roof tiles. Chips of glass mixed into her
drinks and food. A broken step."

"Typical low level curse phenomena."

Lady Ashikawa nodded. "She made several attempts to ward herself,
but with no success. Sana became convinced that someone in her family
was acting against her, threatening or perhaps even trying to kill
her. So she fled the Sumeragi compound and came to me for help."

"But conviction hardly qualifies as proof. During her visit with
you, did any suspicious incidents occur?"

"No." Her fingers clenched briefly on her kimono. "And when I
tried to determine if she had in fact been cursed, I detected nothing
unusual. Either there was nothing to detect or...."

Or the person responsible was much more skilled and powerful than
Lady Ashikawa, who was widely acknowledged as a practitioner of
considerable skill. Someone like the Sakurazukamori... or a head of
the Sumeragi clan.

"When Sana told me all this, I was initially skeptical. All she had
was some vague impressions, but no real proof. I was convinced that
she was simply misinterpreting events. I tried to reason with her,
but by that time, she had become completely obsessed with proving
herself right. A few days after she arrived at my home, she left for
Tokyo, determined to find proof."

"While this story is quite entertaining, I trust that there's more
to it than that. So far, all I've heard are the allegations of an
emotionally unstable woman who appears to have a persecution complex."

Lady Ashikawa retorted, "While Sana's judgment can be skewed by her
own prejudices, she does *not* lie. Nor is she stupid or easily
deceived. If she says that she detected a wrongness or evil connected
with the thirteenth head of the Sumeragi, then she definitely sensed
*something*."

"You said you did not believe her story at first. Obviously,
something has changed your mind," the assassin said.

"Six days ago, I received a very disturbing letter from Sana. I
think it would be better if you read it yourself."

Lady Ashikawa pulled a thick envelope out of her sleeve and placed
it on the floor in front of her. A few seconds later, it was gone,
whisked away into the shadows by a chill swirl of air.

She settled down to wait. Even though it was nearly pitch dark, it
seemed that the Sakurazukamori had no problems giving Sana's letter a
thorough examination. Nearly a half hour passed before the assassin
spoke.

"How very... interesting." There was another thoughtful pause.
"She makes some very serious accusations against members of her own
family -- demonic possession, a coverup, corruption, and conspiracy,
to name a few."

"Sana's research has always been meticulous, sometimes obsessively
so," she said quietly.

"So I see from her letter. She claims that the thirteenth head of
the Sumeragi clan is possessed or in imminent danger of being
possessed. She further claims that the senior members of the clan are
either willfully ignoring the situation and/or actively engaged in
concealing it. I must admit that she presents a surprisingly
persuasive argument."

"Is it so unthinkable? I would think that you, of all people, would
not be so easily blinded by the Sumeragi mystique," Lady Ashikawa said
acidly. "People have done much worse in order to protect their
family's reputation. After all, it would be a serious blow to the
Sumeragi prestige if people were to learn that the future clan head
was possessed by an evil spirit."

"Perhaps." Instead of being offended by her pointed comments, the
assassin sounded decidedly amused.

Regaining her composure, Lady Ashikawa said, "Unfortunately, I have
no further proof to offer. On the very day she mailed that letter,
Sana died in a fall from the top of a fifteen story building in
Shinjuku."

"Convenient. Remarkably convenient," the Sakurazukamori murmured.
"The timing is certainly suspicious, but obsessed people have been
known to kill themselves in order to incriminate others." His voice
turned brisk. "It's an interesting story, to be sure, but why tell it
to me, of all people?"

"Because you are one of the very few who are not influenced, nor
intimidated by the Sumeragi. You have no fear of their displeasure.
Most people, my family included, do not have that sort of luxury."

"Flattery, indeed."

"I simply acknowledge a fact. I believe that there is at least some
truth to Sana's accusations. But without undeniable proof, I cannot
risk an open challenge to the Sumeragi regarding this matter. They
are simply too powerful, too influential."

"I see."

"Yes, I freely admit that Sana's accusations could be the ramblings
of an unbalanced, paranoid woman. On the other hand, what if she's
right?" She paused briefly for emphasis before continuing.

"Despite his youth, the thirteenth head of the Sumeragi is already
reputed to be an onmyouji of extraordinary talent and power. Consider
what would happen if he becomes possessed by the entity Sana describes
in her letter. He might prove to be a threat even to you,
Sakurazukamori, to say nothing of the danger a corrupted Sumeragi
would pose to everyone else."

She folded her hands in her lap, then said, "The Sumeragi proclaim
themselves the spiritual protectors of Japan, and I cannot deny that
they have performed admirably in that role. But who will protect
Japan from the Sumeragi, if necessary?

"That is why I've come to you, the Sakurazukamori. You are the
Sumeragi's opposite, the counterbalance. Only you have the power to
determine the truth of this matter. And if necessary, eliminate the
threat."

She took a deep breath. "I'm not foolish enough to make demands of
the Sakurazukamori, nor do I have the resources to hire you. Instead,
I must rely on the honor of your clan and most humbly request that the
Sakurazukamori uphold and enforce the ancient pacts."

Lady Ashikawa put her hands on the floor and bowed deeply, touching
her forehead to the wooden planks. She held that acutely vulnerable
position, waiting for the assassin's response.

One second she was alone in the pavilion. The next second, she felt
a hand on the back of her exposed neck. There had been no sound, no
hint of movement. For all she knew, he could have been standing
within arm's reach of her during their entire conversation. Lady
Ashikawa gasped and flinched, but otherwise remained frozen.

As warm fingers lightly traced the line of her spine, the
Sakurazukamori murmured into her ear, "It seems that this meeting has
not been a waste of time, Lady. And I thank you for providing such an
entertaining story."

Before she could draw another shaky breath, the hand was gone, along
with the assassin.

After several moments of silence and solitude, she lifted her head
and slowly sat up. Her composure shattered, she touched the back of
her neck with cold, fumbling fingers. Finding only smooth, unmarked
skin, she sighed in profound relief. Unmarked. At least for now, the
Sakurazukamori was content to let her live.

-------------------------------------------------

As Sakurazuka Seishirou effortlessly guided the powerful sports car
along the winding mountain roads back toward Kyoto, he thoughtfully
considered the various implications of Lady Ashikawa's story.

The woman's approach was certainly interesting, and no doubt
intended to pique his interest. To that extent, it had worked.

The whole affair could be a trap, of course, set up with or without
the Sumeragi clan's cooperation. It wouldn't be the first time that
someone tried to ensnare the Sakurazukamori. But this time, he didn't
think so.

Lady Ashikawa was genuinely worried about the potential for
disaster. And if Sumeragi Sana's allegations were true, the lady had
good reason for her fears. Under the circumstances, turning to the
Sakurazukamori was a logical, if reluctant choice.

However, the lady's motives certainly weren't entirely altruistic.
Lady Ashikawa was cleverly attempting to shift both the burden of the
investigation and the blame for any possible repercussions onto the
Sakurazukamori. And even if he revealed the Ashikawa clan's
involvement, the Sumeragi clan would be unlikely to believe him.

What was the phrase the Americans liked to use?

Ah yes, 'plausible deniability'.

Lady Ashikawa was a bold woman, no question about it. She was also
ambitious. The Ashikawa would not be the first onmyouji clan to
resent the Sumeragi's prestige and authority. Success often bred
envy, and it was no doubt frustrating for Lady Ashikawa to have her
family constantly overshadowed by the Sumeragi.

Lady Ashikawa's paramount concerns might be the threat of corruption
within the Sumeragi. But if it happened that the Sumeragi should
suffer a severe blow to their reputation, or even better, an acutely
embarrassing public scandal... well, he was certain that Lady Ashikawa
would be more than happy to take advantage of the Sumeragi's loss.

He admired the sheer audacity of the woman's schemes, but that
didn't mean that he was going to allow her to get away with it, of
course. Yes, assassins did other people's dirty work. That was the
nature of the business.

But they didn't do it for free.

The only thing more amusing than Lady Ashikawa's audacity was her
blithe invocation of the ancient pacts. True, the woman had a deeper
understanding of the Sakurazukamori's role in the spiritual world than
most people, even those well versed in the Art, possessed. But even
she could not fully comprehend the intricate weave of oaths and
obligations that bound the Sumeragi and his clan together.

In planning her presentation, Lady Ashikawa had assumed, and
reasonably so, that the Sakurazukamori would gladly grab the slightest
excuse to act against their ancient enemy. But in this case, the
assumption was incorrect. The destruction of the Sumeragi had never
been a goal of his clan.

The Sakurazukamori were known as the guardians of the Sakura Burrow.
However, his clan held another, equally ancient responsibility,
although of a rather different sort.

What had his mother said to him in that soft, sweet voice of hers?

/ Many think that the Sakurazukamori are merely the most ruthless
and cold-blooded of killers. But this is only the shallowest part of
the truth. /

She had cupped a camellia blossom in her bloody fingers, and nuzzled
its soft petals.

/ A few, more insightful individuals realize that the Sumeragi are
the hounds who protect this country from spiritual threats, and that
the Sakurazukamori are the leash that keeps the Sumeragi from
wandering too far astray....

/ But that too is a mere fraction of the truth. /

And when he had asked the logical question, she had smiled to him
and delicately touched the rough bark of the camellia tree with a
blood-stained finger.

/ The truth is that Sakurazukamori are the secret caretakers of the
Sumeragi clan. Or more precisely, the caretakers of the Sumeragi's
purpose. Ours is a twofold task. First, to make certain that the
Sumeragi clan remains true to their sworn duty. And second, to ensure
that the Sumeragi are capable of carrying that duty out.

His mother had twirled so gracefully, the paleness of her kimono and
darkness of her hair swirling together in the night breeze. She
danced, her words in sing-song counterpoint.

/ We create the dark background that make the Sumeragi shine all the
more brightly....

/ We drive the Sumeragi ever onward to greater accomplishments....

/ We remove the Sumeragi's weak, their unfit, their diseased....

/ We guide. We entice. We provoke. We punish. We even nurture,
if need be. We do whatever is necessary to keep the Sumeragi strong
and unwavering.... /

His mother had stopped in mid-spin and looked directly at him, her
eyes bright with mischief.

/ But like any good gardener or breeder, the Sakurazukamori must
know when to leave alone and when to interfere. In this, as in so
many things, timing is everything. /

And her soft laughter had been like the chiming of silver bells.

The assassin smiled. And what would the proud matriarch of the
Sumeragi clan think of such a revelation? What would the formidable
old woman do if she ever realized just how much her family owned to
its ancient enemy and rival?

During his years in college and veterinary school, he had allowed
the Sumeragi clan to go its own way. However, circumstances seemed to
call for a more active interest.

He didn't mind. Besides, there was a small matter of an unsettled
bet....

As he waited at a red light, he reached into the envelope containing
Sana's letter and pulled out a photo. By the glow of the
streetlights, he gazed thoughtfully at the blurred, murky image of a
dark haired teenager. General age and hair color were the only
details he could make out. Sumeragi Sana was an excellent and
meticulous researcher, but she had no talent for photography. He then
flipped the picture over. Neatly written on the back was an address
in Shinjuku and a name.

'Sumeragi Subaru (13th clan head)'

The traffic light changed to green. As he accelerated, he pulled
out his cell phone and began making arrangements for an apartment and
an animal clinic in Shinjuku, Tokyo.

Only time and close observation would reveal the truth of Sumeragi
Sana's words. And if her accusations proved true, he would take steps
to deal with the situation.

Although, perhaps not in the manner Lady Ashikawa expected....

(end teaser)
=====================================================================

-------------------------------------------------
Keeper of Duo's Dark Side ~~~ Duo no Seishi
Co-Keeper of Duo's Scythe & Bat Wings (w/ Death)
Co-Keeper of Little Grim Reaper Duo (w/ Kitsune)
Saitoh no Koibito ~~~ Corruptor Extraordinaire
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madamhydra@aol.com /\/\/\/\/\/\/\/:E
http://www.madamhydra.net/
-------------------------------------------------

=====================================================================
The Full Disclaimer
All names, likenesses, and rights of Tokyo Babylon and X are
trademarks, copyright, and property of CLAMP and legally associated
parties. The characters and associated materials of these works are
used WITHOUT permission for the purpose of entertainment only. This
work of fiction is not meant for sale or profit.
Original portion of the fiction included here is considered to be
the sole property and copyrighted to the author.
=====================================================================