My first non-OP fic.. I'll go back to OP hopefully, when I find get an inspiration to write. If you haven't read Natsume Yuujinchou I strongly suggest that you try. Though Natori, in my opinion, has a father/friend relationship with Natsume I always feel that they can't truly connect. tell me what you think!
The full quote of the title is 'Because you're not what I would have you be, I blind myself to who, in truth, you are.' by Madeleine L'Engle.
It wasn't an empty offer when Natori offered Natsume a place in his home should the boy wish for it. The Fujiwaras are kind people, that much he can see from the way Natsume murmurs their name with careful consideration as if he is afraid that the smooth curves of their names will wear away. However, there are certain fears that can only be felt, not understood and sometimes kindness only tears at a scab that has yet to leave a scar. Natori knows this.
So when, by a strike of innocent coincidence instead of the usual ill-fated meetings-he sees the high school boy standing alone in the same field they first met, calling after the manuki-neko who's chubby form is jumping up and down to catch an orange speckled butterfly, he impulsively reminds him.
In answer, Natsume, who had been in the middle of scolding the manuki-neko to leave the butterfly alone, turns to his friend in surprise. There is stretched silence, a lifetime of broken childhood memories suspended between them, before Natsume asks.
The older man's smile never falters but the boy must see something because he adds.
"It's not that I don't trust you, but why would you do that? I'd only be another mouth to feed."
There are thousands of answers that come to mind but they would all be lies and Natori knows what he owes the pale face boy who is as unselfish as he is powerful. There are another few answers that Natori considers, like the almost-honest conversations they have or the easy joking that bubbles up and warms him like a lazy afternoon. Then there's that answer Natori never lets himself think about too much, the paralyzing chill of fear whenever he sees the boy turn his back to a youkai, the fleeting thoughts of is this how parents-
Natori swallows his reflexive, deflective smile and answers.
"You're the only friend I know we're seeing the same thing."
His voice cracks, the truth of the admission weighing heavily and balancing precariously between the words like raindrops hanging from a spider web of silk threads that crisscross one after another to silhouette a jagged elaborateness. It goes unstated but not unnoticed.
Natsume soaks in the words like he does the world, a step back in silence. Natori's gaze returns to the self-appointed body guard who is having even less success in catching the butterfly than he was five minutes ago; the butterfly started to flutter up and out of reach.
"Thank you Natori-san," In the end, what returns is sincerity, gentle and impossible to grasp as the brush of the wind. "But sometimes…"
The manuki-neko finally loses his temper and with a snarl followed by a puff of smoke, he takes his original form, a roaring and snapping whirlwind of white fur and claws. And Natsume, with his back to it fitting perfectly against the halcyon evening sky and snow white youkai, has never looked more magnificent(or less human).
The boy whispers and his voice trembles under the same weight.
"I wonder if we really do."
(you do not know what you do not know and this is what you do not know: natsume sees youkai and thinks of open skies, innocent devotion and sunny shy smiles.
instead, this is what you know: you think of youkai and see...)