Thanks for the wonderful reviews, everyone~! And please don't kill me with this new turn of events. Anyway, enjoy~! ˆoˆ
They all stayed in Haruka's palace for another week before they decided to leave. Subaru was as happy as always since he and Kamui have a room of their own. Of course, since Fuuma shared the room with Haruka now, Nokoru was the sole person to sleep with both Shiro and Mokona. Not that he was complaining. He was actually rather happy that he'd get to have a room of his own without having to share it with Fuuma like always.
They all stood right now in front of the palace's garden as Haruka and Fuuma stood side by side. Kamui had a tearful parting with Haruka since it would be the last time they would see each other. They also had a tearful goodbye with Fuuma but the latter didn't even seem concerned about anything.
After a while, Mokona opened his huge wings and they all blinked in surprise when instead of saying goodbye to them, both Haruka and Fuuma hugged each other tightly and kissed in front of them all.
"I love you." Fuuma smiled at his prince before he looked at Subaru and the others and jumped inside magic circle together with them.
"What the–?" Shiro blurted out as they stared at Fuuma. They were now traveling in between dimensions and the raven had still yet to explain his side.
"That was your prince you left there, you know?" Nokoru voiced as he looked at Fuuma with a dumbfounded expression. "Wasn't that what you wished to Yuuko-san? To come back to the dimension where you came from?"
And before Fuuma could actually answer the silent and not-so silent questions, they already landed in their next destination.
"Woah…" Mokona said in amazement as they appeared in the middle of a busy street. The moon hung in the sky and there were small flakes of snow falling in idleness. And since the street was busy despite the coldness of the weather, they couldn't help but attract a lot of unwanted attention.
"…Samurai?" Subaru blinked as they all looked at the people wearing hakamas while katanas hang in their belts. And those same people were now looking at them as if they were some sort of an amusement. Not that they could blame the people, since they just came out of a blinding light in the middle of the street.
"I think we should get out of here now." Nokoru voiced as more and more people started gathering around them. Some looked plain curious but some were already drawing out their swords thinking they were some sort of evil people. Kamui and the others immediately excused themselves from the crowd and left the scene with much harder effort than they thought.
Subaru immediately took off his black trench coat as they walked and put it on Kamui. "You'll catch a cold." He voiced when the latter looked at him with confusion.
Kamui blushed at the action and also at the warmth of the coat before he smiled at the older male. "Thank you."
Mokona immediately tucked himself inside Nokoru's jacket because he felt too cold as well. The blonde didn't mind since the fur ball was warm, while Fuuma brushed his hands together because they were cold. Shiro would shiver once in a while from the coldness and all of their breaths formed puffs of smoke in front of them.
After a while of walking under the snow, they finally found the outskirts of the village. They all decided to camp in the forest nearby since they didn't have the money to avail any of the inns and foods at the village. They were just glad that Haruka made them bring some foods and other supplies on their journey. They all decided to just build up three small tents facing one another before they sat in a circle in front of their tents. They knew it was cold so they also made sure that the insides of their respective tents were warm as well as their garments.
And at last, Fuuma finally talked after some more questions. "…The Prin–, I mean, Haruka-sama and I talked about it for the entire week that we were in the palace." He sighed as he took a twig and played with it. "I wanted to stay with him, really. And I know he also wished for that. But I know my conscience won't let me rest for the rest of my life. You're all…" And he looked at each and every one of them, including Mokona and Shiro. "…my friends that I struggled and journeyed with. I just feel awful for suddenly leaving you behind even though your journey's not yet done."
"Idiot." Subaru suddenly said and Fuuma barely managed to maintain his cool. Or rather, Nokoru suddenly glomped him so he wasn't able to counter the onmyouji's words. Even Mokona and Shiro snuggled with him, much to his chagrin.
"But what about Haruka-san?" Nokoru said after he was pried off of Fuuma. Mokona was thrown some meters away and Shiro had the initiative to get away before Fuuma could do anything to him.
Fuuma sighed before he answered. "Of course, he wasn't entirely happy. But he wasn't against it either. He knew I would regret it if I didn't go with you. I want to at least help you in finding the rest of those feathers." He smiled a tad. "But don't worry, it's not like the first time anymore." And he held out a ring similar to his previous one. "This ring allows me to travel to my own dimension for just one time. It means that once I use it, I will never be able to see any of you guys again. That's also the time when I will live with my prince for the rest of my life."
"Then why not use it now?" Mokona suddenly said and it earned him a head punch from Fuuma.
"Sometimes you're more cold-hearted than the Sakurazukamori, fur ball." He growled and Kamui couldn't help but chuckle at that while Subaru merely arched an eyebrow.
"I'm glad that you and Haruka finally confessed to one another." Kamui voiced. "He's waited for you ever since you two met and still continued to wait for you even after you were banished to another dimension. It must have been hard on him… to wait for the return of someone whom he knew might not return anymore…"
Fuuma nodded at that. "Yes, he did wait for a long time…"
"Fuuma, I'm glad you're back now…" Haruka said as he hugged the raven beside him. They were in the prince's room then. "I really thought I'd never see you again… I thought you were gone forever… and I feel that it was all my fault for letting that happen… I'm sorry, Fuuma… It was all my fault…"
Fuuma hugged him tight as well. Haruka would sometimes feel so dejected like this and he was kind of used to seeing this side of his strong prince now. "I'm sorry I just returned now, Haruka-sama… I didn't think the time frame here is so different from the other dimensions… I was shocked when you told me it's been six years since I was gone…"
"I love you, Fuuma… I love you…" Haruka voiced quietly. "I'm glad I waited for you… I planned to wait for you even for eternity… even if you didn't come back…"
Fuuma smiled. "I'm here now."
"Yes. Yes, you are." Haruka said before he pulled Fuuma close and kissed him.
Fuuma cupped Haruka's cheeks and kissed him torridly. His hands then traveled downward and slowly removed the prince's clothes just as his mouth traveled down to the prince's jaw and neck, sucking the sweet, porcelain-like skin until they were red.
Haruka's quiet moans aroused him so much and he–
"Earth to Fuuma, Earth to Fuuma." Nokoru's voice made him remember the present and he scowled at the blonde for interrupting his reminiscence of the second night he was with Haruka.
"Fuuma is blushing for some reason." Mokona pointed out with a grin. "Maybe he's thinking of some indecent things with his prince again."
"What did you say, you fucking fur ball!?" And Fuuma literally squeezed the life out of the white fur ball. Nokoru and the others laughed at that.
"Anyway, I think we should rest for now." Nokoru said as he smiled at everyone's tired appearance. "It's quite cold so make sure to cover yourselves up nicely."
Subaru silently went inside the tent together with Kamui then while Fuuma went to his own tent yawning. Shiro would sleep together with him while Mokona was with Nokoru.
"Are you cold?" The onmyouji asked Kamui as they readied in their sleep.
The teen shook his head before he smiled. "Your coat keeps me warm."
Subaru cupped the teen's cheek before he kissed Kamui's forehead. "Kamui, I…" Kamui looked up at him and he suddenly lost the will to tell the teen his feelings. He finally wanted to tell Kamui how he felt. But the innocent look on Kamui's face still pained him a lot. Everything that was happening now was his fault and no one else's. What would Kamui feel if the teen finally remembers the past? What would he do then? Subaru didn't know if he could take it if Kamui hated him. Moreover, the dark Kamui might even use his feelings to hurt Kamui. He didn't want that. All he wanted was Kamui's happiness. And his safety.
"Subaru?" Kamui called when the man didn't continue what he was about to say.
Subaru stared at his beloved person for a while before he answered. "I… I feel cold." In a lot of ways…
Kamui blinked before he immediately snuggled against Subaru, much to the latter's surprise. He also hugged the older male so the latter would feel warmer. "Is this better?" He asked quietly.
Subaru smiled as he hugged the teen back tightly. "Yes. This is infinitely better."
I love you, Kamui…
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kamui found himself walking in the middle of nowhere. Everything was covered in snow and there was no one in sight. He looked up and saw the cold gray sky. The snow was idly falling, like the sky was crying at something and he couldn't understand why.
He could feel the emptiness of the place. He could feel desolation and pain and he couldn't help but clutch his chest tight. He felt so hurt and so alone, like he just lost everything important to him.
"This will be our home, Kamui… This will be the place for the both of us." Kamui's breath hitched when he heard the unmistakable voice of his dark side.
"Dark Kamui…" He found himself voicing.
"It's so close now, Kamui… Just one more feather and we will be able to become one…" Kamui whimpered when he felt two cold arms embrace him from behind. He felt the cold breath of the other Kamui beside his ear and he couldn't help but shiver. "We'll be one again, Kamui… I'll… take you away from that man who stole away everything from us…"
"I… I beg you… Please don't hurt Subaru…" Kamui voiced, not feeling any comfort in the warm hug even though he felt so cold. "I promise… I promise to come with you… Just…don't hurt Subaru…"
"Of course, I won't." The Dark Kamui answered as he tightened his hold on Kamui. "We'll be together soon, Kamui…"
"No! Don't listen to him!" A female's voice shouted from a distance. They both looked at the white figure of a little girl not too far from them, but Kamui couldn't see her exact form. The small girl had long silver hair and had a very frail figure. "Go away!"
Dark Kamui's eyes widened when he felt his presence diminish. His hold on Kamui loosened until he slowly disappeared. Kamui was surprised at the fact that someone else managed to make his other side leave without much hassle. He was about to thank the girl but he found himself alone in the cold place again.
"Kamui." Kamui slowly opened his eyes, blinking when he saw two mismatched orbs staring at him intently. "Were you having a nightmare again?" Subaru asked as he helped Kamui sit up.
Kamui immediately shook his head. "No. It's… it's different." Subaru only looked at him in confusion before the man let the topic slide. The teen furrowed his eyebrows at the dream. He knew for sure that he'd seen that girl somewhere before. He just wasn't sure where or when. He was even more confused at the fact that someone else appeared in his dream when he was usually just alone when he's talking to the Dark Kamui.
They all ate their packed breakfast quietly and filled up their empty stomachs before they started planning things.
"Shall we start exploring this new land?" Mokona hopped excitedly and Nokoru couldn't help but chuckle at the fur ball's liveliness.
"Sure, Mokona-san!" The blonde answered with equal cheerfulness. They all readied their belongings and cleaned the place before they left.
Kamui and the rest of the group spent the next three days trying to ask people of uncommon activities in the town or other towns near them. The teen was a little more than hesitant to find the next feather but he made sure that no one realizes that fact.
"How about we separate for a while and search for the feather on our own for the next few days?" Nokoru offered as he looked at everyone's tired expressions. They were now back to their campsite in the forest, resting for the night. "We won't accomplish that much if we stick together like this."
"Mokona will come with Kamui!" Mokona chirped as he suddenly hopped on Kamui's lap.
"I'll go with Subaru and Mokona then." Kamui said as he hugged the fur ball to his chest. He didn't look too lively these past few days and his companions were a bit worried about him now.
"Are you alright, brat?" Fuuma asked as he touched the teen's forehead, trying to feel if Kamui was sick. His eyebrows furrowed when he found out that Kamui's temperature wasn't hot. It was cold. "Go and snuggle up to your lover for the night. It's quite cold sleeping alone in the tent."
Kamui reddened at that. "Th-That–! Subaru isn't my lover!" He immediately blurted out, embarrassed that he had to shout the words out loud. He then looked at Subaru and saw that the man had no reaction whatsoever. The onmyouji's eyes were closed, but his aura indicated that he was awake. Kamui scowled at that, but still sat closer to the Sakurazukamori.
"So it's you and I again, huh." Nokoru voiced as he looked at Fuuma without much enthusiasm, which immediately annoyed the other male.
"What do you mean by making that face, huh!?" He hissed as he glared at the blonde who immediately sighed.
"I now wonder what the prince saw in you." Nokoru voiced as he shrugged. "Well, whatever it is, I sure am not seeing it."
"Oyy! That mouth of yours is–!" Fuuma was about to exclaim some foul words when he was interrupted by the fall of small snowflakes from the dark sky above. He looked up and saw the white small things falling in idleness. It somehow calmed him down a lot.
"Show yourself." Subaru's cold voice as his mismatched red and emerald eyes opened with a glare. They all looked at him and saw him staring coldly at one particular dark part of the forest. Kamui looked alert and Shiro was sniffing continuously.
"I don't think she's an enemy." Shiro pointed out since he didn't smell any bad intention from the woman behind the bushes. "Or rather, I can't smell any aura from her at all." Having said that, he also couldn't smell any good intention from her.
Something moved from the bushes and a tall lady with long black hair came out of her hiding place, chuckling to herself as she looked at them. "I didn't think you'd notice me so early." She slowly walked towards all of them and Subaru's eyes widened when he recognized her features. "And I was doing my best to stay hidden without moving that much."
"…Kanoe." The onymouji voiced, stance frigid as he stepped in front of Kamui to hide the teen from the woman's eyesight. Kamui looked at Subaru's back with a confused expression as he tried to analyze whether Kanoe was really on their side or not.
The woman blinked at the sudden cold action before she laughed again. "I don't know how you people knew my name, but I'm not here to antagonize any of you. I just want to tell you that you're actually staying in a private property… MY private property in particular." She then smiled at them all as she crossed her arms over her chest.
"…Oh." Nokoru chuckled sheepishly. "So this part of the forest is yours." He then looked at the others, silently trying to communicate.
"We're sorry if we've inconvenienced you." Kamui bowed a little to her as he stepped sideways. "Do you want us to leave now?"
"No, I'm not that bad of a land owner." Kanoe voiced. "Instead of staying here in the forest in the dead of the night, however, why don't you all go to my mansion? It's not too far from here. And it's a LOT more convenient there too."
Subaru was about to refuse the proposal but Nokoru interrupted his words with a smile. "Um, if you wouldn't mind, then we're glad to accept your offer." The blonde knew very well that they wouldn't eat dinner again if they stayed outside tonight too. The offer might be scam but he was pretty sure they could protect themselves well.
Subaru seemed to have gotten his silent point because the man didn't speak anymore, though he remained cold and distant even as the woman started talking to them in a quite friendly way. Kamui remained his usual shy and quiet self beside the onmyouji so Kanoe could only talk with the blonde. Nokoru, being his usual cheery self, conversed animatedly with the woman while Fuuma covered Mokona's mouth so the latter wouldn't talk. It would appear unusual for an animal to talk. Shiro was smart enough not to talk in front of other people so they didn't think of him as a problem.
After some minutes of walking, they came across a beautiful mansion in the middle of a clearing.
"Welcome to my home!" Kanoe spoke cheerfully as she ushered everyone inside his huge gates. Two bodyguards immediately accompanied her as she showed them her marvelous lawns. "There two are Yuuto-kun and Nataku, by the way. You can call them if you need anything." She said as she pointed to each of her guards.
Subaru's face became even more stone-cold as he gazed at the two of them coldly. He knew very well that this dimension was different from the dimension they came from, but it was still hard to forget what happened back then. It was hard enough for him to see Kamui at first. Moreover see the enemies that they were supposed to have killed alive and well in front of him right now. He could feel the intense guilt inside him. He was once a member of the Seal but he became these people's ally. These faces were the faces that reminded him of his traitorous act. And he could feel deep loathing surging from within himself at the sight of them. How he wanted to kill them all…
Kamui, on the other hand, could tell that Subaru knew the people somehow since the man looked disturbed. He too could tell that the faces in front of him were very familiar, but he couldn't remember anything about them. All he could feel right now was nostalgia and deep sadness which he couldn't even understand. Were these faces connected to his forgotten past too?
"Err… Is everything alright?" Yuuto asked worriedly as he looked at Subaru. The latter merely shifted his gaze before he nodded his head. The blonde guard could only blink and shrug in response.
"Well, I have to be in my room now so Yuuto-kun and Nataku will be the ones to guide you all throughout the house. They will also show you your temporary rooms while you're staying here." She smiled before she started walking away from them.
"Wait a minute." Fuuma called to her, making her stop and turn to them. The raven male narrowed his eyes as he looked at her directly. "Why are you helping us? You don't even know us."
She then smiled again. "Why don't you ask Yuuto-kun and Nataku then? I have to be in my room now." She winked at them before she disappeared into the second floor of the house.
Yuuto chuckled before he guided them to the second floor as well. "Kanoe-san is a very kind person. She was the one who found and adopted me here in her mansion even though I was about to rob her house. She gave me that sack of rice I was about to steal and even asked my name that night. But when I told her I don't have a name, she immediately gave me one. She's really very kind. For someone to give me their one hundred percent trust even though another person did something unforgivable to him or her is not idiocy for me, but real kindness."
"So she adopted you… to become her bodyguard?" Nokoru asked curiously.
"No, she actually wanted me to become her child. But I refused because back then, all I wanted was to show her that I too could change. I wanted to give her protection since she gave me home and comfort. I wanted to become her protector so I chose to become her guard instead."
"These are the rooms." Nataku interrupted before he pointed at the two doors facing one another in the hallway. "Two of you will share one room. Animals can sleep inside but you have to make sure that they do not destroy anything here."
"If it's okay, we would like to share just one room." Fuuma voiced immediately after Nataku finished his statements. "We're not used to sleeping far from one another." Nokoru's eyebrows furrowed but Subaru seemed okay with it. Kamui also didn't say anything against the raven's words.
Yuuto, on the other hand, looked confused and surprised at the same time but he only smiled. "Of course you can… if that's what's more convenient for you."
Yuuto showed them their spacious room just as Nataku left to make them some dinner. "Sorry about his emotionless attitude. He has some problems with emotions." When the whole room remained silent, Yuuto sighed before he continued. "She actually just found him wandering alone in the forest one night, just like how she found you tonight. I was already her bodyguard for about two years then. I was a bit skeptical about her adopting him too but I realized that she gave me her full trust despite our first encounter. She told me to give him that kind of chance too."
"And she also wanted to adopt him?" Kamui asked in curiosity.
"Nah, she knew very well that he didn't want that." Yuuto answered. "All he wanted was to find his parents. But she let him stay here anyway. Little did we know that Kanoe saw it when his parents dropped him in the forest to abandon him. He was sleeping then so he didn't know. He just woke up wondering how he got there in the first place. He was just a small child then but he knew he was lost. Kanoe knew the whole story but she didn't want Nataku to lose his hope so she didn't tell him. He had to find out on his own. It shocked him terribly when he learned from his parents that he was an unwanted child that he lost all the necessary emotions of a person. He didn't regain any of those emotions until now."
"That's… terrible." Nokoru voiced after a while of silence. "But he's actually more than aggravated that you told him his story without his permission." Yuuto furrowed his eyebrows in confusion before he realized the meaning of the words.
He gulped as he turned his head over his shoulder and laughed sheepishly. "Sorry about that, Nataku." The man stood behind him wearing his usual indifferent expression.
Nataku merely closed his eyes as he passed by the blonde guard, kneeling in one knee and giving the visitors the food that he reheated in the kitchen. "If you want more servings, you can ask me or Kigai." He bowed a little before he exited the room without any necessary expression.
Everybody sighed when the chilly atmosphere vanished in an instant after the white-haired male left.
"…So, would you like to hear more stories?" Yuuto grinned as he started his animated stories of Kanoe, her mansion, the forest, the village, and the legend that haunted the villagers until now.
Sorry for the long delay, everyone. I don't have much time doing this (because of the new life, new place, and new work I'll be starting) so the updates might take longer than usual. It might take a really, really long while before I'll be able to update regularly again. I apologize in advance. But don't worry, like I've said before, I don't abandon my ficts. Just patiently wait for my next update, okay? ˆoˆ