Disclaimer: Petshop of Horrors and all of its characters belong to Matsuri Akino, I am simply borrowing them for a short time.
Godstone, Surrey, U.K. (20 miles outside London)
Leon gazed out the window without seeing the beauty of the landscape outside it. He'd missed D again. It had been the closest he'd come to catching up to him in the last two years. If he'd only been a day earlier he might have had him. He glanced at the suitcase lying on his bed. The same one that D had left behind, with the same contents now as then. Chris's picture of them, drawn in a child's hand and with a child's heart it showed the truth of their time together. A family, that's what they had been even if none of them had realized the truth of it at the time. After spending most of his adult life without a real family to call his own, Leon was determined to get back what had filled the hole that his mother's death had left behind.
He sighed and returned to staring through the window. He was running low on cash right now and had opted to stay outside the city while he'd followed the few leads he'd had on D. The town of Godstone seemed aptly named to Leon. It was idyllic, a quaint country village with a charm that Leon would never have bothered to notice before he'd met D. He would have dismissed it as a beneath his notice unless there was a crime being committed. There was a feeling Leon got when he was in this town that defied every thought and conviction he'd ever held onto as the resident of a large city. Far from being bored Leon felt more at peace in this sleepy town than he'd ever felt in his life. It was as though there was some force that drew his soul and he'd as yet been unable to make himself give that up. The town was backed by a nature reserve that always seemed to draw Leon's gaze when he was outside the buildings of the town. It was why he'd stayed here as long as he had. Despite his need to continue his search for D there was something about this place and the nature reserve in particular that drew Leon away from his search.
By all rights he should have packed up his meager belongings and been off following D as soon as he'd realized that he'd been given the slip again. That was days ago, and while Leon did have a few clues as to where D might go next he'd been considering whether or not it was worth it to go on. He was enjoying the peace here and it had been years since he'd stayed in one place for longer than a few weeks. He was getting tired of running around after someone who clearly didn't want to be found. Thoughts of D usually encouraged Leon in his zeal to find and confront the man…person…being who had turned his world upside down and inside out. He sighed. He didn't even know what D really was and hadn't had much luck in discovering that truth even on his journeys. The closest he could guess was the D was some sort of nature spirit but he could never get a straight answer from anyone who seemed to have any inkling as to the truth of D's kind. Here in Europe he seemed to be regarded as some sort of fairy by those few who had managed to see beyond the façade; in Asia he was damn near worshipped as a god, and of course most Americans thought the guy was a fruit cake – much like Leon had at first. Whatever D was, Leon knew that he didn't want to give him up, but being here in this place seemed to dull the drive that he usually felt toward tracking down the other male.
A bird trilled outside the window, pulling Leon from his thoughts. His attention was captured by the sights outside his window. It was misty in the evening here, thanks to the reservoir and the numerous ponds that existed in the reserve but Leon could still make out the landscape in the gloom. It called to his soul on this particular night and for the first time since arriving in the tiny town Leon heeded the call. He was so tired and right now all that he wanted was a sign – a sign that this wasn't crazy that he hadn't been wasting his life chasing shadows of a man who confused him more than anything had ever done in his life on the slim chance that it might mean he'd be accepted by that same being who drove him mad. He turned from the window and paused before the bed. The suitcase lay closed on top of the thick coverlet but for the first time since starting this journey more than four years ago the sight of it didn't instill in him a fresh need to chase after D. He glanced out the window once more before turning away and striding out of the room. He quietly but swiftly exited the sleepy bed and breakfast that had been serving as his temporary home without speaking to the owners and set off across the back garden toward the thickly wooded copse that marked the edge of the reserve and the end of this little piece of civilization.
Leon felt almost as if he were in a waking dream, the normal sounds of the town and of the wildlife were muted where they should have been slicing through the quiet. It was as if someone had turned the volume down on life to where everything but the sounds of his breathing was near nonexistent. He felt as though he were floating instead of walking through the brush and young trees that were slowly giving way to older, more majestic foliage as he walked farther from civilization. The mist was thicker here; swirling and eddying around his body like a long forgotten lover, wrapping him in a chill and sparkling haze like a silken veil. Tendrils wrapped around his wrists and ankles raising goose bumps on his skin as he advanced through the vegetation, feeling like cool threads gently pulling him onward. Leon knew this wasn't right, that normally he'd have been fighting this with every fiber of his being. He should be cursing right now, fighting and pulling away from this strange feeling that drew him from his self-imposed purpose. But he hesitated to resist.
Nothing in his long association with D had ever made him feel this kind of contented acceptance when he'd experienced such strange sensations or waking dreams.
Usually D's brand of magic or whatever it truly was set his teeth on edge rather than giving him comfort. D had made him feel sadness, confusion, despair, anger, and even bitterness when it came to this kind of experience but never this peaceful acceptance. He knew his reaction wasn't in keeping with his own nature but he couldn't make himself deny the soft joyful keening that was emanating from somewhere both inside and around him. He felt like he was coming home, when he had only ever thought that home was a place surrounded by the hustle and bustle of city life and smog.
There was nothing here to distract him from the feelings and sensations coursing through his mind and body, a kind of awareness that Leon had always denied himself in the past. He'd never been comfortable facing his own emotions, preferring to hide behind the expectations of society to soul searching. He was too loud, too brash, too used to excitement and movement to ever let himself sit still long enough to engage in the kind contemplative state that the slow pull of this land had infused in him. His progress slowed as he came nearer to the lake at the center of the reserve. The mist was swirling in the light breeze that was blowing across the water, tinged golden with the setting sun filtering through the tops of the trees towering around the water's edge. Birds sang a soft welcome to the falling night and Leon felt the liquid notes as a balm against the pain in his heart at the thought of how much D would have appreciated the beauty of this place. It seemed to him as though they were welcoming him home as they sang farewell to another day.
His feet paused at the edge of the lake, and he lightly leaned against a large oak that was growing half in, half out of the water. Gazing out across the natural wonder of this place Leon felt a kinship with this land. A feeling that he had never known before and wondered if it were due to the feelings that had led him here or if any person would feel this way when confronted by such beauty. He watched the mist whirl and dance in the strengthening light, enchanted by the dancing shapes forming in the breeze when he saw a dark figure cutting through the golden haze.
He had a fleeting thought of D before the shape grew close enough to make out details of the approaching being. D was tall and slender and no matter what magic he possessed Leon had never seen him walk on water. D didn't have long curling hair that trailed down his body, undulating in the breeze like a living flame either. The figure paused near the center of the lake and then turned toward Leon. He stifled a gasp as the setting sun pierced through a gap in the rising mists and illuminated the golden head of the being now striding languidly toward him across the water. He felt the bite of the water's coldness as he stepped away from the tree and before he knew it he was knee deep in freezing wetness as the muddy bottom of the lake sucked at his shoes and tried to trip him. Tough weeds snared the laces of his shoes and pulled at him as though trying to hold him back but Leon paid them no heed, wrenching his feet from their grasp as he drew closer to the beauty before him.
Leon didn't think he'd ever seen anything more enticing in his entire life except perhaps for D himself, and this being gave him a run for his money. Dark golden hair cascaded down around slender shoulders and lithe form to trail beguilingly in the water. The elfin features surrounded by that golden cloud were soft and inviting as the being gave Leon a gentle smile, so unlike that dainty smirk that so often graced D's features. That smirk had more often than not left Leon wanting to punch the other man because it was either that or kiss him, which was a desire Leon had never been able to face in himself at the time. He acknowledged that old longing now as he stared into eyes like limpid pools of molten copper, so unlike the mismatched gaze that had drawn him in so often at the pet shop and yet so very much the same. A small soft hand came up to caress Leon's face and he let himself melt into the soft touch. Those copper eyes drew him in and he felt the velvet softness as coral lips grazed his forehead. His own eyes drooped closed as he was washed in feelings so complex he barely had time to acknowledge them before they slipped away. A feeling of gentle content stole over him as he placed his hands to circle the waist of the stranger before him as those velvet lips covered his face in butterfly kisses before withdrawing. He felt warm breath against his lips and raised his face toward it, eyes still closed in acceptance of this strange experience. The enchanting being placed a final kiss against his lips and locked small strong hands around his shoulders and cradling his head. Leon lost himself in the warmth, feeling himself enveloped in a cloud of love and compassion. He never felt the chill water enclose his body circling first his waist and then his shoulders before slipping over his head as he was gently pulled into dark silken depths of the lake, only a swirling cloud of disturbed mist and a forgotten suitcase left behind to mark his existence.
Tokyo, Shinjuku district (Neo-Chinatown Mall)
In a small shop in Neo-Chinatown, surrounded by his companions and pets D was sitting down to an early afternoon tea. As he was setting out a second cup in anticipation of another visit from Lau, the delicate china suddenly shattered in his hands. He gave a soft cry and raised an injured finger to his lips, gently lapping at the blood as he regarded the cup. His eyes widened as he realized that he had been about to set that particular cup out by mistake. It was one of the handless cups that he had often used in L.A and had on occasion toted halfway across town when he deigned to visit a certain American detective at his work. This particular one was a delicate construction of white bone china adorned with cherry blossoms. He had never thought that it would survive the rough handling of Leon's large and brutish hands but it was as pristine now as it had been the first time he had set it out. Leon had often been rude, uncouth, and rash but he'd handled this cup with a gentleness that had always surprised D, though he'd never shown it outwardly. Now it lay shattered on the floor and as he gazed at it he was seized with a sense of foreboding. He glanced at Tet-chan who gazed solemnly at the broken china with dark hooded eyes – for all that he had never liked the human who'd so often used it. Leon should have been chasing after them by this time, following the small clues he'd left behind in the hope that perhaps Leon would one day prove himself worthy of being welcomed into this place.
D's gaze returned to the cup as he softly ordered Tet-chan to close the shop for the day. Something had happened and though he didn't want to admit it he knew that he was worried about the blonde human who had invaded his heart.
Leon, where are you?
Author's Note: Well here's my first PSoH fic….It's been bugging me for a couple days and finally solidified into a tangible plot this afternoon that just would not leave me alone. I don't know if this will be continued or not but I have the feeling this particular plot bunny will be coming back…..it seems the tenacious type. Sorry for the prosy nature of this piece but neither D, Leon, nor my mysterious stranger were feeling very talkative for this. Hope you all enjoyed this rather dark foray into my favorite manga.