Chapter 5: Possession
Natsume's eyes shot from person to person, Nanase, stranger, stranger, Nanase, down to the floor he was on, and then back to that unpleasant smile that was leaning over him. "H-h-what-"
"Don't you remember Takashi-kun? It happened just moments ago." Matoba reached out his hand, and the gesture reminded Natsume of the pot that contained the four bloodthirsty youkai. But instead of placing a sealed pot in Matoba's hand, a human servant placed a journal. The one Natsume had just written in.
"Wh-what is this?" His eyes were wide, the hands he was leaning on were shaking.
"I was inspired by you actually. I've just started my own yuujinchou. You're the first one to give your name."
"M-my name?" His voice became unnaturally high. His signature. So many thoughts assaulted him all at once. "But Ami-"
"Works for me. She's a member of the Matoba Clan. She's quite the little actress wouldn't you agree?"
Natsume couldn't grasp it. No. No. This wasn't true, this wasn't happening.
"No," he said quietly.
"You don't have that right anymore-"
"No, no, no, NO, NO!" he shouted and stood up.
Matoba suddenly grabbed his arm. "I said you don't have that right. You can't defy me anymore. I own you." He didn't speak loudly, but that just made it all the more frightening. Natsume couldn't look him in the eye. He pulled at Matoba's strong grip, angry tears forming behind. His heart pumping faster.
"Look at me," said Matoba forcefully.
Natsume wouldn't look at him, he wouldn't, but then, he felt his eyes begin to move of their own accord. He struggled against them, becoming increasingly frightened.
"N-no-o," he muttered trying to hold them back. But they pulled, and his head began to tilt upwards. "N-no," more panicked. But, despite his immense effort, eventually his eyes made contact with Matoba's, only to see a satisfied smirk on the man's face.
"You don't have a choice anymore Takashi-kun. You have entered yourself into a binding contract," Natsume pulled again, against both Matoba's grip on his arm and grip on his will, "and you," Matoba squeezed harder, grunting, "will honor it.
"You have 24 hours to rest. After that, we are putting you to work."
Matoba let go and Natsume fell to the ground, his eyes finally able to break free from their hold. Several others ran to him, picking him up and dragging him out of the medium sized room.
"Wait! No!" he shouted, trying to grip the floor with his feet.
Matoba listened on in contentment. He'd done it; he'd finally done it.
"Nanase, make sure the other clans are notified that Natsume has made his decision. There are things I must prepare."
"Of course," she smiled. She had to admit, she was impressed he'd actually managed to pull it off.
Matoba walked off, the uneasiness in his stomach finally gone.
Natsume sat in a locked room, a room with an expensive bed, fine silk sheets and down pillows. So many things consumed his mind. He would become angry, he would become sad, he would become confused, and he would become angry again. He grabbed his hair and pulled, closing his eyes tightly. No, this isn't happening. This can't be happening. He rocked back and forth trying to make it go away. He wished, he wished in his heart as hard as he could, he thought the name, Sensei.
He wished so hard, that he had not noticed he was no longer alone. Matoba stared at the boy who was clearly in distress. "Don't look so worried, Takashi-kun. You are finally where you need to be."
Natsume gasped and looked up to see the last person on earth he ever wanted to see. Anger overwhelmed his senses now. Just anger. His crossed legs fell from the bed onto the floor and his teeth clenched. He gripped the covers in his now tight fists. He stood and began to walk towards him. Going faster with each step he raised his fist and brought it down.
"Stop," said Matoba. Natsume's clenched fingers froze in mid-throw. It shook violently as he tried to continue. Go, he thought angrily, but his arm wouldn't move. He pushed against it, but it wasn't listening to him.
"Never attack me again," came the threatening voice, and Natsume could feel himself growing weaker. But then it only became worse when he felt the hold cease. He fell to the floor, trying to breathe fast enough.
"Did you become friends with her?"
Natsume looked up painfully.
"It seems she has become quite attached to you as well."
"I hate you!"
Matoba paused for a bit. "Well you should have seen this coming. I told you what your weaknesses were, and you didn't listen. Trust and friendship are for fools. It is because of your weaknesses I was able to apprehend you permanently. And what's more, I told you my plan. You couldn't, or perhaps chose not to stop me."
Natsume gritted his teeth. He wanted to cry, he wanted to hit and kick and break and rip and tear and smash. But instead he was stuck to the floor, once again in Matoba's hands. At his will.
"You are gullible, you are careless." He pulled out the journal, "and you should pay more attention to who you give you're name to. I must say though, this note is quite heart-warming. I'm sure Takeo, should he have actually ever existed, would be very moved."
"I won't…" said Natsume quietly. "I won't do it. Not without fighting. Whatever it is you try to make me do. And Nyanko-sensei-"
"Will not be able to do a thing."
But Natsume kept talking over him, "will fight you and this time I won't hold him back. Natori will ask questions. "
"He knows you were planning something. He'll suspect you when he finds out I'm missing."
"Sit at the desk," he said gravely and Natsume's shaking body unwillingly obliged.
"What are you doing?" he demanded with strained voice. And Matoba pushed the chair in harshly, eliciting a grunt from the now sitting boy.
"You are going to write a letter…"
"One wasn't enough?" he shouted.
Matoba gave an amused smile. "Oh, this one isn't for me. And do not underestimate me."
Matoba pulled a piece of paper and a pencil from the desk and shoved them into Natsume's hands. "This one is to the Fujiwaras. You are telling them why you are running away, and never coming back."
His stomach fell. "N-no…" he whispered. This couldn't be happening. This can't be happening.
"Write the letter." Cold eyes smiling twistedly into his. And Natsume's hand was moving to the page.
"Dear Touko-san and Shigeru-san…"
"No!" he whimpered. But his hand was scribbling the words. Natsume grabbed his wrist with his other hand and pulled.
"I am running away. Don't look for me. I don't want to live here anymore."
"Matoba!" But his hand kept writing.
"I'm tired of pretending to be happy with you and my so called friends, and I need to leave permanently."
"Stop!" he shouted more desperately now, but Matoba didn't stop, "Goodbye," he finished slowly.
And Natsume started crying as his hand finished as well. He looked up at the man and just stared, quiet tears flowing over his face. "I hate you."
Matoba was motionless for a moment. Something in his empty face that wasn't there, something Natsume didn't notice. And then he took the paper in front of the boy slowly and walked out of the room.
"I know," he said, raising his chin.
Natsume had cried, he cried so much but now his eyes were empty. They hurt, his head hurt, and he laid down on the soft blankets, wrapping them around himself. He covered his head with them. This isn't happening. This can't be happening. This isn't happening; this can't be happening….
Natsume woke up alarmed. His sleep had been dreamless, empty, until the end, he saw Matoba, he saw the grey room, he saw his shaking hand writing terrible things. But now his eyes were open. Ever since he'd been kidnapped he'd had dreams, nightmares, but he would wake up and find that he was in his home again. Safe. He thought it was horrible, to keep on living without being able to rid himself of those memories. But now he realized, at least he was living. This, what was next, this was not life, at least, not his. It was Matoba's. He would take the nightmares and memories any day, as long as he could live himself the way he chose with the ones he wanted. Please… Sensei, Natori, Hinoe, anyone.
And then the door opened, and in walked Nanase. She was holding a tray of food. Even if it was this woman, manipulative and selfish like Matoba, he was glad it was anyone but him.
"I was a bit skeptical about this plan of Seiji's, but it seems I was wrong."
Natsume said nothing.
"But we'll see how useful you prove to us."
"I'm not some tool. I'm a person, you can't treat people this way."
"I sympathize. But we must do what is necessary."
This grated him. "For who," he said with repulsion, "Matoba says it's for mankind, but that's not true. It's for you."
"Perhaps. Perhaps it will become what you need as well."
"I don't need any of this. I had what I needed, you took it from me!" Natsume couldn't help raising his voice.
"You're more like Seiji than you realize," she said quietly.
Natsume breathed in harshly through his nose. "Get out."
Nanase just looked at him. She sighed.
She was a little taken aback, but she walked to the door and shut it behind her. The lock clicked and Natsume found tears he thought he didn't have anymore.
He didn't eat the food she brought for him. Not only had it come from people he despised, but the very thought of food right then made him feel sick. Instead he kicked the tray into the wall, some of the food splashing over the side and landing on the floor. He was alone again, and if that meant he didn't have to see those awful people he was fine with that. It was a couple hours before anyone came in again, and this time, it was just as he feared. That man with a bandage over his right eye, his left black and void, his lips curled into a twisted grin. "It's time for you to begin working with us."
His eyes flashed over to the tray against the wall. "You didn't eat you're breakfast."
Natsume just stared back in defiance.
"That's not good for you. You need to be healthy to do your job."
Matoba walked past him on the bed and picked up the tray. "Eat."
Natsume could feel what was coming. "No!" He felt his hand trying to reach for the food.
Matoba looked on angrily when he saw the boy was not allowing himself to obey. He picked up a rice ball and shoved it in front of Natsume's mouth. "Eat," he demanded.
Natsume clenched his teeth as they tried to open. Matoba pushed the rice against his lips. Natsume began crying again.
Matoba grew impatient and grabbed his jaw, pushing his fingers into his cheeks to open them, and they finally did. Rice went into his mouth and he chewed. Tears running down his face.
"Swallow." And Natsume did. He felt sick, he put his hand to his stomach and heaved. But Matoba pushed more rice into his mouth. "Chew and swallow."
Natsume couldn't stop it now, and he swallowed hard. Matoba looked down at him covered in rice and tears. Natsume heaved again.
"Keep it down," he said, and again nothing came up.
Matoba set the tray on the table beside the bed. "Clean yourself up, there are robes for you in the dresser. When you're ready, you are to immediately come to my study."
Natsume said nothing, holding his nauseous stomach in his arms. And Matoba turned around and walked out the door. He closed it, but didn't lock it this time.
Natsume wiped his face with his arm, and then could feel his muscles disobeying him, so he stood up himself and they listened. He didn't want them to force him to dress as well. He opened the drawer and found dark kimonos just like the ones Matoba and his affiliates wore. I don't know how long I can do this, he thought as he pulled one out.
Alright! This story is getting dark, like I knew it would. Hope you liked it anyway! and thank you again for your kind words, I really do appreciate them!