Tokyo Babylon † A Day in the Life, annex 1

Hokuto screamed. The sound was muffled, softened as she clenched her fists together in front of her mouth, but still - it was very clearly a scream, and would have certainly garnered more attention if there hadn't been so much noise.

There were sirens, of course; lights, trucks, cameras, action. Shouts, footsteps, explosions - although these were from the building itself - and the horrible, implacable sounds of wood snapping as the mansion continued to cave in. Honestly, none of the "experts" who had arrived had any idea how the building was doing what it was doing, nor were they sure when it would stop; one thing, however, they did know: if anyone was still inside that building, they were most certainly dead.

It was ironic, in a way; Hokuto had just happened to be passing by when the destruction started, and had seen the mansion pulling itself apart even before the police arrived. Disturbed by the violence of this particular situation, she'd tried to call home, only to discover that Subaru was not there - and then grew even more concerned when she found out where he was. The fleeing servants informed her who was in the building, in the center of this place, which looked now as though it had been posessed by a black hole. Ending her date abruptly, she waited; and after half an hour passed and Subaru had not reappeared, she began to feel the first edges of panic.

Everyone was trying to deal with the survivors who had crawled, burned, and beaten their way out; no one in their right mind would go in AFTER anybody, and Hokuto herself had been kept from interfering when she had tried. So finally, trapped, helpless, she'd simply done the only thing left to her to do: she cried.

People ran around her as she huddled on the ground; men, women, cameras, equipment, medical technicians, news reporters, everybody - all ignored her to a one. Time passed, another half hour, and another, and the building crushed itself even more, reducing both wings to kindling and twisting the center like an Escher painting. Still, Subaru did not emerge; Hokuto was beginning to wonder if she should go in after him just so she could join him when Seishirou finally arrived.

Arms - warm, strong, trusted - slid around her shoulders, tightly, protectively, and perhaps possessively, but who cared? "Hokuto-chan..." Seishirou said, his voice low and his gaze fixed on the tortured building.

"He's inside," Hokuto managed, her voice no more than a squeak. "They can't stop it and he's inside. Sei-chan... my brother. He's inside."

Why did she tell him this? Who knew? Surely he couldn't DO anything; he was a veterinarian, regardless of whatever his family might or might not have been "into," and it would take more than that to interrupt this building's suicide and save its most important occupant. It would take soldiers, doctors, a whole damned army of magic makers - but still, she told him.

Telling him was the right thing to do; somehow, she knew that.

Seishirou nodded once and put his jacket around her shoulders. "Stay here," he told her in gentle but firm tones, and she turned to ask him what he was going to do -

Only he was gone.

Hokuto shuddered once, from the tip of her toes to the top of her head, and tugged Seishirou's jacket further around her. This was no time for reason; this was a time for blind faith - faith in one hope, one prayer, one man.

Sakurazuka Seishirou.

Seishirou walked through the wreckage, and as he did it parted for him. Power - dark, electric, and crackling - snapped in the air around him, and everything he passed stopped twisting long enough for him to walk by unharmed. Of course, it continued bending after he'd passed; but that was no longer his problem.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are," he sing-songed quietly, hypnotically, knowing very well where the cause of trouble was but wanting to taunt it anyway. Having some fun, Seishirou allowed his energy like purple lighting to split the air around him, filling the space with ozone and outlining the shadow of the shikigami on his shoulder. But regardless of what he did, the being up above seemed willing to neither run nor hide, even though he was touting death before him like a sweet-smelling miasma; this was pleasing. He wanted to punish it.

Subaru-kun's energy seemed to grow more and more faint as he walked, even though he was surely but slowly getting closer; simply put, that meant Subaru was fading - and given the current situation, that similarly meant he was going to be killed.

Not acceptable.

Seishirou had finally reached the room that held Subaru. There was a shield around the outside of it, a living barrier of malignant power meant to keep trespassers away. And with almost anyone else, it would have.

Without another thought, Seishirou shattered it. He did this neither lightly nor gently, definitely not taking into consideration what this abrupt break of power would do to the mind of the ghost inside. The spirit whose power he'd broken screamed, and Seishirou smiled lightly as he stepped through the door.

The room was in shambles; Subaru lay in the center, his flickering half-circle barrier dissolving around him even as Seishirou arrived; clearly, the boy was unconscious. Ignoring the screeching being in the corner, Seishirou walked over and scooped Subaru into his arms, taking the time to put him out of harm's way before returning to face his newest victim.

The ghost was still screaming. Hands over her face, arched backwards to the point that her head was almost touching her hips, she jerked in mindless agony as the building she'd damaged twisted as if it empathized. Not feeling terribly patient, Seishirou decided to slam her repeatedly into the ground until she stopped.

It didn't take very long; the power he used to grip and fling her was tight enough to rob her of whatever metaphysical breath she had anyway, so after only a few moment she stopped screaming and turned her bleary attention toward him.

As she did, something funny happened. Seishirou caught a glimpse of some foreign power; some strange, esoteric influence that he couldn't identify and which immediately fled from his query, leaving this ghost less powerful than she had been and apparently more able to communicate. He wasn't sure quite what it was; it was gone before he could even try to follow it.

Oh, well.

Calm and looking amused, Seishirou lit a cigarette.

She had finally grown still; gasping raggedly and bleeding parts of her essence that were never meant to bleed, she fixed her battered visage on him and finally spoke aloud. "Who the hell are you?" she croaked.

"No one you will ever meet again," Seishirou said lightly, and smoked a little before speaking again. "Why did you attack Subaru-kun?"

She looked at him; her expression was already dead, weary, failed. "I had to," she said, and Seishirou shook his head.

"You should have found another hobby, Obake-chan," he informed her serenely, and without another word, raised one hand and blew the ashes from his cigarette at her.

Yamato saw them coming; she saw them swirl unnaturally, coalescing into a strange, black ofuda before swooping in and sticking to the center of her forehead. And then, she began to scream.

She screamed for a very long time; even after he basic form had disapeared and was slithering down the walls like melted butter, she screamed. Even after her outline dissolved, deforming like super-heated plastic, still, she screamed. Her eyes hollowed out and her mouth drew itself down into a caricature of modern art, and shortly there was nothing left to indicate who she had ever been in life.

Seishirou watched. The human soul was terribly resiliant, he thought, and as he watched was mildly surprised to find how very much her suffering pleased him. He liked to kill, it was true, but like everything else in his life, it was nothing more than a passing sensation of pleasure. On a purely objective level, Seishirou did not care about this spirit more than he had about anything else that had ever threatened to take Subaru's death from him. However....

Her pain was pleasing to him; as was the anger he felt for her because of what she'd done.

This was slightly disturbing; not sure why it was bothering him, Seishirou decided he was no longer going to think about it. Turning his back on the almost completely deformed ghost of Yamato Miko, he walked outside, taking Subaru with him and pausing only just beyond the building so he could continue to hear her screams. He had Subaru in his arms, of course, while he waited for her to die; there was plenty of entertainment to go with the ambience.

She continued to scream for some minutes more; the house twisted, a few fires broke out, and the media recorded the entire thing on the front lawn and gave wild speculations. And in the back, out of the public eye and wallowing in the power of her dying pain, Seishirou enjoyed his unconscious Subaru and tasted the marks of prey through leather gloves.

Finally, it was over. The building still shook and twisted, molecules trying desperately to resume their normal shape in the aftermath of it all; but the ghost inside was long destroyed - he'd felt her explode at the last, spattering the room like paint. Nuzzling Subaru's hair, Seishirou slid his hands away from the boy's throat. "I suppose I'd better return you now," he murmured, cradling Subaru to his chest, and walked around the outside of the building.

Seishirou had done a very thorough examination. Subaru's shoulder wasn't hanging right; there was possibly a cracked rib or two and a minor concussion, but the rest of the damage was merely due to energy drain and would right itself after a few days of rest. Well, this wasn't too much of a problem; Seishirou could handle a day or two with no Subaru to bother, and there were certainly plenty of other things to do. Of course, the days still counted; a bet was a bet, after all, and appointments couldn't simply be put off just because one of the participants was unconscious.

Schooling his smile into a frown of concern, Seishirou walked around the building and headed toward the ambulences, determined to see his Subaru-kun nursed back to health; Hokuto was sure to be happy.

(to chapter five | notes | back to TB fanfiction)