Tokyo Babylon † A Day in the Life, pt. 6
Subaru stumbled home, weary, tired enough that it seemed he could not keep his balance, and bruised his arm on the doorframe as he finally reached the apartment. He'd been fighting this tiredness all the way home, it seemed - an unnatural, all-consuming fatigue, and as he fell to his knees in the entry hall, only two things surfaced in his mind.
One was that this was not normal exhaustion, that it was clearly a spell, and that since his vision was blacking out it was a safe bet that it was too late for him to counteract it.
Two was that there were too many sets of shoes in the hallway; Hokuto's Seishirou's, and then two pairs he didn't quite recognize -
Blackness took him, and Subaru crumpled to the floor like dead weight.
In the distance, not terribly far from where Subaru had fought what he thought was his enemy, a demon threw back its head and laughed.
Now it was time for some fun.
Hokuto buried her face in her hands, halfway between tears and semi-hysterical laughter. Caring, warm, Seishirou took her into his arms like an older brother and glared mildly at the men who'd put her in this state.
The men - lawyers, both - were clearly used to such looks and gave no response. In fact, they seemed to be waiting for a response from Hokuto.
After a few moments, she felt in control of herself enough to speak. "So... so Tsunami-san... is dead." She choked a little, missing him sharply just because someone that energetic shouldn't have to die so horribly, then forced herself to continue. "And he left his belongings... to us?"
"That is correct, Sumeragi-san," said the lawyer on the left, adjusting his glasses. "You can see why we had to come and speak to you about this. An estate worth one hundred sixty million yen is a heavy responsibility for anyone to inherit - especially given the suspicious circumstances of Tsunami Asato's death."
Hokuto whirled on them. "Suspicious circumstances? He BURNED to death! You just told me! And why would he leave that stuff to us, anyway..." she wailed again, turning back to hide against Seishirou's chest. She did not seem to notice that Seishirou's attention was elsewhere.
He could feel the demon's power beginning to rise; and, curious - not to mention very confident - he let it.
The lawyer on the right answered. "That is what we are here to partially solve, Sumeragi-san," he said, straightening his tie perhaps because he didn't wear glasses. "We are aware of you and your brother's... inclinations; and upon investigation with the police, we believe there is enough mystery involving you both to warrant further inquiry."
"What? WHAT?" Hokuto shrieked, staring at them both as if they were gila monsters. "Are you trying to say that we KILLED him? All for his stupid land that we didn't even know we were GETTING?"
Left Lawyer adjusted his glasses again. "We are saying no such thing, Sumeragi-san," he said, unruffled in the extreme. "We are simply here to ask some questions. It does seem slightly suspicious that a man with no history of mental instability in his family or personal life would set fire to his living room, after dousing it and himself with gasoline, and then sit in the middle, apparently playing solitaire, until he died. Don't you think?"
Hokuto stared at him; there was not much else she could do. She paused in answering for a moment because she thought she heard something in the outer foyer; but any such thought was immedietaly buried in a renewed surge of jealousy and anger.
"Well, if you think somebody MADE poor Tsunami do something like that, then you'll have to ask my brother about it, not me. I don't even really HAVE any magical powers or training, isn't that right, Sei-chan?"
Seishirou, for his part, had dropped his look of concern; oddly enough, no one seemed to notice. "Oh, quite right, Hokuto-chan. You have ability, certainly, but no one saw fit to train you." He was aware of Subaru, collapsed in the front; for some reason, he thought it was funny. "It's not your fault you're not special."
Hokuto started slightly and looked at him, surprise and hurt in her eyes, and Seishirou made a comforting noise and pulled her against his chest again. "Now, now," he murmured, as if it were all nothing to get upset over.
Right Lawyer looked at them for a moment, then at his partner; he was not a man accustomed to emotions - unless one considered sharp suspicion of every man, woman, and child to be emotion - but right now, for some reason, he felt them. He looked at Left Lawyer, a small frown tugging at his lips.
"Say, Suzuki-san," he said, in the tone of a query he felt should have been brought up before. "Why do you always get the lead-in questions? Can't I get to do them sometime?"
Left Lawyer, aka Suzuki, looked at him. "That's a stupid question, Tanaka-san," he said, not snapping, but definitely condescending. "I'm the senior officer here. Of COURSE I always get to ask the important questions." He eyed his partner. "And if I have anything to say about it, you whiny, boot-licking toad, I always WILL."
"Why, you - " Right Lawer/Tanaka had had enough. It had been one thing getting paired with this ass for a partner - but now... no. This was simply too much. Forgetting about his clients and his purpose for being there, he attacked Suzuki with a feral snarl, knocking them both onto the kitchen floor and shouting obscenities.
Hokuto didn't seem to hear them. She was crying, softly, against Seishirou's chest, wrapped securely in his arms, but not comforted for all that.
"...it's true, isn't it?" she whimpered, barely able to speak for the ache in her heart. "I'm not... special."
"No, Hokuto-chan, you're not," Seishirou assured her, more aware of Subaru in the front hall than he was of the girl in his arms. It was fairly obvious by everyone's behavior that the demon's influence was reaching a peak, and it was just as obvious that said influence was doing no harm to him; curious, he decided to go along with it.
Besides.... it felt very good.
"I think you need to leave, Hokuto-chan," he said.
She looked up, fighting her tears and losing. "It's not fair," she barely managed, but Seishirou was not listening to her at all now.
"Yes, yes," he murmured, patted her on the back lightly, and then pushed her off him. Surprised, she stumbled back against the counter and watched as Seishirou moved into the hallway like a stalking lion and returned a moment later with Subaru in his arms.
Subaru was deeply unconscious; his hat had come off, his cheek was bleeding, and his limbs swung limply against Seishirou's body. He was completely unresponsive.
Hokuto hitched once. "But... I... you were..."
"Go away, Hokuto-chan," Seishirou said not unkindly, and carried Subaru to the bedroom.
Hokuto put her face in her hands and began to cry.
Ah... and outside, everything proceeds exactly according to plan.
The chaos inside the Sumeragi apartment is nothing; nothing compared to what I will do to this Tokyo and this World for what they have done to me -
A small fight here, a realization of self there, merely just sparks in the fire I will build to my glory out of this country and these souls.
All men are selfish - all have evil inside, and it takes so LITTLE to inflame. So beautiful - ah... the first drops of blood spilled! Yes!
... at last...
I am free!
Outside the apartment, chaos had exploded. There were shouts, screams, sirens, glass breaking, and the more violent sounds of vehicles smashing into buildings and through people. It grew louder, as though all of Tokyo were becoming a mob, penetrating even the walls and windows of this apartment. But Seishirou did not feel a thing.
What did it matter to him what normal men did? He was above them, and so was his prey. His prey; such a beautiful prey, at that....
Subaru lay on the bed, pale, hair rumpled, blood beginning to dry on his cheek; his eyelids were completely still. Whatever sleep he was in, it was deeper, darker than REM.
Seishirou smiled softly and bent down to lick the blood off Subaru's face slowly, almost lovingly, and rubbed his cheek against the Sumeragi's.
"Mmmine," he purred, fingers in Subaru's hair, and did not initially notice Hokuto standing in the doorway. "Yes, Hokuto-chan?" he said, sitting up, smiling without even a hint of guilt.
"I'm leaving," she said, and Seishirou nodded.
"Of course you are," he said, and went back to stroking Subaru's hair and watching his face. "Did you need any money to get where you are going?"
"No," she said, heavily, and walked toward the bed. "I only needed one thing." She stopped by the bed, looking down at Subaru with a weird combination of regret, anger, pain and envy. "Subaru," she breathed, putting all those and more into her whispered tone, and bent down over him so as to spit her words in his face.
"I hate you," she said, not really meaning it, but feeling so driven to say it that she could say nothing else. "No one but you ever mattered. Maybe no one but you ever will. Fine, Subaru... you just... KEEP your stupid humility and your blindness - at least I know you'll never know how special you are, and I hope it HURTS you. I hope it hurts." She straightened, feeling nauseated from the virtriol in her mind. "I'm never coming back. Goodbye." And with that - and not a word for Seishirou - she turned and stormed out the door.
Seishirou chuckled softly, shaking his head. "That must have been building up for a long time, don't you think, Subaru-ku- Oh, my. Why, you didn't HEAR that, did you?" Seishirou bent down again, over Subaru's face, and wiped away one of the tears that had appeared as if by magic on the boy's cheeks.
"So beautiful," he murmured, admiring the jewel-like beauty of the tear, and turning Subaru toward him, kissed his lips.
Subaru did not respond, and yet the tears kept coming; perhaps he had heard, after all.
Hokuto walked into the epitome of madness in the streets; but because she herself was so distraught, she didn't seem to notice. Avoiding everyone, she ran for the train station, and thus, missed the worst part.
Parents were attacking children. Children were attacking one another, animals, anything that mattered. Men and women of all kinds were in every stage of distress, depression, and fury, clawing at the brick walls of the buildings, face first on the sidewalk and braying their tears, shouting hated at one another or on their way toward someone else they wanted to hurt.
Any semblence of neighborly love, common sense, or indeed anything other than selfish, toddler-like anger had disappeared completley from the streets. And like an atom bomb, the effects and power of this spread outward, a rapidly growing circle, and carried everyone it touched with it.
Far away, in Kyoto, Subaru's grandmother cringed, gripping her heart, swaying on her feet as she felt the power of that demonic release. Managing to get one breath, she wasted it immediately.
"No... he has..." And she fell; the garden steps were stone, and steep, and no one knew she'd fallen. It would be another hour before her servants would find her there, alive, but injured - and it was anyone's guess whether the evil from the Demon would reach her place by that time or not.
And in Tokyo, in Ueno Park, a being as old as the stars and as evil as men's dreams took shape, and there it walked under the sakura for the first time in two millennia.
"At last," he hissed, the fanged mouth in his stomach yawning and sakura petals being crushed by his cloven hooves. "At last... it is again... mine!"
He waited for the Sakurazukamori to bring the Sumeragi to him.
(to annex 2 | notes | back to TB fanfiction)