Redemption by Fue-chan
Disclaimer: None of the characters in this fic belong to me, they belong to Watase Yuu, Flower Comics, Shokoton...etc...too many to list...
Author’s Note: Well, this is a sequel fic to a fic NOT written by me, but my Mearl. It is the sequel to Penance, a wonderful, disturbing fic, which just struck an idea with me. I have been given permission by Mearl, so I’m ok, really. You don’t really need to read Penence to get it, but I strongly suggest it, hence that it’s such an awesome fic too! Go here: Mearl Dox's Shoujo/Shonen Anime Fanfics
Here’s my warning, even though I dun wanna give it. *pout* All right, well, this fic contains shounen ai, and well...*tiny voice* incest. So, if that stuff is really not your cup of tea...ah, if it disgusts the hell out of you, I don’t suggest reading this. I mean, it’s not like, over done, or very very blatent, so if you can slightly handle it, read ahead! It’s not like the WHOLE fic is about it! This is *definetly* not a PWP, and it contains no lemon at all! It has a plot all it’s own without romance! But, if you’re the type who would write me a nasty letter concerning certains...erm, relationships in this fic, don’t read it, or if you do, don’t write me a nasty letter. I’m a nice person, really, and reading a mean letter to ME would make me cry. ;_; So don’t do it, ne? *puppy dog face* Ne?
This is totally and out there fic, something that is really...make believeish, if you will. i have no idea how I thought of it, but here it is:
Return. What a cruel and wonderful word all at the same time. Suboshi’s heart felt about a million pounds in his chest, but then, it was nothing, and so different compared to the feeling he’d felt in his chest for centuries.
Centuries. It was very hard to believe centuries had gone by. The world looked just as it had when Suboshi’d left it. Perhaps it was still when he left it. The fifteen year old boy had no idea, in all actuality, what time period it was. One day, he’d just felt something in him, an odd sensation all too undescribable, and he’d been back here, back here was the ground and dirt was real, and he could feel it slip through his thin fingers; back here where the sounds and noises were real to his real ears: the street venders, the bustling mothers with their many children, the street performers. And back here, where his senses were delighted with colorful, innocent sights, and where the air wasn’t rank with the stench of blood and vomit. He could breath in and smell rice cooking and sake brewing and all sorts of interesting smells he’d missed so much.
And then, himself. He was whole. No longer was there a bloody, gory hole coming from his stomach, and no burning from there. It was an amazing sensation to touch his clothes, bring his hand back before his eyes and see it clean.
But suddenly, his mind was not focused on the “real” world around him, it was the house that sat pleasantly down at the end of a street, as if waiting for him. He hadn’t known, but he could feel it like nothing else. This was his Aniki’s house.
He was, of course, in Sairou. Suboshi had only been to Sairou once, and that was the last time he’d seen his aniki. When he left Amiboshi with the caring old couple. Suboshi’d sworn to leave his aniki’s life forever, but here it was, and there was no turning back.
Suboshi took a deep breath in his whole chest, and began walking towards the house. Young children ran by him, and he couldn’t repress the shudder that ran through his frame. Children. Even if it wasn’t Chuei, Yurien, Gyokuran, or Shunkei, it was still a child, and he knew he would be haunted with the uneasiness of being around children forever.
He reached the house, and his heart, though feeling like even more weight, was thudding violently in his chest. He’d almost never been so nervous. Even when he’d taken Yui into his arms, the beautiful, sweet Yui, and gotten up enough guts to kiss her, he’d not been this nervous. Questions flooded his confused brain. What if he doesn’t live here anymore? What if it really is centuries later and he and his children are long dead? What if he’s here, and he hates me for what I’ve done?
The thought of Amiboshi hating him was almost too much to bear, and that alone was almost destroyed his nerve to be here, but the excitement, the absolute joy of seeing his beloved aniki again was even more powerful, and he raised his hand to knock on the wooden door.
Suddenly, he stopped. The presence of a certain chi floating into his body, till he could feel it so close, so close he nearly died again. Amiboshi’s chi. It was here, and so close! He jerked his head around, and his eyes caught sight of his aniki, a sight that made his throat dry and took his break away. His heart sped up more.
Kaika stooped low, the heavy shovel in his grip, and he thrust it into the ground, pushing a large clot of dirt to a heap above the surface. His muscles ached from doing this all day, and sweat coated his neck and face lightly. He straightened, one hand resting on the shovel, the other raised to wipe a trail of sweat from his brow, guarded by the large strip of headband. He felt tired and hungry, but happy and satisfied that he’d done so much work for his father. He loved to see the bright smile on his mother and father’s faces as they called him a “hard-working boy.”
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a figure approaching, and assumed it must be his father, telling him it was time to come in for the day. A smile fell on his face, feeling almost relieved to be able to sit down and rest, and eat.
But he stopped as he turned to the approaching figure. He appeared to be young boy, about Kaika’s age, and wore strange clothing for Sairou residents. Kaika assumed he must be visiting or new. He wore long blue pants that tucked into some odd gold weave around the boy’s ankles. Over the pants, he wore an orange shirt with very odd patterns and styles on it. Over the boy’s forearms, the same gold weave laced. The boy was shadowed in the ever growing twilight, and Kaika couldn’t even begin to make out his face. A chill ran through Kaika’s spine as he watching the boy approach him, and he had no idea why, but there was something different, something strange about him. He felt speechless to call out to him, and could only stand, staring.
The boy was now within feet, and his features were slowing becoming visible. He had greenish hair, kind of longish, and across the boy’s forehead, he wore a blue headband....Kaika felt more chills now, erupting all over his body, as his hand slowly went up to trace his own blue headband, and slowly to his longish green hair.
Kaika’s whole body froze. The boy was now in front of him, staring straight back, and Kaika could now make out every feature. Why wouldn’t he? They were his own. The boy standing before him looked exactly like himself. Kaika realized he was having trouble breathing, but didn’t move from his spot. His mind was mixed with so many different things, so much confusion. Surely, this couldn’t be someone with his exact face, could it? Maybe a trick of light, or something...But it was undeniable. Kaika’s mother herself would not have been able to tell the difference between them.
He was so mixed up with his own confusion, he didn’t even take notice of the boy’s expression, the tears filling his large violent eyes identical to his own, and without warning, the boy rushed forward, throwing his arms around Kaika in a tearful hug. In a joyful voice, he cried, “Koutoku!”
Kaika stumbled back in utter surprise, a soft cry of startlement breaking from his lips, “A...anata...sumimasen ...”
The boy slowly, shockedly released Kaika from the embrace, but kept his hands on Kaika’s arms, staring into his eyes, “Koutoku...?”
Kaika stared back, frightened now of this stranger with his face, embracing him and calling him by a name that was foreign to him, “Boku...boku wa...Kaika....”
There was a shaky silence, as the boy stared at him, and Kaika saw the horror grow there. He still gripped Kaika’s arms, and asked in a soft, choked voice, “Kimi...you have to...” he searched Kaika’s eyes almost desperately, “it’s me, Shunkaku! Koutoku!”
Kaika could give no helpful response. He now knew the boy’s name, but he obviously had the wrong person. How could he...? he wondered in his own mind, he knows I look exactly like him, it’s not that easy to mix up a person identical to yourself and someone else you’re looking for.
“Who....who are you?” Kaika asked warily.
The boy, Shunkaku’s world seemed to shatter before Kaika. He saw it all in the violet eyes. First, shock registered, then hurt, then extreme pain, then the realization. He stared at Kaika, his eyes huge and filling with tears, which randomly spilled down him cheeks, “I...you...” Shunkaku’s voice was now below a whisper, “you...don’t remember me...?”
Kaika felt another chill rip through him, but ignored it. “I can’t,” he said in a soft voice, trying to be as comforting as possible. This boy had obviously gone through a lot, “I’ve never met you.”
This did it. The boy stared at him, then slowly, very slowly, shut his eyes, and collapsed to the dirty ground in an unconscious heap.
Kaika stared at him for a long time, his eyes now wide. What had just happened to the boy? But people had begun to gather around now, curious as to what was going on with the infamous Kaika. He stooped down, and gently picked the boy up in his arms, and with out a word, began to carry him to his house.
Suboshi opened his eyes and stared at the ceiling above him. A soft, bored sigh escaped his lips. Soon, he would have to get up and go into town to get rice, and buy a toy for Yurien. If only he could rest here forever, in his soft bed--
Suboshi’s eyes snapped open. Bed?! He was never in a bed before...he always would lean against the wall, and he never slept. What was going on?! Had he actually gotten sleep??
The past days floated back to him, and he remembered about the Gods granting him another chance, letting him go back to Amiboshi and be alive again. And...Amiboshi working in the field, staring at him with that frightened expression, an expression he’d never given to Suboshi before. He could still hear his brother’s voice in his head, asking, “Who are you?”
He didn’t remember him. That pain was so great, Suboshi shut his eyes tightly to stop the tears, and still they came. He didn’t remember him! How could this be?! Suboshi thought, I’m his brother! He has to--
But his hand suddenly tightened around the soft sheets beneath him. His mind drifted back to the fact that he was in a bed. He sat up sharply, clutching the bed sheets to him in alarm. He was, of course, in a room, ordinary, like all of them in China, and he sat in a soft bed, with darkish blue covers and a wooden frame. He saw beside him on a night table, a small bowl of water and a candle dimly lit next to it.
His head pounded suddenly, and he then remembered passing out when Amiboshi told him he’s never met him. He could use some water now.
He picked up the bowl with both hands and brought it to his lips, but quickly jerked his head away. A powerful stench rose from the water, which he could now see wasn’t water, but some sort of broth. He gave it a disgusted look, deciding against it, and set it back down on the night table.
Suddenly, a door opened in the dark room and a figure entered. Suboshi stared silently at the figured as it hovered by the doorway and said a soft voice, “I see you’re awake.”
It was Amiboshi, and Suboshi felt a jolt of joy and hopefulness in hearing his brother’s voice.
There was a slight trembling and much uneasiness in Kaika’s voice, and we went on, beginning to step out, further into the room, “You...passed out outside, possibly due to the heat. It often gets so hot here. Er...till you feel better, perhaps, you can stay here, in my room. My family will offer to--oh Gods...” he had now stepped far enough out into the room to see Suboshi’s face, staring up at him, and in shock and fear, he jerked his head towards the floor, his heart pounding. For a long while, Kaika stared at the floor, his expression disturbed and confused, and Suboshi stared at him, thick hopefulness weighted in his eyes.
Finally, Kaika, putting a hand over his mouth and still not looking towards Suboshi, asked in a quiet, choked voice, “How is it...that we look so...alike?”
A silence struck, and Suboshi lowered his head hurtfully. Every unfamiliar word Amiboshi spoke pained him in the chest and stomach, worse than his own drilling ryuuseisui that had caused his death. He breath silently, then spoke softly, “You’re...you’re my aniki.”
Kaika stared at him. He had no ototo, and he never had. He was his parent’s only child.
“Your aniki? Demo, my parents never had another child...”
Suboshi swung his legs over the bed and stood up, facing his brother, “How is that you don’t remember any of this? I--”
Suboshi stopped, realizing something. He remembered the night in Sairou, when he’d killed Tomo to save Amiboshi, and when Amiboshi’d offered him the broth and a chance at a new life. He wondered now why he hadn’t taken it, but then his love for Yui-sama had been much too strong, stronger than wanting to be with Amiboshi. A sigh escaped his lips. What a fool I was.
But he remembered specifically now, and he reddened immediately from the memory. He instantly remembered filling his mouth with the foul-tasting broth, then pressing his own mouth to Amiboshi’s, tasting the sweet, wonderful taste of Amiboshi’s lips from beneath the broth he drained into his brother’s mouth. The brother that made one forget.
It became clear to him that it was his fault Amiboshi didn’t remember him. Feeling heavy hearted, he plopped down on the bed, staring in front of him abstractly.
“Listen,” Kaika started, “you’ve obviously been through a lot. I think you should rest some more...”
Suboshi was quiet. What could he say to all this? Amiboshi would only think he was crazier and crazier with everything he said.
“Do you still play the flute at least?” the question slipped from Suboshi’s lips before he could even stop to think about what he wa asking.
Kaika stared at him, his expression suspicious and startled, “How...did you know I played the flute?”
This snapped Suboshi’s attention back to him, and he stared at Kaika, “You still play the flute? That’s great! Do you still have the flute our father gave--”
Suboshi jerked his eyes to Kaika, who stood, his fists slightly clenched at his sides, staring down at the floor, his face dark. “Yamero,” he repeated, “I don’t know what you’re talking about, and this situation rather frightens me: you looking exactly like me, you knowing things about me...I...” he took in a deep breath and turned his back to Suboshi, “I need to be alone to think.”
He began towards the door, when Suboshi’s voice, his own in ways, stopped him.
His eyes widened as a vision came to him, clear as day, yet vague and hazy at the same time.
There were two little boys, identical, and very young. They stood, one taller by a bit, the other clinging to the taller’s arm in fear. All around them was fire and screams and blood, people running around crazily.
The younger boy looked up at the other, his eyes confused and wide, “Aniki...doko wa...oto-san, oka-san? Doko wa?!”
The older had been frowning, and his face looked even more pained when the younger asked this. He swallowed largely, “Shun-chan, they...they won’t be with us anymore...”
“Nani?” the younger was confused and now frightened, “doshite?! Aniki, tell me! Aniki! Aniki....”
Kaika snapped back into the present, his eyes huge. He took in a deep breath, looking around at his house, his peaceful house in a peaceful town. He’d never seen a village so in terror and death like that before, and he realized he was so shocked and startled he was trembling. What was that?! Something about a village in chaos, and two little boys, brothers, whose parents were most likely dead. He’d called the boy “Shun-chan.” Kaika’s memory raced back to the other day, out in the field...
“It’s me, Shunkaku! Koutoku!”
Suddenly, remember the boy was in the room with him, Kaika whirled around to where he stood, and gazed at the boy, “...you’re name...Shunkaku?”
Suboshi nodded, his eyes filled with complete hope.
Kaika slowly looked down, putting a hand under his chin, “Shun-chan...”
Suboshi jumped to a start, “Hai! Hai, that’s what you called me! Shun-chan!”
Kaika’s mind gave way to the flood of confusion that pushed at it. His head felt like a whirling mass of thoughts and emotions and memories, and things he couldn’t process right now. He had such a bloody headache. Feeling sick, he dropped heavily into a chair, resting his forehead upon his hand, his eyes averted from Suboshi.
Suboshi stared at him, then he slowly went over to Kaika, and knelt down, “Koutoku, please...remember...”
Kaika didn’t look up. In a choked voice, he asked, “Onegai, leave me for awhile?”
Suboshi looked wounded momentarily, but got to his feet silently. With one last quick glance at the confused boy beside him, he opened the door and left.
With a sigh, he closed the door behind him and leaned against it, crossing his arms over his chest. What was he going to--
Suboshi suddenly realized he wasn’t alone. He slowly looked up to see an elderly couple, the couple he’d left Amiboshi with, sitting in the living room, staring at him with bewildered expressions. Slowly, the old woman asked, “K-Kaika...?”
Suboshi straightened up, releasing his arms to his sides, and flushed a little in the cheeks, “Er...iie. My...my name is Shunkaku, or Suboshi, whichever. I...er...Kout--er, your son is in his room.”
He didn’t know half of what he was talking about, but this couple was clearly very disturbed, and he felt he shouldn’t upset them more by rambling about how Amiboshi was his brother and he’d simply lost his memory when Suboshi kissed him, and that he (Suboshi)’d been killed and was now back from the dead to be with his aniki again. Sure, they’d take that well.
“Who...who are you?” the old man asked, the couple’s eyes never leaving him.
Suboshi had no answer for them. It was went back to his thoughts earlier. What could he tell them that would have them thinking he was crazy as Amiboshi did. He just stood there, his hands shaking like leaves in rough wind, his mind flooded with thoughts to tell them, opening his mouth and closing it several times in trying to decide what to say.
“I’m a...wanderer...” he finally stammered out, realizing his lie was sounded more like a lie that anything, “the heat was too much and I passed out out there. Kout...Kaika brought me in.”
They still stared at him, their question obviously not answered. The silence suspended around the room, seeming to be almost impossible to break. Suboshi went over his options, and liked the option of running out of the house as quick as he could the best, but he didn’t make it that far. The door behind him opened gently and he moved out of the way, seeing Amiboshi step out of it.
Kaika didn’t even turn to look at him parents in the room also. As he came out of the room, he stared at Suboshi and only Suboshi. The boy still shocked him every time he saw him. The instant he laid eyes on Suboshi after coming out of the room, he was visited by yet another vision, but this one more a feeling. He could feel soft lips pressed to his, both their mouths open, and a warm, foul-tasting liquid flowing into his own mouth from the other mouth. Kaika came to with a start, back in his living room, staring at Suboshi. What was that?! he wondered, his eyes wide. Slowly, he took his eyes off of Suboshi and to his parents, who were staring at the two identical boys with large eyes, his mother with her hand over her mouth in astonishment.
The whole room had been struck with a knife of awkwardness. Suddenly, from just staring at the two identical boys standing right next to each other, the elder woman’s eyes rolled up and she fell back in a heap, passed out. The elder man came to a start, rushing to the woman, “Kanai!”
“Oka-san!” Kaika exclaimed, rushing from his spot to his mother.
Suboshi stood at his spot, watching them worriedly. He knew how much trouble he was causing already but...he couldn’t leave Amiboshi! Not again...no, he wouldn’t make the same mistake twice.
“You, would you get some water?”
Suboshi looked up, hearing Amiboshi speaking to him. His face remarked surprise.
Amiboshi’s eyes pleaded with his own, “Onegai?”
Suboshi stared in the eyes he loved so much, and how could he refuse. Nodding quickly, he ran from the house, heading to a nearby stream he’d seen on his way into town. Halting briefly next to two young girls, he asked rapidly, “Onegai, may I borrow your bucket?”
The two girls smiled suddenly, rather coyly, both flushing prettily in the cheeks. “Of course, Kaika,” one said, lifting the empty bucket to his hands, “if you need anything, just ask.”
Suboshi stared at the two girls, smiling at him, his eyes a little larger. Did his aniki always attract such cute girls?
He forced a crooked grin, thanking the girls quickly and running again towards the stream with the bucket. He reached it and hurriedly filled it, his mind racing. What in the world was he going to do? It was apparent he was just causing Amiboshi more pain and confusion. But...he’d have to remember him sooner or later, wouldn’t he?
He got back to the house, a quarter of the water spilt out from rushing to get back, and burst into the house. The old woman managed to have woke up in his absence, and the three of them turned to him as he walked in.
Kaika stood up, gazing down as he approached the boy. Hesitantly, he took the water bucket from Suboshi, glancing up almost shyly, “A-arigato...”
Suboshi nodded vaguely, watching as Kaika went back to the old woman, who sat on the floor, looking woozy. He slowly dipped a piece of cloth into the water, bringing it up and, after ringing it out, placing in on the old woman’s forehead, his voice soft and calming, “There, Oka-san, just lie there.”
Suboshi watched this, and felt suddenly like exclaiming, “She’s not your oka-san! Our oka-san is dead! we watched her killed in front of our very own eyes!”
“Boy, who are you, really?”
Suboshi looked up as the old man stood next to him, putting a gentle hand on his shoulder, his eyes confused and almost...sad.
Suboshi looked down. What in the world could he say to such a confrontation? “I...I...” the younger twin glanced at Kaika, then back at the old man, his voice very soft, “I’m...Kou...Kaika’s ototo...”
The man’s expression didn’t change surprisingly, but his eyes grew sadder. Slowly, he looked back to Kaika, who was still attending his old wife. His son....no, he knew in his mind that wasn’t right. This is a boy who lost his family, who you found. He’s not your real son. But still, in the old man’s heart, he loved Kaika so much, it felt like having his late son reborn again in the boy.
“What family have you?” Kaika’s father asked softly to Suboshi.
Suboshi glanced down, his eyes clouding over, “We...our parents were killed in a civil war many years ago. We...have none.”
The old man stared at him, his eyes a little wider. With a soft sigh, his expression went back to it’s usual passive state, and he said, “Come, boy, may we talk?”
Suboshi swallowed largely, allowing himself to be lead outside, the old man’s hand on his higher back. Outside, children ran, and elders talked, and woman gossiped...it was wonderful to experience again, and Suboshi almost became lost in the magnificence of life, broken then by the old man speaking again.
“So, you claim to be Kaika’s ototo?”
Suboshi nodded, “I am his ototo.”
“And...if you have no family, where did you two live?”
Suboshi stopped, turning to stare at him, “You didn’t know Kaika was a Seiryuu seishi?”
The old man stared right back at him, his eyes confused, “But...Kaika...”
Suboshi understood. If “Kaika” had no memories of Amiboshi, how could he display any characteristics of Amiboshi, mainly his seishi power. The old couple had never witnessed his power.
“Erm...” Suboshi brought his hand up to rub the back of his neck nervously, wondering if he should drop the subject, “anyway, we lived on our own for a long time,” the old man stared at him, but he didn’t notice, continuing, almost sadly, “Kou..Kaika basically raised me. He always protected me.”
The old man looked down, “How...were you two separated?”
“Koutoku was sent to Konan-koku as an antagonist to the Suzaku shichiseishi. We were separated then,” Suboshi answered quietly, not wanting to mention their last escapade together in Sairou.
“You....” the old man looked down still, his face pained. He was quiet for a long time, then jerked his head up, exclaiming, “onegai, won’t you stay with us?” Suboshi’s eyes widened, and Kaika’s father continued, softer, “onegai...I know you have the right, demo...don’t take our Kaika away from us! It would kill my wife to lose a son again, and we...we’ve grown to love him so much!” he glanced down, “I know you’re right, that you are his family, come to reclaim him, but...” his voice cracked a little, “we don’t want to lose our son...”
Suboshi stared at the man, his eyes large. They thought he’d come to reclaim Amiboshi? Well, he’d never thought about it that way...he just wanted to see his brother again.
But the old man’s words struck with him: “onegai, won’t you stay with us?”
Did they really want him to live with them? Was he...being offered a chance at real family. His heart sped up, thinking about having a real father, a real mother, living in a cozy house with nice neighbors, and peace surrounding them. Suboshi, a boy once full of revenge and anger and war to his enemies, now looked upon it with tired eyes, eyes that had lived in the punishment for his revenge for year after year, ....smelling, tasting, living with blood and mutilation for what he’d done....now he looked on war with tired eyes. It had taken him so much longer, but now, like his brother, he realized how pointless all the anger was. Suboshi had matured.
The old man, still with his eyes turned away, said nothing. He could think of nothing to say to his son’s brother.
“You...” Suboshi started, his voice hushed and almost disbelieving, “you would...want me to stay with you...?”
The old man whirled to look at him, and joy and relief swelled in his aged eyes, “You would? You would stay with us?”
Suboshi cried. The thought of a wonderful, real life was too overwhelming, and tears began to roll down his cheeks. The Kami-sama were too kind. He would get his brother back, and get a family. He began to weep openly, putting his face in his hands, and the old man stared at him, then hesitantly reached over an arm and pulled the young boy close. What this boy had gone through, he didn’t know, but he knew, as the boy surprisingly clung to him, his tears wetting the layered fabric, his sobs raking through his young frame, that he had gained another son.
Kaika stared at the boy with wide, horrified eyes,then at his father with that same expression.
“N-nani...? He’s...staying here?” his voice shook like a leaf, as did the rest of his body.
“Hai, Kaika,” the old man didn’t seem to notice Kaika’s shocked state, smiling happily, “you’re finally reunited with your ototo.”
Kaika couldn’t believe this. Why...was his father telling his he was reunited with his younger brother? He had no younger brother...unless...
His eyes grew huge, “You had another child without telling me?!”
His parents paled, staring at him. Suboshi nearly hit himself. Oh Kami-sama....
“Kaika!” the old exclaimed, “we’re....” he stopped short, realization hitting him like a wave. Kaika...had no knowledge of them not being his real parents. He believed they were his real parents! As much as the thought overjoyed him, he knew it was not right and not fair to his brother. Sadly, he lowered his head, wondering what to say. His wife touched his arm softly, and the couple’s eyes met, and their thoughts mirrored each others. They had to tell him.
“Kaika...” the old man began, looking up at his son, “we...this boy,” he gestured to Suboshi, who sat, watching all this, his brow knitted in a frown, “this boy...is not our son. But he is your real, blood brother. Do you understand what this means?”
Kaika’s eyes locked on his fathers, wide with horror and disbelief. Deep in his mind, his thoughts were rapid whispers, hysterical whispers, Please don’t let it be true...it cannot be true...please...say it’s not true...
“Boku wa...” he started, his gaze and his though patterns not changing, “that means...that...” his breath came out quicker, more panicked, and he shut his eyes tightly, a sob escaping his throat as he exclaimed chokingly, “HE’S NOT MY BROTHER!!”
The room fell entirely silent. Every ounce of blood had dropped from Suboshi’s face, and his eyes were so shocked they were almost entirely white. A weight of a billion pounds seemed to hit him, straight in the chest and stomach, but he couldn’t move. All he could do there was sit and struggle to breath, struggling to get his gasping breath through his quivering lips. His spirit...he remembered it so strong and powerful. No one could break him, and he remained vibrant and vigorous through the whole battle of the Suzaku shichiseishi against the Seiryuu shichiseishi. But now, at four words that crushed his young heart, four words that suddenly broke his will, his spirit. It fell, like a limp stick, and he collapsed to his knees, struggling to breath. His thoughts were mad and racing, but immensely distraught.
Kaika got to his shaking legs, unstable, but still he stood, and stared at his parents, not looking over at the boy identical to him. His violet eyes shook with threatening tears, “Onegai....” his voice was soft, so soft and hushed, filled with pain, “onegai...don’t tell me that everything I know to be true isn’t.”
The couple stared at him, their hands locked and gripping each other’s tightly, their knuckles white. Unable to take it, bear the look in her son’s face, the old woman burst into tears. As if hardly noticing, the old man let out a long sigh. Oh Gods, how it pained him to hear his son say that. He wanted more than he could express to tell Kaika that he was their real son, but he swore to himself he wouldn’t lie. Onegai, Kami-sama...give me the strength to do what I know is right, no matter how it hurts.
“Kaika...no, I shouldn’t call you that. Koutoku...” the old man’s voice was weak, trembling, “our real son died when he was just shy of your age. We’ve had no other children since then. But we found a boy that we took in as our son,” he raised his eyes to Kaika’s violet ones, “it was...you.”
Though he’d known it during the discussion, though the truth stared him straight in the face, it was all too much. Amiboshi couldn’t tear his gaze away from his parents...no, the old couple who’d found him. His chest rose and fell quickly with his panicked breath, and his heart and mind overflowed with more pain and confusion and heartache and he nearly fell as his brother had. Putting a hand over his heart, as if to cease the pain swelling there, he said softly, “Then...you’re not my parents.”
The old woman sobbed harder, clutching her husbands arm as if for dear life. Her husband felt a tear slide down his withered cheek, but nodded, as much as he felt heartache to do it. The truth was there, he couldn’t hide it from Amiboshi any longer, and he felt like dying.
Amiboshi, overcome by the conflicting emotions in him, fled from the house, his heart pounding like a hammer in his chest. Over the dirt road he ran, his slippered feet scattering across the dust. He didn’t even know where he was going, he just ran. He’d reached a grassy little hill before he knew it, with a large tree right on top. He stood, his chest heaving with his heavy breath, his whole body shaking, staring at the area beside the tree. And another vision came to him. It was of him, with a young girl, his age, with reddish-brown hair just below her shoulders, in a pink dress. They sat beneath the tree by each other, his flute in his hand, and the girl seemed to be outraged about something, scolding him. He flashed back to the present, staring at the empty hill again. His eyes wavered, and he staggered over to it, collapsing to sit against the tree, bringing his knees up near his chest, and burying his face in the arms that rested across them. For a moment, all he could do was sit, breath, and deal with his pain. But it still...he had no idea what to think, that to do, so he pulled his slender flute from his belt, finding solace in it. As he brought it to his lips, he was hit by another vision, this one sudden and hit him like a blow.
It was him, at this age, playing his flute, but he was in a shrine...with a large gold bird in the center...he recognized it as the Shrine to the god of the South, Suzaku. Around him, people clutched their head and screamed, and he kept playing. Was it...was his playing causing this...? He saw the girl again suddenly, the girl in his vision by the tree, but she was dressed in a shrine maiden’s clothes, and screamed in pain as well, only she screamed for him, and screamed a name which only confused him more. “CHIRIKO!!!!!” In the vision, he smirked and seemed to threaten them, then went on playing, causing more pain.
He awakened to the present like another blow, his eyes huge. Was he...what was he doing?? He knew it was him, not the identical boy, and he wasn’t sure how he knew. He just...did. And he’d...he’d been hurting those people! How again he knew he was hurting them, he didn’t know, all he knew is he was the cause, and it had something to do with playing his flute. He looked down at it now, his cherished flute. How could my beautiful flute ever cause anyone pain? He wondered horrifiedly, remembering the expression on his face in the vision, and shuddering.
And the girl had called him “Chiriko.” Why the hell was this?! He’d already heard that his name was Koutoku, but never Chiriko. So many visions...so many confusing visions...
Breathing heavy enough to hyperventilate now, he shut his eyes tightly, raising his head to the sky with an angry shout, “STOP SENDING ME VISIONS I CAN’T UNDERSTAND!!!”
Amiboshi jerked his head around to a ways away from him, where the identical boy, Suboshi, stood, watching him with wide eyes. The older twin’s cheeks flushed a heavy red, and he looked back ahead of him, regaining his quiet reputation, “I wish you wouldn’t call me that...”
Suboshi stared at him a moment, before his eyes softened, “And what would you have me call you? A name that’s fake?”
Amiboshi took in his breath, gritting his teeth slightly. Gods...it hurt so much.
Suboshi realized the harshness of his statement, and hesitantly took a step closer, gently seating himself on the other side of the tree from his brother.
“Koutoku...” he started, praying he could word this right without hurting his confused aniki even more. He was never too good with tact, not like his brother, “...I know this is all confusing and painful, demo--”
“How can you know?” Amiboshi cut him off, his tone sharp and bitter, but he didn’t face the boy, and his voice remained soft, “how can you know how confusing this all is? I...I don’t even know myself anymore!” He took in a deep breath again, looking down at his flute, resting in his hands at his lap.
Suboshi stared ahead of him, his eyes pained. Amiboshi had always been the strong one...he knew that. He’d pulled Suboshi together when he didn’t know who he was. What was he suppose to do now?
“Aniki...we’ve both gone through a lot of pain. We’ve never had it easy, not since we were 11. But...you have to understand...” he suddenly pulled himself up a little, turning desperately to Amiboshi, “this is your past!”
Amiboshi jerked his head to him, staring him painfully in the eyes, “How can I know that?! How can I be sure of anything anymore?!”
Suboshi’s eyes flashed, “The fact that we have the exact same face isn’t proof enough for you?!”
Amiboshi opened his mouth to retort back, but he was stuck, and shook his head slowly, turning back around. His tone was soft, almost defeated, “You can’t expect me to just roll over and accept this... My past, my family....I don’t understand. Everything I’ve grown up to know, that I’ve lived in this town with those two people my entire life and that woman gave birth to me....it’s all a lie. It’s...it’s the most shocking thing I’ve ever faced. I don’t know if I can take this...”
His voice was thick the with threat of tears, and cracked a little. He put a hand to his mouth, biting down slightly in hopes to stop the tears.
Suboshi watched him, pain drawing into him, “Aniki...” with that, he hung his head, his longish green hair falling over his eyes, “gomen nasai! I don’t...I don’t know what to say to you! I just...” without even meaning to, he pulled himself around and clung to Amiboshi helplessly, “I’ve missed you so much! You can’t believe how long...how long I’ve waited to see you! I thought a million years had gone by an you’d all be dead. Everyday...” he opened his eyes slightly, shuddering and causing his body to erupt into violent trembling as he went on, his tone low and abstract, gazing glassily, “everyday...there was blood, everywhere. I couldn’t get away from it. And I couldn’t sleep. I wanted to see you so badly, so badly, and I couldn’t find you. No matter how much I search and pleaded, you weren’t there, and I had to wallow in blood again, day after day. There was no end to it...”
Amiboshi’s eyes had grown huge, brimmed with tears, and he eventually brought them down to stare at Suboshi, the boy clutching him. He couldn’t move to comfort the boy, nor did he wish to, but he didn’t pull away. Slowly, bewildered even more by the boy’s insane rant, he choked out, “N...nani...?
Suboshi looked up from Amiboshi’s chest, to stare Amiboshi in the eyes, his expression serious and solemn, “Koutoku...I was dead.”
The two brothers stared at each other for a long time, Amiboshi’s eyes huge and appalled, and he suddenly raised his arm and knocked the boy away from him, his violet eyes flashing, “I don’t need your nonsense right now! Can’t you see you’ve confused me enough?!”
Suboshi, his heart aching from his aniki’s action, gazed down at the grass, the thin, green blades rising highly, “Aniki...” he nearly started crying, “it’s not nonsense! Can’t you...don’t you even....”
He broke off, unable to stop the tears that began his cheeks, and he closed his eyes reluctantly, putting a hand over his mouth, but the soft weeping still broke through.
Amiboshi stared at him, his expression almost horrified. He had no idea what to do. This boy truly believed he was his brother. Even if the boy was insane or lying, the fact that he cried, for some reason, made it all seem more real. He now turned to face in front of him. His thoughts...they were so jumbled. He thought about it: he’d discovered the people he lived with weren’t his real parents, so what else did it leave him but that this boy was his real brother? What else could he be? But he wanted so badly not to believe it, because if he believed it was true, that would prove even more that his whole life had been a lie.
Suboshi cried for awhile, unable to stop, but managed to silence himself, still sniffling and breathing heavily, and he got to his feet slowly, his back to Amiboshi. My aniki...he doesn’t even want to believe he is my aniki.
“If...if you are my brother,” Amiboshi suddenly spoke, very slowly, “where are our real parents...?”
Suboshi jerked his head back to Amiboshi, who wouldn’t look at him. Hope--even the slightest bit-- surged in him. Please...let him be open to this. He spoke in a soft voice, still getting over his crying, “They were killed when we were very young.”
Amiboshi’s face hardened, “Then...” his mind had raced back to his first vision, the one with the two little boys in the city that reined in chaos, talking about their parents never coming back, “...we would be orphans.”
“We are,” Suboshi said quietly.
“This...this doesn’t make any sense,” the older’s voice rose a little, “how can I not remember any of this?”
Suboshi’s eyes dropped, his cheeks flushing, his eyes ashamed, “Koutoku...” he took a deep breath before going on, “the last time we saw each other, you had lived with the old couple once before, then conscious that you weren’t their real son. I found you, and you offered me a broth--one that makes one forget--, asking me to come back with you, to live here. I...refused. I in turn gave you the broth, and it erased all your memories. I brought you back here.”
Amiboshi’s eyes were huge. Somehow it made sense, but it still contradicted with everything he knew. Then again, he thought wryly, what doesn’t contradict with everything I knew these days?
“Gomen nasai...” Suboshi’s voice cracked, his back now turned again, “it was my fault..”
With that, unable to face his aniki after all he’d admitted, he turned and ran away off the hill, heading towards the house. Amiboshi watched him go, his eyes still large. A fleeting feeling ran through Amiboshi as Suboshi ran off. But he didn’t go after him. Turning back around, he breathing out in a deep sigh. Slowly, he laid back on his back, in an effort to sort out his thoughts for the billionth time that day, but it was lost as he drifted into a deep sleep.
Amiboshi whirled around slowly, his eyes passive, but holding much pain. His eyes fell upon Suboshi, running down the long blue hallway. His younger brother’s face was distressed, and he knew what Suboshi’d come for.
Suboshi caught up to him, and stopped, staring at him with unbelieving eyes as his chest heaved up and down in catching his breath. Finally, he spoke, his voice stressed, “Koutoku! You can’t go!”
Amiboshi gazed at him, his eyes quietly grieving. He didn’t speak for a long time, and when he did, his voice was hushed, “Shun-chan, I have to.”
Suboshi’s eyes flashed angrily, and he cried out, “Doushite?! Someone else can!”
Amiboshi shook his head slowly, “I’m the only one who can do it. I’m the only one they’ll trust.”
Suboshi looked away, fuming, “It’s not fair!”
Amiboshi’s eyes grew sadder, “Shun-chan, I know it’s not. But this the only way. Once the Suzaku Shichiseishi are gone, there will be no more obstacles to calling Seiryuu. And then Kutou-koku will be at peace.”
He gazed at his brother, and raised his hand, stroking Suboshi’s face gently in an attempt to comfort him. Suboshi jerked his eyes up to him, and brought his hands up to rest on Amiboshi’s shoulders, his eyes wide and pleading with his aniki’s, “Demo, what if you don’t come back?! I’ll never forgive you!!”
The lump in Amiboshi’s throat grew larger, his eyes filling with tears to match his younger brothers, “Shunkaku...” with a deep breath, he drew Suboshi into his arms comfortingly, as he’d always done for the 15-years of their life, “I’m coming back. There’s no way I won’t. I’ll never leave you, and we’ll be together forever,” he held him closer, closing his eyes, “I’ll always protect you.”
Suboshi couldn’t help it when the sobs raked out of him, and he closed his eyes, melting into Amiboshi’s chest. I...I couldn’t stand to lose Koutoku! Still sobbing, he choked out, “You’ll come back! You’re strong and brave, aniki! I won’t lose faith in you!”
Amiboshi could no longer hold it in and began to cry softly into Suboshi’s hair. What a kid. What an idiotic, wonderful kid. He was so blessed to have him. He thanked Seiryuu sei-kun so much...arigato for giving me Shun-chan.
Amiboshi’s eyes jerked open, large. He realized he was shaking. If it was from temperature or the vision, he couldn’t tell. But there he’d stood, in that long, blue hallway, talking with the identical boy in their real names. This vision...it had been the clearest yet, but it didn’t make any sense. Where had he been going? And what was all this talk of the Suzaku Shichiseishi and Seiryuu sei-kun?
He looked around, and realized why he was shaking. He sat outside still, under the tree, sitting up now in the long grass. It was nighttime. He’d fallen asleep and hadn’t come back. All around him was darkness, and he could only faintly make out the shape of various things around him. And it was horribly cold. That was the problem with Sairou-koku weather. It was swelteringly hot during the days, and bitterly cold at nights. He had many layers on, as such was the way of Sairou-koku people, but the cold still bit through, and he hugged his arms around his slender frame, glancing around. Oka-san and... he stopped, remembering today and sadly rephrased his thoughts. The old couple must be worried about me. The identical boy too.
He looked down. I should really stop calling him ‘the identical boy.’ He saw no other way around it but to call the boy his brother. It still didn’t seem real, though.
The wind breezed past him, blowing his long hair across his handsome face, as he stared out into the dark town. My town. This is my town, my home. But...why is it not true? I just...his eyes pained. I don’t understand any of this. How can I believe that I grew up in another country with other people? I have no memories of any place but here...
He slowly got to his feet, his arms still securely around himself. Suddenly, he felt a light touch on his arm, and jerked away startledly, turning in the darkness to see who it was.
It still shocked him, seeing the exact same face staring back at him. He would briefly wonder if he was staring into a looking glass, but as the boy moved, he froze and watched him carefully.
“You really shouldn’t be out here this late at night,” Suboshi said softly, his eyes passive as he watched his brother.
Amiboshi turned away, coming up with a blank on what to say to him.
Suboshi stared at his aniki, his eyes troubled. Why was he even here? Hadn’t he promised to leave Amiboshi alone forever? When he’d left his injured brother at the house, after feeding him the broth, he’d said he wouldn’t return. Him being here had completely erupted Amiboshi’s safe, peaceful world, made him question himself and reality. Why had he done this to his brother, his beloved brother? But, the more he thought about it, the more he realized, how could I stay away? He needed Amiboshi so much. Those days, living in blood and hell with the dead children, it had been apparent that Amiboshi’d been the only thing on his mind. He had been the reason Suboshi’d been able to come back. Because he needed Amiboshi, just as much as Amiboshi needed him.
When he’d been alive the first time, and left him, he’d been in love with Yui-sama. He thought back to it, and even now wouldn’t deny that his feelings for Yui were strong. She was sweet and kind-hearted, and all he’d wanted to do was hold her and kiss her and make her forget about Tamahome and Nakago. But now...Suboshi wondered what the miko was doing now, in her world. Did she have a boyfriend? Had she made up with Suzaku no Miko? He’d been killed before he could find out. He didn’t even know which side had won, Suzaku or Seiryuu. But he didn’t even care anymore. His feelings for Yui faded, and now, as he stood in front of his aniki, his heart pounding like a hammer in his chest, all he could think about was Amiboshi. It’s odd, how a true love will stay with you, while others fade.
Gently, he reached out again, his hand resting on Amiboshi’s face and stroking his cheek softly, drawing the older’s attention back to him. They stared at each other, akin violet eyes battling with emotions. Suboshi’s heart pounded so quickly, so quickly, and he pushed in a hushed voice past his trembling lips, “I miss you so much, Koutoku. You can’t understand how much I miss you,” his eyes wallowed in agony, “how long do I have here? Will I die tomorrow before you know how I feel?”
Amiboshi couldn’t tear his bewildered gaze from Suboshi’s. What...was this boy talking about? His heart surged with emotions he couldn’t understand, and a soft voice in his head murmured, “Shun-chan...I’ll be back...”
“How you...” Amiboshi’s voice was whispered, confused, but he silenced himself as Suboshi drew himself near, his hand on the brother’s cheek pushing back the long locks of greenish hair that fell down Amiboshi’s face. Suboshi closed his eyes without even realizing it, his emotions and blood racing speedily through his veins leading his on, and he touched his lips to Amiboshi’s, pressing his own against the soft, warm lips of his brothers.
A flash of realization struck Amiboshi, and he froze. The kiss...he barely noticed it. It was the train of memories and revocation that broke through the dam of his mental wall. Koutoku. Amiboshi. Kaika. He was them all. He had been born in Kutou-koku, the country of ever-raging war, and he’d witnessed his parent’s death before his very eyes, Suboshi clinging frightenedly to his arm. His father, blood pouring from wounds all over his body, handing his the thin, wooden flute from his gored hand, telling his he was a Seiryuu Shichiseishi...
“Koutoku...” his breath came out choked and ragged, “live to protect...Seiryuu no...Miko. Once..Seiryuu is called...our country...will be...safe...”
And then there was Touka, his first real love, with her bright, shining eyes, and her long dark hair. Tetsusou and Rii, Suboshi and his friends who’d held a rebellion against Kutou1 ... And then. Being found by the Seiryuu Shichiseishi, and living at the palace. And his last vision was placed: Amiboshi had gone to Konan-koku in order to destroy the Suzaku Shichiseishi. He’d failed, and had been found by the old couple, unconscious by the river. He’d lived with them till Suzaku no Miko appeared in Sairou-koku, drawing the Seiryuu seishi who followed her to Amiboshi, where he battled his fellow seishi, Tomo. He remembered now, covered in his own blood from Tomo’s attacks, his clothes torn and shredded, as a bloody hole was cut through Tomo’s back, and a ryuuseisui tore him to pieces, killing him. Amiboshi’s conscious was fuzzy from there, dizzy from the pain that ached in his body, but Suboshi come to him, held him, and he’d offered the broth to Suboshi, offered him a chance at a real life. In love at the time, Suboshi’d pressed his warm mouth to his brothers, pouring the liquid to his aniki’s, and that’s where the memories of his real past stopped. His love for Suboshi swelled, his remembrance for the wonderful brother Seiryuu sei-kun had granted him with. And he stood there, his eyes filling with tears, and he suddenly felt the kiss that had gave him his past back.
He jerked away, his eyes huge. But he didn’t bother with focusing his thoughts on the kiss. He stared at Suboshi, his beloved brother, and realized how much he’d missed him. It had been too long. The tears spilled over, and he choked out, “Shun..kaku...”
Whatever pain and shatterment Suboshi had felt, however crushed his heart had been, it all seemed like nothing now, like it was all mended back together the instant his brother recognized him. The tears came like floods, too much to be held back, and he suddenly felt happier than he had ever felt in his life. He couldn’t hold himself in his spot, and nearly threw himself at Amiboshi, holding his so tightly, one would wonder if any air got through. And Amiboshi, his heart bolting into absolute joy, wrapped his arms around his brother, holding him just as tight. They held each other, tears streaming down their cheeks and soaking into each other’s long hair, their souls bonded once more, linking to never let go.
It seemed like hours--and probably was--before they lingeringly let go of each other, very slowly, and still holding onto each other’s arms as they gazed into each other’s eyes.
“Kotoku...” Suboshi whispered through his joyful tears, smiling gratefully, “you can’t believe how much I’ve missed you...”
Amiboshi smiled in reply, choking a little as he chuckled, “I can believe it. I’ve missed you too...”
Suboshi laughed, sheer happiness rampid through him, and all he could do was smile and laugh, and cling to his aniki again, “Thank Seiryuu you’re back...”
Amiboshi raised a hand to stroke his brother’s hair lovingly, “Hai, hai. I’ll never leave you again.”
Suboshi’s eyes widened, remembering the first time Amiboshi had said that. In a hushed voice, he asked, “Will you? Is that a promise?”
The older twin’s eyes flashed a little troubledly, but he glanced at his brother, “Of course. I never wanted to leave you the first time.”
Suboshi’s heart surged with love for his aniki, and he couldn’t move, realizing this wasn’t the love he’d always felt for his aniki.
“Will I die tomorrow before you know how I feel?”
How he felt? Had he known what he was saying at the time? Of course. His eyes half lidded passively, and he accepted it now. He loved his brother. But not in the way he should love his brother. He loved Amiboshi in a way that was wrong, and evil, and vile, and strictly forbidden. Slowly, he closed his eyes, letting tears slide down his cheeks. Amiboshi will hate me. I know he will.
Amiboshi, feeling a sudden rush of sadness and regret from his ototo through their bond, held Suboshi a little closer, frowning, “Shun-chan? What’s wrong? Daijabu desu ka?”
More tears ran down Suboshi’s cheeks from Amiboshi’s warm embrace, but he forced a smile, looking up to meet Amiboshi’s eyes, “Nanimo. I’m just...so happy to see you again...”
Amiboshi still felt the despair, but knowing how stubborn his brother was, he accepted the fact that if Suboshi wanted to tell him, he would tell him in time.
“Come on,” the elder twin said gently, smiling warmly at him, “let’s go back to the house. The couple must be worried.”
He raised a hands to brush some tears off of his younger brother’s cheeks. The small touch suddenly shattered Suboshi’s control, and before he could stop himself, he pushed Amiboshi to the ground, nearly laying on top of him, his hand resting on his aniki’s broad chest, the other supporting him up by pressing into the ground.
“Shun-chan, na--” Amiboshi was cut off as Suboshi lowered himself and covered his older brother’s mouth with his own, kissing him passionately. He burned with love for his brother, he longed to express it, show Amiboshi how much he loved him, and have it returned.
Amiboshi’s eyes were huge. His heart thumped in his chest like a jack hammer, and any thought that had lingered in his mind was gone. All he could feel was the weight of Suboshi’s body on top of his, and the feel of his brother’s warm lips, covering his own, kissing him, however inexperienced he was. His mind whirled, and after a long time of huge eyes and confusion, he pushed his younger brother away from him, sitting up.
“Shun-chan!” he exclaimed, his eyes large with shock and startlement, “what...what...”
The night clung to them, a cool breeze flowing through the outline of their figures in the moon, sitting on the breezing grass, their longish hair blowing silkily.
Suboshi’s heart pounded. Oh, Gods, oh Seiryuu, had he just done what he thought he’d done? Had he just kissed Amiboshi?! Sure, it’s what he’d wanted to do it, but why in the world had he actually done it?! His heart hurt. Now Amiboshi would hate him. He would be disgusted and turn away from him. Oh, but the feeling...the feeling of Amiboshi’s lips against his...he shook his mind away from it, wondering if he could somehow convince Amiboshi it was a joke...
“Shun-chan...” Amiboshi started, his voice shaking a little, “you...kissed me...”
Taking in silent gulps of air in an attempt to slow his dizzy mind, Suboshi forced a very nervous laugh, blurting, “Aw,hell, but I’ve kissed you before...I just--”
Cutting him off, Amiboshi pointed out in a serious tone, “Never like that.”
Suboshi’s fake smile dropped from his lips, his eyes wavering fearfully. Oh, Seiryuu, don’t let him hate me, don’t let him, “I...” he avoided his brother’s identical eyes, “it was a joke, Ami-chan.”
Amiboshi’s blood froze. His brother never called him by his seishi name unless he had to, like if Nakago was around. The two had never really gotten used to the idea of calling each other by different names once found by the Seiryuu seishi. Now, it just chilled him. Suboshi’s voice had choked a little, and he still refused to look in his brother’s eyes.
“Shunkaku,” Amiboshi started softly, his voice still trembling, “talk to me...”
Suboshi sighed longly. Easier said than done, aniki, easy said than done. If it had been a couple years ago, he would have gotten angry and yelled at Amiboshi to just leave him alone, but now...he couldn’t. He didn’t feel angry, just fearful of his loved one’s hate, and sorrowful at the rejection he knew was there.
“Kotoku,” Suboshi got to his feet slowly, towering over his brother, still sitting in the grass, “I....can’t explain it to you. Please, forget it ever happened.”
Amiboshi stared up at Suboshi, his eyes large. What was he talking about? Quickly, he scrambled to his feet, turning his younger brother around to face him by his shoulder a little forcefully, his eyes suddenly annoyed, “How can you say that to me?! How can you kiss someone like that and then tell them to forget it?!” suddenly, upset tears welled up in his large violet eyes, “haven’t I forgotten enough already?!”
Suboshi stared at his aniki. Gods, I’ve really screwed up this time. I shouldn’t have said that...I really shouldn’t have...but he had no idea what to tell his brother now, and all he could do was stare at him sadly.
Amiboshi took a step back, taking in a deep breath, his eyes suddenly more hurt than angry, “So. You won’t tell me.”
Suboshi sighed roughly, “Kotoku! How can I? I’m...I’m too scared!” his voice shook a little.
Amiboshi felt the urge to go to his brother and hold him, but he just couldn’t. It wasn’t the right time, and it wouldn’t help any. 2  He sighed, saying in a low voice, “I know this has to be hard, what ever it is, but you’re being damn selfish.”
Suboshi jerked his eyes up angrily to Amiboshi’s, “Nani?!”
Amiboshi went on, his eyes a little cold, “It is a selfish act. You’ll hurt others just to keep yourself from being hurt. You’re hurting me by not telling me what the hell is wrong just because you’re scared of yourself being hurt. That’s selfish.”
Suboshi felt anger boil up, like it had when he was younger and unreasonable. No, I shouldn’t get mad. I don’t want to be immature like i used to be. But...but he’s not listening, damnit! “Fine!” he nearly shouted, seething a little, “fine, I’ll tell you if it’ll make you happy!! I’ve fallen in love with you! There! Are you hurting anymore?!”
Amiboshi’s eyes immediately grew huge, and he felt his breath taken away from him. He’d heard wrong. That was it. Yes, he must’ve heard wrong. With an uneasy grin, he raised a hand to ruffle his brother’s greenish hair playfully, forcing a laugh, “Aw, c’mon, Suboshi. No more of these childish jokes. It wasn’t very funny!”
Suboshi jerked away from his aniki’s touch sharply, his eyes flashing with hurt, and clouding over as he gazed at Amiboshi, his voice choked, “It wasn’t a joke.”
Amiboshi sobered, swallowing his laugher. What...what should he do. What exactly did Suboshi mean? They were brothers, so of course they loved each other, but...fallen in love? That was for girls and guys, wasn’t it?
Suboshi searched his aniki’s eyes, and suddenly realized the more he searched, the less trace he found of mutual feelings, and the more he wanted to look away. I...I can’t stay here. My heart...it feels like it’s going to explode. I need to get away from here. It’s better for both of us. I should have never come here. I should have stayed in hell. I...I need to get away.
His thoughts bordering insane, Suboshi stumbled, beginning to attempt to run away. He tripped, his mind hazy and perceiving everything dizzy. Amiboshi noticed his brother running suddenly, and called out, “Shunkaku!! Doko wa??”
Suboshi didn’t respond. His heart aching, he kept running. Let him forget about me. Onegai, Kami-sama!! Don’t let him remember me! He ran, the dirt ground pounding under his feet, slipping often and falling to scrape holes in his thin pants and bruise his tender skin. Finally, he was well far away from the hill, well far out into the sleeping town. He found he could run no longer, and collapsed to his knees in the dirt road, the sobs finally coming. They raked through him loudly and painfully and he could only sit there, sobbing into his dirty hands, his whole body shaking. His heart...it hurt so bad. He couldn’t stand it. Doushite?! Why do I have to love my brother?! Gods, let me love a woman! This isn’t right; it’s wrong and sick, but I...I love him. His eyes shut tightly in pain, the tears still streaming through and over his cheeks,
sliding off his face to hit the dirt, his face nearly falling into it if he didn’t support himself with his arms, he wept as quietly as he could. Baka...baka yaro.
Slowly, he got to his feet, still sobbing, and began to walk off into the night.
The old woman raised her head to exchange a worried glance with her husband, then sighed softly, turning back to her sewing. Her husband let his gaze remain on his adopted son, who stood in the doorway, his hand resting on the frame, his back to the old man and woman. He waiting at the doorway a minute, lingering, then slowly stepped back into the house, his eyes downcast. Softly, he forced a weak smile at the couple, “G-gomen....I thought I heard something.”
The two watched him silently, repeated what happened a couple times a day. They both studied his eyes sorrowfully, knowing how much pain he held in them.
“Kotoku,” the old man started softly, calling him by his real name, which they’d resorted to calling him, “I don’t want to upset you, but, it has been a year and a half. I’m not sure he’ll be coming back.”
Amiboshi met his eyes slowly, and forced a seemingly bright smile, “I...I guess you’re right. I just...like to check.” he shrugged a little.
The man’s wife watched the young boy with a concerned expression, “But we worry about you, dear. You haven’t hardly smiled at all this past year, and all the songs you play are sad.”
Amiboshi stared at her, his eyes widening a little. He...he didn’t think anyone had noticed. But..he simply couldn’t be happy. He found his heart breaking every time he thought about what had happened. Suboshi’d run away, and in his pain and confusion, he hadn’t followed him. And his younger brother hadn’t come back. Closing his eyes, he thought sadly, Shunkaku...we missed each other so much. Why did you have to leave? Maybe...maybe if you’s have stayed, I could have loved you the way you loved me. He shook his head. I just don’t know. But no matter what, you shouldn’t have left.
“Well, I should go out and work,” he said, forcing another fake smile and turning to head outside into the hot sun. Raising his hands to tie a kerchief around his head, to keep the sun off him, he glanced around his nice village. People walked happily along, elderly seeing him and waving happily, young girls seeing him, blushing and giggling before waving coyly at him. He barely waved back to anyone, his mind far and distant. He’d been like this awhile, and people noticed the change, but he was loved by everyone anyway. Amiboshi studied the girls, watched them as they stared at him, then giggled and blushed, looking away when he caught their stares. Was this how Suboshi loved him? How could that be though? They were brothers...
With another heavy sigh, he grabbed his hoe and went out to the field, beginning to work half heartedly in the sun, sweat already building on is handsome face.
Suddenly, he heard footsteps near him. His heart raced. Jerking his head up excitedly from his work, to the spot Suboshi and him had met for the first time after the war of Seiryuu and Suzaku, one year and a half ago, to see a village neighbor. His heart sank down to his feet.
“Oh, konnichiwa, Kaika-kun!” the village man said, smiling jubilantly, “working hard again, I see.”
Amiboshi nodded slowly. Why? It’s the same thing everyday, and I keep waiting for him. Turning his gaze skyward, he barely listened to the man as went on happily, his mind distant once more.
Suboshi didn’t look any higher than his feet as he walked along the dirt road3 . His long, greenish hair feel over his face, as if a wispy mask to cover the dead eyes that bore in his skull. His hair...he hadn’t took a knife to in the year that had passed...and it was still the same length. Nothing on him had grown the whole year. It was a rather frightening realization, for he still had really no idea how he was here. It was Seiryuu sei-kun, of course, but he wasn’t sure how he was here. Or what he was. Was his body even alive? Was he just a corpse wandering the streets like some nightmarish living-dead creature that fairy tales talked of? His mind, his soul, was it active behind the layers of dead flesh from a fresh body make to be molded in his and Amiboshi’s form? Or...was it really his body, untouched. Was his skin, his cells, his nerves...alive again? He could feel nerves fairly well, the reactions from situations, and his senses seemed to be working fine. He’d proven that when he’d picked up the bowl of broth. And he had passed out...shouldn’t an alive body be able to faint? And the butterflies when he’d kissed Amiboshi, the way his legs grew weak and his hormones...raged....Weren't those stimulants from his love-intoxicated mind, the reactions a body makes in resolve to the chemicals in your brain, that if his body be dead, he wouldn’t...feel them?
But his mind, after confusing himself to tears over that, would drift again into thoughts of his brother, of the kiss, the hormones, the wanting, the passion. He...wanted his brother? That question pounded into his head, imprinted and demanding an answer, a resolution. And...night after night, he still had no answer. He went over the facts for the billionth time. Amiboshi is a boy, bad enough, but...he is my flesh and blood, my relative, my twin, my brother. My love is wrong and shameful and hateful to the name that is hateful to the one I love.4  He wondered about his love. Was it..the love between a man and a woman? Although he’d answered this to himself many times, he answered it again, after thumbing through his thoughts. Amiboshi is...my happiness. All our lives, all I’ve ever wanted is his happiness, there was no question of that. That wasn’t a problem. But now...I don’t even care of my own. Amiboshi is the only person I have ever felt that way about, that I want nothing more than to see them smile a genuine smile. He smiled wryly. Scratch that, I felt that way for Yui. Yui...his mind washed like a peaking wave over her. She was...my first love. And I did love her. She was beautiful and kind and good, and the world was cruel to her back. She would plant a flower and get dirt thrown back
in her face. Her..beautiful face. And...when he saw the world shattering her lovely flower of a soul, he wanted nothing more than to make up for it. He was angry. He was furious at the world for hurting her, and he would take revenge. He would show those causing her pain how the pain really was. And for himself too. He was never passive, like Amiboshi, who would get hurt and brush it aside like a forgotten wound. He could never let things sit, and he took them into his own hands, to show the pain-givers a taste of their own medicine, to show them what hurt could be.
So. He had loved Yui. But...it didn’t matter now. It almost helped him actually, to compare the two loves. He loved them so differently, but yet so the same. He wanted Amiboshi. More than a brother, he wanted Amiboshi. He wanted the feeling of his brother’s lips pressed against his
own, and all over his body. He didn’t understand how it was possible, but he wanted Amiboshi to make love to him.5  And it made him wonder how much more Amiboshi would hate him if he knew.
But it wasn’t about sex or kissing, even. It was the feelings that compelled him to want the passion. His heart ached for Amiboshi, for Amiboshi’s happiness. The difference was, he hadn’t felt this strongly for Yui, as strong as he felt for his aniki. That’s how he knew it was love.
But...he’d given up. He knew Amiboshi wouldn’t love him back. But, he had learned that he couldn’t live without his brother. Everyday, he thought about him and missed him incredibly, more than could be considered healthy, but he wasn’t in the mood to debate his mental condition. He wanted his brother back. He would forget about love or passion or kissing or anything of the junk that had torn them apart the first time. Now, he just wanted to be his brother’s ototo.
And so, he was back. He stared around at the busy village with passive eyes. That’s right, the peaceful village. Can I really live here? He wondered briefly, with a wry smile, if it would drive him mad. Nah, just as long as I have Amiboshi to keep me in line, at my side. His heart ached more.
He set off for Amiboshi.
His brow thick with sweat, Amiboshi straightened to wipe it again. He’d wished he’d put on his headband today, but he hadn’t, so well, he’d have to live with it.
Seeing another figure walking towards him, he knew not to get his hopes up and turned his back towards the figure to look at the darkening sky.
He froze, his real name being called by a voice...the voice of his brother. He knew he must be hallucinating, imagining it, and looked down, letting his longish hair fall over his eyes as he closed them.
He didn’t look around, gritting his teeth angrily. Stop plaguing me, you damn illusions!
A hand dropped on his shoulder suddenly, and he jerked to a start, pulling away to whip his head around. His eyes stared back at him, and his first thoughts were that someone was holding a looking glass in front of him, until he saw the clothing. His voice caught in his throat, his eyes grew huge. In his heart, hope surged, pleading for it to be true. “Sh...Shun...chan?” he managed to choke out in a weak voice.
Suboshi’s face fell, his love for Amiboshi overflowing. He’s the most beautiful creature I’ve ever seen, despite how much he looks like the disgusting creature I am.
“Is it you...?” another weak choke from Amiboshi.
Suboshi found his voice. Just brothers. “It’s me.”
The bottom of his stomach seemed to fall out as he felt arms wrap around him in a warm embrace. Amiboshi’d thrown his arms around the younger twin, closing his eyes and burying his face in his brother’s hair, dampening the soft green locks with his joyful tears. His voice sobbed out, “Yokatta....yokatta....”
Suboshi’s heart had absolutely stopped. He...Amiboshi was...happy to see him? He didn’t hate him for everything? If he hadn’t been so shocked, he would have been crying as his brother was.
Amiboshi was silent a moment, weeping a little from joy, before he opened his tear filled eyes, smiling softly against his brother’s hair, the hot weather creating a hazy, almost muggy atmosphere around them. In a soft, choked voice, he spoke, “Shunkaku...I...” he closed his eyes, his smile fading into seriousness, “I can love you like you want...”
Suboshi choked. His heart pounded faster than ever in his chest, his eyes so huge they appeared hollowed out. He’d heard Amiboshi wrong...hadn’t he? Had he just...said he would love him...how he wanted? Was that possibly what he said??
“Na...nani?” the younger twin managed out in a breathless voice.
Amiboshi, his eyes still closed, whispered in a breathy voice into Suboshi’s ear, “You heard me. I...want to love you...the way you love me.”
The younger stared in front of him, still with huge eyes. Yes, he’d heard. But...Gods, if only his heart would slow down! He was sure Amiboshi could feel it, pounding against his own chest at their close embrace. Suboshi, slowly, a hand went up to the back of Amiboshi’s head, to entwine in the soft strands of green hair. He...Amiboshi would love him. The joy was too much. If he’d been at least slightly expecting this, it wouldn’t have been as joyful, but never in the year and a half that he’d been gone, had he thought he’d come back to hear this uttered from the beautiful lips of his aniki. And now, the tears ran. With the hand entwined in Amiboshi’s hair, he pulled his brother up, still close, but now so they were staring into each other’s eyes. Gods, his eyes, so much like his own, but so glorious. I...I want to show him how much I love him...I want to kiss those sweet lips...
Suboshi began to lean in, his eyes sliding closed, seeking the feel of his brother’s lips against his own, but Amiboshi put a hand between their mouths, staring down at his brother.
Suboshi eyes snapped oven, going straight to question Amiboshi’s. He had heard wrong. He was being rejected again. He knew it, and his heart began to ache.
“Shunkaku,” Amiboshi started in a soft voice, locking his gaze with Suboshi’s. His lips curved into a grin suddenly, “have you forgotten where we are?”
Suboshi blinked. Where they... Pulling himself up a little, he looked around. The villagers passed busily by, hurrying home to their families for dinner, wrapping up last minute deals, children playing by the road side, travels passing and asking for directions, young teens causing various trouble. Few looked over at the two brothers, looked a little bewildered by the fact that they looked alike, but other than that, the village was swarming with people.
Suboshi felt a blush come into his cheeks. “Oh,” he said softly, still looking around. An arm suddenly slid around his waist, and he jerked his head to see Amiboshi, leaning to whisper in his ear, “Come with me...”
Amiboshi pulled him past the villagers, through the busy town, till they were rather far out and reached a largish house.
“This is the ‘haunted house’ of the town,” he told Suboshi, opening the door, “the kids tell stories about ghosts that live here, but really, no ones lived here in many years. It’s always deserted.”
They were inside, and Suboshi looked around the dirty little room they were in. Deserted was right. A thick layer of dust covered almost everything in the room, chairs picking up cobwebs, tables collapsing from old wood, and no possessions of any kind around. It was cold, a light breeze flowing through the rickety house. Suboshi hugged his arms around himself, still looking around, getting goose bumps. “Ghosts, eh?” he asked in a rather small voice, then cleared his throat, asking louder, “so, it’s not true?”
Suddenly, strong arms wrapped around him from the side, pulling him into Amiboshi’s warm embrace. He gave a little gasp, turning his head to his brother. Amiboshi stared down at him, his eyes and face serious. Slowly, he rose a hand to run down Suboshi’s face, staring deeply into his eyes, his voice soft, “Are you scared, Shun-chan?”
Neither one of them said anything, but just stared at each other. Amiboshi searched his younger brother’s eyes, searching to make sure he wasn’t fooling himself. It had been true, that the minute he’d seen Suboshi that day, in his heart, he felt something he’d never felt before. In his heart, a feeling surged, pounded, beseeched to be answered. And now...he could feel his own heart pounding, his emotions urging him on, his hormones craving a taste of those waiting lips...and more. Yes, he thought in a passive voice, smiling softly at Suboshi, I love him. I love him like he wants me to. If not only for him...for me. I can love him.
As natural as anything, the brother’s eyes both slid closed, leaning in, and their lips pressed together. Hesitant and soft at first, they both deepened it, exploring a little curious each others mouths with their tongues, the kiss gentle and romantic. Suboshi slowly slid his arms up around Amiboshi’s neck, the older’s arms pulling him even closer by circling the slender waist. The moment stood still, their kiss bonding them tighter than ever before. They could feel each others emotions, urging each other on.
Suboshi suddenly broke the kiss, pulling away enough to whisper near his brother’s lips, “Koutoku...you’re treating me like a girl...” A grin slowly found it’s way shakily over his lips.
Amiboshi blinked, staring at him, then furrowed his brow while grinning confusedly, “Well, how do you want me to treat you?”
They stared into each others eyes more, Suboshi wondering himself. “Well...”
Amiboshi cocked an eyebrow, “I’d say it’s you. You’re acting pretty feminine.”
Suboshi’s eyes widened. A slow blush came over his cheeks, mixed of anger and embarrassment. He narrowed his violet eyes a little, then smirked, “Honto?” In one swift movement, he took Amiboshi to the ground with him, pushing the older twin down by his chest. He leaned over him, his longish hair falling over his face to trail down near Amiboshi. Still smirking, he whispered in a coy voice, “how’s this?” before leaning down and covering Amiboshi’s mouth with his own, forcing his tongue into his mouth, a little inexperiencedly, but his energy made up for it. Getting over his surprise, Amiboshi returned the kiss passionately, his hands going to entwine in the hair at the back of Suboshi’s head. Slowly, he rose his leg a little between Suboshi’s, rubbing gently at the younger’s crotch area. Suboshi let out a sudden aroused gasp against his brother’s mouth, pressing down to tangle his legs between Amiboshi’s, his hips jerking ever so slightly. Lifting his lips a little, Suboshi slowly began to kiss down his older twin’s neck, tenderly kissing the flawless skin, reaching the base and slowly opening his mouth around it and sucking gently. Amiboshi gave a soft, barely audible sound, not enough to be a moan, his eyes tightly closed, the hand in Suboshi’s hair tightening. Suboshi began moving down, running his tongue along the smooth collar bone, pressing kisses to the area between his neck and shoulder. One of his hands moved hesitantly up Amiboshi’s chest, while the other gently toyed at the waistband of his brother’s pants.
Suddenly, Suboshi sneezed.6 
Amiboshi blinked, his eyes suddenly a little large and questioning. He looked down at him brother, tilting his head to one side.
Suboshi hid his face in his brother’s shoulder, a hot blush spreading across his face. “G..gomen...” he spoke in a small, embarrassed voice, “it is dusty around here...”
He was unprepared to here a short laugh from Amiboshi, and a hand pat his back, “Way to spoil the moment, ototo.” More laughter.
Blushing harder, Suboshi narrowed his eyes, frowning, “Urasai...you brought us to this house...”
Amiboshi laughed against, shoving his younger brother off of him and sitting up, “Sure, sure, blame it on me.” He glanced over at Suboshi, smiling. Suboshi slowly sat up next to him, his face red, but said nothing. Amiboshi grinned, “aw, don’t be sore, Shun-chan! We’ll have much more time, you know,” the younger jerked his head up to meet Amiboshi’s eyes questioningly. Amiboshi smiled warmly, “you think I’ll let you get away again?”
Suboshi smiled relievedly, then suddenly frowned, “Demo...the old couple...”
Amiboshi watched him, then bite his lip, shrugging, “What they don’t know can’t hurt them. Besides...” he slipped his arm around Suboshi’s waist, pulling him closer, and nuzzling his ear a little, “...who’d ever suspect brothers,” he grinned, “we can even share a bed...”
Suboshi choked and suddenly felt blood dripping out of his nose. His hand shot to his nose, catching the blood, his face red once again as he stared at the ground, and his brother laughed harder at him. “Mou...” he muttered, holding his nose, “who’d have known you’re such a tease, aniki...”
Amiboshi smiled mildly, getting to his feet and gazing down at Suboshi, “Well. I guess you’re the first to know, ne?” he smiled, “hell, I didn’t even know. I’ve...never felt this way for anyone...”
Suboshi looked up at his aniki from the floor, wiping away the last of his nose bleed, eyes large, “Nani?”
Amiboshi was gazing off into the distance, out at the now dark sky out the dusty and broken windows, his handsome features serious, “I...I’ve never been in love before, ototo. It’s new to me, demo...” he looked down, a warm smile, his eyes glowing, “I’d have never wanted to fall in love with anyone but you. I’ve always loved you, Shunkaku.”
Suboshi stared at him, his eyes filled with love and surprised joy. Slowly, he got to his feet, standing next to his twin. The two gazed at each other before leaning in again and kissing gently, holding their lips together for a long moment before pulling away.
Amiboshi gazed over his younger brother lovingly, “We need to get home. The old couple will be worried.”
Suboshi grinned a little, “Last time you said that, I pushed you down to the ground a moment later and kissed you.”
Amiboshi grinned back and winked a little, “Ah! Well, will it work this time?”
A short chuckle escaped Suboshi’s lips as he shoved his brother, beginning towards the doorway of the house. An arm caught his, turning him around, and lips pressed against his firmly. He kissed Amiboshi back tenderly, but pulled away, to whisper against his lips, “A...Aishiteru...”
Amiboshi smiled, giving him one last kiss, and pulled him to him in a tight hug, whispering, “I’ll say it back this time, Shun-chan. Aishiteru.”
Suboshi closed his eyes, sighing blissfully, “Zutto...?
“Zutto,” Amiboshi stepped away, taking his brother’s hand and pulling him along and out of the house, slowly entwining their long fingers, “c’mon. Forever’s a long time.”
“Forever...” Suboshi stopped, his eyes serious. Amiboshi turned to him, questioningly, and he gazed at his brother, “forever...forever isn’t long enough, I fear.”
“N-nani?” Amiboshi stammered, furrowing his brow in confusion. Suboshi took in his breath slowly, as a voice spoke to him, rich tones calming his soul:
“Bu Shunkaku...Suboshi Seiryuu Seishi...you’re debt is paid...”
A tear slid down his cheek. Finally...finally he could stay with his brother. Finally, his soul could be at peace, where he belonged. He’s reached redemption.
1 I’m really not making this up. This is all from Ryuusei Den, the twins novel. ^_^
2 Okeey, I’m listening to “But But But” Xellos’ song from Slayers, so if the writing is really goofed up and crazy don’t mind me. Xel is getting to me.... H_H @_@ H_H
3 I always clarify that it’s a dirt road, but seriously, what other kind of road would there be? Oh yeah, “Whoa, watch it there, Yoshi, the Emperor’s pagoda thingy nearly hit a pothole in the asphalt!”
4 Here’s a contest: if anyone can figure out what that means, and tell me, I’ll be really happy, and give you a...a cookie. I WILL think of something better, but I want to know if anyone will understand what I mean. I know, of course,but I want to know if it makes sense to anyone else. (Little voice, “Noooope.”)
5 Take note, *I* understand how it’s possible for men to make love (uh...the only lemons I’ve written have been yaoi...), but Suboshi doesn’t. Keep in mind his age, and the times.
6 Hah! The author again avoids writing lemon for large groups of people! *stands triumphant* I knew this dusty house would come in handy somehow. =P