Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Angel's Fall

Chapter 1

Throughout the twenty-five years of his life, Subaru had been witness to the gradual numbing of his emotions. It had begun when he was sixteen years old, shortly after he discovered love. Mere minutes after he had accepted that he was in love, Subaru had experienced betrayal and cruelty at the hands of the object of his affection. Seishirou had, quite literally, torn out his heart and ripped it to shreds.

Subaru had never been the same after that day.

He had retreated inside himself, to a cold place where his wounded heart had lain frozen, but no longer bleeding. He might have stayed there until he’d wasted away, too terrified of the power of his own emotions and of others’ ability to hurt them.

But he hadn’t been allowed to stay in his cocoon of safe oblivion. His sister had wished that he return, and she had given her life in exchange for that. Seishirou’s hand plunging through her chest had been the blow that had forced Subaru back into the world of the living. He had awakened with his wound torn open, and it had never healed. But he had found a way to numb the pain. He had found an obsession strong enough to make him forget how much feeling and loving hurt.

He had found his Wish; and Hokuto had taught him that one should pursue one’s Wish, no matter how selfish it was or how unhappy it might make the other parties involved.

And so, Subaru had let himself be consumed by an obsession, by his Wish, to the point that he lost all interest in those surrounding him, and in himself, really. He wasn’t happy, but that didn’t really matter, for he was certain that he’d had the ability to feel happiness burned out of him.

Nine years later, he had truly believed he was beyond caring, that he was an empty shell that couldn’t possibly hold any emotions. He was proven wrong. He had been waiting for Seishirou all those years, he /wanted/ him to come, wanted the sakurazukamori to suck out his life in the same manner that he had sucked out his soul and his heart. There was nothing else for him to take, after all.

Subaru was mistaken. His heart was numb but certainly not dead, and Seishirou had forced him to levels of pain he had not imagined. He had done this by refusing to allow him his Wish. Instead of killing Subaru, Seishirou had forced the younger man to kill him.

And then, Subaru had finally come to understand. His heart had not died, but it had become a pitiful, shriveled thing. Emotions skittered across his senses like razors over raw flesh, leaving in their wake an ever-increasing emptiness.

It was similar to the way he was becoming used to killing.

It wasn’t so much that killing became /easier/ during the following days. It was more that each time he was a little number to it.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Although he was loath to hide the inverted stars on the backs of his hands, Subaru had taken to wearing gloves again, to keep his hands free of blood while he killed. It wasn’t that he was squeamish about it, it was simply that Seishirou had done it, and so it seemed the proper thing to do.

It also seemed proper that he didn’t smoke with he hand that he used to kill, he reflected as he lit up a cigarette.

"Seishirou didn’t either," he mused to himself "He killed with his left hand too…"

He was up to two packs a day now, sometimes more.

"I wonder if your habit of smoking after a kill is in any way related to after-sex smoking." Fuuma’s soft, low voice sounded amused. Subaru didn’t turn around; he’d been fairly sure that the Dark Kamui would show up soon. He always did, after he killed.

He wondered idly how Fuuma always seemed to know when he did it. Was he watching, perhaps, even when he didn’t seem to be around?

"Seishirou smoked after sex." Fuuma announced quite cheerfully.

That got him to turn around. It wasn’t anger precisely; it was an emotion he couldn’t quite classify.

Those golden eyes were very bright, and that insolent, lop-sided grin was in full force.

Perhaps he was simply becoming too much a shadow to recognize anger. But he certainly recognized the sudden urge to slap the smirk off Fuuma’s face.

Fuuma merely widened his smile. He looked for a moment as if he was about to burst out laughing.

"Well, he did," he said matter-of-factly "I would expect /you/ to know that as well as I."

It wasn’t entirely Subaru's fault that he was smoking so much lately.

"I mean, I would be terribly disappointed to learn that Seishirou hadn’t obliged a pretty sixteen year-old with raging hormones. Not to mention…" Fuuma stepped close enough that his breath tickled Subaru’s face. "A twenty-five year-old virgin would be an awfully sad thing. I think I would feel compelled to do something about that."

"And you do love to fuck the innocents, don't you?"

"You're hardly anyone's description of an innocent, Subaru. Seishirou fucked you over in more ways than one."

Subaru raised his cigarette to his lips. Fuuma allowed him one drag before reaching out and taking the cigarette form him, his fingers lingering over Subaru’s lips an instant longer than necessary.

The Kamui of the Dragons of Earth had the rather irritating habit of taking halfway-smoked cigarettes right from Subaru’s mouth, taking one or two drags on it, and invariably throwing away the remainder. This meant that when Fuuma was around, Subaru went through twice as many cigarettes as he normally would have. Add to this the fact that every other comment out of Fuuma managed to set his teeth on edge so that he /needed/ the calming effects of nicotine, and it was a wonder that he wasn’t up to /three/ packs a day.

Why Fuuma got to him so easily was a small mystery in itself, considering that Subaru couldn’t manage to muster up any sort of strong emotion about anything else these days.

Still, his irritation (and anything else Fuuma's antics might make him feel) was locked away in a small shadowed corner of his soul. It was a safe place, surrounded by layers of safe indifference and dull pain. It was the same place where he'd kept his love for Seishirou, the place where his need and desire had remained tucked away for almost a decade before the sakurazukamori had seen fit to rip them out again. And even if Fuuma managed to prod and poke the cracks in Subaru's walls, what managed to escape the prison of his heart was dull and pale, merely the shadow of the things he managed to keep locked inside.

And so, Subaru had no trouble watching impassively as Fuuma took a long drag off the cigarette, his golden eyes falling closed as he inhaled the smoke, the light from a streetlight defining the chiseled features in sharp detail. The dark Kamui exhaled slowly through slightly parted lips.

However irritating and... Insolently /enticing/... Fuuma might be, he was not Seishirou. His hold over Subaru was based entirely on a consequential accident of fate: he was the Kamui of the Dragons of Earth and Subaru was one of his Angels. There was nothing really tying them together, no tight bonds of blood and love, no mysterious bets made amongst falling sakura. There no marks anywhere on Subaru's body that called out Fuuma's name incessantly.

"Are you sure you don't Wish it were otherwise?" Fuuma's voice was low enough that Subaru would have had trouble picking up the words had he not been inches away from the young man. His eyes remained closed.

"That /what/ were otherwise?"

Fuuma opened his eyes slowly. They were the clear predator's eyes again. The look he gave Subaru almost sent a shock of remembrance through his mind. He had seen that look in the dark Kamui's eyes before.

/Why does he look like Seishirou-san?/
/Because you Wish for it to be so./

Fuuma smiled then, a mixture of his usual sensual, taunting smirk, and something else, something darker, more knowing. He allowed the unfinished cigarette slide from his long fingers before catching Subaru's left hand and raising it to his mouth. His eyes never left Subaru's as he caught the tip of one of the glove's bloody fingers between his teeth. Fuuma tipped his head back and to one side, pulling the glove away. He let the glove fall from his mouth in the same way that he had let the cigarette fall from his hand.

"I think you know." He answered finally, tracing the inverted sakurazukamori star on the back of Subaru's bare hand.

Subaru allowed the contact for a second or two more, long enough so that when he pulled his hand from Fuuma’s grip it didn’t seem like his words or actions had fazed him. He knelt to retrieve his glove from where it had fallen at Fuuma’s feet.

As he straightened, his mismatched gaze met Fuuma’s golden eyes without betraying the slightest emotion.

And yet… there was something, wasn’t there? Something stirred as Fuuma’s eyes bore into his. There was anger, he recognized that easily enough now… but something else too. Something similar to the first stirring of hunger. Something he didn’t want to acknowledge, but those eyes saw it, knew what it was. Those eyes promised to ease that hunger.

Anger, hunger… and hatred too. Because this smirking young man had no right to invade his walls of indifference.

He turned and strode away. Fuuma’s laughter followed him.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Subaru didn’t see Fuuma again until he the following evening, when he was leaving Seishirou’s old house.

"Have a nice night at work, honey."

Subaru stopped in his tracks at the taunting voice and turned around. Fuuma stepped out of the shadows beneath the camellias and the sakura tree.

"Shall I wait up for you? Have some dinner waiting for you?" The young man continued with an amused smile as he approached Subaru, stopping less than a foot away from him.

"Can I borrow your toothpaste? I’ve forgotten mine." The voice, sensual to begin with, was loaded with suggestive nuances. As if he wasn’t asking for toothpaste at all.

"What are you talking about?" Subaru finally asked against his better judgement.

"Oh, I’m staying here tonight." Fuuma’s eyes sparkled with dark amusement. And something else too.

"Doesn’t the dark Kamui have anything /better/ to do?" Subaru allowed contempt to enter his tone.

Fuuma shrugged and grinned. "Not really, no. I’m bored."

/So you find this amusing, do you?/

Subaru paused to take out and light a cigarette. It bought him time before having to react. Finally he shrugged.

"Do whatever you want, I don’t care." He turned and began to walk away. He paused halfway to the gate, and called back without turning around. "Oh, and /Fuuma/, stay out of my bedroom."

Fuuma laughed. "Is that so?"

If Subaru had looked back then, he would have seen the flash of anger in Fuuma’s eyes.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Subaru returned home well after midnight. "Home" meaning the house where Seishirou had been born. It wasn’t his, really… but he didn’t really feel like he belonged anywhere else anymore, so he might as well call it that.

There was no sign of Fuuma anywhere that he could see. He wondered if the dark Kamui had gotten bored enough to leave. It seemed too much to hope for. Most likely, Fuuma had decided it would be amusing to invade Subaru’s bedroom. Precisely /because/ he had told him not to.

What had made him say that? He knew Fuuma well enough to know that telling him /not/ to do something was probably the quickest way to get him to do the opposite. Fuuma was the sort of person that breaks rules simply to prove he can.

He had reached his door by then. He pulled cold indifference round him like armor, or maybe more like a warm coat in a winter storm. He walked inside and flicked on the lights…

…and found the room empty.

Exactly as he’d left it. It was obvious that no one had been in here.

Subaru paused by the door for just a moment while he processed the surprise. He walked to the bed slowly, and took off the red trenchcoat — why was he wearing a coat Fuuma had given him? — and laid it on the bed. He tucked the almost empty pack of cigarettes into the back pocket of his pants before pulling his shirt over his head and letting it fall on top of the coat. He wanted to smoke before going to bed, wanted to feel the cool night breeze from the garden on his bare skin as he did so.

He never made it to the garden.

Walking down the hallway, he noticed that the door to one of the spare bedrooms was slightly ajar. He paused as he was about to pass it, and stood there for several moments, listening to the sounds of the house around him, before stepping to the threshold and looking inside. It took another half-minute or so for his eyes to adjust to the deeper darkness within the room.

He had found Fuuma.

His clothes were strewn haphazardly on the floor by the bed, completely ignoring even the chair that stood against a wall. Fuuma himself lay sprawled on his back in the wide bed, his eyes closed and his chest rising and falling in the rhythm of sleep. The scant light drifting in through the door behind Subaru chiseled the muscles on his smooth, bare torso. Subaru’s eyes followed the line of his stomach. The blankets were pushed dangerously low on his hips, enough to make it clear that Fuuma wasn’t wearing anything more on his lower half than he was above.

He stared. He couldn’t help it. No matter how irritating he was, Fuuma was also beautiful, Subaru would have had to be blind or dead to deny that. He was no longer half-blind, and despite his own assumptions, perhaps he wasn’t really half dead either. And in the dark, quiet blanket of the dark, he lowered his guard, allowed the walls around him to crumble a little, enough to recognize that first stirring of hunger as desire, and to realize that it wasn’t so easy to contain as he’d like to think.

Subaru leaned against the doorframe, his hands tightening into fists at his sides. Perhaps he trembled a little as he fought to push down his emotions.

"If you’re going to go, then go," the silence shattered like glass under the weight of Fuuma’s voice "But if you’re just going to stand there, why don’t you just come in here and give me a cigarette? I know you have them on you. You were going to smoke one outside."

Fuuma opened his eyes. They caught the light and shone golden, almost as bright as a cat’s, as he fixed Subaru with an unwavering stare. It was impossible to read the expression on his face.

He could have left. He could have turned, walked out, and closed the door. He could have gone to the garden and let the cold air scour his skin as he denied what Fuuma awoke in him, both desire and anger bordering on hate. It would have been a simple thing really, afterall, he had spent his life denying his emotions, his dreams, his needs.

But he didn’t. That night, Subaru had finally grown tired of living in denial.

He pushed himself off the door’s frame and walked slowly and deliberately into the room. Without asking or waiting for an invitation, he sat on the bed at Fuuma’s side, and wordlessly offered the younger man a cigarette.

Fuuma’s eyes shone even brighter, as if lit from within, as he accepted the cigarette without breaking eye contact. This close to him, Subaru could see a hint of the insolent smirk playing on the corners of his lips.

Prologue | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4