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fic: Affinity
Rate: T
Pairings: A little DouWata, a little Sei-chan/Subaru, a little Sei-chan/Wata, if you don't find it too creepy.
Disclaimer: Holic X/1999 and Tolyo Babylon are not mine
Summary: Of all places in Tokyo, Watanuki Kimihiro is terrified of Ueno Park the most. GIGANTIC SPOILERS FOR TOKYO BABYLON, X1999 and XXXHOLIC. Crossover. Shounenai.
posted on 2-26-07




Chapter 1: Tokyo Girl

Of all places in Tokyo, Watanuki Kimihiro is terrified of Ueno Park the most.

He had been an orphan for six months when his guardians decided to take him there to distract his mind of everything supernatural and funereal. And it worked nicely, for little Kimihiro was immediately astonished at the beauty of the avenues and sculptures, the richly carved designs of Toshogu Shrine, the cute penguins of Ueno Zoo, and the hundreds and hundreds of sakura trees that seemed to be everywhere, shading his path with their ancient, contorted limbs.

Dazzled by thousands of people of all ages, the shy, bereaved boy soon grew bold and darted into the crowd, which grew thicker and thicker as he ran up the avenues.

As he progressed, Watanuki realised most people seemed to cluster around a gigantic sakura tree, and he really couldn’t blame them, for that was the most beautiful tree in the whole Park, heavy with pink blossoms and mysterious branches it seemed to rule all everything around like an Empress. Feeling a strange surge of fear and adrenaline hammering into his heart, but fascinated all the same, he circumnavigated all those Ueno visitors and drew closer with careful steps towards the bark, for the welcoming, gigantic tree looked like something to be approached with deep respect and awe.

His path was suddenly blocked by a short-haired girl. She wore a strange white outfit that made him think of priests and magicians. She was not scary, but Watanuki thought she looked a little worried and cross.

“Little boy, this is not your place. Go away before he finds you.”

He blinked and looked over the girl’s shoulders, where the transfixing pink branches crisscrossed the sky as if reaching for him. The girl, as if realising he was not going anywhere, let out an exasperated sigh, placed her hands on her hips and then smiled spiritedly.

“Look, I will take you back to your parents. He is particularly fond of special boys like you and you shouldn’t be here at all.”

“Mom and dad are gone.” Watanuki informed vaguely and then smiled, pointing in the Shinobazu Pond’s direction. “But my guardians are over there.”

That seemed to be information enough for the girl, who immediately grasped Watanuki’s long sleeve and dragged him across the masses of people, away from the beautiful sakura tree. Watanuki stumbled after her with his little legs, wondering why the girl was in such a hurry, but enjoying her company all the same.

He spotted his guardians and ran to them merrily, just to find out they had been worried to death.

“Kimihiro! Where have you been?”

Watanuki was too innocent and excitedl to feel guilt right away. He had seen beautiful things and found a new friend. He wanted to let his guardians know. Sure they would understand.

“I found this huge tree and there were many, many flowers.” he said, opening his arms wide to show how big the tree was. “Then came that nice girl over there and she helped me find you in the middle of all the people!”

His guardians exchanged strange, concerned looks. They knelt gently by his side and held him close.

“Kimihiro honey. There is no girl. No people. It’s Winter darling. The Park is pretty empty.”

Watanuki turned around with a tiny gasp, just to find out the girl in the strange outfit was gone. But the hundreds and hundreds of people were not. And for the first time, Watanuki realised they were all staring at him.

----------------------------------------------------

Note: I like to play with the idea that little Subaru and Kimihiro would react to the Sakura tree differently because although they are both seers, they are also different people. Little Subaru was a Someragi, an exorcist in training who was well versed in Order magic, while Kimihiro seems to be more into intuition and the forces of nature. You will see more of that later. :-)

----------------------------------------------------







Chapter 2: Wishful Assassin

It’s a freezing winter night and Ueno Park is covered by spirits and mist. They are all staring at him, silent and unmoving, some of them wear outfits that must be centuries old, even samurai armours and Edo courtesan dresses. Some of them move their lips silently as if trying to say something urgent, but whispers are all Watanuki can hear through the veil of time and wind.

It’s like walking on a neglected graveyard. His stomach is turning, his brain is shutting down. The spirits’ destiny lines, thick and thin, unroll from their pinkies and converge like spider webs to the roots of a single gigantic Sakura tree.

Doumeki, who can’t see anything but dormant vegetation and snow in the night, squeezes Watanuki’s hand just like Yuuko told him to do. He asks quietly, stoic voice rising like a wave of normalcy over Watanuki’s mounting panic. “Where?”

“Up there.” Watanuki says, pointing at the mother of all Sakura trees, blossoming luxuriantly in the winter’s night, beautiful flowers painted pink with blood. This time Doumeki can see it too. His eyebrows frown slightly and his grip on Watanuki’s hand grows tighter.

They draw closer as the congregation of spirits step back as if they were royalty, forced away by the natural repellent that is Doumeki. Watanuki reaches out for the majestic Sakura, shaking hand hovering over the ancient bark, as if afraid of getting burn.

“I don’t understand.” Watanuki whispers. “It feeds on all these spirits and deaths – it’s still feeding. Shouldn’t I be coughing my lungs out? There is so much mist. But it is grey. Always grey. Yuuko would know…”

“Why should she stink and make you cough, young man? Sure you know better than that.”

It’s a disembodied, sensuous male voice. It feels real and yet it feels like it’s coming from every one of Watanuki’s bones.

“It only feeds because it’s hungry. It’s no more malevolent than a Siberian tiger. No more malicious than a typhoon. No more brutal than time itself. It only does what it was born to do.”

Watanuki and Doumeki raise their eyes and find a man perching peacefully on one of the tallest branches. He wears a black trench coat and sunglasses, of all things, and he is smiling as calmly as an enlightened monk or a miscreant on opium. The grey mist is much thicker around him, enveloping his tall body like a blanket. With a swift movement, he drops from the tree and lands on perfectly waxed leather shoes, followed by a rain of Sakura petals. Watanuki doesn’t have a chance to draw back because Doumeki has already pulled him behind himself, protecting him with his own body and soul.

Creepy and intense, the man doesn’t draw closer, but doesn’t stop smiling either. Watanuki, realises with horror that he can like this man if he tries, love him even, and die with a smile on his face while he feeds him to that beautiful tree.

Siberian tiger and typhoon. Time itself. He only does what he is born to do.

“I’m the former Guardian of the Sakura Tree’s Tomb.” The tall man announces, lighting a cigarette and dragging on it with deep pleasure, curling tobacco smoke melting in the ghostly mist. “What are you fascinating young men doing here?”

“Ichihara Yuuko.” Watanuki stammers and the man’s urbane smile becomes a sharp grin of recognition.

“Never forgets a good sell, does she?” He sighs jovially. And before Watanuki can answer that the man shoots upwards back to the tree. There is a tiny rain of pink petals and the man drops again. This time with a tiny, frail-looking Sakura shrub in his black gloved hands, ball roots carefully wrapped with a white blanket.

“Tell her it must be planted during Spring. Until then the roots must not be exposed to the light of the sun under any circumstances. It must be watered and, most importantly, it must be fed regularly.” Stretching his arms, he offers the frail baby plant to Watanuki. The boy gingerly leaves his safe place behind Doumeki to accept the offering with a respectful bow.

That seems to please the man endlessly. The man grins so charmingly it makes Watanuki’s legs weak to the point he forgets Himawari-chan completely.

“It was really hard to persuade the Sakura to part from it.” He comments, his voice dropping to a lower timbre, his ubiquitous smile pulling sideways.

“T-thank you.” Watanuki stammers politely, and before he can step back, the man touches his pinkie lightly, sending freezing shivers down his spine and an almost sexual gasp out of his mouth.

Doumeki steps forward and clutches Watanuki’s shoulders so brutually it hurts, but the man has already stepped back, looking really amused.

“You can’t move that finger anymore, can you? That has just saved your life. Your boss is very shrewd indeed. Please do tell her to not get too mad at me. You are way too alluring and I had to try.”

Doumeki is fast, but he is not as fast as an extremely qualified professional assassin, which is probably why Watanuki ends up being kissed. The man’s lips pressed gently to his, teasing and delicious and domineering and…

As if nothing ever happened, the man draws back while both boys stare at him in shock and horror, although Watanuki is not half as horrified as he knows he should be and that only makes him even more horrified.

The man licks his lips like a naughty child and looks at them longingly. Watanuki can’t tell if he just misses company or is considering murder axing them, but he realises that doesn’t make any difference.

“What did you wish for?” cuts in Doumeki bluntly, killing the mood like a fallen piano.

Watanuki winces, but the man is unfazed and joyful as always.

“Well that’s sort of embarrassing.” He says as he drags on his cigarette, not sounding embarrassed at all. “I wished for True Love. And I wished for a successor. It was the same wish, really.” He grins and adds with a certain pride in his voice. “If you ever meet him, be careful, my intriguing young men. He is much more dangerous than I ever was – he has a conscience, you see.”

Taking another drag on his cigarette, the man leans on the tree bark, raises his sunglasses and winks playfully at them. Wish a shudder, Watanuki looks away so he won’t stare at the man’s pair of milky white eyes.

“If he ever finds out you can see me, he will never let you go. He has hundreds of questions to ask me, but not a single one I intend to answer.”

Tigers, and typhoons, time itself. True Love and successors. Watanuki buttons his coat up to his chin, takes a last look at the mysterious Sakura tree and it’s faithful guardian, and decides it is high time to return to his relatively simpler life.

------------------------

Note:

Sometimes Doumeki sees things after Watanuki has seen them. Especially after the whole eye incident. I’ve shamelessly taken advantage of that.

----------------------






Chapter 3: Man with a Conscience

At Ueno’s exit, Doumeki and Watanuki cross paths with a young man holding two bouquets of red camellias close to his heart. He is standing elegant and sober across the street, dressed much like Yuuko’s former client, but no sunglasses.

Instead, he wears the saddest pair of eyes Watanuki has ever seen - one greenish, the other dark.

Closing his own mismatched eyes, Watanuki bends down and throws up all over the sidewalk, shaking in agony as Doumeki dashes forward and wraps his arms protectively around him.

“Is he okay?” asks the young man solicitously as he crosses the street, a worried look on his face.

“He is fine.” growls Doumeki, as if daring him to get near.

“Are you sure?” The young man asks gently and then his expressive eyes land on the sakura shrub in Watanuki’s hands. Something changes: the man’s face, the temperature, the light .Watanuki watches as he reaches into one of his sleeves, swiftly bringing out what looks like cards, but don’t feel, don’t smell and don’t move like cards at all.

Domeki is already shelteringWatanuki with his own body, glaring defiantly while the other boy tries desperately to push him away, save the idiot’s life before it’s too damn late.

And then the young man stops that gesture in midair, head tilted to one side. Over his own coughing, Watanuki hears whispers in the wind like tree leaves mumuring in a soft breeze. Those whispers are not human, they have never been human and they never will be.

They are whispers of hunger.

The young man hides his strange cards again and gives the boys another curious look before turning around without a single word, his coat billowing in the cutting winter wind. He lights a cigarette just like the man in the tree and enters the Park with his camellias. The hundreds of spirits immediately envelop him like converging dark water, a long trail of putrid black smoke in his wake.

Only after he is completely out of sight the boys realise they are surrounded by delicate Sakura petals.

Like a concerned mother, Doumeki pushes Watanuki’s face to his chest, so the other boy might breathe. His friend is clinging to him, still gasping and coughing, involuntary tears streaming down his eyes.

“Was the stench that bad?” asks Doumeki, hauling Watanuki up to his feet. The other boy wipes his face with the back of his sleeve and shakes his head.

“That guy… He reminded me of me, felt just like me...could have been me.”

“Idiot.” Doumeki replies tersely. He tucks his hands into his coat pockets and crosses the street.

"Who are you calling an idiot?", Watanuki asks weakly to nobody in special. With a resigned sigh, he follows Doumeki as he promises himself for the second time in his life that he will never go back to Ueno Park again.

Clutching the tiny Sakura shrub to his chest, he wonders if that is a promise he can keep.

Owari.

---------------------

Notes:

1. Subaru’s flowers are for Seishirou and Hokuto, of course. Not sure if you are nerdy enough to remember that, but camellias were Sakurazuka Setzuka’s favourite flowers. :-)

2. Don’t ask me what Yuuko will do with the sakura shrub. It’s obviously an extremely precious item. She might sell it to somebody who has “affinity” with it… or not. ;-)

Date: 2007-09-16 04:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aishuu.livejournal.com
this is lovely - i like how it's set up, and the whole seishirou section is just brilliant - especially the description of the tree as a force of nature.

Date: 2007-09-20 11:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-fic.livejournal.com
Hi! Thanks for reviewing. How did you find me? :-D

Date: 2007-09-21 12:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aishuu.livejournal.com
I think it was through the [livejournal.com profile] prophecie community...

Date: 2007-09-29 07:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] realms-of-life.livejournal.com
Oh my, I got recced! That's so strange. :)

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