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22 June 2014 @ 06:16 pm
Their destiny was foreordained… Or not? Part 3: Subaru  
And Subaru? How much fate played in his life?

More than fate, Subaru’s life was pulled by others so he’s more a victim of the bonds that others tied around him with his own permission than someone who goes out and makes ties for others.

Most of the time in fact, in order not to cause hardship to others, Subaru suppresses his own will... or better he willingly will choose to go through their plans instead than doing what he wants. He’ll do his best to follow the will of other people, basically destroying his own. He became an Onmyouji because his family wants it, he dresses up in a certain way because Hokuto wants it, he let Seishiro do this or that because Seishiro wants it.

There’s to say that Subaru believes himself of little worth and, although he knows others will worry about him and that would be mean of him to make them worry, he can’t still wrap his mind about his existence being precious. It’s not he doesn’t have a will of his own, he has and he can be stubborn about it if he so chose but his will always comes after the one of the other people... so much he’ll end up failing to put things into the right proportion and will consider acceptable to allow a woman to stab him so she would calm herself.

When Subaru meets someone he always ends up fully tied by the bond that is born, almost strangled by it, even if for the other person he’s just a casual meeting that he’ll soon forget. Subaru simply gives too much of himself. He’s so out to protect others, he’s so worried about the consequences his actions can have on others that, when he tries to stop a woman from using a curse to murder a man he’ll berates himself for lying to her and forcing his own view on her, that he worries about returning a spell, in a rather tame manner, against some girls that attacked him, that he’s always out on trying to manage on his own, on working himself out, on trying to stop people from doing whatever could trouble them on his own account. They must not even worry about him.

Opposite to Seishiro who acts as he pleases and doesn’t worry about consequences for others, Subaru is so worried about them he has a hard time acting according to his own will and ends up being forced to do things that’ll humour others… though being forced isn’t the exact way to put it. It’s not that someone is really forcing Subaru, Subaru is perfectly capable to say no but… causing troubles for him would be so painful… his best option is to say yes. It’s his decision to say yes, in fact he has the resolve to follow it but… the happiness that comes to him from it is… second handed, a mere reflexion.

Subaru is the living demonstration of what happens when one gives too much without getting paid back, opposite to Seishiro that, in relation to people, gave nothing.

And in a way they too are destroyed by the unbalance. Subaru’s own self is nullified because he’s supposed to follow other people’s will, Seishiro’s own self isn’t acknowledged by others because no one truly enters in contact with it, as Seishiro generally avoids contact and when he searches for it places a mask on himself. In a way neither of them truly exist.

Back to Subaru, for his own destruction, before Seishiro we should probably blame his grandmother and Hokuto, who were always imposing on him, continually demanding things from him, subconsciously destroying him, nullifying his wishes and will each passing day a little more, also by playing on the fact he loves them and he’s happy if they’re happy so this covers up for his unhappiness in not being free to do what he wishes. The sad thing is that they do it armed with the best intentions so they can’t even realize the damage they’re doing or thinks it’s a fair price because ‘they’re acting for the better’. Drastically, when Subaru will finally start to consider to fulfil his own wish first, it’ll be too late for him to nurture one of the dreams he has suppressed and all he’ll manage to come up as a wish will be to destroy himself... and still feel guilty because it’ll cause other people’s pain.

Still, even Subaru has some freedom of choice in his own fate right from the beginning.

Apart from choosing to fulfil other people’s wishes and needs first, and his own after, he’ll choose to go and check the place where Seishiro is. He’ll choose to exorcise the Sakura for which he’s sorry. He’ll choose the words that will affect Seishiro in his choice.

To Subaru’s defence it can be said he can’t picture the consequences his choices will have. He’s too young and the situation is too complicate. He’s trying to do the right thing, although he has a feeling he shouldn’t have gone there, his wish is to try and help others. He means well. And can’t even begin to imagine such consequences will come out from his acts of kindness. The road to his personal hell was really only paved by his good intentions toward others.

Anyway with his actions Subaru ends up being tied by Seishiro and unconsciously tying Seishiro to himself. Probably he didn’t even expect the latter as he seems to believe he’s of so little worth no one would end up so invested in him and even if he had considered the possibility… well, what will happen later was likely beyond what he could imagine.

So, even if Subaru takes some choices of his own free will he doesn’t have the ability to make informed decisions. In a way it’s a pointless freedom as he can’t know what would be the right thing to do, the right path to take. An older, wiser Subaru might have been more aware of the risks, more wary of his actions but little Subaru… it’s hard to hold him fully responsible for something this big.

So let’s move forward.

Subaru’s choice to let other people’s will come first than his own will end up putting some serious restrains over the choices he can take. Subaru tries to balance the two but end up sacrificing more and more of himself. Even Hokuto realizes this is a dangerous thing to do so she’d like for him not to do it and find something for himself for which he would be willing to fight. And when Hokuto meets Seishiro she decides Seishiro will be that person and basically do her best to rope Subaru around him… basically stepping over Subaru’s will in attempt to boost Subaru’s will. Yes, the irony of it would be hilarious if the story weren’t to end so tragically.

Hokuto meant well, she wanted to give to Subaru what he didn’t dare to take for himself but… in the end she made things worse.

Subaru’s grandmother isn’t any better. Subaru isn’t suited for the work as Onmyouji and clan head, he doesn’t even like it, he’d like to do something completely different but… she roped him into the position… and he let her. She knows he’s in danger due to the Sakurazukamori but, apart from putting on him spelled gloves and telling him to never remove them she… doesn’t really protect him. She sent him to Tokyo, where she knows the Sakurazukamori also work, to work as an Onmyouji, knowing his path and the Sakurazukamori’s path can cross and didn’t explain him nothing of the fact he’s under direct danger nor put herself or someone else next to him which might judge people around Subaru better and shield him from making bad meetings.

I was always appalled by how they decided to give Subaru an aide, Amano, after everything was happened and not sooner.

Though, to Subaru’s grandmother’s credits, she too was thinking she was protecting Subaru by not letting him know he was a target so that he could live more freely. Too bad she also choose to sacrifice her grandson’s dreams and safety to clan duties.

And where Subaru stands among those peoples that try to rope him toward certain directions?

Subaru respects their own wills more than his own and this will be his downfall.

He’ll choose to keep on being an Onmyouji although he doesn’t like it.

He’ll choose to let Hokuto drag him into dates with Seishiro, confusing his perception of his relation with Seishiro as he believes Hokuto and Seishiro are joining forces into making fun of him more than Seishiro being serious… and this gives him reasons not to seriously think at this own relationship with Seishiro until it’s too late.

He’ll choose not to push the subject of the gloves with his grandmother but merely to wear them as she wishes, so he comes completely and utterly unprepared to the possibility he might end up facing the Sakurazukamori as he’d been taught the Sakurazukamori always kills who he were to meet and so to him it’s unbelievable he could have a connection with the Sakurazukamori.

He’ll choose to ignore all the warning bells that point at Seishiro as someone who might not be who he is and never question him when something doesn’t add up or when Seishiro switches the subject, respecting Seishiro’s wish for privacy and accepting nearly all he says at face value (apart for the ‘I love you, Subaru-kun’ as Subaru has so little self appreciation it’s hard for him to think someone would love him but doesn’t take it as a lie but just as a joke Seishiro keeps on making) which will come crashing down horribly when he’ll learn he’d been fed lies over and over, that he basically knows nothing and understood nothing of the person he discovered to love and that said person doesn’t even feel sympathy for him but it’s completely indifferent to him. Ironically though he will take the new truths Seishiro will reveal about himself always at face value, failing to realize the thing that Seishiro is doing his best not to see, that they’re connected and it’s a connection that works both ways, regardless of Seishiro’s will and words.

He’ll choose to ignore his warning dreams... though it seems he remembered nearly nothing of them so it’s hard for him to consciously pay attention to them... through the fact he can’t remember then either has to be ascribed to Seishiro’s memory spell or to Subaru’s subconscious will not to see, not to face the problem at hands.

Subaru ends up on choosing to put himself on a passive role to please others and others… will end up on stepping on him.

Ironically, by not taking action, Subaru also let Seishiro with no other choice but to follow the path he chose because he’s not shown deviations or is forced to make some.

So, with Seishiro free to do as he please and Subaru going blindly through the path others want him to take because he’s not good at telling them no, the two walks toward disaster. Always ironically they follow a common path lead by their will but actually they aren’t walking together. They aren’t even aware of each other’s presence and this stop them from understanding each other and themselves.

Seishiro, set on wearing a mask, can’t really get close to Subaru or so he believes. As said before he tells himself it’s all an act, so he became unable to distinguish between truth and his own lies.

Subaru, so set in respecting others’ needs and wishes doesn’t try to force his way in Seishiro’s world either, failing to get close to him. He won’t question him, he won’t doubt him, he won’t argue with him, even when things are suspicious, even when it’s obvious Seishiro’s not a nice person, Subaru will continue to believe in him, giving out the impression he doesn’t see Seishiro at all, just the illusion he projects and not that he saw the shadows around Seishiro and yet willingly decided to accept Seishiro regardless, still trusting him despite the fact Seishiro might be tricking him. Subaru has his own suspicions but doesn’t call them out as it’ll be rude if not mean, so Seishiro has the feeling Subaru doesn’t see his dark side at all.

Subaru’s quiet and honest acceptance becomes something that deceives Seishiro into thinking Subaru doesn’t see him. What could have led them closer becomes a barrier.

The difference between the two mindsets become obvious at the hospital. Subaru feels guilty for what had happened to Seishiro, while Seishiro feels by protecting Subaru he has merely done what he wanted. Seishiro doesn’t understand why Subaru would feel guilty, failing to understand the tie he had with Subaru, while Subaru doesn’t understand why Seishiro wouldn’t blame him for the incident, which is also a failure in understanding the tie they had. They don’t understand they care for each other so Subaru’s guilt as well as Seishiro’s protective actions come as hard to understand for them.

Seishiro, who values his freedom, thinks Subaru should be angry because he ‘got in the way of Subaru’s will’. Subaru, who values others more than himself, thinks he had forced Seishiro to save him.

Neither had care for himself, neither realized the other didn’t want to see him hurt. Neither is aware of their connection.

Hokuto will try to make them both see the truth but Subaru will see it too late while Seishiro will… simply reject it. The truth he wanted after all wasn’t if Sumeragi Subaru could fall in love or not for the kind veterinary Sakurazuka Seishiro but if Sakurazuka Seishiro, Sakurazukamori, could fall in love for Sumeragi Subaru. Subaru loving an illusion of his own creation is of no interest to Seishiro.

Scarily enough losing his eye is also of no interest to him. Sure, he’ll take revenge on Yuya’s mom by letting the press know about what she did, but he’s absolutely unfazed by his own loss. Setsuka’s words were true after all. He doesn’t care that much about himself, he’s surprised that Subaru could care but this… is secondary as Subaru doesn’t care for him but for an illusion… or so he tells to himself.

Maybe the problem is that while Seishiro wraps Subaru tightly in his own ropes, Subaru does it so gently Seishiro doesn’t even realize. Because yes, all the actions Subaru chooses to make or not to make has to affect Seishiro but Seishiro doesn’t realize it so he continues to march toward the path he had set, without seeing the ropes all around him.

Although Subaru won’t manage to stop Seishiro’s path openly… he’ll end up deviating it subtly. By the end of the year, Seishiro believes he can kill Subaru and yet… he won’t manage to do so.

For Subaru though, all this will be simply too much. He has realized he loves Seishiro, for the first time he wants something for himself, for the first time someone is definitely different from anyone else, definitely more important, definitely vital to him, for once he wants honestly connect with a person, to open up his heart to him and… and he sees his wish stepped over.

He’s nothing to Seishiro or so Seishiro says and since Subaru always believes to Seishiro he doesn’t really try to question this much. After having his most important wish trampled over, after being told he’s nothing by the person that matter the most to him, after Seishiro let him understand he has to kill him now… Subaru simply shut up. He has nothing to fight anymore, he’s nothing anymore and Seishiro want him dead so… why fighting it?

In short he’ll let Seishiro free to continue pursuing his own will, not daring to impose his own.

And this is bound to lead to tragedy.

“For any wish you must pay a price that is exactly equal in nature. No more. No less. It must be perfectly in balance. Otherwise someone will get hurt.” (Ichihara Yuko, “xxxHOLiC” Chap. 1)

Subaru’s wish was to let others free to do as they please, without restraining them. As a consequence, Seishiro will lose his eye, Subaru’s grandmother will end on a wheelchair and Hokuto will have Seishiro kill her. Subaru also wished Seishiro won’t hate him. Seishiro won’t. It’ll bring no good to Subaru.

Seishiro’s wish was to use Subaru to either prove he couldn’t love or, if fate won’t allow it, to end up facing the beautiful death his mother faced. He ends up losing his eye and his persona as veterinarian, unable to kill Subaru and unable to get killed by him, in short stuck between the two. And while this price might seem smaller compared to what Subaru paid, we know somehow Seishiro is so damaged inside that, in the long run, instead to just continue with his life, he’ll choose to force Subaru to end his life without really enjoying much of the love he felt and that was returned by Subaru.

In short, one by giving too much freedom, and one by acting too much freely, they created an imbalance.

Hokuto will try to fix it by offering her life so as to help Subaru that not everything is lost and by to help Seishiro realize that he can love and that Subaru loves him back.

It’ll backfire horribly.

Subaru will choose to wake up because, as Kakyou, will wish to try and save Hokuto and, as Kakyou, will be too late in doing so and then… what?

Hokuto had apparently changed his path but actually it’s all an illusion. She wanted Subaru to live and Subaru will try doing so, will try to change himself, will try to get rid of Seishiro, either the Seishiro in his heart or the real Seishiro, it doesn’t really matter which one he really tries to change himself.

Sure, he doesn’t do a spectacularly good job at it as he’s still too sensible to people’s pain to just overlook them but he tries… even though this does actually more harm to his own self than good.

He quit school, but continuing it was his own wish, so he merely gave up on his own wish. He changed his hairstyle and stopped wearing he clothes Hokuto would pick for him, but Hokuto’s not there to tell him how to dress so it’s not like he’s fighting her or denying her something, she’s just not around anymore so her will isn’t there to influence him anymore. He continues being an Onmyouji, working for his family, a thing he didn’t want to do. He says it’s in order to meet Seishiro, to face Seishiro, to deal with what Seishiro did to him. He mostly quit speaking with ghosts, interacting with others, he even keeps the Ten no Ryu and his own family distant, he doesn’t answers to phone calls from his grandmother but let the answering machine do the job, he remains alone because Subaru is still nice, Subaru cares for others, we can see it in the way he cares for Kamui, in the way he’s trying to help him and yet rejecting other people’s care because he’s a ‘selfish person’ or so he thinks. Truth to be told he doesn’t want others to suffer on his account and by keeping them at distance he thinks they won’t suffer if something were to befall on him.

Because something is going to befall on him, because…

“Family is other people. No matter how close your blood relationship is…no matter what your relationship may be… Anyone other than you is not you! And so you have to think it over and decide for yourself! Take away other people’s wants and needs, and decide is this something that is necessary for you! It may cause hardship to others…but you want it. That’s your free will right there! But you ignore that and decide based on someone else’s advice, because decency demands it, because people say it’s awful, you will fail to quit. No one could succeed that way! You don’t understand what you’re trying to do. With that as your background, how do you expect to make a promise to yourself?” (Ichihara Yuko, “xxxHOLiC” Chap. 7)

Subaru, in the end, can’t continue on living as Hokuto wanted.

The more he thinks he must forget Seishiro, the more he thinks of Seishiro. His life start to circle all around that lone wish he can’t let go of and that he believes won’t be fulfilled because he’s not the sort of person who would be able to impose his own feelings on others. It’ll get so bad that everything else will fade into the background and only Seishiro will remain as a focus to all his thoughts and actions. He even picks up his smoking habit and becomes an obsessive chain smoker, the scent of smoke that was probably on Seishiro’s clothes now wrapped all around him like a protective cover, a security blanket.

It’s rather sad how, to please Kamui, he’ll quit smoking in front of him, to give him the impression he helped… to resume smoking as soon as Kamui’s out of sight.

Still Subaru won’t choose to try to force Seishiro to love him.

Seishiro though as an unfinished business with him. He was supposed to kill him off. Subaru will try to make himself at least that noticeable to get Seishiro to kill him.

It’s not that Subaru isn’t aware his own choice will trouble others, actually, in order to trouble them as little as possible, Subaru will try to distance himself from others as much as he could and he probably got closer to Kamui merely because Kamui needed it.

The real problem is that Subaru thinks the only person Subaru doesn’t want to trouble with the consequences of his actions, the only person he wants to protect… well, that person won’t be troubled at all if Subaru were to die. That person despised him, or so Subaru thinks, and because Subaru didn’t react. Subaru wants to show him he can fight back. We’re back to the same old scheme, while trying to pursue his wish, Subaru is unconsciously trying to please Seishiro. He doesn’t want to disappoint him because, in his own way he’s trying still to understand him but he has simply too little to work with.

Subaru’s choices are led by false beliefs, generated by the deception perpetrated by Seishiro. Subaru’s still not meaning any real harm to him, he’s just trying to do what he thinks Seishiro would appreciate him to do while at the same time pursuing his wish.

In the end he’ll fail at both goals. He won’t purposely be a threat to Seishiro, nor he’ll get Seishiro to kill him.

Subaru will have his will trampled over again by Seishiro and apparently he’ll live the rest of his life trying to fulfil Seishiro’s wish instead than his own.

His choice yes. Though is options were really poor. In a way he’s like Kotori, unable to take better choices due to the ties in which he’s wrapped so that the choices he make might not matter much. Still… he chose. It wasn’t fate, it was just the options he was given considering the sort of person he was and the information he had at hand weren’t great. He was more constricted in his choices than Seishiro, yes. Still, he tried and by the time ‘X’ was interrupted he was still trying. Even though he’s broken hearted and doesn’t care for the end of the world he’s still trying to help Kamui make the right choice. Likely not only out of friendship but because he had tried first person how horrible is to make the wrong one.

So, let’s not wave their story away with a ‘it was fated not to work’.

They just believed it couldn’t work, they didn’t believe in it to work, they didn’t try to make it work so… it couldn’t possibly work. But it wasn’t fate. It was them making the wrong choices but it was still their choices. And if they had been able to chose differently, things would have ended up differently. And that’s the sad truth about all this.

Things didn’t go wrong because there wasn’t another way for them to go. They went wrong due to the very human mistakes Seishiro, Subaru and the people around them made, mistakes Subaru is hopefully helping Kamui not to make.

And the fact they could have had a chance but weren’t able to catch it is what hurts the most.