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04 January 2015 @ 02:39 am
Fanfic: The Things You Do - Chap 5 - Part 3  
Title: "The Things You Do - Chap 5 - Part 3"
Author: J.J.
Warning: It's an AU BASED ON THE MANGA. It contains some Japanese words (the Dictionary is at the bottom), some OOC, a bit of sappiness, incest, mentions of abuse, violence and other stuffs I might have forgot...
Notes: Teenager Subaru and Teenager Seishiro had taken control of my brain… help!
"Tokyo Babylon" and "X" belong to Clamp. I'm merely using their characters because I love them... especially Seishiro and Subaru...
Ehy, do I own something here? Oh yes, I own the plot and a sensible heart which would surely break if you give me harsh reviews... so please be honest but nice ok?
Summary: There are things worth doing everything...

Seishiro didn’t waste time thinking at why Subaru might be calling for him, he merely jumped up and rushed to him, roughly moving out of his way whatever could stop him in his run. He had an odd sense of déjà vu when he barged into Subaru’s room, pushed away the nurses and took a sobbing Subaru in his arms.

“I’m here. What’s wrong? I’m here. What did they do to you? I’m here,” he assured but Subaru just sobbed and called his name, trying to cling to him, though his strength was fading quickly while behind him the nurses who had been in the room with Subaru where talking with the doctor about how they found ‘the patient’ agitated and how, when they tried to calm him down, things only got worse. It didn’t help any Seishiro to understand what was wrong with Subaru, what had upset him so, leaving him with the only option of continuously repeating Subaru he was there.

It worked somehow as Subaru’s sobbing faded into quiet sniffling as the boy calmed down, although he refused to explain himself to Seishiro or to the doctor.

He let himself be placed back on the bed and visited though, allowing the doctor to fix his bandages better, even if he refused to let go of Seishiro’s sleeve during the whole examination and continued to cling to it even when the doctor left them alone. Seishiro let him. Personally he much preferred Subaru when he was clingy that when he was pushing him away even though Subaru continued to refuse to speak to him.

Seishiro wasn’t sure what to think.

Was Subaru acting like that because Subaru was angry at him? Or was it because he couldn’t see? As horrible as the idea that Subaru could be angry at him was, the idea that he had caused Subaru to be like that, to feel all the doctor had said he could be feeling wasn’t anything better.

He frowned as he saw Subaru clinging his sleeve a little tighter as he curled on himself more and began to tremble slightly.

“Are you all right? Do you want me to go call a doctor?” he asked worriedly but Subaru merely shook his head jerkily. “Subaru…” he tried again, stretching his hand toward him to check his temperature but, as soon as his fingers brushed him, Subaru pulled back, as if burned, his breathing speeding up. He was still clinging to Seishiro’s sleeve though.

“Subaru?” he called staring at the pale boy, worried by his reaction. Why Subaru didn’t want him to touch him? Was he angry at him? But then why was he still clinging to his sleeve as if he wanted him there? Was he acting so strangely due to the fact he couldn’t see?

“Se… Seishiro?” Subaru stammered hesitantly.

“What’s wrong? You sure you don’t want me to…”

“I said not to call a doctor!” Subaru snapped then, as he covered his mouth as if he realized only then what he’d said. “S-sorry, I’m sorry, I…” Seishiro, who had winced at Subaru’s outburst, swallowed. When Subaru yelled at him… it hurt.

More than any wound he ever received although not so much as when he had believed Subaru was…

He swallowed again.

His fault.

He had let it happen.

He just… had let it happen so it was fair if Subaru now was angry at him, if Subaru…

He swallowed a third time. He’d never been good at dealing with a Subaru that was angry with him. In his own way he fought so hard to receive Subaru’s attention, Subaru’s affection so each time he believed he could lose it he… he felt lost. It was like falling in a dark, dark hole and he couldn’t bear it and a side of him wanted to escape that feeling, to escape that situation and yet… he was afraid if he were to leave Subaru… Subaru might not want him around anymore so… so… he should do something only… only his mind was blank and his throat hurt and his body trembled and he… he…

Meanwhile silence had fallen again, oppressive and unpleasant and Subaru really hated it but, although he tried, he really couldn’t manage to… say something, anything to break it. He was scared and unhappy and wasn’t really feeling well and Seishiro… Seishiro… he had no idea, he wasn’t sure he wanted to know, he was so afraid they would argue again, that Seishiro would leave him again he simply couldn’t speak. He tensed when he felt Seishiro’s moving, a weight (Seishiro’s weight?) being moved from the bed and… and… Seishiro wouldn’t leave him, would he?

He had to say something, anything but somehow he couldn’t force out not even an ‘I’m sorry’. He gasped as he felt his hand being grabbed by two hands all of sudden and pulled against a familiar cheek.

“S-Seishiro?” he asked in confusion. It couldn’t be anyone else though, but at first he didn’t understand what was going on then…

“Sorry. Sorry, sorry, sorry. I’m sorry, Subaru, I’m sorry. I’m… sorry…” Seishiro simply repeated, holding Subaru’s hand tightly and Subaru would have liked to ask ‘why are you sorry? What are you sorry about?’ but all he managed was a ‘Seishiro’ in an half begging tone because Seishiro couldn’t be apologizing because he wanted to dump him, could he? No, it was irrational, it was stupid, it was…

‘Perfectly understandable considering which sort of failure you are. You’re such an useless boy he likely can’t help but wish to lea-…’

“Please, don’t!” he begged, the whisper of that demon that resided only in his memory giving him the strength to speak, to stop that. “I… I…”

Wetness. Against his hand. Why? What was going on here? What?

“Can’t… have to tell… have to tell you… I’m sorry… I… I messed up… you’re hurt… sorry…” Seishiro’s voice was muffled, it sounded… odd, but his words didn’t seem to imply he wanted to leave they… “Sorry… sorry… don’t be mad… sorry… I’ll get you… I’ll get you anything… whatever you might want... I’ll do anything… sorry… don’t be mad…”

Don’t be mad? Why should he be mad? Seishiro had done nothing wrong, it was him who… and yet something clicked to place, something started to make sense in Seishiro’s odd behaviour because actually sometimes Seishiro kept away from him, he did it, he did it when he thought Subaru was mad at him and then, when he would try to apologize, he would always insist into trying to be forgiven by doing something for Subaru, by getting something to Subaru, no matter how many times Subaru would tell him there was no need for it so… so was this what was Seishiro’s problem? Was this why was he being distant, why was he being so insistent into getting him a doctor or whatever else? Was just this?

For some insane reason Seishiro had grown to believe Subaru was angry at him and… and… so he had kept far and volunteered to do stuffs that weren’t really needed and…

Subaru felt like laughing hysterically as he tried to pull Seishiro closer, back on the bed, to hug him despite having to lie on a bed and being pathetically weak.

He managed somehow, the two of them clinging to each other in a clumsy and not particularly comfortable embrace, Seishiro’s face buried against him, like a child hiding in his mother’s arms.

“Sorry... Subaru… sorry… I’m so sorry...” the boy kept on repeating, fingers gripping Subaru’s clothes.

“Seishiro, I… I’m not… I’m not angry… I’m not… I mean… You… I… I love you… I love you so much, Seishiro… I… I’m not… angry… really…” he tried to say, doing his best to sound reassuring and fearing he was doing a horrible job at it.

“You… I… she hurt you… I thought you were dead… I… I didn’t protect… you… I… I… my fault… all my fault… Subaru… Subaru… I thought you were dead… Subaru…” Seishiro went on and his body was trembling in Subaru’s arms, and whose sounds he was making… was he sobbing? But it wasn’t like Seishiro to cry like this, not unless he just had a nightmare but Seishiro had been awake till moments before so… so it made no sense but... but... “Subaru… Subaru… I’m so sorry…” the other was continuously pleading and yes, Subaru was sure of this, he was crying, he was sobbing, he sounded so much in pain… had he been so worried Subaru could be angry at him that he ended up feeling like this?

“I’m not… angry… I swear… it wasn’t… your fault… it wasn’t… Seishiro… Seishiro, really… Seishiro… I love you, Seishiro,” he tried again as he couldn’t help but blame himself for Seishiro’s state. He held him, as tightly as he could, which probably wasn’t much anyway and thought he should tell Seishiro, he should tell him it was Subaru the one that should be blamed, not him, but the words were trapped in his throat and all he could repeat over and over was that it wasn’t Seishiro’s fault and that he wasn’t angry, not in the slightest, not even a little until Seishiro’s sobbing finally seemed to calm down and the boy remained there, saying nothing, clinging against Subaru and, as Subaru held him and stroke his hair, he could only wonder tiredly if Seishiro had fallen asleep and remind himself he had to be strong, he had to be strong and… and what?

If he were to stay blind… what? What would they do? Would Seishiro still want him? Would he? he wondered as his hold around him tightened and he wished he too could start sobbing like a child but somehow his tears were trapped inside him and so he could only shake like a leaf and... and...

“Subaru?” a muffled voice, Seishiro’s muffled voice he believed, called him.

“Y-yes? I… I thought you were sleeping…” he stammered trying to chase his dark thought away.

“Are you… are you really not angry?” Seishiro’s voice asked him and it almost sounded the voice of a child.

“I… I’m not… why should I be? Just… just stay here… just that…” Subaru replied still holding him against himself. There was no reply at first which only made Subaru more anxious then… then Seishiro’s body shifted against him and… and then Seishiro settled there and Subaru felt silly because probably Seishiro had merely searched for a more comfortable position and… and…

“I… I’ll never let it happen again, Subaru, really… I’m so sorry…” Seishiro’s voice mumbled and Subaru knew, he knew he should really tell Seishiro it hadn’t been his fault, that it was Subaru the one that was to blame but… but…

“You’ve nothing… to be sorry about… Seishiro… just… just stay here and rest… okay? Okay?” he asked anxiously while hating himself for trying to avoid taking responsibility, for keeping Seishiro there with the excuse to make him rest. He was so weak, so pathetically weak and miserable, he…

“Okay…” Seishiro’s voice agreed and it seemed tired. “But I’m sorry. I really am, Subaru…”

“You don’t need to be. Really. You don’t need to be,” Subaru managed to say as he clung to him. Seishiro’s voice said nothing afterward, maybe Seishiro had fallen asleep or maybe there was nothing else he wanted to say to Subaru. Subaru tried to ignore all the dark thoughts that came to his mind and find comfort in the boy’s presence next to him as slowly tiredness overcome him and he felt asleep again.

Subaru awake all of sudden as he felt Seishiro’s moving to leave his embrace.

“Seishiro?” he called instinctively gripping his arm, in a weak attempt to keep him where he was.

“You… you’re awake?” he heard the other asking.

“Ah… yes…” he stammered trying to persuade himself to loosen his hold and failing. He wasn’t exactly sure how to deal with Seishiro right then. His voice still sounded strange but… it didn’t look like he was crying so… so what now? “Are you… are you well?” he asked nervously.

Seishiro, prodded on one of his elbow, stared at him for a moment. Subaru, sweet, gentle Subaru who always worried for him, who didn’t even seem capable to consider him responsible when instead it was all Seishiro’s fault…

“Se-Seishiro?” Subaru called anxiously.

“I’ve… I’ve managed to make you worry now, didn’t I? Don’t worry it’s just… I don’t think the people here would like it if we’ll keep on staying like that,” Seishiro commented doing his best to sound… normal, his hand stretching to brush Subaru’s cheek. Subaru flinched away though, as if scared by him, even if he kept on holding his arm even tighter. Seishiro swallowed, hating how he’d managed to make Subaru fearful of him. He felt… horrible, really. Not only he’d caused Subaru to almost get killed, to be so badly hurt, and he’d crumbled like that, as if he were a little child when it was Subaru the one who needed… he also had made him fearful of his touch and now he had no idea how to fix things.

“Se-Seishiro?” Subaru stammered.

“Sorry. I shouldn’t have… I didn’t mean to scare you,” he managed to say.

“Ah… was that you? I… sorry, I…” Subaru trailed off and Seishiro blinked, feeling confused.

“Of course it was me. Who…”

“I… I didn’t know it was you, I… sorry… I…” Subaru interrupted him to trail off uncomfortably again. Seishiro stared at him in surprise had he hadn’t expected this then…

“It’s me. It’s just me,” he assured, trying again to brush Subaru’s cheek and feeling such a violent relief when this time, not only Subaru let himself be touched but also leaned into his touch, he almost started to laugh hysterically. Subaru… he had only startled him… it wasn’t like Subaru didn’t want to be touched by him, he merely… he merely… he clenched his other hand in a fist, tried to keep his own emotions under control.

He was Sakurazuka Seishiro and Sakurazuka Seishiro didn’t go into hysterics. What had happened before wasn’t… it wasn’t… he…

He swallowed and tried again to sit up, feeling confused when he realized not only Subaru was still clinging to him but that his grip had tightened when Seishiro had tried to move, making the action awkward and forcing him to stop mid movement.

“Ah… sorry… I…” Subaru stammered his hands still holding him although their grip had loosened, that much that would have allowed Seishiro to escape from him had he wanted to. Seishiro didn’t really want to move but he knew better than to indulge in this and yet…

“I… I’ll do better to sit on a chair or something or your grandmother and sister will complain if they’ll find us like that when they’ll come and…” and he didn’t want to get on their bad side more than he was already, he didn’t want them to try and part him from Subaru again, he tried to reason, more to himself than to Subaru, though it was damn hard to do it, especially when Subaru was being sort of clingy and his stomach was hurting and he needed Subaru so much and... and…

“They’re not going to come,” Subaru stated abruptly, in an almost toneless manner. “They’re not going to come,” he repeated in a slower way. Seishiro blinked, feeling confuse.

“Of course they are. You’ve been hurt and you’re in a hospital and bedridden and…” and they weren’t his mother and cared for Subaru and he knew normal people visited their relatives when they were in hospital and…

“They aren’t going to come!” Subaru snapped his voice rising for a moment before he covered his mouth with his hand. “Sorry… I… sorry… I don’t…” he babbled anxiously and, although Seishiro had winced when Subaru had snapped, now he caught himself wondering if Subaru had done it not because he was mad at Seishiro but… for some other reason. Hesitantly he took Subaru’s hand into his own, feeling Subaru flinch again at the contact.

“It’s just me,” he reassured him tentatively and felt relief when Subaru seemed to relax, closing his hand around his, silently allowing Seishiro to hold it and returning the hold. “It’s okay,” he assured with more conviction, rubbing the back of Subaru’s hand with his thumb. “It’s okay.”

“It’s not… I… I didn’t mean to snap, I…” Subaru tried to apologize nervously. “I don’t know why I’ve snapped to you… I didn’t want it… I…”

“It’s… are you… are you mad at me?” Seishiro asked, interrupting him.

“No, I…”

“Then it’s okay. You’re just… tired, I guess. It’s okay,” he stated, trying to wave off the incident. If Subaru wasn’t angry at him… he could bear Subaru being snappish. After all Subaru wasn’t well. He was allowed to be nervous and prone to snap. Subaru didn’t seem to share his thoughts though.

“Seishiro, I… I really didn’t mean to snap, I…”

“I know. Don’t worry, I know… you don’t have to apologize, really, you’re just… tired,” Seishiro assured him. “It’s okay, it’s okay,” he continued in a soothing tone. Subaru said nothing in reply, though he seemed to cling to his hand a little tighter. A side of Seishiro wished to let things be. Subaru had calmed down… sort of, and he didn’t really want to upset him. Subaru needed quiet and, as if this wasn’t enough he… he felt too worn out and emotionally unstable to risk arguing with it and yet… yet he could sense that Subaru was upset that there was something he needed to vent and that he was keeping bottled inside him, which was so typical of him and that always did him no good… so maybe… maybe he should try and…

He swallowed.

“Subaru… I’m sorry I’ve upset you… it’s just… I don’t understand… why do you think they won’t come?” he said tentatively and felt Subaru tense slightly at his question. “I mean… it’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it… it’s just… I don’t understand,” he finished lamely. Subaru said nothing, his hold on Seishiro’s hand shifting slightly, Seishiro couldn’t tell if it was in order to get a better grip on it or not. He sighed. So much for his attempt to get Subaru to talk. Well, he thought, at least Subaru hadn’t snapped at him again he mused as Subaru continued to say nothing. It was when he’d thought Subaru would never reply to him that Subaru finally spoke up.

“Nobody ever comes to visit me when I’m in hospital,” he said simply, tonelessly. There was a paused, Subaru’s mouth opening and closing as if he was trying to find the words and failing then… “Nobody ever comes to visit me when I’m in hospital,” he repeated. “It could… bother the doctors or agitate me or slow the recovering progress or… something. I’m not sure. Once… when she was younger… Hokuto tried to come visiting me but… but she ended up making a ruckus and the doctors chased her away saying she had agitated me or something and… and that this had made me feel worse and… and then I think Ojisan scared her to death as he yelled at her and said something on the line she could have caused me to die or something and… and she never tried to come again… never… I know she worries but… she doesn’t try to come anymore so… so she won’t come. No one will. I’m supposed to do what the doctors say and recover on my own and… and… and maybe... when I’m out of danger and about to be sent back home... maybe...” Subaru trailed off though his hand was unconsciously clinging at Seishiro’s as tightly as it could now. “It doesn’t matter. No one is going to come. It’s okay though. I’m used to it. No one is going to come. I’ll have to stay here alone, always alone and… and…”

Seishiro had been staring at him as he spoke, confusing emotions swirling inside him, fear that his presence could be harmful to Subaru mixed with a sudden certain that being left alone would be equally harmful for the boy. He felt lost, unsure about what to do then suddenly remembered that he’d been allowed to stay by a doctor, that he’d been allowed to take care of Subaru by a doctor so maybe… maybe it won’t harm Subaru if he were to stay, maybe…

“You… you won’t have to stay here alone, Subaru,” he finally decided to say, interrupting him. “I’m here with you, aren’t I? I’ll stay here with you so don’t worry, you won’t have to stay alone…” he assured and Subaru simply listened him in silence, his mouth slightly opened. He tried to speak afterward but, at first words didn’t seem to come and then…

“You… you’ll stay?” he managed to ask in a small, pleading tone. “Really?”

“I’m… I’m not making you worse, am I?” Seishiro had to ask after a brief hesitation.

“No! No, Seishiro, no!” Subaru replied still in a begging tone, clinging to him. “I… you… no… I… I’ll… I’ll be good… quiet… whatever… just… just…”

“I’ll stay then. You won’t have to stay here alone,” he promised. “You won’t have to stay here alone.” He remembered clearly how when Subaru had been sick in Tokyo, he always seemed so happy when Seishiro was at home with him, as if he felt better when Seishiro was around. He also knew he hadn’t wanted to remain alone when he had caught a cold in Kamakura, hating that Subaru had to leave him to get some medicines. It was… bad to be alone when one was sick, he was sure of it and he… he didn’t want Subaru to feel bad. Not now, not ever. “I’ll stay, Subaru, I swear,” he assured in a firm tone, his mind set. “I won’t leave you alone no matter what.”

Subaru felt silent at that, though his hold hadn’t loosened.

Seishiro would stay with him.

Seishiro would stay with him.

While a side of him was so happy at Seishiro’s world he could have cried another… another insisted it wasn’t fair. It wasn’t fair to keep Seishiro trapped in that horrible place merely because he wanted company. It wasn’t fair. He shouldn’t… he…

“I… you… you don’t have to… I mean… I mean… if you want to go… I mean… I… you… I mean…” he forced himself to say, though he wasn’t sure he was making sense as scared as he was Seishiro would catch this chance to leave him.

“Subaru… I don’t want to leave. I never wanted to. As long as I’m not harming you or something by being here… It was you who chased me away before,” he reminded him before he could stop himself. “I didn’t want to leave but you…”

“I… no… I… you… I thought you wanted to leave… I mean… You said… You keep saying… I thought… I thought you wanted… besides… why should you want to stay anyway? I… you…” Subaru stammered. Seishiro blinked at that, feeling confused. How in the world Subaru might have thought he wanted to leave? He never wanted to leave he just… he only wanted to call the doctor because he’d been worried about Subaru… and… and back in Kamakura when Subaru had tried to leave him to buy medicines he too hadn’t taken it well so maybe… maybe it was the same. Maybe Subaru had taken his attempts to try and do something for him completely the wrong way.

“Subaru… I absolutely don’t want to leave you, I swear it. But if you feel sick I have to run to call a doctor…” he reasoned holding Subaru’s hand against his cheek, as if to make Subaru absolutely sure he was there. “It’s like… when you got to get medicines for me, remember?”

“But… but… if you wanted to call the doctor… all you’ve to do was to press the button on the device that should be somewhere in this room… you… you didn’t need to go and call him personally if you didn’t want to leave the room…” Subaru pointed out and Seishiro blinked again.

“Really? I… I didn’t know about it…” he confessed feeling rather stupid. Really, if there was such thing, it wasn’t surprising if Subaru had misunderstood his intentions…

“You… you didn’t know?” Subaru repeated in confusion. Seishiro didn’t know? So he really hadn’t been searching an excuse to leave he just… didn’t know. “You… you… you really didn’t know,” he repeated, his voice cracking slightly. “You didn’t know.” Again he felt the wish to cry but that wasn’t the right moment to do it. He was supposed to stay calm, wasn’t he? To stay calm so Seishiro would stay and the doctors wouldn’t chase him away as they did with Hokuto-chan back then. Stay calm. Stay calm. Why did he felt everything but calm? Why?

“I didn’t know. I wouldn’t have considered leaving if I had known. I don’t like to leave you out of my sight, Subaru, you should know that,” he reminded him. “Don’t worry, now that I know I won’t try to leave you alone ever again,” he assured and felt Subaru’s hand sliding from his cheek to tentatively grasp his shirt as he curled on himself a bit.

“You didn’t know,” he repeated more to himself than to Seishiro, his voice a low murmur. “You didn’t know, he was wrong, you just didn’t know, you wanted to stay even if you shouldn’t want it, he was wrong, Seishiro’s not going to leave, he’s going to stay even if he shouldn’t want to, Seishiro’s going to stay, Seishiro’s going to stay, Seishiro’s going to stay…” Seishiro frowned, unsure about what was going on but not liking it. He couldn’t quite tell if Subaru was crying or not due to all the bandages covering the boys’ eyes but Subaru’s voice… his voice seemed to border on hysteric and that couldn’t be good, could it? Besides what he was saying made no sense whatsoever…

“Subaru… Subaru, it’s all right, it’s all right, I’m here,” he offered, hesitantly wrapping his arm around his trembling body in an attempt to hold him closer. He was afraid though. Subaru seemed so… fragile right then he was afraid he would crumble under his fingers. He wasn’t… really sure how to touch him, how tight he could hold him. “It’s all right, don’t worry… why shouldn’t I want to stay with you? Who in the world told you such a dumb thing? You should have known it couldn’t possibly be true… It’s all right, I’m here…” he continued to repeat in the best soothing tone he could manage at the moment. At first it didn’t seem to really work as Subaru kept his mumbling then… then Subaru let go of his shirt and slowly embraced him as well, switching from mumbling to himself to simply saying Seishiro’s name. Seishiro decided to take that as a progress… though he wasn’t really sure about it.

“We’re a mess right now, aren’t we? Both you and I… we’re a mess,” he admitted with a bitter smile. “We’re together though and we’ll stay together so… so it’s all right… isn’t it, Subaru?” he didn’t mean to ask for confirmation, he only meant to be reassuring but… but, as he said, he was a mess and… it slipped out of his lips before he could stop himself. Subaru felt silent at that and Seishiro felt like hitting himself as he realized what he had said, hating himself for that temporal weakness then… he felt Subaru sigh in his embrace and then… slowly rubbing his back in silence, Subaru’s own way to… comfort him somehow. He sighed as well, more in relief than anything else as he tightened slightly his hold around Subaru. It was weird but that tiny gesture… for him it meant the world. “It’ll be all right,” he repeated with more confidence. “It’ll be all right, Subaru, I promise.”

Kobayashi eyed the Sumeragi household with a bit of curiosity. It felt… weird to associate the kind and shy boy often dressed in his brother’s… no, in Seishiro-kun’s clothes, that he’d met in Suzuki-san’s library with such elegant, traditional and huge house. That house however… seemed to lack the warmth of Subaru-kun’s smile, it simply seemed to be… impersonal, something that existed only to show social standing, nothing more. He had the feeling Subaru-kun should have felt lost in it.

He eyed the Sakurazuka household, close to it. Equally elegant, traditional and huge and yet… neglected somehow. Not that much but… it still showed signs of decadence. He thought at Seishiro-kun, the overconfident, apparently cold brat that only had eyes, warmth and kindness for Subaru-kun and that, now he knew for sure, crumbled completely if parted from him. He thought at what the boy should have faced during his childhood, the abuses he should have suffered with that house as silent witness and somehow shuddered.

He hadn’t come to just observe the boys’ house thought, he reminded himself as he firmly pushed the Sumeragi’s doorbell.

After Kobayashi managed to finally be allowed to meet Sumeragi-san he had to confirm his first impression about her. That formal and rigid old woman had little in common with her grandson. Sure, he thought as he wished they could skip the tea ceremony but knowing better than saying it out loud, Subaru-kun too knew how to be formal and he was always so polite and yet…

He observed the woman moving with methodical precision, completely focused on her task and tried to picture Subaru-kun in her place. No, he couldn’t think the boy would perform that task with so much calm while someone he cared for was in a hospital… but maybe Sumeragi-san wasn’t really calm, she just knew how to hide her feelings well under a perfectly constructed façade of formality that was starting to get oppressive. Irrationally he felt relief for not having been born in that house but in his own. His family hadn’t been rich and he had to work to pay his studies and yet… the atmosphere in his home had always been completely different.

He sighed as he chided himself. He shouldn’t judge, not so fast. After all he was a policeman and a stranger to that woman, maybe she simply didn’t feel like showing her true feelings in front of him, especially after what had happened. Yet he couldn’t shake the feeling that Sumeragi-san wasn’t merely acting that way just because he was there, this was how she lived day after day.

His mind went back to how Subaru-kun and Seishiro-kun had been living in Kamakura, how the two joked among them and gently took care of each other, how Subaru-kun could be so very polite with everyone and yet not just formal, how Seishiro-kun fussed over him, how the two seemed happy…

It was hard to picture them living here, in this silent house with servants that wouldn’t talk unless spoken to and under the gaze of this composed woman that managed to make him too uncomfortable.

He sipped his tea in silence, trying not to look too much out of place nor to act like a policeman. He’d been left in as ‘Subaru-kun’s friend of some sort’ after all. He tried to ignore the sinking feeling he was failing.

“About what exactly do you wish to talk with me, Kobayashi-san?” Sumeragi-san finally asked him after the expected formalities were finally done. “Pardon me for my frankness but, though you introduced yourself as Subaru-san’s friend, somehow I doubt this is just a courtesy visit. Especially after our last meeting.”

“I wouldn’t call that a meeting, Sumeragi-san. We barely exchanged glances,” Kobayashi replied, trying to sound friendly. The woman’s gaze was stern though and didn’t show him any opening.

“You spent quite a bit of time interrogating Subaru-san alone… and this after you carried Sakurazuka Seishiro-kun into my grandson’s hospital room,” the woman remarked, somehow making it sound as if the last thing was worse than the first and Kobayashi wondered why he, a policeman, had to feel like a scolded child under her stern gaze.

“It wasn’t a real interrogation, Sumeragi-san. I’ve just asked your grandson what had happened not as a policeman… but as his friend. His and Seishiro-kun’s. It’s because I care about them I let myself be involved in this,” he countered trying to hide how uneasy he felt, briefly wondering how it was for Subaru-kun to deal with such woman on a daily basis. “Subaru-kun said Sakurazuka-san attacked Seishiro-kun and that he got hurt when he tried to get in between them by the way,” he added. “If you feared he could have been the one who hurt your grandson, rest assured that’s not the case.” The woman’s expression didn’t change.

“I always knew carrying that boy here would bring no good but Subaru-san had been so stubbornly attached to him…” she shook her head. “I shouldn’t have allowed it. Subaru-san was in my charge. I shouldn’t have allowed him to do so much as to speak to that boy, let alone get friend with him or carry him home like he did with lost kittens. He always had to bring them home, growing attached to them as if they were his own and it was a pain to persuade him to carry those stray cats to a proper asylum for them, as if, just for the fact he’d picked those miserable creatures up, he’d became responsible for their fate. I really don’t get why he cared so much for those malnourished, sick, sometimes even injured strays no one else would have picked up... He would grow attached to them even when they did nothing but hiss and scratch him, risking to give him an infection or lose an eye... He... I really don’t understand Subaru-san sometimes,” she admitted in a sad tone and in that confession Kobayashi could see clearly the signs of how the woman loved her grandson even though she didn’t understand him or approved what he did.

“Sumeragi-san… what had happened… rest assured it wasn’t Seishiro-kun’s fault. He was the one attacked and he likely attacked Sakurazuka-san in return merely because she was the one who hurt Subaru-kun. Sumeragi-san, I… if I can ask, what do you know about his relation with his mother?” he prodded, trying to be polite, as he wasn’t there in his official role.

“I don’t indulge in gossips, Kobayashi-san. What happens in the Sakurazuka household is the Sakurazuka’s problem. I was merely hoping they had enough good sense not to try and solve their own problems here in my house. Evidently I’ve been too optimistic,” she countered coldly, her voice dripping with distaste. “I’ve tried over and over to make Subaru-san understand whose weren’t people he should associate with but…” she trailed off. For all the distaste she showed toward the Sakurazuka, Kobayashi could feel there was also guilt in her. Guilt for failing to protect her grandson. Yes, she loved Subaru-kun… only, to Kobayashi, it didn’t seem she showed it the right way.

“Sumeragi-san, why did you have Seishiro-kun being taken by the police? He wasn’t the one who hurt Subaru-kun, actually he was terribly worried about him so… why?” he had to ask.

“I didn’t deal with the police. Probably a servant called them. I only wanted to have Subaru-san taken to the hospital as soon as possible. He… he wasn’t moving, nor answering to the calls… and while Subaru-san was in that state all Sakurazuka-kun was able to do was to try and strangle that woman, acting like a rabid animal that would hear no reasons nor would be able to worry about what was happening around himself. That’s how he expressed his worry for my grandson’s well being. Instead than taking care of Subaru-san, after causing him to get hurt, he only thought at venting his violence like a ravaging beast. It took three of my servants to manage to part him from that woman and, when they finally managed to do so, he kept struggling against them and screaming nonsense. I don’t know what happened of him or of his mother after I left with the ambulance and Subaru-san and I can’t say I cared. Honestly, I had more important things to care about than him. Subaru-san, my poor boy, he needed medical care and that was all that mattered at the moment,” she concluded. Though she did her best to keep expressionless and calm the worry for her grandson had clearly transpired when she had mentioned what had happened to him as well as the disapprobation for the way Seishiro-kun has acted. She… she seemed to fail to understand what had moved Seishiro-kun’s actions, which should have been the boy’s feelings. Maybe someone so controlled couldn’t understand the idea Seishiro-kun likely… simply lost it out of grief and desperation.

“Sumeragi-san, Seishiro-kun was under shock. He most likely though his mother had killed Subaru-kun. He wasn’t really thinking straight,” Kobayashi had to explain her. Kobayashi didn’t really like the idea to excuse Seishiro-kun… after all, shock or not, what he’d done was wrong but… but he had very easy to understand reasons for… well, doing it and yet… she… she seemed to be completely unable to figure out which should have been Seishiro-kun’s feelings at the time. Well, at least it didn’t look like Sumeragi-san was planning to take charges against Seishiro-kun, which might make his position marginally better. Seishiro-kun hadn’t managed to kill his mother, though she had been hospitalized as well, so all that remained was to make sure Sakurazuka-san wouldn’t try to sue her own son. That and maybe smooth over things with Sumeragi-san as it could be useful for Seishiro-kun to get her support.

“That boy should have never gotten close to Subaru-san in the first place. He only brought him problems. Kobayashi-san, you don’t seem to realize the whole extent of what that boy did to my grandson. First he stole Subaru-san from his family, forcing him to lose school and to live in a miserable environment, exposing him to the company of people Subaru-san should have never known and to danger he should have never faced, then had Subaru-san make a quite low job, always living in a modest environment. When I finally managed to take Subaru-san back home, first he involved Subaru-san in a fight at school then he had Subaru-san turn down a marriage proposal with a girl of his social standing and that would lead him to make a very profitable marriage and he also persuaded Subaru-san to quit his studies, to refuse to go to university to try and busy himself on a menial job. And then… this. He let Sakurazuka-san inside my house and then had Subaru-san get in the middle of one of their squabbles, and it’s not the first time it happened, and be hurt so horribly. Subaru-san… he could…” she trailed off as she trembled slightly, her composure cracking slightly. “Subaru-san had always been a very obedient, very diligent, very respectful boy who cared for his family. Sure, his health wasn’t good but, apart from this, he’d always been very promising. I could see ahead of him a bright future, one filled with success as the head of our house and instead… Sakurazuka-kun snuffled that light as one would do with a candle, without any regard for what would have been better for Subaru-san while Subaru-san had obstinately always tried to protect him.” She shook her head slowly. “Really, is this how he repays Subaru-san’s kindness? By influencing him into making the worst choices possible?”

Kobayashi felt uneasy. From Sumeragi-san’s point of view it was natural that she had a bad opinion of Seishiro-kun. Surely Seishiro-kun hadn’t always taken the best course of actions but…

“Sumeragi-san… somehow I doubt Subaru-kun was so easy to influence. I think…”

“Subaru-san might look wise but in the end he’s just a teenager boy,” she interrupted him. “He doesn’t really know how the world works. He doesn’t really know what he’s tossing away. He doesn’t really know what’s better for him. What had happened was due to my negligence. I shouldn’t have let things continue so far, I shouldn’t have let him continue to make the wrong choices but I… I didn’t want to force him, I wanted him to realize the errors of his way and… and instead I failed him the same way I failed with his father,” the woman confessed tiredly speaking more to herself than to Kobayashi. “And I don’t know how to fix things anymore… if Subaru-san were to never recover, I… I...”

Kobayashi sighed as he finally left the house. Though the discussion had went on some more the tone hadn’t changed. Sumeragi-san blamed herself for having allowed Seishiro-kun to get close to Subaru-kun and blamed Seishiro-kun for everything that, according to her, went wrong in Subaru-kun’s life but… didn’t seem to know how to part the two. Though she clearly wanted it. However she didn’t seem to aim at having Seishiro-kun sent to jail. Kobayashi wasn’t sure if it was because to her the boy didn’t deserve it or because it would lead to a scandal… or because she was afraid of Subaru-kun’s reaction. He couldn’t really say.

He sighed. He’d promised Subaru-kun he wouldn’t let Seishiro-kun be hurt but the situation wasn’t as simple as he hoped.

He doubted Sumeragi-san would use her authority to try and help Seishiro-kun out of troubles and Seishiro-kun would likely end in troubles, even if Sakurazuka-san had survived to her son’s murdering attempt, the murdering attempt still remained. Not mentioning he couldn’t figure out why had Seishiro-kun let her inside the house… but maybe she’d just told him so and he had obeyed. From what Subaru-kun had said he didn’t seem particularly good to fight against his mother so maybe…

“Keiji-san… Keiji-san, are you leaving already?” a female voice called from behind him and he stopped in his track, turning. He blinked in confusion at first, at seeing… well a female version of Subaru-kun then remembered he had a twin sister. She gazed at him looking uneasy. “Are you… are you really Subaru’s friend from Kamakura? Even though you’re a policeman and he’s just a boy?” she asked warily and he showed her his friendliest smile.

“Yes, in a fashion. I was pretty often in the library in which he and Seishiro-kun worked so I’ve sort of made friend with him, though rest assured, nowhere near the way Seishiro-kun is friend with him. Is there something you want to tell me, Ojou-san?” he tried asking. Who knows, maybe Subaru-kun’s sister would be more like him and more of help.

“Nobody is ‘friend’ with Subaru the way Seishiro-chan is ‘friend’ with him,” she stated and there was something bitter in her voice as well a certain implication in the word ‘friend’ he tried to ignore. He wasn’t sure he wanted to know how much ‘friends’ Subaru-kun and Seishiro-kun were. There were stuffs which he was simply better not knowing. “You… if you’re Subaru’s friend then… on which side are you?”

“I wasn’t aware there was a side, Ojou-san,” he admitted. She sighed as if she thought him really ignorant.

“Of course there are sides, the Sumeragi and the Sakurazuka are authorities here, don’t you know? Though the Sakurazuka have slightly fallen in importance to be honest but anyway the police still fear them and wouldn’t do something to disappoint them,” she informed him. “The local police will do its damn best to not displease either side.”

“So are you asking me if I’m siding with the Sumeragi or the Sakurazuka?” he wanted to know.

“No, I’m asking you if you side with Subaru and Sei-chan or with grandmother or with Sakurazuka-san,” she explained and he found slightly odd how she would call Seishiro-kun simply ‘Sei-chan’. “Because Subaru and Sei-chan with their ‘Romeo and Juliet’ act are messing up the balance and sort of fall out of the line of Sumeragi and Sakurazuka and the police might simply decide to pretend they’re neither and they… they need allies. And you’re a policeman. And if you’re their friend you’ve to side up with them.”

“Ojou-san… if you want me to help would you please explain me what you know about…” he began but she waved off his question with her hand.

“Same as Obaachama, I got woken up when everything had already happened. It was probably Sei-chan’s screaming that woke me up. He sounded… like a wounded animal… or worse… it was… well, I think I’ll remember him screaming like that for the years to come…” she reminded and as she did so she shuddered. “Then I came downstairs and… I don’t remember seeing if Sei-chan was strangling Sakurazuka-san or not, maybe the servants had already ripped them apart, maybe not but…” she lowered her head as if ashamed of herself. “…but to be honest I stopped paying him attention, paying everything else attention, from the moment I saw Subaru on the ground. He… he wasn’t answering to the calls you see, he was like… my brother was as if he was… and… and… and the rest is a bit fuzzy. I remember that the ambulance came and we left for the hospital and now I know I should have thought about Sei-chan but…” she made a long pause, her gaze downcast. “Subaru’ll hate me forever when he’ll discover but, at the time, Sei-chan didn’t seem important, nothing else seemed important, just Subaru. Nothing else. You see, I know Sei-chan was still screaming and acting as if he were out of it but Subaru wasn’t answering, he wasn’t answering nor he was moving and it was the first time I saw Obaachama so frightened and… and… I don’t know, I didn’t mean to… forget Sei-chan it just… happened.”

“You were scared for your brother, Ojou-san, it’s understandable,” he assured.

“Subaru’ll never forgive me or Obaachama for this. Sei-chan too probably, but that’s okay, it’s not really a problem if he hates me but Subaru… Subaru… he won’t be able to accept we’ll just abandon Sei-chan there while he was in that state. And on top of this the servants had Sei-chan arrested! Obaachama doesn’t want to talk about all this, she’s still sort of in denial about Sei-chan’s place in Subaru’s life but…” she trailed off as she hugged herself. “Things were going so well and now… now everything has crumbled down. And we don’t know if Subaru will heal and Obaachama said something stupid about it, something on the line that it should teach him, though I know she’ll never forgive herself if he won’t heal, but she’s not good at admitting things and… and I just want everything to go back to how it was before…” she admitted in a quiet whimper. He rested his hands on her shoulders, gently.

“I’m sure Subaru-kun isn’t the type to hold a grudge against you or your grandmother. He’ll understand and he’ll get better. But now Ojou-san, if you want me to help them please tell me what you know about Seishiro-kun’s mother, if it’s okay with you. Do you think it’s possible he let her inside the house for… whatever reason?” he asked.

“Sei-chan? No, never,” she answered immediately, shaking her head. “Though he wasn’t good at fighting her off, he’ll get himself killed before letting her close to Subaru. That’s why everything doesn’t make sense! Why was she in the house? And why didn’t he protect Subaru?”

“From what I got from your brother, I’ll say it was because everything happened too fast. Ojou-san… are you sure Seishiro-kun wouldn’t have let her inside the house? Maybe she tricked him into doing it or he wanted to tell her to stay away from Subaru-kun and…” he ventured but paused when she began shaking her head.

“He wouldn’t have let her inside. He… he wouldn’t have managed it. How to put it… Sei-chan didn’t want her get near Subaru but… but he would become… weird when she was around,” she tried to explain. “You see… he’s the kind… well… the sort of person you’ll deal with very carefully… the one you don’t really want to get angry at you… he’s rather strong and he can be… fast to react to what he perceives an offence… a threat, I mean… but… but every time she showed up he… he sort of… froze. No matter what she would say or do to him. He just… stood there. He would defrost only if she were to try and get close to Subaru. He would stop her then, tell her to stay away from Subaru. This sort of things. He was… weird like that but not… obedient or, you know, violent toward her. If the servants hadn’t sworn they saw him trying to strangle her I wouldn’t have believed them. He was simply… so passive… If she were to cross his path… he would just… be there and not move…”

“So, Ojou-san, do you have any idea about how she managed to get in the house? Your brother told me there’s a security system but from the look of things it seems it hadn’t worked that night…” Kobayashi asked her.

“I’ve no idea,” she admitted. “Why would it be important?”

“I’m trying to figure out what had happened. I want to make sure she can’t say she was invited in and then attacked,” he explained.

“Invited in by someone at that hour of the night? In my house?” the girl looked at him as if he’d grown a second head. “Obaachama would have a heart attack at the mere thought. Sei-chan’s out of question, Subaru… no, he wouldn’t do things this way and honestly I prefer to keep far from her. Why didn’t you ask Sei-chan what had happened?”

“He wasn’t really in the conditions to speak,” Kobayashi replied and she frowned.

“But… he’s not hurt, is he? He didn’t seem hurt,” she asked, her tone growing worried as she frowned slightly.

“It’s more like he was in shock. I’m sure he’s a lot better right now,” he assured. Her expression shifted in a mix of relief and resignation.

“If he’s with Subaru he’ll probably be better soon,” she agreed turning her gaze away from him.

“Subaru-kun seems to be good for him,” he ventured. “He’s a very kind, very patient boy.”

“He’s head on in love with Sei-chan head on and vice versa,” the girl corrected. “Obaachama refuses to see it but that’s how things are. Those two are in love like Romeo and Juliet and there’s nothing anyone can do about it,” she stated and she didn’t seem so happy about it. Kobayashi said nothing. That was a topic he didn’t want to touch.

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