Series: Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle
Archive: Fallen Icons, Light Up
Pairing: Vampire twincest (aka Subaru +/x Kamui)
Warnings: Gore, vampirism, surrealism, present tense, more than slight hints of incest, spoilers for Tsubasa up through volume 18
Disclaimer: I don't own Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle or any of its characters. They are the property of CLAMP and I'm only playing in their sandbox. No profit is intended.
Summary: 'The earth is dead here, lost under layers of stone and gravel, a graveyard of abandoned temples...'
Thank you to: amet, for betaing this and putting up with me for the last couple of weeks while I wrestled with this particular piece. I'm still not sure who won.
Author’s Notes: I have no idea where this particular piece came from except that I wanted to do something a little more macabre than normal. I've been in the mood for such things of late which I'm going to blame on Neil Gaiman's works, all of which I've been working my way through at a rather alarming pace of late. And like everything else, it started with an image and unspooled from there. Mostly, however, this is all because I wanted to throw both Subaru and Kamui into an absolute mess and have to get themselves out of it.
...these notes should probably be more exciting but I'm rather at the point where everything is reduced down to, "Fire bad, vampires pretty" so I'll spare you the rest of this pretentiousness.
C & C welcome.
Edit: Big thank you to vr2lbast for catching a rather hefty grammatical error last night. ♥♥ I really should know better than to post these things while dead. XD;
Dream a Little Dream
A Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle story
The earth is dead here, lost under layers of stone and gravel, a graveyard of abandoned temples and palaces, pleasure domes that have long since caved in. Under the waning moon, the buildings are bleached in light and wreathed in shadow, black and gray shivers of movement flitting in slow procession across forgotten verandas, creeping and creeping across the remains of toppled statues. Nothing breathes here, nothing moves except with the occasional stirring of wind, gusting through damp, crumbling eaves like a half-breathed sigh.
Kamui straightens, arm resting on his upraised knee as he surveys the valley below, the lake that from this altitude looks serene, too serene, more a picture than something he could actually touch. It's as dead as this city, its silver-dappled surface holding no secrets, no fish to nip at his fingers or anything at all beyond refuse and a bitter-brackish taste that's still sour in the back of his throat. He doesn't need the water and that's probably for the best as he doubts that either he or Subaru could survive drinking it, that the only readily visible source, ancient cisterns still filled to their rusting brims, waiting for someone to descend the carved stairway that winds and winds around the mountain to take from their depths. He can see it in his mind, how it must have been, this place too filled with the ghosts and he finds if he lets his eyes unfocus just enough that he can almost glimpse insubstantial shades thronging back and to, a low murmuring chitter of sound where nothing exists.
A soft touch slides down his spine and he can't stop himself, foot coming down in a loud rush against the ground, threatening to slip on bits of chipped marble, throwing a glance over his shoulder. There's nothing there and yet he knows that's not right. That there is something lurking in these desiccated ruins, rotting underneath in such a way that even the earth, the ground that exists only in the barest of planned strips, barren patches that Subaru believes might once have been gardens, now shrinks away from it.
Subaru thinks its sad, saying little. When he does speak, his voice is hushed, reverent as he keeps the silence, the same stifling silence that is driving Kamui crazy. He doesn't like it, not the feeling this place leaves him with, as if waiting for – something. An attack or a confrontation or perhaps, permission to leave, to be real again in the face of a place that the longer they stay put becomes more and more nightmarish, his dreams starting to stray down empty, night-splashed pathways, a sepulchral taste thick on his tongue. This is not a place for the living or anything that's close enough to pass and he can't help but pace again, as he has already done so many times, impatience getting the better of him.
They weren't supposed to be here, knocked off course and though they've managed to contact Yuuko, short of making another bargain to demand her help, there is nothing they can do but wait for the next ripple to come through, time and space opening beneath their will. This place is apparently some sort of negative space for that, exerting a field that thickens the atmosphere, magic smacking into magic and it is only at certain times and in certain places that a crack in the universe will open. Open briefly and then flicker closed. They've missed it twice already and Kamui's already exacted a promise from Subaru that if they miss this next one, they will leave this place, leave and walk until they find somewhere in this godforsaken world where a portal can safely open. He doesn't know why he hasn't insisted on this already except that Subaru wants to stay, taking Yuuko at her word when she says rips will continue to open if they wait long enough, earnest eyes and soft hands staying him, a low voice explaining that he just wants to look around. That there's something about this place that draws him and if there weren't already warning bells going off in his head that would have done it.
But this is Subaru and Kamui has never been able to deny him, not for very long and so he gave in, setting up a rudimentary camp in the shadowed overhang of one of the buildings, not actually wanting to go inside. It feels wrong somehow, sacrilegious if he can bring himself to believe in such a thing and he has no desire to make all those almost substantial touches real by placing himself in their way. He has no wish to somehow find himself caught up and part of the rhythm of this place, drawn in like the tide and left bespelled. They can die, just as a human could though not in the same manner and certainly not in the same time and he has no desire to spend the time they have been granted, drifting as living ghosts in these mortal remains.
Grunting, Kamui runs an agitated hand over messy hair, dusty fingers brushing then closing around the back of his neck, squeezing and letting that ground him, nails digging into his throat before he turns on his heel, not quite running down the low steps down to the avenues beyond this open terrace. The collar of his cheongsam tunic is tighter than he'd like, toying with the frogging until it gives, the brocade fabric starchier than he prefers, slippers the worse for several days wear and much tear, their brilliant indigo and gold thread mud-dulled and coming apart. At this rate, he'll be barefoot before the next rip appears and Subaru will probably fuss then, worrying over cut feet and dirt as if they really matter. Sometimes he wonders if Subaru has forgotten what it was like to run barefoot through muddy burns and meadows, the grass squelching between their toes and how it felt to have fish nip as they kept still enough while sitting along the edge of the river.
Kamui remembers muddy feet and slippery arms, scratched knees and chilled skin, the way Subaru always seemed on the verge of tottering as he threw the line of his makeshift rod outward. He hadn't been very good at it, his laughter always tinged with a sort of self-conscious joy, flushed cheeks and bright eyes and no matter how many times Kamui had tried to demonstrate the proper way of things, he hadn't caught on. Or pretended not to, seeming to revel in the attention such a simple thing could bring him and knowing that if nothing else, Kamui would be forced into patience – losing his temper and throwing a fit would only frighten away the fish.
Not that Kamui had wanted to spoil the game once he caught on, clumsy understanding following even clumsier returns, trembling almost as much as Subaru in those rare moments and he could safely say that it had never been from the cold.
He misses those woods, lost in a world now barred and forgotten to them, lost amongst billions of similar stars and paths that have twisted and turned in on themselves so often that he no longer knows if they're coming or going, if they've been or will be. Sometimes he finds himself searching for them on those worlds they tarry for more than a few days, across seas of cold desert sands bleached blue under three moons or mountains like these only bigger, clawing and scraping at the sky, until the world below them is nothing more than a model for the eye. He's left no trace of himself in those woods he's stalked through, the nip of autumn air against his ears, tasting rain and burning summers when all the trees and brush can do is catch and burn, one spark destroying what has taken nature hundreds of years to nurture.
It's never the same; Kamui can never find that place he's looking for, a hollow and glen where a clear creek winds and ribbons into a larger standing pool, muddy-bottomed and cut in half by a tree that had fallen longer ago than living memory had been able to supply. There's no boy sitting on that makeshift bridge, nestled and hidden by a thicket of trees, green eyes following Kamui's movements with interest, pole abandoned next to him as he plucks at the leaves lying low, watching them twirl and twirl in a mad little dance before landing in the water, tiny ripples a precursor to the larger ones before the afternoon rains set in.
There's nothing that compares to it and perhaps that's just as well, almost fearing to lose those dim ghosts on the flickering stage of his mind's eye, memory already reduced down to snapshots, moments and the odd taste or scent. It's the feeling that remains.
Subaru is not where he left him, the fire he'd built and stirred to feeble life cold and that causes Kamui to tense, lifting his head and sniffing the air, reaching with his mind for those threads that bind him to his twin, the sensations there … jumbled and half-formed. He cranes his head, following both, though it's the scent that points in him the right direction even as he tugs on the connection between them, that innate sense they've always had of each other. What he gets back is a flash more than an actual image, water overflowing over polished marble, a rounding stone face staring back at him, fading as his gaze falls upon the house opposite them, a preserved relic of opulence that still glistens when the moonlight hits the stone walls just right, surrounded on either side by an immense wall. The walls end on either side of the main doors, filigree metal gates closed but the inner wood door just behind it is cracked, open and forgotten.
There must have been torches once, torches and music and flowers in bloom, the air spiced with their rich fragrance. He thinks he can detect trace of it still, cloying when mixed with the dust of this place, clinging to the back of his throat. Kamui isn't really given to flights of fancy but when he looks just right, he thinks he can see it out of the corner of his eye, a vague wispy outline of how it must have been, the echo of drunken laughter and raised voices just out of earshot. There's a sense of expectation, soaked into the very stones of the house as he pulls back the gate, feeling another of those shivery-faint caresses against his cheek. The wind picks up, dead leaves rattling against their grasping cage of bark, and for a moment, he's dizzy, everything spinning too quickly before he can even begin to reach for it.
He's not entirely conscious of taking the first step, only that it's taken, hitting him with a sharp slap and Kamui shakes his head, trying to clear it. Just inside the entryway and the house opens up again, a five-sided courtyard unfolding on either side of the colonnade towards the domed part of the residence. It's barren, the grass long since withered and the carefully planted shrubbery little more than visible skeletons amidst what's left of human ornamentation, curving benches and statuary littering the space. Long shadows jump, moving as if someone is flicking a light very quickly as he pushes forward, hands reaching out of their own accord, stopping just short of actually touching the columns as they pass, fingers itching to slip over those carved surfaces, twitching as if they already know what to expect. It unsettles him and he's grateful for that and the sharp slap of anger that accompanies it, better guardians against this place than he could have hoped.
The walkway narrows the further he walks and Kamui realizes that with a start, the distance even further than it first appeared from the entrance, a carefully crafted optical illusion, the roof lower and the columns while still evenly spaced angling closer until his shoulders nearly brush stonework. His skin crawls, relieved and then overwhelmed when the space opens up again into a rounding portico, the house an island in a sea of planned arches and windows, dead vines twisted around half-visible friezes, dead gods peering in disdain through knotted thickets.
This place is cursed. He thinks again and this time he can believe it. Cursed or haunted and it doesn't really matter which one. Passing through the entryway and into the house itself is rather like passing through a very old story, the ones he remembers from his childhood, told by firelight and huddled close to Subaru, wide-eyed and helpless before the unfurling of the tale, a fragment of memory surfacing, something some bard on some insignificant world long left had said.
Stories have a life of their own and once they start, they can't be stopped, only seen through until the end.
He hears the water before he sees anything else, a reedy complaint of sound that, like everything else in this place, seems to fade then strengthen, wavering in and out in patches. The remains of a tapestry hang in his way and he pushes it away, ducking underneath the heavy material, the room before him a circle, divans arranged in accordance with that, so that the impression of no angles whatsoever were given, just circle unto circle, Kamui's eyes trying not to cross as his eyes seek to take everything in at once. When that fails, he's more than happy to let his gaze rest on what he seeks.
Subaru's back is to him, sharp shoulder bones rising over the hemline of his loosened tunic, the bright green of the cheongsam black in the dimness, the same gold thread that runs through Kamui's clothing dull. He's staring at something or seems to be, head tilted oddly as a hand tightens around the upper part of his other arm. From this perspective, Subaru seems smaller suddenly, fine-boned and more than delicate, almost bird-like in the way his head is held, this whole room nothing more than elaborate cage and that notion disturbs him, reaching for Subaru again with words and another tug on their bond, hoping that one if not both will stir him.
When Subaru moves, it's sluggish, filled with a lethargic grace as he half-turns, his gaze sliding on Kamui and through him, brow wrinkling as he blinks, that confusion he felt shards of earlier settling in, swaying slightly.
Kamui isn't sure what frightens him more, that Subaru can look at him with such blank eyes, as if he's not really seeing anything, let alone Kamui, or that the jumble mishmash of emotion filtering through from him feels nothing like Subaru at all.
It's this place, there's something about it, something wrong that just nibbles and nibbles at the back of your mind, numbing as the buzz gets worse, Kamui knows, reaching out to squeeze Subaru's shoulder and disturbed when his twin seems to slump under that touch.
He can't really stop himself, knowing he's being unintentionally rough, panic-quickened movements leading him to turn Subaru around fully, catching his face and lifting it, peering into sleep-startled eyes, rewarded with a flicker of recognition then.
Kamui doesn't like what he sees, not the lethargy or the hollow spaces where his twin should be behind those glassy green eyes, coming to a quick decision. Flexing his right hand, Kamui concentrates, the bones of his fingers aching as they stretch, distending and sharpening, Subaru watching with disinterest as he uses his index finger now claw, to nick his throat, wincing as blood trickles down nearly to the knuckle, gritting his teeth and hooking his talons in deeper and making the tear a little wider before he paints Subaru's slack lips with his blood. Instinct takes over as Subaru licks his lips and then the talon before him, kittenish as a flicker of hunger wakes across their connection. Kamui flexes his hand, watching it begin to shrink, not wanting Subaru to actually hurt himself when his hand is grabbed, the bones held tight enough to grind together, green-dark eyes peering at him as Subaru delicately laps at his hand, chasing the blood threatening to splash over his knuckle before he's – just there, in Kamui's space, greedy hunger and soft cold lips closing against the cut he's made.
It's hard not to shudder, especially with Subaru's nose nuzzling just underneath the vein, followed up by the rough caress of his tongue, Kamui's teeth cutting into his lower lip as hands close around his upper arms. The current of blood passing between them causes their connection to flicker then flare to life, a whimper chasing after his shudder as he can suddenly feel Subaru again. There's hunger there, the kind that Kamui knows only too well, ravenous and blinding, a craving for warmth and a desperate need, a desire to take more. To take and take until there's nothing left and it's probably cliché to admit that Kamui wants that, too. Wants to feel Subaru claw and bite and tear at him, to drink as deeply as he possibly can, so that the line between pleasure and pain dissolves completely, feeding that to his twin along with the blood which won't nourish him as human blood might but take the edge off that need. Wants anything other than this unending dread and lethargy that's settled over them both since they arrived in this damned place.
It's difficult to know what Subaru wants, aside from that very basic emotion filtering through, nails digging in, sharper than they should be around the tips, a sign of Subaru's control slipping. Kamui sometimes thinks he never has known, fumbling through with his twin, his advances always feeling clumsy, awkward and demanding, petulance disguising a very real unease of being rejected. Subaru never has, verdant eyes taking on a glint of remonstrance those moments Kamui doesn't conceal that well enough, laced fingers tightening around his, palm to palm and the soft weight of a head against his shoulder.
It's hard to articulate what that does, how much just having Subaru near him can affect him, making him feel stable, wanting to be stronger and better for his twin. Harder still to articulate that fear that never completely leaves, the one always ticking away in the back of his mind, stuffed down as deeply as he can manage, that something will happen and Subaru won't be there anymore. That they'll be separated by space or worse, something infinitely more permanent; not all the worlds in which they land are hospitable or welcoming and more than once, the twins have had to fight their way through until the opportunity presented itself and they could leave again.
Neither of them are strangers to death, dealing it to those mortals who cross their paths at the wrong or depending on how you look at it, the right moment, and as much as he wishes the legends about vampires were true. They aren't immortal and though time has slowed for them, one day it will run out. The idea that one of them might be without the other, separated by a boundary that neither can cross and having to abide that goes against everything Kamui can stand, sometimes beating his fists bloody in frustration, shattered walls and trees having to stand in for that enemy.
Subaru's hands squeeze his, distracting him and maybe that's the point, Kamui shivering as the temperature in the room seems to drop, tilting his head and feeling teeth clamp down harder as if Subaru fears he'll pull away. He should know better than that, Kamui peering upward through lowered lids, lightheadedness starting to set in, vision fuzzing and if he lets himself believe it, there's almost things swimming across his vision, insubstantial forms free floating with faces that seem to shift in and out, a blur of unending motion. They're like nothing he's ever seen before, misshapen until his eyes can unfocus enough to make sense of what he's seeing, features outlined in wisps of shadowy light. Those touches that he's tried to dismiss are more solid now, almost able to feel the individual fingers slipping over his brow and cheeks, eyes widening as –
He blinks, dazed and lowers his head, Subaru peering up at him with blood-stained lips and concerned eyes, Subaru's hand almost warm against the chill of his skin and that seems odd. He's not sure what he's done to merit that look or the hand cupping his chin, turning his face this way and that, the knot above Subaru's eyes pronounced now that they're this close.
"I think I took too much," Subaru announces, sheepish and worried in turn, "I'm sorry?"
Took – Oh. That's right, he'd let Subaru feed from him. "Don't worry about it," Kamui shrugs, that nearly undoing him as a wave of nauseous vertigo washes over him, the feeling of his stomach attempting to crawl up his throat only odd in that he hasn't felt anything like it in so long.
Subaru's fingers find his shoulders, expression now one of open worry. "You're not okay. I shouldn't have –"
"You needed it," Kamui winces as Subaru pushes him into one of the divans, making a face as dust flies up and coats them both. "I'm just glad you're back with me."
Subaru eases back, his attempts to push him into lying back ceasing as he tilts his head, "Kamui – I didn't go anywhere."
"Yes, you did," he takes Subaru's hand, wrapping his fingers around it, seeing nothing in that expression but cautious bewilderment. "You went and I had to call you back, the only way I knew how."
"I'm not sure I understand."
There are these moments when Subaru looks at him just right and Kamui could swear he sees still the outline of the boy his brother had been, rounding cheeks that hollowed with time, his eyes no longer knowing but wide, filled with wonder. It makes Subaru a very human monster, creases in his forehead where time has all but erased the markers of their age, tongue absently flicking over his lips, taking with it the last of the blood he took from Kamui. There's no flush of warmth, not like Subaru would have gained from a human but the clarity in his green eyes is more than worth a few aches and a burgeoning headache, Kamui ignoring the hiss of his starving veins.
He wants to explain it, to tell his brother that something isn't right in this place, and do it in such a way that Subaru wouldn't laugh or dismiss, sadness filtering in whenever he looks around him. Kamui feels no such sadness, instead feeling rather than seeing an abyss stretching out before them. There's something here in this place, a taint that's bred into the very bedrock that flickers in and out like those rippling portals that never quite manage to open for them. And it's watching them with a sleepy eye, their presence another ripple, one out of tune with the cacophony, attempting to draw them in.
Subaru is normally much more sensitive to these things than he is and Kamui doesn't know why, in this case, the reverse seems to be true. Why he can sense these things and Subaru, the last few moments aside, seems oblivious to it all, taken with the melancholy beauty of this place but finding in it no more than the interest he might in any ruins they might come across in their journey.
There's so much Kamui wants to say but all he does is reach up and ruffle Subaru's hair, that act leaving him tired, though he tries to tease, "Not sure that's anything new."
Subaru makes a face now and some of the worry eases, "Oh good, sarcasm. You are feeling better then."
It's a weak joke and they both know it, Subaru looking away as soon as he utters it, only to glance back when Kamui raises the hand he's holding to his lips, kissing the knuckles. It's as much a promise as it is a gesture of comfort, trying to convey to Subaru without words that everything will be all right, that he'll look out for his twin and make sure no harm comes to him, the way he always has.
"I know," Subaru murmurs, eyes softening before he frowns, "I can do the same, you know. It doesn't always have to be you looking out for me."
"No," Kamui agrees, finally letting Subaru push him into reclining, "We look out for each other. Always have."
"Always will," Subaru finishes, "Although sometimes I feel like you do more of that than I do."
There's a recrimination in that, one directed inwards, and it does nothing but leave Kamui annoyed, squeezing the hand in his before pulling his brother downward, not much strength going behind that but Subaru follows anyway, resting his head against Kamui's arm, soft hair spilling through his fingers as Kamui strokes his hair. He thinks, about everything he wants to say, all the arguments he wants to make and the disquiet he can still feeling being directed towards him before he settles on the most neutral, least explosive response he can make.
"I wouldn't be here if you weren't. I wouldn't want to be anywhere you weren't. If it came down to it, if I needed it, I know you'd save me and you wouldn't let anything get in your way. I don't need you to prove that, Subaru."
"Besides," Kamui lets a bit of humor creep in, some of his annoyance starting to lessen as Subaru's fingers curl around him, legs drawing up and then wrapping around his, "I'd make a pretty piss-poor damsel in distress – my legs aren't as nice as yours."
He feels Subaru's startlement followed with a flash of ire and dismay just before his twin sits up, pushing at his shoulder and attempting to glower at him. "Kamui."
Their limbs are still entangled and all Subaru's movements serve to do is to distract, Kamui dizzy again by the sudden surge of sensations clashing, drained but still wanting. He can watch plaster dry and still find ways to want his twin, to think of Subaru when by all rights he shouldn't and as much as that might be hormones, the by-product of a body that's been sixteen for far longer than anyone should, it's also Subaru. It's the way his mouth twists up, moueing at him when he's unhappy, nose wrinkling and brow threatening to wrinkle or the way in spite of all those things, his eyes are suddenly clear, warmer and pleased. Subaru is probably the only person in the multi-verse who finds pleasure in Kamui being a smart-ass and understand that no harm was meant by it, that it was just his way.
More than that, he's the only person who would probably find any sort of relief in it.
"Subaru," Kamui mimics then winces, hating himself for it and for the way his vision whites out again, fading along jagged edges until he can swear for a second he's seeing double – of everything except the face floating above his, worried again. Kamui hates that more than anything else, knowing that he's caused it. "Stop it –"
"No, you stop," Subaru scolds him, sitting up, scooting so that he's straddling him but it's not quite as fun it was a moment ago, Kamui frowning at him as soon as everything focuses properly again. "You need to rest."
"No, I –"
"—need to rest. And then we need to hunt."
"There isn't anything here."
"There has to be something. A rat or bird or – I don't know, a snake or something. There can't just not be anything."
What Kamui feels now isn't so much hard to define as it is unexpected, annoyed but beneath that something hotter, full of anger sparks. It's insulting that Subaru would think after his refusal to do anything but moon around this place, Kamui would let them both down. What did he think Kamui was doing all that time they were apart? Did Subaru think he was that incompetent?
"Do you think I'm that choosy?" Kamui manages though there's an edge to his own words, sharper than he's heard in awhile. "Especially when I know what we need?"
"Well, I – "
Kamui feels his jaw clench, that sudden anger catching again, harder and faster this time, flints striking together and Subaru flinches, looking down at him in surprise as Kamui speaks. "What? You what?"
The confusion makes it worse, Subaru playing dumb as if Kamui himself is too stupid to pick out the implication, as if he hasn't been preoccupied or doing enough to ensure their survival –
It just makes everything untenable, jerking upright and unseating Subaru completely, his twin tumbling to the floor as another painful rush makes him push a hand against his face, eye twitching. Not enough sleep, too much to do and now this? How could he manage any of this when he never got any help?
"Ka—mui?" The words are too perfectly played just like that innocent expression, Kamui peering behind spread fingers, infuriated by what he's always taken to be warm concern, now certain it's mocking. Mocking. Him. He can feel his fingers clench, the cloth of the chair beneath him tearing.
"Be silent," Kamui snaps, letting go and watching dust flutter up between them, flecks of fabric littering the air. "Don't you think I'm doing everything I can? Don't you? I brought us here and I know that makes it my fault but I could use help, not constant complaints."
"I wasn't complaining –"
It's amazing that a simple phrase could work so well and so quickly, Subaru gaping at him, probably unable to imagine that anyone would dare say such a thing to him and Kamui almost smirks, fingers twitching and for one blinding moment, he can see himself raising it towards Subaru and –
There's something about this place.
The thought filters in again and all he feels is sick, Subaru's emotions bleeding in, hurt and uncomprehending, not a little afraid, too and all of it is directed towards him. Towards Kamui and he knows that he's done this, he's made Subaru afraid and he can't even answer why, the anger gone as quickly as its risen leaving behind the thick taste of bile and terror. Fear over what just happened and whether Subaru will even believe him if he tries to explain. He can feel all the words he wants to say beginning and ending with I'm sorry. I'm sorry. over and over again until he's either forgiven or found the other side of this madness.
What he does is jerk, lurching to his feet and towards the air filtering in from the outside, his hand reaching until he finds soft folds, yanking and hearing ancient rings on rods squeal, opening out onto another balcony, elbows scraping against the cold railing as he hangs his head over.
He just needs a few minutes. Just a few to collect himself and then maybe he can go in and grovel, grovel and hope that Subaru can forgive him long enough to listen. Not that it makes anymore sense to Kamui than it's likely going to his twin. His eyes are burning, blinking as his chest seems to contract with a powerful sense of shame, smacking his fist and sinking down lower to the ground, panting.
How funny. He hasn't needed air in so long that he'd forgotten how painful it could feel when it's knocked out of you.
What Subaru can't understand is why he just sits there, watching the tapestry swinging back and forth. Why his chest feels tight, unbearably so, dead lungs struggling for breaths they don't need, a metallic taste in the back of his throat. His limbs feel like lead, hunched in on himself as if in protection, his arms aching from the strain, fingers stretched against the floor. He wants to move but there's a moment when he's not sure if he wants to follow Kamui, to demand an explanation, to understand what just happened and why it is what's coming through their connection is spotty, garbled and twisting in on itself or if he wants to turn and run, through the rooms of this house and down into the city. There – are ways out and if he could just get up, he could leave, he could leave and take the mountain down except – except –
He can't leave Kamui. He promised and more than that he can't.
But he can't go to him either, rooted to the floor as his blood, the blood Kamui shared with him, feels like it's congealing in his veins, sluggish and leaving him all too aware. The blood should have strengthened the bond, amplified it but the opposite seems to be happening, feeling it dwindle and shrink, withering even as he attempts to grasp it, Kamui fading along with it, reduced to little more than a quieting welter of emotional bursts, pulsing, pulsing, pulsing and then – stopping.
It's that sudden emptiness that forces him to his feet, Subaru disoriented by that, lethargy seeming to melt, his fear becoming more solid, more compelling and by the time his hand sink in the fabric of the tapestry, his movements are frantic, picking up speed, fingers elongating into claws that slice easily through the heavy cloth. There should be sound, insects or wind or anything to break the constricting stillness as he stumbles onto the empty balcony, eyes drawn towards the drops of dark fluid he nearly slips on, furrows visible in now split marble.
Of Kamui there's no trace.
***End Part One