Fandom: Tokyo Babylon
Characters: Sumeragi Subaru, mentions of Sumeragi Hokuto
Summary: He used to be terrified of small places.
Disclaimer: Tokyo Babylon and all associated characters are the property of CLAMP
Time: 30 min.
Notes: Well, it sort of went where I thought it was going. I think.
Sumeragi Subaru had once been terrified of small spaces.
Nothing – and no one – had been able to help him get over it for a long time, not his parents and not his grandmother. Not even Hokuto, at first. It was irrational and he knew it, but there was nothing he could do about it. When he was somewhere small and dark, he felt the walls start to close in, and his pulse would begin to race – and he would emerge, nearly white and trembling.
It was bad enough that his grandmother began to think that this…fear of Subaru’s would prevent him from being able to lead the Clan. There were, after all, instances where a problem had to be dealt with in an impossibly small space, and an onmyouji who couldn’t handle that would certainly be unable to handle the spirit or the spell that had gone awry. It wasn’t really a problem if Subaru had simply been another of the Sumeragi onmyouji, but he wasn’t. From the age of three, he had been earmarked as the next Clan Head, and he would have to be cool-headed in every circumstance.
Sumeragi Junko had worried over that, because Subaru was really the only member of the family in his generation that would be able to be a balance against the Sakurazukamori. They needed his power, but they also needed him to be capable of using it.
In the end, it was Subaru’s twin, Hokuto, who ended up making things better.
Hokuto was not without talent in onmyoujitsu herself, but she didn’t have near the gift her brother had, and she had no interest whatsoever in pursuing it. Instead, Hokuto had always had a fascination with color and fabric and style, and she was determined that she would study design and make beautiful clothes.
Her clothes – the flurries of color and sparkle that she painstakingly stitched together – they were important to Hokuto, but they weren’t her most important things. Her most important thing always was, and always would be, Subaru.
And so one day, as she peeked around the corner as her brother determinedly stared down a closet in his quest to conquer his terror, she said something to her twin that somehow helped – and he was never terrified of being somewhere close and dark ever again.
Not until he was nearly seventeen, and he lived in Tokyo instead of Kyoto.
His apartment was huge by Tokyo standards, exquisitely decorated in the brilliant, exuberant colors Hokuto had always loved best. It smelled of spice and perfume overlaid with the acrid scent of the cigarettes their closest friend in Tokyo had always smoked. The cigarettes that Subaru had begun to smoke himself.
The world was starting close in again, he thought as a tiny flame on a dull silver lighter flared to life. He dipped his head, lighting the tightly rolled paper between his lips before taking a long drag and leaning his head back against the cushions of the sofa. He could feel everything begin to loom all over again, and it was because what Hokuto had told him years ago wasn’t true anymore.
“Just remember, Subaru, that I’ll be with you even when you’re alone. We’re twins, you know. Nothing can rip us apart.”
But that hadn’t been true, Subaru thought as he blew out a stream of smoke and watched it dissipate in the darkened room. Something had ripped them apart, and he could feel the empty place in his heart where Hokuto used to be.
Those things, he thought, that he’d always felt so terrified of when he was young, that always seemed to be hunting him and getting to close to him; that always seemed to be closest to taking hold of him when he had nowhere to run – they were coming again. No one would protect him from them this time.
Sumeragi Subaru closed his eyes, holding his cigarette in a loose grip, and breathed shallow breaths between his parted lips. He thought that he just might let them take him this time.
He was tired of feeling empty.