Disclaimer: Not mine.
Challenge: beginning, middle, end
Notes: First post, took all three hours, have not dabbled in any CLAMP fandom for at least a year. Should probably have been longer, but I ran out of time. Now I know why I eschew timed challenges. x_x *washes hands of cliches*
He always said it was love at first sight, and it would make me blush, hot and probably bright red against my skin which (unlike Hokuto's) never tanned, even in summer when the sun was brightest. It only burned, like a blush permanently etched on my face, then peeled off in unsightly clumps, but even when I was embarrassed about it, he never minded. He only kissed the tip of a finger and pressed it to my nose, a light and cool caress, and said that I was beautiful anyway, which only made me blush the brighter.
I was never good at talking with people. I was too strange, too sheltered, too easy to fluster, and it only became worse around him until it was almost a wonder that we managed to hold any conversations at all. But he was so easy to talk to, and I never said it, but sometimes I thought that he understood me more than Hokuto ever managed. He was there every time I needed him, even when I was working, kind and dependable and saying that he loved me.
I tried to tell him to stop once, knotting the fabric of my gloves nervously between my fingers. "Don't say things that you don't mean, Seishirou-san," I said, raising my voice over the sound of my sister's catcalls and hooting in the background. His look was quizzical, like I had just said something that didn't make any sense at all, and his eyes were burnished gold like a hawk's.
"But I really do love you, Subaru-kun," he told me, and Hokuto-chan cheered so enthusiastically that she toppled off the tiny chair that she had been perched on, landing on the kitchen floor in a laughing heap.
I wonder, if he hadn't gone to help her up like the gentleman she always proclaimed him to be, maybe he'd have seen the smile on my face?
I never asked him to stop again. Maybe I was afraid that if I asked him a second time, he really would stop, or maybe I thought that if he said it often enough, it would actually become true.
Perhaps if Hokuto-chan hadn't been so supportive of us, I wouldn't have gotten so close to him; or perhaps she was enthusiastically supportive because of how close we were getting. I never knew why he insisted on staying close to me, but I was glad that he did. He was tall and handsome and striking, and I loved watching him work in the veterinary clinic, because he was so gentle and sure of his work. Animals that jumped under my nervous touch soothed instantly in his hands, which were large and sturdy, and so warm that I could feel their heat even through my gloves. I used to dream of working with animals, and when he invited me to keep him company in his clinic as often as he wanted, his smile was warm as his hands.
The more I visited his clinic, the more I realised that it wasn't just his patients that I wanted to touch with my bare fingers. I used to pull off my gloves in the middle of the night and stare up at my hands, which were pale and bloodless things in the moonlight. I would imagine them next to a larger, stronger pair, imagine the furnace-heat of skin, until the slightest noise left me scrambling for the safety of my gloves, face burning at my whimsy.
It wasn't until later that I realised what all of this meant.
When I discovered that I loved him, he killed my sister.
I threw out all my gloves and started smoking, and I dreamed of him as often as I dreamed of killing him, or of him killing me, confusing dreams with blurs of bare skin and and bronze eyes and sakura petals which left me panting awake in the middle of the night, uncomfortably flushed. I dreamed of kissing him, open-mouthed and needy, and of biting down so I could drink in his blood; as though I wanted to take something of him in me, to keep for the days that he was not there. I thought I knew what it all meant until I met him again nine years after, still tall and handsome and striking, and realised that I didn't know anything at all.
But it wasn't 'til the very end that I found out he didn't know anything, either.
We'd gotten everything wrong from the beginning, the both of us, and it was only right that it ended wrong too, with my arm through his chest and his blood hot against my hands, and his skin cold in a way that it never was. He smiled at me as he lay dying, blood on his lips and a hitch in his voice.
"I really do love you," he said.
Nine years ago, I didn't believe him, but this time, strangely enough, I did.