|Jul. 7th, 2006 10:53 am I guess I'll call it 'Hamelin', I seem to be playing in miscellaneous literary references...|
Series: Yami no Matsuei (Descendants of Darkness)1 comment - Leave a comment
Spoilers: Devil's Trill arch
Pairing: hijuki and all maner of love-triange angst
Summary: ‘I was going over the catalogues of this month’s applicants and there he was!’ the Gushoshin held up a printed off list of dozens of names, with ‘Page 128 of 361’ on the bottom. Circled in ballpoint pen, halfway through the list was the name ‘Minasei, Hijiri.’
Dislcaimer: I only claim the syntax.
The problem, as Watari had pointed out in a quiet conversation with Tatsumi by the water-cooler one day, was that Tsuzuki had a higher constitution for stress than his partner. While Tsuzuki could maintain a relatively functional facade after a fresh snowfall of self-loathing that someone who didn’t know him very well could interpret as slight sleep-deprivation, his roiling emotions were having a devastating effect on the empathic Hisoka.
One of course had to keep in mind that under the best of conditions Hisoka could be described as ‘rather sickly’. Tsuzuki’s intense guilt over the death of Minasei Hijiri was no new emotion to himself, but had the effect of making Hisoka physically ill to the point of migraines and fainting spells. Which, in turn, made Tsuzuki feel worse. The newest fold, which Hisoka had carefully kept from his coworkers, was to find himself vomiting blood now and again. This, to Hisoka, confirmed his suspicions that he’d been developing a stomach ulcer. Though he did not seek out a medical professional to properly diagnose it or make any vain attempts at fixing what would just be exacerbated the next time he went within ten meters of his partner.
It was for the unhappiness of his stomach, among many other reasons, that Hisoka’s attention was caught when the Gushoshin said excitedly ‘It’s about Hijiri-kun!
‘I was going over the catalogues of this month’s applicants and there he was!’ the Gushoshin held up a printed off list of dozens of names, with ‘Page 128 of 361’ on the bottom. Circled in ballpoint pen, halfway through the list was the name ‘Minasei, Hijiri.’
‘... What...’ Hisoka blinked at the page the beaming bird was holding out to him with a vague feeling of bewilderment. ‘What does that mean...?’
‘Hijiri-kun is in the application process to become a member of staff! All the other documents are locked and only the managers of hiring are allowed to see them, but there’s been an opening for a Pied Piper for three months!’
‘... Pied Piper?’ Hisoka repeated, feeling stupid.
‘The Shinigami in charge of children’s souls,’ the Gushoshin nodded, turning the list back towards himself to gaze at it with an excited smile. ‘The term “Piper” has been in use for a bit over a millennia since an agent in Germany became famous. Since then, almost all the agents specializing in juvenile cases have been musical savants. And one of the Pipers for Japan retired this year. Poor Shunkin* has been doing all the juvenile summons by herself!’
Halfway through the monologue Hisoka bit his lip and felt his stomach turn as a wave of intense depression swept over him. He knew several moments before the doorknob turned who would be stepping through it.
Tsuzuki paused, gazing at the librarian for a moment before his auto-responses kicked in and he greeted him with a fake smile. ‘Hi, Gushoshin. What’s up?’ he gave a small wave.
‘Hijiri-kun is going to be the new Piper!’ the Gushoshin exclaimed with a brilliant grin.
Tsuzuki stared at him blankly. ‘... What... are you talking about...?’
Hisoka groaned softly as a migraine blossomed behind his eyes. ‘We don’t know that. Just because he’s on the list doesn’t mean they’re going to pick him. There were three hundred and sixty pages of names.’ He desperately wished that the Gushoshin hadn’t said anything about it to Tsuzuki. He had no doubt that this was going to make it worse.
‘That’s the international list,’ the Gushoshin asserted firmly. ‘They’ll always try to fill a position with a national of the country it’s in and only go for foreigners when absolutely necessary. They’ve been trying to fill the position for three months and Hijiri-kun is absolutely perfect!’
An intense panic suddenly filled Tsuzuki and his hands started to shake as his mind asked why.
Oh my God. I’m the reason he’s not moving on. He wants revenge. He hates me. He wants to get revenge for me killing him. God, I should kill myself. Would that be unfair? Should I wait and let him kill me? God, I don’t want to see him. I don’t want to see how much he hates me. But it wouldn’t be fair to take away his right to revenge... I killed him. He has every right to kill me. I can’t take that away from him. Not after what I did to him.
Hisoka pitched sideways off his chair and toppled to the floor, the mouthful of blood he’d been trying to hold back spilling out of slack lips.
‘Hisoka!’ Tsuzuki and Gushoshin cried in unison, leaping forward too late to stop him hitting the ground. Tsuzuki gathered his partner quickly into his arms, terror written across his face, and lifted him off the floor.
‘He looks really bad,’ the Gushoshin mumbled fearfully. ‘We should get him to medical.’
‘It’s my fault,’ Tsuzuki whimpered, tears starting to stream down his face. ‘Everything’s my fault.’
‘Tsuzuki! This isn’t the time!’ the Gushoshin scolded, slapping him in the back of the head. ‘Quick, get Hisoka-kun to medical!’
‘A-aa...’ Tsuzuki nodded miserably and hurried out of the office.
‘Ah, you’re awake. Good. You should have told somebody about that ulcer.’ Vibrant blonde hair swooshed into Hisoka’s vision as Watari leaned over him. ‘We’ve got medicines that can make that a lot better.’
Hisoka moaned and fell back on the pillow, giving up on trying to sit as his head swam with painful dizziness. ‘And if Tsuzuki found out it would get a lot worse,’ he sighed, rubbing his face.
Watari grinned in a wistful, pained way. ‘Marvelous job of keeping him from finding out then. Particularly the part where you fell over and started bleeding from the mouth in front of him.’ He shook his head and leaned against the wall. ‘He’s in hysterics now, you know.’
Hisoka blinked slowly, pushing his hands back through his hair before he abruptly tried to sit up again and just as abruptly fell back with a pounding headache. ‘S-someone has to watch him,’ Hisoka said, trying to convey the seriousness to Watari with his eyes. ‘He’s thinking about killing himself.’
The usual smile faded quickly off Watari’s lips as he nodded quietly. ‘Tatsumi-san’s been shadowing him...’ he paused and then the smile returned with an amused, ironic look that made Hisoka think he’d just missed a good joke. ‘Anyway, he’s pretty good at calming Tsuzuki-san down. He’s also trying to get Tsuzuki-san to hold off on filing a request for transfer.’
‘Transfer...?’ Hisoka stared, feeling suddenly very cold.
‘Because he’s making you sick. It’s kind of funny... We were all kind of hoping you’d be the first partner that stayed with him and now you’re the first partner he’s ever tried to dump...’ Watari stared at his hands, all the traces of smile gone.
‘Where is he?’ Hisoka asked urgently, trying to push himself out of the bed and quickly finding Watari’s hands on his shoulders to be the only thing supporting him as his knees gave out.
‘Easy, champ. You need to get some serious rest,’ Watari chuckled, pushing him back into bed. ‘... Does that mean you’re against it?’ he asked in a quiet, hopeful voice. ‘I’ll tell him for you. Just get some rest.’
‘... Thanks, Watari-san.’
‘Anytime, kid. I’m growing pretty fond of you.’
Tsuzuki had pulled himself into Tatsumi’s lap and was sniffling quietly into his neck. He’d calmed considerably from his earlier hysterical sobbing and babbling, but Tatsumi was sure that the change was due to exhaustion, not acceptance.
He gently stroked his hand through Tsuzuki’s hair in a repetitive motion that made his wrist sore and held Tsuzuki with the other arm. If Hisoka had been there he would have been shocked by the agony Tatsumi found in this moment, coupled with an intense need to stay right there until everything was right with Tsuzuki’s world.
He sighed and mentally made plans to stay with Tsuzuki that night, perhaps longer, until he could be brought out of this particular funk. He intensely hoped that Tsuzuki was wrong about Minasei’s motivations.
*A little baby literary reference right there, but I think I’ll keep it to a minimum. She is a kind of creepy character in a few ways, haven’t decided whether I’ll actually bring her in.