Chapter 2: Love Lost
By Nagyra

Night had already fallen. Rukawa sat up from his bed where he had lain unmoving
for the past three hours. Mechanically, he stood up and headed down for supper.
It was a feast. A celebration for a death.
Rukawa couldn't stomach the food. He left the table abruptly, ignoring the calls
of his older sister and the hollow threats of his older brother. What did it
matter anyway? He lost someone he loved today. They wouldn't understand.
Not bothering to don any protective coat against the cold night air, he shoved
his feet onto a pair of boots and fled the house.
People were hiding in their homes now. Doors locked, windows barred. The sun has
set. They were in danger again.
The streets were deserted and silent. Rukawa walked on. Naturally, his older
sister would be worried but his older brother wouldn't be coming after him. That
He blindly made his way to the pub. And at the center, he saw it. The remains of
what was once a beautiful creature. A testimony to a sacrifice.
Rukawa knelt down and ran a hand through the ash as if fascinated. He had no
tears to shed. The wind had picked up.
Ash in the wind. A perfect ending to a martyr.
A presence behind him. Rukawa had grown to sense these things. Calmly, he stood
up. This wasn't his lover. But an equally powerful creature. What would he want
with him? Rukawa smiled bitterly. "Of course," he whispered.
There were no footsteps. Why would there be? These creatures moved so
gracefully, they could be the very wind. A shadow fell upon the relics that
wasn't swept away. The moon casting it's silver glow, glinting off the ash in a
sad luminescence.
"He said he didn't regret anything," Rukawa whispered almost inaudibly. But he
knew the stranger heard it clearly.
A simple nod was his answer.
Rukawa stepped back, finally looking at Kogure's master. His maker. He shone
with such radiance under the moonlight. Like Hanamichi. Pale, strong, deadly. A
wonderful mane of silky black hair fell to his shoulders. His eyes were closed
in silent mourning. [1]
"Where were you?" he needed to ask.
"Does it matter?" came the immediate answer. The creature's voice was low and
firm. Not a tinge of sadness or any other kind of emotion in them.
"It does to me. I may meet the same fate. I want to know what might keep
Hanamichi away . . . if it happened to me."
"Is that all?"
"No," Rukawa admitted, taking another step back. "It might help me decide if I
should hate you or not."
"Of course," the other whispered, followed by a low laugh. "Do you know who I
am, Kaede Rukawa?"
"That's a stupid question, Hisashi Mitsui."
"Not at all." Mitsui turned to him.
Rukawa looked away from Mitsui's eyes. Golden eyes. Most probably brown or a
dark black early in his life. Time and power had turned it into something
unnatural. As unnatural as himself.
"You know my name. You know that I am Kogure's maker--"
"WAS," Rukawa corrected.
Mitsui stopped. A flash of pain and then it was gone. "You know nothing about
me. The same way as you know nothing of Hanamichi. The human he had once been,
the creature he once was and the creature he is now."
"I suppose," Rukawa admitted. What was this Mitsui's game? "But I have forever
to find out."
"Ha!" Mitsui laughed some more, approaching him, hair billowing in the wind as
it caressed his silken locks like a mother's fingers. How tempting it was. How
Rukawa wanted to run his own fingers through that hair. Steal it from the wind
which had, just a moment ago, stolen away the ruins of a lost love. Both his and
Mitsui's eyes were blazing with fire as he stood there. Inches away from Rukawa.
"What makes you think you'll get it?"
"Do you really want to know?" Rukawa tilted his head to the side. "But you
already do. What would give me immortality would be the same force that made you
give it to Kogure."
"And what force is that?"
"Love, perhaps," Rukawa said with a careless shrug. "Or loneliness. Or both."
"You speak as if you've already figured me out."
"Haven't I?" Rukawa had grown tired. "What game are you playing, Mitsui? Your
eyes breathe fire, but of what kind?"
"But I thought you've figured me out." Mitsui's voice had gone frighteningly
flat. "Can't you tell?"
"It could mean a lot of things," Rukawa said. "Anger, perhaps. Agony?
Rukawa stepped away from Mitsui, walking towards the last vestiges of Kogure
that lay on the ground. "Yes. Frustration--for an experiment gone wrong."
"He wasn't an experiment!"
"Then what was he?"
Mitsui narrowed his eyes. "Do not patronize me, Rukawa. I could kill you now. I
could kill you before you could get it."
"And yet you do not." Rukawa closed his eyes.
Mitsui fell silent. The wind blew stronger.
"What else did he say?" The voice was very soft. So vulnerable. So pained.
Rukawa opened his eyes. Mitsui had looked away but what little light the moon
gave out, it was enough. Enough to show the streak of red that flowed down this
powerful creature's pale cheeks. Like child, like maker.
"That was all he wanted me to tell you."
"I see," Mitsui said, nodding. "If I could have--"
"I'm sure you would have, Hisashi," Rukawa said. Deja vu. "I'm sure you would
"You don't hate me?"
"How could I? You're just like him. You and Kogure," he answered. "No wonder you
loved him so much."
"I thought," Mitsui whispered. "I thought . . . that he, with all his
loveliness, with all his kindness, would be able to save me from damnation."
"Hasn't he?"
"Oh he has, Kaede," Mitsui said quickly. "He has. He's my savior. He's treaded
the path to death like the brave soul that he always was. I could not face
death. I wasn't strong enough. I had fervently hoped I could have found the
strength . . . even for just a while, to have risen from my grave and join him."
Rukawa didn't know what to say. He didn't have words that could compensate for
the silence.
But Mitsui was speaking again. "I wonder--I wonder . . . if in the end . . . I'd
be able to look back and ask . . . how well I did, and not be disappointed with
the answer."
Rukawa narrowed his eyes. Was this his farewell? He stepped forward, but a pale
hand had landed on his shoulder. He froze.
"Stay back," Hanamichi whispered, head lowered as he whispered to his ear,
breath tickling delicate skin.
Rukawa didn't dare move. Didn't dare let out his breath as Hanamichi flicked out
his tongue once to nibble an earlobe. And then he was gone from Rukawa's back.
Hanamichi was walking towards Mitsui whose head was still bowed. Yet Rukawa knew
that Mitsui knew Hanamichi was there. Rukawa knew that Mitsui knew even when
Hanamichi was still miles away.
His beloved slowly opened his arms, and in such a tender act, he took Mitsui in
them, cradling Mitsui's head at the crook of his neck.
"You wouldn't understand, Hanamichi," Rukawa heard Mitsui whisper. "You
wouldn't. Not until you lose Kaede."
"Perhaps," was Hanamichi's silent answer.
Rukawa remained rooted in his place. Remained unmoving even when he saw Mitsui
reach out slowly and lower down Hanamichi's collar to reveal his long and
slender neck. Didn't move when Mitsui had descended his sharp and deadly fangs
to break the skin . . . and drink.
Hanamichi let him. Then he slowly turned them around, so that he was facing
Rukawa, eyes full of love and sympathy. For him? Or for Mitsui? And then
Hanamichi gradually lowered his own head. And from Mitsui, he drank his own
Two lovers under the moonlight. And Rukawa stood there. A voyeur. Just watching.
Simply there.
The sight was so bittersweet, it made him want to cry. Yet he didn't. He
couldn't. He never cried.
He realized that these two splendid beings in front of him could have been
anything in the past. Lovers. Enemies. Brothers. And a thousand of other things.
What was Rukawa's significance in light of the thousands of years of
companionship that these two had shared? What was Kogure's?
His heart breaking, Rukawa's eyes lowered to the ground. To the ash. To Kogure's
sacrifice. Only then did he realized the immensity of it. Death. How could one
be truly immortal when death itself . . . is immortal? He looked back at his
beloved and the one in his arms. Immortal. Like THEIR love.
Rukawa took a step back. And another. And another. And then he turned around,
and walked away.
~~~ End Part 2 ~~~

[1] I think using a Mitsui with long hair here would add to the effect.