This little boy.
Yousui sat very happily in the grass, with his tiny, blue-haired son in his arms, cooing and gushing over the perfection he had helped to bring into the world. Perfectly which, of course, was evident from the moment he was born! After all.. he looked like a little Mini-Yousui!
"A Mini-Tamahome, you mean," corrected the little, nagging voice in the back of his skull, casting a shadow over the glowing happiness poor Yousui had been experiencing.
A sour expression slowly took the place of the big goofy smile he'd worn, and he muttered to himself, "Shuddup. Chuei is /my/ son. /Mine/. Not /his/. Not... .. not..."
"Taka-kun!" cried a voice from behind, just up the small hill on which Yousui sat. He winced. Not only was he now hearing voices, but they were saying evil things and sounded a lot like-.. ... Waitasec.. Blinking his violet eyes curiously, he straightened his back, and turned his head.. just in time to see a tan skinned, blue haired, green-eyed and very happy looking face barreling towards him. Tiny arms flung themselves around his neck and a high-pitched squeal of joy rang so loudly in his ear that he was sure they would be ringing for some time to come. It was all Yousui could do to keep the baby in his arms safe from the sudden onslaught, shifting the child to one arm on the other side of him.
"Touchan!" squealed the tiny voice close to his ear, as that first voice again cried "Taka-kun!" Unsure what else he could possibly do, but knowing for DAMN sure he did NOT like the thought of being confused with.. with.. He Who's Name Should Never Be Spoken, Yousui managed to weasel his free arm between himself and the little person who had become like a growth on his side, trying to push the child away.
"Baka!" he barked, trying to win his freedom from the persistent little thing, "I'm not your 'tou-chan! And I'm sure as hell not /Taka/! Now let me go before I-" As the little one's grip finally relented, Yousui was instantly sorry he'd put so much effort into trying to get free. The child went tumbling backward onto the grass, and as that first voice shrieked in alarm at what the brute (Yes, he was a brute!) had done to her child, Yousui was.. well.. too busy being wigged out at what he saw... Chuei! Only.. older! This child.. this little boy he'd just pushed onto the grass, was like a mirror image of himself and his son... only.. his eyes... They were familiar, but not his own. Not violet, but green.. They were... HER eyes..
Miaka rushed forward to scoop up her son, Hiroshi, and hug the little one to her as her gaze turned disbelievingly to the man she had mistaken for her husband. Was it any wonder, though? Everyone about him was the same! Well.. except the clothes, of course.. And... A baby? She knew this could not be Taka - he'd already said as much - but if not Taka, then..
Confused and more than a little embarrassed, Miaka knew she should just.. apologize and go. Whoever this was, where ever he was from, he was not her husband and she shouldn't linger here staring at him. But.. something about the way he was looking at her.. The almost pained look in his eyes as he watched her hold her son.. a boy who looked so much like the one he too held close in comfort. There was something so.. haunted about him, that hurt her so deep in her heart, she couldn't help but want to reach out to him and make whatever it was that hurt him go away. Heal the wounds and sooth the hurts.. But this man was not hers to sooth. He said he's not Taka, he's certainly not her husband... ... but that must mean he's... "Tamahome..?"
He winced, as if she'd just slapped him. But it made no sense! If not Taka, and not Tamahome, then who?
He soon provided her with an answer, muttering the word, "Yousui."
She should have guessed, and yet.. the realization he gave to her hit her like an anvil from the sky, bringing back a flood of memories from a time she had not thought on in a very long while.. A time that gave her the two things she valued most in this world or any other: her husband, and her son. "Oh.." she murmured, not sure what else to say, feeling suddenly awkward and guilty.. She knew a little about this one.. About the world he came from. She'd heard it through the grapevine.. Couldn't help it, really, considering how loved he was. She knew her mere presence must bring him pain.. Surely, the Miaka of his world could not have given him very fond memories, if he ended up with.. Her eyes drifted again to the baby.
"Is that.. Your and Kaen's son?"
He nodded simply, holding the child a little closer, as if he was afraid of what her gaze on the baby would do.. As if it would suddenly make the child.. not his. Like she was going to take him away. Miaka placed her confused and hurt little boy on his feet and touched her hand to his head. "This is Hiroshi.. I... I don't know how much you know of where I came fr-"
"I know enough." he cut her off curtly, eyes narrowed.. Obviously, her presence was not particularly wanted any longer.
Miaka frowned, and Hiroshi squeaked a little in fright and turned towards his mother, wrapping his arms around her legs and looking up at her with an expression of hurt and apprehension. He didn't understand what was going on... All he knew was that this man looked like his father, but wasn't his father, and was now being mean to his mother. Miaka caressed his tiny face gently and gave a reassuring smile before again fixing her emerald gaze on the man sitting not too far away from her. "G... Gomen.. I didn't mean to upset you.. It's just that when I saw you, I.. .. Hiroshi and I both thought..." The more she babbled on, the more sad Yousui looked, his violet eyes fixed on the baby in his arms.. She knew that look. He wanted her gone.. This was painful for him and he wanted it over. And she genuinely wanted to go! To leave him be, let him get back to being happy.. but her mouth continued on, as it often had a want to do. "When I came here, my husband didn't come with me.. And it's been a very long time since I saw him last, and-"
"He abandoned you?" asked Yousui, suddenly looking up again, the hurt in his face slowly turning to something that resembled.. smugness mixed with anger. "Taka left his wife and son?"
Now, it was Miaka's turn to be hurt by this exchange, as she pressed a hand over one of Hiroshi's ears, the other pressed to her abdomen, not wanting him to hear this. "He didn't leave us. He... he's probably just.. elsewhere. Taka wouldn't abandon u-"
"Sure he wouldn't," grumbled Yousui, eyes narrowed and lips twisted off to the side. "Because after all, he never left you to fend for yourself /before/. You're not the only one who knows something about the other's history, you know.." Miaka recoiled slightly, but it only seemed to fuel the anger beginning to build in the man before her. "But don't feel too bad! After all, MY world's Taka abandoned Miaka too! After Tenkou won, he went into seclusion! He didn't even bother coming to find Miaka! Of course, that never stopped her from waiting patiently, /stupidly/, for a man who didn't even care enough about her to-"
"STOP IT!" Yousui was cut off not by Miaka's pleas for silence, but instead by the angry cry of one he did not intend to dig the knife in to.. One he had foolishly forgotten was old enough to be hurt by his words.
Hiroshi yanked himself away from his mother's protective grasp and ran himself full-tilt towards Yousui. It gave the Shittenou just enough time to place his own son in the grass at his side, before a fury of little fists started to rain down on him.
"Stop it!! Touchan loves us!! Touchan is coming back!! He's coming back!! Baka!! Baka!!" A flood of tears spilled forth from the boy's big green eyes as he futilely tried to defend his father to this mean man. The cries of his mother barely penetrated his sadness and anger, and he hardly cared that the man who had earlier pushed him away now did nothing to protect himself from the tiny stings of little fists.
In moments, Hiroshi found himself hoisted away from his target and into the air by his mother. He screamed and thrashed and cried, throwing a tantrum completely out of the ordinary for such a normally well behaved child. But.. he couldn't stand this!! He didn't have a total understanding of what was going on, but.. this man was hurting his mother! Insulting his father!! This was his family and this stranger with the face of his touchan was trying to hurt that! He had to defend his family! Hiroshi may not have been old enough to understand a lot of things, but what he did understand was that, with his father gone, that meant HE was the man of the house! HE had to protect his mother! Even if he had to protect him from men who went around looking like his father!
"Hiroshi! Onegai! Calm down!"
Barely able to hear his mother's attempt to calm him, the little boy kept his tear-filled eyes fixed on the figure that slowly rose from the grass, and returned his stare.. Though not with the same fire he had moments before.
"Let him go," requested the stranger, and suddenly both Miaka and Hiroshi stopped, and looked with equal disbelief. "If he wants to hit me, let him hit me. He's defending his mother.. His family, from someone who wants to tear it apart. He.. he's only doing what he was taught! So.. just let him hit me."
Slowly, Hiroshi found himself lowered to the ground, and for a moment, he hadn't the faintest clue what to do. .. Was this a trick? Would he go over, hit this man, and be in trouble? Slowly, the little man took one step after another towards the bigger one, before he found himself staring with an angry, tear-streaked face, up into it's down turned and nearly expressionless mirror. Balling up a little fist, he experimentally took a light swing at the man's leg. Yousui didn't move, barely flinched, and Hiroshi wasn't promptly spanked.
Another hit. Again, nothing more then a minor flinch. Another, harder.. Tears began to flow again.. What was it about what the man had said..? Another, at the man's stomach. Tear it apart.. that's what he said. Fists clenched tighter, and another punch was swung. This time, the flinch wasn't so minor. Yes, he wants to tear his family apart! That's why Hiroshi got so angry! Another! He could barely hear his mother's muffled, whimpering cries. Another! He had to defend his family! Dad wasn't here and HE had to defend it!! ANOTHER! The man heaved and bent forward slightly. Yes! Real pain! He wasn't going to let this man destroy his mother! Another!! Break down his father!! ANOTHER!! Hurt his sist-!!
Yousui had almost doubled over at that last one, his face contorted in pain, and as Hiroshi froze, his little fist was still pressing against the other man's stomach. His family.. He has to defend his family.. The instinct had suddenly been so powerful, the drive so consuming.. He hadn't realized until that moment just where all the fuel for his fire was coming from..
.. And this man knew. He knew. That's why he let it happen.. He knew he'd crossed a line, triggered a need, and had to let it be fulfilled. He knew it, and Hiroshi knew it.. he just.. didn't understand it. Not really.. Not fully. As his arms dropped down to his sides and his head hung, tears streaming down his little cheeks, the man before him slowly lowered himself to his knees, mindful of the nearby baby. He touched his hand to the boy's head, and said in a soft, soothing, and very familiar voice, "You don't have to try so hard, you know.. She's a resourceful woman, your kasan.. She can take care of herself. And she's supposed to be the one taking care of you.. not the other way around. Things.. .. they aren't the way they used to be anymore. You've got someone who can... Who can take care of you.." The man's voice became choked up, caught in his throat as his eyes filled with tears.. "Like I should have.. Just because he lets you down sometimes, it doesn't mean /she/ ever will.. You don't have to take care of everyone anymore.."
He didn't understand it.. Hiroshi didn't know what this man meant by all this, and yet.. .. something inside of him just.. broke. His lower lip quivered, and despite his own efforts to keep from doing so, he found himself hugging on to this mean, horrible, and very confusing man as if he was someone much more familiar then he really was. And in return, Yousui hugged him the same.. One brother, one self-confessed failure, to another.
It didn't last long, but.. it was just long enough. Sniffling, Hiroshi parted himself from Yousui, still without a real understanding of what had just happened, but comforted none the less. He meandered on over to his mother as Yousui sat down in the grass and took up his son once more. Her own face wet with tears, and brightened with an unexplainably proud look, Miaka picked up her son and held him on her hip as best she could, caressing his cheek.
Turning her gaze to the now quiet figure in the grass, she said, "I.. I'm sorry we've bothered you. I'll leave you to your own child now.."
Making her way back up the hill, Miaka got only a few feet before a reluctant voice offered, "You.. ... You can.. .. Sit... .. If you want.." He didn't look up from the baby in his arms, but.. there it was. Offer extended, take it or leave it.. And much to his surprise, she took it. Miaka carefully sat herself down next to him, not too far away but not too close.. Just on the verge of being a platonically friendly distance.. A now very exhausted Hiroshi was placed in her lap and cradled gently, her hand stroking his hair.
Yousui pretended not to notice that she sat down, but inside... part of him was glad for it, and not for the reasons that would make Kaen cut off very vital parts of his anatomy. No, his love for his world's Miaka had long since been morphed into.. well.. something decidedly unpleasant. But this woman.. .. She was older. Wiser. Married. A mother and a wife.. and now, left alone to care for her son. And there was a part of him that felt, at that moment.. he wanted to help her in some small, probably insignificant in-the-grand-scheme-of-things way. He just.. couldn't quite figure out how he was gunna do that without makin' Kaen's face turn that cute shade of red she got when she was mad, and banish him to the couch just when he's most hoping he's gunna get Angry Sex.
Ah well. He'd figure it out later.. For the moment, he just.. held his son, watched the sky, and let the silence fall between him and the woman next to him.
I got this whole plan for the convo which turned out to be way too big for one post.. or one 'fic' or whatever the hell this rambling is. So if I have time and don't loose interest, I'll write more.