Chapter 1
by Meimi

Disclaimer: X and associated characters belong to CLAMP ect. ect. You get the deal. All original characters herein belong to me ect. ect.

Timeline: I'm trying to set this after the 10th manga. So spoiler up to there may and can apply.


Subaru cursed to himself as he finally caught sight of the slim figure on the ground. He had felt the weakening of Kamui's aura throughout the day but had brushed it off to being distracted by his own personal hunt. He could feel no battle signatures, nothing that would give rise to alarm. And so he had been completely and utterly shocked when he felt the boy's aura wink out just as the rain began. With nothing to go upon, he'd had to search for the boy by hand and foot.

He cursed again, this time directed at his own idiocy as he felt the boy's neck for a pulse, his other senses searching for any signs of life as well. The unnaturally pale skin beneath his fingers was like ice to the touch, and he felt a sense of nothingness within. But no, it felt more like a barrier of nothing than true emptiness. Not dead, thankfully.

Subaru gathered the boy's thin frame within his arms. He had to get Kamui out of the rain, he could figure out how to deal with the rest later.


Hinoto stared around herself in growing confusion. There was nothing in the dreamscape not touched by the unending rain. It blocked her from other's dreams as well as from the future with its torrent. In all her life she had never experienced such a thing, and yet it was. But why? And how?

What could possibly bring about such a disaster here of all places?

She whirled around, something odd catching on the very tip end of her awareness, only to see the last fading edges of... an umbrella?


Karen sighed in contentment as she leaned back into the comfyness of the couch, a small indulgent smile quirking her lips. She had to admit, the Imonoyama mansion was a great place to relax and wind down from the day. Maybe she'd stay the night, the rain certainly didn't look like it was going to stop anytime soon.

Besides, it was rather amusing watching the other Seals' antics. She did get quite a bit of enjoyment from watching Sorata and Arashi. They were always amusing. And she got to see Kamui and sometimes even the elusive Sumeragi-san not to mention Aoki-san. She wondered if...

"What the hell happened?!?" She was abruptly ripped from her contemplation by Sorata's outburst. She jumped up from the couch and darted out into the hallway. Sorata stood in the middle of the hallway fretting over a very waterlogged Sumeragi-san and... Was that Kamui? Yes, it was Kamui sheltered within Sumeragi-san's grasp. What could have possibly happened to them?

Karen absently noted the worried Yuzuriha and the silent Arashi who stood off to the side of the little drama. A soft touch on his shoulder was enough to quiet Sorata for the moment as Karen came up behind him. She brushed wet bangs out of the way as she felt Kamui's forehead. It felt like ice. A quick check showed that Sumeragi-san wasn't much better off.

She noted the barest hint of a blush on Sumeragi-san's cheeks as she turned towards Yuzuriha. Hmm, that was something interesting to ponder at a later date. "Yuzu-chan, would you go fetch a clean set of clothes for both Kamui AND Sumeragi-san? Arashi-san, would you mind helping her?"

She turned back to the drenched pair after a squeaked "H-hai." from Yuzuriha and a slight nod from Arashi. Sorata looked on in bewilderment as she hustled Subaru and his precious bundle towards the bathroom. "We need to get you both out of those wet clothes and into a nice hot bath."

After pushing Subaru through, Karen began to close the bathroom door, then caught herself and looked up at Sorata, "Would you mind bringing in the fresh clothes that Yuzu-chan and Arashi-san are getting?" She winked then, a playful grin crossing her lips, "You know how girls are around naked men."

Her grin widened at Sorata's "Sure thing." answer as she closed the door behind her, turning her full attention to the duo within. Subaru had dropped his burden off against the bathtub rim and was already attempting to unbutton Kamui's school uniform. The cold was obviously affecting him by the shivers that ran through his fingers, slowing down his progress.

She tsked as she reached down and turned the hot water on. It took a few moments for the water to heat up, when it did she plugged up the tub and turned to help Subaru with what was turning out to be a daunting task for him. Pushing his shaking hands away, she smiled at him, "I can handle this Sumeragi-san, you should go ahead and get out of those wet clothes of yours. You must be freezing."

An extremely distracted "Ahh," was the only indication that he had actually heard her. His attention seemed solely focused on Kamui. A faint look of concern had replaced the usual empty reflection of his emerald green eyes. A lovely, if rare, occurrence. Karen wondered briefly just how few people had actually seen anything of the sort in his gaze before. Not very many at all judging by her scant knowledge of the young man.

His attention finally left the boy as he gracefully stood up and began struggling out of his waterlogged coat. A slight voyeuristic smile tugged at the edge of her lips as she kept one eye on Kamui, even now being divested of his uniform's black jacket, and one eye on Subaru as he shrugged out of his coat at last and began to pull off the white turtleneck beneath.

Karen muffled a soft sound of disappointment when Subaru stopped in mid-pull. His emerald eyes, cold and reflective once more, turned their silent regard towards the bathroom door.

A click of the knob and a slight female giggle herald Sorata as he slipped in through the partially open door, shooting a half leer at whoever was outside which was instantly followed by yet another giggle. It must have been Yuzuriha, Karen couldn't really envision Arashi giggling, or laughing for that matter. He twirled around cheerfully, kicking the door closed with one foot and holding a bundle of clothes before him as if they were an offering to the gods.

"Here we go, a clean pair of clothes for Sumeragi-san and Kamui-chan. Do you want me to..." He trailed off as he finally saw the three Dragons within. A rosy pink blush painted his cheeks as he looked over at Karen, who was by now pulling off Kamui's white undershirt. His eyes darted over to Subaru and his cheeks darkened a hue further to red. Subaru stood there, his sweater nearly pulled up off of his chest, giving Sorata a close approximation of a death glare.

Karen smiled sweetly in reassurance when Sorata shot her a pleading 'save me' look. She rose, abandoning her task for the moment. Taking the proffered bundle of clothes from the sweating monk, she suggested, "Everything's fine Sora-chan. You'd be better served out there keeping Yuzu-chan and Arashi-san's spirits up, ne?" Sorata nodded emphatically in agreement, somewhat wild-eyed as he slipped back out the bathroom door.

An amused chuckle died in her throat as she turned back to the wet pair within, a rosy blush painting her own cheeks. Sumeragi-san is an awfully lovely man, she thought. He knelt next to Kamui, bare of chest. Having divested himself of his sweater somewhere in the time she had taken to 'save' Sorata.

He turned his attention towards her for a moment, a somewhat unnatural indifference in his emerald eyes. "I'll take care of the rest," a dismissal if ever she'd heard one.

"Are you su-"

"Yes," his answer, cutting her off even before she could finish.

She chewed on one of her nails and frowned in confusion. Then as if a light had gone off, she really looked at them. Both wet and half in and half out of clothes. Of course, silly of her not to notice. She turned to leave, then hesitated, "I'll be outside with the others. Just give a shout if you *need* anything." A wink followed as she opened the door and began to slip out. "Modest men are so cute," she murmured as she closed the door behind her.

Subaru sighed in relief, burying his face is Kamui's shoulder as that woman finally left. He sighed again, relaxing his control and allowing the furious blush he'd been fighting to rise to the surface. He wasn't sure which was worse, the Kansai boy's blushing regard or that woman's appraising look. It was enough to make him scream in anger, frustration... or worse.

He briefly wondered if Seishirou-san was watching as he knew the man was wont to do. That would just make it perfect. He groaned, he could just imagine Seishirou-san chortling away at his discomfort. It would be like him to enjoy this. Damn the man!

Something faintly brushed up against his senses, intruding in his mind and interrupting his flow of thoughts. A vision of rain falling upon an endless mirror-like expanse of water. Someone... out there standing on the water, holding a black umbrella to protect them from the cold, cold rain. He could almost see, but then the vision was gone, leaving him with a feeling of emptiness.

'What was that?'

Could it have been..? He pulled himself up from Kamui, studying the boy's pale features. Could it have been Kamui reaching out from behind whatever trapped him within? It hadn't felt like the boy. But then again, who really knew what the boy could do?

He frowned in concentration, stretching his senses to feel along and prod against the surface of nothingness that wrapped itself around the boy. His fingers moved of their own accord, removing the rest of Kamui's wet clothes. He continued his exploration of the barrier as he removed his own clothes, doing his best to keep his mind from just exactly what he was doing.

Getting into a hot bath, naked, with Kamui, who was also naked. Were he not distracting himself with something else he'd probably die of bloodloss from the nosebleed he just knew he'd acquire.

Kamui was after all a very, very, *VERY* lovely boy and quite pleasing on the eye among other things.

Subaru grimaced at the ghostly laughter he most assuredly heard. If Seishirou-san hadn't been watching before, surely he was now. And laughing his ass off at Subaru predicament most likely.

Subaru sighed dramatically. His existence was cursed. That was the only possible explanation.


"Oh no, Subaru-kuuuun," Seishirou purred, "Not cursed. Just highly amusing for the rest of us." Seishirou smirked at the scene playing out in his mind's eye. How Subaru managed to get himself into these predicaments so frequently was beyond him. But damn, it was hilarious watching the Sumeragi suffer slowly through each and every single one.

He briefly debated barging in on Subaru's cute little scene, but decided against it. As much fun as riling Subaru was, he just wasn't in the mood to play with the other Seals today. Still, it was a lovely sight to behold. Subaru's bare skin next to Kamui's, who was almost as lovely as the former. There's a thought. Having those two together, for his own, would certainly be... interesting at the very least.

It was something to think on, and perhaps plan ahead for. It was certainly a more pleasant train of thought than the usual plotting for the destruction of a kekkai or the movements of the chess pieces the Dragons of Earth were. Besides, it would be wonderful fun to seduce Kamui. The boy was terribly rude and quick tempered, but that would make it that much more interesting. Yes, very desirable.

He was decided.

Now, he just had to wait for the boy to wake up. A worrisome thought which brought him back to the troubling curiosity that had him 'spying' on Subaru today in the first place.

Kamui's aura was nonexistent. A startling occurrence for someone who wasn't dead. The thought of Kamui being sick was ludicrous. But asides from that what in the world could harm the boy so? None of the others had attacked him, Seishirou would have felt that at the very least. No, one minute the boy had been blanketing most of Tokyo with his aura, the next it had winked out as if it had never existed.

Seishirou frowned slightly, sending out a minuscule probe through his connection to Subaru. It was small enough that Subaru wouldn't notice unless he was looking for it and yet it should be enough to give him some idea as to what was ailing the young Dragon of Heaven.

He drew back in surprise as he felt... nothing. No, it wasn't exactly nothing. Seishirou reached forth with the probe, it was more like something that appeared to be nothing. How odd, he couldn't remember ever encountering something like this before. It was unsettling.

It was then, as he was pondering this new discovery, that the world seemed to unhinge itself. The maboroshi darkness came without his calling or want of it, blotting out his apartment with its inky depths. "What the-"

It began to rain, here in the dark, as he whirled around. Seeking the edges of the illusion, intent on breaking it and finding... nothing. Simply nothing as if the illusion truly did not exist at all. How was it possible?

He turned back around, his ears picking up the odd sound of rain hitting something other than the nonexistent ground. A girl stood there, holding a black umbrella against the rain. She looked to be of teenage years, dressed in the usual high school fuku. Her raven black hair fell wildly to her waist, seeming to glow with its own luminescence. Violet eyes glittered as they blinked at him curiously.

She tilted her head to the side for a moment. And then, vanished. Taking the illusion with her as if neither had existed.

Now that was curious.

Those eyes were very familiar, once he thought about it. And they proved to be a mystery in and of themselves. Well, this certainly would take care of some of the boredom. And what a wonderful game it would be.

Briefly, Seishirou wondered if any of Seals would realize what was going on. No, he doubted it. It would have to literally be spelled out for them as well as for the Dragons of Earth. What a splendid occurrence. And already, he was ahead.


Subaru sighed heavily and closed his eyes as he leaned back against his bedroom door. The bath had been an excruciating exercise in control. It also glaringly showed that he needed to work on his ability to distract himself. Kamui was a horribly lovely boy. But Kamui was just a child and he really shouldn't be thinking along those lines. He had his hunt, that should be enough. But obviously it wasn't. He truly must be cursed. It was the only explanation that made even a modicum of sense.

Of course, it hadn't ended there. Oh no, it couldn't be that simple. He'd actually managed to survive the bath intact only to face the other Seals and have to try to explain to them what had happened. And he still didn't *know* what had happened. And of course, he hadn't gotten anywhere with that gods-be-damned barrier. What a hell of a day.

Oh well. He pushed away from the door, more than ready to go to bed and kiss this day goodbye. Only to discover, as he opened his eyes, that the fates weren't done playing with him just yet.

Lounging carelessly on *his* bed in skimpier than usual lingerie, if that were possible, was Karen Kasumi. Her smile bordered on something that screamed 'I want to eat you'. Wonderful, now how to get rid of her. Amazingly, he didn't even have to think about what she wanted. It was too damn obvious.

"Sumeragi-san," Karen purred as she stood up and sauntered around the bed, "You've been awfully tense today. Would you like some help relaxing?" She reached up as if to touch his face, stopping short. She smiled, waiting for an answer to allow her to continue.

Subaru coughed politely and shook his head, "No... thank you."

"Well, in that case," She closed the distance between them, pressing her body up against his and draping her arms over his shoulders, "My invitation is always open. Or if you'd prefer, I'm sure Sorata wouldn't mind helping you *relax*. As for Kamui," She frowned slightly tracing his earlobe lightly with a fingernail, "Be careful. He really is very sweet, but so easy to hurt. I'd be very upset if he were hurt in some manner. But, I trust you'll think before you leap Subaru-san." She smiled sweetly, planting a chaste kiss on his lips before leaving the room.

Subaru groaned, leaned back against the door and slowly slid down to the floor. Was he that transparent? Or somehow, someway, maybe she was related to Seishirou-san. They both obviously knew more about himself than he did. How galling, now there were two people finding vast amusement at his expense. Surely the gods hated him.


Nokoru sighed expansively as he filed away yet another paper. Paperwork, it never stopped no matter what he did. And he could never seem to escape it for long. And even if he did manage to get away, it would just build up to massive proportions in his absence. And of course, the Dragons of Heaven only seemed to add to it, mainly insurance paperwork. They were awfully destructive at times. Oh well, they were fighting for the fate of the world. They deserved at least *some* considerations for their efforts. And beside, they were pretty nice once you got to know them.

He grumbled half-heartedly as the phone rang. It probably was some new *emergency* he had to make a decision for. He picked up the receiver and placed it in the crook of his neck while he stacked some more papers off to the side.

"Hai," he was too tired for other pleasantries.


"Of course it's me. What is it?"




"You're not serious?!?"


"Alright, I'll check."

Nokoru turned to his computer, swiftly dialing up the feed for one of the myriad security cameras scattered throughout the campus. His fingers drummed against the arm of the chair as he waited impatiently for the computer to hook up. His eyes widened in shock and his face drained of color as the picture came up at last.

The shinken was missing.