801rabu: (fic)
[personal profile] 801rabu

Pairing: Ohno/Nino
Rating: PG-13.
Genre: Taisho Era AU. Drama, angst, romance.
Chapter: 3/4
Word Count: 6500~
Disclaimer: Don’t own them; apparently, old fart Jani does.
Summary: They clash, only to be separated again. It’s an endless path of hope and sorrow.

Sorry that it took me this long to update. Helping in parent’s kitchen reform (the irony!), mama hospitalized, working, doing new things for my store - busy! Btw, happy Mother's Day amatxo Gloria!!

Thanks A LOT for all your comments, it makes me so happy to see you guys interested in this story U_U *bows respectfully.


I want to make you afraid
But the truth is that I already love you


He had heard Kazunari crying on that unfortunate night.

No matter how hard he tried to hush his sobs, refrain from doing any sound... Satoshi could hear ir all. Blame it on his sharp hearing, another of the Mujina traits he would carry even in human form. Not able to get asleep, he spent hours replaying the words they had exchanged. He would rather have acted less crudely, but regardless of how he approached the issue, he couldn’t come up with a better option. Kazunari was indeed persistent, and unless he cut ties with him, their relationship would only get deeper - roaming into the unknown, and inevitably, into disaster.

Nevertheless, he did still feet guilty for rejecting him in such an offensive manner. The guy had been so obviously eager for company.

Later into the night, compassion threatened to destroy his resolution when screams echoed around the house. The cries coming from Kazunari’s room were the most alarming Satoshi had heard since that night, months ago, when he had been abruptly awoken for the first time. He was on his feet instantly, ready to help him out from the distressing nightmare.

He stopped midway, conviction prevailing over empathy - it wasn’t easy, with Kazunari’s sobs so clearly audible from his room. Probably awake by then, each whimper the torn voice uttered was like a dagger digging into Satoshi’s conscience, but wasn’t he resolute about it beforehand?

He would stay away from him for good.

Lying on their beds, time flowed in sorrow, both feeling disheartened but unable to reach the other in order to soothe the pain.


Still pensive, Satoshi wondered if the urge to shun the other man, the wish to make him feel betrayed so that he wouldn’t get any closer, wasn’t evidence of how absorbed he actually was.

Kazunari should be afraid of his dangerous trait… it would definitely be easier that way, because Satoshi didn’t fancy the feelings stirring within him.

Friendship, attachment, fondness. All were foreign to him, and he wished not to deal with those concepts any further. He had done fine without any of it till now. Even so, he kept returning to the manor each night, and not because he had nowhere else to go. Hadn’t he claimed he could easily find another place?

Days went by with no sign of Kazunari, both stubbornly avoiding the other. He knew it was for the best, but it didn’t make him feel any happier. His guts twisted just thinking of how cruelly he had spoken the other day. Poor boy, poor naive boy. He’d only treated him with kind hospitality. Sadly, Satoshi possessed no resources to manage the situation any better.

He was strangely hungry on that particular night. As if the Mujina had not been able to feed himself. Once sure Kazunari was asleep, he rushed downstairs to placate his appetite. He found an almost whole chicken and vegetable nabe hot pot left in the stove. The guy never ate enough, and he suspected that was the main reason behind Kazunari’s feeble complexion.

He was in the middle of an obscene chomping session when a soft voice startled him.

“You really are an awesome eater.”

A piece of cabbage stuck out of his mouth as he turned to face the man snooping from the kitchen door.

“Now you hunt in my kitchen? What a useless Mujina”, Kazunari uttered in a monotonous tirade. Satoshi saw through the seemingly hostile remark. “Did I tell you the porridge is poisoned? It will turn you into a considerate guy.”

Satoshi laughed soundly, the mordant words alleviating his previous feelings of grief. The passive sense of humor the other man displayed always achieved to reach him.

“I was so hungry. I think I haven’t actually hunted anything but your meals since… you know. It’s crazy, but my mood might be reflecting in my habits, even when I’m the other.”

“Too blue to kill a pair of rabbits?” Satoshi laughed again. That was it? They could solve it that easily?

“It would be great to be able to hunt something, I’m shamefully worthless you know. I spent three hours one day, staring at my rod uselessly floating in the river. Bucolic incompetence.” Kazunari seemed bothered by his lack of skills, but Satoshi smiled fondly, deeming his fruitless efforts very amusing - he had such an urban boy air after all, well-bred and refined, but hilariously helpless.

With no further allusions to what happened days ago, they were fine again, whatever outcome that shall bring them in the future. From then on, Kazunari would cook what Satoshi obtained from the forest, may it be a squirrel that got caught in a trap, fish from the mountain springs or any kind of wild nuts and berries. They would have dinner past midnight, relaxing in the best company they could ask for.


The workers were doing a remarkable job repairing the interior of the house, using wood from the area and traditional means. Kazunari was highly satisfied with their work, but not with the way they stuck their noses into his matters. He had settled some strict rules from the beginning, such as the time when they should arrive and leave, or never entering the room Satoshi occupied. He didn’t want him to come back to find his quarters turned into a mess, because he would probably want to return to the cellar and that expanse was also being rehabilitated.

The crew had considered those rules rather fishy, even unsettling, and he had often eavesdropped some of them sharing paranoid ideas. He would always giggle when hearing the inane theories, they would never get it right, for the truth was so beyond their imagination.

He had mistakenly assumed people from the city would simply mind their own business. Either way, he noticed how some of them took the trouble of staying as far away from him as possible.


The summer heat became torrid in late August, and each humid and suffocating day gave way to another, the scorching atmosphere never breaking into the storm that would mitigate the sensation of melting into the air. Kazunari could barely endure it, but he proceeded with his tasks all the same. He hadn’t settled for moving to the country to live like an aristocrat.

He looked after the vegetable patch each and every day, working under the blazing sun he so much hated, dressed in a rustic styled dull kosode short enough to show the milky skin of his legs. The heat was beyond unbearable for him, he couldn’t remember sweating this profusely before, but he complained not. He embraced the hardships in order to be rewarded at night.
His chores over, he would take a bath and dress in proper clothes. By the time evening arrived he turned into another man, someone much more appealing than his diurnal self. It was quite ironic, how he would return to his most lustrous self to please, to lure, a man from the wildness.


They were sitting in front of yet another savory meal when Satoshi spoke. He had seemed rather tense since he entered the kitchen, poking at the food on his plate with unusual dispassion, but Kazunari tried not to give it much importance. Even if an awful hunch nagged him every time he took a glance at Satoshi’s edgy stance, he chose to ignore it.

“The reform is almost finished… you did an outstanding job. Anyone would love it here”, Satoshi finally said with a measured smile. The uneven voice he used didn’t go unnoticed. Kazunari felt flattered though, and sipped from his glass of water to hide the slight blush spreading over his face.

“I’ll be leaving soon then.”

Kazunari’s stomach cramped at that. He felt terror seizing his being, a panic so vast he couldn’t even measure it. He had feared this conversation would eventually take place, but he never brought up the matter, feigning there was no need to discuss how Satoshi’s nature clashed with the chance of him living in a guest house.

He wanted to proffer many reasons against the other man’s decision, but he knew every one of them would be rebated.

What if one day Satoshi didn’t wake up early enough? Maybe, just maybe, all visitors staying in the house would be massacred after dawn arrived. Another incident on his family’s record of misfortunes. It would be extremely dangerous, he knew that. But there were also other reasons, much more egoistic ones, making him wish Satoshi stayed.

He just couldn’t let him go.

“Don’t say such nonsense. This is also your home now. We’ll find a way.” He didn’t fall for it, but if he could only make Satoshi believe…

“You don’t know what could happen… what I could do to your guests.” He wouldn’t raise his head. Was he… ashamed of himself?

“You don’t either. You told me you never remember a thing right?”

“There’s nights when I turn into human form again, and my body… it is covered in blood.” His voice was shaking. Kazunari was overcome with endless empathy. He would not tolerate Satoshi feeling embarrassed of what he was. Of a fate he hadn’t been able to choose.

“See… I’m here every day when you’re back and I’ve never seen a drop of blood on you.”

“Because I clean my body in the river first so you wouldn’t abhor me!” He was yelling. Never had before. Frustrated resentment flared in the gaze he addressed Kazunari with.

“There is no need to. I’m not a damsel you know? I understand what you are, don’t go treating me like a stupid kid.”

“But… aren’t you just that? A city boy playing the role of the humble peasant?” A cruel gesture crept into his lips. “For fuck’s sake, you even have to rely on me to bring you food.” Kazunari regarded the spiteful man intently, yet couldn’t recognize him anymore. Petrified by Satoshi’s piercing insults, he just hoped for the bashing to be over soon.

“Look at your clothes, are you awaiting the Emperor?” That felt like being punched. Would Satoshi be disgusted if he knew it was him, only him for whom he dressed and waited each night? “You’re in the middle of the woods… ready for a party that will never arrive.”

The wound dug deeper in his chest. Satoshi was probably right. Whatever he wished for, it would never be apprehended by his insecure hands.

“You even make me wear them, what, so I’m more bearable to your likings? Making me appear like one of your colleagues?” By then, Kazunari had no strength left to tell him he had no friends, none at all. In fact, it looked like he was losing the only one he’d considered to be so during the caustic quarrel.

“Maybe that’s just how it is…” he mutters while leaving the stance, boundless grief written in his fake smile.

Wasn’t part of it true? Hopelessly eager for company, he had even tried to find a friend amongst the dregs of society. But that had also been a delusional assumption. As it seemed, he could neither find support nor acceptance in those shunned by humanity. He couldn’t understand why, but Satoshi was not, and would never, be as fond of him as he had come to believe.

Kazunari had been born to be caged in an eternal penance of loneliness.


Satoshi was left alone. Only then were his inner feelings allowed to run free, tears rapidly welling up in his eyes. He could not recall the last time he’d cried, he probably hadn’t since he was left alone so many years ago.

The words he had just uttered were still stuck in his bleeding heart. He could not believe the things he had accused Kazunari of. He didn’t know he was capable of such malice. Yet, he had done it again, he had annulled the only man he cared about.

But wasn’t that the only thing he could do? Make him hate his guts? It wasn’t about Kazunari’s safety anymore, neither about not hurting his feelings; but an effort on avoiding getting hurt himself once the inevitable materialized.

Because were he to stay or leave, the outcome would be equally disastrous for him. He didn’t fancy going though the pain of parting from Kazunari, his life had been miserable enough before meeting him. The trust and closeness the captivating man had enveloped him with… couldn’t imagine how it would become once he found himself alone in the world again.

But he cared much, way too much to put him in danger, and he would definitely lose the will to keep living if he happened to annihilate the only provider of happiness he had known so far.

None of the two options seemed embraceable.

The sky overcast with menacing clouds, rain finally soaked the thirsty land, but the fresh breeze could not dissipate the despair devouring his spirit.


Some of the men working in the house had heard rumors in the village, most of them ghastly stories linked to the old manor, and hence, most of them had been too scared to return there. Kazunari was soundly pissed after hearing about their absurd reasons from Sone-san, the sensible owner of the building company who had come expressly to deliver his apologies.

Apparently, they had verbalized their concern about Kazunari actually being a treacherous demon. He laughed at such an absurd idea, but when Sone-san commented on the gossip about a malignant creature that inhabited the nearby forest, he became manifestly tense.

Somehow, they knew about Satoshi.

The company’s boss, a reliable and wise man who avoided all irrational belief just as Kazunari would, did warn him though. Alerted him about the consequences those rumors might bring forth, about how people who were not schooled, people whose minds were clouded by atavistic shadows, could be driven to commit unconceivable acts.

That was the last of Kazunari’s problems at the time. The aid of those workers not longer available, he would have to complete the last details on his own.

Sone-san kindly offered him a ride towards Minamata town. No longer in good terms with Satoshi, he was forced to buy his food again, the vegetables in the garden not enough to sustain him. Right after leaving the shop, a bunch of kids started to follow him down the deserted alleys of the village.

“He’s the Mujina boy!!”

“You know nothing… all his family too! They turned into Mujinas and hide in the forest you idiot!

That’s just preposterous, he differed inwardly. Poor children, infected with the adulterated folklore of his ignorant parents. Was he condemned to endure this crap for the rest of his days in town?


Kazunari was in a genuinely turbulent mood that night. It wasn’t his style, yet he felt like breaking something. Maybe the whole building, since the pharaonic project had turned into nothing more than a loathsome burden. 

He noticed Satoshi’s steps cautiously entering the hall, but he cared not. To be honest, he was mildly shocked to see him coming back; but he wouldn’t even bother greeting him, his eyes never raising from the book he was reading. He had also finished his dinner hours ago. No leftovers.

Might the changeable guest return each night or rot in hell, Kazunari no longer considered him a matter to be concerned about. The silent treatment would eventually make Satoshi understand he was not welcome anymore.


By the end of the week Satoshi had perfectly understood. He presumed then that it was time to budge and apologize for the horrible things he had said.

He stood in the threshold of the kitchen, his eyes boring into Kazunari’s relaxed form. The younger man was quietly enjoying a piece of homemade pastry, his back turned to the door. In a tiny voice, Satoshi asked for forgiveness, his posture hunched, his whole being shrunk.

Kazunari acted as if he were deaf.


Days later he approached Kazunari’s room. He slowly pushed the door open, and seeing no reaction, he came inside.

“I know you’re awake. You always are.” There was no response.

“I’ve spent the last months watching you, asleep or awake. I know you.

Kazunari was indeed awake. But he’d rather be under the sleep of the just than putting up with the bastard’s lame attempts at softening his heart.

“That’s why… better than anyone else, I know that all I said is pure bullshit. Everything you’ve done for me, the way you’ve sheltered a guy like me - a stranded mess like me… tells anything but you being an arrogant pretender. But you do understand right? You know why I said those things.”

Did he? Should Kazunari have seen though the cutting words? What was there to be understood though?

“We cannot be together. I cannot live here. But believe me… there’s nothing that could make me happier.”

Kazunari’s eyes shot wide open. He’d been a total moron. Satoshi cared, he actually cared. But he was still being stubborn, convinced he should leave Kazunari’s side as soon as possible. But this time Satoshi was also trying to denote that he had made it too complicated. Too personal.

Well, his departure wouldn’t take place if Kazunari had a say in it. He turned to face Satoshi in order to play his last card with the necessary load of drama.

“I won’t open the hotel if you leave.”

He knew by then Satoshi possessed what many would call a gentle soul, a benevolent character. For Kazunari’s standards, that basically meant he could be easily blackmailed.

Even if it wasn’t equal to what he felt for the other man, Satoshi had just confessed Kazunari was important to him. Hence, he wouldn’t dare destroy his dream of bringing the place alive again. He had repeatedly praised the time and effort Kazunari had invested in the place, or commented on how beautiful some of the new furnishings were. 

One thing was for sure, with the menacing way in which Kazunari was looking at the man, he left no doubts about how serious his threat was. It would seem he was promising Satoshi a slow death instead of desperately asking him to stay.

Satoshi just stood there, his courage faltering under Kazunari’s razor sharp eyes. He was almost intimidated. Pretty amusing coming from a half badger.

He sighed inaudibly, a sign of his defeat, and left Kazunari’s room in a mildly irate mood. How dare that sneaky sod use that trick on him? He slammed the door to his bedroom shut and bumped his back against it.

He would stay, although he already knew it couldn’t end favorably for any of them.

It had started to hurt, not being able to welcome Kazunari’s attention and concede to the patent demands of affection, the restrain he had to endure each time the other tried to reach out for him. As a result of this reticence, he had already managed to make his host upset -even near depressed at times- and Satoshi feared Kazunari would take the wrong step were he to abandon him.

He had looked so painfully miserable the night he uttered those despicable and stupid words, sign of how badly Kazunari strived for approval from him. Satoshi couldn’t find it in himself to betray Kazunari again, not when the broken man needed so much from him.

Certainly, more than he could give…


Kazunari spotted Chiso-san on his way back home. Many villagers had their crop fields along the road that led to his family’s estate.

“Any progress on the repairing?” The peasant seemed farily interested, but the younger man felt no desire to elaborate. “Almost done.” He didn’t even feel the urge to complain about how the cart he had acquired from him broke after the first week of use. He just wanted to go home. But before he could continue his march, Chiso-san spoke again.

“See, you look like a nice guy, but I wonder if you should just desist. How to put it… there are not many tourists around since that happened you know? After all, who would want to come here… right?”

Kazunari was tired of people telling him what to do. Sick of the veiled blabbering, of the taboo everyone tiptoed over. If they had no guts to confront the issue straightforwardly, why wouldn’t they just leave him alone?

“You know… I worked at the Noguchi factory. Sort of knew about their methods, of course… and that has made me gain some enemies in town. The rest of employees left Minamata, so I’m the only black sheep left. Well, you’ve surpassed me of course, the crown of leprosy is now yours!” he jokes, a honest burst of laughter erupting from his scarcely toothed mouth. Kazunari doesn’t find it humorous at all.

“Around the time the Noguchi scandal came to light, villagers started affirming they had seen the Mujina. It was right after your family fled the place. The plebe dusted off a tale from the past to interpret the tragic events of their present, and many people assumed the creatures they had caught sight of were the Noguchi themselves, who were forced to abandon their human form once their scheming was discovered and they were no longer able to maintain the manipulation. Pure nonsense. But now… now there are witnesses to the beast again.” Kazunari understood the man was talking about him. He felt like slaughtering the whole village and burying their dim mentality once and for all.

“Be careful boy… the damage your family provoked was huge, but the hatred left behind is even bigger.”

The man continued plowing the dry soil. Kazunari needed a moment to grasp that the sermon was over.


That very night, Kazunari didn’t hesitate to bring the issue forward.

“Villagers have seen the Mujina. They say it’s roaming around the town. They think it’s me.”

Satoshi’s entrails contorted. His worst fears had become true. Lately, and each time he changed back to human, he found himself suspiciously close to the hotel grounds. Their bond was probably being reflected in the other, and it was always lurking around the manor. Presumably, it considered the place as its home. And he was not thinking of it as somewhere, but rather someone to come back to. Kazunari, the only element he considered dear in the world.

He was not exactly appeased about it. It could be dangerous for the people living in town. It would be fatal for Kazunari’s integrity.

“I should leave this place, they hate you enough as it is.” He was as serious as ever, but he said the words with no real determination, for they had been through this many times already yet he’d always ended up staying no matter how ugly their bickering had been. Kazunari always found a way to nullify his decisions.

“Maybe it’s me who should leave,” Kazunari conceded, “but I’m stubborn you know. Or maybe just a dreamer, a fool who thought everything could be erased. That I could reinstate, to the extent possible, my ancestors’ dignity.

“You always talk in riddles. Not that I mind, it’s okay to keep one’s secrets I guess… but you always… are you trying to sound mysterious? I need none of those tricks to be interested in your company.”

The childish honesty showing in Satoshi’s words made Kazunari laugh in appreciation. Why he had been shielding the truth from the man, he couldn’t understand. Maybe he had thought that muffling it would make his path easier, his skeletons neatly hidden so that they wouldn’t interfere in this new relationship as they had done in the preceding failed ones.

He took a steady breath and cast his glance down before speaking.

“My father’s family has owned this house for generations, although it was a humble ryokan until not long ago. My father was the first in the family to leave this town and move to Tokyo, where he enrolled in the first chemistry school of Japan. Graduated and with the prospect of becoming relevant in his field, he founded the Nichitsu Fertilizer Company, and years after, one of its most profitable factories was located here, in Minamata Bay.”

Satoshi listened gingerly. He had a hunch of where the narration was heading because he hadn’t been ignorant of the illness that had fed on the population of the area during the long years he had been hiding there.

“Those were the golden years. My family became wealthy and my father spent a fortune remodeling this place into a sumptuous hotel. Drawn by its luxury and the gorgeous nature around it, renowned personalities would spend their vacation here. Even foreigners would come now and then.

I hardly remember any of it. I was a little kid when my granddad passed away, and unable to keep on with the business after her loss, baachan closed the hotel and moved to Tokyo with us.

That’s what I was told back then.

Shortly after, disgrace came knocking at my family’s door. It wouldn’t be until years after that I would learn about the truth they had hold from me.

An unknown disease had spread in Minamata, and medical authorities found out the Nichitsu plant had been the origin of it. In the process to produce chemical fertilizers, the plant discharged its wastewater into the bay, exposing people who ate fish from its waters to lethal mercury levels.

Compensations were paid, but the company continued its pernicious practices until the damage became irreversible. The land was polluted too, and up to this day, there’s still people suffering serious consequences. They say they’re awful, the deformations and unbearable pain the diseased endure.”

Satoshi was involuntarily reminded of the torment he went through each morning, when his skin broke to give way to the monster within.

“My father was the one to blame, since he refused to change the production pattern in order to sustain the massive profits. He even ordered install a wastewater treatment system which he knew was totally useless. There was not much governmental control at the time, and it is said that he even made use of the yakuza to silence and threaten patients and their families. I feel utterly ashamed for his behavior, but I am somehow relieved, for I don’t have to put up with such a loathsome man anymore.

The victims… they also had to bear with isolation, because people thought the disease to be contagious. Despite proof said it was just poisoning, locals kept stigmatizing them. One of them became so furiously desperate he travelled all the way to Tokyo with the sole intention of finding the culprit of his ruin. My father, the sucker, acted in an utter arrogant manner, despising the pleading man because he felt repelled by the disfiguration the disease had caused in him.

It was in that very moment, in an alley not far from our mansion, when the hopeless stranger stabbed him to death.

My mom, who had been suffering from tuberculosis since I was born, couldn’t stand the blow and died days after. I was eleven, and suddenly, I found myself alone in the world. Even my parent’s relatives refused to take me in, unwilling to be related to the Nichitsu scandal in any way. The news on my father’s murder and the reason behind it had generated big commotion around the country.

The government used my family’s fortune to compensate for the disaster, and what little was left was assigned to my living expenses. Under the management of a tutor I never got to know, different maids took care of my basic needs until I was sent to a boarding school.

I had already turned twenty by the time I enrolled in the same university my father had studied at. I was granted a scholarship thanks to my hard work and spent none of the money I had received when becoming an adult. I am a chemistry graduated indeed... I wanted to understand and mend what had happened, try and do something altruistic that could erase my father’s infamous trace. All my life has been focused on that single goal.

But none of it would change a thing. I was Noguchi Kazunari, and no matter where I went, the shadow of the Minamata disaster would follow me. I was never bullied or hit by classmates, just ignored, cast away in the same unfair way the diseased had been. I always thought of it as simple retribution… I was the only one left from my family, so the burden had to fall upon me by all means. But it gets so incredibly vexing you know? …I did nothing to deserve this.”

Somewhere in Satoshi’s mind, those resigned words echoed as if spoken by himself. How many mornings, when the rising sun seeped amidst the foliage and his body started to change, how many times had he repeated the same pointless musings?

“So I cut off ties with my past. I was allowed to change my surname into Ninomiya, my mom’s family name, and I left Tokyo to never return again. All of my parent’s belongings had been confiscated, but this house still belonged to my late granddad. After being notified that I could request its ownership, I took a last chance and ended here… with the inheritance money I have saved for years and this stupid plan.

But it’s just the same… it will always be.” He made a long pause. His heart felt positively lighter, even if Satoshi hadn’t even nodded while he was speaking. “Didn’t count with you in the equation”, he said finally with a small smile in his lips.

“Surely the worst nuisance you’ve found in life”, Satoshi responded in a silly tone. His eyes were warm though, proving Kazunari he was stirred by his revelations. Taking advantage of that display of softness, Kazunari’s confession ventured a little further.

“With you… you alone made it all much more tolerable. I have… I’ve been alone for so long.” He was not ashamed to admit it.

“Even a monster suits you fine by now” Satoshi snorted again.

“Shut up.” Kazunari’s face hardened, the laid-back vibe momentarily gone. “Don’t- don’t ever say that again. Whatever you turn into… it’s not the appearance but a rotten heart what turns people into monsters.” His voice lowered again. “And your soul is the purest I’ve ever known. No one, after my mom died, has ever let me in… no one has ever wanted me to.”

Satoshi’s heart constricted. He didn’t fancy being the anchor of the other man’s life. He didn’t want to be regarded so highly, because he definitely couldn’t live up to the expectations. Even though he would die to be able to.

“I have… at times… considered putting an end to everything.”

“And leave this place?”

“Leave this world.”

Satoshi was frozen. It was hard to believe Kazunari would ever think of that, he couldn’t bear with the idea of such caring young man ending his life. But shouldn’t he be as disgusted at his own desires of death?

Both their lives had been void and sad, not worthy of being lived. But even submerged in infinite emptiness, they had lacked the willpower to end them. Now they were presented with the mirage of happiness, of company… of something beyond that perhaps. Once the dream finally shattered, would they find some certainty, one final reason to jump?

“Now I’ve got an excuse to continue living.” He smiled faintly and added, confidence in his voice, “whatever comes, I shall stay by your side… or else vanish.”

Satoshi stood mute at those determinate words, at the omen laden promise, but his eyes were easily read by the man in front of him. Satoshi understood, he acquiesced. It was a silent pact. They would either be successful in maintaining their fragile bond or end their sorrowful existences. If darkness eventually returned to their lives, they would have provided each other the cause and backbone necessary to choose the most somber of paths.


They spent practically all night together. Kazunari had started to sleep during the day, in an attempt to adjust to the timespan when Satoshi was human. He wore city clothes no more and tried to set foot in the village as scarcely as possible. His only and ideal world consisted of the isolated house and Satoshi, even though the suppressed fantasies he had regarding the later found no reflection in reality.

But sometimes he almost forgot. Sometimes, Kazunari felt he could easily give the last step and make his hidden desires become true.

It was late into the night and they were both sitting in the armchairs of the private living room Kazunari had set up on the most beautiful corner of the house, a small and cozy place illuminated by large windows that led to the sunflower garden. Their bright colors were paled by the shadows of night.

Satoshi flicked through a jaded architecture book, unaware of the intense gaze Kazunari was delivering him. The younger man had become fixated on his hands lately. Hands that could turn into claws, creating a dual emotion of fear and attraction in Kazunari’s psyche. As far as he’d witnessed, they were always elegant and precise, and moved with such graceful masculinity that at times, their shifting alone threatened to demolish his composure.

Those hands, those loving hands, he wanted to hold them as he slept. If only he could share Satoshi’s bed… he wanted to take those refined hands in his so badly, and then lead him upstairs, under his blankets… just one time and he would be the happiest man alive.

But once again, Kazunari just stood up and excused himself for the night, frustration eating his insides.


The hotel was finished and ready for inauguration. It could accommodate its first guests anytime. Unfortunately, there was still that little detail to be solved. Kazunari tried to approach the issue with utmost prudence.

“We could arrange something, you could hide somewhere where daylight doesn’t reach you.”

“Who says I won’t turn just the same? Not this again please… told you, you don’t know what might happen.”

“Told you. You don’t either. You said you don’t remember anything right?”

“I find myself bathed in blood each morning, blood that is not mine!” His temper was rising again. The same words were being spat, again. He was so tired of Kazunari’s naive insistence.

“It surely is some animal’s.”

“Stop it already!! People fear me, and I’ve been alone since I was a goddamn kid because it’s that same dread what killed the ones I loved! I hide and hold onto a clandestine life I’m not sure it’s worth living, but even so, I try. I try to escape from people’s hatred and brutality while I keep myself distanced enough not to hurt them. And that should also include you but- …but…”

“You should end them all.”

“Don’t be stupid! Can’t you see? To fear what I am, to try and cast me away, it’s just… the natural thing to do.”

“You’re nothing but awesome, gorgeous, overwhelming… you clearly deserve a better existence!!”

Those words were practically a confession, but Satoshi was not in the mood for wooing games. “Cut the crap!! I might destroy you, rip you apart anytime.” He used a cold whisper, a tone so foreign in him Kazunari’s blood turned into steel. “Don’t go easy on me because you’ll end up with a nasty surprise.”

Kazunari left immediately, the sting of disappointment welling up in his eyes. He better break down alone in his room.

No matter how hard he tried to make it work, the tug-of-war would never end. Satoshi would never give it a chance.


Satoshi was back in the basement, where he belonged. He had no intention of prolonging the sterile situation any longer. That would be his last night in the manor, the last remnants of an unattainable dream. He would remember and cherish the short time he spent with Kazunari for as long as he lived, but he acknowledged, their story had reached its end.


The relentless wind blew in violent gusts that stole the sunflowers from their petals. The sultry atmosphere built up during long days of burning heat seemed about to explode in a monumental downpour. The temperature was still remarkably high though, making the nights unbearable for those tossing and turning in their beds.

Kazunari was unable to get asleep, his body drowning in sweat and anxiety. He got up with the idea of having a relaxing beverage, but stopped dead in his tracks when he peeked inside Satoshi’s room. He wasn’t there. Neither in the hall nor the kitchen. 

Had he gone out? Gone… for good? Before nervousness could take hold of him, he noticed the door to the basement left ajar. He descended the staircase noiselessly, and found Satoshi just where he expected to. First room on the left. The quarter Satoshi had used as an ignoble hideout, the very same place he occupied on that night, asleep in a corner of the wooden floor. Something inside Kazunari’s chest shattered.

Rather than waking him up, which would only lead them to another dire brawl, he returned to the kitchen, resolute to implement the most drastic of measures. The only solution to everything.

This time around, Satoshi will be forced to stay, whether he wanted to or not. He closed the door to the cellar, locking it securely, and started planning how to keep the Mujina at bay.

Notes: I’m so sorry for all the times I’ve repeated words like resolute or determination. They’re that stubborn. Also, I promise actualaction” for next chapter XD

Sone Tatsuzō: Japanese architect of the later Meiji era, one of the first to build western style buildings in Japan, projecting, amongst other notable works, the Gothic style old library building at Keio University (1912).


So that would be the inspiration for Sone-san, and about Chiso-san and the whole Minamata issue:
Dates and names have been changed to fit the story, but there actually was a chemical disaster in Minamata Bay, which caused what is called the Minamata disease, a central nervous system illness caused by mercury exposure. Many people got poisoned when eating fish that had fed from the toxic waste Chisso Company dumped into the bay waters. Pictures below show relatives carrying photographs of victims as well as the memorial built in their honor.

Thanks for sticking with this looooong story. As always, comments are highly appreciated!

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November 2016


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