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One Million Miles From Home

By Korogi Nagisa

Part Two

"Yesterday was a million years ago
In all my past lives I've played an asshole
Now that I've found you, it's almost too late
And this earth seems obliviating."
      -Marilyn Manson, "The Last Day On Earth"
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See specified disclaimers for this fan-fiction. WIRED: K&K are not responsible for this collection of text exported without permission and without its disclaimer
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      There were crows cawing at the gate entrance to Yo-mawari's cabin, a small, run-down looking place set off in the woods of Yomatsu Hara-Sakai. Yomatsu was like a huge, shifting forest that seemed alive at every turn. As Taiji recalled, he had visited the rainforests in South America once and remembered how thick and humid the woods were. These woods he now found himself in were similar, though not as hot. And they seemed alive; seemed to be watching them all and talking amongst themselves.
      The large, black crows seemed to raise their calls as the group approached, Kurama shivering violently under the sounds to hunch down as he walked. The crows played a role sort of like Yo-mawari's shuriken: they kept alert over the cabin when the WatchMan was either busy or asleep. But with each caw from the large, black birds, Kurama's mind took him back to his battle with the man who was named after the crows. Back to the evil, sadistic glare of the youkai Karasu. "I hate those crows," he grumbled to himself, wrapping his long, slender arms about his body.
      "You won't get along with Taiji-kun then," Toshi spoke up with a huff as he pushed past, knocking into Kurama just enough to throw the other off balance. "He has a pet crow. Named him Karasu, I think." Toshi smiled sweetly as Kurama pulled to a jerky, unsteady halt, Toshi chuckling knowingly to himself as he continued on ahead.
      Kurama's heart began to pound in his chest at the mention of that name as the group filed around him through the front gate and down the cobble stone walkway. Memories of Karasu never really bothered him with much more than a cold shill or a haunting voice. But the mention of the name out loud usually meant trouble for Kurama. "He can't know," he shook his head slowly, demanding the vision of the youkai with the violet eyes that used to snarl over him to go away. "There's no way a human can know about Karasu… unless... "
      Several months ago, due to a mishap in Yomatsu, Karasu had returned from the dead and made it to the Ningenkai. He had caused just enough mayhem to get his face plastered on the front page of every newspaper throughout Hokkaido. But a name was never mentioned. Unless somehow Toshi had come in contact with Karasu during those times and learned about the Makai... Karasu was always one to talk openly about Kurama in any way he could. Kurama wouldn't put things past that youkai to simply spill the beans, so to speak, about everything humans were forbidden to know. "Can't be!" Kurama snarled to himself, telling his mind to get back on track. "Karasu would have killed him."
      Yo-mawari pushed the door to his home open, a house that had been the only place he had ever known as 'home' for over 200 years. "Tadaima," he half chuckled as he threw the door open and walked into his house, carefully tucking his katana beside the door. "I've brought visitors, Matsumoto-san. Just to warn you before hand!" he called into the house.
      The house was plain and slightly run down. Kurama had said that it was due to the fact that Yo-mawari never had a mother figure in his life. Nestled comfortably in the middle of the main room were two rather dusty-looking couches and an antique coffee table. Pata was the next into the house, remarking to himself that it reminded him a lot of his 'baasan's home back in the northern regions of Hokkaido; The faint smell of mothballs mixed with the heavy smell of dust. It also smelled like someone had been baking bread throughout the house as the outside air drew out the strong, warming odor of fresh bread, overtaking everything.
      The house before them all was sparsely lit in the Yomatsu moonlight as Yo-mawari set to quickly lighting a series of candles and lamps that began to slowly light the room. There was a hall on the far left of the room leading off into the depths of the house, its contents hidden by deep, inky shadows that seemed to warn everyone from venturing into them.
      The house gave Yoshiki the chills. All those late nights that he had stayed up to watch those American horror films began to slowly catch up with him. Bad things always happened to people who ventured into the old, creaky dark houses. "It wouldn't surprise me if this place was haunted," he whispered to himself.

      Curious green eyes dared a peak around the deeply shadowed corner of his room door, searching intently through the shadows with ease. He saw the five new visitors file in the door behind which he knew were the youko brothers and the little fire demon… he knew each new presence by name. They were practically family to him. "Why are THEY here?" he whispered to himself, slinking back into the room, turning to flatten himself against the old wood of the walls, closing the door. The hinges squeaked like an old door in a bad horror film, the figure sliding down the wall to a sitting position, moonlight flashing briefly over wild, pink hair. "Why are they here?" he whispered to himself again, letting his head fall onto his knees.

      Yoshiki heard the hinges squeaking from the inky black hallway beyond, quick brown eyes darting to see the flash of moonlight through a door as its latch slid shut at the end of the hallway. As far as he could tell, no one else heard the disturbance, and he would like to keep it that way for now.
      "Make yourself at home," Yo-mawari said to the others, gesturing to the couches in the middle of the main room. "I ask that you remain in this room and don't wander into any other part of the house. If Hide- san doesn't want to come out to meet with you, I'm not going to make him." He nodded once to each guest in understanding. "I'll go fix supper and get everyone some drinks if you'd like. We'll leave in one hour regardless, okay?"
      "Kill joy," Pata mumbled to himself, falling with ease into one of the old couches. The springs whined and groaned at the sudden weight, bouncing the slim man around a bit before falling into equilibrium, nestling him deep within the couch cushions. It practically ate him alive, Pata quickly squirming to pull himself from the clutches of the couch to rearrange himself. The couch felt like a waterbed, so old and bent out of shape that it molded to his body as he moved. But actually, it was quite comfortable, more like an upright bed.
      "And if he doesn't come out?" Toshi raised an eyebrow matter-of-factly, rounding around to sit in a corner of the couch that Pata had claimed. He carefully lowered himself into the couch after seeing it nearly swallow Pata's body whole, settling comfortably. "This whole trip will be for nothing?"
      "Then he doesn't come out," Yo-mawari matched tone, locking black eyes in Toshi. "Remember, Deyama-san, you all are NOT supposed to be here. Hide-san has no desire to see any of you now."
      "That's your opinion," Yoshiki whispered to himself, tucking his hands softly in the pockets of his dress pants, looking around the house carefully. It was humid inside from the forest outside, Yoshiki slowly unbuttoning the suit jacket to slip it off, a plain, white dress shirt on underneath.
      Yo-mawari tossed a look to his brother as Hiei slipped deftly off into a corner of the front room, the other nodding once in compliance before Yo-mawari disappeared into the house to be replaced by the shuffling of dishes.
      "Did you need any help in there?" Taiji spoke up, shuffling a bit uneasy in place, feeling Kurama's green eyes centering on him as he spoke. He could feel Kurama glaring at him, it made him highly uncomfortable. Whether Yo-mawari wanted his help or not, Taiji planned on hiding in the kitchen anyway.
      "If you wish," came the reply from the kitchen, Taiji silently thanking the gods.
      Taiji walked heavily across the room, tossing a sideways glance to Pata on the couch as if telling him to keep an eye on the demons. The other just watched him out of the corner of his eyes, continuing the stoic façade for which he was so well known.
      Hiei tucked his katana over his arm and sat down on the floor, closing the flaming red eyes to the world, content to just listen to the crows cawing just outside of the house. He heard Kurama grumble silently beside him… could hear the humans shuffling around him. How he hated the humans.
      "Where's the restroom?" Yoshiki signed lightly, casually, looking aside to Kurama who stood off in the corner of the main room just above Hiei.
      Kurama rose a slim finger to the eerie black hallway leading to the depths of the house. Despite the fact that the front room now sat beautifully lit, the back hall was still shadowed heavily. "First door on the right."
      Yoshiki nodded his thank you to Kurama, silently congratulating himself and his excuses to explore the back hall. He had found a perfectly good reason to go explore the dark house and the inky black hallway beyond, and possibly to see if it was Hide who inhabited the back room.
      He kept himself calm and turned slowly as if his bathroom break was no big deal, and walked carefully down the hall, opening the proper door to the bathroom… but slipped down the hall as he was sure no one was looking. He was lost quickly in the blackness as he pressed his back to the wall and began to slide down the corridor, down to the last door at the very end. The target. Where he hoped he would find Hide.
      Slowly, he opened the door, careful not to make it creak, as old doors were known to do, and slipped in, closing the door behind him with a deafened ease. The room was simple and smelled of old wood, slivers of moonlight filtering in through the open window directly across from him. He could hear the crows echoing through the woods just outside the window and shivered slightly. The room was furnished in only a simple bed and chest of drawers… and the bed had definitely been slept in recently.
      Yoshiki stood still and quiet at the door, twinges of fear beginning to well in his chest. Through all the horror movies he had seen, the worst of the matter always occurred in the dark rooms at night. And Yoshiki was one for being superstitious. He had believed in such things as The Boogie Monster and the things that hid under little boy’s beds and in their closets as a kid. He still believed in part in all those things that haunted him as a child.
      He cleared his throat slightly and stepped into the room, calling the twinges of fear in his chest to quiet down. "I know you're here," he whispered softly, raising a hand to wipe strands of hair from his face. "I just wanted to say hello one last time."
      The room didn't respond as Yoshiki fell silent, listening.
      Yoshiki chuckled softly and crossed the room to sit on the bed, listening to it creak under him as the old springs moved. On the bed there was an odd small, purple teddy bear wearing a faded small T-shirt, seeming to grin up at Yoshiki as he noticed it. Yoshiki smiled and picked it up, turning it over and over in his hands. He knew that dumb little bear. Hide's 'Psycho Teddy' that traveled with him on every tour and trip the band had taken through the years. "Ya know, Hide-chan. Things have been weird without you around," he whispered to the bear, adjusting its little T-shirt, putting the small bear back on the bed carefully, tucking it into the old feather pillow. "You've pissed a lot of people off… again."
      Yoshiki rose from the bed and noticed that there was a small closet off in the corner of the room, one of the thatched doors opened slightly. Despite his tugging superstitions, he carefully he slid across the room and opened it… but found nothing. He frowned. Ah, the bed!
      With a childish smile, Yoshiki walked back to the bed and knelt down beside it on his knees. "And I'm pretty sure I'm one of those people you've pissed off again." He reached down and pulled the sheet up from the bed, peaking under…
      Piercing green eyes stared widely through the inky black under the bed, they caught all of Yoshiki's attention, causing him to squeak in surprise and tumble backward on his rear. Whatever that was under the bed, it was NOT Hide.
      Yoshiki shuffled like a crab backward across the room until his back impacted the wall roughly, knocking his head back into the wall and pushing the wind out of his lungs. The bed sheets ruffled from the bed across from him in the darkness and a figure began to emerge. Yoshiki found himself paralyzed against the wall, staring blankly at the thing that was emerging from under the bed, a nightmarish reincarnation of all those damned horror films that seemed to be laughing at him now.
      "What are you doing here?" the figure growled to him softly as it crouched by the bed, the green eyes glaring at Yoshiki across the room. The air around him froze solid as the voice penetrated the darkness, out to pull on Yoshiki, making him shiver violently.
      "I… I…" Yoshiki stuttered and shuffled down the wall to the corner, squeezing himself into the crevice as the figure stood beside the bed, mumbling something to himself.
      The figure was tall and slim in the silhouette of the moonlight, bushy hair crowning its head. As the figure passed through the moonlight, flashes of brilliant pink hair bounced around the room like a strobe light. But still, the green eyes that seemed to posses the figure glinted, easily picking out Yoshiki cowering in the corner. Slowly, the silhouette stalked forward like a wolf stalking its prey. "What in the fuck are you doing here?" it growled. "You're not supposed to be here."
      Yoshiki closed his eyes tightly. This was a bad idea. His heart began to pound in his chest as he began to mentally coach himself for whatever would happen next. His eyes were tearing from the pressure at which he held them closed until he felt a soft hand tuck stray strands of his dim, reddish brown hair behind his ears.
      The light touch was something he completely wasn't expecting, catching Yoshiki off balance for a moment, causing him to gasp in shock. It was light, almost like a mother's touch, gently rubbing over his cheek as it traced a line back to Yoshiki's ear, neatly tucking his hair behind his ear. A soft voice inhaled to begin speaking, striking up a soft, familiar voice that seemed to Yoshiki like a phantasmal dream. "Yo- chan…"
      Yoshiki opened his eyes cautiously to see the brilliant green eyes staring back at him from a seemingly featureless face. They were human, possibly belonging to one of the demons that possessed these odd lands. But their build and shape seemed eerily familiar. "Dare… desu ka…" he whispered cautiously, still trying to embed himself in the corner.
      The figure laughed silently and hung his head at the question, as if ashamed. "Well, I'm glad you've remembered what I look like. It's only been.. what.. a week or two at most?" the figure snorted sarcastically, raising the odd green eyes again. A smiling face was clearly visible behind the eyes, perfect teeth grinning back at him through a face that now sat dimly illuminated, the green eyes fading into the face to loose their intensity. It was him!
      "Masaka… Hide!" Yoshiki breathed, eyes widening, a hand raising quickly to touch the face before him, assuring Yoshiki that he wasn't seeing things. "But…" he frowned, looking the face over carefully, letting his thumb softly run a track back and forth over one of the soft, pale cheeks.
      "It's the eyes, ne?" the other chuckled, sitting back on his rump, away from Yoshiki's touch. He swatted Yoshiki on the knee roughly. "Gotcha!"
      Yoshiki sat up, pulling himself out from the corner slowly. Indeed it WAS Hide… the same man he had almost grown up with. The same brilliant pink hair exploded from his friends' head, neatly disheveled as it always appeared, centering his face perfectly. But the eyes… the normally soft, crazy brown eyes that Hide always had shone off were replaced with these unnaturally green ones that seemed to have a light and life of their own. But it was Hide, no doubting that.
      Yoshiki smiled and reached forward, ruffling the soft, pink hair. "Pink Spider… what happened to you?"
      Hide frowned and rose to his feet suddenly, offering a hand down to Yoshiki. "You all have to leave now, okay, Yo-chan?" he said, the eyes beginning to grow in intensity again, highlighting his seriousness.
      Yoshiki blinked up to him, reluctantly stretching out his hand to let Hide tug him to his feet. "I have an hour, according to that WatchMan. So I intend to use it."
      "Not unless I say you can't."
      "You can't dictate my life, Hide."
      "I can while you're here in Yomatsu. Now go home, Yoshiki. You don't belong here. NONE of you belong here."
      Yoshiki snorted and straightened the lines of his shirt, smoothing non-existent wrinkles and wiping imaginary dust from his pants. "I haven't eaten yet," he stated rather childishly, nodding curtly to Hide. "Yo-mawari-san is preparing dinner and I intend to stay for it." Yoshiki stuck his nose in the air like a spoiled brat, crossing his arms defiantly over his chest. "Besides, I came here for a few good reasons. You can't imagine the energy it took to get any information on this Yomatsu What's-it's-place. I don't know how Toshi did it. And you haven't told me why you killed yourself yet."
      Hide snorted heavily and shuffled back a step, taken back by the statement. "Excuse me!" he raised his voice to a shrill whisper, the crows outside cawing heavier to his words. "You are really dense, Yoshiki, you know that?"
      "Well, why?" Yoshiki demanded. "I'm not leaving until…"
      "The hell you ARE leaving. Now get out!" Hide snarled, the green eyes flashing as he pointed roughly to the door.
      "No."
      "Yo-chan…" the green eyes warned.
      "You'll have to throw me out… or tell me."
      "See that window…" Hide pointed behind him. "How would you like to be thrown out that way? I'll shove you into that night with whatever the hell happens to be out there."
      "You take pride in tossing things out of windows, don't you?"
      "Why you pompous, stuck up, arrogant…"
      "There you go again… one of your legendary mood swings," Yoshiki emphasized, throwing his arms out wide like he wanted a hug. "You'll never grow up!"
      Hide reached for the doorknob, nearly ripping the door of its hinges and stormed out.
      "Why did you kill yourself?" Yoshiki called after, making chase.

      Toshi had found a corner of the couch to claim, tucking himself rather regally back into the old lining. He seemed like a king, perched perfectly on the couch, the glimmer of his tailored suit jacket highlighting his face. The others were quietly sitting on the rest of the couches, facing Kurama, Hiei across the room from them in his corner with his katana. There were very few words spoken, the guys acting almost like they were complete strangers to each other. For long periods, the room was filled with an unnatural quiet . Occasionally, Toshi would comment to Pata, the other would comment back, Heath adding in his two cents, but things were mostly quiet, a silence that was just begging to be broken. Outside, the steady cawing of the flocks of crows kept the eerie peace at a comfortable level…
      "I did NOT kill myself!" someone shouted from off in the house, all attention immediately turning to the blackened hall that led off into the dark depths of the house. A tall, slim figure with brilliant pink hair trudged down the hall for the front door, ripping it open wide, bringing the cawing of the crows to a steady crescendo. "Now get the hell out…"
      Everything stopped.
      And he froze solid.
      The sound of the crows rose again through the open door to compensate.
      The gang on the couch found themselves staring back at the tall, pink-haired man who held the door in check. And no one spoke a word.
      Kurama shot to his feet as Yo-mawari appeared from the kitchen in a flash, cursing to himself slightly.
      Everyone looked at everyone else... and then back at Hide as Yoshiki walked calmly and quietly up from the hall. "Tell everyone, Hide," he said quietly, tucking his hands in the pockets of his pants.
      Pata rose slowly from the couch, creating a chain reaction, causing the rest of the guys to rise in succinct order.
      Hide stood a bit dumbfounded with a death grip on the front door, looking back and forth at everyone before centering the odd green eyes on Yo-mawari. He saw the black haired man wince slightly at the sight of the green eyes, Taiji appearing behind him, a kitchen towel draped over his shoulder.
      "Shit…" Taiji whispered, rounding past Yo-mawari, eyes set carefully on Hide.
      Hide snarled and slammed the front door shut, closing the crows out. "Make them all go home, Yo- mawari," he snorted, snarling once to Yoshiki.
      "Hai, I will," the other nodded, pulling a strand of his long, black hair behind his shoulder.
      "Woah, I don't know about anyone else here," Heath spoke up. "But I'm goin' NO PLACE 'till someone tells me just what in the fuck is going on here!"
      Yo-mawari disappeared back into the kitchen only to appear with a tray of steaming food, Taiji following suit to bring out a pot of tea and cups. "Everyone eats and then goes back to the Ningenkai. Got that? I knew this was a bad idea in the first place."
      Hide swung the unnatural eyes back to Yoshiki. "Kisama… how could you!"
      Yoshiki cocked his head to the side. "You weren't coming out on your own will. And I know you throw tantrums when you get upset… putting two and two together, I knew you'd forget that everyone else was here in your rage and try to throw me out. So… it seems I've succeeded in ratting you out, ne?"
      "Bastard."
      Hide stepped forward and shoved Yoshiki roughly in the chest, sending the taller man stumbling back roughly to the wall. Quickly Hide stormed past him to the dark hall, the ominous sound of a door slamming replacing his presence.
      "Everyone eat." Yo-mawari ordered.
      "I'm not hungry," Yoshiki snarled, straightening himself from the wall, rubbing his hip slightly.
      "Fine. We go back in half an hour," Yo-mawari said, beginning to set the antique coffee table. "And leave Hide alone!"
      Yoshiki snarled and spun around on his heals, growling at the black-haired man, disappearing into a back bedroom to slam the door.
      Toshi winced slightly at the sound as he was handed a bowl of steaming rice, thanking Yo-mawari. "Personally, I think that went rather well, don't you?" he looked sideways to Taiji who still stood above him.
      "I was expecting to see those two get in a fist fight…. again"
      "I wouldn't put it past Hide…"
      "What's Yoshiki-san doing?" Yo-mawari asked, worriedly, tossing a look to the hallway that Yoshiki had disappeared into.
      "He's just sulking. Yo-chan needs to lick his wounds," Toshi explained.
      "As long as he doesn't go to sleep..."

© 1998-1999 HTMS Interlink / Halfway To Mars

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