HOUSE OF LOVE
An X Sekkushiaru Roman
By Sailor Mac
In the darkened TV den at the Imonoyama mansion, two figures were huddled on the couch, eyes fixed on the wide, flat screen.
The smaller of the two sat leaning against the larger, head resting on his shoulder, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. His companion had an arm across the back of the couch, brushing the others skin and hair just a little. But it was enough for both of them.
There was some kind of dorama on the screen right now. Before, it had been showing a rather goofy comic anime. The specifics of the entertainment didnt matter to them. They were just enjoying a few moments of peace. They had so little of it, as uncertain as their lives were.
Do you want something to eat? Subaru asked his younger companion. Subaru himself was not particularly given to snacking, but he thought Kamui might want wasabi peas or Pocky or chips of some sort.
Kamui raised his perpetually tousled head, blinking his violet eyes a little. Subarus voice had actually broken a nice, warm, fuzzy reverie. No, he said. Im okay.
Subaru brushed a lock of hair from the other young mans forehead. Tired?
Not really. I just . . . well, Im very comfortable right now. Being with you, he thought.
Good, Subaru said, letting his arm fall so it was around Kamuis shoulders. Hes been through so much, Subaru thought, and at such a young age. In less than a year, hed lost his mother, watched his former best friend become his archenemy and murder his girlfriend, and been burdened with the responsibility of saving the world.
But he was a lot stronger than his small, delicate, pretty-boy appearance would suggest. Hed born all that pain much more gracefully than one would expect -- Subaru knew a lot of people who would probably have collapsed under all that. Including himself.
Subaru knew how much he had chafed under the responsibility of being the head of his ancient clan of magic-users when he was 16 -- the age Kamui was now. He could only imagine what Kamui was going through.
Kamui snuggled against Subaru again, breathing in his friends scent. Those damn cigarettes he was always smoking. Spices and frankincense, as if the incense his family had always used in their ceremonies was part of his very flesh.
He gazed up at him, taking in the grayish-green eyes that always seemed to have a somber look, the close-cropped black hair, the almost feminine features. I dont think he has any idea how stunning he is, Kamui thought.
How was school today? Subaru said, letting his hand rub Kamuis shoulder a little. Kamui gave a small, contented purr.
Oh, you know, the usual, Kamui said. Keiichi and I had lunch together. We talked about maybe teaming up for the chemistry project. And I got a B-plus on the history test.
I knew youd do well on that, Subaru replied. And Im so glad you have Keiichi for a friend.
Kamui frowned a bit at that. He certainly liked Keiichi . . but he felt sometimes like Subaru was pushing him at his friend, encouraging them to be a couple, and that bugged him in a way he couldnt quite put his finger on. He certainly didnt feel *that* way about Keiichi.
I wonder sometimes, he thought, how much I know about what Subaru is *really* thinking.
Subaru, he said, quietly, are you happy right now?
He felt his friend stiffen. I shouldnt have asked that, he thought. Subaru had ever-shiftingmoods . . . and you never knew what was going to make them shift, and bring up the excruciating pain he had suffered in the past.
Subaru stroked Kamuis hair a bit. Right now, I feel . . . peaceful, he said, after a pause.
Peaceful, Kamui thought. I wish he wouldnt phrase it like that. It sounds like hes dying . . . like he wants to die. If only he could see that there was more to life than meeting his lover-turned-enemy again and avenging his sisters death . . .
Do you like being here with us . . . with the other Dragons of Heaven? Kamui said.
I like being with you, Subaru replied.
Something turned around in Kamui when he said that. Im glad, he said, quietly.
The important thing is, Kamui . . . are *you* happy?
Kamui glanced back at the screen. A lissome young actress was flirting with her handsome co-worker, a ploy to make the boy she *really* loved jealous. If only real life problems were as superficial as TV ones, he thought.
I like living at Clamp Campus, he said. I really like all the other Dragons of Heaven, especially Sorata and Yuzuriha. But . . . I dont know if Ill be *really* happy until I get Fuuma back.
Subaru hugged Kamui. He knew how badly Kamui wanted to redeem Fuuma, his childhood friend who was now his dark opposite. Subaru didnt know if it were possible . . . but he knew how much the wish to do so so meant to Kamui.
Well, thats your wish, Subaru said. You have to hold onto it.
Kamui lifted his head and looked directly into his friends green eyes. Subaru . . . what is your wish? Weve never really talked about it, except for when you said it would make people close to you unhappy.
Subaru looked away, and Kamui felt him stiffen again. Its not important, Subaru said. It would make people who care about me upset . . . but its what I have to do.
Its important to me! Kamui said. I care about you, Subaru. A lot.
Subaru turned back toward Kamui. His lips wore a smile, but Kamui could see the profound sadness in his eyes. Its the Sakurazukamori whos responsible for that look, Kamui thought. If I ever get my hands on that bastard . . . Ill personally kill him.
Lets not talk about my wish, he said. Thats in the future. Just relax . . . He leaned over and kissed Kamuis cheek.
Kamui was going to protest, to argue, to try to draw Subaru out about what this so-called dream was. But it was registering in his mind that Subaru had just kissed him. And he liked the sensation. A lot.
Tentatively, Kamui leaned over and repeated Subarus action, brushing his lips against his friends cheekbone, just under the eye. He waited for Subarus reaction, hoping his friend wouldnt flinch, or pull away.
Subaru didnt. Instead, he put both arms around Kamuis shoulders, drawing him near, a smile playing at his lips . . . a genuine one, extending all the way to his eyes. He brushed Kamuis hair off his forehead, then leaned over, wordlessly, and kissed where his fingers had just touched . . . then placed another kiss next to it, and another.
Warm feelings began to bubble up inside Kamui, like a pot left too long on the stove. He suddenly felt himself imagining what Subarus lips would feel like on several places considerably lower than his forehead. It wasnt the first time Kamui had had a fantasy like that . . . but it was certainly the first time with Subaru so near.
Subaru eased away from him, and Kamui found himself flushed, his heart racing . . . and was that a pink tinge in Subarus face as well?
Subaru, he said, quietly, as green eyes gazed into violet. I . . .
And then, before either knew what was happening, their arms were around each other, and Kamui was crushing his mouth against the older mans, kissing urgently, his lips caressing, stroking, then pressing hard, insistently.
Subaru quivered inside. He hadnt been kissed in so long . . . since Seishirou-san . . . something hed thought hed never experience again, never wanted to experience again . . . but, oh, gods, this was Kamui, and his kisses were like the boy himself, sweet and delicious . . . Subaru found himself kissing back, eagerly, his fingers tangling in Kamuis hair.
Kamui leaned closer still, his chest against Subarus as he kissed the older man harder, his tongue pressing very gently against the place where their mouths were joined. When Subarus mouth opened, letting Kamui in, a shudder of desire passed through them both. Subaru tentatively stroked the younger boys tongue with his, and then found himself doing it fast, hard, eagerly . . .
They broke apart, panting, faces flushed. Kamui looked away, shyly. I shouldnt have done that, he thought. What must Subaru think of me now . . .
But Subaru squeezed both his hands and said, Kamui . . . that was beautiful.
Kamui turned a half-smile toward him. Does that qualify as making out?
Subaru laughed a little (Kamui loved to hear him laugh, it happened so infrequently), pulled Kamuis head down so it rested in the junction between his head and shoulder, and said, Yes. I think it does.
Kamui found himself nuzzling Subarus neck . . . he couldnt help it, any more than a bee could help plundering a flower for nectar . . . and laying a few soft kisses there. Good, he whispered. Because I want to make out some more.
Subaru found himself tipping his head back, giving Kamui access, and he let out a soft sigh as the boys lips trailed up his neck. His body was definitely responding, and not like it had to Seishirou-san what felt like a million years ago. This was a slow, delicious heat, not an engulfing flame.
But common sense was stabbing at the back of his mind, no matter how much he wanted it to go away.
Kamui, Subaru whispered, maybe . . . wed better go to your room. We dont want any of the others walking in on us.
Kamui didnt want to move . . . he was so cozy where he was at the moment . . . but Subaru was right. It was late at night, they presumed that Yuzuriha, Sorata and Arashi were all asleep . . . but there was no *guarantee* that they were.
Slowly, he broke away from Subaru. The older man took Kamuis hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it. Kamui picked up the remote, clicked off the long-forgotten television and led Subaru down the hall.
Once the door of Kamuis room shut behind them, they eased into each others arms, lips coming together rapidly as Kamuis hands began to wander up and down Subarus back.
Were right near the bed, Kamui thought. Just a few steps, and well be lying on it. How far will it go . . . as far as in my fantasies? Its so hard to believe Ive got him in my arms, and were actually *doing* this . . .
Kamui, Subaru whispered, the name tasting sweet and hot on his tongue. He kissed up the boys cheek, slowly, to his temple, and then his ear. When Kamui felt Subarus breath in the tiny hole, he let out a small moan, and was fearful for a moment that his friend would be put off by the blatant sound of desire.
The fears dissolved, though, as the two young men found themselves inching, almost unconsciously, toward the bed. A small push . . . and they werent sure which of them did it, not that it mattered . . . and they tumbled to the mattress, clinging tighter still to each other, Kamui throwing his head back, panting, as Subaru lay kisses along the pulse line of his neck. . .
And then, they both became aware of a loud noise in the next room which sounded like an engine failing to start on a cold day. Slowly, they eased apart, the mood broken.
The noise continued on, and after a few seconds of listening to the grinding and whistling, Kamui could identify it . . .
Thats Sorata snoring, he said. I had no idea these walls were that thin.
You had no reason to notice before, Subaru replied. I think its a given that . . . the noise would carry.
What about your own room? Kamui asked, sitting up and raking his fingers through his hair.
Subaru shook his head. My room is next to Yuzuriha. We dont want to wake her up. He could just imagine the 14-year-olds shock and embarrassment to find shed been awakened by two of her friends in the heat of passion.
Damn, Kamui said, banging a fist against the headboard in frustration.
Subaru hugged him, and the contact only served to re-stoke the fire in Kamuis blood, which he didnt want. Not if they couldnt do anything. Well figure something out, he said.
Figure what out? Kamui said. Its not as if theres anywhere else in this place where we could go without waking up half the school. Its not as if we had somewhere off-campus to go where . . .
And then, it hit him . . . the bawdy stories hed heard boys swapping in class, or after class, about where they took their dates, and what they did with them. Kamui had never had reason to use such information -- until now.
Lets go to a love hotel, the younger Dragon of Heaven suddenly said.
Subaru gave a start. A . . . what? He knew very well what love hotels were, it just startled him to hear Kamui say it.
A love hotel, Kamui replied. You know, somewhere where you go for a few hours . . . at least we know wed have privacy!
Subaru stood up. Kamui. . . do you know what youre doing with this?
I know, Subaru. I know what I want. He reached up and stroked his friends hair, saying without words, what I want is you.
Subaru paused. He didnt really want Kamui to be in one of those places . . . but, he was right, it was probably their only chance to be alone together. And Subaru wanted to be alone with him, very much.
He took Kamuis hand and squeezed it. Kamui, if were going to do that . . . I think we should agree first . . . that we dont have to go too far.
Kamui tilted his head, looking at him quizzically. But Subaru . . . I know what I want . . .
You may not, Subaru said, gently. At least, not to the extent you think you do right now. Just . . . whenever one of us says stop, we both agree to stop.
Kamui paused, digesting this. All he wanted was to experience Subaru every way imaginable . . .but the onmiyouji was probably right. They could reach a point where one or both of them didnt feel comfortable anymore.
Sure, Kamui said. I agree.
Subaru kissed the hand he was clenching. All right, then. Well go. Theres quite a few right over the bridge.
Kamui hugged him. Thank you so much, Subaru . . .
Let me get my coat, Subaru said. Then . . . well travel the way we usually do.
Kamui knew what he meant. The way Dragons of Heaven usually went from place to place was by leaping from building to building, over the tops of cars or on trees, part of their unique powers. It was designed to get them quickly to kekkais before they could be smashed by the Dragons of Earth, but there wasnt a member of the team who hadnt used them to get to work, or school, or just across town. It was certainly better than riding in an overcrowded subway.
As Kamui got his own jacket, he found his heart pounding with anticipation. What will it be like? he thought. Ive never done this before with anyone, male or female. Has Subaru? The answer rose in his mind, and he pushed it away, because he didnt want to deal with it. A mental picture of the sweet, gentle Subaru in the arms of the vicious Sakurazukamori just turned his stomach.
Why did he ever fall in love with that bastard? Kamui thought. Their families have been each others arch enemies from the dawn of time. If I were him, every time I saw that guy Id run in the other direction. But Subaru, for some reason, had done just the opposite.
He was 16 when he was with the Sakurazukamori, Kamui thought. The same age I am now. He wondered if there was any significance to the coincidence.
Subaru arrived in the doorway, wearing his trademark white trenchcoat. Okay, he said. Lets go.
Kamui opened the window, and they hopped out onto a lower rooftop, and from there to another roof, then another, then a tree . . . on and on, headed for Rainbow Bridge, which would take them into Tokyo proper.
I cant wait, Kamui thought. The hell with hopping, I want to *fly* to the first love hotel I see. I wonder how were going to know were in the right place?
* * *
This is a *love hotel*? Kamui said in disbelief.
The two were standing in front of a large building that was in the shape of an old-fashioned Wurlizer jukebox. Kamui had passed by it before and dismissed it as some sort of a nightclub. It looks about as romantic as a case of mumps, he thought.
Oh, yes, Subaru said. But . . . I dont think this one is for us.
Why not? Kamui said, frowning a bit.
Subaru pointed to a small neon sign in the window which said, Currently full. Estimated wait time, 40 minutes.
Forty minutes? Kamui said, a small look of panic crossing his face.
Subaru gave him one of his little smiles and reached down to squeeze his hand. Theres some more on the next street.
They went around the corner, only to see a garish expanse of buildings which Kamui thought looked like pictures hed seen of that American gambling town, Las Vegas. There was one that looked like a pyramid, another shaped like a small castle, a third resembling a spaceship. Glowing neon signs proclaimed names such as Hotel Passion, Hotel Once More and Hotel Utopia.
Good . . . gods, Kamui whispered. I wonder what theyre like *inside*!
Well soon find out, Subaru said.
But hotel after hotel was displaying little lit-up signs like the first, proclaiming that they had no rooms available. Just our luck, Kamui thought. We arrived on the busiest night of the year.
Wonder if theres a pink movie festival in town? he grumbled in frustration, kicking the curb.
Subaru had to admit he was losing patience as well, but he was determined to give the boy the night hed wanted. He looked around the street some more . . .
And then, his eyes lit on something that looked like an ancient temple. It looked no better or worse than all the other love hotels . . . it seemed kind of plain in comparison . . . but it had an air that was comfortable, familiar.
How about over there . . . the one with the Grecian columns . . .
The two walked across the porch, past stylized statues in armor and carrying spears on either side of the doorway who seemed to stare at them as they went in the door. The neon on this particular building proclaimed it was the Hotel Caesar.
No sign in the window, Kamui said. We may be in luck this time.
Kamui opened the door and peered around. The lobby was as elaborate as the exterior. The centerpiece was a large Venus de Milo in the center of a fountain. Red velvet hangings adorned the walls, and a many-tiered crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling. There was just one thing missing.
Wheres the reception desk? Kamui whispered to Subaru.
Subaru pointed to the far wall. There was a ledge, a small counter . . . and nothing behind it but another red-hung wall. It took a moment of looking before Kamui saw the hole in the drapery, like something a mouse would scurry in and out of.
Next to the counter, a lighted display showed a variety of rooms. Kamui walked toward it, slowly and with trepidation. His eyes grew wide as they took in the pictures.
There were plush rooms decorated in dark reds and blacks, boasting huge, round beds and mirrors everywhere. There was one with an enormous sunken heart-shaped tub in the middle of the floor. There was one that resembled a 1950s diner -- with a bed that looked like a giant tail-finned Cadillac.
And then, there was one that looked like a medieval dungeon, complete with shackles hanging from the wall and an extremely nasty-looking rack. Kamui looked very quickly away from that one.
The ones that are lit up are available, Subaru explained. The ones with the lights out are in use right now. You pick what you want, then . . . He gestured toward the hole in the wall. You push the money in there, and tell them a number, and they give you the key.
Its odd, though, the onmiyouji thought . . . why does this hotel have so many rooms available, while all the others were booked to the hilt? Still, this one seems to be older than most of the others . . . maybe it doesnt offer all the electronic bells and whistles people want.
So . . . I just pick one out? Kamui said. He studied the lit-up rooms, wondering . . . do I really want to *make love* in any of these? They look like something out of Elvis Presleys house! He began to wonder if people really came here for a romantic evening, or just to laugh at the surroundings.
His eyes finally lit on one that seemed halfway normal. It was filled with big, elaborate antiques and fluttery lace curtains . . . he imagined the theme was Scarlett OHaras boudoir. It would do.
That one, he told Subaru, pointing to it.
He watched his friend . . . and soon to be lover . . . go up to the cubbyhole and push some bills through.
Thirty-two, he told the unseen person.
There was a pause on the other side. You wanted 32, you said? the voice said. Thats *really* what you said? Thirty-two?
Yes, Subaru said, wondering if the person was slightly deaf.
Well . . . all right, the voice said. Ill give you a special price . . .
They must *really* be hurting for business, Subaru thought. Something that looked like a credit card was pushed back at him, along with change. He bowed, even though the person who made the transaction with him couldnt see their customer.
All right, he said to Kamui. Third floor. He led the boy over to an elevator, a pair of ornately carved doors that wouldnt look out of place in an old black-and-white movie.
The ride up seemed to take forever. Kamui felt his heart fluttering with anticipation. What do I do when were inside? he thought. Do I just grab him and start making out again . . . pick up where we left off in my room?
Their room was the second on the right. Subaru put the electronic key-card in . . .
Thats funny, he said. It wont open. He checked the number. Its the right room, all right . . .
Maybe the thing that reads the bar code is broken? said Kamui.
Subaru shook his head. The green light went on . . . the door just wouldnt open.
He tried it again, and jiggled the card around. The results were the same.
Well, he said, now I know why we got the price break.
Here, said Kamui. Let me. He fished around in his pocket until he found a paperclip, shoved there in the midst of doing schoolwork. They should have some kind of emergency trip switch somewhere. . .ah, here it is. He straightened the clip out and stuck the end in a tiny pinhole on the lock, so small you wouldnt know it was there unless you were looking for it. He jiggled it around, then jiggled it some more, and finally, the lock clicked.
The two young men swung the door inward and looked at their surroundings. Right away, Kamui noticed they were more garish than the lighted display had made them seem. The bed was round, and on some sort of platform. There were spotlights turned on it. The ceiling was covered with mirrors. On the far wall was a large television.
Kamui frowned. Now, why have a television in a room youre only going to use for a few hours?
Subaru walked over to it . . . there was a VCR attached to the set, and a rack of tapes below it. He picked a couple up, red their labels, and turned bright red.
Lets just say it isnt Pokemon, he said, replacing them quickly.
Kamui sat down on the bed . . . and gasped. It was . . . moving. Very slowly, but . . .
These things rotate, sometimes, Subaru said, sitting next to Kamui and putting an arm around him. Theyre pressure-sensitive . . . some are sound-sensitive, too.
Kamui rested against the older man, wrapping his arms around him. How does he know so much about these places? he thought. I dont think I want to know. As far as I know, the only man in his life has been . . .
An image filled his head of the Sakurazukamori, who had once trapped him and Kotori in a dangerous illusion. He remembered the mans cold smile under his ever-present dark glasses, his black trenchcoat billowing around him . . . He looked like exactly what he was, a ruthless, heartless killer.
How on earth did Subaru get involved with someone like that? Kamui thought. But he was distracted by more pleasant things . . . like Subarus hand tenderly stroking his hair, moving down to caress his back, massaging in slow circles.
Kamui looked up to see Subaru giving him one of his little half-smiles, the most the onmiyouji had ever smiled since Kamui had known him.
Youre very beautiful, Subaru said. Even with these lights on you.
Kamui looked up at the spotlights. I wish I could turn those things off.
I dont know if you can, said Subaru. Everything seems to be automatic.
Oh, well, Kamui said, holding Subaru closer. I guess I could get used to it. . .
He leaned over, bringing his lips to the older mans. They brushed against each other, lightly, and then rapidly deepened into a full-blown kiss, the pressure shifting, changing as they shifted a little this way, then that way, finding a way to give each other the most pleasure, the most heat.
Their hands began to move as well, rubbing slowly over each others backs, moving up to shoulders, then back down again. As Subarus tongue eagerly met Kamuis, bringing a whimper of desire from the younger boy, Subarus right hand began to move up over the shoulder, and then down to his chest .
Kamui thought hed explode with heat as Subarus fingers began to unfasten his buttons, slowly, one by one. He crushed his mouth even more urgently against his lovers, reaching for one hand and guiding it toward his exposed flesh . . .
And then, there was a loud panting and moaning, which didnt come from either of them.
The lovers broke apart and snapped around. The television was on, and it was showing a scene of full-blown flagrante delicto, an obviously silicone-enhanced woman bent over a chair while an actor whose face couldnt be seen labored away behind her.
What the. . . how the . . . Kamui said, a curious mixture of feelings bubbling away inside him. . . heat from the kissing, anger that their moment was somehow interrupted, and mad fantasies of being bent over that way for Subaru.
I have no idea, Subaru said, going over to the set. Fortunately, this particular gadget had a manual override, and he shut it off. Might have been a glitch somewhere, or maybe theyre on a . . . He stopped, suddenly. Is it cold in here?
Kamui shook his head. No . . . Im kinda warm, actually.
Subaru went back to the bed. Yes, he thought, its warm here. But, I could have sworn it was cold for a second, over by the TV.
Well, then, he said, moving back toward Kamui, holding his arms out.
Kamui gave Subaru a big smile, unbuttoned his shirt the rest of the way and dropped it on the floor. Your turn, he told his lover.
Subaru blushed, shyly . . . which Kamui found incredibly endearing and sexy. . . and pulled off his T-shirt, tossing it beside Kamuis own unwanted garment. They ended up on the bed again almost instantly, kissing with renewed intensity, pressing their bodies together, rubbing slightly so they could feel skin sliding against skin, no barriers between them.
Kamui moaned. It was so, so luscious . . . and yet, he wanted more. He wanted full-body contact, Subarus erection brushing against his own as they moved against each other. He boldly reached down for his companions zipper . . .
At that moment, the spotlights began to flash on and off like strobes in a disco. Appropriately enough, loud dance floor music started to blare from speakers concealed somewhere in the wall.
Damn! Kamui cried, pulling away from Subaru. Whats wrong with this place? He jumped off the bed, frantically switching for any kind of switches whatsoever.
Subaru did the same, looking on the opposite side of the room. Sure enough, there was a small panel set into the wall that looked like a calculator, with a series of numerical codes on a printed card hanging beneath it. He quickly typed in the codes for music and off, and then lights and reset.
And then, an enormous blast of electricity came from the panel, flinging him across the room.
Subaru! Kamui cried, running over to his lover. He was getting off the floor, slowly, looking a bit dazed.
Im all right, he said.
What the hell happened? Kamui said, examining the older man for any sign of serious injury.
The panel just . . . exploded.
Were getting out of here, and Im getting the campus doctor to look at you. You could have been . . . He stopped, suddenly. Subaru . . . it just got cold. Right here . . . in this one spot. . .
I dont feel anything.
Kamui walked back over to the bed and sat down. And . . . its not cold over here, he said. Now, thats gotta be the weirdest thing that I . . . At that moment, the bed began to spin. Not a slow, gentle turning like before. It almost instantly began whirling like a childs top, getting faster, faster . . .
Subaru! Kamui cried, holding on for dear life, gulping to keep from getting sick. Stop it!
And then, as the bed began to whirl faster still, there was a whining noise, and a curtain of flame suddenly burst into being, hiding the boy from view. Kamui let out a yelp and sent an energy blast flying at the flames, but that only made them blaze hotter, higher . . .
Kamui! Subaru shouted, running over to him. He grabbed for his discarded coat and snatched out a few ofudas, murmuring a quick spell. The flames lowered a bit in one spot . . . low enough and long enough for him to grab Kamui. They both hit the floor with a thud . . . and realized they were both wet. The fire sprinkler had come on. It had no effect on the flames at first . . . then, they abruptly vanished. Seconds later, the water shut off as well.
Are you all right? Subaru said, disentangling himself from Kamui.
Kamui nodded. Just a bit dizzy.
I know exactly whats going on now, Subaru said. And I know why I felt drawn to this particular hotel.
Kamui looked at him quizzically as he rose to his feet and stood still, eyes closed, hands pressed together with the index fingers extended. He began to chant, a series of syllables in an archaic language repeated over and over.
The air in front of the onmiyouji suddenly grew very cold. There was a slight shimmering, like the ripples on a pond where a stone was dropped, and then a swirling mist began to form . . . first, a few light droplets, then growing denser and denser, until there was a small cyclone of fog there.
A high-pitched voice seemed to come from everywhere and nowhere at once, the words more whispered than spoke. So . . . they finally sent an onmiyouji after me. After the monk, and the priests, and the Catholics with their holy water and crosses . . .
Kamui, still on the floor, crawled backwards, the hairs on the back of his neck feeling like they were standing straight up. Subaru, he said, whats happening?
Well, Ill tell you something, the voice said, the mist whirling faster. It isnt going to work . . .
There was an explosion of white and then a roaring sound. Kamui thought he saw all the water that was on the rug and furniture rising into the air . . . then a crackling sound . . . and then, he was surrounded by a swirl of silver. A water spout, he thought. First the thing surrounded me with fire, then water. Okay, I have to stay calm, and try to get out . . .
He started to walk toward the water, and yelped as a spray of stinging ice crystals shot out of the spout, hitting him from head to toe, making him feel like hed been impaled with a thousand fine needles. He tried again, and the ice crystals hit him a second time, harder and more painfully.
He could hear Subaru chanting a thousand, million miles away, but it didnt seem to be doing any good. The spout was whirling faster, and the ice shards were now hitting him even when he didnt make a move.
Let him go, Subaru said, holding up more of his ofudas. Now.
Why should I? the voice hissed. You have no business here!
What makes you say that? Subaru said, throwing an ofuda at the water spout. But this time, the invader was prepared for his attack -- it instantly exploded with a loud pop before it could hit its mark.
Meanwhile, Kamui was struggling not to panic. I have to think fast, he thought. I have to come up with a way out of here. Maybe I can blast my way out . . . He raised his hands in front of him, feeling the power gather within him, like electricity crackling through his veins. He focused on the gathered energy, pushing it out and away from him.
There was a loud *poof* sound as the water spout parted just wide enough for Kamui to duck out. He stumbled out and over to Subaru, landing against his companion and almost knocking him off his feet. Somehow, the onmiyouji was able to steady both of them.
Are you all right? Subaru said, brushing some hair off Kamuis forehead and frowing at tiny pinpoints of red left by the ice crystals.
Kamui nodded. It hurt, but . . . Ill live.
The water spout had become a small tornado of mist again, which hovered in front of them. Nobodys ever gotten out of that before on their own, the voice said, sounding puzzled. Nobody.
Why did you attack him, Subaru said, calmly, and not me?
I didnt think hed fight back, the voice replied. I never thought . . . I never dreamed that an ordinary person . . .
Maybe hes not ordinary, Subaru said. Why dont you show yourself to us? I think we should have a talk.
The mist swirled a bit faster, than began taking on the form of a young woman, a transparent spectre wearing a big, teased dark red hairstyle and a black-and-white checked minidress with cap sleeves, a pleated skirt and a wide black belt about the waist.
She looks harmless, Kamui thought. Like something out of an old Molly Ringwald movie. *This* is what created the fire and the water spout?
Now, Subaru said, why did you attack us?
The ghost folded her arms and regarded them with an expression of anger. What are *you* doing in *our* room? she said.
This room belongs to the management, like every other room here, Kamui said, pulling away from Subaru.
Its his and mine! the ghost said. We came here twice a week for over two years!
With the totally unruffled calm of someone very used to dealing with ghosts, Subaru said, May I have your name?
She seemed caught off-guard, as if she had been expecting him to fight back, be belligerent towards her, anything but a simple, calm question. She looked at him quizzically for a moment, then relaxed. Mariko, she replied. Mariko Matsumoto.
Mariko, Subaru said, why are you still here, trying to chase people out of your room? Why havent you moved on?
The specter moved over to the bed, walking like a living person, except her footfalls made no sound. She perched on the edge. I was happy here, she said. This was the only place where I was truly happy in my entire life.
Why do you say that? Subaru said, sitting down beside her. Kamui just stayed rooted to the spot on the floor.
Nobody ever loved me until him, she said, looking at the floor. I never knew my mother, she died when I was still a baby. Nobody knew why . . . they said she just vanished.
Subaru set his jaw. He knew damn well what happened to this girls mother. Seishirou-sans mother had fed her to that cursed tree. Nearly all the people in Tokyo who mysteriously vanished over the years had been victims of the current Sakurazukamori.
And then, Mariko continued, looking up at the ceiling and swinging her legs, my father had to raise me by himself, and . . . he didnt like the idea of having a child. He spent as little time with me as he could. I always tried to get his attention, but . . . hed rather pay attention to the baseball game on the TV. Or his latest girlfriend. Or a drink.
An image suddenly appeared in front of them, a three-dimensional picture, like a hologram, of a man sitting in front of a television, a beer by his side. A young girl entered the room, her face flush with excitement, and began talking energetically to the man . . . who neglected her.
This is her memory? Kamui whispered. Subaru nodded.
Kamui felt sorry for this woman. I never knew my father, he thought, and my mother died when I was young, but . . . at least I knew she loved me.
I couldnt wait to leave home, Mariko continued, as the image faded. So as soon as I was out of high school, I moved into an apartment with three other women and went to work as an office lady. And thats when I met Hiroshi.
At the mention of the mans name, the entire room seemed to react to her feelings for the man. The lights suddenly dimmed, as if in preparation for an evening of romance. A soft breeze floated through the room, fluttering the curtains. And a second three-dimensional picture appeared in the air, of a handsome blond man with grey eyes sparkling with mischief, dressed in an impeccably tailored business suit.
He wasnt my boss, he worked one office over from me, but we met up all the time in the cafeteria, Mariko said. And it was, well . . . magic between us. Instantly. He was technically married, but he and his wife were separated then. We started coming here, and we were in this room, every time. For the first time in my life, I felt *loved*.
She stopped, folding her hands on her lap and looking down, an expression of pain on her face. The image of Hiroshi apruptly disappeared, the tempterature in the entire room suddenly dropped several degrees, and a few sparks shot from one of the outlets.
Mariko, Subaru said, gently, if you dont mind my asking . . . what happened next?
He left me, Mariko said, quietly. After telling me he loved me over and over, that I understood him like nobody else . . . he announces that, just like that, he and his wife had patched up their marriage and we couldnt see each other anymore.
The wind was back, but now it was chilly and damp, not the gentle breeze of before. Kamui shivered and moved closer to Subaru for warmth.
I begged him not to do it, Mariko said. I told him his marriage hadnt worked before, I told him I couldnt live without him . . .
The wind began to howl, and one of the light bulbs burst with a pop that sounded like a gunshot. Kamui jumped and grabbed hold of Subaru, and clung tighter as the taps in the bathroom suddenly turned themselves on and began running full-blast. Subaru, however, remained calm.
And he just gave me a peck on the cheek, said, I hope you meet a nice boy soon and walked out on me. So, that night . . . I came back here, and I booked this room, and I swallowed a whole bottle of sleeping pills.
Mariko buried her face in her hands with a sob. The wind reached a crescendo, the water in the bathroom blasted harder, and Kamui began to wonder if the room would explode next . . . then, everything abrutply stopped.
There was a moment of dead silence, except for the ghosts quiet crying. It was broken by Subaru saying, gently, And youve been trying to keep people out ever since, havent you?
Any way I could, Mariko replied, looking up. The hotel dismissed the strange stories at first, thought it was just the electronic stuff in here going haywire. Then they got nervous when people started avoiding the place and brought in professionals to drive me out. I just drove *them* out. She folded her arms across her chest. This is our room. His and mine. Nobody else can have it.
Subaru knelt on the floor in front of her so he could look up into her eyes. Mariko, have you ever considered that another love might be waiting for you in the next life? You wont be able to meet him if you dont let go of the past.
Kamui looked down, hugging himself. How ironic, he thought, that Subaru is talking like this. Subaru, who can never fully let go of his obsession with that bastard Sakurazukamori . . . A fresh wave of hatred swept over the boy for the man who had stolen Subarus innocence, his youth.
I cant let go! Mariko said. Nobody can make me as happy as him! Nobody!
I used to think that way, Subaru said.
Kamuis head shot up. *Used to* think that way?
There was somebody I loved, Subaru said, who betrayed me horribly, and left me. I was devastated, and I thought I could never feel anything for anyone again. But then . . . I met someone else. And things changed for me. He looked over at Kamui and smiled. I came here tonight with him so we could make love for the first time. It doesnt change the fact that my first love will always be in my heart, but . . . theres someone else in my heart now.
Kamui thought he was going to burst, hearing that. He . . . . says Im in his heart now? he thought. He truly cares for me?
Mariko looked back and forth from Kamui to Subaru, a thoughtful expression on her face. Then, finally, she said, If I go on to the next life . . . how do I *know* this is going to happen for me?
It will, Subaru said. If you want it . . . it will happen.
Marikos shoulders heaved, as if she were taking a deep breath. Youll help me? she said.
Yes, Subaru replied.
Mariko got to her feet. I didnt ask your name.
Its Subaru. Subaru Sumeragi. And this is Kamui Shirou.
Hi, Kamui said, waving.
Thank you, Subaru, Mariko said. I think Im ready now.
Subaru stood in front of her, taking his magic-using stance again, and began to chant, different syllables than hed used the last time. As Kamui watched, Marikos form grew less distinct, dissolving into white mist again, and then the mist floated up in the air, toward the heavens, before disappearing entirely.
Subaru relaxed, sitting back down on the bed. Kamui sat beside him and pulled his lover into his arms. They embraced for a long moment.
I think we were meant to be here tonight, Subaru said. She needed someone to help her. I think shed been haunting that room for much longer than shed wanted, but nobody was willing to talk.
I wonder *why*, Kamui said. You dont exactly want to talk to someone who almost fries you and then turns you into a popsicle.
She had a lot of inner conflict, Subaru said. She wanted to go, but she was also still afraid, which is probably why she fought so hard against us. She drew me here. When we were going from hotel to hotel . . . I could feel something in this one calling to me. He hugged Kamui. And your first time was ruined, because of that.
Subaru . . . dont worry about it, Kamui said, quietly, stroking his lovers close-cropped hair. Like you said . . . you were meant to be here, and help her. And you did a great job. Right before she disappeared . . . she looked . . .peaceful.
More peaceful than shes ever been, Im sure, Subaru replied.
Subaru, Kamui said, leaning his head on his lovers shoulder, did you mean what you said . . . about me?
Subaru kissed his forehead. Yes, Kamui. I mean it. You dont know how much youve come to mean to me.
Kamui hugged him closer. Given what happened to him, he thought, I dont expect an I love you . . . at least for some time. But this . . . is enough.
Subaru raised his head and said, Kamui . . . lets go back to campus.
Kamui frowned. But . . .
I think we should leave this room . . . let the energies in here settle back to normal. Besides, Kamui . . . did you *really* want your first time to be in aplace like this?
Kamui looked around him, at the round bed, the mirrors, the TV and porn collection . . . and he shook his head.
What about the others? he said. Um, we kind of still have a thin walls problem . . .
Subaru hugged him closer. Dont worry. I know what Im going to do. The answer was right in front of me all the time . . . I just didnt realize it.
They put their shirts back on and headed for the door. Kamui took one last look behind him, at the room where Mariko had found her only happiness, then shut the door behind him.
* * *
They didnt say much as they returned to campus the way they came, leaping over trees and rooftops. When they climbed back into Kamuis window, the younger boy noticed it was after 2 a.m. Thats okay, he thought. I dont have to go to classes tomorrow and Im still too keyed up to sleep.
He flopped onto the bed on his back. Wow, he said. That was an experience. Ive never seen a ghost before.
Theyre as much a part of my everyday life as school is to you, Subaru replied. And that wasnt exactly the first time Ive dealt with a love hotel ghost, either. Theyre common places to be haunted.
So thats why Subaru knows about love hotels, Kamui thought. Because hes done a lot of haunting investigations in them. A sense of relief washed over the boy that the knowledge had not been gained scurrying in and out of love hotels with the Sakurazukamori.
It shouldnt bother me so much that they were involved, he thought. Its in the past, right? It will never happen again. But still . . . if the person Subaru was involved with had been any one but *him* . . . the very man who killed his sister . . .
Then, he remembered the words that Subaru had said to Mariko . . . My first love will always be in my heart, but . . . theres someone else in my heart now. The boy hugged himself, a warm feeling stealing through him. The Sakurazukamori didnt matter now. His memory wasnt a threat to Kamui.
Are love hotels haunted because a lot of people kill themselves there? Kamui said, sitting up a bit.
More like its a place people come back to because they found their happiest moments there. Most of the ghosts I dealt with . . . they were people who were married, and didnt love their spouses. Most of them had marriages arranged by their parents. And then they met someone else, and fell head over heels, and couldnt have this person . . . except for a few hours a week in a love hotel.
He sat on the bed next to Kamui. But . . . lets not talk about that anymore. He brushed Kamuis hair back from his forehead, leaned over and kissed his lips lightly. Kamui responded, raising his head and kissing back eagerly, gripping his lovers shoulders. He then eased away and said, Subaru . . . weve still got a problem. The thin walls . . .
Ssshh, Subaru whispered. I told you . . . I have it figured out. He got off the bed, walked to the foot, and reached into his pocket, drawing out several of his ofudas. When we were dealing with that ghost, I realized that I could do this. It should have been obvious all along, really. He held onto them tightly, eyes closed, then began to chant in a soft voice, gradually getting louder.
Suddenly, he stopped and flung the ofudas away from him, one by one . . . a single ofuda on the wall behind the bed, one on the wall to his left, below the windowsill, a third on the wall to his right, next to the closet, and two behind him. A beam of green light began to form, like a pinpoint laser beam, and connected all the ofudas. Kamui noticed they formed an upright pentagram, the Sumeragi family symbol.
A keikkai? he said.
No, Subaru replied. Not an actual keikkai, not like the ones I raise while fighting. This is a different kind of a protective barrier. Its designed to hold in energies, and transform them.
Kamui frowned a bit. I dont see how this is going to help us.
Sound is an energy, Subaru said, sitting on the bed next to Kamui. Basically, what I do with onmiyoujutsu is capture and channel energy, so . . . why not sound? He stroked the boys hair. I still kind of feel bad that the evening went wrong because a ghost called out to me for help.
Kamui covered Subarus hand with his own. Its *okay*, Subaru. Look, we are what we are, right? And weve got to face the fact that supernatural stuff is just going to get in the way of our love life now and then.
Subaru wrapped his arms around Kamui. I know. But, at least now . . . I made the supernatural stuff work *for* us.
He leaned over, slowly, and touched his lips to the younger boys. Kamui kissed back, hungrily, almost instantly plunging his tongue into his lovers mouth. One hand wandered up and down Subarus back, caressing and massaging.
When they eased apart, Kamui tipped his head back, letting out a soft moan as he felt Subaru kiss slowly down the pulse line in his throat, stopping here and there to nip slightly.
Where did we leave off in the love hotel, before Mariko? said Subaru.
Mmm, Kamui purred. We had our shirts off . . . I loved feeling your skin on mine . . .
They broke apart just long enough to start pulling at each others clothing. Soon, two shirts were on the floor, and the young men eagerly wrapped their arms about one another again, their mouths coming together, hot and wet. Kamuis tongue eagerly sought out Subarus, stroking it with long, sensual caresses.
Kamuis hand wandered up Subarus shoulder, and over, down to his chest. He caressed it, feeling the contrast between soft skin and firm muscle. Subaru let out a small sigh . . . which became a moan when Kamuis hand found a nipple. Oooh, that feels good, he moaned.
You like this? Kamui said, brushing his fingers over the hardening bud. His heart started to pound a little faster as Subaru let out a gasp of pleasure, arching his body toward his lover.
Yes, Subaru said, in a husky voice. Let me show you. . . And then, Kamui felt Subarus fingers on his own nipple, and he gave a soft cry. How could this feel so good? he thought. Its just a little peak on my chest, right? I didnt know mens nipples could be sensitive like this . . .
Kamui brought his other hand up, so he was caressing both of Subarus nipples at once. He leaned over and kissed along his neck, swirling his tongue over the flesh, a thrill passing through him at the sound of his lovers soft moans.
Youre so, so good, Subaru whispered as Kamui began to nibble on his earlobe.
Im doing this right, then? Kamui replied.
Gods, yes, Subaru panted. Everythings right.
Kamui let one hand slide down Subarus stomach, to his zipper. He hesitated for a moment.
Is it okay, he said, softly, if I . . .
Only if you take your own pants off, too, Subaru replied, smiling softly.
Kamui felt a delicious thrill through his whole body. He was going to be naked, fully naked, against Subaru. Just like in his fantasies . . .
He undid Subarus zipper and tugged the pants and underwear downward, holding his breath in anticipation. When he saw Subarus erection lying against his stomach, he let out a low, throaty noise.
Gods, youre beautiful, he whispered, then quickly stood up, ridding himself of the garments that had started to feel like a prison. Once he was naked, he lay full-length atop Subaru, feeling skin on skin, flat chests pressing together, erections touching, sliding against one another as Kamui pumped his hips slightly. He leaned over and kissed Subaru again, hard, tongue probing eagerly as his lovers hands slid down his back and cupped his bottom, starting to gently massage the cheeks, then slide his fingers back and forth over the curve.
Gods, Kamui panted between kisses, so good . . . almost too good . . . feel like Im gonna explode . . .
Subaru rolled them both over, so he was on top. He drew back and looked at the boy lying before him . . . hair even more tousled than usual, eyes half-lidded, the purple smoky with desire, a light flush over his entire body, nipples erect from Subarus caresses, manhood fully swollen with need . . .
It was the most beautiful thing Subaru had ever seen in his life.
He leaned over and began to caress one nipple gently with his tongue, savoring the taste of the boys skin, the hardness of the tiny bud, the soft, smooth skin around it. He took the whole thing in his mouth and began to suck with enthusiasm, Kamuis cry of S . . . Subaru! sounding like music to his ears.
Subaru moved his head to the other side of the boys chest, giving the second nipple the same treatment as the first, lapping at it hungrily, then taking it in and sucking. Kamui writhed beneath him, whimpering, then panted as Subaru rapidly licked his way down his stomach.
Whats he going to do? Kamui thought. Hes not planning on putting his mouth *there*, is he? But then, something hot and wet and lovely began stroking the head of his erection, and Kamui had his answer.
Yes! the younger boy cried as Subarus mouth enveloped his hardness, sliding in as far as the older man could take it. Sucking in long, hard draws, he let his fingers tease the sac beneath as his head moved back and forth, sliding Kamui in and out.
He took it out of his mouth only to lick slowly up and down, making lazy, slow swirls over the head before heading back to the base. Kamui whimpered, a tingling heat stealing from the area of the hot, wet caresses and shooting all over his body.
Subaru took the erection into his mouth again and began to suck vigorously as he reached up with both hands, finding Kamuis nipples and caressing them as Kamui gripped the sheets, his head tossing side to side as the pleasure swelled and swelled within him.
Then, suddenly, Subaru stopped, and Kamui almost screamed with frustration. His lover came back up to him and quickly kissed his lips, then said, Kamui . .. how do you want to end this?
Kamui blinked. End? Then, it hit him . . . Subaru was asking him how he wanted to come. Ooohhh . . .
I could do it with my mouth, like I was doing . . . or, we could go all the way . . . but I dont want do do anything you dont want to.
Kamui reached out and took Subarus erection in his hand, stroking it a little. What would it feel like to have this inside me? he thought. His fantasies about Subaru usually didn t include intercourse . . . usually, they were confined to kissing, rubbing their bodies together and caressing each others erections . . . but he was curious.
I want you inside me, Subaru, he said. But, first . . .
Subaru stroked his hair. What is it?
I want . . . to know what you taste like. Kamui blushed a little.
Ohh, yes, Subaru said, getting to his knees on the mattress. Kamui pulled himself up so his mouth was level with his lovers hardness. He leaned over and ran his tongue around the tip, experimentally. There was a vibrant, salty taste here, not at all unpleasant, and the skin was so hot, the texture unlike anything else on Subarus body.
Kamui opened his mouth wide and eagerly plunged it in -- and quickly choked. He pulled back, hand over his mouth, then looked back up with Subaru, blushing, eyes filled with embarrassment.
Im sorry, he whispered.
Theres nothing to be sorry about, Subaru said. You just went too far and too fast. Take it in slowly, gradually. . . This created a little pang in Subarus heart . . . he remembered all too vividly Seishirou-san saying those very words to him as he knelt by the Sakurazukamoris easy chair. But that was the past, and now there was a very beautiful boy who was taking his erection in his mouth by degrees, pausing a little, then taking it in again.
Kamui stopped right when he was on the border of feeling uncomfortable, then started a long, slow suction, moving Subaru in and out as his lover had done to him. The sensation was exquisite, the taste, the texture, the way Subaru filled his mouth . . . and his lovers long, deep moans just made it all the more exciting.
K . . . Kamui, Subaru gasped, youd better stop, if you want me to take you.
Kamui suddenly stopped, and moved away. I did all right?
You did too well, Subaru said. Now, I think . . . He wracked his brain to remember what he and Seishirou-san had done. He hated dredging up those old memories at a time like this, but it was necessary if he was going to give Kamui the first time he deserved.
I think you should lie on your back . . . and draw your legs up, like this. I just have to find something to lubricate you with . . .
Look in my pants pocket, Kamui said.
Subaru gave a start. Your . . . pocket?
They had tubes of KY and condoms on one of the tables in the love hotel. So I took some. I thought . . . we might need them.
Subaru leaned over and kissed Kamui tenderly, then reached for the boys discarded pants. Sure enough, there were foil-wrapped packets and a couple of sample-size tubes in the pocket. He took one of the condoms and unwrapped it. How do I get it on? he thought. Ive never been the one who did the penetrating before. In a way, Im as much of a virgin as Kamui is. That made a soft warmth spread through his heart, the idea that he would be losing his second virginity, his seme virginity, to this boy.
He managed to roll the condom on, then liberally coated it with the contents of a tube. He then lubed a finger and came back over to Kamui, kissing him softly as his finger reached for his entrance, finding it, gently caressing it until it allowed him to start pushing in . . .
It may hurt a little at first, he told Kamui, right before the boy experienced a sharp pain that made him suck in his breath. He willed himself to relax, telling himself it would get better . . .
And it did. As Subaru moved the finger in and out, a slow, warm pleasure began to steal from his passage and radiate through his belly, and out through the rest of his body. Kamui let out a small moan, and moaned again, louder, as Subaru lowered his head to kiss and lick each nipple.
Does that feel good? said Subaru.
Y . . . yes . . .
Kamui felt the finger leave him. Im going to do a second one now, Subaru told him. There may be some pain again . . .
Kamui was ready for it this time, and it was sharper than before. He gripped the sheet and clenched his teeth, waiting for it to fade, and it did, replaced by sweet, sweet pleasure. Ummm, Kamui purred as the fingers moved around, in and out.
Do you think youre ready? Subaru said.
Y . . . yes, Kamui gasped as his lover withdrew the fingers again, reaching for the tissue box to wipe them off.
All right, Subaru replied, guiding his manhood to the boys entrance. If you ever want me to stop, just say the word.
Kamui smiled, sweetly, stroking his lovers hair. I wont want you to. I know that.
But as Subaru started to push in, Kamui felt a much stronger pain than before, almost like being torn in two. He bit his lip to keep from screaming, and for a moment, he considered taking Subaru up on his offer to stop.
And then, the pain started to fade. And what took its place was absolutely exquisite, a sharp, sweet pleasure that sent hot tingles radiating all over his body. Kamui could do nothing but let out a low, throaty groan.
Subaru was struggling to hold onto his own emotions. Kamui was so tight, so hot . . . gods, he had never known anything as delicious as being sheathed within him before. He resisted the urge to thrust deep and hard, letting the boy get used to the sensations first.
Subaru, Kamui whispered. This is so . . . so wonderful . . .
Subaru leaned over and tenderly kissed his lips. Kamui kissed back with heat, wrapping arms and legs around his lover.
I know, Subaru replied. I dont think Ive ever felt anything like this before. He began to thrust slowly, gently. Hows this? he said.
Mmmm . . . . mmmm . . . . good . . . more, more, please . . .
Subaru gradually increased the depth and speed of his thrusts, and Kamui moaned loudly, writhing as the pleasure rose more, and more, beginning to move his own hips in time with Subarus.
Subaru buried his face in the juncture of Kamuis neck and shoulder, letting out small cries, gasps of his lovers name, long, low groans. Gods, he wanted to come, he needed to come, but he wanted this to go on forever and ever . . . Kamuis pleasure sounds, the feel of his hot breath, of his legs clutching at him, only served to make him feel hotter and hotter.
When Subarus hand slid between their bodies and began to stroke Kamuis erection, the younger boy struggled to hold on . . . ohh, he was in agony, delicious agony, suspended outside of time and space and loving every moment of it . . .
Finally, his control broke, and Kamui nearly shrieked as he was wracked by one delicious spasm of pleasure after another. He clung to Subaru as the hot sensations consumed him, and then he heard Subarus own cries of pleasure just as his own was fading.
Subaru thought he was emptying out his very soul into the boy, ecstasy utterly consuming him unlike anything else hed ever felt in his life . . . and that included his experiences with Seishirou-san. He finally sagged atop the boy, still whimpering.
Kamui kissed Subaru and held him close, snuggling with contentment. I love you, Subaru, he thought. I love you so very much.
Thank you, he whispered to Subaru.
You dont have to thank me, his lover replied. I should thank you . . . that was so beautiful. . .
It was beautiful for me, too, Kamui replied.
I need to get us cleaned up, Subaru said, getting out of the bed and going into Kamuis bathroom.
Kamui hugged the pillow, inhaling his lovers sent, the musk of their lovemaking. He couldnt remember a moment when hed been more happy, more content. He hoped Subaru felt the same way . . . if there was anyone who deserved a moment of happiness as a respite from the constant pain of his life, it was the onmiyouji.
Subaru returned with a towel, which he used to gently clean off both of them. He then got back in bed, taking Kamui in his arms and tenderly kissing his lips.
I think Ill actually sleep well tonight, he said.
Arent you going to take the spell down? Kamui asked.
Subaru looked around at the ofudas. No, I think Ill leave it up . . . in case we need it again in the morning.
A small shiver of heat passed through Kamui at the thought of a repeat performance in the morning. Having all this exquisite pleasure once was one thing, but twice . . . absolute heaven.
The lovers snuggled up together and started to drift off to sleep . . . but not before Kamui got in one last yawned statement . . .
Im so glad it was here, in my own bed, and not in a love hotel.
Me, too, Subaru replied.
Just before he lost consciousness, Kamui looked up at the slight green glow that meant that Subarus energy barrier was still in place.
He said Im in his heart, he thought, the warm glow rushing over him. Hearing that had been the best thing that happened in the love hotel. It had been worth all the fire and ice and frustration.
Subaru said she called him to the hotel because she wanted him to help her, he thought. But, in a way, she kind of helped us, too, by getting Subaru to confess his feelings.
As he drifted off, he wished her well in her next life. I hope she finds someone to make her happy this time around, he thought . . . just like Subaru has done for me.
AUTHORS NOTES: Many thanks to my editor, Steve Savage, and my friend Rachel Koldewyn, both of whom gave me invaluable input toward the final version of this fic. Also thanks to my friends Cheyne and Sonya-chan, who also beta-read the fic, and the gang from the Subaru_Kamui ML, who have made this fandom a sheer pleasure to participate in.
My source materials for researching love hotels were The American Who Couldnt Say Noh: Almost Everything You Need to Know About Japan by Charles Danzinger and Pink Samurai: Love, Marriage and Sex in Contemporary Japan by Nicholas Bornoff. Id wanted to write a story revolving around a rabu hoteru for quite some time, ever since finding out about the existence of the things -- theyre definitely one of the more unique facets of Japanese popular culture. I finally had my setting when I hit on the concept of combining a couples evening at a love hotel with a Tokyo Babylon-type haunting.
The title of the story, BTW, comes from the song performed by Koyasu Takehito on Weiss Kreuzs Schlag des Herzens CD.
X is the property of CLAMP. These characters aint mine, Im just borrowing them for a little while.