Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters, they are all copyright to CLAMP, and I am not making any money off them, so please don't sue me. Or send Sei-chan after me.
This is a 'What if' story, in which one major event in the CLAMP timeline gets changed. I apologise in advance to all of those who prefer the canon pairings, several of which I have disrupted in order to write this, but it was just too much of an interesting theory to leave alone.
This part of the story occurs nine years after Part One.
Hokuto stood on the shores of the beach and let the waves wash over her toes. Gazing at the gorgeous sunset in front of her, she breathed in deeply, savouring the salty air. High above, seagulls flew and cawed to each other in harsh tones. It was truly a beautiful place.
"So, are you going to stand there all evening or were you planning to talk to me?" She called out.
The man slowly walked up beside her. "I'm sorry, I should have come forward sooner, but I... was a bit shy. I'm sorry, Hokuto-ch... san."
Hokuto turned to face him and examined the beautiful face. "Should I know you?" She asked with a confused expression.
The man laughed. "In a way, I suppose you _should_. But you don't, and I think it's best to keep it that way. Though I will miss you."
Hokuto put her hands on her hips. "That's not terribly helpful you know," she informed the man. "Could you be more specific?"
He smiled at her, tears glittering unshed in his eyes. "I'm afraid not." He put his hands on her shoulders. "But I will do my best to help you."
"Help is always appreciated," Hokuto admitted. "Perhaps we should start with an introduction."
"Of course," said the man. "My name is Kakyou. I am one of the Dragons of Earth."
Hokuto raised an eyebrow. "Have you come to fight me then? If so, I'm afraid I already _have_ a date for the end of the world. But perhaps I could squeeze you in somewhere."
Kakyou laughed. "I have no intention of fighting you Hokuto-san." He said. "I came to tell you something personal, and deliver a warning."
"Oh?" Hokuto kept her voice steady and began to gather her power. In the nine years since the death of her brother, she had learnt many things.
"Well, get on with it." She prodded irritably.
Patience had not been one of them.
"Please forgive me," Kakyou smiled, "I am merely happy to see you. The personal message is from me, and I have already delivered it. I will repeat though: I _am_ glad to see you here Hokuto-san. The warning is this: Kamui is about to make his choice, and there will be unexpected consequences. The end of the world is coming soon. It is time to gather your forces. And, it may be possible to change fate."
Hokuto listened carefully, and nodded when Kakyou stopped. Her eyes narrowed. "I've met you before, haven't I? There were... roses. And a candle-lit meal. It was all so long ago, like a dream... A dream." She looked at Kakyou as understanding dawned. "You're a dreamgazer!"
"So you do remember," he said. "I'm sorry I couldn't see you again, but things... happened." He looked away. Hokuto regarded him for a moment longer and then sighed.
"I see," she said slowly. "It seems that I must get moving. Thank you for your time Kakyou. And for your message." She patted his shoulder and felt a slight pang, as though for something lost. "Perhaps we will meet again."
"Perhaps," Kakyou agreed. "Fare well Hokuto-san."
Kakyou's eyes fluttered and he sighed as he awoke. "Hokuto..." his eyes took in the all-too-familiar ceiling of the house he had 'lived' in for so many years, and then wandered down as he sat up, finally resting on the assassin sitting on the edge of his bed.
"What do you want _now_?" He demanded.
Seishirou Sakurazuka smiled at him. "My my, such a temper. I'm sorry you're so out of sorts. Perhaps the end of the world doesn't agree with you?"
Kakyou looked away and reminded himself that to respond to the assassins' gibes was to lose. "The girl that Kamui wishes to protect has lost her mind." His eyes clouded. "I tried to help her but... it was all too much. I'm not sure if I can get her back. I'll have to try again soon." He closed his eyes and breathed, trying to concentrate.
Seishirou smiled slyly. "You liked her didn't you? How terrible, that you'd betray my dear sister-in-law like that."
"You'd know all about betrayal, of course," Kakyou shot back.
Seishirou laughed. "Are you still angry about that? You'd prefer that I had killed her then, instead of her brother? Foolishness. Perhaps if you had sucked up the courage to tell Hokuto who you were and how you felt before she went to face me she might have come riding to _your_ rescue. Hokuto always was gallant, and foolish, like that."
Kakyou snarled, "She has more than enough Dragons of Earth in her life right now."
"Ah, a bitter note in the sweet song. Poor little bird in a gilded cage. Soon it will break and you can finally stretch your wings." Seishirou ran his hand gently down Kakyou's face. "I'd love to stay and exchange insults with you my dear dreamgazer, but I'm afraid I have a lunch date in the Nakano Sun Plaza, and I do so hate to be tardy. Have a nice nap!"
Laughing mockingly, his form frayed into cherry blossoms and disappeared, leaving Kakyou behind to clench his bedclothes in his hands in rage. Finally it subsided, the patience that years of captivity had taught him won out once more, and he closed his eyes and leant back, searching for the other trapped little bird.
Hokuto's eyes blinked and she sat up. She had dozed off on the couch again it seemed, and her short hair was ruffled against one cheek. She had had such a strange dream, and then it had frayed and collapsed, as dreams do. But now, something had called to her to awaken.
Suddenly she felt a wrenching deep inside her.
"KAMUI!!!!" She screamed.
The pain was over in a second, but when she opened her eyes again, she felt as though the world had made a sudden, fundamental gravital shift beneath her. She swallowed against the nausea, and then slowly stood and moved to the intercom on the desk in the corner. She pressed a button.
"It's started. I need a car now."
"Where to?" A voice replied immediately.
Hokuto closed her eyes for a second, and then opened them, renewed purpose glinting in them.
"Nakano Sun Plaza. And make it fast."
"Don't worry," the voice said. "The car is on the way. You'll be there in time."
Hokuto gasped as a ripple of pain ran through her again. "You're wrong," she said. "I'm already too late. Too late to prevent a tragedy, but perhaps not too late to save hope."
Kamui knelt at the feet of one he had once called friend, staring up at him. At the hands that suddenly grasped at his throat.
"Fuuma?" Just a name, but gasped out like a plea. "Fuuma?"
"You seem to have made your decision," the man before him said.
"You chose your future as a Dragon of Heaven. One of the Seven Seals."
"Kamui..." the man continued implacably, relentlessly. "If you chose your future as a Dragon of Heaven, it is my destiny to be a Dragon of Earth."
"Noo..." Kamui moaned. "Fuuma..." Suddenly he screamed as the scene continued. "KOTORI!!!!"
Nothing could stop him, Fuuma, the other /Kamui/ as he sliced apart his own sister and Kamui could do nothing... nothing... nothing...
"Kamui." A voice behind him now. "Kamui."
"Who are you?" He asked, not really caring.
"A friend." A warmth at his back as gentle arms encircled him. "One of many."
"Noooo... please don't kill them. Fuuma and Kotori..." Kamui could not stop the tears pouring down his face.
"Kamui. Kotori is dead. There was nothing you could have done."
"Kamui, you are dreaming. You must leave this dream, now." The voice was determined. "You must come back to us."
"Fuuma. Kotori. Please don't kill them. Don't let them be dead." Kamui wept.
"Kamui, please listen. Right now, you are alive. But you are hiding in a dream in the depths of your soul. You must leave this dream and come back to the world."
"The world needs you Kamui," more words poured into his ear as the person behind him tightened their grasp around him. "Something awful happened to you, and you chose to flee your pain, so here you are. But you cannot stay here. Noone can."
Another figure formed in front of him. A boy, staring into the distance, his face full of despair, his eyes seeing nothing.
"Who?" Kamui asked, longing to find someone who would share his pain.
"My younger brother. His name was Subaru. He suffered as you did." The arms around him were warm. The warmth spread through his body.
"Do you know anything about onmyouji?"
"Yes," Kamui nodded. "My mother taught me."
"I lead the onmyouji of Japan," the voice said. "I am the head of the Sumeragi clan."
Another figure formed next to the boy. Taller, older.
"Is he an onmyouji?" Kamui asked.
"Not... exactly..." the voice hesitated.
The figure turned to smile at them.
"I know him!" Kamui said, fear lurching into his heart.
"You've met Sei-chan?" The voice said in surprise. "No wonder you're so screwed up then. I swear, that man could twist a saint into... never mind. We're not talking about _him_..."
Kamui could hear the contempt in this persons' voice.
"We're talking about you."
Slowly, he turned his head to regard the woman behind him. She smiled into his eyes. "Well hello there," she said. "You're really cute, you know that?"
Kamui blinked. "Who are you?" He asked.
"Sumeragi Hokuto, pleased to meet you," Hokuto shifted Kamui in her grasp, and gently pressed his shoulders down. "Lean on me." She urged him. "Trust me, I'm much MUCH tougher than I look."
Kamui was a little surprised, but he obeyed.
"A trifle submissive aren't you?" Hokuto observed. "You're so like Subaru."
"Tell me about him," Kamui asked. He wanted to know more about the boy with the haunted eyes.
"Hmmmm..." Hokuto rubbed her chin. "Where to start? We were twins, born under the same signs. I was eldest, leading the way into this world. He was younger by a few minutes, but gifted with incredible powers. He was chosen to lead the Sumeragi clan, to be the thirteenth head. Then, when he was 10 he encountered Sakurazuka Seishirou for the first time." She paused. "What do you know about the Sakurazuka?"
"Not much," Kamui felt his eyes drifting shut.
"Don't go to sleep here," Hokuto poked him ungently in the ribs. "I had a hard enough time getting _this_ far into your subconcious. I don't think I can go much deeper."
Kamui opened his eyes and focused on Hokuto's face. He compared it to the face of the boy he had been shown earlier. Hers was, of course, older. And her eyes were a slightly different shade. Elfin features gave her a youthful look, and her mouth curved upwards into a mischevious smile. Her eyes sparkled. They reminded him of someone else. Who... Sorata. Sorata had eyes like that. But these were deeper, more luminous.
Hokuto smiled at him and he felt a little better. Then he felt bad for feeling better.
"Fuuma," he whispered.
"Yes, your friend." Hokuto sighed. "Your great tragedy is much like my brother's. He met Seishirou again years later, and slowly fell in love with him."
"Love?" Kamui was slightly confused.
"You know," Hokuto held up her hand, little finger extended.
Kamui looked at her blankly.
"Um, how old are you?" Hokuto asked carefully. Kamui blinked again. "Never mind, I guess it's not important. What is important is that my brother loved Seishirou deeply. As deeply as you cared for your friend Fuuma. However, Sei-chan..." she paused, "Sei-chan did not see the difference between people and things."
Kamui's forehead wrinkled. "You mean, he thought that everything was alive, the way that humans are?"
Hokuto shook her head. "No. It means that he feels no difference between a broken thing and a broken person. He broke my brothers arm and said it was like breaking a cup. There was no difference to him." She sighed. "And, as callously as a man breaking a cup, he broke my brother's heart. Subaru hid deep inside his own heart. Nothing could bring him out. So I went to face Seishirou, to fight him for my brother."
Her head bowed. "I was not very strong then. He defeated me easily, and would have killed me, had not my brother come out of his hiding place and saved me - sacrificing himself for me and granting his own wish - to die at the hands of the one he loved."
Kamui's eyes filled with tears. "Yes..." he moaned.
"No!" Hokuto's voice cracked like a whip. "You must not take that path Kamui," she shook him gently to emphasize her words. "For the sake of those who turn to you, for the sake of those who would help you. Myself, that boy who hovered over you so fearfully - what was his name? Arisugawa?"
"Sorata," Kamui murmured. "He says he'll protect me."
"Sorata." Hokuto nodded. "He seems like a nice guy. And then, there is your other friend. Fuuma." She leaned closer. "How do you feel about him?"
"Fuuma..." Kamui closed his eyes. "I... I... I want to protect him. I want... to save him." He opened them again to find Hokuto smiling at him, tears prickling at her own eyes.
"Then live, Kamui," she said softly. "Live, and make your wish come true!"
Kamui closed his eyes, and breathed in.
At the Imonoyama mansion, Arisugawa Sorata and Kishuu Arashi slowly relaxed as Kamui's breathing picked up. His eyes fluttered and opened.
"Hokuto?" He asked.
"Right here." The young woman who had come barging up to confront the pair after Kamui's traumatic collapse and organise everything like some sort of human hurricane sat up with a smile. "Welcome back Kamui. Are you hungry?"
Kamui blinked. "Tired." He said softly. "Where am I?"
Hokuto grinned at him. "You're in my house!" She exclaimed. "And you're welcome to stay for as long as you like. You also," she added, turning to face Sorata and Arashi.
"Thank you Miss," Sorata said. "That's extremely nice of you. But all things considered, is it safe here?"
Hokuto raised an eyebrow. "You mean you haven't noticed?" She pouted, and Kamui almost felt amused as he watched Sorata backpedal. "Ummm... well... that is..." He hedged.
Hokuto grinned at him. "I understand," she said. "You're still upset after Kamui's accident. He cried like a child," she whispered loudly to Kamui.
"I did not!" Sorata exclaimed in indignation.
Hokuto raised an eyebrow. "Oh? Then it must have been someone ELSE who snivelled their way through two of my handkerchiefs on the way here."
Sorata went bright red and muttered something under his breath.
Kamui started to get up and was surprised as Hokuto's arms instantly pressed him back into the bed. "Stay!" She ordered. "You need to rest, and regain some strength. Go back to sleep, you're safe here now. The other Dragons of Heaven are on their way, and once they're all here it'll take more than those loser Dragons of Earth to get in."
"But..." Kamui stuttered. "Your bed..."
Hokuto laughed. "This isn't _my_ bed," she assured Kamui. "It's a spare room. Please don't worry about it at all. We've got plenty of space. How many rooms do we have here again?" She asked loudly.
"85 at last count," a tall man with blue hair came forward to look down at Kamui. "Kitchen, ballroom, 10 toilets, 20 bedrooms, 10 lounges, 5 entertainment rooms, 5 studies, the library, security room, 5 bathing rooms, 3 gyms, and and the other rooms serve whatever function the Rijichou or Hokuto-chan desires. I believe there is currently a mock-up of the Yukon, complete with snow, in one of them." He sent a mock glare at Hokuto, who looked innocent. "There are also an assortment of cupboards, hallways and walk-in wardrobes."
Kamui and the others could only blink at him.
"And of course," said another voice, "the place of safety where the Shinken can be stored, until the time when it may be needed."
Another man entered the room. Kamui frowned as he regarded this new face. "I remember you, you said that before..." his voice faltered. "Before..."
The man looked at him sympathetically. "My name is Nokoru Imonoyama. Welcome to CLAMP Campus, Kamui. I only wish it could be under happier circumstances."
End of Part Two
Go ON to Part Three
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