Inappropriate Crossover. X/1999 AU, diverging from canon after volume 16 of the manga. At least I assume this is an AU. With CLAMP, who knows?

This might not make sense even if you do know the manga. I also refuse to be held liable for any pains and/or traumata this might induce in hapless readers. Proceed at your own peril.

An Eye for an Eye

by Sylvia

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Waking up was his first clue that somewhere along the way, something had not gone according to plan.

This was unexpected. Right up to the last blood-black explosion of pain and magic that had torn him apart, everything had proceeded entirely to his satisfaction. Still, the fact that he now found himself cold, wet and distinctly uncomfortable in a dark and unpleasantly aromatic place spoke a very clear language.

He quickly ran through the last seconds he remembered before this awakening and could find no immediately obvious reason for his lack of success. At this point, he should have been quite unequivocally dead, his magic dissipated, his soul bound, and his body nothing more than a lump of disintegrating matter.

Things took a further turn to the distinctly displeasing when he attempted to inhale. It transpired that his face was underwater.

Some minuter later – he had no wish to dwell on the less than dignified activities of these minutes – he found himself on a steep slope of slimy paving stones.

With that part of his mind not occupied with pulling himself up the river's bank until he reached even ground, he reached out for the sakura, and found nothing. Emptiness where a patient, ancient awareness should have been. Silence where the whispering voice of wind through leaves should have been, the intangible, inaudible sussuration of power, the low hum of alien magic that had so long been attuned to his own, entwined with his at the most elemental level.

There was a narrow ledge beyond the slope leading down to the water, and beyond that, a railing. His body had now grown aware of the icy night wind that cut along his chilled flesh and right through his drenched clothes; it took him several moments to center and ground himself sufficiently to exert a level of control that stilled the convulsive shivers.

Another minute, and finally, he breathed in steadily once, slowly. He breathed out and fell deeper into himself, easily finding the familiar midnight darkness. The sense of presence was not there, but he ignored the absence and slid further into the space behind his heartbeat, where there was nothing at all, not even darkness. His energies were flowing sluggishly, almost reluctantly. It was obvious that there was something amiss, but he ignored the wrongness for now, as he still ignored the absence of the sakura. He stepped into the flow of his own energy and directed it to attend to the immediate problem.

Warm the skin and muscle and blood and bone, all cold, so cold – too cold. Too cold, even for someone who had just crawled out of a river. Stabilize the beat of the heart, the flow of blood through the veins, the circulation of air through the lungs. Repair the injuries –

Except that nothing needed to be repaired. There were no injuries. Not one.

He lifted a hand to his chest involuntarily, and then allowed it to linger when he discovered a ragged tear in the fabric of the wet shirt clinging to his skin. Exactly wide and long enough for someone to thrust their forearm through.

He didn't have to check the back of his shirt, or jacket, or trenchcoat, to know that he would find the same damage there.

The railing he lay against was cold against his warmed hands as he felt for it, using it to steady himself as he came to his feet. His touch on the metal remained light: his legs were steady, and there was no hint of dizziness or nausea as he stood. He vaulted over the hip-high railing easily, his socked feet – shoes lost somewhere in the river – making no sound as he landed on the pavement of the river-side walkway.

An absent curl of power and the river's water and mud steamed off his clothes, skin and hair, evaporating into a fine mist to leave him dry and clean.

He was still in Tokyo. He knew the shape of these railings, the amorphous feel of the life around him. But… Even in the dark of night, Tokyo had never been so pitch-black. The darkness that surrounded him was complete, unrelieved by anything natural, but occasionally illuminated by flickers of light and color that appeared more like the broken shards of a maboroshi than anything real.

He closed his eyes. Nothing changed in the blackness. A flash of bright green and orange sliced across the far horizon.

He raised one hand to his face. Beneath his right lid, the familiar round of hard glass pressed against his fingertips. His left lid hung loose over an empty socket.

The last time Seishirou had looked (at the pleasing sight of a poisonous mixture of shock and denial and longing and anguish flowing into a vivid green eye, as it happened), he'd still had one eye. Carrion eaters did tend to go for the soft tissue first, but nothing else had been so much as nibbled on.

It was official. Things were not going according to plan, and Sakurazuka Seishirou was Not Happy. In fact, he was Not Happy At All.

Someone was going to be very sorry indeed.

Just as soon as Seishirou got around some minor impediments.


Some time later, not very far away at all:

"Hey, watashiwa Merton desu, sono – no – oh, fuck it. Right, black trench guy, hold it! Like I said, my name is – what the fuck? Yuck, that's gross! Jesus, what happened to you?"

Good question. Another good question was why Seishirou could hardly hear the gai-jin's grating and uncultured tones above the sudden pounding headache and the strangely electrical hum of power. Not magic, at least none that he was familiar with; not quite the feeling of a spell returning; and yet somehow close to both, and neither.

Oh well. First things first… and the first thing at this moment was definitely the unmistakable, silken slide of steel over leather, accompanied by a harsh bark of laughter from the less than intelligent gai-jin. The man had quite evidently reached the wrong conclusion regarding his place in the food chain, as related to Seishirou's.

A quick footstep, and another, light, almost dancing. A last breath of air being drawn into an incautiously loud set of lungs.

Really. The man didn't honestly expect to be able to harm Seishirou with a knife, did he? As if he needed eyes to put such an idiot out of his misery. A small twist of maboroshi, getting the fool into position and holding him there, and the matter was done with.

Well… no, not quite yet, evidently. But… now...?

Seishirou couldn't actually see the body of the man, of course, but he knew he'd killed him – not once, but twice. Every time he died, a rippling wave of the strange energy flowed from his body and twisted right around, diving back in.

Some manner of undead creature? No – if that had been it, Seishirou would have known it in the first instant the man came into his sight, metaphorically speaking. This was something different. This creature died, repeatedly, but didn't stay dead.

Much like Seishirou himself, come to think of it. Hardly a coincidence... And this would also explain the complete absence of the sakura.

Interesting. Also, exceedingly annoying in a myriad of ways. Seishirou was getting increasingly fed up with this nonsense.

If it was a spell, it was unlike any that Seishirou had ever seen – but though this was unfamiliar magic, if magic it was, it must still follow rules, like all power did. Power was always bound to its subject in some manner, and what was bound could be released.

He watched the energy closely as life left the gai-jin's body yet again. It flowed like the tide, out – and in. But it never left entirely, staying anchored to its host by a near-invisible tendril, a wisp that solidified as the energy whiplashed and began to return.

Seishirou bent down to feel for the physical anchor. The head? Yes – of course. What else?

Quite simple, then.

The unexpected part was the massive backlash of ungrounded and not-entirely-familiar power that nearly flattened Seishirou as soon as he'd finally managed to still the hum of returning life about the unseen corpse.

This was not his day.

Still, to look at the bright side: There was now an unclaimed soul hovering nearby, its disbelief, anger, and confusion screaming out to Seishirou like a beacon.

He'd never entrapped a soul in quite this manner, but it was a simple matter of trial and error. He wove a net of power and flung it, pulled it tight, and hauled it in. He supposed he could have used a shikigami – but how much simpler and more elegant to make use of a readily available supply of energy like this spirit. Also, it had been so annoying in life that Seishirou felt there was a pleasing touch of poetic justice in making it bend to such a useful purpose in death.

It was a matter of moments to submerge and dissipate the remains of the gai-jin's consciousness and personality and shape the resulting mindless, malleable entity into a suitable instrument of Seishirou's will. Once it was open and receptive, he chained it to himself and began lacing it with his magic, twisting it until he found what he was looking for.

The world opened to Seishirou, distorted and harsh through the incorporeal "eyes" of the disembodied soul. Some tweaking, and details came into proper focus, colors softening and shading into familiar hues.

At his prompting, his new eyes obediently turned to Seishirou's face, and he watched his own lips compress slightly at the unsavory sight. His glass eye stared sightlessly from his right eye-socket while the left lid hung at half-mast, admitting a glimpse into a moist pink cavern of surprisingly healthy-looking tissue.

Not attractive by any stretch of the imagination – at least, not to Seishirou's chosen target.

Something would have to be done about his appearance, and then he would pay his murderer a little visit, just to see how he was doing, all alone with his delectable pain and Seishirou's sakura.



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