Polarization – Part Three

Watari finally succeeds in becoming a woman, and Tatsumi finally finds out why he wanted to so badly. And why Enma is so upset about it. Drama with Romance and Porn, I-4

Pairing(s): Tatsumi/Watari

Watari left the offices at quarter to twelve the next day and walked steadily out the door, looking straight ahead.

Tatsumi lasted perhaps five minutes.

And then he left, too, holding his bento prominently to stave off questions about why, and locked himself in one of the soundproof library viewing rooms. He gathered into his palm the tiniest thread of shadow he could weave and sent it sliding down halls and walls and under the door of Enma-daiou’s audience room.

He suspected he’d get a lot worse than a docked paycheck if he was found out, but the tightness around Watari’s eyes and the tension of her mouth were more than he could ignore. He liked most of his co-workers, even when they were being idiots or breaking expensive things, but Watari…

Watari was the only one who laughed at him.

He heard the thud of heavy doors swinging shut and then nothing for so long he wondered if Enma’s power had somehow closed out his shadow.

“So,” Enma’s voice finally rumbled.

“You wanted to see me,” Watari stated. “Here I am.”

Tatsumi could imagine Watari spreading her hands demonstratively, and probably turning around just to show off everything.

“You have unfitted yourself for your purpose.” Enma’s voice was clipped. “This does not speak well for your dedication to your work, Golden Bird.”

“It wasn’t my work, or my purpose,” Watari shot back, fearless as if she merely faced Konoe.

Now Enma sounded surprised. “Of course it was your work! The entire project is based on your discoveries and calculations.” A sly, coaxing edge slipped into his tone, one that made Tatsumi bristle to hear. “Surely you want to see if you were right? To carry the experiment through to the end and see the final culmination of Mother? To have your brilliance vindicated before all?”

Watari was silent for long enough to alarm Tatsumi. He knew how Watari was about his damn experiments…

“No,” Watari whispered, at last. “Because I wouldn’t see. I wouldn’t know. If the Golden Bird of the Sun and the Jade Hare of the Moon combine the way you want, to make Mother complete… I will be gone.”

“You agreed to that once already.”

The simple, factual tone of Enma’s statement horrified Tatsumi more than anything ever had before, bar seeing Tsuzuki bleeding out in the midst of black flame.

“I agreed to give my mind, and my body.” He could imagine Watari standing straight, chin lifted. “Not my soul.”

“Is there a difference in our world?”

Oddly, the next thing Tatsumi heard was a sigh and a rustle. When Watari spoke, her tone made Tatsumi think of her running a hand through her hair. “Enma-daiou. I’m sorry. I know you want to escape. To give your throne and history to another and finally pass on.”

“You know.” Enma’s voice was suddenly contemptuous. “You can’t know, Golden Bird. I have been here since the beginning! The first human who died, caught in this… trap of the gods! Everyone passes on. Everyone but me.”

“I know.” Watari’s voice was soft. “Mother contains your mind, and it was me they poured all that through in the first attempt. And yes, my calculations are almost certainly right; Mother could replace you, if it incorporated pure representations of Yang and Yin to give it eternal balance. But I will not be Yang to take your place.” Her voice turned wry. “As you see, I am not a suitable representative anymore.”

Enma’s voice rumbled deeper than ever, heavy with anger and threat. “So, are you any use to me anymore?”

“Less use,” Watari returned agreeably, just as if utter destruction wasn’t hanging over her head. “But still some. As any other employee.” A small sniff. “Any other employee who’s a genius inventor, anyway. The only inventor,” she added, “who might find another way.”

A snort that could only be Enma. “Begone.”

As the doors’ thud echoed down his shadow again, Tatsumi exhaled and realized that his shirt was soaked with sweat and he was shaking with tension.

No wonder Watari had been tense last night, gambling for her soul’s integrity on one roll of the dice!

Or, perhaps, on one roll, at any rate.

And her damn sense of humor was rubbing off on him, too.

Tatsumi translocated home to get a fresh shirt and a drink of water, and put his lunch in the refrigerator. He was certainly in no shape to eat anything now.

He was not entirely surprised to see that Watari, when she got back to the offices, gobbled her own lunch and half of Tsuzuki’s in exchange for Watari’s cupcakes. It was coming to him that Watari was in all ways astonishing.

It was the end of the day before Tatsumi managed to casually stop at Watari’s desk. “So, you’ve succeeded with your transformation, the way you needed to,” he said, choosing his words carefully. “Is it reversible?”

Watari’s head jerked up to look at him with warm eyes startled blank. “Tatsumi…” Slowly she answered, “I expect the change can be made back. The experience will be with me forever, though.”

“Ah. That’s good,” Tatsumi murmured. And then her wording caught up with him. “You expect? You don’t know?”

“Well, I mean,” she waved her hands as if to shape an answer out of the air. “It might reverse. Or it might not. That part isn’t vital to the experiment!”

Tatsumi covered his face with a weary hand, trying not to laugh. It would be bad for his image, and it was only his image that preserved discipline in this mad office.

“Did you, um. Eat lunch, Tatsumi?” Watari asked. The undertone of her voice was a touch husky, and when Tatsumi looked up, she was watching him with a tangle of amusement and surprise and gratitude and… something he couldn’t really name.

“No,” he admitted.

“I could make you some dinner,” she offered, properly off-hand if one wasn’t looking at her eyes.

“Not in your lab,” Tatsumi specified, on a last gasp of self-preservation.

She laughed, and it was altogether Watari’s laugh, bright and guarded. But perhaps inviting the hearer to see if he could find his way past it.

And shadows, Tatsumi was reminded, went everywhere there was light.