Neither Fish Nor Fowl

After another experience of Akira’s shin-ness interfering with Ryuuko’s power, Akira wants to know exactly what’s going on. And then he has to think about who, exactly, he is. Drama, I-3, MANGA CONTINUITY

Character(s): Kou, Nikaidou Akira, Shirogane
Pairing(s): Shirogane/Akira

Akira sat on the ground and stared at his hand, trying to catch his breath while Kou and Shirogane argued over his head.

"-the hell did you think you were doing, anyway?!"

"Saving his life." Shirogane’s voice was cold. "He’d lost his shadow. He had to change to live, and would you care to tell me how you think I could have made him rei?"

Kou bared his teeth. "You should have tried to awaken him first!"

"Leaving him with even less power to use than he has now, while fighting for his life. Again." Shirogane folded his hands on the head of his cane, eyes glittering. "Oh yes, a fine idea."

"Excuse me," Akira finally put in, very evenly, "what the hell just happened?" His blades had turned into a huge long… thing. That wasn’t entirely there. And left him feeling like he’d been run down by a bus.

"You tried to manifest your real power," Kou said, savage. "Only Shirogane-san‘s contract with you is interfering."

"When he regains enough of his strength to sustain his true form, he will not be stopped by the mere seed of shadow I gave him," Shirogane answered, chilly.

"Quit arguing with each other and answer me!" Akira yelled.

Both of them stopped and looked at him, which was a good start anyway.

"You tried to bring forth the weapon you carry as Ryuuko," Shirogane said, finally. "But that weapon is one of light. You are currently shin, of shadow. The two can’t coexist that way."

"Uh-huh. And that’s bad?" He looked at Kou-nii.

"He should never have made you shin," Kou said, quiet and intense. "You’re rei. You’re the embodiment of light. It’s your nature."

They both said that. Only, apparently, he had two different natures, now, gee what fun for him. Akira sighed. "Anyway, that Sawaki guy’s gone now, right? We’re done?"

"For now," Shirogane agreed quietly.

"Akira?" Shirogane asked, as he got ready for bed. "You’ve been quiet this evening."

Akira paused in the middle of pulling his shirt off. "You know," he said to the wall, "I still don’t remember much of that time two years back, when I met Kou-nii. Or the other time you say I did that scythe thing." He hesitated for a moment. "Does that mean… when I’m Ryuuko I’m not me?"

Shirogane was quiet for longer than he liked.

"You are one spirit," he said, finally. "But as Akira you have sixteen years of memories, and as Ryuuko you have ages." After another long silence he added, "I suppose I probably haven’t helped. As Ryuuko, as the direct king of the world of light, you can only be rei. But, as Akira, you are shin." Very softly, he finished, "And my Child."

Akira stood with his shirt hanging off his arms, thinking. "Maybe I’d rather be Akira," he concluded, and tossed the shirt into his laundry basket.

Shirogane was staring, when he turned around. "You… would?"

Akira shrugged. "Well, I’ve seen all the stuff you have to do. If I’m Ryuuko, I have to do that, too, right?" He thumped down on his bed and over on his back, looking up at the ceiling. "Besides, you and Kou, you came to find me and got me into this because I’m going to be Ryuuko, right?" Yeah, and that was a great recommendation for the life of the rei king, wasn’t it?

Shirogane stood with his head down, eyes shadowed under his hat, for a moment. "I suppose we did." And then he smiled. "I’ve been glad I got to know you as Akira, too, though."

That was Shirogane’s end-of-discussion tone; after this long, Akira was pretty good at spotting it. So he tried another angle. "What does it really mean, that I’m your Child?" It was certainly the thing Kou seemed to be most ticked off about.

Shirogane tipped his head, giving him a considering look, but he did answer. "A Child has an affinity for light or shadow, but a limited amount of power. The contract allows the Child to draw on his king’s power to replenish his own."

"And now I’m drawing on yours," Akira said, slowly. Another thought was niggling at him. "And… Kou. He says I’m his king?"

Shirogane’s mouth quirked. "Yes. Kou is Ryuuko’s Child."

So Shirogane made him shin and fed him power because he didn’t have enough yet, but somehow he was also supposed to be supplying power, only of a totally different kind, and, in fact, Shirogane had done what he had exactly because Akira was supposed to be this super-rei king… Akira rolled over and pulled a pillow over his head with a groan. "I think I’m getting a headache. Can’t I just be one or the other?"

After a moment Shirogane’s hand came to rest lightly on his nape. "For now, you can be only Akira. My shin. When your spirit has recovered its strength, you can be only Ryuuko, my counterpart, Kou’s master."

"Still think I’d rather just stay Akira," Akira muttered from under the pillow.

Shirogane’s hand tightened and his voice turned dark and low. "Don’t tempt me."

A shiver ran down Akira’s spine. Shirogane had no room to talk about temptation.

The hand slid away and lips brushed his neck lightly. "Go to sleep, Akira-kun."

It was the end-of-discussion tone again. Akira sighed and put his head on the right side of his pillow, pulling up his blanket and reaching up to turn off the light.

Shirogane’s eyes gleamed in the shadows, watching him.