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Title: Wind through trees
Fandom: Johnny's & Associates (KinKi Kids, Music Academy)
Characters: Domoto Koichi, Domoto Tsuyoshi, MA
Pairings: Tsuyoshi/Koichi
Word count: 1066
Rating: PG
Warnings: historical-fantasy AU
Word Count:
Summary: Tsuyoshi is a kitsune singing in the wind, and all Koichi wants to know is his name.
Notes: A kitsune is a fox spirit infamous for possessing young women and guiding travelers off the track to their deaths. Written for [livejournal.com profile] orangegreenlove during [livejournal.com profile] senpai_exchange.

He's a monk, technically. Mostly that means keeping the temple clean--it's not hard, the temple courtyard is thirteen steps across, he's worn it down over eight years of rote sweeping and aimless walking--and praying at the statue of Buddha within the temple, and greeting the few visitors.

There haven't been many visitors since the kitsune took up residence in the trees outside. Koichi can hear his singing and the notes of his shamisen on the wind sometimes, can see the drifting fox-fire in the wind. Most people wander after the dim lights or follow the lilting voice of the kitsune to some sweet oblivion, maybe, or perhaps simply to the next town over. The kitsune is tricky, that way. Koichi doesn't know whether to curse him or thank him.

Sometimes, a fellow monk passes by on his way to the big city beyond, and asks why Koichi hasn't banished the spirit yet. Koichi always tells them it's because he can't find the thing, outfoxed by a creature many, many years older than him, and they laugh and call him a fool. The truth is that Koichi likes the singing, echoing in the courtyard like a ghost or a lost child. Sometimes the song is so sad Koichi has to make a noise of some sort, kick a rock or break a tree limb, to bring the tune to a stop.

"Where are you, anyway?" he asks, sometimes, meditating at the statue with his head bent.

There's no answer, of course. There never is.

--

Seasons pass, spring and then summer and then the bleeding dryness of autumn. Koichi likes the fall, except perhaps for the leaves. His grumbling as he sweeps, sweeps, sweeps becomes a kind of harmony to match the kitsune, and Koichi groans loudly and rolls his eyes more than a few times before the snows begin. By that point he huddles inside, wrapped in layers (and irritated about it) and trying not to freeze. He's the only monk here--if he freezes to death, no one will notice until the snows melt. No one except, perhaps, the kitsune that lurks outside his window and sings a new tune, one with words this time. Koichi picks them up quickly, and the singing is his only company until the birds come home and the sun warms up.

Koichi hums the song as he cleans the place. His occasional visitors always leave the place with the tune playing firmly in their heads. Koichi can hear the spirit's satisfaction as he writes a new lyric about summer loves.

"Oh, stop being so smug," Koichi complains, laughing as he leans over his broom.

--

"Why don't you ever show your face, anyway? Do you think it's funny that I don't know anything about you?"

A rustle of shamisen strings for laughter.

"Do you have a name?"

The song stops. He's never asked this question before.

"Come on, nothing? You already know mine."

Low-to-high, sarcasm of sorts. Do I know it?

"You and I both know it's Koichi," Koichi answers.

There's no noise for a while, besides the scratch of broom bristles over stone, and Koichi's voice as he sings the spirit's song.

"Tsuyoshi," he hears, eventually, and he smiles down toward the ground.

--

He doesn't see the spirit for a very long time after that, though of course they sing together nearly every morning.

Which is why the man sitting cross-legged in the courtyard in a colorful kimono, feathers and string tied into his hair, makes Koichi blink in surprise.

"What, no yelling?" Tsuyoshi seems disappointed, a little, around the curve of his smirk.

"You should know better by now," Koichi answers, "I try to save the yelling for bugs. Or cats in my futon."

Tsuyoshi laughs then. "I remember that," he says, his voice like a song even now that he's in a human body, "one of my finer moments."

"That was--I knew I felt you inside the ward!" Koichi sighs.

"I hesitate to call the bubble you have here a ward," Tsuyoshi protests, and Koichi grunts at him before he drags himself to sweeping.

As he piles the damn leaves up--it's autumn here once more--a thought occurs to him. "That is your body, right," he asks.

Tsuyoshi offers a silent smile. Koichi sighs. "You can't possess people and then wander into my temple and expect me to not do something about it," he says.

"Our kind only possess women," Tsuyoshi says, when Koichi has piled up the leaves.

Koichi looks suspiciously at the spirit, and finally nods.

--

Koichi is old now, and they've sent a few young men to learn from him. What anyone thinks they'll learn from him is anyone's guess; Koichi simply sighs and puts them to work sweeping. At least that way he can spend the mornings listening to whatever song Tsuyoshi has composed while he slept instead of hobbling around sweeping the courtyard.

"Are you sure they're going to do a good job?" Tsuyoshi talks to him a lot now--too much, Koichi teases, but he doesn't usually mean it.

"Can't be any worse than me, these days," Koichi answers, "and if they do it wrong I can just make them do it again. It'll keep them out of my hair while I meditate, at least."

Tsuyoshi offers a smile, from the window, and fades away as Akiyama and Yara thunder through the halls to find him.

"Don't walk so loud," Koichi grumbles as he rolls from his futon and fetches a yukata to wrap loosely about his body, "and stop yelling, I can hear you just fine! It's my back that's going, not my hearing. Brats."

--

"What have you done," Koichi asks, when he wakes for breakfast and finds Machida sketching wards around the door to his room.

"There's been reports of a kitsune, I was warding the--"

Koichi's face must betray how he feels, because Machida looks horrified. "Should I not have..."

"No, it... I probably should have done it years ago," Koichi answers, mustering his kindness. He's always told them to be careful of the thrall of spirits and demons, to be in tune with the grounds and pay attention to intruders. He can't fault any of them for catching his words and putting them into practice, he supposes.

He walks to the edge of the ward--and it is a ward, now, a shimmering barrier that pulls at his skin, leaving it tingling like a splash of cold water--and stops for a long breath before he walks outside.

He knows the boys will be heartbroken when he never comes back, but a song is calling him, now, and he wants to answer it.

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