[This fanfic contains major spoilers for X12, in particular regarding Subaru. Despite its title, it has very little connection to my other story, "Kekkai," sharing only one character and the fate of Sunshine 60 in common. It's also somewhat lighter than the first story; if you avoided or were traumatized by that one, this one should be safe. Please see my disclaimer page for copyright information regarding this story.]


Kekkai Lite: Now with Penguins!

An X fanfic


By Natalie Baan
(released 10/25/01)



The onmyouji's kekkai continued to dissolve around them as they walked away from the defeated Dragons of Heaven. The irregular holes in it widened as though it was being eaten away, just as the fire earlier had consumed part of Nataku's cloth. Nataku wondered what ate the barrier's magical energy, and why it was held at bay as long as the creator was alive and determined to keep the kekkai intact. Was the onmyouji truly dying? A wound to the eye didn't seem that significant. The Sakurazukamori had only one eye and had been living like that for a while. Still, the onmyouji had been struck by other blows as well, both physical and magical. He didn't seem as strong as the Sakurazukamori, either.

The Kamui of the Dragons of Earth slowed, not quite a pause, to glance back over his shoulder. Nataku looked back too, but the smoke had risen up into a low cloud behind them, hiding those two huddled figures, and there was nothing else to see but the rest of the building's rooftop and the hazy darkness of the sky above. Whatever had caught the Kamui's attention remained an unanswered mystery. Returning its gaze to the Kamui, Nataku saw him smile, a familiar expression that stilled the ceaseless stream of new puzzles and made the world a far simpler place, one that centered only on the two of them.

"The building won't last much longer," the Kamui said. "Before it's destroyed, though, there's one more thing we need to do. We'll have to hurry."

"One more thing?" Nataku blinked, and focused as it was on the Kamui's intention there was only one question in its mind then. "What?"


* * * * *


"Hello, Iwatobi Penguin-san. It's been a while, hasn't it?" Leaning on the fence that surrounded the hastily built new penguin enclosure at the Ueno Park Zoo, Seishirou grinned at the bird in question. It seemed oblivious to him, instead continuing its plodding waddle across the artificial rock toward the water, the long, flyaway fringe of feathers above its eyes giving it the look of a frazzled, somewhat demented eccentric. After its recent ordeal, the comparison was perhaps even more accurate than usual. A few of the motley group of penguins showed visible wounds, mostly minor--the more seriously injured would be treated in special rooms elsewhere in the zoo--but they all had to be suffering from profound distress after the destruction of Sunshine City and their own narrow escape from its Marine Museum.

It was hard to be a Tokyo penguin at the best of times, Seishirou mused.

The sense of an approaching presence alerted him, and he straightened, turning from the exhibit to face the tall, lanky figure that strolled toward him, hands in pockets. The Kamui of the Dragons of Earth had abandoned the pseudo-uniform in favor of a more incognito outfit of jeans and tee-shirt, with an open shirt worn over that. Seishirou wasn't sure the casual look was really an improvement, but it would do for coffee and sweets at the zoo's cafe. He smiled. The last time he'd paid the penguins a visit, it had also been while waiting for a "date." At least the Kamui was more punctual than Subaru had been. Of course, it probably helped that the Kamui didn't "work" for hire.

Seishirou wondered briefly whether Subaru ever thought about the penguins these days, or if he still liked to visit zoos. It was hard to say. Certainly Subaru seemed to have become quite serious and to have given up on his idea of working with animals, but Seishirou would be willing to bet that he still had a soft spot for them. People never really changed, after all.

The Kamui paused to let an orderly stream of kindergartners in smocks and hats clear the path before him, then continued on until he reached Seishirou. "Ah, 'Kamui'-kun." Seishirou resettled his sunglasses, which had slid down his nose as he leaned out over the penguin enclosure. "It's good you're here. Should we go on to the cafe now, or do you want to wander the zoo for a while first?"

"We can go." The Kamui shrugged, careless and to all appearances perfectly amiable. In matters not pertaining to the Earth's destiny, he probably was.

"I didn't realize you were a bird lover," Seishirou added as the two of them started along the path. The Kamui shot him a swift sidelong look, brows lifting.

"I'm not."

"Oh, really?" The sun was warm on Seishirou's hair and on the back of his suit jacket. With one hand, he fished in a pocket for his cigarettes and lighter. "Well, I /was/ wondering. The penguins make a charming place to meet, of course, but it didn't seem like your usual style." Then again, who knew? The Kamui remained a cipher to the rest of the Dragons of Earth; for all Seishirou could tell, he might have a predilection for cute stuffed animals. "I was curious about that, actually--not that there's anything wrong with penguins, but I can't see that they'd be more important to the fate of the Earth than, oh, say seahorses or brine shrimp." Seishirou had had an excellent view of the fight atop Sunshine 60 and the subsequent demolition of the area. He had missed nothing. With a glance at the young man walking next to him, he tapped a cigarette out of the packet and raised it to his lips. "So tell me--why save penguins?"

He paused, the better to light his cigarette, and the Kamui paused also, regarded him with a penetrating, darkly enigmatic look. The flame of Seishirou's lighter jumped and danced, almost invisible against the bright summer sun. The Kamui smiled then, another of those slow, knowing smiles that stirred the faintest twinge of uneasiness somewhere deep within Seishirou.

"Because," the Kamui answered, "it was someone's wish."


Author's note:

This was written because I wanted to save the penguins, dammit. And I couldn't think of any way to work them into "Kekkai" without wrecking the mood.

Thanks go out to Kristin O., Jonna, Shanti, and the other members of Charmurai for their comments and encouragement.

On an amusing side note, shortly after finishing this I visited the Animal in You web site to determine what animal I was. Apparently, I am a penguin. Ha!


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