Congratulations, YOU HAVE FOUND A HIDDEN FILE. Go ahead and read if you like, but please keep in mind that I have hidden these for a reason. These are bad or controversial works that I am more ashamed of than my other work ... or in the words of Shakespeare
If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended—
That you have but slumbered here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend.
If you pardon, we will mend.

Disclaimer 1: Most of this is fanfic. That means I do not own any of it. I just borrow it to play with for a little while and let people see the pathetic results if they really want to.

Disclaimer 2: I'm not making any money from it. It's just for fun.

Disclaimer 3: What isn't borrowed is all made up. None of this is real or most likely at all realistic. Please don't trust any of the information in here. Most likely you know more about whatever I'm writing about than I do.

Disclaimer 4: Attitudes, views and opinions expressed by the characters or in the story are not necessarily those of the author. Even when writing Science Fiction or Fantasy I do not tend to attempt to create perfect/better worlds in which everybody gets a happy end ... or whatever is best for them. Please accept that some characters will have a bad ending or be unhappy.

Disclaimer 5: I intend no insult to anyone. If I offend anyone I'm very sorry. Please understand that it was an accident as I tend to be very clumsy in these things.

Disclaimer 6: If my characters' conversations seem odd or they appear to be talking past each other the latter might occasionally be intentional, but most likely it is an accident and I'm not aware that they are. It's just my bad communication skills.

A Place To Belong

Title: A Place To Belong
Fandom: Yami No Matsuei
Characters: SohRyu, Tenkou, Genbu, Suzaku, Byakko, Rikugou, Kichin, Touda, Tenku, Taimou, Tsuzuki (Daion and Kochin mentioned)
Prompt: 003. Ends.
Word Count: 3010.
Rating: PG-13
Summary: At first Touda just wanted an office he could retreat into, but he caught SohRyu at a bad time and now he needs a new place to sleep.
Author's Notes: I felt a little down this week ...

SohRyu was having a bad day. There'd been a total of fifteen wormholes to deal with since morning, Tenkou was sick and cranky and insisted she wanted her Father not some random servant to take care of her, he'd promised to see Genbu about some undisclosed organisational matter, Suzaku had complained about food deliveries to some remote part of her sector being endangered by Byakko's postponing repairs on an apparently badly damaged road. The tiger in turn had complained about Suzaku's behaviour and lack of funds for major repair projects. Apparently the wormholes had not only destroyed a significant part of his subjects' harvest, but fighting them and the necessary evacuations and repairs had cost a substantial amount of money. Five minutes ago he'd lost his temper and struck Rikugou. Luckily nobody had witnessed the scene, but he'd have to apologise and convince Rikugou not to spread the story. Shiki were not fond of violent leaders.

Of course how he could convince Rikugou of such a thing he had no idea. It looked like an impossible task. After all this was exactly what he'd been waiting for: A chance to demonstrate that SohRyu was too emotionally unstable to lead GenSouKai.

Once he had all those minor impossibilities worked out he needed to organise Kichin's birthday party before the end of the week.

And on top of all that Touda was going on about how he couldn't work the computer in peace with people constantly looking over his shoulder. The treacherous snake apparently wanted a private office.

SohRyu just wanted to be left alone. He was meeting Genbu in a few minutes and would rather catch Rikugou before that. Ergo he needed to get rid of Touda. He could perhaps have done that by granting him that office. The emperor knew he had room enough, but he didn't think Touda deserved it and he wasn't in the mood. Why did he have to anyway? He was the one in charge here, after all.

"I don't see what for." he snapped at the serpent.

"I just told you. I can't do my work with people running past and asking random questions all the time as if I were some sort of secretary or porter."

"Then don't!" SohRyu thundered. "Do you think you're the only one who knows how to use a computer? With Rikugou's new tracking programme anyone can monitor the wormholes. You think you can't do it? Fine, get lost. I'll assign Kichin to the task. We don't need you."

"Don't need me?" Touda hissed. "After all I've done for you?"

"Done for us? Done what?" the dragon snapped. "You've done nothing at all. Nothing except kill hundreds of innocent people. You prance around, get in everybody's way, eat our food and steal my time. That's what you do. Now excuse me, I've got a meeting with Genbu who actually happens to be doing important work and I want to inform my son of his new duties before I go."

"SohRyu ..." but the dragon had already walked out on him.

"I know how to use a simple computer, Touda." Kichin snapped at the serpent. "I don't need your help with it."

"You don't know the tracking programme." Touda insisted.

"I'll figure it out." Kichin said. "On my own. Father relieved you of this work, so it's none of your business anymore. Just get out."

"He's right." Tenku's voice rang through the room. "You have no business here right now, so I don't have to tolerate you inside me. Leave, before I throw you out."

"I haven't visited Tenkou, yet." the serpent pointed out.

"She's sick and needs her rest." Tenku declared. "The last thing she wants is a stinking hell serpent to waste her time and patience and keep her awake. She'll be quite relieved not to have to deal with you today."

So Touda packed what few possessions he had and went to find a new place to live. It wasn't an easy task. He didn't have any place of his own anymore, nor did SohRyu pay him any money to buy or rent a room with. That meant he had to convince someone to take him in for free.

He didn't have any actual friends as none of his fellow shiki really trusted him, so where to turn?

Well, there was another shiki people avoided because they didn't trust him. Maybe Taimou was feeling lonely and wouldn't mind a house-guest too much?

Touda walked to the magician's lonely little house just outside the city and knocked.

It took almost five minutes before Taimou answered the door.


"Hi, Taimou." he did his best to look friendly. "I had a bit of a falling out with Tenku and was wondering, if I could perhaps stay with you for a few days." Make a short time arrangement at first. Maybe he could make amends with SohRyu or Tenku. If not it'd at least give Taimou a chance to get used to his presence slowly.

"Let you into my home?" He liked his privacy. In fact, he scared people away on purpose, because he felt crowded by them. "Most certainly not."

Taimou waved his hand and an invisible force pulled Touda off his feet and threw him several metres back. By the time he'd recovered from the impact Taimou 's door was once again firmly closed.

Now what? Kochin, the singer, travelled between the various palaces most of the time and as far as Touda knew didn't have an actual home. Daion made his home in SohRyu's kitchens. Fine for a pot, Touda supposed, but serpents didn't feel at home on shelves and he wasn't welcome there anyway. That left him with four more options, one of which was really no option at all.

Of those three remaining Byakko was the one Touda felt most comfortable around. At least, the tiger tolerated him easily enough when they worked together. He'd never tried to visit him before, though.

As it turned out that had been wise. He was stopped by a very nervous looking servant right at the door of Byakko's palace.

"I need to talk with Lord Byakko." he told the shivering underling in a casual tone. If he sounded demanding he'd only scare him further and if he was too submissive to a servant he wouldn't seem worthy of an audience with the protector of the west and be kicked out right away.

"I will inform the master." the servant promised. "Please wait here."

Outside in the street?

"Could I wait inside perhaps? I've been on my feet quite a while and would prefer to sit down."

"Not without the permission of the master."

"Very well then. I'll wait outside." What other choice did he have?

"Mylord?" the servant bowed deeply. "The serpent Touda wishes to talk to you."

"Touda?" Byakko repeated surprised.

He'd only just returned from a meeting with SohRyu in Tenku and even though the dragon himself hadn't mentioned the serpent at all everybody was whispering about the argument the two had had this morning. An argument that had ended with Touda's eviction from the palace.

Did the serpent intend to move in here after that?

At any other time he'd have at the very least gone to hear whatever Touda had to say. They served the same shinigami master after all and aside from his infamous past he had little against the fire shiki. They got along fine, though Touda tended to be rather mopey sometimes. Then again Byakko could understand why. In fact, he felt a little sorry for the lonely serpent. It was high time someone reached out to him and he'd considered doing so on one or two occasions.

Now was a terribly inconvenient time for that. If he took in the fire serpent, it would upset both SohRyu and Suzaku and he was already teetering on the brink of war with the phoenix. He didn't have the money to fulfil Suzaku's demands despite the fact that he fully understood the problem. The only solution he could see was if SohRyu either took over the costs of the repairs, at least in form of a loan, or provided supplies from elsewhere. In either case he depended on SohRyu's kindness right now. Any association with Touda might cost him that.

Besides the serpent was dangerous. Fire shiki were quite temperamental and Touda's fire was extremely deadly. It probably wasn't the best of ideas to let him roam around his home unsupervised, even if he didn't expect any deliberate harm to come from him.

"Tell him that I have an urgent meeting with Lady Suzaku and can't spare the time and ask him to come back some other day. I'm very busy at the moment, but will see him whenever I can make time."

Well, that much for Byakko's friendliness.

Touda let himself be complemented away without much resistance. He might be able to fight his way into the palace, and if he did he was quite sure Byakko would find time for him quite quickly, but the tiger also wouldn't be in the least inclined to do him any favours, especially not to allow him into the home he'd just violated.

The servant made the usual platitudes and promises the protectors fed low level shiki that bothered them, but it didn't really matter. Touda had no plans to ever come back for a second attempt anyway.

Instead he continued to practise patience in what had to be the most shabby waiting room in Genbu's palace and tried to tell himself that it was a good sign that he'd been allowed into the building this time.

Genbu himself granted him an audience of a full five minutes while signing documents at the same time. He was polite enough to apologise and claim that it was all very urgent paperwork, so Touda tried not to feel hurt and abstained from burning any papers.

In the end he was politely informed that Genbu's huge palace did not have enough room for a second high level shiki. Genbu recommended trying elsewhere.

Which left Rikugou as Touda's last hope, a calm, understanding and usually friendly shiki. He'd have been the ideal choice, if Touda hadn't been so uncomfortable around him.

Well, he wasn't exactly comfortable around SohRyu either and had still spent decades under his roof. He could get used to Rikugou.

"A fire shiki in my home?" Rikugou shook his head, regretfully though. "No way. You have to understand," he gestured at their surroundings. "All those books and parchments are highly flammable and immensely valuable. And your type are well known to suffer occasional accidents with your powers. I know you wouldn't burn my things on purpose, but a single little spark that escaped you might be enough to burn the whole library. I just can't take the risk."

"I'm not some newly hatched idiot." Touda declared affronted. "Nor an uncontrolled fool like Suzaku. My power is hellfire, not some ordinary flame that can go unchecked like that. I assure you that I have perfect control of it."

"Of course. You only happened to burn hundreds of shiki because you felt like it," Rikugou reminded him. "Without the control device you're not even safe around people and you expect me to trust you around books?"

Touda recognised a lost cause when he saw one. He wondered whether the weather was still warm enough to sleep under a bridge. Being cold blooded he couldn't afford to lose too much body warmth.

He could use his fire to keep him warm of course, but after seeing how much that scared Rikugou he was reluctant to let anyone see his flames. Maybe he should stop using his power entirely. If it earned him the trust of his fellow shiki back, it might be worth it.

There was one shiki he hadn't asked yet, though. Suzaku hated him and had never even attempted to hide that fact, but they said she'd do anything for Tsuzuki.

Touda actually found himself forced to suppress a sob at the thought of his master. If only Tsuzuki were here he wouldn't have had to go begging to all those self righteous commanders. Tsuzuki would have taken him in for however long he needed to stay no questions asked. Even, if his fire were out of control, even if Tsuzuki had no time, or just a single tiny room to live in. Tsuzuki would share anything with a shiki in need.

But Tsuzuki was in Meifu and Touda couldn't get there unless Tsuzuki conjured him and Tsuzuki had no way of knowing that Touda needed him. Still, at least he had one friend somewhere in the universe.

"Take you in?" Suzaku laughed. "You? The one who tried to murder Tsuzuki?"

"I only did as he ordered me to do." Touda defended himself. "I thought he wanted to die. I have to do whatever he tells me to."

"Murderer!" Suzaku shrieked and swiped at him with her sword.

It cut into Touda's side despite his quick dodge, but he ignored the pain.

"I am Tsuzuki's shiki, too." he pointed out. "Keeping me alive and healthy is in his interest. That's all I ask of you. You don't have to like me. Don't even have to see me, if you don't want to."

"In Tsuzuki's interest, don't make me laugh." Suzaku swiped at him again, but this time he managed to dive away. "What have you ever done for him? In all the years you claim to have served him he only called for you one single time and then you tried to kill him. You have never done anything good for anyone. The only thing you can do is kill and destroy. I'd be doing Tsuzuki and everybody else a favour if I killed you!"

Another flurry of sword moves followed and Touda had to dive out the door in order to save himself. He kept running until he was sure he was out of sight from Suzaku's palace and the wound in his side began to bother him more than his fear.

He found a park bench to sit down on and inspected the cut. It was deeper than he'd first thought. Not deep enough that he needed to fear for his life, if he just got somebody to bind it. Rikugou would do it for him and his home wasn't that far from here.

And what would he tell Rikugou?

'I ran into Suzaku and lost concentration for a moment. Stupid accident really,' would probably do it.

Rikugou wouldn't be happy to see him again this soon after sending him on his way and he'd be nervous about his books. If he went back to Tenku the sentient palace himself would alert someone to his need right away, but he wasn't welcome there either. He decided to just rest a bit before making up his mind. The blood loss had weakened him and he felt tired.

Actually that ought to be a good reason to make haste, but where to? Once again he longed for Tsuzuki, but he couldn't get Suzaku's words out of his mind. They rang only too true. Tsuzuki had indeed called on him only one single time and then it had been when he wanted to kill himself. He'd known that none of his other shiki would obey such an order, nor did any of them have a power that could truly kill a shinigami.

Maybe Tsuzuki would indeed be safer without him. GenSouKai most certainly didn't need or want him, nor had he ever truly had a place there or anywhere. For a moment he thought longingly of his childhood home where he could flee into the loving arms of his mother when things got too bad, but his mother was long dead and there was no place for him there either.

What he really wanted right now was to be alone.

There had been a mountain somewhere between here and his original home that he'd often imagined climbing when he'd felt like this in his childhood. Up on the very top of that high mountain he'd be all alone, as if there were no other shiki in the entire world.

Without a conscious decision he sat up and transformed into his serpent shape. He'd just fly there and see whether that mountain was still there.

He'd never really been on the top of his mountain. It was too dangerous a place for a young fire serpent. Covered in deadly snow and ice that would slowly leech all the warmth and energy of the sun from his body until he was too weak to move and froze to death.

Weakened as he was by loss of blood the trip took quite a bit longer than he remembered, but he was already in the air now so he didn't need to climb. It was just a tiny dive and then he landed on top of the mountain in pristine white snow.

Beautiful, if only he weren't so tired.

He lay in the snow and blinked lazily up into the sky. Yes, this was indeed a good place to get away from the world. A good place to die.

"Good bye, Tsuzuki." he whispered to the cold air.

Far away in Meifu Tsuzuki dropped his third piece of rice cake and sat up straight.

"Tsuzuki?" Hisoka asked his partner. "Is something wrong?"

It wasn't like Tsuzuki to leave free food uneaten.

"Touda." Tsuzuki mumbled. "Touda? ... I need to get to GenSouKai. Right now."

"Why?" asked Hisoka. "What's wrong Tsuzuki?"

"You can't just leave in the middle of the annual department dinner." Tatsumi stated sternly.

"It's Touda." Tsuzuki explained. "I can feel my connection with him weakening, fading ... It's like ... I've never felt anything like this before. I don't know what it means, but it feels wrong. I have to check it out."

By the time they finally opened a gate for him however he could no longer feel Touda at all.

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