Nor Darkness to Purify
by Rana Eros

Parallactic requested an Hisoka-centric drabble based around this quote from T. S. Eliot's "Four Quartets": "Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage which we did not take, towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden." This is not a drabble, nor is it at all where I expected to go with such a light-filled, uplifting quote. So, Parallactic, I reserve the right to write something truer to what I think you wanted when the inspiration comes. For the moment, have a story for the night when the walls between the worlds thin, and dead and living are separated only by breath.

Betaed by Eliza. Title and summary are also from Eliot.

There are worlds within worlds in Gensoukai. Hisoka didn't realize Chijou would be one of them. He stands in the corridor that runs beneath his father's house, leading to a small room with only a single barred window to let in light.

His heart beats like it will burst out of his chest; he's already dead, so he ignores it. He ignores, too, the urge to run from this place, and takes a measured step toward the locked door of that room. Another. The sound of his own breathing, his own footfalls, fills his ears.

Then he's close enough to the room to hear the sound of weeping. He pauses. He'd stopped crying after only a few months, and this sounds like an older child. Who waits for him in his old prison?

He takes another step, and the cessation must have made the rhythm noticeable. The weeping stops, and an unfamiliar child's voice whimpers, "Who's there?"

"Hisoka," he murmurs, moving closer to the door. "Who are you?"

"Hisoka?" That's not a child's voice, and he can barely blink before Tsuzuki's torn the door off its hinges, beaming at him. "Hisoka!"

"Tsuzuki? Where's the child?" Then Hisoka notices the blood on Tsuzuki's hand, and reaches out, frowning. "Tsuzuki, you're bleeding."

"Oh, it's from the roses," Tsuzuki says, as though that explains anything, and pulls his hand away.

"I can heal--"

"You should save your energy. You'll need it to get out of here." Tsuzuki herds Hisoka back from the door, moving forward. Hisoka resists. Something feels strange.

"Where is here? And how did you get into that room?"

"I followed your trail." Tsuzuki looks both abashed and pleased. "It mostly worked."

They're far enough from the room now that Hisoka can look around Tsuzuki and see inside. He's startled at the sight of a moonlit garden, roses blanketing the floor. Even at this distance, the blood on the petals shines.

"Tsuzuki," he whispers, and looks up into Tsuzuki's sad, sad eyes.

"You keep seeing things you shouldn't," Tsuzuki says, and there's a flash of Muraki's knife, of Kurikara's fire, before Hisoka is falling.

He wonders what the next world will be, and hopes there are no roses.


Yami no Matsuei
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