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[personal profile] cosmic_book
Note: I really hope we find the first of this.




The address Kakyou was given was not on campus, but to a cheerful, yellow house nearby. Flowers in multicolored little plots lined the front porch. As Kakyou came closer, the front door burst open and two children ran from the house, each of them carrying all cookies they could hold in both their small hands. They ran past Kakyou, laughing with delight. A tall, dark haired, broad-shouldered man stepped out on to the porch. "Remember to --" He stopped calling to the children when he notice Kakyou. "Oh, hello." He grinned and lifted the cloth on the plate he was carrying. "Have some cookies?"

Kakyou looked a little surprised but he smiled softly as the children ran by. The smile was still curving his lips when he looked at Will, though it turned shyer quickly. He walked over and reached out to take one of the cookies.

"Thank you," he said, ducking his head. He nibbled at the cookie and made a little pleased sound. "It's very good. I love chocolate."

"Kakyou, I pressume?" He smiled, both at his own joke and Kakyou's sweet expression. "I'm Will. Aya-chan may have mentioned that your not-so secret love. I have some sandwiches and lemonade inside. It's a nice day. Shall we make it a picnic?"

"You presume correctly," Kakyou replied with a slight nod. He shifted a little, biting at his lip for a moment. "It's nice to meet you. A picnic sounds good, I like it better outside."

"Great! The backyard will offer us a little more privacy." Will chuckled, knowing his neighbors. He moved to give the plate of cookies to Kakyou. "Could you take these?"

Kids and cookies and backyard picnics. This really wasn't anything like he'd expected, even if he hadn't thought much about what he'd expected. Kakyou reached out to take the plate carefully.

"The better question might be whether I can give them back later," he said, the humor light and tinged with nervous uncertainty. Not quite sure how it would be received or if it was appropriate.

Will's chuckle was low and deep. "I guess I will just have to make a leap of faith. Let's go through the house." He held the door open for Kakyou.

Kakyou smiled a little at Will's response. He nodded and stepped inside, holding the plate in one hand so he could eat his cookie.

Will followed after Kakyou. "You don't have to bother with your shoes unless you want. The door is through the living room. I'll snag a blanket." The house was clean and inviting. There was scientific equipment nestled next to more everyday things like books or sculptures, as if Will simply didn't separate home and science.

Kakyou kept his shoes, mainly because he was going right back outside. He looked around curiously at the house, taking in the mix.

They settled on a blanket in the backyard beneath the tallest tree, which still wasn't very tall. The sandwiches were whipped chocolate and strawberries on toasted bread, the chocolate counterbalanced a little by a variety of fresh fruit. Will was good natured, quick to smile, and seemingly in no hurry to get to the business at hand.

Kakyou wasn't sure Aya-chan was going to thank Will for introducing him to the idea of chocolate and fruit sandwiches. His eating habits were appalling enough already. But they were very tasty. He hummed as he licked some stray chocolate off his finger. He was relaxing a little despite himself; he was nervous but Will seemed nice.

"I have to admit, this wasn't quite what I expected," he said softly, ducking his head.

"Well. I hope it's a pleasant surprise."

"It is," Kakyou told him. He offered the other man a small, shy smile. He sipped at his lemonade; it didn't taste as sweet after the chocolate but it was still good. "I'm wondering how you decide about people for the expedition, though."


"I am looking for people who will work well as part of team, so common sense and compassion are really important qualities." Will's eyes were closed. He was enjoying the sun on his face.


"Common sense is important so you pick Aya-chan." Kakyou sounded amused in a best friend joking sort of way. He knew she was perfectly capable of common sense. He knew and would admit it. But she did have her moments.

Granted, he had his, too.

"I've never really been part of a team unless two people can count as one. But I don't think I'm without either common sense or compassion."

"Yes. And any day of the week," he said earnestly. He sat up. "And she seems to have just the right level of psychic ability, although there is the danger that she is more powerful than I realize. It would be extremely unwise to bring a powerful psychic into the house on an exploratory mission."


Some of Kakyou's relaxation reversed itself, though he tried to hide it. One, there was him. Two, he was fairly sure eternal youth took quite a bit of power even if it was all internally focused.

"Why?" he asked quietly, tone confused and curious. Which he was. He didn't understand enough about the house yet.

"The house seems to draw on psychics as sources of power. People who may have had abilities tend to disappear within the house or leave changed." Will was watching him, and not trying to hide it.

Kakyou's expression turned distant and slightly thoughtful as his dream came back to him. The red sunset and the offer of home and safety, the return of what he'd lost. Even if Aya was leaving, Kakyou didn't want to give up and disappear from the world, but he could see how some people would.

He blinked a few times as he shook off the memory, eyes refocusing. "Ah.. Changed how?" he asked.


"It seems possible that some people leave the house augmented or enhanced."

Enhanced? "Their powers get stronger?" Kakyou wasn't sure he liked that idea for himself. But it didn't sound like an absolute.

"Yes. Or changed. Added to. Though the evidence is not enough to say for sure, I am still treating it as a concern. I don't want to take any unnecessary risks with the people on the expedition."


"I'm glad. It's good that you're concerned about the people you bring into this," Kakyou said, sincere despite his nerves and uncertainty. He picked at his sleeve a little. This did sound risky but he needed to go.

Will lowered his head. He was quiet for a few moments. He looked up at Kakyou. "Kakyou, I have an ability too. My primary ability allows me to influence others. I can't make people do anything they really don't want to do, but people are predisposed to like and agree with me."


Kakyou frowned a little. It wasn't disapproving, just considering. He sipped at his lemonade. "That sounds difficult to live with," he finally murmured, glancing at Will.

"Sometimes," Will admitted. "I have another ability. I can sense talent. Aya-chan's is a long, slow burn deep inside her. You? You're blinding."

Kakyou went very tense, fingers tightening around his glass. It could be a very good bluff, but Kakyou tended to be able to tell that kind of thing. Will wasn't ringing false.

"Why didn't you just tell me to leave?" he asked, quiet and controlled, not bothering to deny it.

"I think that would have been a mistake," Will replied. His smile was still warm and friendly. He reached to put his hand over Kakyou's.

Kakyou looked up in surprise at the touch. There was a trace of something wary in golden eyes; reflexively cautious. But it softened a little as Kakyou saw Will's smile.

"Why? You just finished telling me why you don't want to take anyone too strong." He shook his head a little, confused.

"Well, for one thing, it would have deprived me of the pleasure of your company, and that is not insignificant," Will said with good humor. "Also, I think decisions should be based on having as much information as reasonably possible."

Kakyou went a little pink and flustered looking at the first part. He still wasn't sure what to do with compliments half the time.

The rest was easier to address, so he directed his attention to that part. "I tend to think that, too." He turned his glass between his fingers and sipped before saying anything else. "I dreamed about the house. I felt... still feel... like it's important for me to go there."



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