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He had a veterinary practice, something which he hadn't technically had before he'd gotten here. It wasn't that he hadn't been interested, it was just that his career in acting had started up right after he'd gotten out of school.

Of course, on the other hand, he'd been doing this for some time. The other him.

Seishirou still wasn't sure what to make of this, really. Not that it mattered. He didn't seem to have any choice but to fit into this world somehow.

Once he'd remembered what he was using the animals for he'd insisted on changing the various spells that directed any negative impact from him to the pets in the office. It didn't leave him defenseless or anything of the sort, but it was something of an inconvenience. Still, it was one that he was willing to take.

If it was a choice between them and him, or Subaru, say, that would have been different, but it wasn't. He hadn't been required to use them before. It was simply more convenient that way. Easier for him, and harder for Subaru to find out why he needed to take such precautions in the first place.

He didn't like the idea of sacrificing any living thing if it wasn't absolutely necessary.

But if it was, he didn't have any qualms about it.

That was something he hadn't known before. Before he had to kill a human.

He didn't like doing it, but he didn't feel utterly horrified with it, either. It was just... something that had to be done. Sacrifices had to be made, and there were people who, in the Sakurazukamori's line of view, had to be killed.

It was then, he thought, when the blood of his 'first' victim flowed over his hands, that he finally realized who he really was.

Sakurazuka Seishirou. The Sakurazukamori.

An onmyoji. An assassin. A murderer.

And it didn't feel wrong. He didn't feel as if he'd been stuck on a set anymore. He felt as if this was who he'd been all along, he'd simply been in the wrong place before.

Even so, he was still playing a part, just as he had been before. He was the happy, cheerful Sei-chan to Hokuto. Seishirou-san to Subaru. He'd always been a good actor.

Still... It wasn't quite the same.

He wasn't trying to hold himself to the delusion that he did not care for anyone or anything. He already cared for Subaru, as he had for his friend Issei before, and Hokuto, too. There was little else in this world that he cared that much for, but that didn't matter. He had what was important to him.

Dear Subaru-kun... Their bet was not yet over, and Seishirou dared not call it off before it's due time. He still felt as if he was bound to the deal, as if it were a real, magically binding spell instead of something he chose to do.

He wasn't certain that he was in love with Subaru yet, but he did know that he cared for him, and that was enough. He suspected that he was falling in love, even as he pretended to already be in it.

Subaru still had things to learn. People to meet. They had much to go through. He already knew how some of it would go. He already knew that he would very likely lose an eye, eventually... but he wasn't afraid of that.

It would only be the final day. That was when everything would be revealed. And that he did not know the outcome of.

He would tell Subaru everything, as best as he could explain it. He was not looking forward to telling him that he was a murderer, but it had to be done.

Just as he didn't like following this act, but he had to.

If Subaru fell in love with him...

Well. They would see.

Very funny. That silly boy is already in love with you, he just hasn't admitted it yet. The Tree interjected into his thoughts casually. He really is something. Something pathetic, that is.

"He is not pathetic," Seishirou answered. The only ones around to hear him were cats and dogs. He checked his watch. "And I should be meeting him in about fifteen minutes. I'd better go."

He exchanged his lab coat for a dark brown duster and made his way out, locking the door behind him. It was a little early, but all of his appointments for the day were done.

If things went as usual, Subaru would be either a little late or hours later, but Seishirou didn't mind. He'd always be on time, no matter how long Subaru might keep him waiting.

It was a short drive to the park, where he'd promised to meet Subaru and take him out to dinner. Hokuto had politely declined Seishirou's invitation, stating that she had 'things to do', and that Subaru and Sei-chan needed to spend more 'quality time' together.

Seishirou chuckled a little as he settled on a park bench. Hokuto really was shameless when it came to pushing them together.
 
 
 
 
 
 
It was about half an hour this time. Subaru came rushing up, one hand keeping the hat on his head from flying off.

"Ah, gomen nasai, Seishirou-san! The clients at my last job were very nervous, it took some time to reassure them, I didn't mean to be late!"
Seishirou smiled. "There's no need to apologize, Subaru-kun. I understand how important your job is, and I've only been here for a little while anyway. How did it go?"
"It went fine," Subaru replied, returning the smile. "It was a standard exorcism, really, not very hard at all."
"Ah, good. I'm glad that it went well. So, have you decided where you want to go for dinner?"
"A-ano..." Subaru stammered, fiddling with his hat. "Anywhere is fine, Seishirou-san, really."
"You're always so accomodating, Subaru-kun" Seishirou comments, smiling again. "Well, if you really can't decide, I know of a nice little place," he said as he stood up.
"Alright. Is it close enough to walk, or are we going to drive?"

Subaru looked up at Seishirou with those big green eyes, curious as a puppy.
Seishirou couldn't help but smile at an expression like that. "It's a little bit of a walk, but not too far. If you don't mind going for a bit of a stroll..."
"Of course not, Seishirou-san. It's a nice day out."

Subaru smiled back brightly.
"Well then. Shall we?" Seishirou stood up. "I asked Hokuto-chan if she wanted to come, too, but she said she was busy this evening. Still, I can't complain too much about having your company all to myself," he said, chuckling a little.
Subaru just blushed, pulling his hat down to screen his face.
Seishirou started walking slowly.

"You're very cute when you blush," he said cheerfully, but he didn't turn around.
"S-seishirou-saaaan!" Subaru protested, blushing brighter, if that was possible. But he still hurried after Seishirou.
Seishirou laughed, waiting for a moment while Subaru caught up. "I'm sorry, Subaru-kun."
Subaru pushed his hat back a little as he reached Seishirou's side. The blush had receded slightly, but there was still a faint pink tint.
Seishirou continued walking. "So, do you have any work lined up for tomorrow morning?"
"I don't have any jobs, but there's an extra credit assignment I'm doing for school," Subaru replied, hurrying along beside him.
Seishirou slowed his pace a little to compensate for the fact that Subaru had a much shorter stride than he did.

"Alright then. I won't keep you up too late," he smiled. "Ah, it's not much farther now."
Sadly, the innuendo flew right over Subaru's head. There's such a thing as too innocent...

He settled into a less hurried pace beside Seishirou as the other man slowed, smiling up at him.

"Where are we going, Seishirou-san?"
"It's just a nice little place that I've been to after work a couple of times," he absently gestures ahead at the sign which is just coming into view beyond the nearby street. "They have sashimi, chicken kushiyaki, and oden, among other things. Good sake, too, but you're a bit young for that."
"Ah, hai, just a bit," Subaru replied, sweatdropping.
"Four more years, then we'll see," Seishirou smiled as he stepped out onto the sidewalk and stopped, looking for traffic.
The easy implication that Seishirou would still be there four years from now made Subaru smile. He couldn't imagine his life without the three of them together anymore.

Well, Hokuto wasn't with them right now, but that was because she was still trying to push him and Seishirou-san together.
Soon enough there was a sufficient break in traffic for them to be able to get across the street. This one wasn't particularly busy except for in the morning and early afternoon, and it was getting on in the evening now.

He waited until they were safely across the street before continuing. "Maybe by then I'll be able to convince you to go on a real date with me," he said brightly.
Blush, flail!

"S-s-seishirou-san!"
"Ahaha, I think we should be going in. I'm hungry, aren't you?" Seishirou asked as he strolled towards the door.
"A-ano, hai..." Subaru forced out, trying to get the blush under control. He followed after Seishirou, rubbing at his cheeks.
Seishirou led them inside, where they were directed to a table. He slid off his jacket and settled down into one of the chairs.

"So, what do you have to do for this extra credit assignment?"
Subaru sat down across from him, setting aside his jacket and hat.

"I have to do a report on the Meiji Era. I think it'll be very interesting, but I'll have to spend quite a while at the library."
"Hmm, that's a good subject, anyway. What about it, precisely, or the whole Era in general?"
"It's an overview of the political and social changes brought about at the beginning of the Meiji Era," Subaru replied, absently biting the fingertip of one glove.
"Ah, well, that shouldn't be hard to write about. Especially not for someone as bright as you, Subaru-kun."
Subaru blushes a little, taking his glove out of his mouth. He shakes his head furiously.

"There are people much smarter than me at school. But I have to work hard if I want to keep up and finish my education."
Seishirou waved dismissively. "I'd like to see any of them manage a job like yours while going to school at the same time. If you were able to focus purely on your studies, I bet you'd have better grades than any of them."
Subaru's blush got deeper, and he ducked his head.
"You'll be a zookeeper someday soon, if that's what you really want, I have no doubts about that," Seishirou said as their food arrived. "You can accomplish anything once your mind is set on it."
"Arigato, Seishirou-san," Subaru muttered, smiling a little shyly before starting on his food.
Seishirou was quite for a while as they ate.

"So how is it? Good?" He asked after a few minutes.
Subaru made a little muffled sound, then swallowed the bite he had in his mouth.

"Hai!"
Seishirou smiled. "Good. Do you want to stop for ice cream on the way back?"
Seishirou smiled. "Good. Do you want to stop for ice cream on the way back?"
"That sounds nice," Subaru agreed, nodding.