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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.
And where do you think you're going, Sakurazukamori?

Ken slowly opened his eyes. No good. It was dark. He was starting to get used to that. But who had spoken?

No, not spoken. There hadn't been any real words at all. It was more like someone had directly communicated the meanings behind the words straight into his head and he'd simply converted it into speech.

"Who are you?" He asked, finding that he was standing up, though he clearly didn't remember getting to his feet.

You can call me Tree-san. No need to thank me. It's not as if I could let you die like that.

Ken's eyes widened. He turned around and found himself facing the biggest cherry tree he'd ever seen.

Great. A tree was talking to him. In his mind. This wasn't boding well for his sanity.

"Wait, die? No way."

Oh, yes, 'way', I assure you. Unless you think that falling into a permanent coma isn't as good as dying. Don't worry, you'll be fine and conscious in a minute, so the Sumeragi can quit panicking.

"Fine?" Ken reached up to his forehead. There was no bandage, and no blood, either.

Well, mostly. You'll still have a mild concussion, cuts, and bruises to deal with, but I think you'll pull through. There was definite sarcasm in the Tree's 'voice'.

"You're the Sakura..." Ken muttered.

Very good. I guess the blossoms tipped you off.

"What is going on here?" Ken demanded, scowling.

That is a very good question. I can only assume that there is some magic at work here, but it's nothing like I've ever seen before. That's saying something.


Magic isn't real? Right. Wake up, Sakurazuka, this isn't a dream or a hallucination.

"My name is-" Ken started.

Furu-something Ken, yeah, I know. The Tree rudely interrupted him. What do you think I was doing while you were unconscious before? I know everything about you. Trust me, you are Seishirou Sakurazuka. The Sakurazukamori. Obviously, or I wouldn't be talking to you right now.


Your memories are all there. It's as if you've been both Ken and Seishirou at the same time. Not that you aren't him, but you do have two distinctly different pasts.

Ken didn't even try this time. He was too busy trying to get his head around the concept that all of this was real. That he was who the Tree said he was.

If the Tree had been human, he would have sighed. Back to consciousness, Sakurazukamori. We can and will talk more later. I've got to get you in shape before I starve to death...
The past few weeks had been rather busy for Ken. His involvement in the Tokyo Babylon movie was coming to a close after several months of work.

He was a little sad to see it end, really. It would mean that he wouldn't be working with Issei anymore, since they'd be pulling in an actor who looked a little older to play Subaru's part.

Issei was a good friend. Ken had to admit that he idly wished that they could be more than that, as he'd become rather fond of the pretty young man. But Issei was deeply in love with a pretty young girl from Kyoto, so Ken never got around to mentioning how he felt. He doubted that Issei would have been interested anyway.

He felt a little wistful about the whole thing, but he refused to let their friendship go sour over it.

The day had been uneventful for the most part. He went over his lines for a scene later in the day, talked with his agent who had another movie deal in the works, and went to lunch with Issei and Hiyoshi. Then he was back on the set, getting ready to go to make-up...

That was the last thing he remembered.

The next thing that he was aware of was that he was lying on his back, feeling very sore, especially his shoulder, and he couldn't see anything, presumably because it was dark.

And he felt... strange. It was hard to explain. But then, maybe that was just a concussion. He definitely felt fuzzy enough to have a concussion.

He wasn't aware of it yet, but there was a slow trickle of blood running down the side of his face. He looked alright otherwise, though he was definitely going to have a lot of bruises....