How a week passes at the Castle of Candles.
On Monday he did paperwork. It was boring, but he did it anyway because it had to be done. The names of the dead were carefully scratched out, the names of the newly or soon-to-be born scrawled out in neat, precise hand writing.
Next, he poured out that weekÃ¢Â€ s batch of candles, lighting them as appropriate, and discarded the old, burnt out ones. He thought to himself that he really should do the discarding before the pouring next time, since gathering up the burnt out stubs always left him feeling quite melancholy. Of course, he thought this every week.
To make himself feel better, he had Wadson bring him spiked coffee with his lunch and looked at pictures of Tsuzuki. They werenÃ¢Â€ t the explicit pictures one would have expected, although he had those too. Today he looked at the subtler pictures Ã¢Â€" the purple eyed Shinigami asleep, fingers curled delicately in front of his mouth; joking around with Watari, one arm around the scientistÃ¢Â€ s shoulder; protesting with those shimmering eyes of his as Hisoka dealt out his usual abuse; eating a cupcake. Okay, the last one was close to obscene, but everyone knew how much of a love affair Tsuzuki had with his food. The picture was made even more humorous by Tatsumi in the background, discreetly flipping off the camera. He was never certain why, since the miserly secretary clearly knew about his hidden cameras, he didnÃ¢Â€ t do anything about it, but he wasnÃ¢Â€ t about to complain. Even his rivalry with Tatsumi (who wouldnÃ¢Â€ t admit it was a rivalry if pressed, he was quite certain) was a joy. It gave him a way to pass the time.
After lunch he walked in the gardens, watching Wadson work until the light faded.
On Tuesday, he slept in. Wadson brought him breakfast in bed, along with the morning paper work (which he did dutifully, if reluctantly). By the time he actually got up, it was noon.
His schedule was empty, so he dug through his cosplay costumes and had a lively, imaginative game of dress up. By the time dinner rolled around, heÃ¢Â€ d saved a damsel in distress from a fire breathing dragon, been the damsel saved from the fire breathing dragon, hunted a whole pack of tigers in the Indian jungles (and had tea with them when he caught them), and seduced an entire harem of purple-eyed Shinigami. All in all, he felt the day had been very productive, although something niggled at the back of his mind.
On Wednesday he remembered. He sat in the room of candles, watching them wink in and out. He remembered his life. His death. Every day since then. The years stretched behind him in a steadily tightening spiral of tedium. HeÃ¢Â€ d improved his home, made it more efficient to the point it nearly ran itself. The only servant he needed was Wadson, and then only for company and to make sure he ate and because the little attendant was too loyal to leave. Mainly it was for the company.
The silence of the house echoed around him, laced with age and smoke. By the time Wadson reluctantly disturbed him, it was time for bed. He hadnÃ¢Â€ t eaten all day.
He told Wadson to invite people to tea the next day. The usual group. Except Tatsumi. He wasnÃ¢Â€ t in the mood.
On Thursday Tsuzuki and Hisoka were on a mission, so tea consisted of himself and Watari. He smiled at the energetic scientist and his little owl, welcomed them to his home, went through the motions of a good host. Within an hour the two of them had exhausted each other with their own manic good cheer and sat, silently sipping tea. For all of its underlying depression, it felt good not to pretend. Such a pity that everyone else needed the show of levity and perversion to be comfortable.
Ã¢Â€Â½I take it he still hasnÃ¢Â€ t noticed?Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½What, Tatsumi? Are you kidding? The only way heÃ¢Â€ d notice is if I dressed in a coin bikini and did a little dance, and then heÃ¢Â€ d only see the yen.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½ItÃ¢Â€Â¦must be difficult.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½Sometimes. IÃ¢Â€ m not the mostÃ¢Â€Â¦romanticÃ¢Â€Â¦of people anyway, so it really doesnÃ¢Â€ t matter. As long as heÃ¢Â€ ll speak to me, IÃ¢Â€ m pretty happy. Better a good friend than a failed lover, eh? Of course, it does get to be a strain occasionallyÃ¢Â€Â¦ Ã¢Â€~s why IÃ¢Â€ m glad you invited me today. ItÃ¢Â€ s nice to get away from peopleÃ¢Â€Â¦come out here where itÃ¢Â€ s nice and peaceful.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½Really? I was just thinking it was nice to have company.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½Ã¢Â€Â¦yeah. I can see that too.Ã¢Â€Â
They spent the rest of the day playing board games.
On Friday he was happy. He drank too much tea with breakfast, ate too many sweets, and gave himself the sugar rush to end all sugar rushes.
He redesigned the basement.
He found an odd volume on the intricacies of BDSM in the library and read it from cover to cover. Twice. It was fascinating. Searching the same section of the library he found a book on Vikings he hadnÃ¢Â€ t read, a treaty on the politics of Italy, and a book on quantum physics. He read those too.
He went through his costumes again and gave orders to have several more commissioned. After all, he didnÃ¢Â€ t have a ballerina costume in sunset orange or a matadorÃ¢Â€ s costume. How could his collection be complete without those?
After lunch (more sugar since he was beginning to crash), he did his paper work in a manic fit, leaving Wadson to correct any mistakes he made by doing it too quickly. Then he went around rearranging all of the furniture because he could.
The sugar high wore off just before dinner as he was about to actually pick up a feather duster and start cleaning. He went to bed.
On Saturday, Tsuzuki came. He knew what the Shingami was going to ask the second he ran into the castle, purple eyes wild. Oh yes, he knew that look.
Ã¢Â€Â½Please, just a few more days.Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½But you already owe me so much, Tsuzuki-kun! Do you really want to add to the debt? You know the price.Ã¢Â€Â
The following flinch hurt a little, but he understood.
And there it was, that look of sheer desperation making those beautiful eyes come alive. So much life in someone who had been dead for years!
Ã¢Â€Â½Very well then. Two days. And thenÃ¢Â€Â¦IÃ¢Â€ ll collect my dues!Ã¢Â€Â
Ã¢Â€Â½ErÃ¢Â€Â¦Ã¢Â€Â The ShinigamiÃ¢Â€ s blush was accompanied by a smile. A chagrined smile, yes, but a /smile/. It made his day.
Ã¢Â€Â½Come now, hurry off or you wonÃ¢Â€ t be able to get everything done in time!Ã¢Â€Â
He watched the Shinigami run off, intent on saving the day.
He wouldnÃ¢Â€ t collect his dues. On some level, he thought Tsuzuki knew that too. It was enough simply to hold them, to know that he could, to know that on some level he held that beautiful, smiling boy the way a falconer holds a hawk.
He would continue to let Tsuzuki fly, despite the jesses, while he remained tethered in his own, brilliant cage.
That night he dreamed of Tsuzuki dancing a waltz with a young man who would die in two days. They were smiling.