Summary: "The moon waxes fast and wanes slow. It favors my dearest sister, and there's nothing I can do to change it. If that weren't enough, that pathetic girl dulls what time I do have. Why shouldn't I be angry?"

Rating: ~T

Genre: Supernatural

Characters: Hide, Kaneki, Hinami, Ayato

Tags: AU, Ayato being pissed off, but that's not really anything new

Word Count: 1817


"Hello, Ayato-san."

The furious gaze snapped to the snow-haired boy, and then shifted slightly. Behind him. Hinami, clutching at Kaneki's arm like a lifeline, shrunk back, cowering as the unfamiliar spirit's full attention fixed on her.

"There you are… you little brat!" He lunged towards her, wings spreading, and Kaneki barely pulled them both out of his way in time.

(The clouded appendages sliced through trees soundlessly, seeming to ignore any semblance of resistance. Ayato seemed completely unphased when the thick wood crashed to the ground. It could have just been the spirits' ability to manipulate the forest, but Hide wasn't so sure.)

Kaneki glanced at him. Just once.

Then turned and ran.

For a moment, Hide paled… then Ayato followed him, as though Hide didn't even exist.

Leading him away…

He curled up against the broken tree and began to wait.


Being shaken awake, after last night, wasn't how Hide imagined his morning going. But after his initial moment of panic, seeing Kaneki and Hinami (unharmed, thank god) was worth it.

Of course, just because they didn't seem hurt didn't mean they weren't. He looked them over thoroughly (weight wasn't distributed oddly, no one was clutching at anything, neither of them looked particularly exhausted), then breathed a sigh in relief. "You're okay. You're both okay." He looked at them. "Where did he...?"

"He disappears when the sun rises," Kaneki answered. "If we outlast him, he'll go back to sleep before he can hurt us."

"God." Hide ran a hand through his hair. "Why would he even... Why did he come in the first place?"

Kaneki shrugged, but Hinami looked away. Guilty.

"Hinami-chan...?"

"He doesn't like it when it rains," she said nervously, "He always blames me when it does."

"Wha...?" He blinked. "Why would he blame you for the rain?" It wasn't like she could control it or anything, right...?

She looked at him, eyes watery. "Because I'm supposed to be the rain spirit."


(In another place – blackened, lit only by the occasional, faded blue lines of rippling light – a lone form grazed fingers through dust, red eyes fixed on his sleeping sister.

She'd wake just in time to have a few hours with him before he fell asleep for her half of the cycle.)


It had taken quite some time before Hinami had calmed enough to speak again. When she finally did, the words came soft and slow. "When a spirit has a child, that child holds at least part of their domain. Since spirits can live forever, and most don't like sharing their power, they try to avoid it. But my parents decided to have me."

She held out a finger, and a butterfly fluttered over to land on it. "My dad shared the rain with me, and my mom shared her butterflies. They give me power, and I rule them with it. Or... I should."

She dropped her hand as the butterfly flew away.

"Mom and I shared our domain equally, but I... I never liked the rain. Butterflies are easy to handle, but the rain is part of storms, and... it scares me. Dad used to handle it, but..." She choked back a sob.

"There was a scientist. I don't know what he did, but mom and dad went to sleep and never woke up! I've tried giving them power and tugging on theirs, but it's like they're not even there!" She drew her knees up to her chest. "And whenever I'm not managing their power, it's like no one's taken it! I keep waiting for dad to reign in the storms and then he doesn't, and-"

"Hinami..." Hide interrupted her. "I'm sorry I brought it up. I shouldn't've."

She shook her head, breathing deeply. "You didn't know."


"So," Hide started. They'd spent most of the day relaxing, but it had been noticeably tenser than the last. They were all just waiting for the sun to set, and now...

Deep orange rays filtered through the leaves, breaking past the 'clouds' visible in the sky. They'd dim to shadows in a minute or two, heralding the coming night.

"What exactly are we going to do about Ayato?"

Kaneki and Hinami shared a glance. One determined, one nervous. "We," Kaneki started, "Won't do anything. I'm sorry, Hide, but..."

"You're going to leave me behind again." He thunked his head back against the tree he was leaning on. "Of course."

"Sorry." Kaneki said again.

"Yeah, I know. I can't run all night."

"He'll probably leave you alone if we aren't..."

"I get it." And he did. "Doesn't mean I gotta be happy about it, though..."

Hinami tugged at Kaneki's wrist. "Nii-chan, we should go soon."

"Yeah." He stood. "I'll be back at sunrise. Sorry."

The blond waved him off. "Go. Keep her safe."

He didn't have to look to tell neither of them were in the clearing anymore.


Being shaken awake was rapidly becoming familiar. When Hide realized it wasn't Hinami or Kaneki or anyone familiar, recognizing Oh fuck in their place, he scrambled to his feet, backing away slowly.

Ayato glared at him. "So they did leave you behind..."

"Listen, Ayato, right? I don't know what problem you have with Hinami, but it isn't her fault." And he didn't have anything to do with it!

His eyes narrowed "The moon waxes fast and wanes slow. It favors my dearest sister, and there's nothing I can do to change it. If that weren't enough, that pathetic girl dulls what time I do have. Why shouldn't I be angry?"

He walked forward, and Hide backed up. Right into a tree. Next thing he knew, his hands were pinned above his head, and those wings that cut through trees like air were extended rather threateningly.

"Call for them," he said. "There's power in names. Call for the bug and the brat." He plucked a feather and holy fuck that wasn't a feather from his wing and held the razor-sharp crystalline knife to his throat. "Or else."

Hide swallowed. He didn't want to die. And he was pretty sure, spirit world or not, that getting his throat sliced open wouldn't lend itself to the goal of continued life.

On the other hand...

Hinami laughed as Hide tugged a hesitant Kaneki into the pool she'd made. It was obvious the snowy-haired boy had never tried swimming before. The blond grinned as he engaged his friend in a splash war, mischief playing on his expression as he sneakily aimed at Hinami instead.

She blinked at him, startled at being suddenly all wet, then smiled. It wasn't a very nice smile.

And that was how Hide learned to fear water-elementals while he was remotely near water.

Ayato's grip tightened on the blade at Hide's continued silence. He drew back his hand, ever so slightly (broadcasting his movement – giving Hide one last chance to submit) when—

"Stop!"

Both their attentions were snatched to the other end of the clearing. Hinami stood, panting, and Kaneki gripped her shoulder, tense and ready to attack (or be attacked) at a moment's notice.

Ayato released Hide with a smirk. "So you did come... Are you ready to stop running, brat?" He took a step towards her.

She bowed her head, looking anywhere but him. "I-I'm sorry!" She stammered, "About the rain. But ever since that man came, mama and papa—"

"Don't you get it, you idiot?!" He snarled, patience suddenly gone. "Your parents are dead!"

And then Kaneki tackled him.

Even from the start, Ayato was clearly a more experienced fighter than Hide's friend, dodging hits Kaneki took, moving and countering where Kaneki tried to press advantages, and not giving the snow-haired boy the room to do the same. He was quickly distracted, however, by Hinami rushing towards him, worriedly placing a hand against his bruises.

He smiled at her. "I'm fine, I'm fine."

"But you were hurt..." She whimpered. "And you're not healing."

(A glance at the fight behind him showed the cuts Kaneki had gained closing seconds after he got them. Hide wanted to whistle. He didn't.

He did wonder if the two were really as unhurt as they'd seemed the night before, though.)

"I am. Just... slower. Than that." He gestured at the two. After a moment, she nodded.

"I'm sorry."

He grinned. His wrists hurt. He could still feel his heart hammering. But... "Don't be."

She watched him for a moment, then stood, fists clenching in the fabric of her dress. "Alright."

As Ayato batted Kaneki away from him again, Hinami jumped into his flight path, catching him. She hugged him, watching his wounds close. "Thanks, nii-san. I can handle things from here."

Ayato stared. "You're kidding. You? You can't do anything but run."

"It's not new moon yet," She said, "And I'm at my strongest when it's raining"

And then there was water.

Glittering despite the lack of light, the clear liquid appeared between her shoulder blades, stretching outwards in an intricate design. As the streams wrapped around and flowed into one another, Hide almost found himself laughing.

Butterfly wings.

And then she flew at him.

In contrast to before, there wasn't an obvious difference between them. As Hide watched, he realized that they were evenly matched. Hinami was moving and healing faster, and seemed to have more power behind her attacks, but Ayato made up for it by being the more experienced fighter.

(He had to wonder who he'd found to practice on. Ayato was the first person he'd seen around here that seemed interested in fighting with the others around here.)

The battle seemed to go on forever, until suddenly, everything seemed to freeze.

A single shaft of sunlight fell through the trees, dimming almost immediately after. Then another, and another. Ayato fell to the ground, clutching at his chest. His eyes narrowed, no, drooped, and strength seemed to flee from him with each breath. "I... I don't want to... please, not yet...!"

Hinami's wings folded back behind her, and she walked to him before grabbing his hands. She smiled. "I'll be gone before you wake up. I promise."

He stared at her for a moment, then looked away, teeth clenched. "... Thanks."

(Hide blinked, and found he'd faded into the mist.)


"So you're leaving?"

She nodded. "I'm only awake when it's raining."

Hide blinked. "But..."

"It doesn't rain often. I know." She smiled. "But that's life. The most powerful of us are bound to something else. And when that something isn't there, we can't be here either."

Hide was silent for a moment. "I'll see you again someday. Alright?"

Her smile grew brighter, and she nodded. She turned to Kaneki and hugged him. "Bye, nii-chan."

He smiled. "I'll see you soon, Hinami."

And then she was gone.

Hide didn't even blink this time.

Whoa.


"So," he started, eager to break the silence that had lingered since Hinami had gone. "What's your domain, anyway?"

Kaneki leaned back, expression blank. "I don't know."


Notes: Gah, I've never tried writing a fight scene before. I scrapped my first few attempts and ended up deciding to just skim over it. Sorry if it's less than what you were expecting. And this is pushing pretty close to the deadline, isn't it? Ah, well... it still works, right? Anyway, that's another segment done. I should finally finish this either tomorrow or the day after. And then it'll be back to my regular prompting.

The relationship between a patron anything and its domain is always interesting to consider. Does the patron god of fire get hir power from fire? Or is fire something separate from hir that s/he can control? Or maybe it's an aspect of hirself, with every flame being a little piece of hir.

Here, it's a bit of both. And while some of those domains kind of take care of themselves, there are some of them that need a bit more micromanaging.

On another note, that thing with the moon. Rabbits are associated with the moon in Japanese folklore, for those of you that don't know. I'm not sure about outside of America, but ever heard of the man in the moon? In Japan, it's a rabbit.

So, the 'black rabbit' is the dark side, and the 'white rabbit' is the light side. It works well since Ayato is the younger sibling, and the corona frequently makes the moon look fuller than it really is. Even if he and Touka were 'born' at the same time in this 'verse, he'd be 'younger,' since he'll have spent more of his life asleep as a result. As you can see, he's less than happy about the arrangement. But I'd like to think he and Touka would've had a lot of forced time together in which to work things out by now. The moon is how old again?

Thanks for reading, as always.

~DH