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Title: The Moon in Water
Fandom: Onmyouji
Pairing: Seimei/Hiromasa
Rating: PG13
Prompt: #18 – full moon @ [livejournal.com profile] story_lottery
Summary: Seimei breaks a taboo during The Godless Month.
Word count: 1179

The Moon in Water


Hiromasa woke to the sight of the full moon, bone-white and frozen, through the slats of the bamboo blinds. Blinking at the light, he rolled over beneath the heap of layered robes and discovered he was alone.

“Seimei?”

He whispered the name, conscious of the fact that Seimei seemed able to hear his words from half the city away; but when he received no response, Hiromasa untangled himself from the bedding and crawled out onto the floorboards. Immediately he shifted back onto the sleeping mat, the chill of the floor startling him into full wakefulness.

It was halfway through the tenth month, and the court’s summer clothes had been wrapped and stored while winter robes had been shaken out and aired over scented braziers. The tenth month, the Godless Month, had arrived with bitter force, relentless northerly winds clawing down over Heian-Kyo for the last week.

The weather was so unremittingly dreary that the Emperor had summoned a meeting of the Bureau of Divination and demanded an explanation. Despite the fact that no one could catch even a glimpse of the heavens through the pall of grey cloud, the yin yang masters drew up charts and studied the I Ching and checked the almanac. They offered varying opinions: an angry demon residing on Mount Hiei had sent the wind; a star had tilted on its axis and brought the cold; earth had been broken on an inauspicious day and restless spirits clamoured for retribution. The one thing they all agreed upon was that the auguries for the tenth month were bad. People should stay indoors as much as possible and avoid travelling in a northerly direction.

When Hiromasa asked Seimei why the weather had turned so cold, the answer was much simpler. “Because it’s winter,” Seimei had said, and that was the end of the conversation.

Still, it did not hurt to be cautious. Fearing demons, tilted stars, and restless spirits, Hiromasa bought a dozen protective amulets from the Bureau of Divination and restricted his movements around the city, except for his visits to Seimei. He always felt safe within Seimei’s estate; yet now, as he pulled on the first of his padded under-robes, a ripple of alarm went through him. What if Seimei had gone out to fight the demon and the restless spirits without him? And in the dead of night, too!

Dressed in three mismatched layers, Hiromasa crept across the floor and raised the blinds enough to duck beneath them. He caught his breath at the frosted air, seeing the faintest halo around the moon. The bad weather had broken, and the night was without fault. The veranda was a contrast of brilliant light and inky shadows, but it was the sight of Seimei that held Hiromasa’s attention.

Seimei knelt, naked to the waist, his under-robes spread out behind him like shed butterfly wings. His hair hung down over one shoulder, the length of it wet and gleaming in the moonlight, the ends trailing in a large shallow tub of gently steaming water.

Startled, Hiromasa ventured closer, his feet leaving tracks of warmth on the cold wooden floor. As he approached, Seimei stilled and gazed into the tub. Swirls of steam brushed against his face, blurring his appearance for a moment.

Hiromasa stood over him, looking down at the rippling, fractured reflection of the moon in the water. He waited, his breath clouding the air, until the moon resolved itself and became whole again. Though it seemed wrong to break the silence, he had to ask: “Aren’t you cold out here?”

“No. It is a mild night.”

A shiver went through Hiromasa, his flesh forming goose bumps beneath his layered robes. Seimei appeared not to notice the cold at all, his skin smooth and pale, almost glowing white in the moonlight. Hiromasa gazed at him covetously. “What are you doing?”

Seimei lifted his head, his wet hair clinging to his body and dripping water down his torso to soak into the thin white silk of his under-robe. “As you see.”

“I can see what you’re doing, but why are you doing it?” Hiromasa tried not to stare at the wet silk and what it revealed.

“Do I need a reason?” Seimei tilted his head and dipped his hair through the reflection of the moon, then retrieved a wooden ladle and poured warm water over his head. The water, silvery in the moonlight, splashed over Seimei’s shoulders and spilled onto the veranda.

Hiromasa felt the warmth of it on his bare feet and stepped back. “Seimei, stop being obtuse. You know as well as I do that this is not an auspicious day for washing hair!”

From the shadows beside the tub, Seimei lifted a small cup. Its contents glimmered, and Hiromasa realised it was oil. When Seimei tipped it over his hair and started working the oil through to the ends, Hiromasa could smell the release of fragrance—rose and geranium, and something spicier with heat that he couldn’t quite identify.

“The rules do not always apply,” Seimei murmured. His fingers and hair shone with oil.

“Oh.” Hiromasa swallowed, a warm curl of arousal firing deep in his belly. He cleared his throat and added slyly, “I suppose foxes do not need to pay attention to auspicious and inauspicious days.”

“They do,” Seimei said, “but they obey a different calendar, as do all animals.”

Intrigued, Hiromasa leaned back against one of the veranda posts and folded his arms. “What days are auspicious for foxes?”

“Today is auspicious.” Seimei squeezed out water from his hair. “The full moon is always auspicious for foxes. It restores yin energy, just as bathing and washing hair restores the yin energy contained within water.”

“And the scents.” Hiromasa indicated the empty cup. “Rose, geranium... these are yin perfumes.”

“They are also plants good for softening and conditioning hair,” Seimei remarked with a small smile.

“There is something else in there.” Hiromasa went closer and sniffed. “I don’t recognise it.”

“Ginseng.” Seimei twisted his hair, squeezing out the last drops of water. He lowered his gaze, but he was still smiling. “The most potent of yang herbs.”

“Yang,” repeated Hiromasa. “Oh. So you need both yin and yang herbs to wash your hair.”

“It is wise to be balanced at all times.” Seimei’s expression turned serious for a moment. “Of course, on a night such as this, when the yin energy is at full flow, it would be advantageous if I were to acquire more yang energy.”

“Ah?” Hiromasa frowned. “How...”

Seimei looked up at him, invitation gleaming in his eyes. “If you would like to share your yang energy with me...?”

Realisation made Hiromasa laugh. “It would be a pleasure, Seimei. But not on this cold veranda.”

Seimei chuckled and rose to his feet, unfastening the ties on his under-robe so he stood naked beneath the moonlight, his wet hair spread over his shoulders. He held out his hand and gave that secret half smile again. “Then let us go inside, Hiromasa, lest we shame the moon.”

Date: 2009-10-31 09:16 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aitakute.livejournal.com
Gorgeous! *claps* I love the tone of this fic; it's lighter (without making it whimsical or superficial) compared to the previous, yet it sends a subtle message - on how humans try to find something else to blame on when shit hits the fan (or when winters got too cold for liking), and all that belief in the occult. Superstitious!Hiromasa! HAHAHA I thought it was so cute when he bought stuff from the Bureau of Divination to protect himself against any potential cause of the harsh winter.

I find Seimei amusing. For a 'fox', he's alarmingly logical and less superstitious compared to the 'humans'. It provides a lovely contrast to Hiromasa, and even to his background - perhaps, it is the very fact that he is part-fox that allows him to better understand the phenomenon, that it is all part of nature itself, and that the harsh winter is just a normal phenomenon, nothing to do with malevolent spirits or anything of that kind.

The hair-washing scene just knocks me off my feet - it's such a sensual scene. I love the way you wrote it - it's a feast for the senses, whatnot with cold weather and water, and fragranced oil, lit by the full moon... breathtaking!

Once again, congrats for finishing this! *cheers you* XDDD

Date: 2009-10-31 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Thank you! If I'd had more time, I would have expanded the hair-washing scene by quite a bit *cough* but never mind, needs must and all that :D

Date: 2009-10-31 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aitakute.livejournal.com
*grins* Is 'hair-washing' the new metaphor for sex? HAHAHA.

Date: 2009-10-31 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
*makes mental note to write Nico in a hair-washing scene in all his blond L'Oreal splendour*

Date: 2009-11-01 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aoi-shu.livejournal.com
aww, he is a FOX....
hahha, the mood is so wonderful, i wish for a bigger piece, been such a long while since the world had been granted with a good proper Onmyouji story.

Would you like me to burn the "MAyonaka no ..." for you? I can add a couple other cute flicks too ^_^~


...although I must say, it's November now and we still have 24C outside, though nights are chillier, and when the rain comes it drops to 17 with wet annoying wind.


Date: 2009-11-01 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Unfortunately I didn't have time for a longer piece, though I wish I could have written more! Maybe I'll get the chance to do another Onmyoji fic for [livejournal.com profile] yuletide, we'll see.

Still no post btw! :/

It's warm in China, too. And despite the rain it's been quite mild here.

Date: 2009-11-01 07:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aoi-shu.livejournal.com
stupid post... grr, ok I'll wait a bit to send you more stuff, I think on the 8th i might ome into posession of some Mansai posters, if I'm lucky ^^


I hope you will come up with a cute idea <3 for a bigger story

I'm making cream sauced spinach and asparagus with fake crab^^

Date: 2009-11-01 07:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
LOL the fake crab again!!!

Date: 2009-11-01 07:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aoi-shu.livejournal.com
well it's smells nice, and it's fish, just colored... >.> so I take it when I wan to make a cheap menu - i also have some sausge for sad rainy days LOL

it just beeped at me, says it's ready^^
I'm practicing my no longer than 15 minutes menu thing.. can;t e bothered with complex receipies, when hungry ^^
do you know any good way to prepare spinach?

I have a cutest little movie I'd love to show you too.. so maybe next time with mansai posters I'll try to send you a dvd as well, tell me when the strike is over - I just hope the book arrives at all, it was like 7 times the price of the book to send it, bwhahaha so they have to fucking WORK!

Date: 2009-11-01 07:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
I tend to wilt the spinach and put it with feta cheese and lamb/tomato/herbs in a pie of either filo or puff pastry - and now I am hungry LOL oh no!

Yes I would love to see the cute movie! I'm sure the post will eventually turn up, people are really cross about it.

Date: 2009-11-01 07:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aoi-shu.livejournal.com
yeh... i have several flicks to share^^,

well no pastry here - no oven... any healthy pankakes?

Date: 2009-11-01 07:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
I guess you could stir the spinach into the pancake mix and make fritters with them!

Date: 2009-11-01 07:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aoi-shu.livejournal.com
fritters?

pancake mix is sweet... but i guess i can make spring rolls or crepes with filling, but easiest - just what i did, tho overdid on crab/p was a bit too intense.. otherwise any greenery is good with creme cheese sauce..or soup i dunno how to even call it... >.>

omelet is good too, tried that yesterday - with mushrooms - lovely~

asparagus is lovely without anything as well ^_^

Date: 2009-11-01 02:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] karadin.livejournal.com
Nummy, that needs illustrating! ;D

Date: 2009-11-01 07:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Oooh now that's a gorgeous thought!

Date: 2009-11-02 04:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dianebelieves.livejournal.com
Double nummy and I second that suggestion!!!

Date: 2009-11-02 10:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ozsaur.livejournal.com
Gorgeous!

Date: 2009-11-03 07:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Thank you :)

Date: 2009-11-23 05:33 pm (UTC)
ext_3245: (Junno cute smile)
From: [identity profile] rheasilvia.livejournal.com
I love the atmosphere of this story - the night and the moon, the scene of Seimei washing his hair, the quiet kind of comfort and familiarity between them, and the mystery and fascination Seimei has for Hiromasa.

Also:
What if Seimei had gone out to fight the demon and the restless spirits without him? And in the dead of night, too!

Total Hiromasa cuteness. :-)

Date: 2009-11-24 07:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Thank you! I enjoy writing Hiromasa, he's so adorable and transparent :D

btw who's the cute guy in your icon?

Date: 2009-11-24 06:34 pm (UTC)
ext_3245: (Junno sexy)
From: [identity profile] rheasilvia.livejournal.com
I enjoy writing Hiromasa, he's so adorable and transparent :D

He is - and so artlessly sincere and deeply good-hearted with it. And you write him so well. :-)

btw who's the cute guy in your icon?

That's Junno, the reason for my poll about posting fanfic novels! :-) He's a Japanese popstar of the boyband variety - as deeply nice and good-natured as Hiromasa, come to think of it, and also extremely dorky, insanely cute and occasionally scorchingly hot (as seen in this icon *g*).

Date: 2009-11-24 06:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
He is really a cutie :p HAHA I can see there are plenty of reasons for getting into J-Pop LOL That first pic of him in your LJ post reminds me of Harry Ioki in 21 Jump Street - yummy! Who are you pairing him with?

Date: 2009-11-24 07:07 pm (UTC)
ext_3245: (Ryo cute)
From: [identity profile] rheasilvia.livejournal.com
He is really a cutie :p

He really is! And the best reason for getting intp jpop, in my (admittedly not entirely unbiased *g*) opinion.

I'm pairing him with Ryo, the guy in this icon. :-) If you want to see a bit more of the two of them, I have an introductory post here - I should really swap out the Junno pics because there have been much nicer ones since I compiled that post, but for a quick look, it may suffice. *g*

Date: 2009-11-27 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
*stares* Ryo is even hotter. They make a real good couple :p And when will you start posting your fic??

Date: 2009-11-28 03:58 pm (UTC)
ext_3245: (Ryo shoulder flirt)
From: [identity profile] rheasilvia.livejournal.com
Ryo is indeed hot - and more conscious of his own hotness than Junno, which helps. ;-)

The epic won't be finished for a while yet, and I want to wait until it's completely finished before I start posting. Which will mean... well, not this year, certainly; in my more optimistic moments, I have hopes for the spring of 2010.

If you're interested in having a look at Junno and Ryo in fictional action, though, I do already have some finished stories about the two of them. ;-)

Date: 2009-11-28 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Ooh yes please, I'd love some recs. I can always read about hot boys ;)

Date: 2009-11-29 12:10 am (UTC)
ext_3245: (Junno cute smile)
From: [identity profile] rheasilvia.livejournal.com
I can always read about hot boys ;)

Ooohh, how cool! A chance to pimp my OTP! :-)) Some aspects of the stories might be odd, if you aren't a fan of Japanese boybands, but there is no doubt that yes, the boys are indeed hot. :-)

My first foray into this fandom is The Taguchi Method of Falling in Love, in which Junno falls in love the way other people catch the flu.

Then there is A Comedy of Errors, otherwise known as "Nishikido Ryo's Life as a Korean Drama. Featuring an annoying cast of practical jokers, Eito with an unhealthy interest in other people's love lives, and compulsive snugglers."

The longest Junno/Ryo story I've written so far is First Contact, an AU somewhat over 30,000 words long, in which Detectives Nishikido Ryo and Taguchi Junnosuke go undercover in a gay BDSM club run by the mob. Ryo is not happy about this, though not for the reasons you might expect.

There are also some cracky snippets - one in which Junno and Ryo take the Broccoli Test. (Don't know if you know this test; it's a tongue-in-cheek fannish test of pairing rapport that asks: If your OTP characters are in different parts of a grocery store but have visual contact, can A convey to B – without shouting – that A wants B to pick up some broccoli?)

Another cracky snippet is the Highlander crossover snippet, which is a fragment of a longer story I may actually have to finish one of these days. Because every fandom needs a Highlander crossover! :-)

Date: 2009-12-01 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] glitterburn.livejournal.com
Awesome! Thank you, I will be reading all of these very soon :D

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