Title: Why morn for a Mizuko?
Summary: Junno and Ueda spend Christmas at Junno's parentís house. There is just one problem; Junno is being haunted by a ghost.
Note: Mizuko means a child who dies before being added to a Shinto temple
Warning: This story is weird! :) Been watching too much Dark Shadows!
"No! He couldn't have died!" Junno screamed. He sat up straight in bed. Then he looked around the room confused.
"Junno-Chan, is everything all right?" Ueda asked concerned. Ueda was watching Junno from the guest futon. He was staying over at Junnoís parentís house.
"I'm not Junno, I'm Tarosuke." Junno shook his head. He looked at Ueda and tried to smile. "I'm sorry, I had a bad dream."
"Whoís Tarosuke?" Ueda asked.
"No one, go back to sleep."
It was the Christmas season. A brief lull before the busy New Years rush of TV shows Kat-tun was on. But it was also the time that the agency decided that the apartments of the members had to be painted.
The rest of the group stayed with family. But Taguchi Junno's family was a little different. His family decided that the holidays were the perfect time to go on vacation. So he would be alone in the house. The thing was, he didn't' want to be alone in the house. So he asked his friend Ueda to stay with him.
Ueda didn't mind, he had a feeling that something else was going on with Junno. His friend was the favorite of the five children in his family, but what surprised Ueda was that Junno didn't care much for his family. Oh he acted as if he loved them, when he was around them. When he wasn't around them, he always tried to avoid them.
Ueda loved Junno. When he loved someone he could feel things about them. The only problem was that Junno didn't like him back. His friend never became involved with anyone past a certain point. Their relationship had hit that point months ago. Now they were more then friends, but not lovers.
Ueda had a great secret. He could feel things. He hadn't told the rest of the group. How many people would believe some one like Ueda could feel ghosts and other spirits? His Mother had told him he had inherited the powers from his grandfather, a Folk Shinto priest.
There was a ghost in the room. A ghost who was sad and lonely, but also happy. He could see it standing near Junno. It's feature's weren't clear, but Ueda could tell that it worried about Junno.
Junno got out of bed and went to the living room. By the time Ueda joined him. Junno was standing in front of the family shrine praying. Though there was no photo of a departed there. He could see the ghost for a moment. It was a small boy, not more then eleven. He joined Junno at the alter, and then he looked at Ueda. He looked so much like a very young Junno. Twins, Ueda knew without being told. This ghost was Junno's twin.
"You need to pray with us," The ghost told him. "You are the one he loves. He needs you at his side."
Ueda went to Junno's side and joined him at his prayers. The ghost seemed to be happy. Then he faded from view.
"You didn't have to." Junno told him when they finished praying.
"I know that, baka." he tried to tease. Not telling his friend that he felt something there. "My Mom always told me it's polite to join in on prayers."
When they got back to the bedroom, Junno had gotten back into bed, and then just lay there, staring up at the ceiling. Junno didn't want to go to sleep. He knew what he would find when he slept, more nightmares.
He hated the nightmares. The constant reminder of his sins against the one so dear to him. His twin brother. He was the Mizuko; he should have been the one that died not his wonderful brother.
"I'm having a hard time sleeping on the floor," Ueda told him.
Junno felt a lump grow in his stomach. Ueda was hinting again that he wanted to make the relationship more then friends. Junno wanted it too. But something always stopped him from getting too close to a person. At twenty-one, Junno had never had a lover.
Junno moved over and let Ueda take his side of the bed. He would sleep on his brothers. Ueda lay on his back, not making a move towards Junno.
"Why do you have such a large bed?" Ueda asked.
"It used to be my parents." Junno said. "When they decided to get twin beds, I got their old one."
"I don't know, but my mother always said it was because she was sick of having babies."
"After having six you would be." Ueda agreed.
"Yeah," Junno sighed. Then he realized that Ueda said his mother had six children. "Tat-Chan, how did you know my mother had six children?"
"I guessed." Ueda covered himself up. 'Goodnight Junno."
A battered and a bruised Tarosuke were locked in his closet. Outside he could hear the sounds of people singing happy birthday. It was a birthday party for Junno the favorite. Tarosuke never had a birthday party. The excuse was every year was that he was sick. Parties and wonderful things were reserved for his twin brother and his sisters. A Mizuko didn't deserve gifts.
Hours later, the door to the closet was unlocked. Junno stood in the doorway.
"Junno, you can't!" Tarosuke said afraid.
"It's all right, mom and dad are asleep." Junno smiled at him. "I made a party for you."
Hiroshi came out of the closet. He followed his brother to the kitchen. The house was wonderfully decorated for Junno. Tarosuke knew that when morning came, he would be the one cleaning it up.
His brother set him down at the kitchen table. He put the hat on Tarosuke's head. The hat that only his brother and sisterís were allowed to wear on their birthday. Hiroshi had never been allowed to wear the hat before.
Then Junno put the piece of birthday cake on the table. It had a lit candle. He sang happy birthday to Tarosuke in his clear sweet voice. Then he smiled at Tarosuke, and twin couldn't help it, he smiled back.
For the first time ever, Tarosuke had a birthday party. Given to him by his twin brother. His eleventh birthday, the last they would spend together.
The dream shifted, to a hospital room. Tarosuke hurt all over. He couldn't remember how he got there. But he could see his mother, and Junno standing beside the bed.
"What happened?" Tarosuke asked.
"Junno, thank god, you're awake." His mother for the first time looked at him with worry in her eyes.
"Junno?" Tarosuke repeated.
Then he saw his twin brother standing behind his mother. He shook his head frantically no. He could hear Junno tell him. "Answer to my name. Remember, we decided to play a trick on them?"
Tarosuke shook his head yes. He could remember the trick they had decided to play earlier.
"Junno, what's wrong?" His mother asked concerned.
"Nothing, I was just confused."
"The accident was a bad one, only one person died."
Tarosuke closed his eyes for a second, praying that the person who died was his father. Then he opened them, and Junno was gone.
"The only one that died was Tarosuke."
Junno sat up in bed. He felt Ueda's arms on him, gently pushing him down to the bed. Then Ueda put his arms around him, holding him.
"It's okay Junno, you had a bad dream." Ueda soothed.
Junno clung to Ueda. "You won't leave me will you?"
"Why would you say that?"
"Every time I fall in love, my boy friend leaves me." Junno said.
"You're a virgin aren't you?"
"No, I'm not." he admitted. "When I was a kid, my father would come to my room."
"That doesn't count." Ueda told him. "It only really counts if you want it."
"Tat-Chan, if I told you I loved you, would you wait for me to be ready?" There, he said it, the question that had always worried him.
"I'll stay at your side forever. Even if you're never ready to love. Because I love you too." Ueda kissed Junno's lips. His kiss as gentle as he was. Then he pushed Junno's head onto his shoulder. He began to stroke Junno's hair. "Sleep my love, sleep."
For the first time in his life, Junno felt like he was really, and truly love. He felt like he was almost ready to make love. To have Ueda prove to him that love wasn't like the abuse his father made him go through. Ueda had always told him that love was a wonderful thing. Perhaps with Ueda's help, Junno could learn that f or himself.
Junno didn't want to sleep; he knew he would have the dreams again. But the sound of Ueda's heartbeat lulled him to sleep.
Ueda couldn't sleep. He went to the kitchen to get a snack. The ghost was there, again, he knew what this ghost was, Junno's twin brother.
"What's your name?" Ueda asked the ghost.
"You can see me?" The ghost looked scared, but happy at the same time.
"Of course I can see you, you're here." Ueda told him. "What's your name?"
"You won't believe me if I tell you."
"Try me." Ueda said levelly.
"I am Tarosuke's twin brother." the boy took some cookies out of a container, and then sat at the table.
Ueda sat across from him. "Who is Tarosuke?"
"I forgot, he uses my name." The boy said. "You know him as Junno."
The boy began to much on the cookies. Ueda had heard of hungry ghost before, but none that ate chocolate chip cookies.
What's your name?" The boy asked.
"There was a priest named Ueda who came to this house after the accident." The boy told him. "My parents wanted to banish me from this house. I disturbed my sisters. Besides they thought my spirit was a Mizuko."
"That was my grandfather." Ueda told him. "Why are you still here?"
"When he met me, he refused to banish me." The boy began to eat his last cookie. "He said there is a tie between my brother and me. He told me that someday, my brother and I would share the same body. Can you believe that?"
"My grandfather did tell me that sometimes twins share the same soul." Ueda said. "When one dies, the other rejoins the other half."
"If my brother asked, I would rejoin with him." The boy took some more cookies out of the jar and began to eat those. "I am so thirsty."
"Do you want me to pour you some milk?" Ueda asked.
'That would be nice, thank you." He said very politely.
Ueda went to the refrigerator and poured the ghost some milk. He set it in front of him. The boy took a drink.
"Why would your parents not put your name on the list at your local shrine?" Ueda asked.
"They put my name on the list,Ē The boy explained. "They just didnít' put Tarosuke's on it."
"Why wouldn't they do that?"
"I am glad my brother's here." the boy didn't answer the question. "Even though he can no longer see me. It feels good to have him close. You will be here tomorrow?"
"Yes, we will."
"Good. I'm always alone on Christmas." The boy looked like he was going to cry. "It used to be such a happy day. We would each get a single present from Santa Claus. Santa Claus was the only one that would ever give him gifts. Tarosuke was always so excited. His face always lit up. But that was before..."
"The accident." A tear rolled down the boy's face. "My death gave Tarosuke another chance of life. My parents didnít know we changed places in the car. We were playing a trick on them. So they called him Junno. They were glad that Tarosuke was dead. They don't mourn for him. They never even had a picture of him on the shrine. He was a Mizuko. Why morn for a Mizuko?"
"Why would they do that?"
"Have you ever heard the old folklore about twins?" The boy looked at Ueda. "One is good, the other evil. My parents decided that he was the evil one. Tarosuke was punished for even the simplest mistake. Then our father began to hurt him. I would hide under the covers and hold my ears. I was so scared he would hurt me too. But he never did. I was the good one."
"I'm sorry." Ueda said.
"My death saved my brother from the pain." the boy said maturely. "I am glad that he no longer hurts."
It was Christmas morning. The day that Junno had tried to avoid, for it was the anniversary of his twin brother's death. He knew his brother was angry with him. Sometimes he could feel the anger from his brother it seemed to saturate every room in his families house.
When Junno woke up in the hospital, He knew he should have told the truth. That he was really Tarosuke. But he had been terrified of what would have happened. He was scared that he would be punished for Junno's death. So when his mother called him Junno, he had smiled and answered her.
"The Mizuko is dead." his mother had spat.
The family only had a funeral because it was expected by the neighbors. Junno was the only family member that mourned his brother. The rest of his family always went on vacation during the anniversary. They celebrated the passing of an unwanted son. The child who was destined to spend his life wandering the earth as a spirit, simply because of the selfishness of the parents.
Junno took a small wrapped package and put it on the alter.
"Why didn't you tell me you had a twin brother?" Ueda said from behind him.
"A twin?" He denied. "I don't have a twin."
"I talked to him last night." Ueda told him. "He told me he's proud of his Tarosuke."
"Where did you hear that name?" Junno demanded.
"Junno told me."
"I don't believe it!" Junno told him.
"You don't have to." Ueda went to the fireplace. He moved a brick. Then he took a photo out.
Junno began to shake. When his parents destroyed the photos of the twins together, Junno had hidden one.
Ueda went to the familyís shrine. He put the photo of the twins on it. Then he rang the bell and prayed.
Junno suddenly grew very, very afraid. Ueda was praying for his secret.
"My parents don't remember him. They were glad he was dead." Junno said softly. "Tarosuke was stupid, he had trouble learning. The only thing he was better at Junno was dancing. But that didn't seem to matter to my parents. Couldn't make money being a dancer. Besides he was Mizuko."
"What about Junno?" Ueda asked. "I know who you really are. You don't have to refer to yourself in the third person."
"Junno was the favorite son. He had everything. On our birthday, he would always have a party. I would have to stay in the bedroom." Junno tried to explain. "After the car wreck that killed him, I was knocked unconscious. When I woke, and my mother called me Junno. I betrayed him. I took his name."
"No, he hates me." Junno told him. "He wants to punish me for my sin. I let him become the Mizuko instead of me."
"He does understand." Ueda said. "I talked to him last night."
"How can you?"
"My grandfather was a folk Shinto priest. My mother said I inherited his gift of seeing ghosts."
"If you see Junno again, can you tell him how sorry I am?" Junno asked. "That I haven't seemed complete since he died."
Ueda looked to the side, at something. He nodded. "Why don't you tell him yourself?"
"Is he here now?"
"You just have to believe, and you'll see him again. Then if you ask, he will reunite with your soul. The two of you can be together again, in your body." With that, Ueda left the room.
Junno sank down on the floor. The guilt of taking his brother's identity washed over him. He put his forehead on the floor. "Junno, I'm very sorry. I shouldn't have taken your identity. Ueda doesn't understand why you would hate me. But I am the evil one. I'm the one that deserved to die. I am the real Mizuko. Please Junno, if you can, kill me."
He looked at the floor, waiting for his brother to kill him. Instead, he felt a small hand touch his shoulder. Then a young voice said. "We are two halves of the same soul. How can I kill you?"
"Junno," he looked up. His brother still young looked at him.
"Why do you feel guilty?"
"I took your life."
"You had another chance at your own life." his twin said. "I watched over you during your life. You grew to be a strong man. I am proud of you."
"I don't deserve it. I am Mizuko."
"No youíre not a Mizuko!" For the first time his twin looked upset. "A man came here, to exorcise me. When he heard our story, He put your name on his temple's list. You're no longer Mizuko."
"I still don't deserve your forgiveness."
"What about the one you love? What does he say?"
"The one I love?" Junno asked.
'Your lover Ueda."
"He's not my lover." Junno said. "I'm afraid it will hurt the way it did with papa."
"Silly, you love him. He loves you." his twin smiled. "You should tell him your feelings. Then the two of you will spend you life together."
"I've never been as brave as you."
"I'm with you now. Take my bravery." The boy offered.
"I wish we could be the same." Junno said. "Ueda said we could be together again. Can we?"
"Yes," The boy said. "If you don't want, I wonít. It's up to you."
"I've missed you so much." Junno admitted. "It's like I'm lost without you. When you died, my emotions died too."
"We are two halves of the same whole." The boy embraced Junno.
The boy faded from sight, Into Junno. Through his brother's eyes he could see him looking at real hands for the first time in a long time.
"I'm going to have to get used to being grown up." the boy said happily. "You've grown so tall Tarosuke."
"Is this how it's going to be like? With the two of us in the same mind?"
"Of course not silly." The boy said. "But you have to decide. Do you really want our soul to merge?"
"It's the same soul." Junno said. "Join with me, please."
There was a brief push, then a joy Junno had never felt before. He no longer was just Tarosuke, he was Junno. He had memories of both. But at the same time he was very much himself. He had a new name for his new self, Junnosuke. The name he had taken when he joined the Johnny's. Half of his name and half of his brother's.
Junnosuke went into his bedroom. For the first time in his life, he really felt that he was Junno, not just someone pretending to go by that name. He was also still Tarosuke. Two parts of the same whole.
Ueda was sitting at his desk, doing a tarot reading. Junnosuke stood beside him, just looking at the cards.
"Who are you?" Ueda asked without looking up. "Tarosuke or Junno?"
"Call me Junnosuke. Half of each of our names."
"But Junno's full name was Junnosuke." Ueda pointed out.
"That was the name I took when I joined the agency." Junnosuke told him. "My real name was always Junno."
"From now on, I'll call you Junnosuke," Ueda promised.
"You really are psychic." Junnosuke said.
"You have your secret, I have mine." Ueda said.
"I'm lucky you had that secret." He put his hand on Ueda's shoulder. "We are very lucky. You made us whole again. That's the best present anyone could give."
Ueda didn't answer. He went back to his cards. He drew the lovers.
Junnosuke picked it up. The lovers on the cards were not the traditional version, with a man and a woman, but this deck had two men as lovers. "Have you ever noticed that the lovers on your card look like us?"
Ueda took the card from him, and looked at it. 'I never had before."
"That means it was fate for us to come here." Junnosuke put his arms around Ueda's shoulders. "Fate for me to become whole, and fate for us to become loves."
"I told you I would wait." Ueda reminded him.
Junnosuke took the card from Ueda. "The lovers, that's what I want to be with you."
Ueda turned in the chair, he kissed Junnosuke. This time Junnosuke kissed back, he was no longer afraid. For he knew on this Christmas morning, that he was destined to spend his life with Ueda Tatsuya.