Crossed Wires

For phoenix_melody

Hizashi: Last Words

They don't want Hiashi and Hizashi to ride in the same car; it would defeat the purpose of having a spare. So their last talk is a terse security report, in the corridor leading to the underground garage.

The bomb is powerful enough that both cars end up on their backs like dead beetles anyway.

Hizashi wakes up in the Hyuuga clinic, with a tube down his nose and his jaw wired shut. His door is guarded by men he trained himself; but when he looks at them, and gestures them closer, they pretend not to understand that he wants a report. They don't look him in the eye.

He knows then that Hiashi is dying. Hizashi would not stop being Head of Security and become Hyuuga property again for anything else.

He regrets, then, that he didn't spend more time with Neji. But he knows that no one will heed any of his requests -- they won't bring him the child, they won't even bring him a pen and paper. He doesn't need Hiashi's gift to know that.

He can't do anything about it, but there's something else he can do something about. He pretends to sleep after the last doctors' round, and waits until his guard is in the bathroom -- a chair under the door, and then the ward is obstacle-free.

There are people outside, debating in hushed voices -- the arguments sound used, like a dance danced so much it has lost all its spontaneity. They're talking about pulling the plug -- he might heal -- but he'll be crippled -- but the gift might be lost in the transfer -- and round and round it goes.

They fall silent when they see him standing tall and expressionless with his bandages and his broken jaw and his cold eyes. He watches each of their faces -- the Elder who opposed his learning to fight, and the Elder who wanted to take Neji away, and others, and others.

None of them matter anymore. He walks past them, inside his original's room.

Hiashi is connected to so many wires and tubes he disappears. His skin looks yellow against the sheets, but for the green and purple bruises. Hizashi picks up the board at the foot of his bed and reads the sheet -- broken legs, broken spine -- several lower vertebra -- broken ribs, perforated lung, damaged eye implants, and on and on. He only still lives because the machines deliver oxygen and nutrients straight into his blood, and won't let his exhausted heart simply stop.

What Hizashi notices, though, is the tension in his hand -- clenched on the sheets so hard the tendons jut out like ropes.

He's in pain, and the drugs they pumped into him can't do anything about it.

Hizashi leans over his original, past the wires and the tubes. His hand touches that hand; there's a perfusion under his palm, but it's the only free skin he can get at. And he waits.

Hiashi opens his eyes eventually; they're bloodshot, blurred by the pain -- he's blind again. He seems to know, though; he shivers, and his head moves to the side, an imperceptible "no".

Hizashi squeezes his hand. He thinks it might be the first time he's voluntarily touched Hiashi. Hiashi, the man he was created for. The man who gave the spare almost thirty years of life, gave him a child to raise, made him head of security, when the Elders were so insistent to keep him isolated, make sure he stayed tractable and well-indoctrinated.

The man who wants nothing more than to die, but doesn't let himself because it would mean Hizashi would follow.

"Don't worry about that," he whispers past his broken jaw.

And then he tears off the cable that keeps Hiashi's heart beating.


Hiashi opens his eyes onto a hospital ceiling. The pain echoes down his limbs, but the only wound he has is a broken jaw.

He closes his eyes and clenches his fists on the sheets.

"When you're done with my old body," he says, "I want the remains buried in the head family vault and his name added to the headstone."

One of the Elders will comment he's too sentimental later. But it really doesn't matter. They did plan to pass off his old body as that of his bodyguard anyway, and the police might get curious if Hyuuga Hiashi's twin brother isn't interred where he should be.

Hiashi just wants to feel as if there's still something left of Hizashi. The exchange isn't fair -- the exchange is a goddamned lie. Hizashi didn't switch; he didn't get Hiashi's own broken body. He didn't get anything at all. A fake grave isn't enough, but now it's all Hiashi can give him.

He cannot see his own future, or Neji's, but he already knows that his second spare will never visit it.