Disclaimer: I don't own the Ginga Series. That right belongs to Yoshihiro Takahashi. Now for a little backstory. A long time ago a good friend and I started a fanfic entitled "Echoes of the Forgotten", detailing the story of the litter Cross had before joining Ohu. However as the years went on, updates became slower and interest waned. So I decided to reboot everything and start over. Now I give you Ginga Gaiden Mayu: Lost Echoes. Enjoy!
Broken, defeated, and alone was exactly how Cross felt that very moment. Blood dripped from her open back wound and began to form a small puddle at her feet. Her mouth was filled with an iron taste of bitterness. She licked it away wincing as the flavor swathed against her tongue. All around her lay the corpses of her friends; her fellow hunting dogs. Akakabuto had left her standing out of sheer mistake. By all means he should have killed her, would have killed her, but her brief collapse gave off the illusion of death. That had saved her life, as the demon bear retreated into the mountains, satisfied with himself.
The battle still lay fresh within her mind. Bodies thrown at the monster in an attempt to bring him down. Herself leading the charge. He cast them aside one by one as if they were mere bugs. And by all means they were, insignificant insects before his might. The odds were completely against them, yet they loyally obeyed their master Sawada; hung off his every command. Her trust in him was absolute. She looked to him for direction, for guidance, and the more she fought the truer that became. Though as the fight dragged on, his orders ceased. Her eyes searched for him, but saw nothing. Had he been killed? Those fears were prominent within her mind. And then, she Cross's eyes settled upon something that caused her blood to freeze.
He was running; his form fading into the distance. And that was the last she saw of him. The last time she would ever trust a human.
And now she was alone, amidst the field of death. Battered, betrayed, discarded like yesterday's trash. And so she made a vow, to never return to the place she used to call home. And so she cried, not just for herself, but for those she was to leave behind. Ones who were dear to her heart more so than anything else.
Life had played a cruel twist, and it would hurt more than anything, but that's how it went, and how it was fated.
The woods were vast and large spreading and coating the mountains that loomed overhead. And near those woods lay a house. It was nothing grand, a simple abode that was enough for one person. It had a yard and an asphalt road, the gravel only stopping near the base of the woods. And it was within this house that four puppies lived. They were young things, barely weaned off their mother's milk. Sounds of their yips filled the yard, happy barks of joy that could only accompany the carefreeness of youth.
Long ears and silky coats signified them as belonging to the saluki breed. Two males chased one another, twin brothers in terms of appearance and inseparability. The younger of the two lead the way, head turned back as he watched his older brother hang upon his tail. It was a common game the two played, all under their mother's watchful eye. Least usually, for this time their mother was absent.
But this story was not about them. As mentioned before there were four puppies, and our point of view centered on the one laying a distance away from his siblings.
"I'm hungry!" he whined bouncing up and down upon the porch, "When's Mom coming back?"
His question was not centered to his brothers but to the one at the foot of the steps. "How should I know?" said the female. "Mom will get back when she get's back."
The male pup lowered his head with a whine. "But I want her back now."
"Oh quit acting like a baby! Honestly!"
This made the pup whine all the more. "I'm not a baby." he muttered quietly. He hated when his sister called him names like that. She was always prodding him along, and every time he would go running to their mother. This only fueled his sister's opinion of his maturity level. Sister looked to forest and saw no sign of any life. Not that she was worried, their mother always came back. Back and safe from harm. There was nothing to worry about. In fact, she could see something just now. Amidst the darkness of the trees a shape moved.
"See there's Mom!" Sister stood up as she pointed ahead. Indeed there was a figure approaching. But it wasn't a dog. The shape was too tall and it was loping. A step forward and a drag up. A scent filled the air, coppery and hot. The figure continued to lope out and the pups could see it clearly now. It was human, but not just any human, for it was Sawada their owner. That sight was nothing too strange, save for the smell. But what caught their eye was an absence. There were no dogs behind him, not even their mother Cross.
Sawada continued his trek to the house, his pace quickening with each step. As he grew closer, the smell became stronger and as it did, the pups could clearly see something: a splash of red painted against the man's body, from his head and to his side.
Sister and Brother watched as their other brothers halted their play and approached their master.
"What's wrong?" they asked, their language indecipherable by human ears.
The man ignored them as he pulled himself to the front porch. Brother yelped as a droplet of red splattered next to him.
"Come on!" Sister called edging her brother as she got up the steps.
Quickly the pair slipped into the house right before the door closed. They followed the droplet trail that Sawada left, barking all the way.
"What's going on?"
"Why are you hurt?"
"Shut up!" a kick accompanied that last statement. Thankfully it missed the pups but it startled them all the same. Ignoring the pleading pups, Sawada reached for the phone and begun to dial. To Brother and Sister, it made no sense, for they could only hear bits ad pieces amidst their master's frantic breathing. "Send help!", and "Bear attack, and lastly "Akakabuto!" That was the last thing he said before he collapsed upon the couch.
"What are you talking about?!" Sister asked.
"Where's Mom!?" Brother whined.
"I said SHUT UP!"
That was enough to keep the children quiet. And quiet they remained. They remained so as soon the sounds of sirens filled the air. Several humans in white piled in carrying Sawada off in a stretcher before disappearing in their vehicles down the road. Red lights colored the air as the sirens wailed, and the pups huddled together in fearful confusion. The sounds soon vanished as the white cars were gone, leaving the house in dead silence. There wasn't a single sound until the evening, when the crickets came out and conducted their songs. The moonlight poured down through the window, breaching the darkness of the house. The two brothers, tired from their play were collapsed in a small heap, bodies huddled close for warmth. Their own thoughts were their own stories, known only to them, for they were not the center of this tale. No, it centered upon the one staring upward into the moonlit sky.
"What are you doing up?" Sister asked, walking up to Brother. And truth to say, this story centered on her too.
Brother turned himself around, facing his sibling. "I was going to wait for Mom."
Sister said nothing, allowing her brother to speak. But then she sighed. "Just go to sleep."
"B-b-b-ut I always greet her when she comes back!" Brother's speech veered into a whine.
"Ugh shut up!" Sister spat, not wanting to deal with her brother's whining at this hour.
That was the truth. Out of their siblings, her brother was the closest to their mother. That went with being the youngest of the litter. The runt was the Mama's boy to put it another way.
Brother turned around and continued to stare up, as if asking the moon to guide their mother's path. Sister shook her head, more annoyed than anything, but she held some bewilderment.
"Hang on." she spoke with a tiny plead to her tone. She found her way beside her sibling, just barely hugging against his body. "I'll stay with you." Someone had to, otherwise her brother would get sad and then he might howl, which would annoy her, wake up their brothers, then would come the tears and...young as she was, there were things she could only take so much.
And so the two pups stayed up. Stayed as long as they could before their tiny minds grew heavy and their bodies lethargic. They collapsed upon that very spot, both certain their mother would be home by morning's light.
Sadly, that would awake to discover their mother had not returned. And Cross would never set foot within her home again. It was just a lost echo.
A/N: Hello all and welcome back to this story concept. As much as I love Cross as a character, it always bugged me that she basically abandoned her children. I mean I know in the wild it's common for animals to have many litters fathered by different males, but frankly when you have a child you have a responsibility. So it inspired me to write this fanfic up! Stay tuned for this reboot.