Disclaimer: I do not own Saiyuki, nor do I own the title
It was cold, so cold that his breath formed a white mist on the library window. It was so empty, so inviting that he could not resist the temptation of drawing on the glass. He lifted his hand slowly, and with his finger, he drew a circle. A face. He jabbed his finger in two places, leaving two dots on opposite sides. The eyes. He hesitated.
Laughter floated up from the gardens outside, where the other children were playing in the snow, running after each other, screaming and yelling, like fools with nothing better to do, the boy thought contemptuously. And yet, he felt a sudden pang, as a faint memory stirred within… two children, a boy and his sister, the younger giggling madly as the girl tried to hit him with a snowball….
He drew a thin straight line on the lower part of the circle. The mouth. He paused, and looked at his creation. It was his face. Two eyes, completely devoid of emotion, and a mouth stretched into a thin line. His face was always completely expressionless. Why bother to tire your facial muscles, pulling them this way and that? He never smiled, nor did he laugh. These things were all meaningless. Life was not about feeling. Life was not about emotions. Life was only about thinking and acting.
The nuns preached about thinking about others, but that was only idealism. Such a huge word for such a small boy, he could hear them say. He's far too old for his age. But he knew he was right. He could think, unlike the other children. He had realized that life was only a question of survival; foolish ideas like loving and caring would only bring pain and sorrow, and ultimately death. He knew. He had proof.
He sat down and he took up the book he was reading, but the words kept dancing in front of his eyes. The boy could not concentrate; the sounds coming from the gardens kept interrupting him. He frowned. What could they find to be so happy about? He could not understand them; nor could they understand him. He knew that they hated and feared the strange boy who preferred to spend his days locked away in the library rather than play; he simply did not care. No words they used could hurt him, no insults, no gestures were powerful enough to make him break his icy exterior. He did not care enough, not even to despise them. And yet, deep inside, he envied them…
They thought this place was home, he thought angrily. That was stupid if nothing else was. Home was a place where you were happy, where you loved and were loved in return. The boy bit his lip. There was no longer a place which he could call home now. There was no one left whom he could love.
He closed his eyes. And they want us all to think about others, he thought fiercely, as he closed his book suddenly. How can they fool other people so? If his father hadn't gone out for firewood, he wouldn't have been attacked by demons. If his mother hadn't tried to protect him and his sister, she wouldn't have been murdered. And if his sister hadn't stood there to protect him while he ran away like a coward, they would have died together.
The boy clenched his fists as he struggled with himself. He wanted to forget, he had to forget. Leave a clean slate, forget your past. He knew what caring would bring him to, hadn't he had ample proof? He would not cry anymore, for it was all gone now. There was nothing left for him to cry about.
The boy lifted his eyes to see a pale face reflected in the glass, features frozen into an expressionless gaze, with cold eyes looking at him as he stared back. Slowly, he rose from his chair and walked to the window. He stood before the face he had drawn. He lifted his hand, and with a single stroke, he deliberately wiped it off. There was nothing left now except a faint mark which would vanish with time. There was nothing left now, but a dim memory which would soon fade away, leaving nothing but an empty space.
Cho Gonou turned away and left the room.
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