Disclaimer:While disclaimers have no actual legal worth, they do make me feel better about stealing characters. So; none of the characters here belong to me.
A/N:This is actually a complete re-write of something I had posted before under another title. Though if you happened to read that, you should only be able to recognise a the part at the very end.
When is this? A hundred years after Naraku's death? Two hundred? More? Less? I couldn't say.
Feedback is very appreciated!^^ Whether you think it's good, bad or are completely indifferent, please tell me why!
It was late one night at the end of summer when Sesshoumaru arrived at the glade.
It was already dark and the only light came from the moon above, and the fireflies that were dancing in the air. Had Sesshoumaru been the kind of person who paid attention to such things, he might have thought it was beautiful.
The Lord of the Western Lands had been travelling in the northernmost parts of his lands, a part of the world where he seldom came, and where not much happened save seasons changing. One would have imagined that with it being border-country, fights and disputes would have been everyday occurrences, but they were not.
Not anymore, at least. Once, it had been a rather wild area, with lots of fighting demon tribes, but during the last hundred years or so, it had been an extraordinarily peaceful area. The demons had albeit disappeared, and not many humans lived here either. It was as if this part of the world had slowly fallen asleep.
So this was not an area that Sesshoumaru paid much attention to. But once in a while he would have some errand here, or, like this time, pass through on some journey to the Northern Lands. He had been on his way home when he had found himself close to the glade he was now thoughtfully regarding. It was a place he had not thought about for many years, something he had forgotten long ago. On a whim, he had decided to visit.
At the other side of the glade was a very small and simple hut. A passing human would have paid it no attention. A demon would not have found anything interesting about it either, and would probably have thought it to be some long-forgotten and abandoned shed of some human, if he had thought of it at all.
Though if he had been there at this very moment, he might have wondered what interest the Lord of the Western Lands had in it.
Sesshoumaru stepped into the glade, walking up to the hut. He stopped in front of the door, and waited.
"I have been expecting you, Lord Sesshoumaru. Welcome."
The voice came from his left, from up the only tree that grew inside the almost perfect circle the trees around the glade formed.
He watched silently as the speaker lightly jumped down from the tree, and came towards him.
She had changed. The last time he had seen her she had been a child, but the creature in front of him now was a young woman. She was short, but compared to how she had looked the last time Sesshoumaru had seen her, she had grown considerably.
It made him wonder how long ago it had been since he was last here. A hundred years or so, maybe? In a normal case, he could have asked Jaken when he got back from this little expedition---while the toad had started to go somewhat deaf over the last few decades, he still had a surprisingly good memory for things like that. But as far as Sesshoumaru could remember, Jaken had not been with him the last time.
Not that a few years here and there really mattered to someone like Sesshoumaru. It was just the principal of the matter.
He gave her the slightest nod of acknowledgement as she stopped in front of him. "Kanna."
She bowed her head, and turned towards the hut. Sesshoumaru wordlessly followed her through the door.
For the most part, the hut was as unremarkable from the inside as it was from the outside. It had no windows, and the only light came from the small fire burning in the fireplace on the middle of the floor. There was a futon by one of the walls, and a little chest next to it, but other than that, the room was empty.
Except for the wall opposite the door, which was filled with mirrors, all of different shapes and sizes. On their surfaces were the dancing reflections of the light from the fire.
Kanna sat down on her knees next to the fireplace, her back turned towards the wall with the mirror and her face towards the door.
"Sit, if you wish."
Sesshoumaru regarded her for a moment, and sank down to the floor on the opposite side of the fire.
Unlike her appearance, Kanna's voice had hardly changed at all over the years. It was still as eerie and childlike as ever. Except there was something else to it now as well. It sounded almost unused, Sesshoumaru decided, like it had been a very long time since she had had the need it last, and she was only now getting reacquainted with it. The thought gave him a strange mental image of rust, and spiderwebs.
Which made him wonder when the last time she had had visitors was. Kanna was not exactly the kind of person who would seek any kind of companionship, after all. She was probably the only person Sesshoumaru knew who could make even him seem talkative and social. How many people even knew of this place?
With a start, he realised that during all these years, he had never even heard Kagura mention her sister. Come to think of it, he was pretty certain she did not even know that Kanna was still alive in the first place.
Had it not been for all the new mirrors and the fact that Kanna was not wearing the same clothes as she had worn as a child, it would not been unlikely that he himself had been the last living being she had spoken to, that day all those decades ago when he had given her permission to live in his lands, in this glade.
Even to Sesshoumaru, it seemed a chilling prospect.
He met her gaze – as unreadable as his own.
"You knew I was coming."
"I saw your appraoch, Lord Sesshoumaru."
Kanna got up from the floor and walked over to the wall with the mirrors. She stopped in front of the one that was hanging in the place of honour, at the centre of the wall. All the other mirrors somehow seemed inferior to that one, less important, the way they were spread around it.
He kept his eyes on it as she carefully took it down from the wall. Kanna looked much more familiar when she was holding a mirror, Sesshoumaru realised, much more like she had as a child.
"Yes, this is the same one," Kanna commented, following his gaze.
She sat back down, in exactly the same spot and position she had been before.
"That mirror… It was the one that showed you my approach?"
Kanna nodded. "It can show you things you need to know. Or things you wish to know, sometimes." She reached over and handed him the mirror.
Sesshoumaru took it into his hands, raising an eyebrow. "Does it still---?" He left the question hanging in the air.
She nodded again.
He looked into it. It showed nothing except his own reflection, in colours he was not used to, and more angles and shadows. The fire.
"Have it show you what is important."
He frowned a little, and concentrated. And the darkness disappeared, and instead, it showed a clear, blue cloudless sky. Sesshoumaru briefly wondered why, it was night after all. He had time to remember that the last time he had been here, it had been night as well, and wonder whether it was always night here, before he saw a wind blowing , and a feather appeared in the mirror, growing larger and larger.
Then, the familiar figure on the feather flicked her fan, a wind appeared and the colours in the mirror swirled around and when they finally settled, the image changed. A little girl sitting on a field somewhere, seemingly humming happily to herself and admiring some flowers in her hand. "Rin," he quietly said to himself.
The images disappeared, and Sesshoumaru looked up. Kanna was watching him with an expression as unreadable as ever. "The human girl you travelled with, was that not? I have never known of humans living that long."
Had she been anyone else but Kanna, Sesshoumaru would have taken the statement as curiosity. "Her descendant," he simply told her.
Even after Rin had got married and had a family of her own, Sesshoumaru had remained something of a guardian for her, and her whole family. Her death had not affected that, either, through all these decades he had been the protector of first her children, and later their descendants. Sesshoumaru did have to admit that he was glad that they never had many children, though, as that would have left him with way to many charges today.
Also, a lot of them lived dangerous lives, as many of them had chosen to take up the profession of Rin's husband – that as demon slayer. A fact that did not fail to amuse Sesshoumaru in it's irony.
The girl he had just seen was the youngest of her now-living descendants, the first one to also be named Rin, and the one that looked the most like her.
He handed Kanna back the mirror.
"What do you see when you look in the mirror, Kanna?"
"Many things. The world. I see it changing."
Kanna put down the mirror on the floor beside her, stood up and walked over to the wall again. This time, she took down one of the other mirrors. This one was a little larger than the first one, and more oval in it's form. The surface, Sesshoumaru noticed as she came back to her place by the fire, was not only reflecting the light of the fire, but other colours as well; green, and blue, and black, swirling around in a frantic dance.
"Sometimes, I see dreams."
"The kind you see at night."
Sesshoumaru let his gaze wonder over the mirrors behind her, wondering what functions they had. Shoving dreams. Stealing souls. Showing a world you were not part of. What else could they be used for? He wondered whether any of them was an actual mirror, one for looking at yourself.
"Where do they come from?"
"I make them."
Following his gaze, Kanna understood right away what he meant by the question, and didn't need any clarification.
"The world knows nothing of me," she continued. "It cannot feel my prescence, and if it could, it would not understand. I am Nothing, and for beings that are Something, Nothingness is something too abstract. They have no grasp of it, and do not wish to have a grasp of it.
"Do you remember the time I asked for your permission to remain here, Lord Sesshoumaru?"
Sesshoumaru nodded. It had been a night not much unlike this one, some time after Naraku had been defeated. He had been on a lonely journey home from the Northern Lands, very much like this time, and had come upon the glade by chance---if there was such a thing as chance---and there he had met Kanna. She had not been seen since the last battle with Naraku. If anyone had thought of her at all, they had probably assumed she had been killed sometime during the fighting by one of the others. With all the confusion and all the people present at the time, it would not have been possible to keep track of what all the others were doing.
However, here she had been, and here Sesshoumaru had found her. How she had got there, he did not know. She had bowed to him, and asked him for his permission to live in this place. And he had given it to her. Why, he was not sure. He had never talked to her before, and seen only very little of her during all the fights with Naraku. But then again, he often did things by impulse, something that often mystified both his allies and his enemies who were all convinced he had some grand plan behind it all.
He had not seen her since.
He had forgotten her.
"You never asked me why I wished to stay here," Kanna continued. "Two reasons, Lord Sesshoumaru. Here, I can remain untroubled by the world, and without troubling it. Also, here is the perfect place for making mirrors."
She kept her eyes on the fire, and went silent again.
That had to be the most she had ever said at the same time in her entire life, Sesshoumaru figured. He did not ask how she made the mirrors. Some things were not for everyone to know.
The question he had been pondering earlier reappeared, though. "Do you remember how long ago it was?"
Kanna shook her head. "Time does not much matter to me. I am Nothing. It is of no importance in the Void."
They sat in silence for a while, both staring unblinkingly into the fire.
"Lord Sesshoumaru… How is my sister?"
Her voice was even more of a whisper than usual, he thought.
"You would not know?"
Kanna raised her face, and her black eyes, completely unaffected by the light of the fire, met his golden ones where the flames were dancing. Then, she held up the mirror she had still been holding in her lap, and shifted her gaze to that instead.
"I seldom use them for such purposes."
"I see. Your sister is as well as ever. Just as stubborn." Sesshoumaru allowed himself something that was almost a smile, though only an unusually observant person who knew him very well would have noticed it.
"There were things Naraku's death did not change, then."
He could have sworn there was almost a small smile on her lips as well.
"You have not seen her since, then, I take it?"
"No," she simply stated. No more explanations there.
"When Naraku was defeated, a lot became clear. There were two empty jars. One of them once held Kagura's heart. The other one---" Sesshoumaru raised his gaze to meet Kanna's "---your soul?"
She did not answer.
"You have seen much, Kanna. But there are many things you cannot see, or chose not to see."
Kanna lowered her gaze.
Sesshoumaru stood up. "I shall take my leave. This has been---interesting."
It really had been an intersting interlude on this otherwise rather dull journey, Sesshoumaru thought. Short, but interesting. He would not have said so if it had not been, of course. Perhaps, he pondered, he would stop by again some time.
He turned and made for the door, stopping for a short moment just as he was walking out. "I shall inform your sister of you whereabouts."
He did not turn around as he was talking, and Kanna did not answer.
She walked to the door after he had left, watching him disappear back to the outer world. After standig there for a long while, Kanna bowed her head, her hair falling over her face, and went back inside, shutting the door behind her.
When Naraku died, everything suddenly became clear to me. The whole world came rushing at me, and for the first time, I was aware of so many things.Not just abstractly knowing they existed, but really, truly aware. Of the grass beneath my feet, the wind in my face, the sky above me. Of all the colours of the world.
My fingers, my toes, every strand of hair on my head. My heart beating in my chest.
For a small moment, everything was made perfect sense.
And then, the moment was over, as fast as it began. Emotions I vaguely identified as pain, hate, sorrow and happiness overwhelmed me, all melting into the great emotion of confusion in my head.
So I did the only thing I could do; I turned around and quietly walked away. No one paid attention to me---they were all too busy with other things, and I was not a priority. Besides, I've never been one to command much attention anyway. I had no idea where I was going and only dimly aware of my surroundings now, or even of the fact that I was walking in the first place.
I clutched my mirror to my chest. It was the only thing in this strange new world that I could hold onto, the only tangible reminder of what I was.
I am Nothing, I kept reminding myself. Maybe concentrating on that one thought would chase away all the unfamiliar confusion from my mind?
Nothing, Nothing, Nothing, I repeated to myself, in rhythm with my steps. The very steps that were taking me further and further away from life as Naraku's puppet, further and further from everything that had once been true.
I don't know how far I walked, and for how long - hours, or years. When I looked up again, I was in a moonlit glade where the fireflies were dancing.
"Dead eyes, are you just like me?
Cause her eyes were as vacant as the seas
Dead eyes, are you just like me?"
- The Smashing Pumpkins: By Starlight