Disclaimer: Roses are red, violets are blue; I no own, so you no sue! XD No, seriously. o.o I don't own Fughigi Yuugi and/or its characters; they belong to Watase Yuu and all that Japanese people.
Author's Notes: New fanfic. New pairing. New fandom. New style. Same Ruby. Lmao. xD
Once more I rise from the ashes, this time with a totally different story for you, guys! Yes, I still love Sess/Kiky (Inuyasha) to bloody pieces, but after some six fanfics centered on that pairing, I figured it was time to try something...well, new. xD So here I am with a Fushigi Yuugi fanfic! WARNING! Spoilers from the series (especially from eps. 30 on) and the Seiran Den novels, as well as a whole lot of poetic license on my part. :3 Now, enough with the talking and on with the story!
Wings of Destiny
By Sweet Ruby Moon
Happy was the chirping sound of a small flock of yellow birds. Playing on the lush grass. Pecking the earth in search for food. Relishing the western wind's soft touch, spurring their wings to spread wide open and take them to the skies. The heavenly ability to soar through the horizon and drift away from such lowly lands… What a wonderful gift that was.
Mildly interested oculars watched from a short distance the curious game of tag those little creatures had engaged on. You wanted to be like them, didn't you? You wanted to free your mind from all your troubles and fly to the confines of the world, where no one would treat you like a worm, didn't you? Oh yes, you did. But fly you could not, for you had no wings, and your limbs were chained by hatred and intolerance, biding you to harsh reality.
You were a Hin, after all. You would never have a taste of sweet freedom.
Hin. The name itself was enough to cause havoc among villagers anywhere. They wouldn't bear to breathe the same air, or live on the same land a Hin would. Why was it that everyone showed such repulse towards your tribe? Did they fear you? Or did they just plain hate you for being different? Loathing someone for petty reasons like the color of their hair, or the pallor of their complexion was such a dull thing, you thought. Why couldn't they understand that you, too, had a heart, that you had feelings much like their own?
Why couldn't they understand the gift of humanity was yours and theirs alike?
Your fingers strayed towards the wound on your arm and clutched the raw flesh, causing you to wince slightly. Sore as it was, it could not compare to the pain of having everyone in that dreaded village look at you as though you were the bearer of some sort of contagious disease. Oh, how much those people hated you, despised you and your entire clan for reasons that escaped your comprehension. You would constantly question your mother about their motives, but all you got for a response was silence, sometimes a few tears. It was then that you would regret having ever parted your lips to voice those queries.
Staring with some concern at the deep cut on your skin, you ripped a piece of your sleeve and tied it around the small pool of blood, failing in your mission to choke back moans or any other display of pain as you had originally intended. Such a weakling, you thought. You had been weak in showing hurt, and you had been weak in hoping perhaps people wouldn't mind your unholy presence among them... Oh, but they made sure to teach you otherwise, didn't they? You were willing to give them a chance, but they repaid your good faith with both, verbal and physical aggression.
You sighed, your back now resting against the trunk of the tall, flourishing tree you had taken a seat under. Would there ever be a time when someone, anyone, would truly care for you? Would you ever earn someone's love and respect instead of the usual disgust they would normally feel for you? Were you to someday find what everyone seems to long for, that feeling others would refer to as happiness? Probably not. You were but a powerless young boy with no prospect to change whatever twisted concepts people had when it came to the Hin. There was nothing else you could do, but wonder if you were to witness the dawn of such a day.
A sudden turmoil made you leave your musings behind, azure hues focusing on the group of birds once more. They had gathered quickly and taken off in a hurry, as if something had just startled them. In fact, something - someone, rather - had indeed caused them to leave, as you were quite fast to notice; actually, it only took you a few seconds between the time your ears picked on a low, whisper-like mumble and the moment your eyes turned towards the general direction of that noise, only to stumble upon an unexpected sight.
"Neee… The cute birds got scared…" Came the puerile voice of a little girl, standing awfully close to you. She pouted and her cheeks were puffed out, seemingly in frustration for not having been stealthy enough.
You blinked. Judging by her sense of fashion and the way she looked, it was safe to say she was not one of the Hin tribe - her vibrant fire-colored hair, so much different than your golden locks, just stood out and screamed to the world you were not of the same race. You wondered what such small child was doing with no parent supervision in the middle of nowhere, talking to a stranger such as yourself.
In a fraction of second, she whipped around and stared at you with her big, blue eyes for quite some time, as though hoping you would spare her a few words of comfort. As you remained deadly silent all the while, she took a step closer and took the initiative. "Do you think they will be back?" She asked in all her innocence, not once noticing you were too busy studying her features to even elaborate a reply.
She looked no older than five or six, though she acted too much on the perky side for her age. Then again, perhaps her behavior was only expected in normal kids in their early years, for they had not to bear such a burden over their shoulders like you did, being the bastard son of a dishonored Hin princess. Trivial as it would have been for anyone else, you could not figure out which of you did not act according to your age, for up to that day, you had never had any friendly interaction with an outsider. By all means, while you were not used to that sort of energy around you, you didn't mind that sudden change of pace at all.
"Ne..?" She fell to her knees and shook you as a way to get any reaction from you, though it was of no avail. Once again, you were caught up in your musings, casting scrutinizing glances at the little one. There was something wrong about her; her braided hair was in utter disarray, her garments had several rips at random spots and there were quite a few bruises scattered all over her face, yet she didn't seem to care. In fact, she had been so keen in getting you to notice her that it nearly made you think she didn't mind her own condition at all.
Then again, perhaps that was the reason behind her desperate call for attention.
"Nee… Are you mad at Kaen…?" Her head was tilted to one side, her petite hands cupped over her chest in genuine concern. Your eyes widened slightly at this. No one would ever care if they made a Hin upset; on the contrary, they would only take greater pleasure when that came out as a result of their deeds.
"…I'm not mad at you." Came your simple reply, assuming she was this Kaen she had mentioned. You had wanted to ask her, to know why she cared, but you had just barely found the courage to voice a few words - and that already felt strange enough.
"Ah, good! Kaen was getting worried!" She sighed in great relief, the corners of her lips quirking upwards to form a wide smile. "You were so quiet…"
"How did you get those..?" You pointed at the scars on her face, blue oculars narrowing in suspicion. You knew that sort of bruises very well, didn't you? Ah yes, those were the results of child abuse, something you were rather familiar with, much to your distress.
"What? These?" She braced herself and lowered her head, hesitating to reply. "…Tou-sama."
Your eyes became two very thin, nearly dangerous slits. It was times like those that almost made you glad you didn't have a father. Almost. "Your father beat you up?"
The little girl nodded weakly. "Tou-sama gets violent when he drinks a lot… But Kaen is fine, see?" She added as an afterthought, poking her own wounds as to show you she was okay. "Kaen is strong!"
A sad shake of your head, blonde locks spilling over your shoulders. How much more hypocritical could outsiders be? They would so mercilessly bash your clan, yet they were responsible for callous deeds such as inflicting damage upon their own children, which was completely unheard of among the Hin. So much for their high and mighty attitude, you thought… Without another word, you reached for the small container with the remainders of the herbal ointment you had used earlier to treat your wounds and set it on her lap.
"Ano…For Kaen?" She smiled, her petite hands grasping your gift as though it was most precious to her. When you nodded in reply, her eyes nearly flashed with joy. "Arigatou!"
"It's just some medicine. It'll relieve some of the pain." You gave a half shrug, tearing part of your sleeve once more as to provide her all the clean clothing she would need when tending to her bruises. "Here, let me help you."
With an extra amount of care, you dipped the very tip of the makeshift bandage in the medicinal potion and brought it up to her face, your immediate attention focused on the wounds around her eyes. Given you had quite some experience in that area, even though it wasn't exactly something to be glad about, the task was pretty simple, and it probably would not take longer than a few minutes; actually, it would be much faster, if only she could stay quiet for a single minute… 'Boy with yellow hair is so nice!', she kept saying over and over while moving frantically in what you could only describe as a fierce wave of cheerfulness.
"Ne… Kaen had never seen boy with yellow hair around before…" You got mildly surprised once she finally changed her speech, her innocent oculars gazing at you with something akin to admiration. "Did you come from another country?"
A pause. You weren't sure of a proper reply to that question, were you? Your people kept constantly journeying from country to country, from the far East to Western towns like the one you were currently setting camp at; the Gen village, lost somewhere inside the domains of the Kutou empire. You came from many countries, yet none at the same time. "Not really." Was all you chose to answer at first, though her intense, questioning stare wouldn't let you leave it at that. "I come from a nomadic tribe."
"Nomadic…?" She tilted her head sideways and blinked in confusion. "Is that catching..?"
"No, no…" You shook your head and chuckled whole-heartedly at her innocence, resuming your gentle ministrations. "That only means we travel a lot, so we don't really come from any country."
"Ah… That must be fun!" She offered you a warm, enthusiastic smile, which you returned with a sad one of your own.
"It's not as fun as you would think…"
"Why not? Kaen would love to travel a lot and see many, many places!"
"It would be fun if we did so on our own will, but we're forced to keep moving from place to place…" You trailed off, hoping that particular word wouldn't follow your statement, for it would bring about a delicate subject for you to explain.
Much to your dismay, it did.
You sighed. This girl was a curious little one, wasn't she? "You see, people don't really like us." That little piece of information was all you let her have, at least for the time being. Should you tell her who you were, she might get scared and leave you, and in all truths, you were beginning to enjoy her company, in spite of all that interrogation little Kaen was submitting you to.
"Why?" When you shrugged in response, she clutched your free hand with hers and gave it a squeeze. "Kaen likes boy with yellow hair!"
"You… You do?" You were astonished, paralyzed even, at her sudden assertion. It was, of course, a pleasant kind of shock.
"Hai!" She nodded vigorously. "Boy with yellow hair stole Kaen's hiding place, but she still likes him!"
"Hiding place…" Your eyes narrowed at that. Judging by her condition and the tidbits of information you had managed to collect from her, it came as no surprise that she would need a hideout to stay in while it was not safe to return home.
"Did boy with yellow hair need a place to hide, too?"
"Kinda…" Came your meek response after a second or two, your gaze averted for reasons you didn't know.
"Then Kaen will share hers with boy with yellow hair!" Her hands clasped together in what seemed to be great joy, a small squeal escaping her lips.
"Arigatou. Well, we're all done here." You spared one last look at the work you had done with her face and put the mucky piece of clothing aside, smiling at your companion. "How does that feel?"
"It burns just a bit…and it's smelly!" The burgundy-haired girl stuck her tongue out and made a disgruntled face, stealing a couple of laughs from you. "It's true!" She whined, her lips forming a cute pout.
"I know it stinks, but it'll make the pain go away. You'll be feeling much better by tomorrow, you'll see."
"Hai!" Her head bobbed up and down in a positive motion, a huge smile plastered on her features. Moving rather swiftly, she came to her feet and carefully plucked out one of the many white flowers crowning her hair, holding it before your eyes. "For you!"
A blink. "For me? Why?"
"For helping Kaen and being a good friend!" She thrust her gift at you, fits of giggles preceding her actions. "Take it, take it!"
A shy hand reached out to take the flower from a much smaller one, your fingers fiddling with the fair petals for a few seconds. "Arigatou…" When you finally returned her smile and thanked her, your words held new meaning. It wasn't as much for the gift itself as it was for the gesture; that was the very first time an outsider had been nice to you, after all.
"Kaen should go now." She looked up at the sky, her index finger following the same direction as her gaze. "It's getting dark…"
Azure hues met shades of scarlet embracing the firmament, announcing the upcoming arrival of sunset. Time had run its course so quickly in this girl's presence that you had not noticed evening was stealthily budging in until that second. "Right… I should be heading back home, too." You were surprised by the disappointment in own your voice, for it was nearly enough to match hers. You didn't want to leave little Kaen just yet, did you? You wished to remain there just a while longer, to keep talking to her, perhaps even play with her - hell, all you wanted was to feel like a normal kid for once, wasn't it?
That would never happen. And you blamed the Gods for that.
"Well, it was nice meeting you…" You slowly stood up and glanced down at the girl, your words filled with most genuine gratefulness. Her sapphire orbs followed your every move with such intensity that you could almost feel some sort of gentle power exerting pressure over your shoulders as to pin you down to that spot. Strange how you had felt somehow linked to her in such a short amount of time, wasn't it? Strange, scary even, how you suddenly found yourself caring for her, even though she was one of them - the so called superior people your tribe would refer to as outsiders.
Strange, however, was not necessarily a bad thing, as you had just learned.
Concealing the sadness of departure behind a smiling mask, you laid a kind hand on her head and ruffled her untamed bangs. "You take care, okay?" Once she had nodded in assent, you spun on your heels and let your feet lazily take you away from that spot. And then your mask was dropped.
A sigh. It pained you to leave little Kaen behind, but not as much as it hurt not being able to even walk her back to her village. You had wanted to make her company when returning home, to protect her from the dangers of the dark hours and keep her safe; no matter how good your intentions might be, however, the results would still be catastrophic. Her parents most likely wouldn't see your friendship with lenient eyes, and punishment was sure to fall upon the girl. It would most likely fall upon you as well, but that you could handle, for life had taught you to endure physical harm.
It was guilt what you could never bear, though.
A call, faint at first, but gradually growing louder as your ears focused to pick on that sound. You took a pause in your steps and whipped around, blue eyes softening as they once more caught sight of the fire-haired girl standing under the cherry tree. Her braided locks danced against the gentle spring winds as they showered her with pink sakura blossoms, her delicate hands cupped neatly over her chest. There was something so celestial about her image back then - such innocence, such pureness of heart and kindness - that, for a split second, you even thought she was a porcelain angel.
And she was, in a way. To you, she was.
"Ne…" She began timidly, her expression one of sheer hope and a little bit of embarrassment, as one could tell from the rosy shades visible on her face. "…Can Kaen ask just one more thing..?"
"Does boy with yellow hair have a name? Mine is Kaen!" She added quickly and bowed in greeting, as though you hadn't figured her name yet.
"Ayuru." A chuckle, followed by a fond smile. "You can call me Ayuru."
-- Owari --
Author's Notes: Wow. o.o Picturing those two as kids was actually harder than I had expected. And the cuteness. Ah, so much cuteness! I need angst. Angst is good. Yeah. o.o; That'll have to wait, though. And God knows the kiddies -will- get very angsty when they grow up, due to their tragic story and all. o.o (By the way, if you haven't figured out who they are yet... go read that again. Descriptions are so obvious. x.x;)
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this short prologue! And remember... Read and Review:D