Title: I Wish For Ashes
Summary: Nobody can catch the Bandit Queen except for the Bandit King. But does he really want to?
Anime: Jing: King of Bandts
Disclaimer: I don't own Jing or Cassis or even the song "Eyes Like Yours" that's sung by Shakira. I do however own the fat guard...oh joy.
A/N: Cassis is a real Jing Girl! She is not some OC that i just made up; she appears in the last bit of the fourth manga and the second episode of the OVA! For those of you who don't know who she is, Cassis is probably the first Jing Girl. She was his childhood friend, back from when he it seems he actually stayed in one place. It's pretty obvious that she likes him, but she tries to hide it by beating him up - it's very amusing. This is dedicated to Chibi (SailorChibi - she also writes J/C!), wishout her I probably would have never gotten around to writing J/C fics. Edit: Since it is against rules to have songfics, I've made this a song-based fic with lyrics quoted at the top.
"Stop, thief!" the guard bellowed, panting as he pelted after the fleeing bandit. His feet pounded against the marble floor as he puffed, pushing himself beyond his limits in an effort to catch up to the fleet-footed thief.
But eventually, the many after-dinner sweets he had consumed over the years got to him and he collapsed to his knees, gasping deeply for air. He mentally cursed as he fought to regain his lost breath and eventually lumbered to his feet, perspiring heavily. As he returned to the palace, he prayed that the King would have some semblance of mercy on his soul.
After all, what match was he – or anyone, for that matter – for the Bandit Queen?
My one desire, all I aspire
Is in your eyes forever to live
Traveled all over the seven oceans
There is nothing that I wouldn't give
Came from Bahrein, got to Beirut
Looking for someone comparing to you
Tearing down windows and doors
And I could not find eyes like yours
-Eyes Like Yours, Shakira
I Wish For Ashes – A JC based off Eyes Like Yours
The figure's loping gait slowed to a walk, then to a stop. Slender hands reached up to the cloak's hood and drew it back, unclasping the delicate silver clasp in the same movement. The ebony cloth was flung aside, revealing creamy skin, shining golden locks and laughing turquoise eyes to the late afternoon sun.
Spinning around in a circle once, Cassis tugged her skirt free of the boots she wore and collapsed backwards on the giving emerald grass. Her lovely smile grew as she tilted her face back towards the sky and closed her eyes, soaking in the sun like a blossom freed from captivity and shivering lightly in the brisk wind.
By the peaceful scene she made, one would never have guessed how much she hated the wind.
The wind was just like a flower petal, scattered throughout the world. No one petal was the same, just as no wind was the same. A petal could be there one moment resting on your fingertips and gone the next to flutter through someone's hair. Neither cares whom they soared by, or how they made people feel. Neither had worries.
He was like the wind.
And she, she was like a fully-grown flower who had spread its petals to the wind. Always wandering, finding new experiences and new adventures, but at the same time, always longing for her roots, for the sun, for the thing that made her grow.
Make no mistake, since leaving her home seven years before, Cassis had seen many new and strange things. She had gained so much knowledge, come across so many wondrous things, met so many people.
She had wept with a mother whose child had died. She had laughed with siblings seeing the joy of new life for the first time. She had grown angry with nobility who refused to aide those in need, and given new hope to peasants with nothing put the clothes on their backs. She had shared wisdom with the young and beauty with the old.
She had watched people who utterly despised one another fall head over heels in love. She had found heroes who turned out to be villains and villains who turned out to heroes. She had walked upon an icy path through a blizzard and sailed on an open sea under warm sunlight. She felt she had seen it all.
All, that is, except the thing she set out to find.
No matter how far, how long, or how hard she tried, she could not find it. She had gazed into countless orbs, but none matched. No matter the size or value, the blonde would easily give up any and everything she had to be able to see them once more. Even if it meant selling her soul, she was prepared to do so without hesitation.
If only she could gaze into his ash eyes for one minute.
Those eyes, those beautiful, terrible eyes that haunted her dreams. The eyes that she had grown up staring into and then smiled into when she fell in love. The eyes that had held her heart for as long as she could remember. Those eyes, and the boy attached to them, had captured her heard before she even knew what love was.
But the purest memory of all was the pain she felt when he left without a word.
So she had followed him at the mere age of twelve. In her mind, home was not home without his presence. So, for seven long years, she had traveled to every known and even a few unknown lands in hope of finding him.
If the name of the Bandit King was even so much as mentioned in passing, Cassis was there before anyone could blink, listening carefully. If there was a treasure that was rumored valuable enough for him to steal, she raced to capture it first in hopes that he would come to confront her.
Any possible way of getting his attention there was, she had thought of it and most likely done it. Years ago, when she was young, she had gotten the idea of calling herself the Bandit Queen. She had prayed that somewhere, somehow, he would hear of a girl who dared to call herself his queen and come to her so that when they did meet, he would perhaps allow her to journey with him.
But year after year passed, and he never came.
Cassis snorted, blinking back the tears that pricked at the corners of her eyes. Despite the pain she lived with every day, she could not be surprised that he hadn't come. Hell, she was shocked that her reputation had spread as much as it had. She was no comparison to Jing now, and she never had been, nor would she ever be.
True, each day her skills improved. She was getting better at finding entrances and planning exits. She was improving at getting in quietly and at fleeing should she get caught.
But so was he.
Every single time she felt even a touch proud over a particularly difficult theft, she would hear of him stealing something completely unexpected but a thousand times better. Every time she thought she was getting even slightly close to his level, he did something only the Bandit King could.
And she was back at the start like the beginner she was.
More than likely, he considered the so-called 'Bandit Queen' an annoying fly that would eventually go away.
But Cassis wasn't going to go away so easily.
Without her permission, her mind brought forth a dream she had had a short time ago, where she had been fleeing from a couple of guards. She had rounded a corner and nearly crashed into a woman hidden in alleyway. The girl's golden curls literally dripped with oil from a lack of washing. A thin, tattered cloth that was scattered with holes and stained with filth was wrapped haphazardly around her body for some semblance of warmth. Her body was even dirtier than the cloth and clearly had not seen a bath for some time – the once pale skin appeared brown from dirt and mud.
Cassis was stunned at the girl's physical appearance, for passerbys on the street would pause and place piles of food, clothing, gold coins, and jewelry down beside her. But the woman paid the bundles no heed, even when a too highly stacked column of coins rained down. Instead, she was entirely focused on pawing through the dumpster. However, nothing surprised her more than when the girl turned towards her.
And Cassis gazed into turquoise eyes identical to her own.
It took her a full minute to come to terms with what she was seeing. Her 'other' self seemed to understand her shocked awe and gave her a sad smile. Her mouth opened, revealing teeth that clearly had never been washed, then closed without speech and she returned to her relentless digging. Her eyes were filled with pain, but also determination. She would continue to search no matter what.
It was then that Cassis realized that this must be the way she appeared to the world. She had been given essentially everything she required to exist – food in her stomach, the ability to find shelter, the skills to get money and clothing when she needed it.
But could anyone understand that she needed one more thing to live?
Even though it seemed as thought she had it all, she still continued searching. No matter what the gods chose to place in her path, she was never content. She could never stop looking, for her heart would always cry out to see him.
She wanted to see him more than anything else in the world.
And so, despite the reoccurring dream, she continued her search. Even with the difficult and sometimes impossible odds that challenged her when she traveled, even when the gods themselves seemed to want her to stop.
She continued through the times of hunger so consuming that all she wanted to do was sleep forever. She continued through times when she was so completely turned around, so lost, that she honestly thought she would never find her way. She continued through the times of being caught and thrown into the foulest prisons possible. She continued even when hope was a forgotten emotion. With or without the help of the gods, she would do whatever it took...
... Just to gaze into those eyes again.
When she was a younger, her whole life had revolved around him. Each day had been determined by what he wanted to do. If he wanted to play, they would play. If he wanted to tease, she would respond as he wanted by chasing him around with her wooden bat. If he wanted to sleep, she was never far away, content just to be nearby.
Even at the age of nineteen, her life still revolved around him.
He had always been everything to her. Her mind told her that he, like other humans, was not perfect, but her heart told her that he was perfect for her. And her memories of her childhood, combined with her dreams, told her the same.
If she was unable to find him, even if she found someone else who would do (and wasn't that in itself a terrible way to think of a future lover? But compared to him, they all failed!), even if she became pregnant with someone else's child, although this thought inwardly amused her.
He would always be on her mind.
Had her pretty eyes been open, Cassis would have rolled them in exasperation. Like any other girl, she had dreamed of having babies of her own. But any other man would expect her to settle down after having kids, and she knew she would not be able to. Not after she had traveled so far and seen so much.
The young blonde wondered idly wondered if Jing felt the same, and decided that he probably did. After traveling for so long, it was difficult to stop and rest – although she guessed that one might get tired after a while. Still... being all over the world, seeing so many different things, doing so many different things... it was unthinkable to her to settle down in one place with a daily routine.
Perhaps that was why Jing had left her. The daily routine of their life bored him.
Her eyes parted slowly to gaze at the quickly setting sun as her hand found its way to her neck. With trembling fingers, she stroked her latest steal. It was a lovely necklace, simple yet elegant. The chain was made of pure silver, with tiny fragments of diamonds scattered into the silver so that the chain would sparkle under light. At the bottom was a charm, a miniature, six-pointed star shaped diamond.
The necklace was said to grant any wish the bearer asked of it.
In her line of work, Cassis had long ago learned to not believe in half the rumors about the treasures she stole. About a quarter of them were clearly not true, and another quarter were just fabrications woven to make the treasures seem more interesting.
But this time...
This time, something told her that she was wrong about this necklace, that something about the rumor behind it was true.
Cassis pushed herself into a sitting position and placed her hands over the star, clutching it tightly enough so that its shaped imprinted itself onto her palm. "I wish," she said breathlessly, her heart hammering against her ribs, "I wish that Jing would come back to me."
Her heart pounded even harder as she waited, hoping for a sign, until she wondered if she were going to have a heart attack. But after a moment of pure silence, and she opened one eye carefully, disappointment welled over her like a cresting wave.
Nothing had changed expect night had now fallen.
She fought a loosing battle against the urge to dissolve into tears as she collapsed back into the grass. A lone teardrop trickled down her cheek. She had suspected that it was just another rumor, but something had urged her to try. She didn't even know why she was so disappointed.
But she was, because in her heart, she had hoped...
The eyes of the Bandit Queen snapped open and she shot upwards into a sitting position. Swiftly, she brushed the tear away as she scrambled to her feet, her body tensed in awareness. She thought she had lost that guard... had he caught up with her after all?
"Who's there?" Cassis called out sharply, flashing the dagger that normally dangled alongside her hip, hidden by her clothing.
A soft, slightly familiar chuckle drifted out of the shadows. Her eyes grew wide and she lost her grip on her weapon. She dove to catch it before it struck the ground and looked around wildly, facing the direction she thought the voice had come from. It was impossible.
"Show yourself," she cried, clutching the dagger with hands that trembled violently. Her eyes darted over the shifting darkness, trying in vain to make out a human – or non-human – form.
Once again, laughter was her reply. Her lips parted to shout another command, but hands gripped her shoulders and spun her around before she could make the words. Her face paled dramatically and she dropped her weapon as a warm mouth pressed against her own.
A pair of ash colored eyes winked mischievously as Jing drew back, brushing a strand of hair from her turquoise eyes. He smirked at her shock, clearly enjoying the little trick he had played. "Wish," he whispered in a soft, husky voice that sent chills down Cassis' spine, "Granted."
A/N: Thanks to Chibi, I do have a sequel idea, but I'm not sure that it's quite what you guys want. It won't be so angsty, so I guess that's a plus. But probably because of that and my twisted obsession with writing angst, it will have to wait until after the "Me" Cassis series I'm writing. But I might be inspired to write faster if I keep getting reviews for that series and this one. So click the blue button, you know you want to.