So The Lines Are Lost.
This is how it ends:
It is said that the war between the Yasha clan and the Ashura clan lasted three hundred years. Night after night, the men and their kings faced each other.
It is also said that only the very last night, did Ashura-Ou and Yasha-Ou fought directly against each other. Some said that the sparks that Yamato and Shurato made as they collided created new stars, but then, Yasha-Ou struck and Ashura-Ou was no more.
Then, the castle at the moon crumbled and it was no more, its secrets lost forever. No one ever saw Yasha-Ou again: his people told his legend for ages, how he had asked the castle for him to become a god that would guide them. The people of the Ashura clan called him a murderer, and even though most of the soldiers had died, the women took their weapons and attacked again.
And so the feud between them carried on.
Ashura-Ou laughs and asks for more wine, smiles to the servants and asks for more music. Shura waits until his father turns golden eyes towards him before he comes forward, falling to his knees in front of him, leaning his hands on his father's lap, his chin against them. Ashura-Ou trails his fingers down his hair and smiles gently.
Shura can see just how exhausted his father is, though, smell the blood from his wounds despite the robes his father is wearing.
"I'll lead our men today," he says. His father had injured Yasha-Ou, too. There might not be much honor in defeating the other king like that, but if he wins the battle, then he'll be able to ask for his father to survive.
Ashura-Ou laughs, a low rumble. His eyes remain sweet and kind and amused, even as he cups his face.
"Are you so desperate for me to go, Shura?" he asks, but Shura is horrified at the suggestion. Before he can say anything, his father sighs. "I was just teasing you, son, but you are right. You'll lead our men.
Ashura thinks of Gigei's laughter and the way she taught him how to dance when he was a child and he thinks of children's songs as he gets ready for battle. He thinks of wishes and he thinks if his people and there's absolutely no way he thinks that he might see the king of the Yasha clan again.
Ashura wonders if there really is a way to fool yourself, because he thinks of the way that Yamato and Shurato search each other and he thinks of the way he and Yasha dance against each other, how their eyes never leave each other and he knows, deep inside, that if he won he wouldn't wish for anything else but to be able to keep that dance going for other three hundred years and then three hundred more.
Sometimes he wonders if his father new, because the last time he saw him, the last time he was Shura before he took his father's name as their king, his father was sad.
"You will find out soon," his father had said, giving him his sword. "Why some battles won't ever end."
At the morning of the next day, fire lit the body of the old Ashura-Ou and the new one rose
Sometimes, Ashura thinks of how things could have been different. He doesn't indulge in the weakness of regrets to often, but every now and then he'll have his wine while looking at the sky, and he'll try to think about the what ifs.
Ah, we would have been friends, he thinks, but I might have driven him mad with my mischief. Yasha-Ou must have been a serious child, but I would have taught him how to dance, and I would have loved to braid flowers in his hair. I'm certain that he would have left me, if I asked please. He would know my name and I would know his and it would have been our secret, only to be called in times of need. I would have had that, more dearly than any gold or silk or treasures in the world.
Sometimes, Ashura stops to think how it would be to touch Yasha-Ou, to rise above him, both of them in the sun, no war to worry about and just them, out there, traveling, perhaps. He wonders how it'd be to wake up by Yasha-Ou's side, to twine his legs with his, to feel him hard for him.
He would have liked that, he knows. Being the other half for Yasha-Ou. Comrade and friend and lover, and the want hurt burns inside his stomach and throat, because he can almost picture it. Both of them leading their people, both of them making sure the peace prevailed. I would have, Ashura starts but he doesn't finish the thought.
That yearning was simply too big for words.
When the ghost comes, Ashura doesn't allow himself to cry because he can fool himself. He can make himself believe that this is Yasha-Ou embracing him and that this is Yasha-Ou loving him. He tells himself that it is enough, knowing that Yasha-Ou loved him too, and it's enough to have him like this, strong hands (cold, they're cold, so cold) touching himand kissing him and yes, this is what he wanted, to be with Yasha-Ou like this, thank you.
The ghost is quiet even as his eyes seem to be mourning, but Ashura doesn't allow himself to think about that, just moves over him, kisses him, touches the broad back and the dark hair and he tightens his legs around Yasha-Ou's hips and holds on to his love.
He doesn't cry because there is no need. This is Yasha-Ou and for a day, Yasha-Ou is his under the sun and he will see him again, later, and they will fight and that is all that he wants, that's all he wishes for, for Yasha-Ou always there.
The ghost kisses the corners of his eyes where the tears have gathered, before he vanishes.
Still, Ashura doesn't cry.
This is how it starts.
A poisoned arrow finds its way deep into his thigh, a careless mistake that is going to cost him his life: there's still time before the moon reaches its zenit and he's still facing Yasha-Ou.
He holds unto Shurato, because he'll die by his own sword rather than to let the other king kill him, and in a moment Ashura knows that the thing he is going to miss the most is fighting like this, their dancing over the battlefield, the chance to see the few moments where it seemed Yasha-Ou enjoyed fighting against him, even being able to listen to his voice.
But then the other king drops his sword, eyes like a storm as he kneels down and Ashura doesn't find the words to voice his surprise as Yasha-Ou takes out a small knife and presses it against his thigh, taking off the arrow, and he can't say even less when Yasha-Ou's mouth closes against his thigh and he sucks at the wound: he does gasp, though, and holds unto strong shoulders even as Yasha Ou spits the venom and blood to the floor before he puts his mouth to the wound again.
Three times he does this and then he unties the band from his head and ties it around the wound, tight enough that Ashura winces. Then, Yasha Ou stands up and his lips are red with his blood and Ashura stares at him, not touching him (wanting too) until both clans vanish from sight.
Tomorrow he'll see him again. Tomorrow.