Opening the Shutters

Disclaimer – not mine. All rights belong to Kazuya Minekura et al, no profit made, just a little fun

Rating – pg-13, work safe.

Prompt- spring cleaning

Pairing – none, Kanzeon centric gen fic

Timeline – definitely spoilers for all the Gaiden

Notes – written for the saiyukitime's spring cleaning challenge. Total time to write- 40 minutes. By all means, critique. I've surely missed something.

Kanzeon supposed that, to her, the idea of spring cleaning meant something far different than it did to those down below. She didn't have to worry about being shut up in her house, ravished and rattled by the hungry winter storms. There was no need to fling the shutters open wide and let the fresh air in to chase out the soot and dust of the dead time. Still, in a long life like hers, things accumulated and a change was always nice.

She was surprised to see just how much miscellaneous crap she had heaped on the chest since the last time she roused herself into a cleaning frenzy. Kanzeon kept the contents of that chest no matter whichever mania possessed her when she started cleaning and tossing things out. Finally, after hanging up a variety of dresses, putting books back on the shelves and tossing papers into the bin, Kanzeon could see the top of the chest.

Running a finger over the carved sakura blossoms, she worked herself into the necessary mind set to look into the chest. Pulling up a padded stool, Kanzeon reached inside, dipping her hands five hundred years into the past.

The first thing to hand was a fragile silk robe. The bright yellow and the subtle blossoms had faded over the centuries but the dark red-brown stain, stiffer than the rest of the material, seemed as vibrant as the day she had taken it from the infirmary; Nataku's blood. She had laid claim to the garment after one of his many battles, secretly appalled that anyone could force a boy into such things, horrified still at her own passive acceptance of his fate. Now, unmoving, staring into nothingness, at least Nataku was beyond pain.

Gingerly setting the robe aside, Kanzeon pulled out a necklace. Turning the cool silver around in her hands, her fingers caressing the metallic orbs, she felt one of her occasional deep pangs of guilt that she ensnared her cousin in all the madness that had happened. Kanzeon had only wanted him to live a little and she took solace in the face that he had. Still, she missed his dour expression, the odd joy that he took in his boring duties. Kanzeon simply missed Konzen.

Putting the necklace on the silk, she found the book she had kept. Kanzeon didn't know if this book had any meaning to Tenpou or not but it had been on his desk. She supposed it didn't really matter if it was a favorite of his or not; it reminded her of Tenpou and that was the important thing. What she wouldn't give to go into his library and see the haphazard piles of books, occasionally with the field Marshall trapped under them?

Exchanging a book for a gun brought the image of spiky black hair and smug smirk to her mind. Barely remembered nights of sake and gambling made Kanzeon grin as she ran a finger over the slick cool metal. No one could quite replace the ever-flamboyant scoundrel that Kenren was. Even she hadn't foreseen the bonds he would forge with the others, shaking the pillars of heaven. She wanted one more night of sake with him.

Next to hand was a ring she had made to hold an iridescent scale. She held it up to the light, seeing the tiny rainbow it contained. The dragon had been such an enigmatic man, one that Kanzeon regretted not knowing better than she did. It was too late now for recriminations.

The last item in the chest was one she prized most. The child's drawing on the back of one of Konzen's documents was of her. It wasn't even a bad likeness. In a different world, Goku might have been an accomplished artist, if anyone could make him focus long enough. Konzen probably could if he could talk Tenpou into distracting Kenren to keep him from distracting the monkey.

She loved those bright gold eyes and all the mischief and innocence that surrounded that sweet little monkey. Things should have been better. She should never have needed to make a five hundred year chest of tears and regret.

Boxing it all back up, Kanzeon headed out to the gazing pool. The past was gone, frittered away like smoke in the wind but they still had a future. She felt an intense need to catch another glimpse of it. Cleaning could wait. She needed to open the shutters of her heart and let the cool, fresh breeze in.