Disclaimer: Alas, I don't own KnM. I wish I did, but I don't.
Goddess and the Moon
"It's rare to see you in the flesh, Murakumo-chan."
The goddess cracked open an eye, scowling; so much for praying at the shrine in peace and quiet before the world was created again. "That's Ame no Murakumo to you, Kazuki-san," she said, gracefully rising in one fluid motion and opening her other eye so she could focus on the priest that stood before her. "Or, if you feel the need to shorten it, Murakumo-sama."
"So we aren't friends anymore?"
His tone was gently teasing, but his eyes were sharp and clear; the goddess of swords scowled again and ran a hand through her dark blue locks, though she felt her heart flutter with delight at the sight of her old human companion. "It's been many lives since then, Kazuki-san," she replied coolly. "We aren't who we used to be."
"And yet you gave me immortal life."
"You know I had no choice in the matter after—"
She cut off right then, biting her lip and turning away, her back to the priest and her arms crossed defiantly across her chest. Kazuki took a moment to study Murakumo. Despite the years, the centuries that had passed, her human form looked exactly as he remembered it, possibly even younger; her skin was still pale and smooth, her dark blue hair falling in a cascade down to her waist. What had changed, though, were her eyes—eyes that had once been a free, laughing silver were now a dark, steely gray with years of betrayal and pain.
Even a goddess could have her heart broken.
"So." Kazuki coughed, though Murakumo didn't so much as glance at him. "What will happen to Himemiya-san now that she has served her purpose?"
Damn him. Damn him to Hell and back.
"I haven't decided at the moment," she snapped, turning back to face him, and he saw her eyes were stormy with anger and what might have been anguished love. "She completed her task, that is true, but what she did broke numerous laws and put everything and everyone at risk." Frustrated, Murakumo ran a hand through her hair and swore. "Right now it's a battle to keep my comrades from putting her into eternal sleep and leaving it at that."
It was interesting, Kazuki mused, to watch a goddess lose her temper. For as long as she had lived, Murakumo still couldn't completely control her emotions when it came to the people she loved. "If that's done, who will aide Kurusugawa-san again when Orochi awakens?"
"A new Lunar Priestess can always be chosen. You know that."
"Is that truly what you want, Murakumo-chan?"
Her eyes widened and what little color she had in her face drained away completely. The anger came fast and hard after, and with a curse she flew at him, slamming a hand into his chest with such force that a normal man would have been killed. "Damn you, Kazuki-san, if I haven't told you a million and one times…"
And as Oogami Kazuki watched, Ame no Murakumo, the goddess of swords, began to weep.
In a practiced move from another life he drew the goddess turned human into his arms, gently resting her head against his shoulder. "You've held it all in for so long, Murakumo-chan," he murmured into her hair as her body shook with sobs. "Why haven't you told your comrades the truth about her?"
"You've lost your mind, Kazuki-kun." She sniffled and drew away, stepping out of his arms and wiping at her eyes with her sleeve. "You know exactly why I never told anyone about her."
Murakumo was drawing away again, back into her protective shell; Kazuki could see it, knew it because he'd been her best friend and foster brother in another life. And because he saw it, he kept pushing. "You can't blame yourself for falling in love."
"Just watch me."
"He was a good man," Kazuki continued gently. "Orochi-kun was a good man, Murakumo-chan, and he was my friend too. He loved you, when you both had mortal bodies."
"He had too much power. The damn fool." Murakumo gave a harsh bark of laughter that was more of a sob. "He wanted to recreate the world. Humans were foolish and weak, he said. We were human, too, but we were also gods, and he said we had the power to recreate the world. He… he wanted to make me queen."
Looking back at it even now, so many years later, Murakumo couldn't fight the swift pang of love and anguish. Those days had been good, she thought, when she'd still been young and immortal, with her lover and her best friend, not yet understanding the true burden of a goddess.
"And yet you fought him." Kazuki wasn't going to give up. "You fought him because it was wrong, and you sealed both of you away in the shrine."
"He was going to kill her. Our daughter." Murakumo felt another pang and the thought of her baby girl, now caught in an endless cycle of death and rebirth because of her mother's foolishness. "We were both gods, but because we'd been mortal she was born human. And to him, because she was human, she was weak. He was going to kill her." She looked at Kazuki, and her silver eyes were so broken and so tired that the priest felt his heart ache for her. "How could I let him kill her, Kazuki-kun? I loved her. She was my world."
Kazuki knew that; he'd known it with each lifetime he'd lived, a gift from Murakumo so he could continue to watch over the girl that would one day become Himemiya Chikane, a girl who had grown up without her parents and, at the age of sixteen, had made the mistake of spilling her blood mixed with the blood of her beloved's at the shrine where both of her parents had been sealed.
She'd only been sixteen. And she'd never known the truth about her parents.
"You loved her, yes," he said softly, and dared to step closer, reassured when Murakumo didn't back away. "But you couldn't do anything about her fate, could you?"
"It was sealed as soon as they defeated Orochi for the first time." She laughed again, bitterly, and swept a strand of hair back behind her ear. "I begged with my comrades, pleaded, but how could I tell them the truth? And because I couldn't, she became the Lunar Priestess and her beloved became the Solar Priestess." She closed her eyes. "And because I couldn't, I've watched her be reborn. I've watched her die. Again and again."
And throughout her lifetimes, the girl known as Himemiya Chikane had never known the truth: that Ame no Murakumo, the goddess of swords, was her mother. And that Yamata no Orochi was her father. She had never known because no one had ever seen fit to tell her.
And even if she was told, it was doubtful she'd believe it.
"I will speak to my comrades." Murakumo's soft voice snapped Kazuki out of his reverie, and he looked at her; she straightened her shoulders and lifted her chin, and her resemblance to Chikane was staggering. "I still can't tell them the truth, but I'm sure I can guilt them into letting her continue as the Lunar Priestess. She's always served us faithfully, no matter how or why she did it." She looked searchingly at Kazuki. "You will continue to watch over her for me, won't you?"
"As I have always done," Kazuki swore, remembering the small blue-haired girl with laughing blue eyes that he had raised after the death of her parents. "That is the reason you allow me to be reincarnated alongside them, after all."
He smiled then, and it reached his eyes; and because it did, Murakumo laughed softly. For a moment, she almost felt young again.
Content, Murakumo turned away, knowing things would be handled and trusting that somehow everything would turn out all right. Kazuki hesitated a moment before calling to her. "Murakumo-chan."
She paused, looked at him. "Yes, Kazuki-kun?"
"She needs to know." He swallowed, but stood his ground. "Eventually, one of these days, she needs to know the truth. She needs to know who her mother and father really are."
Murakumo said nothing, merely turned away and lifted her palm up to the sky. In a flash of brilliant white light, she was gone.
And the world was reborn again.
"You're up awfully high, you know."
The soft, musical voice wasn't the voice of her mother, and curiosity had six-year-old Himemiya Chikane glancing down from the branch she was perched on. A young woman smiled up at her, her long dark blue hair pulled back in a ponytail and her silver eyes gleaming. The small child frowned and tightened her grip on the white flower she held. "I know. I was just trying to get this." She opened her fingers so the woman could see it.
"I see. Any reason?"
"Does it being pretty count as a reason?"
Charmed by the child's innocence, relieved that she remembered nothing so far, Ame no Murakumo felt her smile widen. "It counts if you want it to." She tilted her head to the side. "But how do you intend to get down?"
"Mom and Dad are coming. They'll get me down soon."
"Aren't you afraid, though?"
She was, in fact, but Chikane wasn't about to admit it. "No. It's not really that high."
"I could catch you, if you want."
Chikane frowned, weighing her options; she leaned over the branch, speaking directly to Murakumo. "If I say yes, do you promise not to drop me?" she asked solemnly, still holding tight to the white flower she'd plucked from the branches.
"Yes." Murakumo met her gaze just as solemnly, fighting the urge to smile. "I promise."
Trusting her in a way that only a child was able to, Chikane nodded. "Okay." She shifted, tightened her hold on her flower.
And, closing her eyes, she jumped.
Murakumo caught the small girl easily, cradling the child close for a moment. After a few minutes of making sure Chikane was unharmed, the goddess gently set her down, feeling an ache in her chest as the girl's warmth left her arms. Chikane grinned up at her, beaming. "Thanks."
"No problem, little one." Unable to resist, Murakumo gently ruffled her hair. "Now go, your parents are probably worried."
Chikane nodded, but for a moment she hesitated; she shifted from foot to foot and looked up at Murakumo, making up her mind. "Can you give me your hand for a second?" Confused but willing, Murakumo held out her hand.
And stared as Chikane pressed the white flower into it.
"Thanks again," the small girl murmured before she darted away to find her parents and Otoha.
Murakumo gazed after the small girl for a moment—her daughter, reborn again, but this time into a life that would be peaceful.. She looked briefly at the white flower in her hand; it gleamed in the sunlight. She looked back up, though she could no longer see Chikane.
And she smiled, tucking the flower back behind her ear.
I was attacked by a plotbunny. I caught it. This is the result.
Look at the plotholes. Just look at 'em, look at 'em, look at 'em.
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