My first Natsume Yuujinchou fic! Please be kind!

Alludes to NyankoxNatsume (Or MadaraxNatsume if you prefer.) Also, quite dark and probably a little disturbing in places, allusions to 'adult themes' and probably a bunch of other things I should warn about but am forgetting.

Imperfect reflections


Madara looks at the image of his face reflected in the side of a large boutique window and frowns at what he sees. He's got it wrong again. Half a century since that time and he still cannot get it quite perfect.

With a sigh he turns, leans his back against the cool glass displaying the latest fashionable frocks and tilts his head back to stare at the strip of sky between the high-rise skyscrapers, the blue sky now laced with wires.

He remembers when this used to be such a back-water area. The bus came every two hours on Sundays and the train station was being overrun by grass shoots.

He remembers when the forests surrounded the town like a ring of agate, blazing ruby red in the autumn fall. He remembers the dirt paths winding their way down, turning concrete the closer they got to the heart of town, and long fields that changed with the seasons.

It's all concrete now. Everything has become metal. They cut down the forests to build a mall, then an apartment block, then a hospital. It's all stone and metal, and it's hard for the ayakashi to live, not that he really cares about what a bunch of low class youkai do with their time. (Come to think of it, didn't he see Hinoe drifting around the alleyways twenty years back?)

Madara preferred it when the place was just some backwater village. No, this has nothing to do with him, it has nothing to do with that human, it's just that it was peaceful back then and the humans were less annoying and noisy. He grimaces every time he hears an angry honk of a horn scaring away the telephone wire birds.

Turning, he looks at his reflection once more. He catches two school girls suddenly staring at him in the reflection as they pass and wonders if he could be considered attractive like this.

That does not change the fact that he has it all wrong.

If anyone who remembered Natsume were still alive they would tell him that he had it wrong as well, but human lives are short, they pass in a blink of an eye for ayakashi like him. After all, what is ten or twenty thousand years to the great Madara-sama? There are no humans left who will tell him that he can't smile as kindly as Natsume or that his eyes show too cynical an expression. Those humans are all gone, taking their memory of that boy with them.

Only Madara remains. Only Madara remembers.

Well, he concedes grudgingly, maybe the other ayakashi remember too. Maybe Hiragi still remembers – was that damn youkai still on her hunting trip? Still looking for 'bad' ayakashi to hunt as if she were still in a contract with her old master? - Not that it matters. Right now Madara is the only one around who will remember.

He runs a finger across his face, sweeping a lock of light hair behind his ear. The amber coloured eyes of his reflection stare at him in earnest. This is Natsume as Madara remembers the most vividly; naive, stupid Natsume who gave away all the names in Reiko's book, who was lonely and pensive even in the company of others, and could never say no to someone in need.

"Nyanko-sensei," Madara whispers at his reflection and immediately shivers, blushing. Damn, that's too creepy! He feels like some sort of pervert when he does that.

He can't blush the way Natsume does either. His blushes lack sincerity. Even though it's Natsume's face, Natsume's body, when Madara stares at himself like this he realises just what an imperfect imitation he has created.

"Nyanko-sensei," he tries whispering again, this time without the embarrassment. It still feels a little weird. It does not make him feel as if Natsume is calling him at all, even if he stares intently at the reflection.

"Should go back to using Reiko," he mutters to himself.

Reiko he could do. That cocky attitude, that superior smirk; he could pull off one hell of a Reiko. A carefree Reiko, a wild Reiko, even a lonely, thoughtful Reiko; he could imitate her face and mannerisms so well he doubted her own mother could tell the difference. Natsume, though, he can never get Natsume quite right.

He does not want to go back to Reiko though. Probably for reasons he would rather not admit, it is Natsume's body, Natsume's form that he would rather take on now.

The stern part of his mind reprimands him for this foolish sentimentality. He knew that this would happen from the beginning. Don't people always say not to get too attached to your pets? They never live as long as humans and humans never live as long a youkai. Should have eaten the brat straight away and been done with it. That way he would not have had to watch Natsume get sick, to grow weak and pathetic and die young just as his grandmother had done. It was a waste of all the time and effort he put into looking after the brat.

Thinking about it and about why the hell he can't smile any better, he feels like tearing out his hair in frustration, except he cannot quite bring himself to do that, not in this body.

He reckons his failure at imitation is due to the fact that he's just not as kind as Natsume. Yes, that's probably it. As if he is idiotic enough to hurt himself looking for bits of paper stuck in trees or climb riverbanks to find rescue fireflies from predatory youkai! He's not as stupid and kind as Natsume, that's why he can't look exactly like him.

Madara glances around, making sure the darkening streets are empty before he puts a reluctant hand on his own chest. Staring at it, he thinks that it is probably a good thing that he does not look one hundred percent like that human.

If he does not look exactly like Natsume, if his smiles are too lopsided and his eyes too sceptical, if he holds himself too arrogantly and glares at people who pass him then Madara will not feel as lewd when he decides he should probably get to know the human body better – just to make sure everything works of course. As long as he does not look exactly like Natsume, Madara can do these things without thinking he's sullying the memory of a naive human child. Just as long as the resemblance is there.

Uguu! That was my first Natsume Yuuinchou fic. I honestly intended it to end a lot more innocently and sweetly then that but, for some reason, when writing serious!Madara I get very dark and then this happens. Well, I hope you enjoyed it anyway. Comments and crit appreciated.