Wind whipped with unusual vigor, stirring sands to cover the already dim midday skies. Senroh Chigusa, an imposing figure seemingly alone in the desert, moved quickly through the shifting sands. Few ayame would choose to move around during a sand storm like this, and yet Senroh seemed mostly undisturbed. His long coat and snake eye goggles kept him protected against the razor sharp sands, and the protection of the sand storm made this the best time to travel.

It was obvious he had a goal in sight as he followed the ridge of a dune, and it soon became clear he was not alone. A figure walked along in his shadow, almost unnoticeable. Only half his height and wrapped in layers of a coat and a scarf for protection, the figure moved just as quietly as Senroh himself. Through the sand in the distance their destination appeared; an outcropping of rocks to protect the pair from the storm. Chigusa s cold eyes scanned the area for anything dangerous, and finding nothing, made his way in between the rocks.

As he unwrapped his coat to shake himself free of the sand, he weighed the option of continuing the trek instead of breaking here. He knew he could make it, and with the sandstorm covering their tracks, the pair would be able to move mostly undetected. Conversely, he and his partner had not slept in a day and a half, and although he could continue for some time on little sleep, his companion was not so durable. Now safe from the blowing shards of sand he removed his goggles and took the chance to look far into the distance so find the next suitable resting spot. Finding nothing he slipped his goggles on once again and decided it would be best to rest for his companion s sake.

The smaller member of the group took a moment to find a place to settle, choosing a spot not too far from Chigusa, where the sand dipped into a slight bowl against the rock surface. Small delicate hands revealed themselves from the too-long sleeves of the simple gray coat to tug first at the scarf, wrapped carefully to cover both neck and face. As the coils of sandy fabric were loosened and removed first the face of a female child appeared, then a flood of golden hair spilled down her back. The gilded silk had a gentle wave and nearly touched the back of her knees, and her face was pale and soft. She had blue eyes that were clear and cool like an oasis spring in the desert. Despite her beautiful appearance, her face was oddly blank, and although she was obviously alert and responsive; she appeared utterly emotionless.

She removed her coat next, and in a fashion similar to Chigusa, she shook the sand free from the fabric. She was dressed plainly in a simple blue dress with a matching sash, and had low boots with obvious wear from trekking through the desert. On her waist was strapped a small knife in its sheath. The knife was simple and didn't appear to be often used. The small girl did not complain about the storm, the bed less ground, she did not ask for food or water, and only settled down, wrapped in her slightly-oversized coat.

There was silence in the shelter of the rocks, only disturbed by the mild howling of the wing. Neither Chigusa, nor the girl spoke, finding nothing worth talking about. It was always this way with the pair and so far neither party member had expressed any emotion about it in any direction. Chigusa observed the strange girl with his deep gray-green eyes, his face emotionless as well.

Chigusa had taken her as a fruit from the other world soon after she had sprouted . He had needed her sanome powers to replace the boy Rakan, who had become too attached to his other world to bring to this one. Once free of her fruit , Chigusa had found her clothes and taught her as best as he could about her powers and her responsibility to revive him if he should fail in his mission. He had instructed her in how to grow weapons, which ones to grow, and how to use the knife at her hip to cut open his chest, dig through to his heart, and put all her power in to bring his lifeless body back.

After only a few days of travel Chigusa found he was forced to give the girl a name, though he had no idea what to call her. He didn't want to connect with her, didn't need to form a relationship beyond what they had. She was useful, something he needed to fulfill the only purpose in life that he had. But in the end, something made him give in. Your name is Gin. he had told her when they rested. As usual she had not smiled at the name, only nodded her understanding. Though Chigusa thought this was strange he had no idea what it meant or even the slightest idea how to teach about emotions.

Chigusa looked to the ground he was seated on, though not really seeing anything. Yes the girl, Gin, was important, was useful but truthfully he would have preferred to travel with different company. Shortly after arriving, Narushige and Tohno had both headed for the capital to warn all the people who would believe the truth about the Prince. They had gone to give time to Chigusa so he could teach Gin what she needed to know, and so he could take the long road so as to avoid contact that would give his reappearance away.

This was how Senroh Chigusa had spent the last few weeks. Traveling though the desert, coming closer and closer to realizing his purpose in living. In all the silence that constantly surrounded the pair, he couldn't help thinking about the reasons why Rakan would have been more useful than the female sanome. It had become apparent over time that Gin s gift was for some reason weaker than Rakan's. It might have gone unnoticed by anyone else, but no detail was lost on Chigusa. Her plants took moments longer to bloom, her trees bore a fraction less fruit, her flowers were subtly duller. But in the end it wasn't enough to justify what deep in his heart he wanted to do. Though her power was less potent than Rakan's he could not go back, could not bring himself to drag that child back to this world. Despite this, every time he looked at the girl his thoughts would return to the green garden she had come from, and the boy to tended it. This was another problem with keeping her company. The girl, Gin, was as cold, emotionally quiet and purposeless as himself, so much the opposite of Rakan. A boy so full of warmth and life and energy that it would ignite things even in Chigusa s empty soul.

It was not Gin s fault that she elected these thoughts from him, though if he could remember how to muster resentment, Chigusa would have held a great deal of it. He would have resented Gin for all the things she was and wasn't, and he would have resented himself for leaving Rakan behind. But it was the choice he had made, to leave the sanome behind because something told him he could not take the boy from his home. Even though he was sure it hurt him somewhere, Chigusa could not have brought that perfect boy this broken world. Rakan would eventually forget him, Senroh was sure, and eventually he would have his normal life back and remain the same Rakan. And although it stung somehow somewhere to remember every time he looked into that girl s blue eyes, day by day the numbness Rakan had removed was creeping back into place.

Chigusa Senroh's eyes snapped open, wide behind vision distorting goggles. His heavy rhythmic heartbeat sped momentarily as his eyes flashed around, regaining his bearings. He was shrouded in heavy darkness, and his still muscles tensed. A loud sigh to his side broke though Chigusa's concentration. A boy lay against a great breathing beast, that he himself had been resting against, with eyes closed and short sandy hair messily falling over his face and behind his head. He could have sworn his heart stopped short.

A dream? he asked himself; Chigusa could not think of a time he had dreamt of anything other than the day he had awakened with no memories. A strange warmth spread though his body and he couldn't help but to ignore Narushige's constant warnings. He gently shifted the boy into his lap so that Rakan was resting with his back against the older man s chest. Chigusa could not understand what the feeling was that filled him as the boy breathed slowly into his collar. Part of it was happiness, he was sure, that those thoughts had not been the truth but something else made his skin prickle with every breath he took of the boy s scent.

As he rested against the great black wolf with Rakan in his arms he wondered if it was wrong to feel this way. Was it wrong that in his heart right now, the thought was quietly echoing that he was thankful the other sanome was gone. It was a good thing that the fruit had been taken by the prince because it meant that Rakan had chosen to come with him. Though it might have been a bad thought Chigusa knew he couldn t control it. He was sure he would probably always be grateful that he had not been able to make the choice to leave Rakan behind. Rakan was, after all, the only precious being to him.

Yet another one shot. I am thinking of making this a full fic. What do you think?