Disclaimer: not mine.

Ad vitam æternam

1629, Japan

He wasn't one to have many friends. In fact, he had none. But neither did he have foes, which was good enough for him. The villagers were kind towards him, a poor orphan of fifteen who had learnt to struggle his way through this world; yet no one had ever tried to get closer to him. Perhaps it was because of the faint smile that always painted his lips, a smile which seemed to bear perpetual sadness; perhaps it was his large ash grey eyes constantly gazing with melancholy at his surroundings; perhaps it was the way he would always reply politely yet distantly to anyone addressing him. Perhaps it was the scar on his left eye.

Those who were ill-tongued argued that he was probably the son of some foreigner whore, which would explain his chestnut hair. The boy didn't mind, though. As long as no one troubled him, he kept on living.

If someone asked him why he always looked sad even though he wasn't unhappy, he would merely shrug and shake his head, saying that he didn't know. Which was true. The only thing he knew was that there was a faint yet ever present feeling at the back of his mind, whispering ceaselessly to him about things he couldn't comprehend, things that seemed to talk about another era, about something that wasn't here anymore while it should have been. He had never been able to grasp the nature of what always made him feel so... incomplete, as if something was missing. He thought it was blurry memories of his childhood, at that time when he still had a mother and a father whom he couldn't even put a face on. As he had never been able to dismiss the latent feeling, he had learnt to live with it.

There were ruins of an old temple, near the village. From what remained, it could be easily deduced that it was once a rich and important temple to train Exorcists, but that was most certainly centuries ago. Now all the main temples were located in the capital city. Not that the boy cared. What he liked was the forest next to the ruins.

There was a path which he often took – even if he was the only one in the village – for the mere pleasure of walking and listening to birds singing or filling his nose with the scent of pine and resin. At the end of the path was a clearing, and in the middle of the clearing was a stone that had probably been erected there a long time ago. It was partly covered with moss, flowers and tall grass but somehow the stone itself was still a pure white. From the way it was shaped, the boy believed it was a sort of tombstone, even though he had no idea why someone would be buried there.

Again, it was really none of his concern what the stone was. He simply liked the place for an even more simply reason: no one ever walked by that area and he could stay hours among the trees, quietly and peacefully daydreaming. Also, laying on the grass and closing his eyes always left him with a remote sensation of nostalgia, a fluttering feeling that would strangely always soothe his spirit to rest, making him forget for a while the constant emptiness that filled him.

Today wasn't different from any other day, and the grass felt soft and wet under his fingers. There were the usual sounds of leaves bristling, birds chirping, animals passing furtively in the far... Not today.

The boy opened his eyes, frowning. Today, the sound was much closer. Something moved briefly in the trees, in the shadows of the foliage. Then nothing. He waited a minute, then two, then three, and as nothing else happened, he assumed that it was only the wind. But it had troubled his quiet routine.

Standing up, he dusted his trousers off and prepared to go back to the village.

He felt a movement behind him.

Turned round.

And gasped.

Swirls of silk darker than night veiled his vision.

Long, ebony hair fell slowly over gracious yet strong shoulders.

Confused silver eyes plunged into deep cobalt ones.

Time shattered.

Went back six hundred years ago.

Long lost memories swept over him like a hurricane, pouring down like a strong stream in the boy's gaping mind.

He understood.

The melancholy.

The nostalgia.

The emptiness.

They were no more.

He opened his mouth.

Uttered a single name.

How did he know that name? He had no idea.

Did it matter? Of course it didn't.

What mattered was that, even in his troubled state, he knew that the stranger standing in front of him, barely a few inches from him, was someone very significant to him.

Maybe in another life, in another era, but it wasn't important.

There was a smirk, and suddenly tears ran down the boy's cheeks, uncontrollably, but they weren't tears of grief. Far from that.

Before he even knew it, he found himself held tightly by protective arms against a foreign yet so familiar chest. A pair of lips claimed his as if to make up for the eternity that had elapsed.

You're back, finally.

A/N: No, this isn't a hallucination. It's the final chapter of Shikigami. Like, the real final one. After the epilogue. You'll have to thank Altalia for it. 'Cos I wrote this mainly to advertise for the doujin she's working on, which is a doujin based on my story. So if you liked this fic, you may want to try the doujin and give her tons of love for starting such an insane project. Find the link in my profile.

I also wrote it because I was getting pretty tired of some flame-PM I received (yes, even now) saying the epilogue was s***. You have the right to dislike it, but I have the right to be addressed on a more polite tone.

So, hope you'll give Altalia a lot of support!