Date: December 2007
Characters: Kujaku, Ashura, Yasha-oh, the usual
Ratings: PG-13, for mentions of incest, etc.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Clamp. Yay, Clamp.
Notes: A series of snippets instead of a coherent story. Sorry.
"Who are you?" Everywhere Kujaku went, people asked him the same question.
Sometimes he would laugh it off with a flippant little joke. Sometimes he would weave an elaborate lie.
There were a few times when he would have loved to tell the truth, but that would have been rather difficult, as he himself had no idea what the truth was.
Was he the beloved child of his mother or the hated son of his father? Was he the greatest Stargazer the world had ever known or the cursed product of sin? Was he a player in the game of life or a piece on the board?
So he told the one person who would have understood another version of the truth, that he was nothing more than a traveling entertainer who loved food and laughter, someone who loved playing pranks on his companions, someone who lied more than he told the truth.
1. The beloved child
His very first memory was a song.
He didn't know the words then, and he couldn't really remember them now. But he did remember the soft and gentle tone that spoke of warmth and love. It spoke of devotion, but also determination.
She wouldn't have traded him for anything else in the world, the song said. He made her heart glad, and that made him glad.
It was only when he was a little older that he realized that there had to be more people in the world than just him and his mother. Food appeared regularly, but there was no cooking equipment. New clothes appeared now and then, but his mother did not weave.
But when he asked his mother, the smile she gave him was sadder than any frown he had seen. So he kissed her cheek and ran off to play with his many, many toys.
Often, she would simply hold him tightly, like she would never let him go. And he would giggle and struggle away, but when he was on the ground again, he would always just sit and hold her hand.
Less often she would tell him that he was the symbol of their love, the proof that she made the right decision. His perfectly-formed little body, his beautiful little face.
He didn't know what that meant either, but her embrace was always warm, and so he fell asleep in her arms like he did every night.
2. The hated son
There was a man who came by now and then.
Not much, but a few times in every year, enough for Kujaku to begin remembering him. At first the man was kind to Kujaku, giving him a few sweets, perhaps a wooden toy, and patting his shoulder gingerly. Whenever Kujaku looked up, the man would always glance away and go to his mother instead.
It was the man's presence that made Kujaku realize that there was something different about himself. Other people had only two eyes.
One night, however, when Kujaku was playing near the bed, the man stormed in shouting. Kujaku was quick and ran to hide behind a curtain.
His mother, on the other hand, ran forward to the man, her hands reaching for the man's shoulders. The man threw her hands off, shouting "They saw him!"
She fell down onto the ground sobbing. Kujaku gasped and ran out from his hiding place. The man grabbed his arm, squeezing tightly, and roughly pushed Kujaku's hair from his forehead. Kujaku whimpered from the pain and the man finally let him go.
Kujaku watched the man leave and went to his mother.
The next day, they were moved to a barred cave deep in the mountains.
3. The Stargazer
Kujaku took the Stargazer's Wand with him when he left.
He was about ten, then, and his father had just torched the cave and left. Kujaku was hovering in the air, desperately searching for something of his mother to bring with him.
He almost went for her bracelet, but there was just something about the Wand that called to him. His mother would have wanted the Wand safe, something told him. Yet for the longest time afterwards, he couldn't even look at it.
A few days after he escaped, when he had finally found yet another cave to rest and hide, he flew up to the top of a mountain and buried the Wand.
He tried to go about the normal business of growing up – flying about, stealing when he had to, resting in caves at night. It was easy at first, when he still looked young enough, but as he grew older and remained beautiful, people began to look at him just a little differently.
He was thirteen when he went back to where he had buried the Wand.
Its colour was still brilliant, though the tint of its shine had turned slightly coppery where his mother's blood had touched it.
His hand hovered in the air for a few dozen seconds before he closed his hand firmly around the staff. Strangely enough, it felt warm and solid in his hands.
That night he had his first vision. His dreams had always told him about the future, but those were jumbled, disjointed things. It was like the difference between looking up at the stars from Earth and looking at them while in space. Their paths, so fuzzy before, had sharpened to clarity and rationality.
It hadn't left his side since.
Sometimes he hated the Wand for the sacrifices it demanded from its bearers, and sometimes he knew he would go mad if he could not see the paths of the stars. For only then could he attempt to change them.
The Yasha clan was an aristocratic line, though its position had fallen slightly from its height centuries ago. A weapon matching the beauty of the Ashura sword was precisely what the clan needed to get back on its feet.
The boy who would become the Yasha-o was young then, but had already shown his bravery and strength in competition.
Now came the time to test his determination.
Kujaku left the sword with the head of the clan then, knowing to whom it would pass down.
The past, the present, the future, all within his grasp. His whole existence, not to witness the non-existent love between his father and mother, but to prove the love between Yama and Ashura.
Please, he whispered, let them succeed where his parents failed. He implored the stars to let his wish come true, but he did not pray, for the gods themselves had no one to pray to.
Yes, let his life be the proof that love could indeed exist.
~~ finis ~~