[shonen] if only [onmyouji]
Recap: With the arrival of the stubborn brunette named Megumi, our (occasionally) calm lives have been once again interrupted while I, Guren, protagonist of these chapters, is given the impossible task of taking care of this rambunctious 'princess'. But as our lives together continued to progress, my feelings of neutrality (which had been bordering on distaste) started to take a different route. And now, faced with the possibility of losing her forever, I've finally realized what my true feelings were. But whether I can take it or not, well, we'll just have to see.
Two weeks ago...
Hovering over Megumi with anxious eyes, I scanned her pale face. Her state had improved slightly from the cold sweat she had first broken into. Although Miyuki-chan had told me her condition was (somewhat) stable, I was sure that she was hiding something. Well, whatever it was, it'd had to wait till later. During the time when Tenitsu had been wrapping up the girl's wounds, Miyuki-chan had Rikugou bandage my wounds to stop the bleeding that was causing me lose consciousness. Who knew he was good at that kind of stuff? Well, that doesn't matter. For all I know is that those three are currently having a conference with Seimei and his grandson, leaving me to guard Megumi just in case of an emergency.
In the past, I wouldn't have minded being alone with Megumi. But now that I realized I might actually be in love with her, well, I felt pretty awkward just being around her.
What am I going to do now?
That singular thought ran through my mind as I sat beside her still form knowing that sooner or later, my true feelings would be exposed. But they quickly subsided, for now, when the sound of light coughs penetrated the stillness of the room causing me to avert my gaze to her face in time to behold the opening of the girl's eyes. When our gazes met, I felt everything grow silent, except sound of my heart thumping against my chest which seemed to be the loudest thing in the room. I tore my amber eyes from her hazelnut stare so that she would not notice the embarrassment in them or the emotions that I was beginning to feel towards her. It was as if looking away would hide my obvious affections for her; but no matter how dense she may be, sooner or later others will find out and before long, she would too.
The sound of my name that escaped her lips caused me to fix my eyes on her; surprised that she called me by a name other than Shinshou or Mr. Babysitter. Maybe she had a concussion from earlier and wasn't thinking straight –or at all. Being in a fog without an idea of what one is doing can cause some very interesting things to happen. I should know. Was she delusional or something?
"I'm here." I said as I knelt by her side, once I had gotten over my initial shock.
The girl stirred to the sound of my voice before letting her eyes slowly open. As she did so, I noticed her begin to push the blanket off of her, causing a frown to cross my lips. At first I began to reach out to stop her, but I hesitated and held back. She looked so delicate so weak. I felt that if I were to even touch her, she would shatter into millions of pieces. Like a porcelain doll with translucent skin.
"Come here..." she whispered, her voice which was usually sickly sweet with sarcasm was now as coarse as sand and as weak as paper. I had to strain my ears in order to listen to her inaudible demand. "Closer... I need... to ask you... something..." she whispered, her efforts to speak seemed to be draining the strength from her very being and so, I did as I was told by leaning closer to her. My elfin ears were only inches away from her lips which slowly parted to speak.
"Where's my talisman?" she practically screamed those three words in my ear, blowing me back a couple paces before falling on my rear. She nearly blew my brains out!
"I don't have your stupid talisman!" I yelled back, much louder than she first did, after I had regained some of my equilibrium. Damn that girl, and here I was thinking that her near death experience might have changed her feelings as much as it had changed mine towards her. If she had been in a fog earlier on, she sure wasn't acting like it now. 'I guess some things will never change,' I thought to myself with a sigh as I lay down of the wooden floor. After all that's happened, all she thinks about is that damn talisman. I bet she didn't even think about me; not even when I was injured by that ayakashi. Well, if she doesn't think about me, she should at least think about herself once in awhile. Did she even know how close she was to dying?
My eyes were closed, letting irritation grow on my features as I gnawed on my lower lip. I was tired, I was in pain, and I was hungry. Miyuki better get back here soon with that damn talisman and some food; why did she even want to inspect the magical properties of that thing? It was just a small round purple orb that was held on a woven string. It didn't look like much and it definitely didn't seem to hold much value in terms of money. Maybe it was what women call 'sentimental' value; whatever that is.
But before I could even think any further than that, I felt a gentle touch caress face to side of my face causing my eyes to fly open and my mouth to inhale sharply. And as I did so, smooth, pink lips pressed up against mine.
The brunette sat in dimness of her room, running a long, dainty finger over the orb's smooth surface. Not too long ago had she been muttering a chant which was completely unknown to Masahiro, using words that he could not even begin to pronounce. Once she was done with the strange chant, she sat down on one of the wooden stools and frowned as if she were trying to solve an intricate puzzle.
Now she seemed to frown because she knew the answer.
"What's wrong, onee-sama?" Seimei's grandson questioned his elder sister as he entered the sanctuary of her room, breaking her silence and pulling her out of her thoughts.
Miyuki simply shook her head as she placed the talisman on her dresser. Whether it was to say that she was fine or if she was disappointed, Masahiro only found out after her words formed sentences.
"That ayakashi had her talisman... so that means that her assault wasn't random, obviously," the brunette spoke, her eyebrows knitting together as she crossed her arms over her chest, shifting her weight. Exhaling softly, she continued to speak, "So I decided to look into the only existing connection between her and the ayakashi... The talisman." Although blind, it seemed as if Miyuki could actually see the talisman which she was so brutally glaring at. If that thing wasn't an inanimate object, it would be cringing in fear. The woman's silence easily escalated the tension that had been building up over time. What's going on now? Just get to the point already! Seriously. What is it with women and their need to make things harder for men to understand? Why God, why do you torture us so?
Obviously that wasn't what Masahiro was thinking. Being the heir of Abe no Seimei, he could not let such rude thoughts enter his mind. Instead, he patiently waited for his sister to find the right words to say. The reason why he was being so patiently? Well, let's just say that Masahiro had learnt firsthand the dramatic side of his elder sister. Little did he know that it was her time of month, but let's not get into that.
In a strained voice the brunette spoke, "It seems that, this... thing... is some sort of parasitical demon which feeds off the life energy of whoever touches it..."
"Then get rid of it!" Masahiro exclaimed as he tried to swat the parasite as far away from his older sister as possible. He was clearly appalled that she had actually touched that thing. The girl was already as delicate little thing whose likeness was comparable to that of a china doll. Well, she wasn't exactly little, but it is understandable that her outer appearance does show a gentle and calm side of her which could easily come off as weak.
But before Masahiro could even touch it, Miyuki was quicker as she grasped the thing and held it out of her little brother's reach. Sure it was a parasite that would slowly feed of her life force, turning her into no more than a lifeless shell, but it was her little brother she was trying to protect; her precious baby brother. She'd rather die than allow the slightest chance of his life being drastically shortened. It was the least she could do. After all, she had run away from the Abe no Seimei household for her selfish desires, thus passing on the burdens of being Seimei's heir onto Masahiro.
Being blind, Miyuki couldn't see the shock and confusion that showed on the boy's face, but she didn't need to see to sense the emotions that were present in the air. And so, the brunette shook her head as she spoke, "I have enough replaceable energy that allows me to hold onto this thing a little longer without it affecting me. So let me finish what I was going to say, my impatient baby brother." And as she spoke, she flashed a smirk in Masahiro's general direction, knowing full well that that nickname grated on his nerves just as much, or more, than the honorary title of 'Seimei's Grandson'. So, without waiting for him to protest, Miyuki placed the talisman back on the dresser and continued to speak, "This demonic talisman may feed off life energy, but for some reason, it seems to be the only other thing that's keeping Megumi-chan alive."
Masahiro raised an eyebrow, more confused now than ever. How can something that's supposed to shorten someone's life, keep them alive?
"But onee-sama, that thing's a parasite..."
"A parasite can only live with another parasite."
Miyuki's words confused the boy. What was she saying? That Megumi was a parasitical demon?
The female exorcist nodded her head, as if she had read Masahiro's thoughts. "Yes, it may seem so... And there's more." Without waiting for her brother's response, she continued to speak, "Once a demon gains possession of this, it does shorten a demon's life by a notable amount, but because a demon could easily outlive any human, it doesn't matter to them. And as the talisman steal's the demon's life force, it excretes a certain power that increases the demon's strength by tenfold. You may call it a win-win situation. But there is one minor detail that shouldn't be overlooked." Taking a deep breath, Miyuki continued her lecture, "Should the demon be separated from the talisman, their bodies will weaken an incredible amount—giving off the symptoms of miasma poisoning. And if the host doesn't find another life source within several days, they will die."
Horrified by this fact Masahiro exclaimed, "Then we have to save her!"
"Why? She's just an ayakashi."
Miyuki's voice was surprisingly cold and harsh as she folded her arms across her chest which caused Masahiro to stare at her in disbelief. Did that monotone voice really belong to his peace-loving sister? And those eyes of hers, had they ever been so cruel and bitter before? Masahiro knew that his sister wasn't fond of demons –for personal reasons which are unknown—but this was too much! Sure Miyuki was an ayakashi, but she wasn't a bad one like the others.
"All ayakashi are evil, Masahiro! There are no exceptions to that fact! Not even Megumi Kurasawa! If she has that talisman again, who knows what she'll do?"
Masahiro couldn't help but flinch at the sharpness of his sister's voice. How did she know what he had been thinking? Were his emotions that transparent? Still, Abe no Seimei's grandson couldn't help but wonder how the brunette had read his thoughts so easily. Not just his, but others as well, even the Shinshou. Was it a sixth sense?
"Is something wrong, Miyuki-chan?"
These were Rikugou's words as he quickly materialized beside the princess of the Seimei household, placing a careful hand on her tensed shoulder. Even he couldn't help but wonder how this girl –who had once told him that she had met several 'good' demons many moons ago—came to hate the very existence of these creatures. What happened in those years of travel? Maybe she might share that story another time.
Heaving a sigh, the brunette visibly calmed herself down as she spoke, "Nothing, Rikugou, I'm fine." Turning her attention back to her obviously stunned little brother, she spoke, "Give me one good reason why I should help her."
Knowing full well that the excuse 'she's a good demon' would not sit well with Miyuki, Masahiro blurted out the first thought that popped into his head. A thought that he wasn't even sure was true. "Guren likes her!"
A look of surprise and incredulity crossed the female's face. But the expression quickly faded and once again, she regained full composure.
"Then there's no need to worry. I'm sure that she's persuaded Guren to lend a bit of energy to her ..."
Confused by her words, Masahiro continued by asking how does one lend a bit of energy to another person. Although Miyuki replied with a straight face saying 'through intimacy', Masahiro's uncertainty still remained.
Glancing up at Rikugou with a look of helpless embarrassment, Miyuki said, "I mean sexual intercourse."
"Sexual... inter... course?"
Miyuki nodded, a light blush forming on her cheeks.
"What's that?" Masahiro asked out of curiousness, almost causing both Miyuki and Rikugou to choke. A part of the female wanted to strangle her father and her grandfather for not having the 'talk' with her little brother. He was about to reach the proper age to get married!
"Sexual intercourse, or in other words sex, is something you do with the person you really love," Rikugou explained as he tried to keep a stoic face, only to fail miserably for he too had a light shade of red tinting his cheeks.
"Oh. So does that mean that onee-sama and Rikugou-san have had sex?" the innocent Masahiro asked, clearly thinking that this subject was similar to asking if someone had hugged his older sister.
The two lovers immediately tensed and when Miyuki attempted to open her mouth to speak, her words were choppy and resembled that of a Mexican chipmunk attempting to speak Japanese for the first time. By then an unfamiliar heat had risen to her cheeks as she tried telling her little brother that that wasn't the type of question one should ask anyone. But Rikugou on the other hand, was not as embarrassed as his female counterpart. So, the tall, muscular male coughed into a closed fist which sounded as if he were trying to say 'five'.
Miyuki, although being blind, swung the talisman with such precision that it smacked Rikugou square in the forehead; shutting him up. Within seconds, Masahiro found himself outside his sister's bedroom with the door slammed in his confused face.
'What did I do?'
(Apparently, while Masahiro, Miyuki and Rikugou had been speaking, Guren and Megumi were already done with their 'intimacy'. Pretty quick, no? ^^)
Dazed. That was one way to describe how I felt as I laid on the futon with the woman I loved in my arms. Happy was another way to describe my emotions as I ran my hands through her long, chestnut brown hair, kissing her forehead, lips and neck. Although exhausted and sweaty from our actions, she was as beautiful as ever. Maybe even more now since the color had returned to her cheeks. As I took in her scent, all I felt was featherweight bliss; a feeling that I didn't want to lose, not in this lifetime.
Sadly, I knew that we had to get dressed before we were found out by the other Shinshou. After all, relationships between humans and 'gods', as some called us, weren't advisable. While humans' lives were short lived, Shinshou could live for as long as they weren't killed. In a way, they were immortal and days passed by as seconds. In fact, there was much skepticism when Rikugou and Miyuki informed everyone of their relationship. But it was not long after that when she revealed what she had done the last ten years and the prices she had paid to gain the same immortality that Rikugou had; which explained how she hadn't aged a day upon her return. Although she wouldn't reveal the secret to her longevity, maybe it was best kept as that. All I knew was, she could hear things that weren't spoken and that she could see things that no one else could despite the fact that she was blind. Sometimes I wondered if she were even human any more.
Before my thoughts could deepen any further, I felt Megumi slip out of my arms and sit up. Although disappointed, wanting to hold her for a moment longer, I merely watched as she slipped into a pure white pair of robes. I watched as she smiled at me. Her smile was a happy one but at the same time, lonely. I watched as she exited the room with the excuse that she was going to take a bath. I watched and watched without a word till she shut the door behind her. When she was gone, I simply laid my head back on the futon with a permanent smile plastered on my face; the thought of her smile being lonely hadn't entered my thoughts in the slightest.
(A/N: I have asked another person on Fanfiction and they told me that if the sex isn't described but hinted, then it's fine and can remain at a T rating.)
"Miyuki-sama told me to give this to you." As the ever so loyal Seiryuu spoke, he held out a small parcel wrapped in black velvet. He had been ordered not to open it or to accidentally touch its contents; and so, he did none of that sort without a question. It was obvious that the man had forgiven Miyuki –the woman he had once loathed and had made no effort to hide that fact—though, he wasn't going to admit that truth out loud. He had much more pride than that.
Megumi thanked the Shinshou with a kind smile as she unraveled the fabric, revealing her most prized belonging which she then tied around her neck. Once she had that in her possession, she excused herself, but Seiryuu remained in her way. Raising an eyebrow, the brunette folded her arms as if to question his actions.
Using his usual 'couldn't care less' tone, the ice user asked, "Just what do you intend to do now?"
With a smile, the girl kept her answer short and simple, "take a bath."
That wasn't what Seiryuu wanted to know, but he said nothing more and dissolved into the background.
"Grandfather, we shouldn't trust that woman! She's a demon!" Miyuki stated unhappily.
The night was dark and in an hour, it would be a new day, but what Miyuki needed to tell her grandfather couldn't wait another second. Although, she was rather surprised to see the old man wide awake at such an hour. Maybe it was because the Winter Solstice would begin in about two weeks and he wanted to study the constellations, or that he too sensed that something was amiss.
"Calm down Miyuki-chan, Megumi-chan is only half demon," Semei said, as if that were to explain his actions. It didn't.
In fact, the brunette was absolutely appalled by the fact that her grandfather knew all along. "You knew? And yet you let her into our home?" she exclaimed in an aggravated tone. So what if that girl was a half blood? She was still a demon and that was unacceptable! Though, why a human would want to mate with a demon was completely beyond Miyuki's knowledge.
"Really grandfather, what were you thinking-?"
Although the famed exorcist kept his tone calm and 'grandfatherly', it was enough to silence Miyuki as she followed his orders and inhaled sharply.
"Do you know who she is, Miyuki-chan?" he asked.
"Whether or not I know, I couldn't care less," Miyuki admitted as she crossed her arms over her chest.
The old man sighed. His granddaughter had been traveling all those years, gathering knowledge from different areas and countries, yet she had absolutely no idea who the Kurasawa clan was. "Well you should care. After all, those from the Kurasawa clan are related to us." Without waiting for a response, the grandfather continued to speak, "You see, many generations ago when there were so many demons about that they lived hand in hand with humans. And although marriage between the two was taboo, a woman from our ancestry married a demon, thus bringing about the Kurasawa clan."
Raising an eyebrow, Miyuki spoke, "As interesting as that is, so what?"
The old man chuckled at his granddaughter's new found impatience. No matter how old they get, they're still children at heart. "Because that woman chose to marry a demon, her descendants were cursed. And so, every generation, several children from that clan would be born with the parasitical talisman which they would have to keep with them till a certain age where they would give their life to the god who placed the curse."
"And so you're saying that girl is one of the unfortunate ones?" Miyuki asked skeptically, unsure whether or not she should feel sorry for the girl who was born to die because of some stupid curse or feel even more irritated than before; after all, her family shouldn't be concerned in such dark matters as this.
Nodding his head grimly, the old man spoke,
"Yes. And I'm sure she doesn't have much more time left."
It was late. Now the stars should be glimmering in the heavens, lighting up the night sky like stagnant fireflies that guarded the moon diligently. But I didn't notice them. No, to me, they were all dead; all gone. They meant nothing anymore. It would have made absolutely no difference if the world was filled with darkness, or if the world was black and white. It was no disparity to what I was living in. Hell.
The other Shinshou had left hours ago, along with Masahiro, Seimei and Miyuki. But I stayed behind, unmoving and silent.
Seimei and Miyuki... They knew that this would happen. Yet they didn't tell anyone until it was too late. But I guess, in a way it was better for everyone to have been kept in the dark. Though, a part of me still wished that I had been warned of her fate sooner. So maybe, maybe I could have made the last few days of her life the best she's ever had. Well, now it's too late. Now, she's dead.
As I had watched her so many times in the past, all I could do was gaze at the ground which was now her final resting place. Even now all I could feel was regret.
The last two weeks...
So, a quick recap on the last two weeks. Ever since Megumi regained her talisman, she seemed to have fully recovered from her miasma poisoning and was doing much better. In fact, she was sometimes allowed outside without someone to make sure she didn't pass out on the streets –but I would always tag along just in case. Not only that, now that Miyuki was out of bed, she was able to socialize with the others, though Miyuki tended to ignore her. When I decided to ask Miyuki-chan about her ill feelings towards Megumi, she simply replied, "You'll find out soon enough." I tried to understand why Abe no Seimei's granddaughter seemed to hate her, but failed to do so.
Nothing really exciting happened the last two weeks other than several feeble attacks by the local ayakashi. But not all were aimed at Megumi-chan or her talisman anymore which came to me as a relief.
But then, Megumi began acting strange. As in, she would seem upset at times and would even argue with Miyuki-chan the second they didn't see eye to eye. When I asked her what was wrong, she was able to shut me up without much effort.
Note to self; women are very persuasive in bed.
It was the break of dawn, around one in the morning, when I stirred in my sleep. For some reason, something was amiss yet I had no idea what it was. I attempted to ignore the nagging sensation at the back of my head, I was unable to block out the idea and feeling that something terrible was about to occur. It was as if my nonexistent danger senses were tingling. After many minutes of inner turmoil, I knew couldn't sleep for a minute longer. So, I carefully and grudgingly sat up, trying not to disturb my lover. But that was when I noticed something. She wasn't there.
That was when panic flooded my mind and for several moments, I was completely and utterly unable to think of anything but her. Had something happened? Why wasn't she here? It's too early to be awake, and they had spent the majority of last night actively, so she should be exhausted!
Following many paced breaths of air, my chaotic mind began to calm as I tried to reason with myself. Maybe she decided to have an early morning snack –a very early morning snack—or went to the garden for some fresh air. She did say she wanted to enjoy the last rays of the sun as much as she could before the winter clouds blanketed the sky.
After my search for Megumi in the kitchen and dining room ended in futile, I finally decided to search for the brunette in the gardens only to find –much to my disappointment—Seiryuu , I would have much rather have bumped into Miyuki-chan instead.
"Seiryuu," I greeted with a nod.
"Guren," he responded, his voice lacked the usual contempt which was rather surprising.
Still, the usual silence followed quickly after the brief greetings; but this time, it was only momentary.
"The girl you're looking for left."
Pause and turn.
"She left about ten minutes ago." As Seiryuu spoke in his regular apathetic tone, he gestured into the distance; a rather casual motion towards one of the most infamous temples in this time period that rose from the skyline.
Confused, I raised an eyebrow.
I watched as Seiryuu shrugged his shoulders before speaking, "She just said good bye and wanted you to forget about her."
This time, a pang of hurt shot through my body as my eyes widened in shock. Why would she leave? I thought she loved me. So why? All of a sudden...
"Because she is cursed."
The new voice cut through the tense air, adding on to the anxiety that was pumping through my bloodstream.
"W-what are you talking about?" My voice trembled as I turned my attention to Seimei's granddaughter, Miyuki, led by her ever so faithful bodyguard, Rikugou.
Her usually calm demeanor was replaced by a stern, almost cold expression as she oh-so slowly walked over to Seiryuu and I. In fact, mere seconds felt like hours before she parted her lips to speak, "Due to the mistake of her ancestor who mated with a demon, that girl has been cursed to die by the hands of the god who cursed her bloodline."
I opened my mouth to speak, but no words escaped my quivering lips.
In an irritated tone, Miyuki snapped at me, "If you love her, then stop standing there like an idiot and go! If not, then let her die!"
No need to tell me twice. Without thinking, my body lurched forward, almost involuntarily, and I dashed off as fast as my legs could carry me.
Once out of sight and ear shot, Rikugou placed a hand on his lover's shoulder, speaking in a low whisper, "you know he can't save her... so why...?"
The brunette's unyielding appearance slowly fell into a cheerless smile, "He should at least know that he did whatever he could to save her... And also, I owe her that much..."
Although confused, Rikugou kept silent.
Although I knew that Miyuki's tone of voice meant that it was impossible for me to save her from her fate, I still had to try. I had to do all I could even if it would have ended in futile. I had no doubts in my mind that it was because Miyuki knew of my mindset, she told me of Megumi's fate. Though, deep down I knew that my love for Megumi would end in tragedy the moment it sprouted. Still, this foolish heart of mine continued to love blindly. In a way, I was like a cat in heat; a clever creature now reduced to nothing more than a mindless blob of mush. Well, whatever. I just hoped that these legs of mine could carry me faster. That was when I nearly stopped in my tracks when I wondered why I hadn't asked Taiin for her help.
'Bah! I feel as if the whole world's laughing at me right now...'
When I first reached the base of the temple, I swore aloud as I stared up the hundreds of steps ahead of me. Shaking it off, I continued to run. There was no point standing about cursing when every second counted. Within minutes of nonstop frantic rushing and panicked shouts of exclamation, I finally reached the top. Sweat trickled down the side of my face as I took deep, steady breaths in order to regain some composure. Sadly, I lost it the second I blinked.
It was like a fountain. A fountain of red gushing out of a single stab wound, staining the figure who slumped to the ground with its crimson essence. I could only stand there and watched eyes wide, horrified at the messy sight.
Standing above her was a male, in his mid twenties with a slender build. Hair the color of a raven that ran down his back like silk and ocean blue eyes, filled with harsh malice. The robes he wore matched the color of his locks and were lined with the purest of silvers. His skin was pale and looked even paler in the moonshine. In his hand was a ceremonial dagger, the golden hilt was studded with precious gems while the silver blade was stained with blood; Megumi's blood. So this was the god that cursed her.
"Why?" I yelled, not really waiting for a response as I ran past him, towards the girl who lay unmoving on the ground. I didn't bother to raise a hand to him; after all, what was the point of a god fighting another god? That would be absolutely pointless and a waste of time.
The God's voice was as cold as ice and as hard as steel as he spoke, "Because she is the accused child of that woman..." With those words, the man shut his eyes and faded; back to the realm of the gods no doubt.
"Megumi! Open your eyes! Please live!" I begged as I held her in my arms, knowing full well that her time on this earth was now limited to mere minutes; no, seconds. I inspected her wound and wondered if there was a chance that I may be able to save her. But the moment the idea popped in to my mind, I dismissed it knowing full well that the only one could save her was Tenitsu, and if Tenitsu were to transfer the injury to herself, she may die. Suzaku would never allow that to happen and I wouldn't ask that of her anyway. She's already died once, I couldn't ask her to kill herself a second time for the sake of another.
The brunette stirred and her eyes slowly opened.
"Guren..." her voice was frail and the color was slowly leaving her face. I knew that death was slowly wrapping its fingers around her; careful not to lose her a second time. But I couldn't let her go, not yet.
My whole body trembled and I gave up trying to put up a brave front as I held the dying woman in my arms. Not much time left. There was not enough time. Time. There were few moments in my existence where I had wished that this body would be affected by it, age and one day, die. This was one of those times.
"I'm sorry... If only I had gotten here sooner... I'm sorry," I apologized over and over as the tears began to flood over the crumbling barracks that guarded my emotions. My grip on her tightened; it was a weak attempt to stop death from stealing her away from me.
Then, a gentle brush against my cheek caused my apologies to die down, allowing me to listen to the words of the woman I loved. I tenderly placed a hand on hers that she held up to my face, a rather out of character gesture on my part. In a way, I was glad she was still alive, and yet I hated the fear, the fear of knowing that she was going to die anyway. If only I had gotten there sooner. If only I had known. If only I had stopped her. If only I had saved her. The continuous guilt kept piling onto my shoulders till I felt that it was near unbearable.
"Don't blame yourself Guren... this is my punishment..."
Her voice that spoke those words was frail yet as delicate as an angel's song lifted the burdens that weighed me down, yet the fact that she was going to die re entered my thoughts. My eyes widened and the anger within my soul flared up.
"Why? You shouldn't be punished for a mistake that your ancestor made all those years ago!" I yelled, gritting my teeth, holding in the uncontrollable flames that were ready to explode from my very being.
Megumi shook her head as a weak smile crossed her face. She looked so weak, so fragile as I watched the color slowly drain from her features. "Guren, if my ancestor hadn't made that 'mistake', I wouldn't be here, with you..." Her voice trailed off as she coughed up crimson splatters causing my eyes to widen and call her name in panic. But she merely shook her head and continued to speak, "Guren, please... I'm glad that my ancestor made that choice... If she hadn't, I would have never met you or have found the happiness that I thought was out of my reach..." Her voice was slowly growing dim and raspy, but she continued on, "I am... so grateful that I had the chance to love and be loved... So don't hate yourself..." Although her body was dying, her eyes held all the love I would ever need in my existence; now, they were beginning to cloud with tears.
"I told you to forget about me... But... the thought of being forgotten scares me... so please don't forget me, but please, move on..."
"How could I?"
It almost seemed as if she hadn't heard me, her eyes held a faraway gaze as she carried on, "We're different beings... I'll never see you again, not even in the next life... but still... I love you..."
Hearing her words, I felt relief and sadness wash over me. So she really did love me after all. That was a relief, but the sadness, the heart wrenching sadness I felt was because I knew she was right. I would never see her again. Ever.
"Good bye, Guren..."
No, no, no! Don't! please! Megumi!
"I love you..."
Her hand that she had placed on the side of my face fell limp and I continued to hold her in my arms. Her body felt like ice and I knew immediately that she was gone. I was never going to see her again and that thought alone was enough to set ablaze the flames of hell. I couldn't hold back anymore, and truthfully I didn't care about this particular god's shrine. It was almost immediately, the ground caught on fire around us and yet it didn't touch me or Megumi's body. Instead, it spread in an outward fashion, setting alight the trees, burning down that accursed god's shrine along with whatever was within a hundred meter radius.
I could no longer control my body or its actions. I could no longer restart the logical side of my brain. I could no longer hear the screams of the priests as they attempted to tame the flames or the sounds of the other Shinshou calling out to me. I could not hear the deafening snaps of wood as the shrine of that God burn to cinder –he won't be returning to this earth in a while. I could no longer see the destruction I was creating all around me. Though I did feel a jolt of electricity course through my body the moment a staff collided to the back of my head; knocking the senses out of my system. Was it Rikugou? Most probably.
Then, everything faded to black.
Even though I had known that our life spans were completely different, even though I had braced myself for this day, my heart would stop every time the thought of losing her forever would arouse. I guess it was because had never expected her to be taken by some wretched curse that had been passed down the generations? How in the world could I have possibly seen that coming?
Tilting my head skyward, I watched as the stormy gray clouds continued to linger over head. Winter was coming soon, a time which Megumi had said was used to "spend time with loved ones". My eyes stung as I continued to bite back the tears, only to fail miserably. I had wanted to spend that time with her, sadly that was no longer possible. So, I let the cold beads of water cascade down my cheeks while blood seeped out from my clenched fists. It took everything I had to stop myself from falling to my knees and weep. Crying was a sign of weakness, even I knew that. But crying was also a sign that I had loved her. So, the tears kept falling.
A/N: I'm so sorry for the suckish ending! It's too cheesy! . It was really rushed and I hope no one feels offended if they find the characters OOC and rather unbelievable. Please review your thoughts! . So please help me correct my mistakes. .
There'll be a final chapter which is kind of a wrap up where the characters used in the last five chapters will all take turns playing in the final scene. Please look forward to it. .