A/N: Hey guys! So this is a oneshot I wrote a while back that I felt didn't really need a place in Antithesis, but I couldn't bear to let it go. Overall, I'm happy with it, save for a couple of parts. If you haven't read Antithesis, you won't understand this as well as you should. Anyway...

Disclaimer: I don't own Okami's characters, only my own.


To Love A Goddess

It was only when I heard the soft breathing of Amaterasu's sleep that I got up from beside her, starting down the path that led away from Sakuya's tree. I needed time to think for myself. My memories as Shinryu were slowly returning, and not all of them were pleasant. The screams and cries of those I had murdered in Verel's name echoed in my mind as I reached the bottom of the stairs, my tendrils of power flaring in response to the voice that called out after me.

"May I ask where you are going, Shinryu?"

Without turning around, I responded, To think, Sakuya. I'd appreciate it if you didn't wake Amaterasu.

"Very well," replied Sakuya. "I will keep watch over the Great Mother until then."

Thank you.

The wood sprite vanished, leaving the heavenly scent of cherry blossoms in the air. I sighed and continued through Kamiki, marveling at how quiet it had become after a few hours of celebration. Everyone had gone to sleep, it seemed, and the silence had left me alone with my thoughts. I've killed so many, I thought quietly, the cries of the departed increasing with each step. How am I supposed to repent for this? How do I... how can I face Amaterasu after what I've done? The screams of hatred and pain became words that ate away at my soul.

"How dare you come back?! Leave, you beast! Leave and do not defile my father's grave anymore!"

"Why? Why would you kill her, wolf? ANSWER ME!"

"Do you even know what you've done?! You've doomed us all!"

"Deathbringer! Leave us be!"

I shook my head, trying to clear my mind of the voices that insisted on haunting me. Then the memory with the voice I had grown to love so well joined the chorus, stopping me in my tracks.

"Shinryu... how dare you harm a child of the sun and defile Takamanohara?" Amaterasu looked up from the bleeding body of a Celestial at me. The tendrils of light streaming from her coat flared as she leapt at me. "Leave!"

I.. I trembled and stared up at the sky in horror, the memory cutting itself off as I tried to remember more. I... hurt Amaterasu... I sat back on my haunches and stared up at the white orb that lit the night sky. I shouldn't even deserve to look at her, let alone love her.

I was a murderer that had once fought under the very incarnation of evil and wielded the brush and weapons she sorely detested; it was a wonder that I was still walking this earth. She should hate me, loathe me... but she loves me, and I love her. It didn't make any sense. I was her antithesis, the opposite of everything that she stood and fought for. We shouldn't have been in love, and yet we were.

I blinked, attempting to make sense of things. Was love supposed to make sense at all? I frowned. What did being in love with the sun mean, exactly? Amaterasu was the radiance in the sky, the bringer of light, the origin of all that was good and mother to all of Nippon; I was the darkness that danced between the stars, the warrior of the moon, the bringer of death and sorrow. We were complete opposites that complimented one another as the earth did the sky. Each day I spent with her was a joy within itself; her presence brightened the darkest of moments and drove any despairing thoughts from my mind. Every day Amaterasu had spent with me since we'd been reincarnated reminded her that the darkness was not always evil, that the twilight did exist. Loving a goddess not only meant loving her, but the very thing she represented and defended with her life.

It meant casting away the death-dealer I had been, and embracing the twilight warrior I was becoming, one that used the strength of darkness to aid the light.

It meant realizing that forever was not really forever; I was mortal, and she was not. I would die, and she would mourn me, but she would move on, keeping me in her memory.

It meant earning my forgiveness from myself, one day at a time. The light Amaterasu shone with brushed back the dark cries of the departed, the guilt vanishing slowly but surely. The sun goddess had already forgiven me; I needed to earn my forgiveness from myself, to reach out of the death that followed me toward the life ahead.

It meant remembering that darkness and light were two sides of the same coin, that one couldn't exist without the other.

It meant acknowledging that understanding her was futile, that comprehending purity and perfection was impossible.

It meant loving Amaterasu with every fiber of my being as long as I was able, to give myself completely to her and protect her with my life.

I stood up, a sense of peace filling my heart. I could and would do everything asked of me, not just for her, but for me as well, for the two goals were inextricably bound to one another, just as Amaterasu and I were. From this point onward... I am no longer Shinryu, the deathbringer and harbinger of destruction. I am Shinryu, consort of Amaterasu and warrior of the twilight. With that in mind, I headed back up the flights of stairs to Sakuya's tree. At the top of the path, Issun's aura glowed faintly, a sign he was fast asleep. I hesitated, then padded over to him, intending to wake him up, when the scroll on the ground stopped me short. Curious, I prodded it with my nose. It unfurled easily to reveal something I hadn't expected. A beautiful painting of Amaterasu and me sitting side by side under the sakura tree met my astonished eyes. Every detail had been painstakingly drawn; around Amaterasu were faint sparkles that enhanced her divinity, while my tendrils waved majestically in the wind. Underneath the picture was a small caption in kanji. 'The Great Goddess Amaterasu and her Noble Consort Shinryu,' I read, amused. I looked over at the snoring Poncle. Thank you, Issun. With another prod the scroll rolled itself up, and I placed it beside him. Once that was done, I crept over to Amaterasu and took my place beside her again. One amber eye opened to look at me questioningly, and I smiled back.

Nothing, Amaterasu. Sleep well.

One last thought paraded itself through my mind as I closed my eyes and fell into a dreamless slumber.

To love a goddess is to love without strings attached.