I miss my goddess. As clingy as she could be, and as abusive as she was, Akito was my life. I loved her, even if I could never compete with her Dog. Shigure. That's not something I am meant to understand, though. Whenever he would degrade her, leave her, betray her, I was there to pick up the pieces. I was the one whose chest she would sob into when everything became overwhelming, but I was not the one she wanted.

Part of the legend of the Zodiac states that the Rooster – that's me – is destined to be God's favorite. The Rooster is the only member of the Juunishi with wings, and so is the only animal capable of going between heaven and earth. He is the messenger. And not to sell myself short, I always was one of her favorites. I was one of four members of the Juunishi who knew our God was no god, but a goddess. Hatori was another favorite, though he would never realize that. Why else would Akito keep him as her personal physician when there were other members of the Sohma family who could have qualified? After all, Kagura chased after Kyo shamelessly, and they were family just as Kana had been. Yet you did not see Akito attacking Kagura.

Contrary to popular belief, the God of the Chinese Zodiac is not always treated by a member of the Zodiac. In fact, it was only in the past few generations that the need for a personal physician became an issue at all. That was our first sign that the bond, what other members called their 'curse', was weakening.

This was poison. In the original story, God feasted with his animals in an endless round of celebration. They were never apart, and never wanted for anything. When that bond was transferred to earth, it became strained. It was not possible for an endless round of feasting, nor was it feasible to keep the Zodiac together at all times. They managed, though, and in the earliest records of our family, I have never found complaint of the bond.

Only in the more recent generations did the bond become a problem, begin its reign as a curse. The members had become more independent, and that put immense strain on the one fated to carry the spirit of God. Even then, though, it was never as bad as this generation.

This generation, everything went wrong. The Dog moved out of the Sohma estates, taking the Rat and the Cat with him. The bond lost its grip on me, but I refused to leave. I never could deny my goddess anything she asked for, even if it broke my heart. But I was never good enough.

She wanted Shigure. She always wanted him, even when I was the one in her bed. Broke my heart constantly, but what could I do? There was no way I could hurt my goddess. To do so would be unforgivable, just as I could never forgive Shigure for such actions.

I miss my goddess. I miss the way she would cling to me when she needed help. I miss her sleepy smile in the morning, and holding her as she shuddered her way into sleep. I miss being there for her when she needed me. I miss seeing her...just seeing her. I miss her too-pale skin and her too-big eyes, and the sweetly poisonous way she would say my name.

Anything, I would give anything to reverse time and fix it. Fix the world so that her thin frame didn't wrack itself into convulsions. Enable myself to be what she wanted and needed, not just needed. I would have moved heaven and earth for her, if I thought it would help. Rearrange the stars to change our fates.

Wouldn't have made a difference.

Akito wanted one person, and it wasn't Kureno. She wanted the one member of her Juunishi she could never have, and it broke both of us. I finally understood why Shigure would sleep with hateful Ren to lash out at Akito. I could never hurt her like that, not without stabbing my own heart, but I understood. To be in control of myself, and not constantly cater to another individual...such an idea was empowering.

But I would not have the courage or motivation to seek out another human being until I finally had that blade in my back, and realized that I truly was nothing. My life mattered so little to Akito that she thought it easy to kill me. After that, I lost the will to live. My stay in the hospital would have culminated in my death if it hadn't been for Miss Uotani. I met her at the convenience store where she worked, and had some pleasant conversation. Aside from that, however, I did not know her. She knew of me, and when Miss Honda informed her that I was injured, she was the first one at my bedside.

I thought that life would get better. I was finally with a woman who wanted me, me, not someone else. I was released from my promise not to leave my goddess, and ordered to leave. Life looked simple.

Nothing is that simple.

Yes, she had freed me, but I was not free of her. I have spent so much of my life caring for her that just...stopping...was hard. Not just hard, painful. In the morning, I would find myself reaching over to check Akito's temperature, only to find a blonde in my arms. I would wrap my arms around Miss Uotani, and get complaints that I was squeezing too hard. I was trying to suppress the nightly shudders that would always accompany us into sleep.

I miss my goddess. When the bond broke, that's when the rest of the Juunishi became free.

When the bond broke, that's when my curse began.