The Adventures of Tominaga Yuiko
A Fanfiction by Miyuki
Based upon "Shounen Onmyouji"
Forward: I do not own Shounen Onmyouji or its characters all rights belong to the original owners. This is merely a fan fiction for the purpose of fun and entertainment.
Prologue: Prophecy Foretold
Heian-Kyo, 1047 Common Era-
…Abe no Masahiro set aside the calligraphy brush, using his now-free fingers to pinch the headache forming at the bridge of his nose, between his eyes. The warmth of the summer nights had long since passed, leaving the chill of autumn to settle into his joints, making his fingers ache and tremble. He had splattered ink on his letter to the Minister of the Left more than once, and had been forced to start over each time. Only patience and perseverance had allowed him to finish his brush marks, and now the letter merely awaited its folding and deliverance.
The only sounds in the room came from the flickering of the oil lamp that lit his work, and those moths that dared to flutter too close. It was unsettling to the Onmyouji. Where once his evenings had been filled with the quite humming of his wife, as she sewed a kimono in the corner, her soft voice bringing him comfort as she patiently waited for him to finish his work, so they might retire together… But after Akiko's death, there was no more singing. And Masahiro's nights stretched on in endless, echoing silence…
"…Is it done?" He asked to the darkness, feeling the presence of a spirit hovering near his consciousness. In a waterfall of starlight, Rikugo appeared, kneeling before the aged spirit master with reverence.
"Yes." The Shikigami's responses were as brusque as ever, bringing a smile to Masahiro's lips beneath his white moustache.
"Very good… Please summon the others. There is much I need to tell you all…"
Rikugo nodded his affirmation, his form fluttering into nothingness for but a moment, before returning. The harmony of several other presences followed him, singing with iridescent light, and surrounding the old Onmyouji faithfully. Tenku, the wise, most powerful of the barrier shikigami. And beside him, dark-haired Genbu, his young eyes the same color as the water he commanded. Beside Genbu was Tai'in, the energetic, and sometimes volatile wind spirit. There was also silver-haired Tenkou, her eyes alight with her strong will. Green-haired Taijou bowed to him immediately, ever the respectful one. Byakkou, the tiger of wind, smiled as warmly as ever, beside his best friend and companion, Suzaku of the purifying flame. And with Suzaku, as always was beautiful Ten'itsu, standing peacefully beside her love. Seiryuu lurked along the wall, his face as pensively angry as ever. One smile from the confident and dark-haired Kouchin, however, and the water shikigami, shrugged his anger aside indifferently.
The only one Masahiro did not see immediately was one he did not even have to look for. For he was always by his side. Even if he did not see him, did not see him, Masahiro felt him there. That had been true in his youth, and remained true, even now. Touda- Guren- had not left Masahiro's side for a moment, even after all his memories of their past had been stripped. Guren's devotion and loyalty had never once faltered, and their friendship had been born into a new form, stronger than ever it had been.
"Thank you all, for coming." Masahiro sighed in a voice so weighed with weariness that it sounded foreign to his own ears. "I think you know why I have summoned you."
"This is in regards to him, is it not?" Tenku stated more than asked, wise as ever.
"Indeed…" Masahiro's hands dropped upon his knees, his shoulders collapsing as if suffering beneath a terrible weight. "…I must apologize, to you all… If not for my incompetence… In my grief of losing Akiko, I foolishly plunged head-first into a battle I was not prepared for, and as a result, many of you were hurt… Some of you even came very close to losing your current forms. Even worse, after those terrible losses, the best I could manage was to seal him away. I could not even properly defeat the one who had stolen Akiko's life… And I have left a threat more terrible in his place. For one day, the seal I cast upon will surely weaken, and he will free himself, and seek retribution once again… And because of that, I must now ask something more of you all…"
An uncomfortable silence stretched out between the shikigami and their master, none daring to utter even the faintest sound. They did not harbor any ill feelings towards Masahiro, the Onmyouji was well aware of that. But it was something for which he would never be able to forgive himself, even if they already had.
"…Over that past few months, I have been meeting with Fujiwara no Toshitsugu, planning the development of several shrines throughout the lands of the capitol. These shrines encircle the seal in which he is imprisoned, and are to act as additional reinforcement to the barrier holding him… These shrines have been constructed to house your spirits."
An uneasy murmur ran through the gathered Shinshou, and Masahiro was forced to close his eyes to their sad expressions. "I have no successor…" Masahiro choked with shame. "When I perish, the seal upon him will immediately begin to weaken, and there is no Onmyouji now who possesses the power to reinforce it. Which is why I must call on all of you… By sealing yourselves within the shrines Toshitsugu and I have constructed, the barrier will be protected. I… am sorry…"
Silence once again stretched out before him, and Masahiro could not bring himself to lift his eyes. Only when the soft hands of Ten'itsu brushed his shoulders did the old Onmyouji dare lift his gaze.
"Masahiro-sama… We shall do whatever you ask of us." The golden-haired shikigami smiled with sadness, knowing full-well how difficult this was for him to ask of them. The Onmyouji's eyes rimmed briefly with tears, before he bowed his head towards them, touching his forehead to the ground in reverence.
"I thank you, all…"
"…One concern, Masahiro-sama." Taijou spoke softly, gaining attention. "Even if we are all to form the restraints that hold the barrier in place, you know that our power alone is not sufficient. The seal will hold, yes… But for long, is uncertain. He will eventually break free, even with our powers."
"I am aware, Taijou… And I have been making preparations for that, as well." Masahiro reached for the scroll resting carefully atop his desk, peeling back the parchment for the shikigami to see its contents. "Over the last several full moons, I have been divining a prophecy. When the seal is at last shattered, and he again walks the mortal lands, so shall awaken another- a descendant of my blood. It is this person who shall be my true successor. They shall find and awaken you from your slumber, and shall possess all the power of the Abe blood. They alone will be able to defeat him, at last."
"Possess all the power of the Abe blood?" Tai'in repeated the words curiously, before covering her small mouth in shock. "Masahiro-sama! This prophecy, its-!"
"Yes." Masahiro's gaze did not flinch. "It is a spell of sealing, binding the powers of the Abe bloodline. It will cause the powers of my ancestors to go dormant, and converge solely into one individual, in every generation. That was the only way I could think of… to ensure that the one to fight him would be powerful enough…"
"But, Masahiro-sama…" Kouchin looked hurt. "Without their spiritual power, the Abe bloodline will lose its standing… They will never succeed as Onmyouji, and we can never know when exactly the seal will break upon him!"
"I am aware of that, Kouchin, and believe me, I have considered it…. But I have spoken to my sons, and they have agreed… This… is the only way. Besides, how could I ask such a sacrifice of all of you, and yet give up nothing, myself?"
The smile he offered them was not without pain, but as always, Masahiro's determination never faltered. With heavy reluctance, the gathered shikigami departed to complete their selected tasks, vanishing in stardust curtains to complete their master's bidding. All departed, leaving Masahiro alone in the silence of the room.
All, save one.
"Still here, eh, Guren?"
"Dumbass." The shikigami of hell fire dropped himself unceremoniously beside Masahiro, his heavenly shroud settling about his shoulders and catching the candlelight in a warm glow. Guren's flinty eyes locked with Masahiro's warm stare. "What the hell do you think you're doing, forcing yourself to stay up, like this? You've been ill for the last two months! The whole time you were talking, it was a struggle for you just to sit up, wasn't it? You're not as young as you used to be- Seimei's Grandson."
"Heh, I really can't get anything past you, can I, Mokkun?"
"'Course not. And besides…" Guren propped his chin into his open palm, his gaze steering away. "You had Toshitsugu only erect eleven shrines. We both know that you've got something else planned for me. Ne?"
Masahiro only laughed. It really was impossible for him to deceive Guren. The shikigami had always been his dearest friend, and could read him as easily as a solitary kanji.
"What was with that whole 'when I die' routine, anyways?" He asked grumpily, glaring irritably at Masahiro, his eyes like two burning coals. "That was the sort of stuff Seimei used to pull on you, to get you to do what he wanted. The older you get, the more you seem to take after him."
"You really think so?" Masahiro grimaced, his head dropping between his shoulders as a look of distaste filled his expression. "Ugh. You're right. To think I've sunk so low… Ojii-sama must be laughing at me from the other side, right now."
"Probably." Guren grinned. "He always did have you wrapped around his finger, even if you weren't aware of it."
Masahiro's response did not come immediately, his shoulders remaining slumped, and his face shadowed by lengths of silver hair. "Ne, Guren… Do you recall… When we first met?"
The shikigami straightened, his expression scrunching with a mixture of confusion and pain. "Masahiro, you know I don't…" He shuffled uncomfortable, twisting his legs into Indian position. "When you brought me back… All my memories of that past were erased… You used your own life, to purge my sins…"
"Yes, I know…" The old Onmyouji grinned, despite himself. "What's with that guilty-looking face? Haven't I told you countless times that it wasn't your fault?"
"Doesn't matter. Even if I don't remember, Seiryuu told me precisely what it was that I had done to you. He will never forgive me for those crimes…"
Masahiro again put a hand to his temple. "Honestly. Seiryuu needs to learn how to let things go."
"And I don't understand how you can forgive me so readily!" Guren snapped, averting his eyes with shame. "I betrayed you… I hurt you, and I nearly killed you! But still, you… You gave your life, for my sake, to bring me back… When I learned of that sacrifice you made for me… I swore that I would always protect you. That I would always remain by your side…"
Masahiro's hand rested gently atop the shikigami's shoulder, the old Onmyouji wincing with guilt. "Forgive me… It was not my intention to cause you pain, Guren. I know your devotion to me. Of all the friends I have had in my life, you are the dearest. My trust in you is absolute- which is why I wanted you to remain vigilant, while the others sleep. You are the only one I could entrust this task to, Mokkun…
"I entrust the safety of my family to you, Guren. When at last I am gone, and the others have fallen into their slumber, I ask that you remain awake to protect my descendants. I know that he will try to strike at them from within his seal. This prophecy… it was all I could do, but I fear that I have put them in terrible danger, as a result. But if you are there, then I can rest easy, knowing that you will protect them."
The shikigami lifted curious eyes. Masahiro was acting strange again, as if her talking future-tense without thinking of himself as being there. But Guren had chosen to devote himself completely to Masahiro's wishes, regardless.
"…You're talking like Seimei, again."
"Eh? Ahhh, you're right! How infuriating!" Masahiro threw his hands up in exasperation, scratching his head so hard as to knock off his court hat, before slumping in bitter defeat, and muttering about how he'd been manipulated by that 'lousy geezer'. Despite himself, Guren snorted in laughter. Comparing him to Seimei always seemed to put Masahiro back into better spirits, good humor he had been sorely missing, since Akiko had passed away.
"Heh, you're too easy Masahiro… Masahiro?" Guren's eyes flared in shock. The elderly Onmyouji had not lifted himself after his last tantrum, but remained slumped. His breathing was shallow and labored, and his hand clutched at his chest as it to ease it's painful thundering. Already so close, it took the shikigami barely a breath to be at his side, enfolding his master with strong arms, and easing him back. "Masahiro! What's wrong? Hey, Masahiro!"
"Eh? S-sorry, Guren… I'm fine, just… just tired… Heh, I suppose I'm too old to be flailing about like that, anymore."
"You need to rest! I told you, you shouldn't be pushing yourself, after you've been sick, like this! I'll protect your family, so stop worrying about it."
"Yes… You're right. I'm sorry…" Masahiro smiled bitterly. In truth, he had been expecting the attack for some time now. It was why he'd been so desperate to get everything into place. After returning from the land of death once before, he had long since been able to feel the approach of his end. A shaking hand lifted from its claw-like grip on his heart, dropping on Guren's shoulder pleadingly. "Please, Guren… There's something else… I must ask you…
"I already said I'd protect your family, Masahiro, you can stop fretting."
"No… Not that… Guren, I want… I want you… to find your own happiness."
"Eh?" The shikigami was completely taken aback by Masahiro's words. "Masahiro… I don't understand…"
"Guren… I want you to be happy… You've been by my side so long, but even with your memories gone, you've never been able to release yourself of your guilt. You need to forgive yourself, Guren… Forgive yourself, and… find what it is… you want to live for…"
"Ah… I'm so tired, Guren… I think… I'm going to rest, now…"
Panic gripped the shikigami's gut, his clawed hands digging gently into Masahiro's shivering form.
"Akiko is… waiting for me, Guren…" Masahiro sighed, his hand dropping weakly from the shikigami's shoulder. Guren's bright eyes darted between that hand, and Masahiro's face, his eyes glazed with endless sleep. "It's time… I joined her…"
"No! Masahiro! Stay with me!"
"Forgive me… Guren… Sayonara…"
The shikigami's screams tore through the shroud of the sky, penetrating the veil of heaven. Masahiro's face remained fixed in a smile, and expression that burned itself into Guren's memory. But within the Abe household, with their powers now sealed, there remained none who could hear his agonized cry…