Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. Ep7 SPOILERS, though I assume most of you have already read through Ep7. Happy 2011, folks.


Shame.

It was not just an emotion. It was a feeling of disgust—absolute disgust—towards oneself. A feeling which overtook you and spilled out in a variety of different emotions towards those who had nothing to do with the shame. Actually, these people had everything to do with the shame.

Kinzo knew this all too well.

It was that very emotion which prevented him from going back to visit his daughter when he should have. Or maybe he shouldn't have. Perhaps this break for a few months had been good for his soul—it had given him time to clear his head, to think about what had happened that day…

Kinzo shivered, though not from the winds which blew very soft. His own daughter…of all people, it had to be his daughter…

Some days, he cursed her resemblance to her mother—her ginger blonde hair, her eyes which matched the colour of the ocean he would never let her see, her smooth skin which felt like silk in his hand—and other days, especially before "that", he was grateful. Beatrice Castiglioni may have died, but she lived on in her flesh and blood.

He remembered the night she was born all too well. He remembered that eventful day he had arrived one week before her due date so that he could stay with her until it was time for the birth…only to discover that day had arrived sooner than had been hoped. He realized it the moment one of the doctors had greeted him at the door. For a moment, he worried he had been too late and his child had already been born.

"The contractions began only a few hours ago," the doctor had explained, "she should still be a long ways yet from the actual birth itself. Her pregnancy has been a difficult one as you know, so bear in mind there may be complications…"

Yes, Kinzo remembered quite clearly—those days where he would visit his beloved Beatrice when she was with child. Those days that would be precious to him, not so much to Beatrice herself. The expression on her face would go from absolute joy over their upcoming child to one of unbearable agony the next. Something was wrong with her, they just knew it. Dr. Nanjo could not pinpoint it precisely. Perhaps her uterus was shaped wrong, or perhaps she had some sort of abnormal growth in her uterus that the baby was putting pressure on, or perhaps her body was simply not built to carry a child yet defied the odds. Whatever it was, it left her barely able to talk with Kinzo about their love of books, of the arts, that they once shared together.

It had pained Kinzo to see her in such a state—if it were up to him, he would convince his wife that he had to go on a business trip to America that would require him to be away from the family with a year. If it were up to him, he would stay here with Beatrice to help her through this difficult pregnancy, and then stay forever so they could raise their child together, the living reminder of their passion, of their love.

But alas, life was not always fair. He had stayed with her through the night, had comforted her when it seemed almost too painful to bear. She seemed to almost know she would not survive the birth, for it was during this time that she had started talking about her love for him than any other time they had been together. Her last words to him had been, "Kinzo…you have been my reason for living all these years. And now…with this child coming…you have made me especially happy to be alive."

When the time for the birth came, it seemed to happen too fast within a flurry of screams, blood loss, and life-filled wailing. She was gone, and reborn within the infant whom Kinzo cradled in his arms, holding her carefully as though she would die, too.

And years later, he would soon be holding her in his arms as he had once held her mother. He would take her to her room, make his intentions quite clear…and…

Kinzo abruptly stopped walking. He considered turning back. Perhaps this was a bad idea. Would she even want to see him again after…?

He forced himself to continue. He would apologize for his mistake in futile hopes that somehow—somehow—he could make everything all right.

He did not find her in the garden, nor in the main hall. He had found her in the bathroom leaning over the toilet and retching, on her knees, wearing a nightgown that had once belonged to her mother. Again, he was reminded of her, and felt ashamed.

When she looked up and saw him standing there, her eyebrows knitted together and her eyes met the floor. Something was wrong. He had no idea as to what it was, but there was something troubling about her expression.

He walked over to Beatrice—why oh why had he ever given her that name—and said softly, "Beatrice? Are you sick?"

Beatrice looked away and nodded.

"Perhaps I should come back," muttered Kinzo, but he cleared his throat and said, "Beatrice…about what happened…"

"Please," said Beatrice sharply. She closed her eyes. "Kinzo…please…"

Had she been the one to feel shame now? Had she blamed herself for her resemblance to her mother, for not stopping him as she should have?

"I'm…sorry…" said Kinzo softly. He held out a hand, offering to help her up on her feet. Beatrice looked into the eyes of the father who had betrayed her, and into the outstretched hand offering mercy. Her eyes finally resting upon the hand, she took it. Her hand was trembling in his as he slowly helped her up. She stumbled a bit and he caught her around the waist.

That was when he realized how thick her waist had grown.

His mind temporarily blanked. Then, as it began to come back to him, he remembered finding Beatrice—the girl's mother—spending nearly the entire day in the bathroom during the early days of her pregnancy, already foreshadowing signs of something wrong…

His hands moved around her waist to the front of her stomach. It was well-concealed with the nightgown which was just one size big enough, but upon touching her stomach, he felt a very small bump that had begun to take form.

Now, it was his turn to feel nauseated. He remembered his mistake now, in more vivid detail than he wanted to ever recall. How he had foolishly mistaken her, his own daughter, for…

And now…now she was carrying his child.

The child of her father. The child of the man who should never have crossed such a line.

Beatrice looked up into his eyes, tears filling her own. "I…I wasn't sure why I was feeling sick, or why I was 'late'," she said slowly, "I only realized…just last week…that I was…"

Kinzo gently cupped her tear-streaked face and leaned her head into his shoulder, where she burst into muffled sobs. He stood there holding her like this for several minutes, like it had been another man to get her pregnant and not he.


Shame.

It was not just an emotion. It was a living reminder that would grow in his daughter's belly over the next several months. It was what he would hold her hand in anticipation for as she managed to survive the birth her mother could not.

And yet…it was what he valued most in the world. It no longer became shame, but a child. A child whom he would long to call "Lion".

And whom he would only get the chance to do so in a miracle world.

The End