Crane Wings on Windows
Chapter One — Prologue: What the Rain Brings
NEW as of February 2015

Update as of February 9, 2015: I am in the process of re-vamping/re-mastering this fanfiction. Therefore some chapters (until I give a note saying otherwise) are still old ones that need grammatical edits, and content clarifications.

When the description in the chapter says 'new' by the chapter then that means it has been edited and re-vamped. I will be sure to make notes for chapters that have been heavily edited such as with additions or subtractions (more on the side of additions than subtractions). Some old author's notes will be deleted for irrelevancy or because they just don't make sense (seeing a three year younger me is kind of eye-opening both in good and bad ways).

Do not fear: the meat and dialogue of this story will remain intact. I will be writing out ideas for how to further this story and how to better explain things that I feel need them. Thus, some chapters may actually be entirely new even though they are in-between old chapters! These are for clarity only and serve as intermediaries between two chapters. I doubt I will have many entirely new chapters weaving themselves with the old chapters but be aware that what you know as "chapter five" may end up becoming chapter six, etc.

As a fun side-note: man did I abuse semi-colons…I mean…really abuse them.

Copyright: I don't own any of the Hakuoki characters; they are all copyrighted under their respective owners. Everything else such as plot, random OC's, and story elements not present in the original anime/game/manga is copyrighted to me unless otherwise stated. Furthermore, any Japanese names/characters made up in this story are purely coincidental with real-life persons or authors and in no way reflects on their lives or works. They are for fictional, story-use only.

Note About Honorifics and Introduction: Like in my other stories I do not use honorifics due to me not being an expert on their usage (in great detail). Therefore, everyone will be referred to either by western titles (such as lord, master, etc) or not used at all rather than their honorific equivalents. Also, a forewarning—I am not an expert in Japanese culture when it comes to certain customs. I am currently in the process of trying to make sure I am as accurate as possible. If I am so far from correct that it deserves mentioning then do not hesitate inform me, I am willing to fix it.

Also be aware: I will use modern language in most instances so if certain words are used but would clearly not have been used in that time period understand it is because of this reason. Unfortunately, I do not have the patience to excavate extensive research into words used and not used between our modern language and the older language, especially of translated Japanese words to English equivalents.

Regarding Kazama Chikage's name (please read): It has come to my attention (thanks self for being lame) that I have been switching the surname and first name of Kazama. Kazama is his surname and Chikage is his first name (for all of you who knew this and didn't tell me, that is very kind of you to bear this). I have gone through my story and switched (when it is mentioned as a full name or as a clan name) that it would be Chikage Kazama (Chikage being his first name). Keep in mind though that everyone will still call him Kazama to be just as accurate with Hakuouki calling him such. For my story, since I have his family in this fanfiction their last names will be changed. Also, in regards to those other family members not being called by Kazama as well, think of it like this as this is how it will work in my story: The youngest member bears the family name as mainly their name as a way to "spread" glory and honor to their family. When he has made his name well enough or done something great for the family he will be allowed to be called Chikage by his family and others. (So "Kazama" is the name given to the youngest and most active member of their family). If I do it this way I can one, keep almost all of my references to Kazama (as I do still think many people know him this way) and two, be accurate when needed for family surnames, and three, I can actually use this knowledge in my story for Chizuru and Kazama in a later chapter! This, I believe, will satisfy all parties!

Setting and Final Notes on Changes (for clarity): This fan-fiction takes place as if Chizuru wasn't an oni of a prominent, and influential, family but she is still an oni. Also, this fan-fiction is set as if the Shinsengumi do not exist, or are not remotely important in this story, as the main parts of this fan-fiction are in or around Kazama's 'castle.' I do not know where he lives or if it is a 'grand place'; however, assuming he is a royal oni I imagine he lives in a large Japanese/western styled castle. Because I do not know the full history of oni's in the Hakuoki context, I have added my own mythos to them for fun and because I have an interest in creating mythologies. Therefore, if you critique my mythos, correct it for how it is presented, not for what is not compared to Hakuoki's mythology of oni's.

My author's notes will not be this long after this, so do not worry.

"The free bird leaps
on the back of the wind
and floats downstream
till the current ends
and dips his wings
in the orange sun rays
and dares to claim the sky.

- "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Maya Angelou

The pitter-patter of rain was the only sound Kazama could hear besides the rumbles of thunder far in the distance. It was in these moments that Kazama took time to simply be in the presence of nature. Hers was a force primal and immediate. Nature did not try to be what it was not or, Kazama reckoned, contemplated its own existence as he did now. Kazama knew that his sight spanned farther than humans could ever dream but still he was unsatisfied. His body healed itself without the aid of medicine, but still he hoped, longed, for something more. Something better than he had ever thought could be possible. His scarlet eyes pierced the canopy of trees surrounding his roofed balcony. The forest seemed endless and it left it mark for miles upon miles. Here Kazama lived in a world seemed long forgotten even by oni knowledge. Spring was almost over and the trees were lushes pigments of green ever since the rainy season had come. He could see the glistening of the rain droplets hit each leaf and then drop down to the group below. It was a scene of utter peace and of a world muted and hushed from its often vibrant, exuberant self, especially during this season of fertility and re-birth. The world here seemed divinely inspired. His castle felt like a natural addition to the forest, as though the forest cradled his castle and accepted its rule without question. Though nature seemed to bend towards his castle in harmony, he could make out certain areas near his castle where villages existed, nestled like his castle in the backdrop of trees and mountains.

Kazama lifted his head from his fist and pulled his top half up more so his elbow rested on the plush pillows beneath him in a more comfortable way; he was tired of this lax life. Of these never-ceasing days without true progression; he felt stagnant. Nothing happened that was worth notice. Humans fought over what they always did: grain, land, and other people. What they fought for Kazama felt as temporal concerns. Certainly he too had fought for the land he now claimed; he had brought those before him to their knees so that his rule here would become no longer a vision—but a reality. What Kazama truly wanted was to see his blood-line become etched into the sands of time as one of the strongest; he wanted to see his clan become more than such temporal worries; here in this land would be the beginning—the beginning of a rule of oni pure, strong, and un-ending. The problem of course arose that pure-blooded oni were few in this day and age, even less so were female. He was a man of particular tastes when it came to suitors who traveled far to try to mate with him. The women who did come to him were ugly at best or half-blooded at worst. Even those deemed beautiful by society Kazama snickered at. They had no passion, they lacked true honor, and they strove for idiotic things; or, they were crafting to over-throw his rule with their own.

An oni such as him could only mate with someone who was the highest in stature and whose blood only flowed with the oni's blood. Half-breeds did nothing for him except annoy him with their lies of claiming to be what they were not in full. Did they think he did not know who was a pureblood and who was not? Did they think him that a fool? Did they imagine he gained his position, not only as a pure-blooded oni, but as a warrior, based on sheer luck? Surely, they jested to humor him.

His brows furrowed down; the mere thought of their incompetence boiled his blood. Such disrespect to his person and house ensured that many half-breeds did not see the light of day after stepping forth into his keep. He easily slaughtered them for pleasure and in the name of his family line. He would not let them sully his reputation; such as it was, all peoples found out one way or another and were treated accordingly if they misstepped in their judgment on how far Kazama would go to keep his name untarnished. The others who merely sought him in the hopes of matrimony were lucky to become slaves of his keep or workers of his fields. And even these he judged based on if they seemed able to work; those who failed him in tasks or duties were killed upon the ground they toiled over day after day after day; there was no sympathy or care that such people could not handle their own or be useful to Kazama. His mouth twisted at the thought. They worked unceasing in their attempts at freedom. Kazama thought it fitting for them to die on the soil they turned and the fields they plowed. He was doing them a favor after all.

Lazily, he allowed his eyes to traverse the skies and the birds that flew idly in the grimness of the clouds. Even the birds kept to silence in the midst of the rain. It was an unnatural stillness in the midst of such verdant woods that seemed more befitting to song than silence. Kazama allowed his gaze to fall upon a man who sat bowing by his side. As if he understood his master's gaze now falling upon him, he pulled a long, thin smoking pipe adorned with a crane, presenting it to Kazama like an offering. Kazama lifted his right hand and plucked the pipe from his hands looking it over in the same lazy fashion he regarded the shiftless birds. Kazama glanced back at the man who gulped and looked down to avoid direct eye contact with his master.

Grinning, Kazama closed his eyes while lifting the pipe to his mouth.

"Leave me."

The man did not need to be told twice to do so; he bowed deeper so his nose touched the ground and then walked backwards until he left through two large wooden doors with cranes adorned on their faces, gold and jewels weaving into the design. His oni family crest was not a crane, but for some reason the birds brought him peace. They gave him such pleasure that he often would visit their nesting spots to watch them and observe their rather subdued behavior. No one laughed at this habit mainly because no one knew of it, and even if he or she did, were too afraid to say anything.

He dragged the pipe from his mouth to release a thin line of smoke. After a month of teaching himself, he had finally perfected his pipe smoking. Kazama had perfected this art many years ago but it was such a day that meandering thoughts were not kept at bay. Though, he did not chase such thoughts either but instead let them pass in the course and allowed them to leave just as easily. It bore reflection that many oni could do something trivial in minutes by allowing their powers to teach them in an instant, but Kazama preferred to do things with his own hands and own power. He felt more empowered and more of an oni than any, simply because he chose not to take the simple route. What he relied on was his own will, his own strength honed with age and training, to be his guide. Kazama believed highly in himself and allowed his oni powers to be shaped for more practical, utilitarian means rather than aesthetic ones.

His peace was broken as the crane doors were pushed open again and the same man who had brought him his pipe scuttled across the floor until he was mere feet from Kazama. He bowed and not hearing anything from Kazama, spoke, "I bring you news. A group of men have traveled here from Edo to bring you a new servant. They believe you would take interest in her."

A female? Rarely did these groups of men bring him females for his employment unless they were specialized in some skill such as cooking or weaving. He blew another thin line of smoke and lethargically brought his eyes to meet the man beside him.

"Bring her here then." Dismissing the man from his side, he let him scurry away just as quickly as he had come. Kazama mulled over the curiousness of this new arrangement. These men he trusted to bring him good and workable servants; oni, human, or both, it did not matter. He preferred oni slaves opposed to human ones as he could keep them in his service longer and showed his stature in the quantity of these oni servants. Humans, on the other hand, were troublesome, tiring things. They did not respect the ways of his race and were often un-educated people who couldn't even stop squabbling long enough to breathe. Kazama focused his thoughts again; most females the slavers brought were oni who they scoured long and hard for hoping they would become his mate so they could collect a bigger prize. Like everyone in the world, it seemed they desired only money. He took no qualms to this as money did show power, and he loved power.

Even the women he mused over as possible candidates were worked to see if they could handle their keep. He didn't want a weak woman breeding for him; he wanted a woman who could work hard and be both beautiful and strong. Just as he let his mind wander to other subjects, the doors cracked open again allowing three men, Kazama's servant, and a petite woman to pass through its barrier.

His only acknowledgment to the slavers was a sharp nod and a long wisp of smoke from his lips while pulling the pipe away, his gaze hard and unwavering. Knowing the procedure, the three men pushed the woman down in front of Kazama allowing him to see her unobstructed. Her head was bowed down so he could not see her face; but what Kazama first took note of especially was that she wore men's clothing. He glanced at the slavers wondering why they brought him a woman dressed like a man; surely, this was not a good start for his inspection. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, as they were good slave hunters, he took the end of his pipe not grasped in his hand and placed it under the woman's chin. He lifted her face with ease, even with her slight struggle, and allowed himself a dark grin. Her face was rounded and she possessed expressive brown eyes and milky white skin. He knew immediately she was an oni even if she tried to hide it behind all the plain clothing and modest haircut.

Though, he didn't think the clothes were all that made her look plain. Her basic face was plain at best, nothing interesting to observe or take note of; yet there was something ethereal about her anyways. He could see it deep, deep behind her appearance. Something about her made him think twice about having her be sent somewhere else, if for nothing else than curiosity. He watched as her face went from anger to defeat; she easily caved, he mused. If her expressions were anything to go off of her personality was one where she knew when it was futile to fight. Maybe his slave hunters had not failed him after all.

He removed his pipe from her chin, allowing her to go back to slinking her head down, her hair flowing with the fluid motion. Kazama rested his left fist back on his cheek and he waved to the servant, "Give the men their money then take the woman to the slave's quarters where she may be instructed and her clothes may be changed." His eyes glanced back at the girl, "What is your name?"

She spoke but one word, "Chizuru."

He grinned again, "Thousand cranes? Do not fail me and you may live well." He motioned for the servant to take her and his guests away so he could be at peace again. He thought lightly over the new servant. If her name meant anything, she would prove to be an interesting keep; if for nothing else than the fact her name 'thousand cranes' was to bring good luck. He closed his eyes again allowing the sound rain to be his one and only accompaniment.

This did not take me long to finish editing seeing as I have always liked this chapter the best, in a way. Not much changed other than added details or word choice. Maybe a few more hints to his character in my version of him.

Comments and favorites are always appreciated.