Disclaimer- I will never own Dais or Anubis. Everyone belongs to his/her respective producers, voice actors, artists, and animators. I am not making any money off this fan fiction, nor should I receive payment for any such reasons.
I had no say where my grave was chosen. Within days of my memorial service on the shore of one of the castle's moat-feeding canals, I am greeted with a burst of wind tangling my hair. Leaves swirl around in flashes of yellow, red, and brown. To me, autumn has always been a dreary season.
Still, my body rests in a peaceful location. Inside an old grove of weeping cherry trees on the main ground of the castle gardens, my headstone stands. Memories bring me back to the last maple leaf-viewing party my fellow warlords and I attended. I remember a light meal of tea and sweets, followed by Sekhmet and Cale trying to see who could down the most sake without waking up to a head-splitting hangover. Dais and I would excuse ourselves, heading towards the castle's veranda for a few quiet moments.
Now I wait for Bon and the yearly equinoxes to arrive. Tradition dictates that the dead are usually remembered on those three days, but my amplified sense of hearing picks up the sound of footsteps. I recognize the clank of sub-armor; Dais is walking towards my grave.
This is a surprise! I don't mind seeing him; it makes me feel like I'm not forgotten. He tries to be respectful, but it often turns into talks about things such as rebuilding the castle complex after Talpa's defeat. Then there are times he talks about trying to subjugate the rebellious feudal lords who think they can run wild without their iron-fisted emperor ruling. Sometimes he speaks of trivial things like escaping into the human world to get away from the responsibilities that now weigh on his mind. I listen to him, not because what he says is unimportant, but because I can see his sad blue eye, eye patch, and white hair more vividly than ever.
In one hand he carries a small bowl to burn incense, while the other grips the handle of a bucket full of water. Inside the bucket is a scrub brush. I know this routine - he will clean my headstone and then make an offering. While the incense burns, he will pray.
I have guessed his actions correctly, until he burns the incense. This time, he does not pray or tell me stories. He stands and says, "I know that the four of us weren't always close, but the bond we shared was the most realistic thing in Talpa's web of lies."
Sighing, he brushes a few stray strands of hair from his face. "I just wish I could've admitted it to you before you died. There's so much more we should have done together..."
His words surprise me. I lived the last days of my life knowing what was real and illusionary. Dais might not have known these feelings were real until Talpa showed his true face, but he doesn't understand that if I had felt nothing for him, Cale, and Sekhmet, why would I promise to rescue them from Talpa? If those feelings weren't real, why would Dais ask me to surrender than outright kill me? Moreover, why did he appear at the train tracks and botch three attacks that I know he has used successfully in the past?
At the same time, I am proud to hear those words. Delayed enlightenment is better than ignorance. The only good thing that came out of Talpa's defeat was learning from our mistakes. The whole war was an experience in knowing what really mattered. That knowledge will stay with me for eternity.
Dais continues talking while I sort out my thoughts. Wishing I could give more help, I mix my voice with another burst of wind. "I know it was real, no matter how perfect or flawed we were. I'll always treasure those emotions with the three of you."
With a jerk, Dais is ready to summon his full armor. I'm glad he heard me. If I were still alive, I would have done more to comfort him. Hopefully, speaking will be enough: it's the only solace the dead are allowed to give.
End Notes - A huge thank you to my Beta Readers and those who have critiqued this story. Without them, this project would not be possible.