He hadn't meant it. He didn't even know how it happened! It wasn't intentional – it happened too fast; the canon was just too strong, and she wasn't supposed to be there when it went off. He had banished the stupid goat from Gongmen, set her free. He was so sure that she'd flee and not attempt to come back. But...what did he expect from his contrary nanny?
Time was rewinding now; her limp and shriveled body in his arms disappearing with his tears, as time went back a few steps, right before the canon had exploded.
Boss Wolf had just collapsed off the side of the ship, a knife protruding into his chest, glinting in the night. The peacock grinned gleefully as he hopped atop the thick and rusted canon, that looked just as happy to finally wipe these fools from existence as he did. His talon scraped across the fuse with the screech of death. He watched the warriors' faces fill with fear, as his brightened with an eager venom.
Then he saw her. At the last second – at the edge of the boat, just starting to climb up – he saw her.
NANA! Shen wasn't sure if the scream had even left his lips. If it had, it couldn't surpass the crackling scream of the canon. He went to leap out into the smoke, and was blinded by the white hot sparks. Bodies of about fifty wolves were scattered into the ocean, dropping like boulders into the night blackened sea. Others slammed into the walls and what remained of the bridge. Perhaps others were in pieces.
At last, the smoke and fires settled. Shen vigorously wiped the black soot that climbed into his eyes. He took no notice of anyone or anything; completely ignoring the perplexed stares of his surviving wolf army as he jumped to the stern and glided over the sea.
Dimly, the panda looked up through bleary eyes when he saw the shadow of the long train fall over him; the other warriors did too. Shen didn't even glance at them as he delicately landed on one of the smaller floating planks, where the elderly goat was balled up on.
He didn't say anything to her as he gently turned the goat onto her back. She lay there, so small and already nearly lifeless in those layers and layers of coats that suddenly seemed so big on her. The peacock tried to gently lift her; if he was fast enough maybe he could get her some medical help. He tried to help her up; she gave such an anguished gasping cry that he didn't dare try to pick her up again.
He knew it was already too late.
Gently, Shen wrapped a wing around her charred back to support her, instantly remembering all the times that same robed arm wrapped around him, cradled him as he cried after a terrible dream or a fall. This was a bit more than a fall, but he had to do something for her. He enclosed his other wing around her; the goat finally turned her head and looked at him.
Darling; it came out without a sound, but he could still read it on her lips. Of all the things she could have called him – "darling" – when he tries to destroy China, when he kills he – no. He didn't want to think about it. Growing up, the peacock was reminded on how old she was, that her time could be soon. The possibility of his beloved nanny's demise was something he always tried to avoid thinking about. Now, it was something he was forced to confront; her blood was in his hands.
Nana, I'm sorry! There were no words. What did an apology do? What Shen didn't realize that it made all the difference in the world when the word was archaic to him. His nanny hadn't heard it since his banishment. It wasn't supposed to hit you...
I know.. Her eyes were dim and tired; every time they closed, they remained closed for a few moments longer than the last time she closed them. She was losing strength fast. He wanted to reach down and hold her to him – something he hadn't done since he was a young chick. He couldn't. He wasn't worthy of touching her.
She looked up at him – into those wide and bewildered ruby eyes that for once weren't glazed over with a hateful venom. Gently, she lifted a feeble and shaking hoof, smoothing it lovingly over his soft white feathers, caressing each of them individually. The peacock just sat there, hunched over, feeling her comforting hoof smooth through his feathers for probably the last time.
Nana, please – you can't leave me! What was he going to do without her? The initial idea of facing the world without his Nana terrified him to death. His childish vulnerability had been covered with hatred and anger through his banishment. Now that the realization that he was on his own -completely- on his own, that facade shattered into a million pieces. He couldn't live without her.
You took her for granted and you were too careless. If only he had – looked – before firing that canon! If only he had...not fired it at all, maybe she'd be okay! Maybe they wouldn't be saying good-bye...
And they were. It was because of him. Everything was because of him. He worked so hard to prove that he wasn't a bad omen like the city foretold. All he had done was seal that suspicion. The horror and the pain crashed down on him in waves, smothering the anger; the hate; the darkness. This blow enough to knock temporary sense into him.
The soothsayer smiled through her tears, rubbing a shaking hoof over his beak. Instantly, the acid tears that Shen had fought and suppressed for over thirty years surfaced in a tidal wave of anguish. He tried to lower his head so she wouldn't see them, but his chin was suddenly sharply lifted with more strength than he thought she had left in her.
Even in her final minutes, the pain, and suffering, she still managed to give him that ever familiar mother-scolding glare. Don't you DARE hide your tears from me.
Not even attempting to keep the tears at bay, he gripped a hoof in a shaking wing; taking in a few soft gasps before speaking. "If I could go back in time... erase what I have done..." Neither of them were sure of what he meant; both minds were left to discern if he was only talking about the canon fire, or all his misdeeds.
Still, she nodded. It didn't matter to her what he was apologizing for. What mattered was that he was finally feeling an emotion that the soothsayer was sure he was long from capably feeling:
"Shen.." The voice didn't even sound like her, and it was accompanied by a hacking cough; a crackling sound audible from her throat.
The peacock waited for her to finish, trying to guess what she might be about to say. Forgive him? Improbable. Say she loved him? No...there was no reason. There was no way. He had severed the ties of love long ago; the kind of frayed ropes that can't be repaired easily.
She didn't say anything as she dragged herself towards his arms. Surely she didn't have to tell him she loved him – he should know. It was the kind of thing that was just automatic with a mother and son, no matter what atrocities one had committed. Yet, she opened her mouth to tell him anyways. It wouldn't come out, and she only coughed and choked on the words she so needed to say.
But she knew that he knew. His eyes – through the tears – were full of understanding, and she knew he reciprocated that love. Silently, the old goat curled herself up in his lap; the need to be with her chick was something only a mother would understand.
As Shen watched her eyes close once more, he found himself humming. It was barely an act of his own, but his broken fragmented heart. He hummed a soft ancient Chinese lullaby, smoothing a gentle wing over her face, recalling the times she sang and smoothed his face feathers and crest as she watched him sleep. In this position, eyes closed and looking peaceful, she looked like she was asleep. She was asleep...to him.
By now, the warriors had long since rose from their floating planks. They saw that the peacock was in the perfect position to finally strike and pin him, end this madness. Neither of them would stoop so low, not even Tigress; who's rage and hate for the peacock burned brighter than the sun.
Now there was only the sound of Shen humming across the dark harbor. Po quietly made his way over the planks, swimming to the one just behind the peacock. So close that Shen felt the ghost of white fuzz at the back of his robe. Still, he said nothing, and only continued to softly hum, watching the tears as they splashed softly against the goat's face; washing away the crimson puddles too painful to look at.
When Po opened his mouth to speak, he suddenly found himself laying a paw on his enemy's back. Instantly, the humming ceased.
Shifu raised his head, looking up to the sky, as if thinking he'd see the soothsayer's spirit ascending to happier and higher plains. He was the only one that caught the flash of horror before the canon went off. Even if he hadn't seen the peacock's face, Shifu still knew...that there was something more than just 'prisoner and guard' with the peacock and goat. He knew that the soothsayer's death was an accident.
The red panda could almost hear the sagely chime: There are no accidents.
Though perhaps even Master Oogway would make an exception in this case.
This is dark. It is MEANT to be dark I just...I don't know where it came from, but I had to write it for some reason.
Well, you all know I'm going through a pretty rough time, trying to cope with a death that's hitting me hard. And you all know what my writing is like when I go through that. Things haven't gotten any easier...but at least it brings out the best of my writing.
This is obviously taking place at the end of KFP 2 when Shen fires the canon for the final time (well, before the barrage of canon balls. XD) I just couldn't shake the idea of the thought of the soothsayer ending up in the blast. Would the movie still end the same?
I'll leave you all to figure out what happens, post this tragedy drabble.
(On top of "The Dragon's Chime", I have a what if scenario if Hu found both Boss Wolf AND Shen...and Shen is pretty fragmented.)