Mine

When Reimu was an infant and there were no other Hakurei shrine maidens of her mother's age, I was called forth to be her gaurdian and wet nurse. No sooner was she born and named, I accepted the duty, her mother saying, "Take care of my baby." Little did I know, I was to regret hearing her say that and I wished she was mine, not hers or theirs, mine. Who knew I could care for a human child and still want to keep it? Who knew she would become...mine? Apparently, I didn't and if only I could keep her, only I could.

Not too long after she was born, I had taken her to my home. She was such a small baby and very sweet, with large eyes and wispy brown hair. In being her wet nurse, I knew what my duties were but, as I've been told about nursing one's perceptive offspiring, I grew attached. I tried not growing too attached but I did and, as soon as large auburn eyes met mine, I considered her my baby. I especially considered her mine, when she wrapped her little fingers my finger, something babies tend to do with their mothers. In wet-nursing her, we became more and more bonded. I had disregarded the rules regarding my agreement with the Hakurei and my duty as wet-nurse and I didn't care. She was mine.

As time went on and in feeling these strong feelings, I came to Ran, my shikigami, for advice. I loved her like she was my own, too, but she had no one to take her from me and always stay with me, forever. When I told her what was troubling me, she answered, "Miss Yukari, you are experiencing attachment, that, and your maternal instinct." In response, I promptly told her I wanted to keep her and didn't want to give her back, to which she responded, "Miss Yukari, you have to, we are not her real family and she is next in line to be the next Hakurei shrine maiden, so, as much as you want to, we can't keep her." I couldn't argue that, we weren't Reimu's real family but I wanted nothing more than to be her mother and for her to be my baby. I did love her, so I decided to treasure her, for as long as I could.

In conjunctions with nursing her, I would sing her lullabies and would watch her sleep. If she awoke to cry, something that would exhasperate any mother, I would greet them in joy and would hurry to see the reason for her sobbing. If she wasn't hungry, sobbing, or sleeping, I would often take to playing with and reading humorous and heartwarming stories to her and we would laugh and smile together. Clearly, anyone with a heart could tell we were enjoying each other and I was not at all willing to let anyone else have her, not...at...all.

Not too long after she was weaned and when she was barely two years old, the time where I was supposed to give her up to her birth mother, I changed my mind and decided I would try to flee with her. Was it wrong to want something to baby? After all, I'm the one who cared for her, played with her, and cradled her. Clutching her close, I ran and gapped, trying to get away but her birth-mother was going to make absolute sure I didn't keep her and was hot on my trail. I hurried as far as I could, with Reimu in my arms. I wasn't at all determined to give her up and, after a bit of running and gapping, I hid in the Bamboo Forest where no one would dare go. Reimu was mine and I wasn't at all willing to give her back. I would go anywhere to keep her being taken away from me, anywhere, even the netherworld to keep her from being taken away from me.

Of course, after about a day, Ran decided to persue me. She followed me to my secret hiding spot and tried to plead with me, something I did not want to hear. As I've said before, Reimu was mine and I didn't want ANYONE to take her from me. Being that my shikigami, someone who is supposed to be loyal, someone who is supposed to mind her place, came after me, I could help but to feel angry and betrayed. "Miss Yukari, you must give Reimu back to her, she is not yours, she is theirs, you can't keep her, you just can't. Wanting to keep her is one thing but taking her from her family is another, is that really how you want her to live? If you really loved her, you would give her back." she said, her arms reached forward to take Reimu. Slowly, I backed away and held Reimu closer, saying, "No, I am her mother, not her, Reimu is mine!"

"Yes, yes, in a way, she is and always will be but you can't just take her from her family, she is the next Hakurei shrine maiden and you can't hide here forever."

"But, I can and I will, no human, not even a shrine maiden would ever dare come here."

"Be that as it may but it makes it no less safer to raise a child here and, besides, you've stolen her."

"I have not stolen anything, Ran, she was given to me!"

"Yes, she was, for you to be her wet nurse, and she is weaned, thus, she needs to be with her mother now."

"No, she is mine!"

"Miss Yukari, she may be yours but, biologically, you are not her mother."

"If I cannot have her, then I'll go to the netherworld with her, then no one can take her from me. I'll go anywhere to keep her from being taken away from me."

"Miss Yukari, please, the current Hakurei miko would like her baby returned to her-"

"Answer me, who's side do you take?!"

"Why Miss Yukari, I have come here on my own free will, not at the pleading of her mother, and I'm not on either side, I am thinking in the best interests of the child, not you or them, Reimu. I love Reimu, just as much as you do and it is because I love her is why I am telling you that Reimu has to go back with her family. It is because I love her is why I have come to take the baby from you because it would be in her best interests for to be taken care of by her mother and to raised by humans, not yokai, humans and neither is it in her best interests to be taken to the grave with you."

Once again, I couldn't argue with someone subservient than I and, even I though wanted to, I knew giving my shikigami a beating for her defience would do no good. With tears in my eyes and as I looked away, Ran took her from my arms. I was so heartbroken that I had fallen asleep for a few days. I was often despondent for awhile, not even the notions punishing a disobedient Ran, something that, by this point, would be rather unjust, as she was merely going by the best interests of the child, wouldn't snap me out of it. I felt an intense sadness, finding that sleeping and dreaming provided a nice escape. I often dreamt about the baby I felt so much that was mine. After awhile of this, Ran suggested that I go and see her, one last time, in secret. That night, when everyone was asleep and Reimu was in her cradle, I did follow Ran's advice and went to see her. Naturally, I wanted to cradle her again but I knew it was best I didn't, so settled for stroking her hair. With a faltering hand and tears in my eyes, I stroked her hair and said, "No matter how near or how far or that you may not remember me, I can only hope that, some day, we'll meet again. Our time, at the moment is short but I am here to say that you are mine and...that you are...loved." Right before dawn and after kissing her on the forehead, I left. Seeing her again gave me some relief and partially mended broken heart but the longing remained. I went home, with one of Reimu's hairbows tied in my hair. I knew I would see her again, some day.

Someday, we'll meet again my sweet...