Feari-Te-Ru: Fairy tale

*~

The Jihi rose to his feet, stretching, shifting his appearance as he did so. He didn't stay in one form for too long, for fear of decimation. Too many people knew who he was. Too many people wanted him dead.

He could not allow any one to kill him.

Leaving the forest, he looked to be a younger man in his twenties, with short, wind-blown hair, a baby-face and the clothes of a wandering horseman. Had he run into any one he had helped, they would know him only by the shimmering blue stone around his neck. Arashi was still present in that stone, still waiting to be released in one way or another.

Jihi wanted to make sure he wasn't released by his parents.

But at the moment, he had something else to attend to. The little cat boy, Keiji. He had been naughty, the little imp, and deserved punishment. Unfortunately, he had gone off with the Fate of the Future, Kousei, and Jihi knew he was no match for any of the Fates.

He cursed them silently as he stole down the path. None of them would get away with this.

None of them.

*~

Keiji was sitting on the stoop of Shukumei Kako's cottage, deep in the heart of Furui Mori. He was eating a piece of bread, enjoying the morning sunlight, and trying to forget the present troubles.

Kousei was singing in the garden, tending to her sister's flowers. Keiji thought he could sit there all day and listen to her sing. He thanked Tentou-sama that he had been spared from the clutches of the Jihi.

The young Fate turned, her silvery gown shimmering in the sunlight. Her ponytail bobbed as she sang, a serene smile on her face. Her words made no sense to the little Koneko, but her voice was sweet and clear as crystal, ringing out through the morning, beckoning to the herbs and flowers in her sister's garden.

"Keiji." She said quietly, "Keiji, you wish to know of your past, do you not?"

He nodded meekly, his mossy eyes meeting hers. His tail swished back and forth; his ears perked up at the sounds of the forest. Kousei was beautiful and he felt unworthy to be in her presence. "I've done bad things..." He whispered.

She patted him on the head. "I know, Kitten; that I do. And I know you didn't want to do them. No come. My sister will talk to you."

He looked up again, feeling something he hadn't felt in a very long time.

Hope.

*~

She wandered through the woods, searching for souls to help. It was like this she found a little boy, huddled up on a bed of pine needles, clutching something small to his chest. He was sobbing, his shoulders shaking, tears puddling on the ground.

"Why are you crying, Otoko?" Her gentle voice startled him and he looked up, tears running down his face.

"I...I...I wanted to save this poor baby wolf." He sniffled, holding out a tiny wolf pup. It was obviously the runt of it's litter and obviously would not survive.

Kodokaze looked at the little boy holding the pup. He was staring up at her through deep emerald eyes, his small face pale with anguish over the death of the tiny animal. A shock of smoky white hair fell across his forehead and into his face. He was dressed in white, a green sash tied around his waist and his feet were bare.

"Sometimes, it's time for things to die, Otoko." One of her gentle hands had smoothed back his hair as she knelt to be level with him, "Sometimes we need to move on and be reborn as something else. This little one has already served his purpose. It was time for him to go."


Kodokaze awoke with a start. She had been dreaming of a time when she met a little boy in the woods, a child of about six years. He had called himself...What was it again? Sugiru. That was his name. And he looked a lot like...

Impossible.

She looked over at Kanau, asleep at her side. She didn't want to wake him, but it was imperative that they get moving as soon as possible. The Jihi was tricky and clever and she wanted this over as soon as possible.

Her thoughts drifted to Arashi, trapped in that pendant he wore around his neck. How many years ago had it been since he stole their child? How old was she? She felt ancient, as if she transcended time itself, and very worn out. Kanau...How old was he? She knew nothing about him, or herself, and she was becoming incredibly curious.

In the past, she had been the Redeeming Wind. But how long ago in the past was that? When had she been assigned that job by the supreme being? And why, in the name of the heavens, had Tentou-sama allowed all of this to happen?

She could shed bitter tears and wallow in self-pity, but that wasn't Kodokaze's style. She began to shake Kanau awake.

"Kanashii? Kanashii, wake up." Trying to wake the rain was like trying to wake the dead. He shifted a little, his lips moving slightly, and a thick fog rolled through the forest.

"Wake up!"

"Wha?" His ruby-red eyes blinked open. Sitting up, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes. Kodokaze was knelt before him, peering at him through the swirling mist. She looked particularly despondent and his heart turned for her. The moment he felt any sort of pity, it began to drizzle. "Morning, Kaze."

"We need to get a move on, Kanashii." Her voice sounded weary, but she rose anyway, stretching, cracking her shoulders. She was stiff from sleeping slumped over like that and weary from her current disheartened feelings.

He frowned, his eyes darkening a shade. He hated to see Kodokaze so depressed. She was only supposed to be happy. He rotated his arm; his shoulder hurt. The Jihi had blasted him something good the other day. "Hey, are you okay, Kaze?" He clambered to his feet, looking at her intently.

"If...If I had known the truth would bring so much pain, I think I would have been happier to not know. Ignorance is bliss, after all." She mumbled, staring down at her feet. She wanted to curl up and die somewhere; all of this was too much. It was too hard to go on with life, knowing so many bad things had happened.

"That's wrong!" He grabbed her by the shoulder, forced her to look up at him. "Listen, Kodokaze, we can do this. We can make a happy ending. All those Feari-Te-Ru from when we were kids...They all ended 'and they lived happily ever after.' Why shouldn't we be able to end that way?"

"You're naive, Kanashii!" She fought out of his grasp, "Things aren't really like that. None of those stories were true. I'll tell you what will happen. We'll try to fight Jihi and lose miserably. Then we'll die and he'll use Arashi for evil..." She began to cry, fat tears rolling down her cheeks.

"No." He drew her into his arms, "No; I won't allow that to happen." He rubbed her back, kissed her hair. He was angry; very angry. This simply would not do. He would not allow his love to be destroyed by that bringer of false mercy. No matter how ignorant and stupid Kanashii Kanau seemed to be, there was one quality no one could deny in him.

Determination.