Yoshimori's POV on Tokine.
Oath - a Kekkaishi fanfiction by Eve
a Kekkaishi fanfiction by Eve
Kekkaishi Â© Tanabe Yellow, et al.
He was seven, and she was a taller, older presence, staring down at him with patience and an amused glint in her eyes. He pressed his lips together, secretly anxious that she could see them tremble anyway.
"Remind me again why we're doing this?" he asked.
"So that you can overcome your fear of heights," she replied, half-smiling.
"Oh. Right." His courage dwindled even further; she seemed so unreachable up there on the branch, so calm and sure of herself.
Smile widening, she held out her hand. "Come on, then. Are you going to make me wait all day?"
Shaking his head, he began to inch toward the tree, his lips pressed even more tightly. "But what if I fall? Who's going to catch me? I'm really not good at climbing trees."
There was a snort, and he looked up to see her shaking with silent laughter. The sunshine bursting through the leaves glittered around her, turning her into something dazzling and irresistible, almost immortal. "Honest, aren't you?" she said. "Don't worry, I'll be here to pull you up. If all you think of is falling, you will never move upward. Now which one do you think is more important?"
He was nine, and sobbing, his breath tearing in and out of his lungs, his nostrils clogging and then overflowing. She was a hot, throbbing weight on his back. As he ran, he could feel her shivering from time to time. While it was a sign that her fever was rising, it also indicated that she was still alive. But for how long?
Don't die, don't die, he chanted under his breath, blinking away the tears that were blurring his vision. They slipped down his cheeks, scalding his skin. He stole a glance at the limp hand hanging down his shoulder, and wished he had not. In addition to still dripping blood, her wound had taken on an ominous black hue he found alarming.
He had to hurry, hurry.
A couple of days later, he received the news that her temperature was still high, although she was in no immediate danger. He sat rigidly on the floor as his father watched him with concern.
"She's all right," he muttered.
"It wasn't your fault, you know," his father said soothingly. "Don't be so harsh on yourself. It's going to take her a few weeks to completely recover, but she's fine. She's safe now. You did the right thing."
But it was my fault, he wanted to say. She's always there to pull me up, to hold my hand, and she was doing it again that night. It's always me who needs help, and it's always her who gives it. Why can't we exchange places for once?
His tongue refused to function properly and utter all this, however, and all he could do was throw himself into his father's lap, where the tears he had been holding back found their release.
He was fourteen, and she was already a world away. Architecturally speaking, the high school building was just next door, but it might as well be at the other end of the planet. Besides, she would whack him if she knew he was hanging around only to see her - she would think he was being an idiot.
"And she'd be absolutely correct," Madarao drawled. Dog demons were either annoying wisecrackers or wannabe English speakers, he had discovered. "Give it up, will ya?"
"I just want to make sure she's okay, smartass."
"She can make sure of that without you getting in the way. Ask her and she'll tell you no different."
She would, of course, and what was he doing playing a knight secretly sworn to protect a princess anyway? But he had to; the scar on her hand was the result of his weakness and ineptitude. The least he could do was not to cause another scar.
To do more than cry and stand by helplessly when she risked her life to save his.