AN: I write this story while listening to Ikimonogakari on repeat.
The sound of footsteps on dry ground echoed in his ears as the rope binding his wrists kept pulling him in what he presumed was the forest; the very forest that was proclaimed prohibited by the elders in fear of what dangerous creatures might be lurking on them.
Indignation filled him at the thought of the elders.
They wanted to get rid of him so badly that as soon as they saw the chance they immediately took it without a second thought.
His irritation increased the more he thought about it and he quietly tightened his hands into fists, how could he had been so stupid?
Even if he despised the elders he couldn't blame the townspeople. They were scared and desperate for anything that would bring them safety for their families.
He felt sadness regarding the townspeople and the danger they were in. For the elders, he only felt resentment.
They were the ones who decided that he should remain away from the village and their people. They were the ones who started this feeling of resentment in their hearts.
He never belonged there, he felt like he was only a lamb raised to be taken to the slaughterhouse.
And the worst part was that he always knew it.
Letting his thoughts drift for a second he wondered what would've happened with him if Kanan hadn't taken him in, but now it wasn't the time to think about it. As pointless as it was, he wasn't going to spend his last hours wallowing in self-pity. So with his head held high he continued to walk in silence to what he felt would be his impending death.
He could fight back; he thought for a second.
The two men on his sides along the one that was pulling on his wrists seemed to be weakened by the lack of food that the townspeople has been suffering, but he also knew he wasn't strong enough. Maybe he could knock out one of them, but three? Being completely blind with his bandages covering his eyes was also an inconvenience, he bitterly thought.
Even if he tried to fight back, and in the remote case that he would win, where could he run to? He paused.
He'd had to wait for the right moment before rushing into anything.
The deeper they went into the forest, the more the air became charged with a sense of foreboding.
He could feel the wariness of his capturers and absentmindedly wondered if it was because of the implications of taking him to this place, his silence, or only because they were wandering into an unknown place.
"I'm sorry for this." The man who had been pulling on his rope spoke suddenly as they stopped.
Shocked, he could barely utter a word in question before he felt a harsh blow on the back of his head and his consciousness slipped away.
Slowly regaining his senses he let out a groan at the sharp pain on the back of his head. How long has he been out?
His arms were now stretched wide open and tied round a big tree with another rope around his waist bounding him to the tree. Resting his head against the sturdy trunk, he let out a curse.
They didn't even had the courtesy of taking his bandages off, he sighed.
Sighing for the hundredth time, he tiredly hit the back of his head against the trunk. He had tried pulling his hands from his bindings to no avail, the ropes were too tight and now he was more exhausted than before.
It was too quiet in here. He paused and listened for anything out of the ordinary.
He almost wished there was an actual monster. That would surely make things interesting; at least he wouldn't die of starvation which was more likely than anything else.
The sudden gust of wind that blew in his direction made him halt and hold his breath.
Swallowing, he recalled any sliver of bravery he could.
"Are you here to kill me?" He asked quietly as he listened to the approaching footsteps. "Are you the monster that lives in these woods?"
Unbeknown to him, gold eyes narrowed at his words.
"Are you afraid of monsters?"
The being asked in disdain, scrutinizing the human tied to the trunk of an old tree; it was curious, he seemed too calm on the situation he was in. A normal human would've been begging for release or even crying hysterically in the presence of a yokai.
The boy paused for a moment. That- that wasn't how he expected a monster to sound like. He had presumed that they would sound gruff, like the guttural growls of a wild animal. Not… like this.
Taking a shaky breath, he thought carefully on his next words and faced the stranger as if he could actually look at him.
"I would be a fool if I say that I'm not scared, but I don't fear death." He spoke softly but without hesitation and after a second, he continued, "I am not stupid. I know that you are probably not human and I know what you are capable of, but honestly, being alive… being alone can be a far worse fate than death."
For a while, the man seemed to contemplate his answer in silence. "What are you?"
"I… I am just a normal human." He replied in confusion.
The stranger frowned and flared his nostrils trying to sense anything out of the ordinary on this person. There was something that led him towards this boy, but he wasn't sure what it was and the fact that he didn't know the reason aggravated him. At first he had thought that it was a shard of the Shikon no Tama but it didn't seem to be the case.
"Do you want to live?" Unbeknownst to him, he found himself asking and frowned deeper at his own words.
The boy startled and stuttered, "I don't understand-"
"Answer." He scowled.
"Yes." The boy breathed out, "Yes. I want to live."
The silence surrounded him once more and then he heard the unsheathing of a sword.