Footsteps

Disclaimer: I own nothing relating to Shadow Hearts, except a copy of the game. If they were real, I would gate crash the wedding of Kurando and Anastasia.

Anyways, I write this when I was supposed to be revising. A little scene about Kurando and his father. Little Kurando may appear OOC, but I figured with him being young he won' be as mature and patient as the grown up one from the Saki doesn't have her sight yet, I figured I'd make it an Inugami trade, and therefore she'd be taught it later by her husband. Hope you like it!


"Kurando! Your father's home!" The young child looked up from the forest's floor where he'd been practicing immobility; a technique he hoped would help gain him self-discipline. His friend nearby sighed in relief when he stood up, long ago growing bored of the game.

"I have to go! I'll talk to you later Miyoko." The young girl merely nodded and went back to poking at a slug.

Kurando Inugami ran quickly back to the small village, a laugh bubbling up inside him at the thought of seeing his father after so long. Ever since his father's departure to the Dog Shrine his young son had been training himself, eagerly awaiting the day his father would take him on such an important trip. Maybe then he could prove he was to be a strong fighter, and then father would train him in the sword arts.

"Father!" Kurando announced as he clamped onto his father's legs. The Inugami leader laughed heartily at the action, placing an affectionate hand on top of his son's head.

"Have you grown since I went away?" He asked playfully, making the young child beam.

"I've been training!" Kurando said proudly. "To earn self-discipline!" His father laughed again at his son's enthusiasm, picking up his small frame and perching him on his shoulders.

"There will be plenty of time for that Kurando. I merely want you to learn self-discipline inside, so you can resist any strange urges Tsukiyomi gives you."

"Urges? But I feel none father, only to make you and mother proud." Saki, who had been watching the two quietly, smiled at her son's words; already he was showing the leadership qualities which resided in him.

"And you will Kurando, once you master your fusion power and train in the sword arts." The statement sobered the five-year-old, who like others with his unique abilities feared what dwelled within him. His mother had often tried to calm his worries, but Kurando feared the times he fused; handing over most of the control to the God which had inhabited his soul since birth. At only eighteen months the God Tsukiyomi had released itself against his will but Kurando had now easily learnt to stop the fusing when it was done without his permission, but he still feared to fuse too often.

"Keiji." Saki spoke softly to her husband. "I don't think it wise to teach him sword skills until he is fully at ease with fusion. It's too soon." The young harmonixer in question bowed his head in shame, feeling tears prick at his eyes. He loved his mother dearly, but at that moment he felt angry that she seemed to think so little of him.

"I know Saki, I trust you experience with the matter." Neither wife nor son responded, both feeling a heavy weight of responsibility placed upon them. It had made clear shortly after Kurando's birth he'd inherited his mother's abilities and not the gift of his father's sight. He was destined for an eternal struggle against the God that shared his soul, and his father had no way of helping or understanding. Kurando hated this, hating how it may one day cause a noticeable separation between them. Even if he were a fusionist, he wished to also be a skilled swordfighter like his father.

"Can I put your shoes away father?" Kurando asked, suddenly feeling shy as they reached the house. His father smiled, but didn't laugh when detecting the sadness in his son's voice. He and Saki both realised Kurando held a fear over Tsukiyomi inside him, but it was also crucial for him to gain complete control before he was taught to fight. They couldn't risk training him and then make him a threat to the village if he were one day to lose control. And even though the five-year-old didn't understand this reasoning, his parents were standing by their decision, even if it were hurting them all.

"In order to earn the right to train with a sword, you must first learn wisdom and self-discipline." He had told Kurando just before leaving. Now he'd returned to learn his son had trained himself to stay still and silent for hours at a time, and had listened eagerly to his grandmother recounting legends and historical facts in order to gain wisdom. The idea of it made Keiji chuckle as he placed his son down and removed his own shoes to please the boy. Kurando was obviously determined to learn, that was a good sign in itself.

The two adults watched as their sons scrambled up the stairs with the shoes and sighed heavily.

"He's been trying so hard." Saki said softly. "But he's doing the wrong things for the wrong reason."

"Maybe it is time to consider sending him to train with Master Kawashima." Her husband said blandly.

"Keiji! He's only five years old! If we sent him to the Capital he wouldn't understand, he'd think we were ashamed of him."

"Saki, I understand that, but one day our village's survival will depend on Kurando breaking his seal, and that cannot occur until he's learnt to fully control his power."

"You don't understand Keiji, it is impossible to fully control fusion powers; it's a constant struggle to contain. Kurando knows that, and that is why he fears it. He wishes to learn how to fight because then he believes he can fight what's inside him. We can't send him away when he feels this way. I will train him, just give me time." The couple embraced silently, allowing each other's fears to merge together and flow to the backs of their minds.

Kurando listened at the top of the stairs, sniffing slightly in shock. He had often heard his mum speak highly of Naniwa Kawashima; about how he'd trained her brother to control his fusion power, among other skills. Would they really send him away if he didn't try?

The young fusionist tiptoed to his parent's bedroom and was greeted by his grandmother's warm smile.

"Is something wrong Kurando? You look troubled." Kurando merely shook his head, fearing to speak. "Those shoes…is your father home?" Kurando nodded, earning a worried look from his father's mother. "Are you okay?"

"I…" Kurando began, sniffing as he placed the shoes carefully on the floor. "I'm afraid."

"Afraid of what darling?" His grandmother asked kindly, opening her arms so he could run into her hug, hiding his tears against her form.

"Sometimes when I look at the moon, or when I'm playing…even when I sleep…I can feel it in me. Especially at night when the moon's out. She wants to h-hurt me." He whimpered, gripping onto her tightly. "I don't want her to win; I want to be able to fight."

"Oh my darling." His grandmother murmured soothingly, waiting until he'd calmed a little before speaking. "Do you know what I think? I don't believe she wants to control you, she wants to protect you."

"I don't understand grandmother." Kurando said; giving her a cute puzzled expression that made her smile.

"There are many Gods which watch over the land of Nippon and Tsukiyomi is guarding it through you. Her task is to help you protect our home, and so she tries to make you stronger by wanting to fuse with you, even at the times you may not need to. Your mother wishes to train you so Tsukiyomi can understand that you don't need her all the time. This way the two of you, fusionist and God; can embrace each other instead of constantly battling. You can achieve this because she has always been known to your soul, once you can communicate this to her it will be easier to resist. And you can then begin to train and protect yourself, because she will realise you are strong enough to."

"Strong like father?" Kurando asked timidly.

"Yes, strong enough to protect the Inugami people." The young boy held a far off look in his crimson eyes, imagining the possibility that he too could protect his family and friends. "Now, shall we go down and greet your father?"

"I'll come in a minute, grandmother," Kurando promised. "I just need to put father's shoes away first." His grandmother nodded with a warm chuckle, knowing how important the ritual was to her only grandchild. She left the room quietly, deciding to keep the encounter which had taken place to herself.

Once Kurando heard the door close he sighed a little, carefully picking up his father's shoes and moving towards his parent's bed. Father always placed his shoes under the bed, in preparation for morning and a whole new day as their great leader. The young boy took a moment to climb onto the bed, bouncing about slightly in mischievous glee before reminding himself of his new plan. He was prepared to train with his mother like his grandmother suggested, and then he could be just like his father. He could be a skilled fighter and gain complete control over Tsukiyomi. But to do that he had to be more grown up, and he would start that now so his parents wouldn't have t send him away.

"I will get bigger one day, and then I'll be able to fit into father's shoes." He announced to the empty room, clutching the shoes more tightly in his hand as he climbed off the bed. The eager boy sat down on the floor cross legged and began to remove his own small shoes, placing them beside his father's on the floor.

His father had enormous feet, he always had. Kurando's own tiny shoes appeared at a mere thumb size in comparison but he refused to let this distract him. One day he would have feet like his fathers, and then he would walk about in these very shoes and make his parents proud. All he had to do was be patient and work hard. And then he would prove he was strong enough to fight for others, as well as himself.

"I hope you can hear me Tsukiyomi." He said quietly, as if sharing a secret with her. "It's not that I hate you, but I just want to show father I can be strong without you too. I…I want to make him proud of who I am, not what I have."

"I am proud Kurando." The voice caused the young boy to jump, then turn red at being discovered. He quickly scrambled to his feet and bowed respectfully to the Inugami leader, feeling unnaturally shy towards his father.

"I'm sorry father, did I keep everyone waiting?" The question was ignored, and instead Keiji kept his steady gaze on his son, trying to detect the doubt he carried in his young heart.

"Kurando…Your mother has told me about how hard you've been training. I'm proud of you, you're only five yet you're already thinking about protecting your people."

"I'm six next week." Kurando told him, not knowing what else to say. Keiji grinned and ruffled the boy's hair affectionately.

"Yes, you're getting so big, soon you'll be very strong, and I will begin your training."

"…So if I work harder I can stay here and train with you?" The question caught his father off guard, and in that moment Kurando felt a lump of doubt form in his throat. "D-don't you want me here father?"

"Kurando listen to me, we're not sending you anywhere, understand? You're mother is going to train you about your fusion power, and then I'll train you in the sword arts. I promise you; one day I will see you strong enough to protect our people. You will make everyone proud, just like how I am now." Kurando couldn't help but grin, his eyes watering with happiness.

"Father? Do you think I'll ever wear shoes like yours one day?" The young boy asked eagerly. His father chuckled lightly, drawing his son into a hug.

"If that's what you choose Kurando then I'm sure you will…but your feet are still too small right now, you have to patient."

"I know!" Kurando argued. "Just like sitting still for a long time, I can do that too!" The Inugami leader laughed loudly, pulling away from his son and leading him out of the room to join the women downstairs.

"You're still so young Kurando, one day you'll understand, and you will become a good protector for our people."

The young Kurando just smiled happily, thinking already about the day he could fight like his father, wear big shoes and not trip over in them. One day he would be strong, and then his father would really be proud of him. He'd be there to see his son serve their people.

It was a beautiful dream to believe in, and one Kurando would always remember during the desperate and lonely moments. Even though his father was destined to never see his son become all he could, he already knew it would happen. The thought of that kept the young fusionist training through the years to come, even after his father's death. And even though in the end he had to leave the village to finish his training the thought of returning as a skilled fighter made it easier.

The young five-year-old always dreamt of following his father's footsteps; stepping into his shoes. Maybe he would achieve this, maybe not. Maybe he would become similar but still remain his own person, but that was revealed throughout the next twelve years of the young boy's life. For now, we leave him as he dreams of his father's shoes, and of the footsteps he believes he will one day take.


I'm considering making this more than just a one-shot and do a story of Kurando's past, and maybe beyond that. Tell me what you think, whether its better just to keep it as a one-shot or not, I value your opinions greatly!