A Dragon in the Family
translated with permission by mjj
There were many things Ritsu didn't understand when he was young. Or rather, that he only came to understand little by little.
But if there was one thing he knew perfectly well, it was that Aoarashi had nothing to do with his father: and not just because his grandfather had told him so. It was clear that Aoarashi was nothing but a demon, greedy, bone-lazy and a bit terrifying-- who'd also saved Ritsu's life innumerable times, as he'd add on the rare occasions when he cared to admit that little fact instead of keeping his mouth shut.
However, it seemed his mother was unable to grasp this simple fact, nor anyone else in the family: as it had been his grandfather's wish that Ritsu not tell them anything. Ritsu could understand that she'd prefer to keep her own image of her husband, even if he no longer possessed any of the memories they shared in common.
But there were a number of things Ritsu only understood little by little. He must have been seven or eight years old when he burst in on Aoarashi, boiling with rage, and demanded, "Have you--" he choked. "Have you ever kissed my mother?"
Aoarashi didn't answer, content to look at Ritsu with his usual air of, "What did I do to make you so angry? I only act as my demon's nature tells me to"- unless it was the version that went, "Why am *I* being made to look after a kid like this?"
"Kagyuu never asked me to
do anything of the sort," the demon stated in a leisurely fashion.
"You haven't answered my
"No," Aoarashi said, flat and unanswerable. "I never have. Why? Should I?"
"Of course not!" Ritsu
yelled. "You're not my father!!" After all, as far as his mother was
concerned, his father had been seriously ill and was now amnesiac, so perhaps
it wasn't so unexpected... in any case, that made him feel better.
"Well then, so everybody's
happy," Aoarashi said with a shrug. "Granted, now I know how human
bodies work, I might get interested in girls... But your mother isn't my
Ritsu found himself getting angry all over again. Of course Aoarashi had no right to lay a finger on his mother-- but still, he lived in his father's body and if, in that shape, he started... started going out with girls, think how sad his mother would be! Not to mention how annoying it'd be for her. Like many children, Ritsu believed that his mother was necessarily the most beautiful woman in the world.
"Now I'm wondering what
sort of weird tastes you've got to have," he grunted.
Aoarashi quitted the body of
Ritsu's father, letting it drop to the floor like an empty garment. His demon
form always reminded Ritsu that Aoarashi was more than just a greedy
face-stuffer, utterly ignorant of human affairs: that he was a dragon spirit,
powerful, superb and dangerous, and even a man like Ritsu's grandfather
shouldn't always have taken the risk of calling him up. It suggested that,
rather than carping at the demon all the time, Ritsu perhaps ought to be afraid
It was in this form that Aoarashi suddenly knelt directly in front of the boy, his eyes crinkling with malice, his long silver hair seeming to float about him. "I like sweet little girls," he murmured, "who wear red kimono."
It took Ritsu a moment to
realize what the dragon meant. That gave Aoarashi time to brush Ritsu's cheek
with his lips, which made him *understand* all at once.
"Go away!" he yelled,
angrier than ever. "Don't touch me!"
"I'm not forced to obey
you... But OK, fine," the demon acceded, looking surprised at how angry
Ritsu had become, who was usually so calm for his age.
"Asshole! Creep! Liar!" Ritsu, utterly confounded, showered him with contradictory insults. He was beside himself with rage, though he didn't quite know why.
"But after all, you aren't a little girl any more, and if I think about it, you're not at all sweet now either, and... well, don't you think *I'm* the one who has the right to be annoyed?" If this was an attempt to be conciliatory, it quite missed its mark.
"I don't know what you used
to do with my grandfather, but *I'm* not your friend, and *I* don't like you,
and *I* never asked you to be here!"
"But there was nothing like
that with Kagyuu! I was a dragon back then, all I thought was how he'd be good
to eat! Not that *you* look like you'd taste bad, but..."
Ritsu continued to be furious for several minutes and Aoarashi went on demonstrating his utter lack of diplomatic ability, until the demon returned to the body of Ritsu's father, sprawled on the ground, as if seeking refuge.
That made things better than perhaps it should have:
possibly because in that shape Aoarashi didn't really impress him any more.
Even when Aoarashi murmured, "You're no fun at all," Ritsu didn't
rise to the bait but contented himself with walking away, on his dignity,
without seriously considering if that had been a joke or not. In any case, he
told himself, he didn't care what the dragon did so long as it left him alone.
He had quite enough strange things to try to understand, in his family and in this house of his, home to ghosts and bodies without souls and living spirits.
It was quite out of the question to make the situation any more complicated than it was.