All stories begin with tears, with something being crushed beyond repair. It's not really a story otherwise.
Saikyo Aokawa is born during a cold night in automn, with rain pouring on the roof of a little house and surrended by the smiles and joy of her parents. She's poor, but beautiful, and loved, and that's enough.
(It doesn't last for long.)
Kireina Senshi is born during a warm night in spring, with flowers blossoming outside a quiet house, while his mother nurses him in her arms. He doesn't have a father, but he's loved, and that's enough.
(But it's not. Not really.)
Aokawa grows up cherished. She's poor, but beautiful and kind, and in her little town it's enough to be recognize. She's a bit arrogant, but well, everyone have defaults.
(Sometimes she hears whispers, when people think she cannot hear. Princess, they say, bitter and jealous, good for nothing without her looks. She wonders how an adult can say that about a little kid.)
Senshi grows up loved, alone in a mountain with his mother. He's more average than beautiful, but there's something in his eyes that makes people look at him, the few times he goes in town. He's shy, but affectionate.
(Sometimes he can hear whispers, when people think he cannot hear. Too smart, they say, bitter and afraid, bastard child. It hurts, but that doesn't surprise him. Maybe that's why it's so sad.)
(Children aren't idiots. They can hear and see as much as adults. And they understand. Sometimes in ways that adults would never be able to.)
The day before her seventh birthday, a demon comes and slaughters Aokawa's family. She comes home to see her father's empty eyes staring at her, while the demon is busy nibbling her mother's leg. The walls are painted a deep red, the kind a child should never see.
She doesn't scream. She just turns away, numb, and runs in the forest. When she comes back, the roads are littered by bodies. The demon's head is desintegrating, and a young woman with tired eyes is closing her eyes, looking like the world is on her shoulders. She's holding a blue sword, and when she sees Aokawa, her eyes water.
“I'm sorry.” She whispers, and hugs Aokawa tightly in her arms.
When the woman leaves, Aokawa is with her.
On a winter day, a few days before spring, a nine years old Senshi comes home from the town to see his mother beheading a young man, barely twenty. She's growling and blood is littering her white kimono. The rest of the man's body is near Senshi, and with it a light pink sword. The child grabs it.
The sun is almost up, but his mother stays, and watchs him approach. She's lying on a tree, still growling, but she doesn't move when her son stands in front of her.
When he cuts her head, relief flashes in her eyes before going blank.
Senshi buries the man and his mother, packs his belongings, and follows the crow that watched the whole thing.
He doesn't stop crying.
Aokawa trains. She trains with the others orphans, until her beautiful golden hair that her mother loved so much become nothing but a mess of mud and blood, until her pink cheeks become stained with scratches, until water breathing becomes a part of herself. She trains until people look at her and think “strong” instead of “beautiful”.
She trains until she can't see the weak girl who let her whole town die in her reflexion.
Senshi breathes. He breathes and runs and dances with his sword until dodging is instinct, until his sword is like an extension of his arm, until his smile becomes as deadly as his attacks, until the flowers his mother loved so much become a part of himself.
He trains until he forgets the mother he killed.
(A demon is hiding in a wood. Two young slayers are sent to their death.)
They arrive almost at the same time. They don't know each other, but they enter the wood together, because that's what they've been ordered to. There are no words exchanged, no questions or reassurances.
There's a strange mark in the demon's eye. But they don't notice, because they may be slayers but they are also children and children make mistakes.
An attack is shot towards Senshi, and Aokawa tries to push him away. It's a noble action, but it's useless. It doesn't work.
Their chest are pierced, and they die, like so many before.
They wake up, because they are bitter and angry and sad and broken.
Time passes. The young ghosts take refuge in a temple, where thunder is taught and where slayers may be able to help them. But the demon is smart, and hide, so they stay together in a temple where the breath isn't the same as their.
They become friends, because they're alone and broken but they are together, so they become alone together.
It gets easier.
Time passes. They wait.
And one day, a boy with tears and thunder under his skin comes.