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Obanai rests his head on Oyakata's lap and cries


He cries, broken sobs barely muffled by the bandages covering up his dreadful scar, the eternal, ever-present mark of his damnation, whimpers tearing their way out of his throat. He can't help them any more than he can help the tears running down his face and pouring to drip on his master's otherwise pristine yukata, and the idea of it makes him shiver bodily, that he's staining this as well, ruining one more thing, dragging his filthy fingers on top of Oyakata's perfect, divine existence. There's nothing else he can do, nothing he will ever be able to do, nothing his useless, tainted, disgusting hands can manage to fix his multitude of mistakes. He's a wretched existence, his blood not a single drop cleaner than that of the demons he slays with his sword. He could kill all the demons in the world, could behead all of them and lay them to burn in the white-hot scorching sunlight, could drench himself in their blood as proof of their deaths - and still he would be a waste of air by simply existing, still he would be a tear in the fabric of the universe, still his mere staying in this world is an error. 


He doesn't deserve to be here, he doesn't deserve to be a Pillar, he doesn't deserve to even breathe in the same room as any of the others, least of all Oyakata; and yet here he is, his head on top of his master's lap, doing his damndest to stop crying and failing to do so, failing in this as in everything else in his life. Oyakata is caressing him, he realizes in a far-off corner of his shattered mind, threading gentle fingers through his hair and shushing him. Obanai can hear him, if he tries, his blessed voice, his kind tone of forgiving love: my dear boy , he says, there, it's alright, I'm here, my poor child, you haven't done anything wrong . Oyakata's voice is the sweetest Obanai has ever heard, his touch the lightest; everything is alright , he hears, you're so good, Obanai, my dearest, my child


It's reassuring, deeply so, the most comforting thing Obanai has ever been allowed in his damned life - and he feels disgusted at himself for even this, for thinking he should be allowed, for thinking he deserves Oyakata taking care of him, calling him my son , as if Obanai hasn't been, since his cursed conception, one of the worst beings to ever thread upon this earth. 


"I'm sorry ," he chokes out, hoarse, helpless - beyond salvation, or so he would hope, but not even this - not beyond salvation, because he feels the slightest tinge of relief, greedy devil that he is, "I'm so sorry, I'm sorry - "


Oyakata shushes him gently as he would a scared child, presses a kiss to the side of his temple, catching on a stray tear.


"You have nothing to be sorry for," Oyakata says, so much divine peace in his tone. Obanai hides his face further on his yukata, wraps his hands into weak fists. "You are forgiven, always have been, always will be."


Obanai's legs are limp, his arms useless - he couldn't push himself up from this floor if he tried to. And even for this he's painfully grateful; he was offered a bed, when he first collapsed to his knees earlier, but he would rather die than ever allow himself to stain clean sheets, than ever think of himself as worthy of even laying down in the same place Kanroji could maybe lie one day, or, God forbid , Oyakata. He would clean the entire floor he ever walked upon if he could, would burn every place and spot he's ever touched to ashes so it wouldn't be tainted and filthy by his passing. 


When he writes letters to Kanroji, when he fails at even restraining his adoration for her, when he's feeling so intensely and desperately he's unable of even keeping a love he doesn't deserve to possess in his own destroyed, torn, ragged heart, he shudders at the mere thought of her perfect hands touching the same paper he wrote his clumsy, useless words into. He shouldn't, he's unworthy - and yet he can't help himself, and he does, and he feels , loves her as he loves Oyakata, feels comforted when they grant him the heavenly grace of their presence in his life. 


"Oyakata-sama," he whimpers, trying to somehow convey in words the immensity of his regret, the depth of his self-loathing, unable to understand how such a blessed soul as his master could ever want to exist in the same place he does, let alone comfort him, coax him into resting on his lap, wiping away his desperate tears with the back of his knuckles. Obanai should kneel at his feet for this, has done so countless times before, kiss his hand and the floor he walks on and thank him over and over for granting him a number of blessings Obanai would've never dreamed of in his deepest exhaustion-fueled nights. For allowing him to gaze upon Kanroji's angelic features, to bear the same title she does, for giving him a possibility to try and reduce the damage he does just by living another day.


Obanai has no idea how many hours they've been here, has lost track of time. Some days are worse than others, and it's been years since the cage, since his family, since the snake demon, but still - "I'm sorry , I don't deserve - "


Oyakata smiles down at him. "You are forgiven, and you are loved, my dearest boy, my child."


Obanai doesn't understand . He's so exhausted, so bone-deep tired he can't think in words, in concepts. 

Oyakata's voice lulls him as a father sings a lullaby to his son, and he falls asleep like that, and, for the first time in days, allows himself to breathe .