Day/Theme: May 15: je te dis vous
Character/Pairing: Amaterasu. Mentions of her closest friends all over the place
Genre: Character and friendship study
Notes: Use of Japanese names and nicknames in this one, but nothing author's notes can't fix.
She never cared much about the way others would refer to her. Faith, for a god, is essential, and it’s not something that would require using the same naming and treatment. Her true name was Amaterasu Omikami, or simply Amaterasu; it didn’t matter how she was called in prayers, though, as long as they believed in the light and heat. That was something most gods and high spirits couldn’t understand. She was the great deity, the origin of all that is good; she had to be referred at least with a higher language, if not by her full title!
Amaterasu didn’t agree with that. Everyone had a right to call her the way their hearts desired, no matter how rude, or polite, or tender, or stupid it was. So what if people used dog names, insults, uncalled verb forms, incorrect suffixes, or childish nicknames instead? It still didn’t change her nature, so there was no reason to feel outraged by that. There were other issues to be irritated at, like the shadows of evil.
Only two persons had used an almost equal yet bold tone with her before Shiranui’s white and crimson body died. Only two persons saw her more like a friend than a god.
Hundreds of moons later, she’d return to life, and her memory was as frozen as the stone statue her new body used to be. She was still herself, serene and dangerous, yet details of her past were dark and unable to reach, those waves moistening the beach of her soul. She recognized fragments of it, and ideas of the right way to go. Kamiki felt like a second home, even though the nice sprite that helped her and the sacred tree she guarded were almost unknown to the holy wolf. Izanagi’s descendant amused her for a reason she couldn’t quite identify. Later on, it was clear it was because of his bloodline: so obvious to the eye, so linked to her destiny.
But nothing could’ve prepared her for the emotions brought by two strangers who were, at the same time, so familiar to those two even in the way to talk to her.
The little one –because no matter how aggravated he was toward the word, he still was rather tiny- had started with the term “furball”. She had never been called a furball before, not that it mattered much. And yet, he smelled of forest and ink, tasted like dirt, jumped as high as he should, and had an ego able to knock down branches. She could recall all of that in one being. However, the young one called Issun wasn’t entirely fulfilling her vague remembrance: he was too green and rude and rebellious.
But when he began calling her Ama-kou, it just felt right even if she didn’t know why. Weeks would pass before she figured out it was a part of a legacy started two generations ago. Was that family stubborn and petulant! But they earned the equality with their courage and their brushes. Years later, she’d miss being referred as a furball, and running through the fields with the pleasant itch of insignificant weight around her ears.
The other man was confusing in another level. The melody he played with his flute, the green fluorescence of his weapon, his smell of incense and wind, the overconfident voice, the stupid foreign words, the agile movements, the hair bangs golden as the moonlight shining over the waters in a clear night. There was no mistake in the gut feeling: he was too familiar, this one she had already seen. She made such an effort to recognize him and his name she had noticed the menacing stance two seconds later. That was precisely the issue: her head told her he was trouble, yet a part of her wanted to believe he was a friend and not an old rival as soon as he called her Amaterasu-kun.
Who else treated her as a –kun, anyway? She wished she knew. It was too blurry to find the man’s real goal inside the mist of memories. The only rational reason to dislike him was how the one named Ushiwaka kept picking on her abilities –because bad names she could forgive, but her warrior powers were a matter of pride! In the end she had to be humble and admit to herself he was right about that, like he tended to be.
It took her even a longer time to remember when Ushiwaka started calling her that, and how he never used Omikami anyway. How easy it was to understand that he, just like her and Ishaku and Issun, never believed in conventionalisms and formalities. And indeed, that’s what she thought it was important in the end.
Youtube is my friend.
a) At least the brush gods call her Amaterasu Omikami. I'm assuming the Celestials must've grasped the same levels of politeness.
b) Waka/Ushiwaka indeed calls her Amaterasu-kun. Quoting the Wiktionary on -kun: "An honorific ending for names that mostly indicates friendship or someone younger. Usually used for male colleagues or fellow students, but can also be applied to females, usually girls." Before you ask, the original has no French on Waka's speaking patterns, but it's a translation of the way he resorts a lot to English words all the time. Including, of course, baby.
c) Issun's nickname is more complicated. You might've read in interviews that the original term was "Ammako". However, it might've been a mistake from the interviewer, as Issun calls her Ama-kou (in which Ama is in katakana just like her name, and -kou is the kanji 公) It's not usual for a suffix in Japanese, although the kanji can mean in that context lord, prince, duke, or official. When it comes to Chinese honorifics, on the other hand, using a combination with this character (gōng) when you refer to someone implies you respect him or show him respect. So I figured Ama-kou is a cute combination of familiarity and solemnity (or as much as you can get from Issun, that is).