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Not Easily Washed Away

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Not Easily Washed Away

Post by LiteraryAnomaly on Mon Mar 12, 2012 10:04 pm

This fic... Is hard to write. I have been battling it for years, though here recently I have made progress toward finishing it. There are unpublished parts, but for the time being what is on FF.net will have to do.

----

Not Easily Washed Away
by LiteraryAnomaly

"How can you stand there and lie to my face like that?" Natsuki's voice was bitter and cold, icy like the rain that had dampened her clothes, causing them to cling to her body. Matted hair hung around her face, framing the scowl etched there. She was standing tensely on the front steps to Shizuru's home, her rage undeniable.

In front of her and partially hidden by the heavy wooden door stood Shizuru. Her head was lowered slightly to keep from having to meet the cold gaze of the emerald eyes staring her down. Despite the sadness in those crimson eyes her mouth had the barest hint of a smile. How could she dare to smile at a time like this? 'Forever hold onto that mask, darling. For when someone can interpret your feelings, they can destroy you.' hadn't that been what her mother told her all of those years ago?

"Natsuki,..." Shizuru said as little more than a whisper, her words devoid of any emotion. "Whatever it is that you believe, you're mistaken."

There it was another lie from the brunette's mouth. Natsuki bit the inside of her cheek to stop the string of obscenities that threatened to spill forth. She'd come to Shizuru for answers, yet here she stood in the rain getting nothing but a vicious circle of untruth. "I saw it, Shizuru." Natsuki said her voice gruff. "I saw the way you looked at me at the end of the battle when I held you in my arms. You confessed everything to me with that one look." The hard edge to the girl's voice wavered slightly and her cheeks were wet, but it wasn't from the rain.

Shizuru's chest tightened, as did her grip on the door blocking her body from view. It began to close but Natsuki stopped the motion by slamming her hand into it and forcing her body between it and the jamb. Crimson eyes widened and Shizuru took a step back, caught off guard by the sudden movement of the other girl. "Talk to me, Damnit!" Natsuki shrieked, her chest heaving from her frustration.

What were once notoriously bright crimson eyes were now hazed over with unshed tears, though they would remain just that... Unshed. Her body straightened, now rigid as she faced Natsuki for the first time since the girl arrived on her door step. "What do you want me to say, Natsuki?" Her tone was harsh, as cold as the blue haired Hime's had been. "Do you want me to say that I am in love with you?" Shizuru spat, her face showed the obvious frustration brewing inside of her.

Natsuki gasped softly at the words, her eyes widening slightly. Shizuru chuckled dryly at the reaction, having figured that it was only fitting. "It wasn't only my body that shattered that day, but more importantly my heart. I realized whatever it was I had tricked myself into wanting was no more than an illusion. My sanity was depleted and what I wove was a tapestry of violence and destruction that can never be undone." Crimson eyes narrowed dangerously, venom was now inching into the cold voice of the brunette. "I tried to believe the blood on my hands was justified..." Her voice trailed slightly, cracking in places but she finished just the same. "I was wrong."

Whatever light had briefly returned to crimson eyes vanished along with her words and they were once again dull and lifeless. Natsuki shuddered from the look in them and turned her head. What could she say? Pain had overtaken her head, throbbing behind her eyes. This was all too much. Who was this person in front of her? It wasn't the Shizuru she knew...

"Leave." The one word caused Natsuki's head to snap upward, cold jade meeting dead crimson. She wanted to shove that door open and force Shizuru to stop this ridiculous behavior, make the girl explain herself but she couldn't even move. The absolute absence of life in those red eyes turned her blood cold. Her mouth tried to find the words to fight back but a hand on her shoulder suddenly shoved her forcefully back onto the porch. Without hesitation the heavy door slammed shut in Natsuki's face, her eyes widening yet again.

"Shizuru..." She whispered, jerking her body forward and ramming a shoulder into the wood. "Open the fucking door!" Natsuki's voice was strained, her hands beating the wood mercilessly. Repeatedly she rammed her shoulder against it; until she was sure she'd dislocated the appendage. It proved useless in the end. Despite her desperate barrage the door still stood.

Her body was sore. The pain inside her head reverberated the length of her entire form, thudding inside of her which caused her to wince deeply. Finally exhausted her limp body slid down the front of the door and she collapsed against it sobbing. Her mind screamed in frustration, echoing inside her skull painfully. Why was Shizuru shutting her out? After they had been through so much. Natsuki's heart cringed causing her to whimper and the cold night air stung her raw throat.

On the opposite side of the door Shizuru stood quietly. Her head hung low, those chestnut colored bangs covering her eyes which were cast to the floor. There was no reflection of feeling but rather an emptiness that spoke volumes of the depths to which she'd fallen. Slowly her feet began to carry her down a narrow corridor that was lined with candles. That was the only source of light in the entire house. Tiny dancing flames lapped at the surrounding darkness trying almost in vain to keep it at bay. Unfortunately the master of the house had already been consumed.

One of the several doors lining the corridor was slid open and Shizuru stepped inside a bare room devoid of any furniture save a shrine and a floor mat. As the door was closed behind her she took to seiza and lowered her head to the ground. The cool wood felt nice against her feverish forehead. The robes of her kimono are loosened and the fabric fell across her shoulders. "How many people died because of me..." She murmured while lifting something from the shrine.

A loud crack filled the room followed by a whimper. "How many families were destroyed...?" She asked herself and then there was another crack. Beneath the sleeve of her kimono a stream of blood began dripping onto the wooden floor. Her body quivered slightly but there was yet another loud cracking sound, this one followed with a gasp. Her hands lowered in front of her, bracing her body. In her right hand she gripped a solid black cat of nine tails. Each of the tails had been fitted with slivers of steel that ate into her back upon each lashing.

Once composed she lifted herself back into proper seiza, her body rigid. The black and red kimono had fallen off of her upper half completely and bunched at her waist, revealing several old scars and some fresh wounds that had yet to scab over. The stinging barbs of the cat of nine tails bit into her shoulders yet again, ripping the skin and flaying it open. This time she hadn't flinched. Blood spattered against the floor, pooling in various spots inside the mahogany cracks. Another flicker of the weapon slit a deep gash on her left shoulder and dark crimson liquid bubbled to the surface instantly.

For fifteen grueling minutes the horrid purification continued until finally Shizuru's body could take no more. She'd collapsed against the cold floor, her kimono spilling around her along with the blood she had shed. In the short time since the festival's end, Shizuru had managed to withdraw herself completely from the world she'd known. No longer had she attended school and all attempts to reach her on the part of the Student Council had failed. Anyone who came to her home were met with silence, she didn't bother to answer the door. Today had been the first day Natsuki had seen her since the day they'd both died.

Shizuru wished she had remained dead. At least in death she could have put to rest the memories of what she'd done. When had she become such a monster? She had battled with her inner demons for quite some time. The events of the festival had merely given her a reason to let them out to play and now she lived in remorse, every day filled with a new found regret. Her mind had finally began to shatter under the pressure and she'd felt seclusion was the only option sufficient for her crimes. To Shizuru, she didn't deserve to have the compassion of the other Hime; none of them had sinned as much as she. Alone she would purify her body, purge the sinful blood that scorched through her veins. Only alone could she wallow in the emptiness she felt in her soul.

It had been well after midnight when Natsuki finally made her way back inside her stark apartment. Too exhausted to cry any more she'd shrugged off her sopping clothing and fell into bed. Sleep eluded her and she gave up after an hour of lying awake, staring up at the white wash ceiling. The worn in navy couch offered no comfort either, nor did the mindless television that flashed in her listless emerald eyes. She picked idly at the boxers that covered her lower half, her mind racing in several different directions.

Scenes from earlier flashed in her minds eye, replaying over and over again cruelly taunting her. 'Leave' that coldly spoken word reverberated through her mind. It had felt like a stake through her heart when she'd heard Shizuru say it. Why was it so very easy for Shizuru to push her away? Before, she had been around all of the time. Quite the nuisance if Natsuki remembered correctly. However now since the conclusion of the festival, Shizuru had resigned herself to seclusion. She was either unwilling or incapable of allowing others into her life, even Natsuki. Considering the past that fact alone was simply unacceptable.

There were so many questions she wanted to clarify with the other girl. So many words and feelings left unspoken and unfulfilled between them. Still yet when she had tried to question Shizuru she was met with complete resistance. Not to mention the fact Shizuru had plainly lied to Natsuki's face when confronted about her love confession. A troubled sigh passed the dark haired Hime's lips and her eyes closed tightly. The absence of Shizuru had caused an ache inside of her heart. Never had she realized how dear to her the other girl actually was. Of course she knew Shizuru turned out to be her most important person but since the festival she'd not been able to talk to the girl about any of it.

"Why do you push me away now?" She asked no one in particular while slumping over onto the soft cushions. Her head still hurt just as much as before but she knew no amount of aspirin would quell the pain. For what seemed like hours she laid there staring blankly at the flickering screen repeating the same infomercials.

At some point she must had fallen asleep. From the curtains thin rays of sunlight scattered and lit up the dull white carpet signaling the night had once again been vanquished. Subtle snoring came from the lifeless figure still on the couch. Murmured words were but incomprehensible phrases broken up in a made up language until she shot up off of the couch, her chest heaving. A hand clutched the area above her heart as if that would slow the rapid beating. She had a nightmare.

Crimson eyes so lifeless and dull.

Crimson eyes bled crimson tears.

She had seen Shizuru's once serene face clouded by remorse and anguish. Twin trails of blood were cried from those crimson eyes. Natsuki rubbed the image from her eyes with her hands while stumbling toward the bathroom. Her legs were still asleep so walking was a bit difficult. She decided quickly upon entering that a hot shower seemed heavenly after she'd stood in the rain for so very long the night before. A chance glance at the clock on her night stand revealed it to be eight thirty in the morning. Already she was late to class but the thought merely registered part of the way as she stripped and settled her body under the massaging stream of scorching water.

The candles had all melted. Wax cascaded down the table legs and pooled on top of the hard wood floor, leaving quite the mess. Crimson eyes had been open for some time now, though Shizuru hadn't lifted herself from the spot which she'd fallen the previous night. Still she was slumped over, head resting against the floor. Those eyes were as lifeless as ever, not one ounce of feeling showed behind them. Was she even alive?

Slowly a hand lifted her body from the ground and she sat up in seiza. If alive simply meant breathing then yes, she was alive. If alive meant something more in a spiritual sense, then she had been dead for quite some time. Dark circles permanently shadowed the under side of her eyes but she'd given up caring for her appearance months ago.

She stood from seiza; her head bowed and stepped out of the fallen kimono. She discarded it in an overflowing hamper at the side of the door which she walked out of afterward. It was now time for her morning shower but it was not something done for comfort. The water spewed down across her beaten, cut up body. It might have been little ice crystals as cold as it was. Pain shocked her system but she didn't mind. Pain was her companion. The only companion she was worthy of having.

Her arms wrapped themselves around her mangled body as if to protect it from the barrage of ice that rained from above. Shizuru looked thin. Her ribs protruded from under pale flesh, the outline of bone could clearly be seen the length of her entire body. One would describe her as nearing skeletal. Food had lost its taste and with that it's appeal.

Wrapped in a fresh kimono the same style and color of the one she'd worn previously she entered the kitchen and began taking things from the cabinets. A pot was heated over the stove and she easily created what looked to be curry of some sort. Rice was steaming in another pot adjacent to the one she currently worked with. Once the meal was completed it's presented on a platter in a beautiful dish and left on the kitchen table. Spicy scent filled the air and mixed with the lingering smell of something most foul.

Along the opposite ends of the table were similar dishes that had once been filled with delicious foods much like that had just been prepared. They were now rotted, covered in green mold. Fruit had withered, meat had been consumed by flies and birthed maggots which thrived on the remains. Shizuru took her leave from the kitchen apparently unfazed by the disgusting mess she'd let accumulate over the months. Having the scent of food filling the house as she starved herself was another way she'd found to torment her body.

As she walked along the narrow corridor fresh candles were put out but the wax residue from the previous ones was left to pile up in the floor. She hadn't bothered to clean any of it up, what was the point? After the little task she carried herself to the back gardens and took up seiza on a wicker mat situated in front of a stagnant pond. This particular garden used to house thousands of lush, beautiful plants and flowers. Now there was nothing but decayed vegetation and weeds that devoured the entire landscape. It was depressing but Shizuru again seemed unfazed as she stared into the murky water.

Emerald eyes peered out of the window to the cafeteria. The food Natsuki had purchased sat in front of her getting cold, not that she noticed. The orange haired girl that sat across from her kept shooting worried glances in her direction, but she hadn't noticed that either.

"Natsuki, are you going to eat your food?" An innocent Mikoto finally asked as she crept into view on the opposite side of Mai. The question seemed to pull the dark haired girl from her reverie because she gave the young one a sideways glance before shoving her tray toward her. Mikoto grinned with delight and eagerly set to devouring the free meal. Mai looked disapproving but said nothing as she finished her own lunch. Natsuki had been silent since she first showed up at school this morning, late as usual.

After several minutes of awkward silence Mai finally sighed. "Natsuki, you really should eat something you know?" The dark haired girl blinked back to reality once more and looked over to Mai with furrowed brows. The question finally registered.

"I'm fine, not much of an appetite." She replied dryly and resumed focusing on the horizon outside of the window. A troubled look settled on Mai's face but what more could she say? It's not like she could have forced the chopsticks into Natsuki's mouth. Rather than pester her about food any longer Mai changed the subject but as she did she feared the reaction would be fierce. Still yet she had questions of her own.

"I heard you went to see Kai... I mean Shizuru yesterday. Is that true?" Mai's voice sounded so hopeful.

Natsuki grimaced and steeled her gaze, unable to meet the other girl's stare. "She wouldn't let me inside; rather she slammed the door in my face."

Mai's eyes widened. If anyone had any sort of chance at getting Shizuru to open up it would have been Natsuki. To hear the Kaichou treated her in such a way was close to unbelievable. "So it's true then." Mai said softly. "She's really given into her despair?"

Natsuki rubbed her temples irritably as her eyes closed. "I don't know what she thinks she's doing, but I'm worried. This isn't like Shizuru... I don't..." her voice trailed off briefly and her brows furrowed. She was doing her best not to cry. "I don't know the girl I saw yesterday."

The orange haired girl reached out and placed a hand on Natsuki's shoulder, squeezing it tenderly. "Maybe she just needs time, Natsuki. You said yourself the festival was devastating to her. I mean we all saw how she cracked."

Natsuki jerked her head up and slid Mai's hand from her shoulder roughly. "You don't understand, you didn't see her yesterday!" She howled, causing a shocked expression to come over her friend.

"You're right." Mai said as she looked away from Natsuki's intense stare. She'd only heard bits and pieces of what Shizuru had done during the festival. Mai had no idea the full extent besides the obvious insanity that had taken over the Student Council President.

Mikoto had listened quietly while the two girls talked. She didn't want to interrupt but she had questions she wanted to ask. "If Kaichou likes you so much then why is she being mean?" The young girl finally asked. She still had a light ring of food around her mouth. Mai patted the girl's head and wiped her mouth while Natsuki just stared at her. It must have been nice to be so naive.

"Kaichou is just having a rough time, Mikoto." Mai told the girl reassuringly and to her surprise Natsuki nodded in agreement. Mikoto nodded as well and seemed satisfied for the moment. Mai looked up and met emerald eyes with her own, offering out a weak smile. Natsuki looked so hurt... It broke Mai's heart to see her friend in such a state, though there was nothing she could do.

Clouds floated so very carelessly above head, circling the moon and drifting on. The rain that had fallen the before cleared out of the region and left the night cool and pleasant. Shizuru had remained in seiza throughout the day over looking that dead pond. Moss bubbled to the surface, algae clumped on the built up bank and gave off a foul smell. She hadn't noticed. Only when the night air had been too cold to bear any longer had she finally retreated into her home. Though she had simply gone back to the empty shrine room and taken up seiza there instead.

A brief prayer is uttered from her lips before she reached to take hold of the cat of nine tails. Like before the robes of her kimono are removed from her upper body and she began the painful cleansing. Tonight it had taken five cracks from the weapon before she'd faltered and almost slumped over from the pain. Through clenched teeth that threatened to shatter she'd forced herself to persevere. That evening she'd eventually passed out, falling forward with her cheek pressed against the floor. Her back was completely flayed open; blood trickled freely from the massive damage and soaked the kimono bunched at her hips.

When she finally awoke her mouth tasted bitter. Slowly she sat up, immediately grimacing from the pain that shot through her body starting at her back. She almost fell over but managed to catch herself with her palms pressed firmly into the floor. A ragged breath is sucked between clenched teeth and her brows furrowed deeply, leaving a crease in her forehead. "This pain... I deserve this..." Her voice cracked and then she slumped over, unable to hold herself up any longer. A slow breath was pushed from her lungs as she succumbed to the darkness once more.

I am a demon.

Around me swirl the flames of damnation.

Killing is second nature to breathing.

Come dance with me in the fire of hell.

I'll kill you too.

Then we can be together forever.

Their screams were like music to my ears as I moved swiftly through the headquarters of District One. I took pity on no one, cutting them down as they crossed my path. Those that ran from the flames of the building Kyohime took care of for me. In less than ten minutes I had managed to destroy what had taken some a life time to build. During the destruction I distinctly remember having a smile on my face. When I looked into the panicked eyes of my victims something inside of me quivered with utter delight. Their deaths meant the safety of my Natsuki, the elation that realization brought me was unsurpassed.

"For your sins, you all shall die." I murmured to a man that had fallen before me. From his knees he raised his hands, begging me to spare his life. The steel of my naginata made an invisible path through his chest cavity and he crumpled to the burning debris. "Running won't save you. Through the flames of hell your debt will be repaid!" I cried out to the victims that still tried in vain to escape. The voice that came from my throat was disturbed, off balance and not my own. Retribution reigned, brought by the hand of a demon. Those caught in the path became little more than ash at my fingertips.

Madness had split my sanity cleanly in half... I didn't care.

LiteraryAnomaly
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Re: Not Easily Washed Away

Post by Luu Sky Sapphire on Tue Mar 27, 2012 12:05 am

Ara, I can already tell you this won't be a lengthy review. We have 13 chapters in Not Easily Washed Away, so I will give my thoughts on the comment rather than an overall review.

First off, again, the characters weren't completely OOC. ;p You sure do stress about that factor, huh Ash? If anything, it realistically captures Shizuru post Carnival. More specifically, this:



Remember that scene? I know you do, Ash. That is the prime example of someone who realized she did horrible things and has nothing left, but to beg for forgiveness. There is a wave of emotion that swept through my body reading this; not so much from the low morale Natsuki is experience, but more so for the angst building within Shizuru. In many ways, this is the talk they should of had after the Carnival was over. Instead of you know, "Ara mah gudness! I'm going to repeat the year to sex up mah Natsuki~"

Moments like that change people forever. Like war. I cannot wait to read the second chapter...when I get time that is. >:3

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When Shizuru said "Ara" for the first time, the "Ara" broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about. That was the beginning of fairies.

Luu Sky Sapphire
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