A Winter Storm
by Byakko no Miko
Mikoto sat on a bar stool, quietly sipping her drink. Her sword hung loosely at her side. The door opened, and a man stepped in. Mikoto looked at him in the mirror, and her eyes flashed red for a second, then returned to their normal incandescent blue. "Tohma….."
In this fateful hour
I call on all Heaven with its power
The sun with its brightness
The snow with its whiteness
The fire with all the strength it hath
The lightning with its rapid wrath
The winds with their swiftness
The sea with its deepness
The rocks with their steepness
The earth with its starkness
All these I place
Between myself and the powers of darkness
3 weeks earlier…….
"Give it up. You'll never beat me." Hard, cold. His voice. Filled with hatred. A moment of freedom. Then the same slavery, slavery within her own mind. Her eyes burned deep red, red as blood, red as hatred, red as anger. She let out an inhuman shriek, drew her sword, and sliced downward, in a fast arc. Silence. Then, a second later, flesh splitting, blood pouring, an agonized moan. But still, he stayed. Held his wound, hit her with his scabbard instead of his sword, sparing her. She collapsed, unconscious. Her last fleeting thought, before light gave way to dark. Why? Why spare me?
You, you stupid bitch. Wake up. We don't have time for this. You're so weak. You've always been weak. How could you let someone like him beat you? Get up, you filthy whore. We have to train more, you must be stronger. You make me sick. I feel disgusting, just being inside you. If you didn't have all that untapped power, then I never would have wasted my time on you. Get up. We have work to do.
He sat on the stool next to her. His mouth, close to her ear. Whispered words. "I know what's inside of you. I can help you get rid of it. I know-" She threw him off, her eyes blazing with red fire, her hand on the hilt of her sword. "You think you know?!," she shrieked. "You think you know what it's like to have something inside of you that you can never control, never stop listening to, never be free from?! How could you? You've always had everything you ever wanted. You've never experienced pain, misfortune, suffering. Wonderful little stupid brat Tohma, always has everything he ever needs. Never has to lift a finger for anything. Well, wake up. You're living in a fantasy, a dream. The real world, my world….." she paused. "Is something you'll never have to experience." His expression was unreadable. He lifted her arm, and pulled her outside. "Hey!…." He pulled her around to the side of the bar, and slammed her against the wall, his face right near hers, his eyes locked on hers. He spoke in a harsh, deadly whisper that sent shivers up her spine. "You think I haven't experienced pain? I murdered my own father, and disowned my family. I'm an outcast now, all alone, with no one to turn to. But, even with all of the pain I'm feeling, the rage and anger that's inside of me, I manage to contain myself, and listen to other people when they know something that could save my life. You, however, cannot get it through your thick skull to listen what other people have to tell you." She growled, low, and raked her nails along his chest. He moaned, and jumped back, pressing a hand over the bleeding scratches. She allowed herself a small, self-satisfied smirk. She folded her arms, waiting for some sort of biting comment or reprimand. Instead, he looked up at her, a pleading look in his eyes. "Why? Why do you refuse my help? I just want you to be happy, to have a normal life." "Because I don't need your help. I don't know why you even care about what happens to me. You've humiliated me before, by beating me in battle. Are you going to do it again? Strike down the poor, helpless little girl? Just try me this time." Her eyes blazed red fire once more. "I doubt you'll find that same little girl a second time." He sighed, a long, low rasp, that sounded as if something were breaking inside of him. He straightened up, looked at her in that questioning way, and left her. She just stood. Slowly, she slid to her knees, her face crumpling, her hands shaking, her eyes welling up.
Stop it, shut up! God, stop that stupid crying. I can't believe you're love with that stupid bastard. Maybe I should just make you kill him, see how you react. Ah, well, that can be taken care of another time. Right now, we need sleep. Go inside, and rest.
Mikoto nodded quietly to herself, and made her way back inside. Once she was inside her room, she wearily stripped off her clothes, and threw them in a pile on the floor. She pulled on a lace nightgown, and propped her sword up against the wall next to her bed, within arm's reach. With one last glance around, she turned back the covers, and fell into an uneasy, dreamless sleep.
The next morning, Mikoto quickly packed her belongings, and left the inn. She knew that if she was ever going to be a great fighter, she would have to train, long and hard. She resolved to fight her way across the continent, challenging all of the fighters she came across.
Months passed. Mikoto made her way across the continent, fighting everyone and everything she came across. Her fighting skills became immeasurable. She longed for a real opponent, someone who would challenge her. She thought of the other opponents she had faced. There had been the blond-haired woman, Saya. Her deadly spinning blades had been quite a challenge for Mikoto to counteract. Then there had been the small, pink-haired girl, Minto. Her hammer had also been a deadly weapon. There was only one person she could think of who would give her what she longed for. That person was Tohma. She wished fervently for a chance to see him again. Ever since that night outside the bar, she had a mad, driving, wild passion to see him again. She knew not what drove her, only that she had to find him again. Little did she know, her wish would be granted.
A few weeks later, Mikoto was practicing alone in a field, when she heard a sound in the bushes behind her. She whirled around, her eyes blazing with red fire, as they did too often. Her skin was beaded with sweat, and it had become harder for her to keep her real self together. "Who's there? Show yourself!" There stood Tohma, as tall and handsome as he had been on that hot, sultry night a year ago. She felt herself begin to imagine things that no self-respecting woman should imagine. "So. You finally came back. But this time, it will be me who shall defeat you." He did not reply. He only drew his sword, and went into the "guard" position. "Brave words for a little girl. Back them up with actions, if you've got the skill." His voice was a whisper that felt like hundreds of snakes writhing on her skin. She drew her sword very slowly, letting it hum out of its' scabbard. He smiled, that slow, confident, arrogant smile. She flickered for a moment, then disappeared, only to reappear behind him. He whirled around, startled, and caught off guard. She began to speak inside of his mind. Her voice sounded like a thundering waterfall, pounding in his brain. Do you see how I feel, the uncontrollable rage, the frustration? It hurts, doesn't it? But you like the pain, don't you? Little Tohma, enjoying being abused. Suddenly she snapped out of his mind, as if she had been pulled. The waterfall was replaced by a soft, child-like voice, sounding like flower petals slowly drifting on the whispering wind. Why? Why do you fight? Mamahaha says that fighting is bad. Remember, the song brings people together, but the sword pulls them apart. They both turned. There, sitting on the grass, was a small girl, with an enormous hawk sitting on her arm. "Who….who are you?" Mikoto's voice had changed from the thundering waterfall to her normal quiet tone. The little girl stood up. She threw her arm into the air, and the hawk flew away. Don't worry. Mamahaha always comes back. She wants to know why you two are fighting. Can't you sing instead? Singing brings people together. And she began to sing, in a high voice, in a tongue that neither of them were able to understand. She sang for what seemed like hours. When her voice finally died away, they both let their weapons slip from their hands. They both sat, in awe of the strange young girl. She skipped over, and put their hands together. Then she sat in front of them. "Mikoto. I can help you exorcise the demon that lives within you. My name is Nakoruru, priestess of Kamui-Kotan. You must follow my instructions exactly. Tohma, I will need your help. You must actually go within her mind, and confront the demon. I will help you all I can, but you are the only person who can gain complete access to her mind." "Why me?," he asked. "Because you are the only person Mikoto completely trusts. You are the only one she will open her mind to completely." "She…trusts me?" "Yes. She is in love with you, and people trust the ones they love. She will open to you. And you, in turn must open to her. There must be no barriers between you two." Tohma nodded, and held Mikoto's hand more tightly. Nakoruru placed a hand on each of their shoulders, and spoke in their minds again. You must let go. Fall into each other. Let go….. A wave of memories washed over them, as they opened their minds. Both of them, 5 years old, sticking their tongues out at each other. Mikoto, parading around in her mother's shoes. Tohma, trying to lift his father's sword. Tohma, standing in front of Mikoto, hitting a spider that had crawled up her leg. Mikoto, getting possessed by the demon. Tohma, murdering his father. Their fight which had given Tohma a scar on his side. Their conversation outside the bar. Mikoto, fighting Minto. Tohma, killing a large beast that had been terrorizing a village. On and on the memories went. Finally, they were both completely open. Everything, their secrets, their lusts, their fears. Tohma kept his link with Nakoruru as he searched for the demon inside of her. There! In a corner of her mind, a large shadow had connected itself to all of Mikoto's neural pathways. Nakoruru began the spell of ultimate exorcism. As the words dropped off her tongue like acid, she began to move her hands, and chant.
On and on she chanted, over and over again. Soon, Tohma began to chant as well. The sound of their voices mingled together, creating a pure, rich harmony. After what seemed like hours, Nakoruru stopped chanting. I've subdued her. But she won't be down for long. You must attack her now! Tohma nodded. He drew his sword, lept forward, and sliced the blackness in half. Mikoto let out an anguished wail, and a long shadow escaped through her mouth. Nakoruru shot a blast from her hands, and the shadow evaporated, letting out one last agonized scream. Mikoto collapsed, covered in sweat. Her eyes returned to the ice-blue color they had been before the demon had taken control of her. Her body fell limp. Tohma felt her spirit fading. "Mikoto! Nakoruru, do something! She is dying!" Nakoruru shook her head, her blue bangs falling into her eyes. "The demon was too deeply attached to her. When we killed the demon, we killed Mikoto. I'm sorry. I hadn't realized that the demon was in so deeply. There's nothing we can do now, Tohma, except make her last few moments comfortable. I will leave you two alone." And with that, she stood, and left. Tohma would never see Nakoruru again.
Now he turned to Mikoto. How could she leave him? The one person who had truly loved him, even though he had been somewhat evil. And….he, in turn, had loved her. He held her body close, his sobs shaking it. A weak hand reached up, and held his shoulder. "Tohma….please, kiss me. That was the only thing I ever wanted from you. Your love, your passion, your kiss. I am so sorry I hurt you. I wished we could go back to the way we were when we were kids, happy, carefree." He put a finger to her lips. "Shh, I will give you what I want." He brushed the hair off of her face, and kissed her. Lightly at first, then growing more and more bold. Her arms tightened around him, then fell away. Her eyes rolled up in her head, and her spirit flew away. Tohma. Don't forget me. You shall always hear my spirit whenever you hear the icy winter wind blowing. We will be together again someday. Tohma. He let her body go. He felt two feather light touches on his cheeks. He reached up to touch them, and found out they were tears.
That evening, he gave her a proper burial. He blessed her, and said that he hoped that she would find peace in the afterlife. He laid her sword on top of her body, and lowered her into the earth.
As he started out the next morning, he looked up at the rising sun. There was a chill wind blowing, the start of winter. He touched the scar on his side, and began walking towards the sun.
This fanfic is under revision. 2nd draft is coming soon.
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