I Watch The Dark

Itsuki muses on the Repentance, his unlife, and his brother. But things must be this way, for the world is cruel. Slash, incest, suicide

Fatal Frame I: Project Zero (2002) & Fatal Frame II: Crimson Butterfly (2003) characters, images, etc are property of Tecmo.

I Watch The Dark

Even death will not release me from this suffering. This strange, enclosing darkness roots me to this spot, where I cannot touch or speak to him; I can only watch and let the tears stream from my hollow eyes. And even though my throat runs red with the agony of screaming for endless eternity to relieve me, I shall never leave this village, for my hate and my love for my brother will never dwindle.

Blood; inhuman, spectral, disgusting blood pours from my throat for my folly, and my neck is marred with the beautiful bruising of the rope against my neck, though it no longer burns.

I had no regrets about dying after I murdered him, for the existence without the other half of my soul was so painful I could not bear to live without Mutsuki.

The dark thinks that we do not know what goes on within this village after our deaths. We know that the day of Repentance plays over and over, and our movements are closed and controlled as if we have no choice but to comply. It is not that I would want to break free; in fact it makes very much sense that we should reenact our lives with this day. All God's Village is perpetually frozen in time, our souls sealed to our fate. Now, we no longer have fate or destiny, and even our souls seem to slowly rot away until we are mere shells, doomed to repeat our last day like clockwork.

I hear the whispers. They talk about things that did not matter to them in the past. They hiss and moan about how the abyss must be sealed, but that will not help the darkness in which we have doomed ourselves to. The rituals, no matter when or how they will take place, from this day onward will always fail. The pit has not been fed for many years, and the years of silence have only brought on an unspeakable hunger. If the rituals were ever to start again, it would take at least thirty Kusabi and a sacrifice to appease the demons.

Mutsuki is not a butterfly. Mutsuki is not a god. Mutsuki was my brother, but what he is now I cannot fathom. I have not seen him for the decades I have spent in this cell torturing myself every day for my failure. The life of a Remaining is not an easy one, for I live in eternal guilt. I alone remember the day of the Crimson Ritual, my one mistake that marked me forever.

We had sat alone in our room, quietly reflecting on what we had done in our past. Our lives were sheltered and overseen by priests and shrine-keepers, so the time we spent alone was rare and precious as diamonds. Mutsuki and I talked of many things; Sae and Yae, the upcoming Ritual, all the times we played at swords and dolls. We sat quietly together, thinking about the last thing we would ever see: our hands wrapped around each other's throats and the hungry look in the other's eyes.

"Itsuki?" Mutsuki's small voice echoed in the dim tatami-room. The windows were covered with thick screens, preventing us from seeing the light of day even when we weren't outside. Our only lights were the flickering candles set about on the sill and floor, but in the darkness I could still see my brother's tears.

I turned so I was facing him, but his head was bowed down low now so that I would not be able to see him crying. He was right to do so also; we were almost men. And men didn't cry, for it was a sign a weakness. Had I been one of the priests or villagers, I would have beaten him. "Yes? Is there something wrong?" I asked, playing confident. I knew what was wrong with him, but it would be all the better for him to say it. "You know I'm always listening to you, Mutsuki."

"Itsuki, I don't think I can go through with this! I mean, if I die, how are you ever going to live? We know what happened to Akane and Ayane..." He whispered, his voice quivering with each word, though the tears had dried and his hands were clutching the closure of my yukata as if it was life itself, knuckles white with his grip. "I—I don't want to die."

My hands were gently brushing his shoulders in what Mutsuki must have thought was sympathy, and my right hand rested on the collar of the light shirt he was wearing. I made sure that my fingers brushed over the sleek bones of his neck; he jerked his head slightly but thought of it as nothing, though I could feel the racing pulse under my fingertips. Was it fear? Mutsuki's skin was so wonderfully warm and alive under my touch... my eager, yearning touch.

"You shouldn't worry about such things," I muttered in a low tone, my face hovering over his shoulder. "When you die, you shall become a god and you may watch over me forever, and a beautiful red butterfly afterwards." Mutsuki visibly shuddered; I could tell it was not from my words but from my deep, breathy exhalations dancing across the side of his face. He looked so helpless and lost, I couldn't help but chuckle.

Why did I laugh, in the face of Mutsuki's inevitable death?

Mutsuki didn't seem to notice that I was feeling strange stirrings within my body, and if he did, he showed no sign. He remained still as a doll. Soon though, he relaxed and leaned forward, pressing his forehead against the front of my chest while his hands slidi down to clasp loose fistfuls of my dark-green yukata. I suppose he found it a comfort in being so close to me or maybe he was ill with sadness, for the next moment I felt a cold wetness over my heart. He was crying again.

"Mutsuki," I whispered into the soft, dark strands of hair. They were light and fluttery when I breathed on them almost like a butterfly's wings. But it smelled spicy and bitter and a great deal over-fragranced. Perhaps he had been spending too much time in the altar room, burning incense and praying. But it did smell very nicely.

What would he pray for? Would he pray that his death would not be a painful one?

"Mutsuki, please, stop crying," I cooed, stroking his head tenderly with the hand that wasn't wrapping itself about his waist. In all truth, I did not know what I was doing then, but at that time it seemed that since the day was the last with my brother, I would spend as much time as I could with him.

Mutsuki could not be helped, my words did not cease his tears. "Mutsuki, stop." I shushed, using my sleeve to wipe the warm, dewy droplets off his face. It was really more of a gesture of necessity than an act of kindness, but my brother thought otherwise.

His breathing hitched slightly, and he slowly turned his face until it leaned into the hand that was drying his tears. Strangely, I did not have the heart to pull away, and instead I lightly touched the skin under his eyes, feeling the smooth, heated flesh over his cheekbones. Looking down into those bright, wavering brown eyes, I felt a mixed sensation of guilt and... something else. I didn't know what to call it, but it was a very distinct, tingling-burning feeling in the center of my chest and through the back of my spine.

Now that I recall, it actually felt rather nice.

Mutsuki murmured my name into my chest, only his eyes were visible and they were looking at me with something like admiration. At one point I think my yukata slipped apart or Mutsuki loosened it himself, for the next moment his cool hands were pressed against my bare chest and his head was buried in my neck. I drew in a sharp breath; this shocked me. What was he thinking?

The feeling of his eyelashes fluttering against my jugular made the roots of my hair tingle and I suppressed a shiver. This sensation was completely new to me, life sheltered as it was, and the fact that this was my brother was not helping me at all. This body in my hands; this incensed hair that was so near my mouth I could smell the light fragrance. I couldn't help but lower my head down and rest my lips on that forehead, brushing Mutsuki's silky dark hair to the side.

"Uhn..." he moaned softly, so quietly and drawn out it sounded as if he had only sighed. But I knew what he was feeling, and I wanted our last day together to be the very best I could manage.

His face was warm and flushed, and I could feel the heat as I rested my hand on his cheek. He looked so strange, his face was rosy and childlike as if he trusted me. Mutsuki had never trusted me. But, so adorably faithful he looked, it was difficult to keep from doing this...

I leaned over, placing a chaste, quick kiss on his lips. Almost immediate he started and if I had not had my free arm looped about his waist, I'm sure he would have leapt back ten paces. I lowered my head and grinned to myself, pulling Mutsuki even closer to me. He looked so frightened, but there was nothing to worry about.

Mutsuki's stare was fixed on the floor and I could tell he was trying not to look into my face. He was probably burning with embarrassment, but that would be all right. Besides, we were brothers. What did we have to hide from each other? His fingers were toying with each other, sunk into his lap. He was not touching me now, but remained close enough for me reach out and place my hands on his shoulders.

"Mutsuki." I murmured, pulling him towards me and smiling softly when he didn't resist. His gaze slowly lifted up to mine, and I gently pushed him down, his back lying flat on the tatami mat. Still Mutsuki didn't resist, and I found it very easy to believe that this was because I was stronger than he. No matter, he might have been afraid or weak or something of that nature, but his eyes still shone like small crystals; like stars, and they enticed me.

My legs were straddling both sides of his stomach, but he was already leaning up towards me. His hands settled on my shoulders, then slowly moved down the front of my yukata and to my sides. I shivered. Oh... gods forgive for what I am about to do, I prayed in my mind. I realized that Mutsuki's hands were grasping my hips so tightly I knew I would have a mark.

"Mutsuki, you had better not hate me because of this." I said, sounding slightly sardonic. But, truthfully, I didn't want Mutsuki to do something that would hurt him as deeply as this could. A smile flitted across my face, whereas my mouth was positioned only inches above his lips. Every breath he made brushed across my face like the wings of a captive butterfly: fast, short, afraid... but as well as with a bit of anticipation.

"Hate you, dear brother?"

Those dark eyes were alight with something, but I only managed to glimpse them without thought until they suddenly shut, and the next moment his mouth was pressed against mine in an intense kiss. God, oh god...what else could I have done? I nearly attacked him, growling as I pushed him down onto the tatami and crushed my lips against his.

My tongue slipped past his lips and dipped into his mouth. Here, arched over his body and my fingers intertwined with his, it was so warm and comforting and passionate. He wanted it, that I knew, and I wanted it as well. God, he tasted so wonderful, and it was some time before I broke away, gasping and rolling away to the side.

Still those eyes burned into my heart. Mutsuki smiled at me, that pure smile he always had. He lay back down, breathing heavily for air, but I could make out his feathery voice. "I...would never hate you. This is our last night, Itsuki... chan..."

That was the last straw. I all but leapt on top of him, popping open the closures on his shirt and tearing it off. Mutsuki let out a startled, surprised sound but I just began to slip off his long, red hakama skirt; down his stomach, over his hips, the material silkily gliding down over those long, pale legs. Smooth, white ivory, like a doll.

The urge was so hard to control! I had to have this, or I would fall apart. Oh, this night was ours, his and mine, and we would make it so.

"Itsuki..." he whispered, and everything seemed to fall into place.

I was finally one with him, but not as a spirit or a ghost or a butterfly. Why did he call me that?

Now I sit here; alone, cold, heartless. I did not become one with him in the way we had joined ourselves the night of the Crimson Sacrifice. In fact, I never became one with him at all. I loved him so much it hurt, and now all I feel is pain and hatred; the Malice is seeping into my body and making me hate him. Has the Darkness swallowed him as well? My brother...

When I felt my hands clasping about his neck, I knew that this would be the last time I would ever see him alive. It was so painful, but hr and I had made a promise, and we must have kept it. Even the lives of Sae and Yae meant more than our lives. What did a twin's life mead? We were all destined to die or live in misery.

This metal stand is very uncomfortable and cold beneath my feet, but that isn't a concern for me anymore. Everything in this village has always been so cold since I killed Mutsuki. The people, the air, the sky seems to cloud with snow, and this old storeroom offers no warmth at all. Or perhaps it is just the frozen pit of my heart? My ability to love died along with him.

I suppose what frightened me the most was that I crushed his windpipe without hesitation. It was only so he would never suffer.

I work hard into the night, my fingers numb with cold and the rough surface of the material, but I must do this. Even though I have repeated this act over a thousand times already, time has no meaning. All that I know is that I must do this, I must tie these knots, I must wear my hands down to the bone, looping the twine over and over and over so it will not break and spare my life.

My brother, I will never forget him. My only wish is for him to forgive me and watch over me from wherever he is, may it be Hellish Abyss or heaven. Forgive me, Mutsuki, that I could not watch over this village from the earth. He gave me everything, and in the end I took everything from him. I feel no regret in this fate I have doomed us both to for an eternity, but I will be able to see him once more, I think.

But it is never true. I will wake tomorrow and once again feel the pain of loss, and die all over again. I never told Mutsuki that I loved him, and I have lost that chance.

My fingertips ripped away his wings that night; so hard I wished him to be human instead of butterfly.

"Itsuki! Itsuki! I'm sorry, but I had to come back!" The woman excitedly rattled the old door of the storeroom, her hair dirty and disheveled. She had to see her love before the villagers took her away, she just had to! If they were going to stop her, they would have no sacrifice and she would make sure of it.

To her surprise, the storeroom door seemed almost rotted off the hinges, though it had only been a few months, and almost came off when she shook it. Tossing the strangeness of that in the back of her mind, she summoned her strength and pulled hard at the door.

It fell away with a snap and a thud. "When they told me you were here, I just had to—"

A strong, coppery smell overflowed her senses and she stared at the scene before her in horror. Bloody handprints stained the wall. She followed the lines and trails of blood spatter, and something hanging from the rafters caught her attention.

It was a body with a blackish bruise around its neck, supporting a limp head of dirty white hair.

What an angelic smile on that boy's face, even in death.

"Itsuki! No... no!" she moaned, falling to her knees, hands gripping the dusty ground.

She could not look up. "It's all our fault, Yae..." she whispered, in between sobs and gasps. "We shouldn't have tried to escape! I'm so sorry, so sorry!"

The only answer was the creaking of the rope, its unrelenting rhythm slowly driving her mad.