General disclaimer: I DON'T own "Fruits Basket" or Akito Sohma. I wish I did, but I don't. Please don't sue me; all I have is lint. ( That wont get you anywhere in life.

DO NOT READ THIS UNLESS:
1) You know of the startling revelation in chapter 97
2) You don't mind SUPER IMPORTANT SPOILERS OF DOOM

The Reflection in the Mirror

Its something they'll never understand. This life I lead… the reason behind the lies, the false conceptions. The real reason behind every move I make, every breath I take… every single moment lived. They'll never know or understand. They'll never see that I, too, am nothing more than a pawn in some larger, obscure game.

A deep breath was taken, the tips of slender digits tracing over the smooth, reflective surface of the glass. Dark eyes focused intensely on the reflection of a bare woman; perky breasts, small and supple, finally showing little to no visible signs of the abuse marked by constant binding. Flesh like pale porcelain-hued silk remained, at least for now, adorned in droplets of lingering water that shimmered breathtakingly in the sunlight that wafted in from the open window to bathe the room in a bright orange glow.

Coral-pink lips parted, allowing a slow exhale of the breath taken just shortly before a delicate hand left the mirror to brush against an ivory cheek that now seemed painted with a soft hue of rose-petal pink. The air was cool today; relaxing, crisp, invigorating. So many words could have been used to describe it, but Akito's mind was on far more important matters. The current Head of the Juunishi was drowning once more in the thoughts she so loved to keep to herself. …And why wouldn't she? Had any of these thoughts ever had the opportunity to leap out into the open, all that Akito had lived for would crumble down into a pile of inconceivably small pieces. She would have no one. She would have nothing. All that she knew would suddenly become so irrelevant, so completely unimportant.

But they wouldn't understand… The nature of the curse isn't friendly. It isn't a walk in the park. They have never had to endure what I've had to.

The sunny glow began to fade, leaving the orange hue to transition into more of a crimson shade. Gray eyes averted their gazes to the ceiling for a moment to watch as the water from the bath cast its dancing reflection on every corner of the spacey, though entirely too empty room. There was a sudden sense of being perpetually alone, of being so insignificant and small. Akito cringed softly at this thought, her attention now reverting back to the reflection staring back at her through the mirror.

This was NOT her.

She was not that ugly creature in the mirror.

Crystalline tears threatened to obscure her vision, threatening to break what little hold she had left on her strong, domineering stance. She would not succumb to these feminine emotions, she would not allow herself to steep into the realms of childish tears or the longing and need to be understood and loved. She would not allow herself to be weak and simple-minded. She was Akito; Head of the Sohma family clan, God to the Juunishi.

She was not a woman moved to tears by her own naked reflection in the mirror and the constant reminder that her entire life had been a lie. She was so much more than that. She was stronger, more powerful, and had what so many dreams were made of. Living this lie was essential to ensure the well-being of the Juunishi and there had been and never would be another choice in the matter.

A chill shot up her spine, a soft coat of bumps blanketing pale, flawless skin. Both brows furrows, charcoal hues catching the reflection of the bandages and tape she had come so accustom to using whenever the circumstances deemed necessary…

I do it for you… for all of you…The thoughts chimed in her hear, ringing like church bells and the melodious songs of the birds that went about their merry lives just outside in that world she could never be a part of. She belonged here, in this cozy estate, surrounded by those affiliated with the curse in some way, shape, or form. Its walls she could never leave if she hoped to venture out on her own -- if she wished, just for one day, to forget the weight upon her shoulders. It's for YOU that I do this. It has always been for all of you. My blessing and my curse…my heaven and hell, light and dark, angel and demon. Life and death.

A single, isolated tear managed to break through the constraints of will-power to paint a stream down a pale, pink cheek, another emotional scar breaking through to reveal itself from behind the endless mounds of lies, insecurities, and false hopes. You can't exist without me! It's for YOU that I hide myself! For YOU that I do everything I do. Her hand rose, an extended index finger moving to trace the reflection of the tear's stream in the mirror. She tilted her head slightly to the side, biting gently on her lower lip as those lithe fingers then curled into her palm.

I can't be weak. I can't be this… this… this thing Her fist began to tremble, signs of the fit of anger that was to show itself in mere moments. "I hate you," the words were harsh, dripping like poison from both delicate, rosy lips. "I HATE YOU!" Her arm flew back, the fist that once rested on the shiny surface of the mirror now leaving its place for seconds before flying forward to make contact once again, the unmistakable sound of breaking glass echoing through the room as shards fell to embrace both feet and rest, lifeless, on the floor.

Soft, nearly inaudible cries resonated throughout the room, shaking hands moving to grasp firmly at strands of ebony as wide, dark eyes stared blankly down at the twisted, broken reflection of a girl she once knew, tainted in drops of blood that spilled from wounds. A look of shocked innocence seemed forever plastered on that broken girl's face, forever marred by the hidden, unobserved traces of abuse and self-hatred.

This girl was one she hated with every aching fiber in her body… one she longed so desperately to be.
"It's for you that I do these things," the soft, honey-sweet voice seemed directed toward the reflection in the shards of mirror resting on the floor. "…Don't you understand? You can't exist without me… They can't exist without me…"

Weak knees gave way, ushering Akito's fall to rest on the floor, and a hand moved to allow those lithe fingers the chance to trace over the smooth surface of the shards beside her bare form. A soft frown tugged at those petal-pink lips of hers, a rather sympathetic expression drowning those doll-like, exquisite features. "We can't exist without them……"

Fin (?)

Hope you enjoyed it. C&C welcome! I may or may not write any more chapters.