AN: Ok, this is my first attempt at writing anything angst, and I'm not sure how well I've done it. It's also the first real attempt I've made at doing a character POV so it's a whole batch of firsts. Oh, and this is slightly AU on Maiko's part.

Dedication: To Clari chan since it was the 'favourite pairings' in her bio that actually inspired me to write this, though it's probably darker than what she was expecting.

Disclaimer: Everyone portrayed here is a creation of Maki Murakami, she is not I.

Maiko's POV

Lost in the Shadows

Chapter one: Dear Mother

"I just don't know what I'm going to do with her anymore. She used to be such a good girl, my little Maiko, but it's like she's turned into a completely new person."

No mother, not a new person. I've always been this way inside; I've just stopped hiding it now. You never saw that though, did you? You couldn't see past the illusion to your own daughter, suffering and breaking behind her cracked mask. Don't worry though, I don't blame you for it, you always had Shuichi to worry about after all, didn't you?

It's ironic really, isn't it mother, that the only time you notice any of my problems is when they're so far gone that nothing you do can help solve them. When I've gone through years of silent, lonely suffering.

Or maybe you did know before, is that it mother? Did you see what I was going though and just pretend that they weren't there until they were thrown into your face and you had to acknowledge them?

Ok, maybe I was lying when I said I don't blame you. You're my fucking mother after all; you're supposed to be the one I can go to with all of my troubles. I should be able to tell you everything that's wrong so you can make it all go away, chase the demons from my mind.

But you've never done that, have you? No, every time I've gone to you for advice it's always been the same answer, 'You're a smart girl Maiko; you'll figure it out for yourself. Now run along while I help Shuichi with his trivial worries'.

Even now, almost two years after he moved out, you're sitting by the phone, waiting for him to need you again. Well, I've got a newsflash for you mother, he doesn't need you anymore, and he never will. And you're just being pathetic, asking for the impossible then crying when you don't get it, just like him.

No one needs you anymore, mother dear. Didn't you realise that when I stopped coming home, when I finally cast aside my 'good girl' mask, when all that loneliness, all that pain I'd let build up over the years, took over me?

Your 'little Maiko' is dead now, mother, gone forever. Does that hurt you, I wonder, knowing that you could have saved me, if you'd listened just once. That was all I wanted mother, someone to listen, to notice the bruises, the cuts and the tears, and I so desperately wanted it to be you.

Were you aware that it's been happening since I started school, mother? No, of course you weren't, because that would have meant noticing me, wouldn't it? And when have you ever done that?

That was what hurt the most, mother, not any of the beatings or the taunting, but the complete lack of interest from you. Not that you care about that, do you?

Did you even notice when I stopped going to school? Did they write to you, call you to let you know I wasn't there? Or did they just forget about me too? Give me up as another lost cause from the Shindou family?

Does it even matter mother, it's not like you even noticed my academic achievements, did you? Especially not after Shuichi got famous.

But it's ok, mother, you're not the only one who doesn't see me. I haven't met a single person who actually cares what happens to me. I suppose I should be upset by that, shouldn't I? It's just that I can't bring myself to give a damn.

Isn't that a tragedy, mother? I'm only just 18 and when I'm not being bitter about things, I'm completely apathetic. Then again, if you grow up not knowing what it feels like to be loved, to be cared about, it's no surprise when an adult acts that way towards the rest of the world.

Oh, you'll say you cared when you read this, you might even convince yourself that it's true but we both know that it was always Shuichi you loved, don't we. It was always Shuichi that everybody loved; all I am is his little sister.

Do you even know what I look like now mother? Would you recognise me if you saw me in the street? Or would you still be expecting to see a female version of your son? Because I don't look like that anymore mother.

I'm almost as tall as Hiroshi now, did you know that? Have you seen that tattoo's or piercing? Yes, plural, would you like me to list them mother? Well I won't if you want to know what they are then you'll have to make the effort to see me.

Did you know about the nights when I'd sneak out while you and dad watched TV? The times I'd crawl back in, drunk, at three in the morning? I don't think you did.

What about the first time I had sex, mother, did you know about that? Or any of the other times after that? Or when I started smoking, did you notice that?

Do you know anything about me mother? Do you know how much I hate Yuki Eiri's books? How I only pretended I liked them so you'd notice me?

Do you know what my favourite song is, or what my ambitions are? Of course you don't because you've never made the effort to find out, have you?

So this is it, mother, my final goodbye before I slip back into the darkness I've always been on the edge of. Perhaps when I'm there, just another forgotten child, lost in the shadows, I'll find someone who can save me and bring me back into the light.

I doubt it.

Don't worry though, I'm not going to do something stupid like kill myself, though you'd probably like that wouldn't you? A little tragedy to share with your friends. No, I'm just going to vanish from your life.

Will you miss me mother? Will you even notice that I'm gone? I hope so; you deserve some of the pain I've lived with. I just wish I could cause you more, but not even I can bring myself to hate Shuichi, to blame him and hurt him for your mistakes.

Goodbye.

Well, that was the first chapter of my Maiko angst fic. She's very OOC, I know, but hopefully believable. Review and let me know.