Control






Control


Pain. Intense pain flooding her.

"You must be perfect!" Impact as she tried to breathe.

"Sir, control yourself!" Impact. She sobbed once before she could catch herself.

"And you must not cry!" She was stricken several more times. She did not cry out again before she was thrown once across the gym and all went dark with a terrifying crack.

******

"He...left me in gym?" the girl muttered as she returned painfully to a light-headed consciousness. She felt somewhat damp, especially about a foot under her knees. Her leg, however, felt moderately numb. She attributed that to lack of blood flow and prespiration, and went to more obvious concerns.

The girl rubbed her neck where she had been grazed, and craned it to release some of the tension. The hand came back stained red, but a quick check proved that the source had stopped bleeding a while ago, and only sweat had pulled the red up. A couple of breaths instantly convinced her that she at least had a bruised sternum, if not cracked ribs. Her left arm also hurt, probably a green stick break. She sighed, realizing she wouldn't have to go to the doctor for that. She knew enough to treat it without any permanent damage. It was night, he'd be asleep in his room by now.

The girl tried to stand up, glancing about hurriedly for any sign of movement. Those stoped as she tried to put weight on her leg and a flush of pain railroaded to her brain. The girl tumbled with an unvoiced cry of pain. If she cried out, he'd hear.
She glanced down at the leg and saw a small of blood formed around where her leg was bandaged. Sloppily bandaged she noticed, but bandaged nonetheless. She reached down to investigate the binding and was shocked to discover the feel of bone peeking out of flesh.

The girl's hands recoiled from the discovery and shook uncontrolably. If that break had occured in only a slightly different location she would have bled to death by now bandage or no bandage. She recognized the numbing sensation now as well, it was one of her anithestics. That was why she couldn't feel the pain unless she tried to use the leg.

"He...must have known it wouldn't kill me" she decided, wide-eyed. She cast her glance about and nearly fainted at the sight of the video recorder standing there mutely on its tripod. The girl crawled over painfully and deliberately grabbed the hateful thing. She quietly tipped the thing onto the ground, ignoring the pain in her arm. She had a lot of practice at that. If weren't for her broken leg she could have done everything just fine without seeming in pain at all. The girl took one of the steel legs in her hands and snapped it. A line of her ki extended from her hand slicing the steel cleanly.

Using the leg as a cane she climbed to her feet and started down the hall slowly, quietly, and without shaming herself by admitting to the pain. No sound but a slow disciplined breathing escaped her until well after she had left her home. Not even the improvised cane made the slightest click that she didn't want it to.

"I should have fought back," she muttered. As usual the other thoughts started in response. If she had fought back, then he'd know, he'd know she'd been teaching herself martial arts, of a sorts. That wouldn't be so bad, but she couldn't beat him. She knew she couldn't beat him. More than that, she just couldn't do it. It had been her fault anyway, if she could have just hit that last landing correctly. He just wanted to make sure that she was the best there was. "Fighting would have just made it worse."

The girl stopped in front of the small clinic and walked up to the door. The lights were off, but she knew he'd be there. He lived there after all. It took little more than a couple of light taps before the door opened before her.
"I hurt myself training again," she said shyly.

"Training," the man said gently and sadly, before letting her in. She refused his unspoken offer to carry her to the treatment room, hobbling over to the herb counter on her own. Out of habit she began mixxing the pain killers and anithestics. Her own collection of medicinal herbs was not quite so varied as this man's, but it was useful and well stocked none-the-less.

"I tried a new routine," she explained. "And I wanted it to be a surprise, so I didn't want anybody to see me practicing it."

"And you fell," he obviously didn't believe her.

"A little embarrasing," she admitted. She sat back on one of the beds and smiled quietly.

"That's a sloppy bandaging job," he noted. "You're much better than that."

"Must have been the shock." He gave her a questioning look as he unwrapped the bandage and examined the break.

"This 'training' is going to kill you some day," he told her.

"My brother wouldn't let that happen," she retorted. "He keeps a good eye on my progress."

"Ready?" She nodded, still smiling, as he set her broken leg. She did NOT cry out, she did not even reveal any pain on her face. As the doctor began to splint her broken leg, he looked up at the little girl. There was only one patient he saw as often, and even THAT little girl never had anywhere near the severity of the injuries. "I'm calling the police this time, this is the worse 'accident' I can remember you walking in here with."

"Why call the police, Tofu-san?" she asked politely. "It was my mistake, I was the only one there. You remember last time you called the police right?" He looked at her pityingly. She was right on that unfortunately, his attempts to get the law involved had been useless.

"You are at least staying away from home until you heal," he took a moment to examine the fractured arm she had been trying to hide. "Your breathing is strained to. That was an odd fall, especially for a gymnast as skilled as you. Did you hit every piece of equipment in your gym."

"I think I may have missed some," she tried to joke.

"Listen, Kodachi, there's this other family that comes to me," Tofu insisted. "The oldest sister even shows your talent for healing. Maybe you could stay with them. Then there'd be someone instantly on hand when you have one of your 'accidents.'" She stopped smiling as she considered that. "They run a dojo." The chance to actually study martial arts under people that taught for a living decided her.

"That's a good idea, Tofu-san," she settled, cheerfully. "Then my brother could devote time to his own training and not worry about me." Dr. Tofu breathed a sigh of relief and smiled.

"Good, then after we finish patching you up," he told her. "I'll go talk to them."

"Hai."

It was several minutes after Dr. Tofu was gone that the door caved in. Her brother stood there trying to look as intimidating as a fifteen year old boy could. He pulled it off wonderfully.

"You are not going to bring shame to our name by staying with....peasants." he spat the word.

"But I do not even know that they are parents, they have a dojo," she pleaded terrified. "Maybe they're samurai as well."

"You vandalized my property, come here to spread your lies to that doctor," he shouted. "And now you seek to further the spread of those lies by leaving my protection."

"Brother," she whined as he got closer. "I don't want to be in your way anymore."

"You wouldn't be in the way," he slapped her. "If you performed PROPERLY!"

"But, I couldn't..." he slapped her again.

"You can't even die properly!" he slapped her, the action hiding the wince she gave in reaction to the statement. Her conscious mind didn't accept it, but underneath that, in the depths of her subconscious the same thought was running.

"He WANTED me dead?" She blinked. "Brother...I could lea..." he slammed his fist into her face, smacking her head into the wall. She stared at him in shock, he'd always claimed she was an unfair burden. Shouldn't he be happy.

"You little failure."

"He wanted me dead..." She still refused to process that fact. Tatewaki didn't want her dead, he wanted her to be perfect.

He slapped her again.

"You are not a Kuno."

"He wanted me dead," she again worked successfully to slam the thought down. Instead she told herself. "I'm going to have another accident."

"Kuno's are perfect!"

"Perfect?" she asked doubtfully. Her head was smashed back against the wall again. "HE WANTED ME DEAD!!" Kodachi's eyes blinked open and she watched as everything slowed down her brother's hand whipped back and cocked in preparation for a blow she recognized. Hand folded back, fingers curled, even non-martial artists knew that technique. He was going to drive her nose into her brain.

Tatewaki shouted something she couldn't make out, and suddenly something clicked. Like the sound of tinkling beads of shattered glass. Kodachi smiled viciously, almost snarling. This was just more training, he WANTED her to fight back. He wanted her to be a better martial artist too.

At least this is what she told herself. This is what she needed to survive, total and complete illusion. Some corner of her mind recognized the absurdity of the situation and released a slight twitter of laughter.

Kodachi snapped out and grabbed one of her powder mixes and swung it up into his face. Tatewaki's started to lose all feeling to the rest of his body as the anithestic did its work. He couldn't even begin to resist when she pulled him down, slamming his head into the counter.

"Brother-dear, did you have an accident," Kodachi asked with an approximation of the sweet tone she had been using before this relevation. Then Kodachi started to laugh. The image of her strong brother lying sprawled across the ground was just too funny, and she couldn't help it.

She was still laughing when Dr. Tofu returned with Soun Tendo.

"What..." he looked to the prone from of Kodachi's brother and moved to check to see if the boy was still alive. Having done so he glanced concernedly at her.

"My brother had an accident, doesn't he look silly?" she chortled. "OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!!!"

"Kodachi," Dr. Tofu said. "This is the head of that family I was telling you about."

"I'm sorry to trouble you sir," she tried to say seriously. "But I've changed my mind, my brother would never condone me living with peasants, you know."

"You wanted to give your brother some space..."

"Its a big house, I'll have my space, he'll have his," she insisted frantically. Another one of her brother's lectures came to mind. "And no samurai would accept such charity. It makes us weak."

"You'll be safe with..." Soun stopped as he felt the waves of arrogance peal off her. If her brother wanted her to be a perfect samurai, she would be, and she had the perfect model. Dr. Tofu stared in shock at the now maniacal girl that had only moments before so shy and quiet.

"OHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHOHO!!!" she laughed. "My brother can protect me, why do I need YOU?" The doctor sighed quietly, Kodachi was gone, at least the Kodachi he had known.

******

Calling the police again proved useless, Sasuke was their guardian, and Kodachi denied any charge of attack. Tatewaki denied being struck by his sister, as soon as he woke up anyway. Soon they were both in their respective rooms, and

Kodachi lay back in bed giggling and trying to relax and let her injuries heal,

"He's afraid of you now," her subconscious whispered where she could not hear it. "You have the control. You have the control. You have the control. Control."