A/N- Well, here we go. My very first fanfic…I'm so proud. And if you didn't quite catch it, this is AU, and non-slash, for many obvious reasons once you get to the end of the fic. More like just a cute little ficlet, actually. It's harmless, I swear. And it would have posted sooner, had I been able to figure out before this how to actually post it…Constructive critisism welcomed, if not with open arms then at the very least open ears.
The first time anyone caught my gaze lingering longer than perhaps it should have, it was shrugged off. No woman could ever stay at our compound, with our sort of training, so it wasn't as though one had anywhere else to look. The second time, there were whispers, not many, but enough. The third time anyone saw me, though it was much later, when they saw my eyes widen and my breathing slow, the rumors abounded. I had always been quiet, well liked, yes, but still quiet and therefore a good sport.
The only ice apparitions most had heard about 'round there, so far away from the eternal snows of the northern lands, were the Koorime. And the Koorime were only females, each and every one except for that one shameful broken vow. And so I was teased constantly, with all but the elders ignoring my soft and insistent protests of the Ha'rok people, the people of the ice so far, far away and the land of my birth. The only time the snickers stopped was at the battlefield.
Only the mad and power-hungry laughed at death, and we were neither.
But at those battles I fought harder, tougher, my aim more precise and my blows more deadly. I had something to prove; I would have no one think I was weak. I soon became known as the most powerful ice-master in all of Demon World, someone to be feared by those who stood against us. But back at the compound, amid demons who'd been fighting all their lives just for the right to live in this accursed hell-hole, one legend quickly faded into the rest. I was the woman masquerading as a fighter. I was the gender-confused Koorime. I was the queer and the one to be avoided by the new recruits.
These comments made me furious, perhaps more so then I had any right to be, but no one ever knew. I am far too good an actor for that, and even I knew that if I took out my frustrations out on anything other than the battlefield I would pay for it later.
The masters ignored it, and for the best; there would have been nothing worse than to be 'saved' from those who mocked me by one of the sensei. However, they occasionally caught me in between practice, advising me to be strong in my mission and things like that, and that if I waited my chance would soon come to leave this dark place.
And then there was Jin. My best friend, in so far as demons can have best friends, and I assure you, they can. Jin, the mystery of the compound. The one who was always smiling, always joking, who would be friends with anyone if only they would let him. It wasn't that he was ridiculed, as I was, or that he was intimidating, which I don't think he could be if he tried. He was friendly, yes, and kind, but above all, he was strong. Jin is, to this day, stronger than I'll ever be. And that was suspicious, to petty little minds like that of Risho or Bakken or any of the other idiots that made my life torture. A demon that didn't push his strength, that didn't use it to belittle those that needed it? He was strange, and different, but if he was anywhere near me then I was safe. I often had to hide a smile when he was around, because I've always been the serious one, more or less his babysitter at the times when he gets so enthusiastic he literally bounces off the walls, and it just wouldn't do for him to see me smiling at one of his many jokes.
I shouldn't have bothered. He had crowed with laughter, and clapped me so heartily on the back I nearly lost my balance, telling me he knew I'd warm up sometimes, pardon the pun, and that my whole face really softened when I smiled, did I know that? Almost pretty like, don't y'know, and wouldn't it be nice if I smiled more often? And sometimes, he told me in a mock whisper, people are even allowed to laugh.
And so I smiled again, and watched his eyes light up, and wondered what he'd think if he knew. Someday, I knew, I'd run into someone who had traveled demon world through and through, someone who knew there was no such thing as the Ha'rok people and that there had only been one forbidden male child in all of the Koorime history. But that was then, and this was now, and 'someday' was a long, long ways away.
Besides, sometimes I think he already knows.
A/N- Soooo...did anyone catch that? Girl!Touya? I might have been too subtle, methinks.