Chapter One: Gifted Artists
Author's Notes: I have been reading DN Angel fan fiction for a few months now, and so far, I've seen stories centralizing around every main character. But not once have I seen a story where it talks about what Daiki or Emiko Niwa's life might have been like, much less Rio Hikari.
This story is the product of a dream I had about a month ago. I won't tell you what happened in the dream, because that is in this story. However, I will tell you that the Hikari family is, in my opinion, much more interesting than the Niwa family. These two families are alike in that they have very unique genetic conditions, but the one thing that sets them apart is that the Hikari family is plagued by misfortune.
Unlike Dark, who is funny, exuberant, and flirtatious; Krad is mischievous, cruel, and sadistic. So...can you imagine what it would be like to deal with someone like that? Could you imagine what it would be like to have to deal with this kind of person all hours of the day and night, and the worst part of it all is: you're stuck with him because he's in your DNA? What about this "no-emotion policy" Satoshi has to abide by? Could you do that?
I couldn't, I can't get through the day without laughing, it's impossible. Anyway, I'm rambling, but this is the purpose of the story. To see what it would probably be like to be an Hikari. Oh, by the way, this story is written in Rio's point of view, but she acts as 3rd person omniscient at times. I hope you enjoy reading!
The Hikaris were the most gifted family of artists ever to walk the earth. More awe-inspiring than Rembrandt, these blessed human beings had created masterpiece after masterpiece effortlessly for a staggering life-span of some 400 years. That is, before the blood line started to disintegrate, leaving behind one artist to suffer alone. That lone artist was my son.
An Hikari acquired their astounding gift at the moment of conception, conceiving a soon-to-be masterpiece in their young minds before their unworldly hands brought it to life on a canvas.
This is usually what would appear in a history book or a caption below an Hikari painting in a museum. But the surprising truth is that, while the Hikari clan most certainly was the most gifted artists in the world for more than a few centuries, they are also the most cursed.
The family history is plagued by death and misfortune. These prevalent evils stem from one person: the Original Hikari. The sins of the father have cursed his children. As my mother once told me regarding him: "His insidious desires have plunged himself and generations of Hikari's proceeding him into the very depths of hell."
What did the original Hikari do so wrong? Well, that answer lies in the art he created himself. Though society saw his art as beautiful and praise-worthy, he perceived his own creations very differently. He despised his paintings, and a true painter is never satisfied with his work. Him never being satisfied is what ultimately condemned generations of his clan.
Turning to the powers of darkness to console his heart, he made a pact with the spirits of the dark arts. In exchange for otherworldly artistic ability, he would have to pay a price. These spirits had deceived him by promising him with this amazing ability, but on one condition: he would have to unravel the mystery of his price, and over time, find out what he was really paying.
Years passed, and he came upon the dawn of realization. In dismay, he found out he had sacrificed his own happiness.
Not only his own, but the happiness of his entire bloodline. As he had been cursed, so had the family members outliving him. On his deathbed, he regretted what he had done. But it was already too late. After his death, little did the Hikari's know that the suffering was only beginning..
Rio, age 6
"Sayuri, stop it!" I helplessly cried as my mother struck me again and again. She ruthlessly took a clump of my hair in her fist and positioned me over her lap. Then, using her free hand, spanked me with brutal force, despite my protests. I screamed and desperately tried to free myself, all the while yelling that I was sorry and wouldn't disobey again.
"Didn't--I--tell--you--to--stay--out--of--there?" Sayuri screamed, hitting me in between her words. The hairs in the crown of my scalp were loosening from her vicious pulling, and the skin of my bottom was red and bleeding. Ken finally decided to intervene after his own violent episode with my brother Souta, who was quivering and sobbing on the floor, clutching the top of his head in fear of his hairs getting pulled again.
"Alright, alright! That's enough, Sayuri!" he shouted as he yanked me from her grip.
Her face was red with fury, and she was breathing as if she ran two miles to get here. Before she had the chance to hit us again, my father grabbed us by our arms and dragged us up a long stair case that led to two large double doors.
He released us from his grip for the briefest moment to open the doors, and I thought of running away at that precise moment. But if I left my brother here with this monster of a man, he would never forgive me. Even if I proved myself just as heartless as my father and ran away, he can catch me before I have time to blink.
My brother's intensifying sobs broke my trail of thought as my father viciously grabbed me by my hair and shoved me in the room along with my brother. When we fell, we slid across the floor and came to a stop in the middle of our room. The echoing slam of the doors made my heart jump.
I looked up with teary eyes to see the large double doors standing there, solid, almost boasting that their strength will keep us from the outside world. My brother's sobs were almost non-existent now, for I could barely hear him. He was still except for his back moving to the slow rhythm of his breathing. I thought of taking him to our bed, but it seemed he was better off laying rigid on the floor. It didn't seem he wanted to move from his position anyway.
I cursed under my breath as I gently felt the crown of my head, my finger tips getting wet from contact. Wincing, I stood up and tried to silence my whimper. Every part of me ached, especially my bottom, staining my once white dress with blood. Whenever I came across misfortune, which was pretty much everyday, it was always a tendency of mine to blame it on anyone besides myself. Since my brother was the only person near me, I decided to yell at him to soothe my horrible mood.
"Oh shut up!" I said to him. "Your more of a girl than I am!"
My brother glared at me through his red rimmed, watery eyes. He clenched his fists and growled at me. "Your always getting us into trouble!" he cried.
Seeming as it was true, I couldn't come up with another insult. I stood there silently, ashamed of myself while he struggled to stand. He glared at me for a second time, and then ran out onto the balcony.
I turned away from him and tried to forget what he said. Taking my attention off of him and his pitiful state, I walked to my dresser and pulled out a mirror. Holding the handle, I elevated it over my head to examine the wound. My blood stained my scalp, and little red droplets clung to my blue strands. I dropped the mirror and let it fall to the floor, breaking instantly.
I didn't care, all I was concerned with was the wound. I snatched one of my nightshirts off the floor and lightly pressed it on my head to cease the flow. While stanching the wound, tears fell from my eyes. I was angry with myself because I couldn't hold back anymore. One of the hardest things to fight is tears.
I was so tired of everything. My parents, the beatings, and every other thing in my miserable life. This isn't how children are supposed to be treated.
After I was sure the bleeding was accounted for, remorse started to take hold of me. It was my fault. Everything was my own doing. He's right...I am always getting us into trouble. Unless I apologized to him, the guilt would haunt me for the rest of the night, maybe longer.
I cautiously stepped closer and closer to the balcony. I didn't want him to hear me, if he did; he would probably run away again. When I approached his shaking back, I whispered:
My brother went rigid again, and his voice broke the tranquility of our surroundings.
"Shut up! I hate you! I'll hate you forever! So just stay away from me!"
Unaffected by his insults, I smiled and sat next to him. "You know, after we get into trouble, we always sit on the balcony and talk things out."
"I don't want to talk, Rio." he sniffed, still hiding his face in his arms.
"You wont hate me forever. In the end, we're still brother and sister."
"If you were a good sister, you wouldn't drag me into doing stupid stuff with you."
I remained silent. If there's one thing Souta is good at, it's making me feel bad.
"You know we weren't supposed to touch that, Rio! Sayuri says the Black Wings are very dangerous!" he said as he wiped the tears from his eyes.
I huffed and crossed my arms. "I hate this family. You cant have fun...it's all about the 'family legacy'."
Souta didn't seem to hear me. He was deep in thought, pondering over something unknown.
"Do you know...what Ken said is gonna happen to me when I'm older?" he whispered.
Besides puberty, every single male in the Hikari family inherits a psychotic blond on their 14th birthday. No one in my family who has ever met or dealt with him before has lived to tell the tale. The only reason I am familiar with him is because since I was very little, our parents would scare Souta and I into submission with terrifying tales of this otherworldly creature. To us, Krad was a very real bogeyman.
"Oh, you mean...that Krad guy?"
Souta's eyes widened like he couldn't believe what came out of my mouth. "What do you mean 'that Krad guy'?! He's horrible! Ken says he's overprotective and jealous and--"
"Calm down. He cant be much worse than our parents." I said, trying to reassure him, "When that time comes, don't worry. I'll be here...I promise."
He studied me for the longest time. He was gazing into my eyes as if he was trying to find a reason not to believe it was true. He must have not found any hint of deceit in them, because he smiled as tears formed in the corners of his eyes. His expression said 'thank you' but he did not say it to me. Instead, he looked away and stared up at the myriad of stars in the night sky.
Souta didn't seem too convinced, but as the case is with him and many other people, sometimes saying you'll be there--even if they know you probably won't--suffices for what they're feeling. In other words, Souta didn't seem to believe me, but since I promised him I would help him by taking on a burden he knows is his and his alone, he felt better.
"I know that Ken just didn't come up to you and tell you that. They're mean, but not that mean."
He sighed. "Well, it was late...and you were sleeping...when I heard them talking about it."
I nodded in approval. "They always talk about that sort of stuff when we're not around."
My brother then asked something that I didn't expect: "Rio, do you think they know...what's going to happen to us?"
"What do you mean?"
He gulped. "Well...you know they always gossip about stuff when we're not around, and it's almost like...they know the future or something. Like the way they talk about those things...it's like they knew it was going to happen."
I pondered for a moment. Sayuri would talk of things to Ken as if she expected it, now that I thought about it. About two years ago, Souta and I were sitting at the dinner table with our parents and she was talking about my deceased aunt, whom I never met. The conversation went like this:
"I told her to stay away from Keiji, but she was just so infatuated with that unworthy dirt bag, she followed him around like a dog follows it's master. That night...I swore I smelled alcohol on his breath, but I disregarded it for my sister, and now look at her. She's deader than a damn doornail."
"Then maybe you should have drove her home, Sayuri. I told you before and I'll tell you again--do not ignore your bad feelings. It's not like it's right sometimes and wrong other times...you always know, when it comes to that." Ken said haughtily.
Sayuri crossed her arms and looked away from him like she knew he was right. She shook her head and narrowed her eyes.
"I know." she whispered.
Souta asked her to elaborate, but she rudely ignored him and sent us to bed.
I didn't want to upset him with an answer he obviously did not want, but I felt it was the truth, and I should tell him nothing but.
"Yeah. I think they know." I solemnly nodded.
Disappointed with my reply, he rested his hand on his chin and groaned. "I hate this family."
"Don't worry...in the end, we're still brother and sister."
My words did little to soothe his broken spirit, but he showed me he appreciated my words by scooting closer and leaning on me. We gazed at the stars until we fell asleep there in the tranquility of the balcony.
Sayuri Hikari, my mother, was an intelligent, though aggressive woman prone to fits of anger at any given moment. Due to her rapid and unpredictable changes in mood, her husband and children lived in intense fear of her. She was a lanky creature who always wore her curly blue hair in a bun with a pencil in it to keep her hair in place. She had the appearance of a cruel schoolteacher. She had pink cheeks, pink lips, fierce blue eyes, and always wore high heels.
She carried the special privilege of being behind the miseries of her unfortunate husband and children. I don't think anyone really knew why. When I asked Ken why she acts the way she does, he simply said:
"Your mother was born with a predilection for cruelty."
As for Ken Hikari, my father, he spent most of his days in the shadow of his fearsome wife, dedicating much if not all of his energy to avoid conflict with her. This meant that he had to be just as nasty to us as she was. Whenever she beat me, that was his cue to inflict pain on my brother. Whenever it was just me who was guilty of wrong doing, they both contributed to my painful reminder of the consequence for disobeying.
He was tall as well, having eyes as dark blue as my brother's, and jet black hair. He was my brother as an adult, to put it simply.
When Sayuri walks the lengthy hallways of the Hikari mansion with the heels of her shoes creating all sorts of annoying echoes--well, that was our wake-up call. This usually came about at 6:00 in the morning.
I hated Sayuri more than anything in the entire world. When her dreadful echoes sounded throughout the mansion, I wrinkled my nose in distaste and scowled under my breath.
"Dammit," I whispered angrily as I stirred from my sleep. Souta was already awake by then: the thought of getting up to her waking-call was simply unbearable. He sat on the other side of our bed in a daze, due to his low blood pressure, which runs in the family. I cracked my back and groaned.
"Hate the morning.." I drowsily whispered to myself. I sluggishly walked to my mirror and examined my bruised face. My cheeks and lips were slightly swollen and red from the day before, when they should be pink like Sayuri's. My unruly, blue spiral curls fell carelessly over my face. The crown of my head still ached from the pulling, and a dried blood spot was still very noticeable there. Tear streaks from yesterday's despair was still subtly noticeable running down my purple cheeks.
I felt no anger or shame from my appearance at all. I looked like this half the time anyway. Sayuri's injurious tendencies were so prevalent in my life I just didn't feel sympathy for myself anymore.
The same could not be said of my brother. His once smooth jet black hair was now sticking up at different angles, and in some places, the hairs had been ripped out from the roots. His lower lip was as purple as my cheeks, and his dark blue eyes had lost their deep color. It was as if the crying had drained the ocean blue from his eyes. His pitiful state sent a twinge of remorse through my aching body.
"Souta, I'm sorry. I love you." I said as I stared at his reflection sitting solemnly on the bed. I was sure he wouldn't hear me because I had whispered this, and Souta never payed attention to anything in the morning. His low blood pressure rendered him distant from reality for half and hour or so. But unexpectedly, I saw him slowly close his eyes and tilt his head in approval. At least I thought he heard me. He could be just falling asleep again.
Giggling at the thought of him falling asleep while sitting up, I whispered under my breath, "You're so silly.."
"Am not." he said in an annoyed tone. I covered my mouth is surprise. My brother had good hearing.
At the breakfast table, I usually was not present. I was conscious of the fact that Sayuri despised me with all of her being. Sayuri would frequently refuse to feed me, and after what happened yesterday, I knew I definitely was not going to be fed today.
The case with me did not prove true to my older brother, who was fed everyday at the breakfast table. It wasn't that Sayuri didn't hate him, it was just that she didn't hate him as much.
Ken sat quietly away from Souta, reading a newspaper while he dined on pancakes. A child's giggle was heard coming from underneath the table, so Souta looked under the table cloth to see the youngest of the Hikari children, Setsuko, smiling cheerfully at him.
Setsuko was 5 years old. She looked similar to me, except her hair was not curly. Her light blue locks laid flat against her head, stopping at her shoulders. Her blue eyes were big and round, full of a child's happiness. Souta found it incomprehensible as to how one could be happy when born into such a horrible family, but seeing her smile was better than seeing a frowning face stained with tears.
Setsuko giggled and pointed at his bruised face, "You look funny!" she squealed.
Souta frowned and glared at her. "You know what?"
He thought for a moment. The last thing he wanted to deal with was Sayuri's wrath because he said something that upset Setsuko.
"Just shut up." he growled.
Sharp fingers pinched his back. He yelped in pain and took his head out from underneath the table. Sayuri was poised over him, her fierce blue eyes sending waves of fear through him.
"Eat." she said sharply. He cringed for a second and apprehensively obeyed.
Setsuko peeked out from under the table and looked at her mother, "Mommy, where's Rio?"
Disgusted by the very mention of my name, she clenched her fist and squeezed it. "I don't know." she said through gritted teeth.
She had lied to our sister. She knew exactly where I was, and it was far away from her, just the way she liked it. I was sitting in the backyard of the Hikari mansion. Well, it wasn't really a backyard. It was actually a vast meadow full of different breeds of colorful flowers. I happened to be sitting in a pink carnation patch.
Once, when I was 4 years old, Sayuri told me to never sit on any part of the meadow with red flowers on it. I asked why, and she said that centuries ago, in the Sengoku, or "Warring States" period, the meadow used to be a battlefield. The red patches were where the soldiers had died, and if you ever sat on it, the spirit of the soldier lying underneath the ground would unleash it's wrath upon you.
What a load of bull. She didn't want me sitting on any red patches because those were her favorites. Sayuri had a gothic personality at times, with melancholic tastes. She liked the red flowers because they reminded her of blood. The very same year she said this, Souta had informed me that she cut Ken with a kitchen knife. Bewildered with the news, I asked him if they had gotten into a fight. Souta said no, Sayuri, "Just wanted to see what that would look like."
Disturbed by my own thoughts, I shook my head and tried to think of something else.
A few hours later, Souta came running out to meet me. He tapped my shoulder and smiled at me. I peered at him from underneath my sun hat.
Souta was smiling when his lips were too bruised to smile. But the color in his eyes returned to him, and in that moment I knew he was back to normal. The deep ocean blue always indicated that he was either happy or at peace. I didn't know which one he was feeling, but I smiled back and leaned on him.
"I'm sorry." I whispered.
"Don't apologize. It didn't happen."
Souta took an odd comfort in pretending that any misfortune that came about simply was not real or a dream. That was his problem. He would go along with me in my audacious pursuits and completely forget Sayuri's mercurial nature.
My smile faded and I became silent. Maybe Souta had the ability to repress his bad memories, but as for me, this misery was all too real.
The dried blood spot stung where Sayuri had pulled my hair. The hat I was wearing did no good protecting me from the sun's rays.
"Souta...do you know why Setsuko is so happy?"
My brother looked at me, obviously puzzled by this question. "No. Why?"
"Because...Sayuri has favorites." I whispered in his ear. "She hates us. Setsuko wasn't at the house last night. She never lets Setsuko around me or you, that way she wont turn out like us."
Souta was still as he contemplated what I told him.
He turned to me and narrowed his eyes. "Maybe it's better this way. If she doesn't hang around us, then she wont act like us. Then...she wont get beaten like we do."
I knew he had a good point. As much as I loved Setsuko and wanted to spend time with her, Sayuri would never allow it. And for good reason.
"Then that means that Sayuri is protecting Setsuko...from herself?"
"In a way, I guess." he whispered.
"Souta! Rio! Inside now!!" Sayuri roared.
Sayuri never let her children outside for long. Not because she was afraid that they might get hurt, not because they had places to go or chores to do. It was because she simply lived for her children's misery. She knew I loved the outdoors. It was the only way to escape my prison of a home and psycho of a mother.
That night, Souta and I were in our bedroom. We were sent to bed early on a daily basis because of the possibility of influencing Setsuko in any way whatsoever.
In our room we usually did one of a few things: play memory games, draw, fall asleep, or complain about family life. This particular night, we were complaining about family life. The both of us were laying next to each other in the spacious bed we shared, conversing with one another.
"They don't like girls in the family. Do you remember when mom called you a 'curse-spreading being'?" Souta asked.
"Yeah. But I'm not mad at her."
"Well...she's always calling me nasty names...and if I'm a curse-spreading being because I'm a girl...then she is too."
Souta only studied me and did not reply.
"She just called me that because she hates me...she called me that because she hates herself."
He stood silent. A few minutes later, his eyes were half lidded. Soon after, he fell asleep, leaving me awake.
I stared at my older brother, admiring his gorgeous features. His black hair was strewn about his face in such an adorable fashion, and he seemed at peace. I smiled to myself and ran my fingers through his sleek bangs.
"I hope my son looks like you." I whispered. Then I drifted off into sleep.