Disclaimer: Anime © Rumiko Takahashi; song "Mirror" © Barlow Girls

Mirror, Mirror

She slowly pulled herself to her feet, the bathroom floor slick with her own blood. She was shaking, anger, pain, and betrayal coursing through her with such intensity that she thought she would faint. Blood loss didn't help either. Her small hands left red smears across the porcelain sink, and it was all she could do to keep the tears from falling. In the living room of the small apartment, she could hear the music playing loudly, trying to cover any sounds she might still make. Soon he would be in here to clean up the mess he made.

Her body ached, trembling from the aftershocks of the sudden violence. She was barefoot, glass from the broken bathroom mirror strewn about the floor. She made an effort not to step on it, but winced as a small sliver of the stuff worked its way into her foot. The tears now came freely down her cheeks, and the pain was almost too much to bear.

She was only sixteen! Why did this have to happen to her? She had been trying to escape, to do the brave thing and leave while she was still alive. And now she was trapped in another fresh hell, marked as an abusive demon's mate-to-be. It wasn't fair, but Kagome already knew that. Life had never been fair. Was it fair that her mother left when she was ten, leaving her at the mercy of the monster who was called her father? Was it fair that Hakudoshi, who she once viewed as her savior from that life, turned out to be a bigger monster than her dad? No, it wasn't. Kagome knew that.

Slowly, she looked up, seeing her own torn and battered reflection. Even with several pieces missing from the frame, she could still see enough of what she was. Blood-streaked face, bruises that would be impossible to hide for a while, the skin swollen and the bone fractured. Tears streaming down her cheeks, cutting rivers through the dirt and grime. And there, on her neck, was a fresh bite mark.

The words escaped her in a whisper, her only way of expressing herself now.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall – have I got it?

Because Mirror you've always told me who I am."

Her hands clenched into fists, and slowly an idea formed in her mind. There was acid underneath the sink. She knew – how many burns did she have because of that dreaded liquid? And yet, it was about to work for her instead of against her. Slowly, more to avoid making unnecessary noises than to avoid the pains the movement woke, she knelt down and reached for the bottle.

There – small and green and completely innocuous. Hydrochloric acid, and it would do the trick. She was sure of it. Hakudoshi would smell the chemical, of course, but by the time he bothered checking in on her she would be out the bathroom window and down the street, maybe even somewhere she could finally feel at peace. She wasn't even sure if such a place existed any more. Maybe it had all been a dream, something her mother had made up to justify leaving behind her defenseless daughter and condemning her to a live of misery.

She couldn't stand it any more. She hadn't done anything to deserve this.

"I'm finding it's not easy to be perfect."

This would end. Either she would die, or she would escape. But no longer would she be a slave to anyone.

She refused to be weak.

The tears dried as she unscrewed the cap to the green bottle. With a delicate splash, she poured some over her shoulder, then had to bite her other wrist to keep from screaming in agony. She had almost forgotten how bad that stuff hurt. She quickly grabbed a towel and blotted at it, keeping it from trying to chew all the way through her shoulder. Tears came again, this time for a different reason. Her voice choked as she fought against the sobs that threatened to burst out and give her away. Plenty of time for crying later.

"So sorry, you don't define me.

Sorry, you don't own me."

Her fist clenched around the bottle. She threw it against the wall, statisfaction coursing through her as she heard it shatter, spilling its toxic contents across the floor. Screams tore from her throat, and still he didn't come to stop her. This had happened far too many times. Three months of living in this hell-house, and now it would end.

"Who are you to tell me that I'm less than what I should be?

Who are you? Who are you?

I don't need to listen to the list of things I should do!

I won't try. I won't try."

Later, Hakudoshi would wonder about the screaming, about the strange chemical odor he noted. He would go to check on Kagome, expecting to find her curled up asleep on the bathroom floor. If it had been a normal night, he would have picked her up and put her back on the couch where she slept. In his own twisted way, he cared for her. Just enough to not kill her.

But this wasn't a normal night. He would go to check on Kagome, but all he would find was an open window, flapping in the breeze, and the stench of eaten linoleum.

Kagome would be several miles away by then, worn-out backpack thrown over one shoulder and packed with everything she could find, and not looking back.

Mirror I am seeing a new reflection.