Happily Ever After
By: Natilie Sawada
A/n: I wrote this all in one sitting. I had the idea coming home from summer camp and I started writing and just couldn't stop. It took me about an hour because I had to stop in the middle to have dinner, and it took a while to get back into it. All right. This is about Rin and Haru (big fun to write about!). Enjoy!
All this time you were pretendin'
So much for my happy endin'
-My Happy Ending By: Avril Lavigne
Haru's hands hold her as another round of vomiting comes up. He hurries her to the sink, half dragging her there, and holding her long black hair back from her face, damp with sweat. She glances up at him when she thinks it's done, but when he catches her eye for a moment, she averts her eyes, and then her body betrayed her once again.
"It's all right," He says, the thumb on the hand holding her hair back stroking her pale cheek, heated with fever and embarrassment. "This isn't the first time, Rin," he says, still rubbing his thumb on her cheek. "I've lost track of how many time's I've helped you when you've been sick." She quickly looked up at him and then her eyes darted back to the sink faucet.
"That's part of the problem-" She starts before another round of sickly, wet coughing meets his ears, mixed with the tang of blood in the air, and a thick liquid slowly making its way down the sides of the sink, painfully red against the porcelain white of sink, towards the drain.
"Rin," he almost shouts, "This must hurt like hell! You're coughing up blood!" She just looks up at him and gives him a smile. Barely a smile. A tired, weary, 'I just don't care anymore' smile. Now it's his turn to look away as he says, "You'd just better drink something then. It won't hurt as much if there's something in your stomach." She barely moves her head, but he knows it was a nod. "Is it okay if I go get you some water?" he says. She looked up in confusion. "Is it okay if I leave you for a little bit? Just a little bit. I'll be right back, I promise." She nods again, only slightly less subtly this time.
Rin hears him stand up fully, as he walks out the bathroom door, glancing over his shoulder to make sure she's still all right, before she hears his footsteps retreating into the kitchen, and the barely audible clinking of plates and bowls as he searches for a cup.
Once upon a time…
Shut up, she tells the other spirit; I'm not in the mood for fairy tales right now.
Once upon a time, God invited all the animals to a banquet…
Especially not that one. She glances up into the mirror over the sink, and marvels at the girl staring out at her from the other side. There seems barely enough skin to hold the bones in her. And the paleness of her skin almost matches the porcelain sink that she grasps with long graceful fingers. Loose strands of hair stick to her face wet with perspiration, her deep black eyes vacant except for the pain and fear that were constantly in her.
Once upon a time in a kingdom far, far away, there lived a beautiful princess…
Wait, hadn't she heard that once before. The princess had been locked in a tower guarded by a dragon, and had been saved by her handsome knight and they had gotten married and lived happily ever after.
Happily ever after…
"Happily ever after…" she spoke the words aloud, as if not sure her mouth could be trusted in forming them. "Happily ever after…kugh!" A few moments later, the dark red of her blood stains the sink once again. Haru is sure a long time in getting back, she thought. Or was it just her traumatized mind slowing down the spinning of the world to where she could comprehend it?
"Rin?" Haru is behind her again, their gaze meeting in the mirror. He silently hands her the cup of frigid ice cold water. She exhales a blessed sigh as she feels it run down her burning throat and into her raw stomach, numbing it for at least a moment.
"Thanks" the whisper is replied to by his fingers silently running through her hair, combing through small knots, but being careful not to induce any extra pain. She coughs painfully once again, Haru, having felt her muscles tense up before hand, is able to get her ebony hair out of the way before the water she'd just drunk comes back up, a light pink color from it mixing with her blood.
Her mind suddenly flashes back to the days she'd spent lounging on the porch of her house, the sun warming her small body, her midnight black hair soaking up heat like a sponge, her elder cousin Shigure, reading her adventure novels of trials and tribulations. Now those were real stories, she thinks, as Haru hands her more water. She drinks it gratefully, as there's nothing worse than vomiting on an empty stomach, right now. Those were real stories. Really good stories. Good heroes. Good people.
She coughs again, but nothing comes up. A good sign, she thinks, but then… "Ughk!" No…never mind. The people in those stories were good, honest people who glow inside and out. Like Haru.
I wish I was strong like that, she thinks as she almost doubles over in pain as her stomach grumbles after not being able to keep a meal down for almost two days. Haru's grip tightens on her, but he says nothing, his thumb working back and forth across the back of her hand. I wish I was strong like the people in the stories Gure-nii used to read me. Those incredible people could keep standing…keep walking, under pain that would break most people.
That would break me.
Another painful cough wracks her body, and her knees buckle. But Haru's strong arms catch her and hold her to his chest, and she places her chin on his board shoulder.
Suddenly, as she's embracing him, tears well up. Because of everything. Because of the pain searing through her body, because she loves Haru too much, and because she has to share that love with someone she also hates. Because she feels sorry for Haru also, as well as that girl because they are too kind of people. Because of the hurricane attempting to burst out of her skull. And in the center of it, the horse's spirit just being there, in a part of her soul that will never be her own. Hot tears leak down her cheeks, soaking through Haru's pitch black shirt.
She surprises herself as a sob escapes her lips. Haru holds her closer, his arms tightening around her small frame, but not crushingly, as if he's afraid he might break her.
"It's okay," he whispers into her hair, stroking it comfortingly. "You don't have to be strong all the time." The tears well up so badly that she is blinded by the salty rain. "I won't think any less of you."
And then the sobs seem to be ripped out of her by an unseen force. They flow out of her like the uncontrollable tears, so violent that they wrack her body and leave her shaking as she slides out of Haru's grasp and onto the cold tile floor. The icy cold of the glaringly white tiles against her bare legs sends a shock up to her brain, telling her that this is all real.
Of course it is…why wouldn't it be? But the realization…the cold shock of the hard tiles…the warmth of Haru's hands rubbing up and down her arms as she sobs: "I'm so cold!"…the pain ripping through her midsection…the metallic twang of blood hanging in the air… the contrast of the deep, deep red blood against the cold, white tiles, mixed with her sweat, and her tears, and more of her blood…spinning around and around and around until she can't think anymore, and she's sucked down into the blinding darkness. It's all real…it's all absolutely real…
"RIN!" Haru shouts her name and it snaps her back to the present. She shakes her head. Her face feels wet and cold, and her eyes feel tired and…used up. He pulls her back into the tight embrace, his hand lightly smoothing out the hair on the top of her head, and he closes his eyes. "Rin, Rin, Rin, you lovely girl, don't worry me like that. You looked like you were going to pass out."
"I think I was about to." She says, brushing a lock of hair out of her face. "Everything was spinning so fast inside my head, and I had the feeling of being left behind…of sinking into darkness." Her voice quiets for a moment as her hands claw at the material of the back of his shirt. "A feeling like I was falling. The same feeling as when…" she cuts herself off and buries her face in his chest and he holds her close for a long while.
"Shh…" he says quietly, like the wind rustling the leaves in the branches. "Shh, lovely girl, it's gonna be all right."
And so the knight and the princess were married. A few years later they became king and queen, and then they lived happily ever after.
But she knows. She knows that although, she lives in a world in which ancient families hold safely kept secrets and magic sparks around every corner, her life is not a fairytale. In this magical, surrealistic world of hers, everything is drifting on a cloud. Nothing is solid. Not the earth beneath her feet, not the wind in her hair, not the weight of Haru's lips upon hers. In this world of hers nothing is forever aside from the blood that runs inside them all and what that blood makes them.
""Nothing is certain until you die, and even then, God make's compromises"" the old quote flowing from her lips catches her by surprise. Nothing is certain until you die. Nothing in this world of hers is or will ever be set in unchangeable rock except for the thing that binds them all together.
Nothing in this world will wait for her to catch up. Nothing is there forever. Not her thoughts, not even her pain (which she could hardly remember living without), not even the love between her and Haru. Nothing will last forever.
Because "forever" is a thing that only exists in fairytales.
And her life is certainly not a fairytale.
And so, because of that, the words:
"happily ever after"
will never belong in her story.