The Malicious Play
A Fushigi Yuugi Fanfiction
REFORMAT COMPLETE: 10/03/03
Version 2.1 - 10/03/03: Finally corrected version is on Mediaminer.org!
Spoilers to episode -52
FY doesn't belong to me. ;_; If it did, Tamahome would be MINE!
I accept any and all commentary, even pithy flames. So bring it on. :)
I use Japanese names (Sou Kishuku, Saihitei, etc.) for people and places. Hopefully you know them all, because providing a glossary in every fic is a bit tedious.
conscience - that little annoying voice in your head, muse, whatever.
"spoken word" - yo! are you listening to me?
'thinking' oh no, *now* what will i do?
*emphasis* - What're you reading *THIS* for ya fluffball?!
~~~~~~~~~ - time change
Part 1: The Endless Universe
Yuuki Keisuke fidgeted in the seat for what had to be the twelfth time in the past five minutes; it was obvious by now to any passerby of the small school office that the rough fabric covering the chairs wasn't designed for comfort.
Considering most only spent a few minutes in the dean's waiting room, this extended wait was almost unbearable for the handsome college student. But he was there for a reason.
Miaka's grades were falling. Again.
If it had been in the past, or maybe far in the future, Keisuke could have understood, but it had only been three months since break ended. The young man shook his head despairingly.
How was *he* to understand? He hadn't been through half of what his little sister or Yui had.
She'd seen death.
No one could expect Miaka to simply be back the way she was-- before her encounter with "The Universe of the Four Gods," the forbidden, mystical book that transported her and Yui hundreds of years back into a magical Ancient China. After all she'd been through, and all she'd lost, she'd never be the same perky, happy-go-lucky, food-aholic she'd been in junior high.
True, it was no surprise that she didn't make it into Jonan, but then again, neither did Yui, who had been at the top of the class when she and Miaka had applied for high school. So Miaka and Yui attended Yotsubadai High School, a decent institution in its own right, and with a fair number of intelligent students.
Yet in all the time that had passed since emerging from the book -a retired Miko- Miaka still wore the same solemn expression on her face. Whatever drive she'd had to study for her high school exams left her, and she couldn't even bring herself to study for simple vocabulary quizes.
Keisuke was there because this time, Miaka was being threatened with expulsion. She wasn't a bad girl at all -certainly not at heart- but she no longer had the motivation to do her work. She'd made a
slight effort at the beginning of the school year in April, but as time wore on, she slipped, and no one -not even Tetsuya with his joking attitude, or Yui in her infinite intelligence- could convince her otherwise.
Her heart had been broken into a million pieces, and the damage done was far greater than any of them could imagine. On more than one occasion, Miaka's seemingly-infinite depression irritated the small group consisting of Yui, Keisuke, and Tetsuya. They were the only three people alive besides Miaka who had *experienced* the book for what it truly was-- and still remembered the pain everyone went through.
Miaka's last wish as Suzaku no Miko had restored her world to normal, thus erasing the memories of anyone who had seen or been injured by the Animal Gods Seiryuu and Suzaku. But her wish brought about an end to her adventures-- her seishi were dead, and so much time had gone by that, if by some miracle, she was still allowed entrance into the book, everything would be different.
"Yuuki-san?" The secretary looked up at the man, who seemed to be deep in thought. He blinked and stood up, flashing a grateful smile at the older woman, who gestured to the dean's office.
The man sitting behind the cherry wood desk was of stocky build, but with a fair mess of hair on his crown. Keisuke wasn't sure whether or not it was a toupee, and so instead of looking at the nest of hair, he looked at the articles decorating the desk.
He'd closed the door behind him, and an uncomfortable silence began to permeate the air as soon as he sat down on the stiff wooden chair.
"Yuuki-san," The dean began, shuffling some papers, "I take it you've been aware of some time the nature of your sister's problem."
Keisuke nodded solemnly. The only reason why he was here was because if their mother knew, Miaka was likely to have another reason to become even more depressed. The one time when Miaka had smiled since the incident in the book was when her mother had told her how *proud* she was of Miaka-- even if she wasn't going to Jonan, she was proud.
Miaka had smiled so brightly, Keisuke almost thought that his chipper younger sister had returned. But the moment their mother found out about a single failed test, Miaka plunged into loneliness once more, constantly locking herself in her room, and never going out with Yui anymore. The two were growing apart, much to the blonde's chagrin.
"We have yet to see *any* sort of improvement on Miaka-san's record. This is the third time, Yuuki-san, and I'm afraid that if Miaka-san doesn't make an earnest effort on her next set of exams, we will have to expel her."
"You don't have to do that!" Keisuke nearly exclaimed, his words rushed. He knew full well of the threat of Miaka's expulsion, but it was hard to explain to a complete stranger just what the sixteen year old had been through.
"Miaka... she doesn't purposely try to fail like this," Keisuke began, shaking his head slightly at the dean's raised eyebrows. He obviously seemed surprised by this statement, no doubt already having made his assumptions about Miaka's character.
"Not long ago, her... her fiancee died in an accident." Keisuke finished lamely. He hoped the dean swallowed that-- it was the closest thing to the truth that Keisuke could thing of on the spur of the moment.
"Fiancee?" The dean asked, almost incredulously. "She's only sixteen." He was already wary of the fact that Miaka's older brother was coming to all the teacher conferences regarding Miaka's failure to perform in class. There was a new excuse regarding their mother's absence each time, and every time the school called, hoping to reach Ms. Yuuki instead, Keisuke always answered. It was obvious that the boy cared deeply for his younger sister, but it didn't change the fact that Miaka's *mother* needed to be aware of the situation as well.
"It..." Keisuke paused, wondering how to describe Tamahome and Miaka's relationship, "...was an arranged marriage." The surprised expression on the dean's face lessened somewhat; lately, there'd been a trend of sorts going around various parts of Tokyo, where young women found themselves in engaged marriages. Unlike teenage "rebels" of the era, many of these children found themselves in quite happy relationships, usually married by the age of nineteen.
The dean sighed, "As much as I would have liked to know about this in advance, it really doesn't change the situation at hand. For her emotional state, the school could recommend a counselor, but she needs to get tutored -by a professional-" The dean added sharply at Keisuke's shift, "Or she will fail and be removed from this school."
Silence fell once more, but this time the dean looked intensely at a series of papers.
"The odd thing, however," the dean mentioned, handing a paper to Keisuke, "Is that of the academic courses that Miaka-san chose for herself, such as Ancient History, she seems to be excelling in them. She is also performing exceptionally in her off-campus gym requirement, basic styleless martial arts." Keisuke blinked a moment, looking over Miaka's percentages-- she was under 30% in most courses; a near 50% in English, but 87% in Ancient History, 90% in gym, and 80% in Chinese language.
No wonder why Miaka always seemed depressed then-- she kept reminding herself of her time spent in the book-- and though it was good that she was peforming well, it was debilitating to her other classes that weren't linked to her past with the Universe as her other courses were.
Keisuke looked uncomfortable-- he was obviously at a loss of what to say or do. He couldn't make excuses for his sister, not anymore.
"I offer my condolences to Miaka-san over her loss, but I'm afraid that if she doesn't at least make the attempt to pass her academic courses-- Japanese literature, Mathematics, Biology, and Home Economics, then we will have to remove her from the martial arts roster, and then from the school entirely."
Keisuke knew for a fact that Miaka enjoyed the class across town in Nerima; if she was given this ultimatum, she was sure to improve... right?
A few minutes later, the dean had assembled a set of pamphlets and records for Keisuke to take home. The college student carefully sealed them in the manila envelope provided by the older man, hoping that his mother wouldn't be too suspicious and dare to inspect their contents. It was bad enough Miaka was emotionally unstable and failing in most of her academic classes-- she didn't need more pressure coming from her mother.
"How'd it go?" Tetsuya asked, his sunglasses sliding off the bridge of his nose as he looked at Keisuke, entering the car. Keisuke sighed loudly. "I remember vividly why I *hated* high school." Tetsuya chuckled, starting up the car as Keisuke buckled himself in and dropped the envelope at his feet.
"Man, I could really go for a beer." Keisuke moaned, leaning back into his seat. Tetsuya smiled and nodded, pulling the car out into the mainstream traffic, "A brand new case of Asahi with our name on it is waiting for us in the club lounge."
Keisuke grinned, eager to forget that he'd ever *been* at Yotsubadai, talking to Miaka's dean.
# Yuuki-san, this is the dean of Yotsubadai High School. I apologize, but at our conference today, I neglected to tell you about your sister's final exam percentage-- currently, it is at 27%, and she must attain at least an 85% on her next three exams in her academic courses to pass this year. Anything lower will cause her to repeat her classes once again, and if she receives a score lower than 50% average, she will be dropped from school. Please give Miaka my sincere apologies, and I hope to see improvement soon, as she is a very bright student. Good day. #
There was an audible click as the answering machine recorded the message, and a slender finger reached down and pressed REW, the tape reeling backwards as the dean's deep voice became high-pitched, much like a chipmunk.
The message played again, Ms. Yuuki's face contorting as she heard the dean's words repeat.
That night, when Keisuke entered the Yuuki apartment in the Kashiwa Famille complex, he was as warm as toast, despite the freezing weather outside. It had rained a good deal the past several days, but tonight, it was merely a freezing cold. Despite it being late April, when breezes were light, many weathermen suspected a snowstorm on the way.
Of course, with all the beer Keisuke had drunk, he wouldn't have felt an icicle if it had been growing on his nose... Said icicle would have snapped off, had the power of sound been any greater in the family apartment. At the moment, the cold, white walls of the apartment couldn't have seemed any less welcoming, and the place seemed less and less like a family home than a prison. Resounding off the narrow walls and sharp corners was the loud and distinct yelling of Ms. Yuuki -Miaka and Keisuke's mother- as she shouted, seemingly without end, at her stoic-faced daughter.
Keisuke neared the living room where the two stood just as his mother's shouting reached its climax:
"A 27%! I should have KNOWN that you couldn't handle a school like Yotsubadai, let alone some place like Jonan! Out of your reach, I knew, but I wanted you to do your best! I strived to motivate you, get you to be the best, but all you did was play! You didn't take competition seriously, and now, when things are important, you slack off! What have you been doing these past three months, hanging out with that... that YUI girl again!?"
Miaka's eyes rose, her expression hard and stiff as her gleaming hazel eyes met her mothers. She pursed her lips, as if about to make a response, but Ms. Yuuki cut her off before she had the chance.
"I bet that's exactly what it was! All you two ever do is play around, pretending you're studying! But I bet she at least gets her work done! She's not failing 6 out of 8 classes, or getting calls from the dean..."
Keisuke pressed his back up against the wall, shaking his head.
'Oh damn! That stupid old man *called*?!' The college student mulled over what he could say to help Miaka's defense, but nothing was coming to mind. His mind was foggy, his thoughts in a haze, and for once in his life since turning 21, he regretted drinking a six-pack of beer.
He was about to at least *step* into the living room, make his presence known, when he heard a sharp slapping noise, then total silence.
He winced-- Miaka never wore bruises that well, and he thought that, despite Miaka's grades, she didn't deserve to be hit. No one did.
But when he peered into the living room, it wasn't Miaka standing there with a turned cheek, tears forming on her lashline, and blood rushing to the surface of her skin.
It was her mother.
"How DARE you--" Ms. Yuuki began, indignant, her hand still gracing her quickly reddening skin. This time, Miaka was the one to cut her off.
"How dare *YOU*! You have NO idea what I have been through these past few months! You say you tried to motivate me, but all you did was work me into the ground! When I needed your support, your care, your-- your LOVE-- all you did was call me weak, and ignore me! If you knew HALF of what has happened to me, maybe THEN you'd be worthy of the title MOTHER-- but you don't! Ask me again why my grades are slipping-- when you GIVE a damn!"
Miaka was downright infuriated, Keisuke could tell, and he was about to say something -or at least applaud Miaka- when he tripped over the trash can and into the couch. Miaka and Ms. Yuuki both turned and looked at him in surprise, as Miaka strode over to him and helped him up.
She whispered under her breath, then cringed.
"You're drunk as a dog," Miaka hissed, waving a hand in front of her face. "Get some sleep." And without another word to either her brother or her astonished mother, Miaka went into her bedroom-- and for good measure, slammed the door.
END OF PART 1
-.-; Yeah, I know this isn't anything like the first episode, but cut me some slack, this story has undergone TONS of revisions, and I would like to get this MUCH better version up before I write much more.
Expect total overhauls on Episodes 2 and 3 soon (*cough cough*) and eventually, the rest of
HARAGUROI YUUGI: THE MALICIOUS PLAY