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
Miaka's grades are falling in almost all of her academic classes, and in a desperate attempt to keep what little spirits she has after the summoning of Suzaku and the death of those she loved so dearly, Yuuki Keisuke hides Miaka's failing grades from her mother. One day, Ms. Yuuki discovers their secret, and confronts her daughter... but the girl she once knew is not there anymore. In her place is a sad, lonely, but headstrong girl... who will do anything for a chance to do it all over again...
Part 2: The Endless Universe, Ad Infinitum
It had been nearly three days.
Three days since Miaka had so forcefully made her point, and slapped her own mother.
Three days since Yuuki Keisuke came home drunk, and, having witnessed the whole thing, not only stopped drinking, but began rethinking his methods of getting his little sister to shape up.
There were none. No ways. Miaka had to do this on her own.
She was forcing memories of her past on herself, what with the way most of her academic classes unrelated to her time in the Book served only as a distraction, a bore, an excuse to bide her time.
Had Miaka the choice, Keisuke now realized, she would have gladly died beside her Seishi, if it meant she could have been with them. At least, that's how her attitude now seemed to be.
She was so listless in almost all she did, except for those few classes she seemed to excel in and enjoy-- Ancient History, Chinese Language, and Martial Arts.
Regardless though, they weren't helping her. Within three months time, she had to improve her grades by a drastic 60% average, or be kicked out of Yotsubadai.
But what to do? Their mother clearly didn't approve of Yui's tutoring, let alone his. Even if they did it off-campus, there was really no way to guarantee that it would all sink into Miaka and she'd actually start DOING well in class. What she needed now was motivation.
It occurred to Keisuke that, in the few days he'd known Tamahome, he'd seen the boy have an incredible power over Miaka. Over her very spirit. He meant everything to her, and he was Miaka's first love. In a way, her only -her last- love. A sad thought, truly.
Too bad the boy didn't really exist, because he would have been--
Keisuke mulled over that thought a moment.
But he HAD to exist. Even in a "fictional" world, Tamahome did indeed exist. Anyone that ever touched anyone's heart or mind, anyone that ever impacted anyone, in any way... they "existed," at least in the simplest definition of the word. Right?
And one thing was for sure-- the book still existed. It was back in the room at the National Library, untouched, until...
Miaka had restored "the worlds" to normal once more. They never DID find out what that really meant.
Three days, and here he was, just sitting in the club room at school!
What was he doing?!
Without a second thought, Keisuke grabbed his bookbag and rushed out to head to the National Library.
Miaka was one of the few girls in her off-campus physical education class, Martial Arts, hosted at a small dojo in Nerima.
It was a pain commuting there everyday afterschool, but she loved it all the same, and took pride whenever she beat the heavier-set boys, the stereotypical ones that thought her weak and fragile. Some teased her, others tried to flirt... and in the end, Miaka just blocked them from her mind.
Instead, all she saw was THEM.
Bandits. Traffickers. Enemies.
Whenever she was in a match, she completely blanked out, letting her body take over. Her moves flowed effortlessly, one to the other, and those that knew her outside school would find it hard to believe that this was the selfsame girl that once, not all that long ago, used to fall asleep in class, trip over her own two feet, and bash her teachers on the head with her desk.
She always possessed a strength she never recognized.
"An innate power," Taiitsu-kun had said, but Miaka had never been able to find out what that really meant. Perhaps it was physical strength, but more than likely, it was a strength of the heart, of the spirit.
It was what kept her alive, even if it didn't always seem like she wanted to be.
When her world became black, and her opponents melted into the forms of those black-hooded agents of Kutou... then Miaka didn't recognize her reality at all.
Memories assailed her, and all that was left was her deep, buried desire to change what had been, to fix her mistakes, and to save so many innocent lives. As it was, she saw it all as being her fault.
Everyone... Chuei. Gyokuran. Shunkei... Tamahome's poor, very nearly helpless brothers and sisters. Even his father...!
Today's opponent was a heavy-set, scruffy looking boy, and when Miaka blanked out, all she saw was Ashitare. At this school, "anything goes," and so Miaka held nothing back. No weapons were needed as she imagined her own speed combating Ashitare's brute strength.
Only it wasn't Ashitare-- this wasn't some mystical half-wolf man she was fighting, wasn't some power-imbued Seishi. It was a normal human boy, no matter how she imagined it other wise, and even when he was on the ground, Miaka kept pounding on him, to the point when her sensei had to hold her back.
"Miaka, Miaka! Calm down, would you?" Miaka was shakig angrily, tears on the verge of falling, and she was fumbling to get out of her sensei's strong grip.
"Nuriko, Nuriko...!" Miaka was mumbling, until finally her sensei shook her-- hard, and led her from the dojo onto the veranda encircling the dojo.
"Miaka, snap out of it!" Miaka's eyes suddenly cleared, and she realized with a start that it had happened again. She'd blanked out, and this time, not come out of it before it'd been too late. Worse, she'd been caught, and she was sure to be punished. Sure, the school was "anything goes," but it was still considered a high school class, not to mention a discipline of the martial arts. She had lost control, and that was unacceptable.
"Miaka, you've been excelling wonderfully ever since you've been in this class, but Akane and I both have been noticing that you're losing control a lot. It's got to stop, because you're starting to injure other students... and yourself."
Miaka swallowed, not making eye contact.
"I-I'm sorry, sensei... it won't happen again."
"You say that, Miaka, but what's to guarantee it? I'd hate to pull you out of here..." Her sensei looked somewhat uncomfortable admitting this harsh truth, scratching his neck.
Miaka looked up suddenly, her eyes bright and shining, tearing at the thought of being pulled from her favorite class.
"No! Please don't... this... this is all that I've got left!" Her sensei glanced back at her.
"Did someone..." He seemed to fumble with the right words a moment, then his gaze became deadly serious, his voice a whisper, "Did someone close to you die recently?"
Miaka fell silent.
This was answer enough for her teacher, who nodded slowly.
"I don't know what to tell you, Miaka. It's part of life, but..." Miaka glanced upwards just as her sensei stared towards Akane. Miaka gazed curiously at the two as they exchanged brief, tender smiles, almost secretive from the rest of the class. Perhaps Miaka was the only one to see their gentle smiles, as she was the only one who understood what something so simple could really mean.
"But," he continued a moment later, meeting Miaka's hazel eyes, "Sometimes, you have to take things into your own hands. You can't let your life be ruled by destiny, or by someone else's hand. And maybe then, things will start to fall into place for you."
He walked off then, leaving a very perplexed Miaka behind-- but inside her, there was a resounding feeling that what he said was, without a doubt, true, and undeniable. Like he'd experienced it for every word, every syllable, and those words held a power as great as the incantations within the Book.
That was what held her back, held her to the ground, held her down.
She had to let go, but how could she just... forget?
Not just the book itslf, but everything. Every word-- every single syllable on the first page. The rest of the pages were magically sealed, awaiting a young woman to find it, open them, and become the next priestess.
But there was something strange and different this time.
After all the tiring research he and Tetsuya had done, they'd discovered that once priestesses were called when countries were in danger. When they were about to fall.
And that once one priestess was "absorbed" by the gods, the book wiped the slate clean, and awaited a new miko. Once a new Genbu priestess opened the book, then all the past mikos would vanish. But the book was so powerful, so dangerous, -and perhaps Takiko's father saw this- that these priestesses, these innocent girls were never meant to live in the same lifetime as one another.
Yet they did.
Yui and Miaka.
Something was wrong with all of this. There were time paradoxes, and seals. Wishes that were vague, sealings incomplete, and wishes that clashed and broke one another.
And now... the seal of Suzaku was prominent on the first page. It was a simple watermark, but very recognizable to Keisuke. He'd held that book for so long, relied on it for everything. It had been his link to his sister, to her life, to her as a person.
He'd never taken so much interest in Miaka's life before the book, but now it joined them together, even if in different ways.
He was always the outsider to the world of the Four Gods, while she had experienced it for everything it was worth.
And now... she would have to undergo it... all over again.
When Keisuke slipped into Miaka's room that night, it was after 11pm. But she was still awake. He well knew, because he saw the dim light of her desk lamp on from underneath the door. He'd since wrapped the book in a heavy cloth, and escaped with it from the library in his satchel.
He'd been musing for hours what to tell Miaka. That this could be her chance, her motivation. He didn't know what would happen though, didn't know what to expect, only that he'd been drawn to the book the same way Miaka had, but only SHE could go into it this time.
Miaka was poring over some math homework, looking obviously distraught as she tried working out logarithmic functions on her calculator. She angrily muttered at it, scribbled on her paper some, and then proceeded to growl at her unintelligible writing and crumple it up, tossing yet another failed-in-the-making assignment into her trash.
"What do you want, Keisuke?" Miaka mumbled, sounding half-asleep and highly worn out. Ever since she'd gotten back from practice today, she'd been listless. She didn't understand what her sensei had meant, but something in her realized that he was right, and she couldn't just keep losing control.
But the thought of letting go of everything that grounded her - everything that separated her from every other schoolgirl except Yui, and everything that others would find as pure fiction- was too painful, too ludicrous to actually DWELL on.
Keisuke couldn't find the right words. He knew Miaka didn't need to be lectured again. Instead, he just unwrapped the book, and placed it on the table, right on top of Miaka's math homework.
Miaka opened her eyes, her blurry vision focusing slowly as the characters sharpened.
"What is this?" She mumbled, rubbing her fingers over the leather-cord bound cover.
"You know full well what it is." Keisuke responded. His voice was wavering, as he didn't know what to expect.
Miaka straightened and looked at the book once more, clearly this time, holding it in her hands.
"It... can't be..." And gently, she opened it, her eyes widening as she saw the exact same inscription that had been there the first time she'd read the book with Yui.
The words were on the tip of her tongue, and she needed no furigana to interpret the difficult, ancient kanji. These words she knew like a prayer in the back of her mind, in the recesses of her memory.
Echoing constantly, like the faded pieces of a dream... or a nightmare.
"I don't know why I suddenly thought of it today. But I did, and I felt compelled to, at the least, go and see if it was even still there. And it was. And everything was the same."
"...W-What does it mean, Keisuke?" Miaka murmured, her fingertips running against the edges of the pages.
"I don't know. I do know that you can't seem to let go of that world though Miaka, and it doesn't seem to want to let go of you either. I think your wish... I think it gave you a second chance."
Miaka inhaled sharply.
A second chance? To right the wrongs, to fight harder, to fight stronger...? To save lives? She wouldn't be the ditzy, uncoordinated priestess as before. She wouldn't be blinded by anyone's ploys, or swayed by emotions as strongly as before.
Being in the book meant she had a mission-- to save a people, to save a country. Even if it was ancient, was destined to change anyway... even if it meant she would someday have to return to her own world... it would be worth it.
Even if it meant giving up in the end, this time allowing herself to become one with Suzaku... it would be worth it...
To see him again.
She squeezed her eyes shut, her face beginnig to burn and her eyes starting to water.
"I... I should tell Yui."
"Already called Tetsuya. He's on his way here with Yui. We'll go to the park."
Miaka glanced outside of the window, barely caring that the sky was a velvet black, studded with diamond-like stars and the cool glow of the Tokyo skyscrapers.
"Give me half an hour."
Keisuke nodded, leaving the room with a sigh. This was it. This was how it was meant to be... once and for all.
Thirty minutes later, Miaka emerged from the Famille Kashiwa with a hefty backpack on. Instead of a school uniform on, or a bag crammed with study tools, she was well prepared.
Time spent at the Anything Goes School of Martial Arts had taught her to be prepared for anything, and this certainly counted as 'anything.' This was what Saotome-sensei must have meant, Miaka surmised, when he spoke of "taking matters into your own hands" and then letting things fall into place.
This was the destiny that she'd shaped for herself. All that had been left to do was to realize it. To make it real.
Wordlessly, she climbed into the backseat of Tetsuya's red sportscar with her brother Keisuke. Yui, in shotgun, glanced back at her best friend as she clutched the book.
Part of her wanted to ask if Miaka was ready for it... ready to go back and face ALL THAT again. She didn't have any idea what it would be like. Maybe nothing would have changed at all, and the world would be as Miaka left it... or maybe time would have caught up with the book world and their time, and everything would be 90 years older.
They couldn't explain why the book still asked for the spirit of a priestess of Suzaku, but maybe that didn't matter. All that mattered was this moment, this decision, this change.
They arrived in the park not much later, and when the four of them were gathered outside in a circle, Yui finally spoke.
"Miaka..." She didn't really know WHAT to say, so instead she handed the girl a charm bracelet. It was matching one that Yui wore on her own wrist, and the first charm was heart-shaped. On Yui's, the charm was inscribed 'Best,' while on Miaka's, it read 'Friends.' The other charms differed from there, but they were linked nonetheless.
And now, Miaka would have to recite the words... and they'd close the book. She would be trapped inside, until she summoned Suzaku, or until, like last time, she found a way out.
But this time... would she want to? Would she need to?
Who was to say what THIS universe would be like?
"This is the story of a girl..." Miaka began, her voice strange and echoing, "...who single-handedly gathered the Seven Stars of Suzaku and gained the power to make all of her dreams come true."
Yui felt herself swallowing. She didn't want to see Miaka do this again, but she couldn't stop her. Miaka NEEDED this, and the book NEEDED Miaka.
"The story itself is an incantation and whomever reads it gains the priestess' power to have their wishes granted." Miaka ran her fingers along the pages, this time drawing blood from one of her fingertips. The blood seemingly melted into the watermark of Suzaku, turning it a brilliant, shimmering red, sparkling with power as Miaka recited the final line of the incantation:
"As soon as the page is turned, the story will become real and begin."
And then the page was turned, the park was filled with red light, and Miaka was gone.
END OF PART 2
Whee, I finally caught up with the episode! Sort of! o_O This chapter was beginning to get really long anyway. But all the same, what did you think? In the next chapter, we finally get to start seeing some more familiar faces! ^_^ Not to mention... THE PLOT THICKENS!
*giggles* Well, I'm in an FY mood lately, so expect to see more of this *cough cough* soon!
Be sure to review/email me and tell me what you think!
REFORMAT COMPLETED: 10/03/03