AN: This is something of a weird story. In my defense, Tsukuyomi is the main character. And I don't really have a good idea of when this takes place. All I know is that it's before Tsukuyomi and Setsuna know each other.
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Tsukuyomi looked down at the river curiously from her tree, watching the girl that was clinging to a rock in the middle of the water. She'd been holding on to it for several minutes now, and her hands were dangerously close to slipping off.
If that happened, things would get interesting very quickly. From what Tsukuyomi could see, the girl didn't have enough strength to get back to shore. That rock was the only thing keeping her from drowning.
One slip, and the girl would be gone.
Only for a moment, though. Probably a very terrifying moment, but it still wouldn't last. The girl would manage to get back to the rock somehow, even if she had to use up every last shred of her body's strength to do so. She always did.
That was part of what made her so appealing. Over and over again she'd push herself to the edge of death—and she still came back for more every night.
The girl's hand slipped.
Blood spurted from her arms—coloring the rock for the split second it took the current to completely dominate her exhausted body. It battered her mercilessly into rocks too smooth and too wet for her to hang on to, dragging her so far down the river that Tsukuyomi worried for a moment that she'd have to switch branches.
Of course, she didn't have to. The girl was much too stubborn to let the river carry her too far off. It only took a few seconds for her to get over the shock of being ripped off of the rock, and then her arms were working furiously to drag her back to it. All frantic strength—no style. She was barely keeping her head above water, and her gasps for air were easily audible from Tsukuyomi's perch.
It was slow, slow progress, and every stroke was clearly costing the girl more strength than her body had left. Soft cries were starting to replace the gasps.
Tsukuyomi frowned and rested her chin in her hands. As fun as it was to watch, it was unbelievably confusing. She thought she understood the desire for power, and the willingness to go to rather extreme lengths to get that power, but she couldn't understand what… she couldn't understand the girl. Weeks of watching, and she just didn't get it.
Her own late night adventures tended to end with her covered in blood; not water. She preferred hunting demons, but since very few were stupid enough to go anywhere near the Shinmeiryuu dojo, she usually ended up finding small animals to play with.
Just a day before finding the girl, she'd played with a rat. Instead of slicing it to pieces like she usually did, she'd decided to crush its throat. She regretted it later (making animals bleed was a lot more fun), but while it lasted, she'd appreciated the way its body shuddered as it tried to fight back against its larger, more powerful opponent. There hadn't been a trace of thought in its movements—only a chaotic, desperate thirst for escape.
And that was how the girl moved.
Tsukuyomi hadn't meant to find the girl. She'd learned from experience that loud noises from humans tended to attract a lot of unwanted attention. Since she was perfectly happy keeping her evening wanderings secret, she took special care to avoid people.
The river shouldn't have had anyone near it. It was dangerous enough when the sun was shining on it; with just the moonlight, it only made sense that the people she wanted to avoid would want to stay away from it.
But the girl had been there, sitting on a rock in the middle of the water. She'd just been about to jump in when Tsukuyomi found her.
That was the first—and unfortunately, only—time Tsukuyomi got to see the girl's eyes clearly. And that was when she decided to stay instead of sneaking back to the dojo. The feverish look of concentration in those dark eyes had stopped her in her tracks. Excitement that she recognized from her more violent duels flushed her cheeks.
And then the girl started to swim.
Even at the very beginning, when she had enough energy to easily keep from drowning, she swam as if her life depended on it—wildly and unrestrained. More animalistic than human. Without seeing her eyes, Tsukuyomi would've thought that the swimmer was just as crazy as she was, only with a less pleasurable outlet.
But she wasn't. Those eyes … they were sane. Unbelievably intense, but still sane.
So Tsukuyomi came back to watch the swimmer— trying to imagine what could possibly be so important to the girl that she was out here almost every night, swimming until it was almost impossible to resist the pull of the current. What was worth that? What could possibly matter so much that it could inspire that kind of controlled desperation?
A splash brought Tsukuyomi's full attention back to the river. She blinked when she realized that the confusing girl had managed to get back on land already. And… she looked happy. Proud.
Her teeth were chattering so loudly that Tsukuyomi could hear them from her tree.
Years later, Tsukuyomi sees the self-loathing and love written all over Setsuna's face when she stares at Konoka, and she thinks not understanding was easier than being jealous.