Beta Fish

By; Chibi Ra Chan

Rating; T

Pairing; China/Korea

Warnings; Blood, Off screen violence and Yandere Korea.

"We met each other that day because you choose me out of all the others
I thought I was important to you, and I still believe it even now.
But when the truth came out, I wasn't the only one precious to you
What can I do to make you see me and only me?"

-Uninstall- Shion Kaito

In a strange slant of light, Japan always thought of his little brother as a particularly sad Cinderella story.

He tried so very, very hard to please their elder brother, who was both the evil stepmother and Prince Charming in this story. He himself was an unwilling stepsister, an obstacle to his dream of true love.

Korea slaved day in and day out to win Yao's attention, which was always centered on him. He saw how Yong Soo burned with jealousy and he knew that he loved China in a way that he did not. He knew, he always knew.

Kiku never wanted to play this part, it was just assigned to him. He loved his little brother very much, but no matter how much he denied it, this was partially his fault.

He did not like to meddle in the affairs of others, but he could not stand back any longer.

"Japan? What are you doing here aru?" China spoke with pleasant surprise, he reached to embrace him but Japan quickly took a step back. 'That is why this has happened.' He thought stepping into China's home. "You don't usually visit, so why- is that blood aru? Are you hurt?"

Kiku forced his face remained stony at China's concern. He would be fine, it was only a few small bruises and cuts, nothing that he could not handle on his own.

This was not about him this time.

"Aniki," He spoke coolly, pinning the elder nation down with his stare. "It is Yong Soo, he needs you."

China, protested still trying to get a better look at his bleeding side, but Japan would not allow it.

"Now aniki. He needs you now."

"Hey, aniki, look! I caught a fishy!" Five year old Korea cries out, the small red-blue beta fish swimming franticly in his tiny cupped hands. When his brother doesn't answer, he wades over to were he knows his brother is resting.

China is sitting on the rocky shore, his attention completely stolen by Japan, who is intently focused on whatever it is that he's writing. Yao smiles and watches with obvious affection shining in his amber eyes as Kiku works.

"Aniki! You have to look at the fish! I caught it just for you." He smiles enthusiastically and pushes his clasped hands into his beloved China's vision.

Yao looks at his littlest brother briefly and smiles quickly. "That's nice Yong Soo." He goes back to watching Japan move the calligraphy brush across the crisp white rice paper.

The little peninsula nation's eyebrows furrow. "But you didn't even look!" He exclaims with anger and tries to show him yet again, this time getting water on Kiku's work.

China yells. "Aiyah, you're making a mess Korea! Go put it back now aru!"

Korea's bottom lip trembles slightly, and he feels the tears coming, but he obediently wades back into the pond. This is not the first time something like this has happened. Aniki always paid more attention to Japan, always. He was his favorite.

Yong Soo feels the familiar jealousy pool in his stomach and his head begins to hurt. 'It's not fair, why can't I be aniki's favorite? I love him more than stupid Japan does!'

An odd detachment spreads over him by the time he reaches the center of the pond. And instead of putting the pretty animal back into the water, Korea morbidly watches as the water drips through his fingers and the little fish flops helplessly in his hands, before it ceases to breathe all together.

Darkly, he wishes it was Kiku that had stopped breathing rather than the beautiful red and blue beta fish...

He had never thought of his youngest brother as being particularly sane before.

In fact Korea was many things: compulsive, competitive, sensitive, and more or less deviant just to name a few, but he had never been normal that was for sure.

Then again for most nations there was some degree of eccentricity, there had to be. People weren't meant to live the long lifetimes that they did and there was always a chance of losing part of yourself as the sands of time slipped by.

China had seen it happen many times over the centuries, countless territories and immerging nations fell to the dust, their hearts and minds weak; unable to handle the stress and the pressure that came with being a true nation.

Japan had lost grips on himself a few times in history, resulting in many failed attempts at imperialism, not to mention plenty of scars to tell the tale. He himself had his moments when he felt the stress of the years bare down on him, leaving him aching and miserable.

It went away, the sensory overload. It was temporary for most. Kiku had come to his senses eventually and he learned to deal with the strain, while he himself had more than four thousand years of practice. But not everyone was able to hold on the their humanity, the thing that kept nations alive and thriving.

His youngest sister, a once-nation named Silla had crumbled under the pressure, unable to handle the pain and the sacrifices it took to become a true kingdom. Nabi had never recovered from having to become one with two of her brothers.

He had kept her under his wing, he took care of her as long as he could, but Silla had turned into nothing more than a pretty shell of the once vibrant and enthusiastic nation he had known and loved. Yao tried to keep her alive, he really did, but she still withered away until she became nothing more than a side note in history textbooks.

But in her death Silla had given rise to her replacement, a cooing little boy with darling earthen eyes and unruly cocoa hair.

China had made the decision early on to not tell Yong Soo about how he came into being, only telling him a watered down version of the truth instead. While Yao was never a fan of flowery language and beating around the bush, he just did not have the heart to tell Korea that he was the product of a broken mind and soul.

He had been a difficult child, always so impatient, so quick to get his feelings hurt and forever throwing temper tantrums. But it was nothing too abnormal. He had never shown signs of following in his predecessors footsteps. He was perfectly healthy; an energetic child and nation.

In retrospect there were many clues that he should have picked up on long ago, moments of fractured memory, sudden and swift changes in personality, and his issues with claiming things as his own, but Yao had chosen to over rationalize them and air on the side of denial.

Yao had never known Yong Soo to cut himself off from the world, especially from his siblings, which should have set off alarms in his head in the first place. But he had brushed it off and jokingly called it good fortune that Korea hadn't bothered him such a long time.

The immortal nation wished he had not now.

"Nii-sama, may I ask you something?" Japan ponders quietly, though everything that Japan did was always done quietly.

China eyes the island nation with mild interest. It wasn't very often that Japan tried to make conversation. Usually he contented himself to his reading and writing. He was always such a level headed child. Yao nods his head, and waits for the question, already curious about the subject matter.

"Why do you treat me better than you do Korea?"

The elder of the two blinks in surprise and sits up and simply stares at Kiku. Of all the things he was expecting him to say, that was not it. "What are you talking about aru?"

"I just want to know why." He shrugs nonchalantly.

China continues to stare. "I don't treat you better than Korea, I treat you equally aru."

Kiku shakes his head, his short bobbed hair ruffles softly on his features. "No you don't, you treat me better all of us know it, especially Yong Soo."

The chinamen wrings his hands into his long sleeves. He can not believe he is being reprimanded by his seven year old brother. He opens his mouth to tell Japan that he does not need him to tell him how to raise a nation, that he has been doing so for hundreds of years, but Kiku continues on. "Normally I would not question you nii-sama, but this has gone far enough. He loves you so much, and you do not acknowledge it."

He tells himself that it isn't true, he doesn't play favorites, at least he tries not to. But Korea is such a handful, so needy, so demanding. He can't help if he loses his temper around the boy sometimes. He was just like his mother, always acting without thinking, so controlled by feelings.

"It's difficult to explain aru, I just… I don't know how to act around him sometimes. I don't try to favor you aru. It just seems like I do." It was a weak defense and they both knew it. Kiku stands and turns to leave his brother's presence.

If it were anyone other than Japan, than China would be sure that that he glared at him, but it is Japan and Kiku does not glare. "I wish you would stop it, I don't want any special attention. It's making him hate me. He's my baby brother, I don't want him to hate me, especially if it is not even me he's mad at."

China can only stare as his would-be favorite leaves him with only his thoughts and his guilt.

Korea faced away from him, his gaze glossed over as he stared blankly at the once white washed ceiling unblinkingly. His hair was darker than usual, saturated with liquid. Once upon a time China would have assumed he was playing in the pond again, he had always loved the water, but that was a different time and place. Besides, water never dripped bright crimson red and stained crisp white clothing.

"Yong Soo-" The words die in his throat as his little brother cocks his head to see him. Korea's normally porcelain pale features are smeared with hues of deep red, but even more disconcerting was the perversely pleasant smile that was bestowed upon him.

"Aniki, you finally came." Yong Soo smiled brightly, turning fully to face his elder brother, obvious affection shining in his glassy eyes which had taken a dark tint to them. It didn't take a genius to realize that the red that splattered across his face, hands, hair and clothes was blood. "I knew you'd come."

China fought the urge to take a few steps back. He knew if he did that then it would only make things worse. Besides who ever heard of an elder nation such as him shying away from a child?

But this was different, this blood spattered nation that exuded such toxic vibes was nothing to be taken lightly. This was not Korea, at least not the Korea he knew. Something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

Yao gulped, his throat suddenly dry. "Yong Soo, what happened aru?" Despite his even tone, on the inside he was anything but calm. His mind spun from the sensory overload. It was too much. All that blood, from heavens knows where, had no place on his brother's hands. 'What did I miss aru…?'

Korea shrugged nonchalantly, "I was tired of no one taking me seriously." He pinned the smaller man down with a seething look. "You'd know all about that wouldn't you aniki?" Another shrug and the momentary anger was gone and Yong Soo instead looked his brother up and down.

Simply standing there, mouth barley agape, China felt oddly uncomfortable under his little brother's gaze. It swept over him lazily, as if he had all the time in the world, inspecting everything he felt was important. What unnerved Yao more than the gaze was the way Yong Soo's appraising look unwillingly set his nerve endings on fire. "But that's not really important now is it aniki?"

It was never exactly a secret that Yong Soo harbored feeling for him. In fact it had been blaringly obvious since he was a fledgling nation of only one hundred years. While it was flattering in a strange, twisted incest kind of way China had always ignored it, or down played the attention that his baby brother bestowed upon him.

He had never taken him seriously, not in any way, shape, or form. Yet another thing he regretted in retrospect.

"Where is all that blood from aru?" He managed to choke out.

For once in his life, Korea choose not to speak, rather he just stared at his brother, blinking slowly, as if he didn't understand the question.

"Answer me!" Yao yelled clenching his fists firmly at his sides. For a moment, he swore he saw something soften in Yong Soo's eyes and maybe even a tremble of his lower lip, something he tended to do when he was upset. But it was gone before he could think about it any further.

Coldly, Yong Soo decreased the distance between them by taking a few small steps toward the elder nation. "I told you already, I was tired of no one taking me seriously, not Alfred, not Ivan, and certainly not Kiku. If nothing else my own government should listen to me, I'm their nation, if it weren't for me they wouldn't even be here! But as much as I try, no one listens. I figure so many have died in the war already, what's so bad about a few less officials running their big lying mouths….."

China felt his stomach churn. His brother had killed someone, possibly more than one person. This was wrong, completely and utterly wrong. Korea was always a gentle boy, a bit over zealous but never malicious in any sense of the word. This was not like him at all.

He had never done anything so horrible, something so depraved and-

Suddenly the memory come rushing back to him like a ton of bricks.

"Uninstall, uninstall
You don't need anyone but me
So I will uninstall everyone else
I will delete their existence with these hand of mine,
Without any hesitation at all."

It is only by chance that he walks by the slightly ajar door leading to the room that his younger brothers shared. He is on his way back from the kitchen, a cup of piping hot tea in hand, when he decides to check in on the boys.

It is only by some miracle he had such good timing, if he had come a second later, then the unimaginable might have happened.

He looks in expecting to see two sleeping little boys in small adjacent beds. Instead China is horrified to find Yong Soo standing at Kiku's bed side holding a fluffy red pillow over his seven year old brother's sleeping face.

Yao rushes to harshly pull the child away from the island nation, and shakes him violently. "What is wrong with you aru? Are you crazy, you could have killed him aru! Why in the world would you do that?" He yells the minute he drags Korea out of the bedroom, far away from the thankfully still slumbering Japan.

"He's your favorite." Yong Soo answer simply, looking up at him with an unsettlingly calm expression for a five year old.

Yao blinks rapidly, not understanding just what that had to do with anything. "What?"

"Kiku's your favorite, if he's gone then I'll be your favorite aniki." A chill runs down Yao's spine and he's about to yell again, but then he notices the dampness to Korea's bed shirt and realizes that he's no longer carrying his tea.

Eyes widening in horror, he unclasps the fastener to the nightshirt and is amazed to see that there are bright irritated pink burns running down the child's chest and neck.

He had burned him. That alone was disconcerting, but more pressing was the fact that Korea, who was famous for being a cry baby, didn't seem to notice the burns at all. "Why aren't you crying?" he asks breathlessly.

Korea just looked at China quizzically, that strange gleam in his eyes. "It didn't seem important." Yong Soo takes China's ponytail in his small hands, fingering it reverently before nuzzling it to his cheek. "Do you want me to cry? I'll do anything to be your favorite aniki, I'll even cry if you want me to."

Yao's eyes widen in shock, his heart beating a mile a minute as Yong Soo climbs into his lap and falls asleep instantly, as if nothing strange had ever happened.

"You're not Yong Soo aru."

Korea smiles and it is nothing like the bright mischievous one that China is used to, it isn't even a smile, it is more of a feral grin. "Of course I'm Yong Soo. Who else would I be?" The taller nation circles him, and Yao clenches his fist in an attempt to control his anger and confusion.

"My brother would never act this way, he hates fighting aru. He could never hurt someone else on purpose."

"Well," he says trailing of ominously. Korea absently licks his lips and Yao is unable to stop himself from watching as the small pink appendage swiped away a bit of deep red blood. Yong Soo, finally taking notice of his beloved aniki's stiffness and uncomfortable expression, lets out a peel of laughter.

Korea, or whoever this was, wraps his arms around China's petite frame, boxing him tightly between his body and the red spattered wall. Whither the red was paint or blood, he didn't want to know. "Maybe I just wanted to finally get your attention aniki."

Yao tries to keep his breathing controlled, he tries to force down the fuzzy feeling that having Korea so close brings him. 'This is not the time aru. He isn't himself.'

"I missed you brother." Yong Soo says warmly, nuzzling his nose into China's neck. "I just wanted you to visit me. I didn't really want to do those mean things. I had to do this to bring us together don't you see?"

Yao's eyes dilated in sickening realization. This was like Silla all over again, only it was his fault that Yong Soo was in such a deplorable mental state.

I'll do anything to be your favorite aniki.

'He did this for me, because of me aru. It is my fault and I am responsible for fixing him.' Fighting back sickness that smell of blood gives him, Yao forces his arms to wrap around Yong Soo, he ignores the blood and instead clutches his youngest brother close to him. He feels the taller nation's heart beat thunder in his chest as he whispers into his ear.

"What have you done Yong Soo? Have I really neglected you so much aru?"

"Y-Yao?" And like a drop of a dime, the wickedly sweet tone disappears. Korea pulls away from him slightly and his eyes are glazed over even more, but this time with tears and confusion. In three seconds his little brother went from disturbingly malicious to completely crest fallen and fragile. "I- I didn't mean to aniki. I didn't. They said that you didn't want to see me anymore, that we couldn't be around each other. I never wanted to hurt them, I don't even remember what happened…I swear."

Yao feels his knees buckle and slides down the wall, holding Yong Soo tightly against him.

"You believe me don't you aniki? You know I couldn't do something so horrible. Right, Right?"

China lightly rubs the ruffled nation back. "Of course I believe you aru. You're just a little-" Crazy? Torn? Unstable? He says none of these, even though they are all tragically true. "You're just tired that's all. Don't worry right now, aniki's here and things will be fine aru. Sleep."

Korea nods against his brother's chest. The mental and physical strain soon gets the better of the exhausted nation and just like all those years ago, he falls blissfully asleep in his brother's arms.

Shaking slightly, Yao continues to rub circle in the small peninsula's back, serenading his brother's sleeping form with soothing words.

"You'll be okay Korea, Big brother will fix everything. I promise aru."

China didn't believe himself for a single second.

"I didn't think you liked butterflies aru." China says quite suddenly from behind him, making Korea jump. He drops his pencils and tries to hide the picture he was drawing. He wasn't supposed to be coloring, he was supposed to be staying in his room, punishment for something he didn't even remember.

"I-I wasn't drawing I really wasn't aniki-"

"It's alright aru." China says sitting down next to him at the tiny table. Korea looks unsure for a moment, aniki never lets him draw when he's punished. China notices this and smiles at him, immediately Yong Soo feels light flood through his heart. "Can I see aru?"

Korea grins and hands the piece of paper to his brother without hesitation. Yao looks at it for a while, and the small nation watches as a strange mix of emotions flicker across his brother's eyes. Sadness, fear, concern, softness and reverence to name a few.

"Aniki?" He asks warily, not sure if his picture of a split red and blue butterfly had upset his brother some how, he hoped it didn't. He had drawn it for him after all.

China continues to stare at the picture, and then at him. He feels his brother looking sadly at the still sore burns that ran across his neck, chest and shoulders. He hoped aniki didn't ask about it.

Yong Soo didn't know how he got them, only that he woke up crying because they hurt so much.

But he doesn't ask about the burns, he only runs his fingers along the one on his neck, the touch doesn't hurt, but it makes the young nation's pulse race. After a few minutes Yao speaks again, but this time his voice is soft and tender. "Your mother loved butterflies, did you know that Yong Soo?"

He hadn't.

His beloved aniki rarely talked about his mother-nation. It always made him sad when he asked about her. "I didn't." He answers not wanting to upset his brother's suddenly soft temperament.

To his surprise, Yao smiles at him and holds out his hands to him. Korea wastes no time climbing into his brother's embrace, loving that he was finally the center of his attention, not Japan. "She did, she used to have hundreds of them at her house. Red and blue just like this one aru."

"Why red and blue?" He asked snuggling even closer and looking up at his brother in amazement.

"They were her favorite colors aru."

"Mine too!" He exclaims before he is able to stop himself. He nearly hits himself for yelling, he doesn't want to make his aniki mad at him again. Sheepishly he smiles up at his brother, and is shocked to see that he is smiling too, making him look less tired and younger than he remembers. Yong Soo's heart flutters wildly in his chest.

"Nabi used to keep fishes too. All kinds. She had a fish from all of her family aru. Taiwan gave her a little rainbow fish that she captured herself, Thailand gave her a pearl Gourami, Vietnam gave her the loveliest angelfish and even though he's too young to remember it, Japan gave her a pink Koi."

"What did you give her aniki? You said all her family gave her one."

China smiled and pet the boy's head. "I gave her a pretty red and blue beta fish. It reminded me of her so much, that the moment I saw it I swam after it aru." He laughed a little, not noticing how pale Yong Soo had become all of a sudden. "She loved that little fish, she would watch it for hours. She used to say that she hoped she could be reborn as a beta fish too aru."

Korea felt a shiver of dread run down his spine as he started to put the pieces together in his mind. His mother's disappearance, his birth, her love of the fish that aniki had given her, his love of aniki and the pretty little red and blue beta fish from yesterday.

His head pounded painfully and he clutched his hair in his hands. No, no, no, no he couldn't have. His thoughts grow cloudy and his vision sways. He had simply sat there and watched as it died, it had to be a different fish it couldn't have possibly been the same fish, he would have known if it was Omma, he would have known if it was her!

"Yong Soo, are you alright aru?" China franticly asks holding the tiny nation away so he could look at him, mindful of the bright pink burns.

At his brother's voice Yong Soo's head starts to clear and he can't remember why he is holding his head in his hands. He blinks a few times in surprise and smiles warmly at his brother, his beautiful beloved brother who would never leave him, and all the bad thoughts are completely and utterly forgotten.

The world was once again beautiful.

"I'm fine aniki. Everything's fine."

Master, master
There's only one Vocaloid left in this house.
So know you only have me to look at right?
Master, I will be the only one to stand by your side
I love you more than anything else in the world, Master


i. Beta Fish - The beta fish is a fish that originates in Asia and is known for it's beautiful coloring. More importantly though in this story the fish represents duality. The fish is known to be extremely self-conscious and territorial. It will even attacks it's own reflection, sometimes causing serious damage and killing itself to guard it's territory from what it thinks is an enemy.

ii. The Kingdom of Silla was once apart of the three kingdoms that make up current day Korea. After several long years of war Silla eventually conquered the other two kingdoms and became the Korea we know today. Historically speaking, Silla had the best ties with Tang ruled China out all the kingdoms and was very much under their influence up until the end of it's own life. In this story, Silla's name is Nabi, which means butterfly in korean.

iii. Yandere- Yandere is a traditional Japanese arch type for a character that is initially very loving and sweet but snap due to emotional trauma or rejection. Very similar to the idea of bi-polar disorder or in serve cases like a split personality. Think Russia.

iv. This story takes place near the end of the Korean War. China didn't get involved until the last year or so. I've taken this and tried turning it into a reason for Yong Soo's mental break down and the emergence of a sort of proto-North Korea.

v. Butterflies- Butterflies have many different meanings in different cultures. The native Americans believed it was a sign of insanity, while European lore holds that butterflies are a symbol of peace of mind and symmetry. In most Asian cultures though, butterflies are a sign of chaos, often seen a forbearer to natural disasters and struggle.

vi. Ye Xian- This story was partly inspired by the Chinese version of Cinderella, Ye Xian. In the story Ye Xian befriends a beautiful fish that ends up being the reincarnation of her dead mother. Her stepmother becomes jealous and kills the fish. There are obviously some poetic license and interpretation in my version.

vii. Uninstall- The song used in this story is 'Kaito ga Uninstall' by the Vocaloid Shion Kaito. It is a remake of another song of the same title by Chiaki Ishikawa. The song is about Kaito who was bought by a user, master, and loved him for it. Later he find out that he isn't the only Vocaloid that his master uses and struggles with his jealousy and hurt. Eventually he turns into 'Akaito' who then proceeds to uninstall all the other vocaloids, effectively killing them. In the end he turns back into his sweet personality and tells his master that he loves him most of all.

viii. Omma- Korean for 'Mother'

I wrote this because I've become a little annoyed with the all the different evil North Korea OC's. It seems rather silly, not to mention cruel, to make a twin just for the sake of him being evil. I've always rather liked the idea of there being one Korea, who developed a spilt personality if you will because of the events of and leading up to the Korean war.

And then I came upon the Japanese arch type of Yandere, and it just seemed to click in my mind. This story is very special for me because it took me so far out of my comfort zone. Hopefully, I've managed to inspire a few people with this not so adorable version of Korea.

Also! Beta Fish now has a prequel/side story called Phantasmagoria! It can be found on my author's page.

Okay I'm done rambling now. Please drop a review and tell me what you think. I'm extremely interested on your ideas concerning the subject matter in this one!

Forever and Eternally,