Disclaimer: I do not own The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya or any of its characters. I also do not own any of the materials referenced in this story either. This was made for entertainment purposes only and not for profit. So there you go.

A/N: As my friend BKE told me, a whole new year brings a new wave of horror. This is my contribution.

Wanted to take a break from my funny stories to write something serious. So here it is. This somehow came to me after listening to Jonathan Coulton's "Creepy Doll" and a very disturbing Ryoko and Yuki Disappearance doujin. That, and the fact that there isn't even a horror/romance between Yuki and Ryoko here on this site. Rating my change later on depending on what you guys think. I wrote this as if it were a modern-day fairy tale.

Enjoy.


It was a simple village. Not too far away from civilization, but not far out in the neck of the woods. The absolute perfect place for Yuki to call her new home. A place far from the hustle and bustle of the city. A place where she could work in peace.

Yuki purchased a house at the edge of the village, where the trees were thick and the grass was tall. It was a very large place to live; more of a mansion to some than a simple house. She stayed at a nearby inn, until the moving vans came through with her things. When the house was suitable for living, she moved right in and set up her shop in the middle of town. It was a short distance between the two, so Yuki never had to drive or call for a ride.

Yuki loved working with machines. Ever since she was small, she enjoyed taking apart and cobbling together mechanical objects. People would often come to her with broken items of theirs and ask her to repair them. And she would always finish with whatever she started on. This simple occupation of hers paid very well.

Sometimes she wondered if clean efficient machines made better companions than noisy crude humans.

"Can you please fix it?" asked a timid young woman with red hair. "This clock has been in my family for years, and I'd hate to lose it..."

Yuki observed the antique clock in her hands for a few seconds, before she returned an answer. "Yes. I can fix it. It will be ready by tomorrow. Don't worry."

"Oh! Thank you so very much!" chirped the red-headed girl, turning at once to leave the store, the door's bell jingling as she left.

The people who lived here appreciated Yuki's services. They treated her as if she were a member of a large family. The only ones that didn't seem to appreciate her presence were the children. Her stoic, calm personality frightened them a bit, though Yuki had never done anything to make any enemies in her new home. Her new house looked like a castle to their wild imaginations. Children crowded around the front of the store while she worked, watching her with big curious eyes through the window.

And every time she looked up, they scattered like leaves on the wind.

Some of them had even begun to say that she was a witch.

Not that it mattered to Yuki. Kids were kids. So what if they thought she was some monster who was planning to gobble them up? Let them think whatever they wanted.


A change occurred at dusk, when Yuki was closing up shop. As she began to head for home, she spotted a small girl sitting on the steps of a house. She was weeping quietly to herself, and clutching a small doll to her chest. Curious, Yuki stepped towards her.

"What's wrong?" she inquired softly.

The girl sniffled and held up a torn doll, its head barely hanging onto its silk body by a few threads. "I-I-I was playing with my best friend, Miyoko. And while we were playing, I accidentally pulled a string loose off of one of her little sister's favorite dolls! Her little sister's asleep, but we don't know how to fix it! I can't ask her mom or she might get mad. I don't know if she'll tell my mom or not... Everything's just a big mess now!"

The girl continued to cry, but stopped to let out a shout of surprise when Yuki took the doll out of her hands. Drawing a needle and thread out of her bag, Yuki proceeded to sew the doll's head back onto its neck. Within a minute, the toy was to its old self.

"Good as new," Yuki monotoned, handing the doll back to the wide-eyed child.

"Thank you very much, lady!" shouted the girl as Yuki turned on her heel and headed for home.

Word spread, and soon children of all shapes and sizes were arriving to ask Yuki for her help in fixing their toys at her shop. She oiled limbs, glued on parts, and painted chipped areas. Toys came back looking good as new.

Soon, Yuki got an idea.

She began to make toys on as a side-business. Little wind-up toys, tops, handmade dolls, cute animals that made sounds. All the children liked her and so did their parents for making them smile. It made her smile too. She loved the children as if they were her own. But as Yuki worked on fixing a stove for one of her neighbors, she reflected on something important.

She had no one to truly love her.

While the townspeople respected her work and said they would be there for her in times of need, they felt more like acquaintances than true friends. Not one of them piqued any romantic interest in her. It wasn't because Yuki was ugly or anything like that, far from it; she was barely in her twenties, with hair like lavender, eyes like gold, and soft, ivory skin.

But it seemed as though she would continue through the rest of her life alone.

One day, Yuki was going through the cluttered remains of her basement. Cobwebs gathered in the corners and dust covered the surfaces of all the cardboard boxes. It was while she was going through the discarded belongings of the previous owners, that she saw it; lying in a heap in the corner.

A network of wire-frame parts arranged into the shape of a small feminine body.

Approaching it, Yuki saw that they had probably once belonged to a mannequin, but were now missing their outer shells. It was a fully complete set: a head, a body, two arms, and two legs.

I wonder... the purple-haired genius thought as she bent down to collect the parts.

If Yuki couldn't make any friends, then there was one other alternative.

She would invent one herself.


Yuki was quite busy over the next three weeks. She had to purchased several parts from the city that weren't available in town, she barely ate or slept, and she had to borrow a generator in order to use electricity. She spent most of her time in her garage (turned into a lab since Yuki didn't need a car) working on her project.

The center of the room featured a table with a white cloth covering it. And on the sheet, lay the wire-frame body. Yuki had filled its hollow innards with machinery and had already begun to cover it with a synthetic skin she had crafted herself.

Oil replaced blood, pumps replaced lungs, wires replaced veins, a backup power-core replaced a stomach, an electrical conductor replaced a brain, carved crystal replaced eyes, and steel hinges replaced joints. All of these items were either very hard to track down or expensive. One of her items had to be shipped in from another country. Luckily, Yuki had plenty of money to afford such parts, but the frequent trips she made out of the house were tiring. But she knew it would be worth it in the end. Her creation was nearing completion.

It was beginning to resemble a teenage girl on the verge of womanhood.

Still, it was hard work. The generator often emitted sparks, the lighting was bad, and she had to resort to ordering new tools from a distant town for the more delicate parts. Wanting her creation to be unique, she chose blue as the color for her creation's hair- the same color as its eyes. Sewing in every lock took some time.

Finally, it was all over.

Lifting the sheet of her finished work, Yuki leaned over the doll's side and pressed a small switch hidden under the artificial skin. It looked like a small bump located on the right side of the doll's clavicle. Taking a deep breath, Yuki waited for any signs of life.

She was awarded thirty seconds later, when the doll on the table opened its bright blue eyes. It slowly sat up and looked around at its new surroundings. Finally, its eyes fell upon Yuki. Curiosity danced within them.

Beautiful... thought the inventor.

"Who are you?" the mechanical humanoid asked, wrapping the cloth around its naked body.

"I am Yuki. I am the one who brought you to life," Yuki answered, moving closer.

"Yuki?"

"Yes. It means snow."

"Oh. ...Then who am I? Do I have a name?" The doll pointed to itself.

Yuki paused. A name. In all her work, the only thing she'd neglected was to come up with a suitable name for her masterpiece. She placed a hand on her chin and concentrated. After a few seconds of silence, she had her answer.

"Ryoko. Your name from now on will be Ryoko," Yuki announced.

The doll seemed to consider this for a bit, before its face broke out into a smile. "Ryoko... I like that name! And I like you too, Yuki!"

And Yuki smiled back.


After clothing Ryoko, Yuki showed her around the house. Though she was built like a teenager, her mindset was like that of a small child's. She could barely walk at first, so Yuki had to guide her along by the hand. The experience was like trying to help a newborn colt or fawn onto its feet. It would definitely take some time for her to adjust to her surroundings.

Fearing that she would be ostracized for her unusual experiment if anyone snooped around too closely, Yuki had only made one rule for Ryoko- she wasn't allowed to venture out of the house unless she was with her. The blue-haired girl easily complied, allowing Yuki to switch her off until she came back to the house when gone at long intervals of time. Yuki was certain that she would be able to invent a backstory in case anyone did ever learn about Ryoko's existence. A family friend or relative that had been bed-ridden up until now. Maybe an apprentice that had just arrived over the night.

Everything would be just fine.

"What are these?" Ryoko asked pointing at some blue flowers growing in Yuki's garden at the back of the house.

"They're called flowers. Plants that grow in the soil around us. They need fresh soil, water, and sunlight in order to live. This specific breed is known as an azalea," replied Yuki, guiding Ryoko over to the flower patch. "I grew them because I always thought blue was a very beautiful color for flowers. They're my favorites."

"Blue? Just like my hair?" Ryoko ran a hand through her soft bangs.

"Exactly. I wanted a color that would stand out. You're very special to me, Ryoko."

And if to justify her point, Yuki plucked an azalea from the ground and tied it into the smaller girl's hair. Ryoko brushed her fingers against the petals before smiling up at Yuki. The two of them spent the entire day together, just looking at the plant-life around the house.

"Yuki?" Ryoko said, during the trip back into the house. "You said that plants needed those three things in order to live, right?"

"Yes," Yuki responded. "Why?"

"Well, I don't need any of those to keep on going. Am I still alive?"

"Of course you are. You're more alive than any tree, flower, or blade of grass."


Soon, spring passed and winter arrived. During that time, Yuki taught Ryoko how to read and write in her small library. The lessons sometimes went on for hours, but either one of them noticed. The doll made it very clear that she loved Yuki. And Yuki loved her back as well.

Today, however, was a time to relax.

Yuki sat in the foyer, reading a novel she'd brought with herself from the city. Looking up, she saw Ryoko dressed in a snug sweater kneeling in front of the large window across from her spot. She was watching the snowflakes fall to the ground. The room being illuminated by the large fireplace at the back of the room.

"Do you like the snow?" asked Yuki.

"It looks very pretty," mused Ryoko, pressing hands against the glass. "Yuki? Didn't you once tell me that your name actually means snow?"

"Yes, it does. Well, when written in a certain way it does. It's somewhat hard to explain."

"Ahhh. Wow. A beautiful name... for a beautiful person..."

Yuki's blush was rapid. Walking over to the girl on the floor, Yuki sat behind her and slung her arms around Ryoko's small shoulders. The two of stayed like that for several minutes, just watching the snowflakes hit the window. And later that night, Ryoko crawled into bed with Yuki and slept with her head on her chest like an infant.

For a puppet made of metal and plastic, Yuki discovered that Ryoko's skin was surprisingly warm and soft as silk.


"Yuki?" Ryoko said one morning as she glided into her creator's study, "Can I ask you a question?"

"Certainly," replied Yuki.

Ryoko shuffled her bare feet uncomfortably against the floor's carpeting. "Why don't I have a heart?"

"A heart?" Yuki was taken aback by this a bit. "What brought this up?"

Ryoko held up a small book. "I was reading through this book of yours on medicine and it talked about the heart being one of the body's most important parts. Why don't I have one? Am I different?"

"No. You are not different at all. You're just special. There are things about you that set you apart from a regular person, such as myself," Yuki explained.

"Special..." Ryoko looked as though she was rolling the word around in her mouth. "Yuki? What goes into a heart? Why's it more important than all of the body's other parts?"

"That's a good question. In my opinion, a heart has four pieces that make it up. There's sorrow for one. Everyone feels sad in their life at least once. There's empathy, which lets us forgive one another for something we're sorry about. And finally, we have love and hate. I've told you about them before, Haven't I?" Yuki locked eyes with her blue-haired companion.

"I see... Sorrow, empathy, love, and hate... Yuki?"

"Yes?"

"Can... you give me a heart of my own?"

"A heart of your own... But why? You're perfect the way you are. You don't really need one."

"But I want to be like you. It bothers me that my body doesn't have the same sound that comes out of your chest. That steady beat. Just silence inside me. So can I please have a heart of my own, Yuki? Please?"

And Yuki looked Ryoko straight in the face and said, "Of course you can, Ryoko."

Yuki set aside her work, and began to construct a heart for Ryoko. It was a complex little machine. She cobbled it out of spare parts from previous assignments she'd completed in the past, and began to piece them together with her new materials.

It took only two days, but to Yuki, they felt like weeks. Ryoko let herself be shut off and placed upon Yuki's work station, while her builder began to "operate". She cut through the synthetic skin gently with her scalpel and found a place for the heart to rest above the artificial human's left "lung". And then Yuki switched it on. The heart began to hum softly and then emitted a steady, mechanical beat.

Click-clack, click-clack, click-clack.

Up close, it sounded like the ticking of a clock. But when Yuki sewed up the incision, the muffled ticking resembled the beating of an actual heart. Switching on Ryoko, the mechanical girl smiled brightly.

"Thank you, Yuki! I can hear my heart. Now I feel just like you," Ryoko said as she hugged Yuki.

Yuki stroked the top of Ryoko's head. "I'm glad you do."

And still smiling, Ryoko leaned forward and kissed Yuki on the lips.

Predictably, Yuki's eyes widened. Ryoko had never really been this affectionate before; they had only exchanged hugs and pats on the head before in the past, but not something of this magnitude. The doll-maker was caught off-guard for a few seconds more before she returned the kiss back with equal interest. Ryoko's lips were sweet; like berries that had been plucked from a bush and made into a tasty filling for a pastry. Ryoko found Yuki equally enjoyable; the purple-haired woman's taste reminded her of the mint-flavored candies that she sometimes ate. Ryoko could only smell, not taste, so she had to make an educated guess.

But while happiness coursed through Ryoko's head, sadness ran through Yuki's.

This was in fact, the very first time Yuki had officially lied to Ryoko. The clockwork heart had no other function for Ryoko, other than making its sound. It wasn't made from sorrow, empathy, love, or hate; just gears and springs all woven together. Deep down, she knew Ryoko wouldn't be able to actually understand the meaning of a real heart made of flesh and blood. So she lied.

But not to Ryoko- Yuki had lied to herself, to keep her own heart from breaking into two.

She had never felt more terrible.


A month after Ryoko received her heart, Yuki was in her shop, going over inventory when he came along.

"Are you, Yuki?" asked a voice at the door.

Yuki looked up and saw him. He was a few years old than her, with dark brown hair and a kind face.

"Yes, I am. Can I help with anything?" she asked.

The man smiled sincerely and scratched the back of his head nervously. "Not really. I just wanted to talk to you. Do you remember helping out a little girl with a doll, a long time ago? She was crying if that helps."

Yuki vaguely recalled that event from her foggy memory. "Yes. She said it was her friend's or something like that. What about her?"

"Well, that was my younger sister. She and my family live here. I've been going to school in the city for awhile, but now I get to spend some quality time with the little squirt. She told me about how you helped her out."

"Oh. It was no trouble at all."

"What's your name?" he asked, tilting his head to the side.

"My name is Yuki. What is your name?" she inquired back.

"Everyone just calls me Kyon. But, Yuki, I really wanted to thank for what you did. Not everyone I know is as kind as you," And with that, Kyon began to head out of the store, but looked over his shoulder at her once more. "Thanks again. I really admire what you do for a living. Goodbye."

And then he was gone. Yuki felt her face grow hot. Kyon made her feel... she couldn't quite find a word for the feeling, but it reminded her of when she had kissed Ryoko. And now she was filling with an overwhelming urge to see Kyon again.

She wasn't to be disappointed, when he called her a few days later. He wanted to ask if she could help fix his family's air conditioner. Moving it to her shop would have been too much of a hassle, so Kyon left it at the house and waited until Yuki came over with her supplies. It was a hot day, so Kyon brought Yuki a drink while she worked on it there. They chatted about their lives. She revealed some of her aspirations and thoughts to him- he did the same in return.

And even after the work was finished and the money was exchanged, Yuki continued to stay, until the sun set and it was time for her to go home. It was dark, so Kyon decided to walk her home.

"Thanks for everything, Yuki," Kyon smiled before he turned and headed back to his own residence. Yuki waved to him from her doorstep and entered her home. Ryoko was there to greet her.

"You're late," Ryoko said after the door had been closed. "I thought something had happened to you."

"Just work stuff," Yuki said. It was the truth. Ryoko seemed to take this well enough before her trademark smile appeared on her face.

"That's fine. I'm just glad you're here, Yuki! I don't know what I would do if something happened to you! I'd probably just be a weak little flower in this big world without you!" Ryoko laughed.

Yuki ruffled the top of Ryoko's hair and stared into her sapphire eyes. "Don't worry about me, Ryoko. I'd never let anything happen to you."

"Promise?"

"I promise."


The following week, Kyon got together with Yuki again. He introduced her to friend of his named Mikuru. Yuki recognized her as the girl with the red hair who came to get her clock repaired a long time ago.

"It's so wonderful to meet you officially for the first time!" cheered Mikuru, gently shaking her hand.

They spent some time together talk about their lives, when they suddenly found themselves in front of Yuki's house. As Mikuru began to tell Yuki about how she had befriended Kyon, Yuki happened to glance up at the second-story window.

It was a flash of blue.

Yuki bid Kyon and Mikuru farewell and headed inside. She found Ryoko sitting in the dining room in her own chair.

"Who were they?" the puppet asked softly.

Yuki stepped towards Ryoko and said, "They were just some friends I've made in town."

"I see. The boy looks very nice from what I've seen. What's his name?" Ryoko asked calmly.

"Kyon. But it's really more of a nickname," Yuki answered.

"Kyon... Mmmm... Do you think that I could meet them someday?"

"We've been through this before. They just wouldn't understand."

"But you said they were your friends."

Yuki fell silent. Ryoko brushed past her and began to make her way to her own room. But not before saying one last thing.

"Have fun with your new friends, Yuki. Just try not to get hurt. I know I wouldn't."


Yuki had gone to town on one of her days off and was exploring a new shop that had just opened. She was wandering through an empty aisle of wooden containers, trying to find something. She had no idea what, though It was then that she was approached by the store's owner, a young man with sandy brown hair and a dazzling smile.

"May I help you, miss?" he politely asked.

"Yes. I'm looking for something to keep my... tools and spare supplies in," Yuki told him. "Something big. Very big. I have a lot of things to store away."

"Big, you say? Hmmm... Ah! I believe I have just the right thing for you."

He led her into the back room with was covered in dust and stacked with packages. The man with the smile brought her over to a covered item. He grasped the edge of it and pulled it off.

It was a beautifully carved wooden box with metal hinges on it. It was shaped like a rectangle, and seemed quite large. Almost big enough to fit a person inside. The grim side of Yuki's brain instantly brought the word coffin to mind. An old-fashioned steel lock hung from its side. A tiny silver key with a snowflake-shaped handle lay upon its surface.

"It's perfect. I'll take it," Yuki said after a thorough examination.

"Excellent choice, miss," said the man, his smile not wavering the slightest. "I'll have it delivered this afternoon. ...By the way, your name wouldn't happen to be Yuki, would it?"

"It is."

"Ah! You must be Kyon's new friend. I'm Itsuki, his old friend from the city. I just moved here."

"It's a pleasure to meet you."

Itsuki would later introduce Yuki to his girlfriend, an energetic girl named Haruhi. She was loud and boisterous, the complete opposite of Itsuki.

"So you're Yuki, huh? Well, I'm Haruhi! And any friend of Itsuki and Kyon is a friend of mine!" grinned Haruhi, giving Yuki a vigorous handshake.

Time passed and Yuki began to spend more time with her new circle of friends.

Itsuki told her interesting theories of his, Haruhi was always there to make her laugh with one of her stories, and Mikuru always made them delicious tea. They had an afternoon tea together at Haruhi's house because she insisted upon it. As they sat around talking, Yuki couldn't help but smile. It felt so wonderful to belong.

Just as she adding some honey to her cup of tea, Yuki happened to glance up past Haruhi and Kyon. Something was moving outside in the vegetation of the woods. Something very familiar...

"Excuse me," Yuki said abruptly, swiftly moving past her confused friends and heading outside into the sunshine. She approached the grove of trees where she had seen the disturbance.

It couldn't be... she thought to herself as she pawed through the leaves. You're just being paranoid, Yuki.

And as she walked out of the grove she looked down at the ground and froze.

It was a freshly picked azalea.

She spent a few more minutes chatting with Kyon and the others, before she took off for home. Imagine Yuki's surprise when she encountered Ryoko sitting on the front steps, wearing an aqua summer dress.

"Have a good time with them?" asked Ryoko.

Yuki waved the crushed flower in Ryoko's face. "Ryoko, did you leave the house while I was gone?"

Ryoko smiled like a child with a secret. "Actually, Yuki, I did."

"Where did you go?" Yuki asked quietly.

"I was learning."

"Learning?"

"Yes. I went out for a walk in the woods. Just to look at the plants and animals. I saw a stream, too."

"You know you're never supposed to go outside unless I'm here with you. Don't make me switch you off for the rest of the day, Ryoko."

Ryoko seemed taken aback and began to sniffle, despite the fact that she couldn't produce real tears. "I'm... I'm sorry, Yuki. I didn't mean to upset you. I won't make you worry ever again."

Yuki's expression softened considerably. She knelt down to Ryoko, and the two shared a hug. It was just them now- creator and creation. But as Ryoko got up and began to walk back into the house, Yuki had a question on her mind that needed answering.

"Ryoko?" Yuki asked uncertainly, feeling almost ashamed at asking such a thing. "If I left you alone again... would you go outside on your own?"

And Ryoko stopped dead in her tracks. She remained deathly still for ten seconds; the only sounds heard at the moment being the click-clack of her artificial heart and the thump-thump of Yuki's real one. Finally, she turned her head over her shoulder and locked eyes with Yuki.

"No, Yuki. I wouldn't dream of it."


Summer was beginning to end. Yuki went off to meet with her companions as they were gathering outside her shop. They were all smiling.

"Have we got a surprise for you, Yuki!" shouted Haruhi.

"What?" Yuki was very confused.

"We're going to the city for a vacation," said Itsuki. "We figured some time away from the sticks would do us all some good. I kind of miss the old place."

"Please come with us, Yuki! It wouldn't be as fun without you," Mikuru pleaded.

"Well? Want to come or not? I'd really like it if you did," asked Kyon, looking a bit hopeful.

Yuki thought it over in her head. She hadn't seen the city for quite some time now. Ryoko briefly flashed through her mind, but Yuki pushed the thought away. This was something she couldn't let slip by.

"I'll go," she said after a moment of internal debating.

"Great! We'll be leaving in a few days. We'll come by when you're ready, okay?" Kyon smiled.

Yuki nodded and went home. She went through her routine as usual with Ryoko, spending time with her, and going to work. When the big day arrived, Yuki crept into Ryoko's room and switched her off. She gave her a silent farewell and left.

Yuki thoroughly enjoyed her time in the city. Hanging around with real people made her realize how much she loved the company of them. They did many wonderful activities together. And it was during the trip that Kyon told her how much he really liked her. Their relationship became even closer than it was before.

It was the best two weeks of summer Yuki ever had.


Yuki said goodbye to Kyon and the others before she went inside her house. It felt strange without Ryoko to greet her. She entered the room and pressed down on Ryoko's neck to activate her.

At first, Ryoko did not stir. She didn't even move. Puzzled, Yuki leaned in towards her face.

Ryoko's eyes snapped open and she cast a melancholic look at her master. "Why did you leave me alone for so long?"

Yuki's breath caught in her throat. "What?"

"You left me here all alone, Yuki. I was lying here in this cold room for so long. Why didn't you say anything to me, Yuki? Why? Do you hate me? Did you want to escape me?"

"I... I didn't think you would understand."

At once, Ryoko's face transformed; she went from wide-eyed and scared to a menacing sneer. "Oh. I see now. I wouldn't understand. It is because I'm different? I've had a lot of time to think. I know I'm a fake, Yuki. Don't lie to me anymore."

"I never said you were a fake anything!" Yuki couldn't believe she had actually raised her voice. Ryoko returned her look of bewilderment with a sneer. What had changed?

"Please!" Ryoko said in a harsh tone that was unlike her. "I know what I am, Yuki. I've had plenty of time to think on that. I know why my heart sounds different from yours. I've listened carefully to it. Without any noise in the house, the sound became clearer. Face it, Yuki. The reason you won't let me see your friends is because you're ashamed of me!"

"I'm not-"

"You are! Everything about me is fake! The way I look, the way I feel... What I'm feeling right now is probably phony, too. I'm not special at all, Yuki. I'm just a monster. That you created to fill in some kind of sick fantasy!"

"Stop that," Yuki ordered sternly.

"Why? Because you're my creator, right? What about our time together, Yuki? Don't you remember our time together? I miss the way you used to hold me. And you never kiss me anymore. I miss all that," Ryoko said mournfully.

Yuki sighed deeply and tried to explain. "It's just that Kyon and the others are the first friends I've met since I've come here. I don't want to lose them. If you want, I'll introduce them to you. I know you'll like them. And I know they'll like you, too."

At those words, Ryoko scoffed and looked away so that her eyes wouldn't be in direct contact with Yuki's golden ones. "Meet them? Yeah, right. If they knew where I had come from, they'd be afraid of me. Face it, Yuki, I'm a freak. I deserve to just live here in this cramped room and rust away."

A mocking giggle exited the blunette's mouth.

"You know what's funny about this? This never would have happened if it wasn't for Kyon. I hate him. He stole you from me. What happened while you were gone? Did he kiss you? ...Ah. He did, didn't he? I can tell just by the look on your face. It's because of him that you don't even care about me anymore. I really hate him. I really, really do. And all his stupid friends, too. I hate them all. Or is my hatred fake, too, Yu-"

Ryoko's sentence was cut off as Yuki's hand raked the side of her cheek. Her head snapped back from the blow and she fell from the chair she rested upon. Cupping the side of her face, Ryoko stared up at Yuki from the floor, who's breathing was heavy.

"Don't you ever talk about Kyon, Haruhi, Mikuru, and Itsuki again like that, Ryoko," Yuki said venomously. But then the full force of what she had done struck Yuki, and she reached forward to help Ryoko from the floor.

Ryoko pushed Yuki's hand away as though it were infected and walked off into the hallway. They didn't speak to each other for the rest of the day.

Dinner wasn't the same either. Usually, Ryoko was very chatty and asked Yuki about her day while she ate. Instead, Ryoko kept her head towards the floor the whole meal. Yuki looked up from her soup and squinted at Ryoko's eyes from behind her glasses. Her normally bright and sparking eyes were cold and dull.

"I'm sorry about what I did to you, Ryoko," Yuki whispered. "It's just... I love Kyon, too. He's very important to me. Just as much as you are."

To this, Ryoko said nothing.

"Ryoko?"

Yuki watched as her doll stood up and headed for the stairs. Before her foot touched the first step, she cast a look over her shoulder.

"Tell me this, Yuki... If I was truly alive, would you love me just as much as you love Kyon?"

Now it was Yuki's turn to remain silent. When this happened, Ryoko went back to climbing the stairs.

"I thought so."

This continued for six more days. Ryoko continued to ignore Yuki, and Yuki hung out with her friends.

And then it happened.


Yuki awoke in the middle of the evening. She had just had an awful nightmare. Something about Ryoko...

Shaking it from her mind, she went downstairs to make herself some tea. As she touched down on floor from the final step, her bare foot stepped in something wet and sticky. Curious, Yuki looked down and her eyes widened in shock.

Blood.

The floor was covered in a trail leading from outside the garden. The door was wide open. Still trying to regain control over the situation, Yuki stepped over to the door and looked outside. No sign of a single person or a struggle. But the puddle of blood and the long trail from it that led inside said otherwise.

Shutting the door, Yuki cautiously followed the bloody trail. Her throat dry, and her hands nervously twitching, she slowly stepped into the foyer that she had always found solace in. It was dark, so she reached for the light switch on the wall and flipped it on.

And then Yuki saw what was in the center of the room and almost fainted.

Four pairs of lifeless eyes glanced up at her. The bodies were covered in deep lacerations. You could barely tell they were the same people only a few minutes ago. You could barely tell that they were once people. But Yuki knew who they were. The yellow ribbons on one of the heads were a dead giveaway.

Kyon, Haruhi, Mikuru, and Itsuki.

Dead.

Yuki stood there for many minutes, just staring at the sight in front of her. Not knowing what to do for once, Yuki broke down and cried. Tears spilled from her eyes, splashing down onto the blood-soaked carpet, the salty smell mixing in with the coppery scent. Yuki continued to cry, until she heard the sound of footsteps from behind. She turned around.

"Well..." said Ryoko, a bloody knife in one hand and a smile on her lips. "It looks like your friends decided to drop in for a visit."


Yuki placed the last pile of dirt on the ground with her shovel. She had buried all four of them in the garden. It had taken her hours, but it was done. What made it harder was the fact that Ryoko had been watching her from the house the entire time. She marched somberly into the house and shut the door behind her. She found Ryoko sitting in the foyer.

"I guess they couldn't stay very long," Ryoko said with a laugh, as though she had made a grand joke.

Yuki's shovel clattered to the floor from her grip. White-hot anger now replaced her deep sadness. She stormed over to Ryoko and seized her by the collar.

"WHY?" she snarled into Ryoko's still-present smile. "Why did you have to kill them?"

"Because they were in the way of our love, Yuki. They took you away from me. I couldn't them get away with that now, could I?" Ryoko's smile became a toothy grin.

Yuki shoved the murderer back down onto the sofa. She gathered her composure and took a deep breath. And then Yuki left the room, only to return minutes later dragging in the box she had bought from Itsuki from so long ago.

"What are you doing, Yuki?" Ryoko asked curiously.

Yuki set the box down, opened it, and said to the killer of her friends, "I'm putting you inside the box, Ryoko. I'm going to turn you off, take you apart piece by piece, and then place each and every part of you inside. And then I'm going to burn you in the fireplace. After that, I'll see to it that not even a single ash of your remains. I can't have you hurting anyone else. I never should have made you. You were only a crutch for me. And now I don't need you anymore."

Ryoko's face was one of pure shock. But slowly but surely, she regained her smile and giggled. Yuki was confused.

"Sorry to disappoint you, Yuki. But I'm not going to burn that easily," she snickered.

"We'll see about that," Yuki strode forward and grabbed Ryoko by the arms, causing her to drop the knife. It was odd, Yuki thought, about how Ryoko's dress was so free of blood and yet, the knife was coated in the life-giving fluid all the way to its handle. Still gripping one of her arms, Yuki felt for the switch to power down Ryoko.

Only it wasn't there anymore.

"What? Where... Where..." Yuki felt around for the tell-tale bump on Ryoko's neck. All she felt now was smooth skin. The purple haired-woman now saw that the smaller girl in her hold was beaming triumphantly at her.

"Confused, my love? You probably should be. After all, I'm not a machine anymore. I'm real now, Yuki. And I have you to thank for it," Ryoko said euphorically, while Yuki's eyes showed signs of alarm.

"But that's impossible... You're only a machine..." Yuki felt the room began to spin. Out of instinct, she placed her hand over the spot on the left side of Ryoko's chest. That's when she heard it.

Thump-thump, thump-thump, thump-thump.

"Hear that?" jeered Ryoko. "I now have a heart of my own now. Not just something made out of machine parts. A real heart. And now, Yuki, I can love you back for real now. You're mine."

Ryoko encircled her arms around the inventor's waist and pulled her down to her height. Yuki had no time to react as Ryoko's mouth closed over her own. Unlike the last few kisses, this was stronger and full of passion. It was also much rougher; Yuki could feel Ryoko biting her lip until she could taste the faint flavor of blood. The sharp fingernails dug into her back as though they were spears or lances. This wasn't the Ryoko Yuki had made. It was just a monster wearing her face.

"No!" Yuki shoved Ryoko away from her. Ryoko looked baffled, until a look of rage made its way onto her angelic face.

"I see now. You're thinking about him now, aren't you? Kyon, right? You want his love and to be loved by him in return again, is that it? Well..." Ryoko smiled hideously. "Have this then."

Yuki watched as Ryoko dug something out of her pocket: a small, round, black object. She tossed it carelessly to the floor. Yuki stared at it, wondering what it could be. Then she saw the blood around Ryoko's hands and fingers and her jaw dropped open in horror and disgust.

"You said you wanted his love, right? Isn't that what hearts have in them? Go ahead and take it, Yuki. I don't think Kyon will be using it anytime soon," Ryoko said, wiping the blood on the front of her dress.

Yuki continued to stare down at the bloody mass on the ground. She made no attempt to inspect it further or make a sound. Then Yuki suddenly darted forward and struck Ryoko across the face. The blow caught her off guard, and she fell onto the floor on her back. Seizing this moment, Yuki snatched up the knife and stabbed Ryoko in the chest with it. Ryoko never lost her smile in the slightest.

"I'm sorry, Ryoko," Yuki said, tears beginning to spill out from behind her glasses. "But you're broken. And I can't even fix you. So, goodbye."

And Yuki began to cut away. She sliced through the skin, blood spurting out of the wound and splattering onto her hands and face. She used the knife as a shovel and went through skin, muscle, sinew, and bone, until she saw it.

Ryoko's beating heart.

"See?" Ryoko smiled weakly, blood spilling out of her mouth like fine wine, "I have a heart of my own now, Yuki. All because of your love. I guess you forgot about one thing when you were telling me about what goes into a heart, Yuki. Did you forget all about jealousy? Because my heart was certainly filled with it."

And fast as lightning, Yuki reached in and plucked out Ryoko's heart as though it were a ripe fruit. Ryoko lost her smile. She watched as Yuki bent over the box and threw it in as though it were garbage. Yuki stood up, just as Ryoko said something.

"What?" Yuki asked. Ryoko muttered something unintelligible. Turning around to face her former-friend and lover, Yuki saw that Ryoko now had genuine tears streaming down her pale face. Her visage was now a mixture of rage and sadness.

"You promised me, Yuki. You promised."

And then Ryoko's mouth shut and her eyelids slid over her azure orbs. Ryoko was no longer alive.

Sighing, Yuki picked up Ryoko's body bridal-style and carried her over to the box. Placing her inside as if it were a coffin, Yuki felt as though she had aged a great deal of years. Shutting the lid, Yuki pushed it into the fireplace, sending up a small cloud of embers. The flames began to greedily devour the wooden container and its contents.

She should have been happy to have avenged her friends. But she didn't. Instead, she saw that the embers had settled onto the bookshelves and were igniting. Frightened, Yuki began to walk away. And as she did, she looked into the fireplace and saw it. She had good reason not to believe what she saw at first. The box's lid was ajar, giving her a good view of Ryoko's bloody face and hair. That should have been the end of that.

But lying alongside Ryoko in the box was herself; her own gold eyes staring right back at her and her lavender hair already beginning to blacken.

"How... Why... I don't understand..." Yuki whispered to herself in disbelief as the fire slithered towards her body like ravenous snakes. She wanted to run, but her strength had somehow left her. Her legs felt as though she were anchored to the spot.

Two lithe arms wrapped around her waist, and a familiar head with blue hair and eyes nuzzled against her right shoulder causing Yuki to gasp. "It's quite simple, Yuki. I wasn't the one doing all of those naughty things."

A soft giggle.

"It was you."

Yuki suddenly found it even more difficult to breathe, even without the billowing clouds of smoke rising from the hearth.

"Me?"

"Yes, Yuki. You. Think back a little earlier..."

Yuki began to protest against Ryoko's grip, but stopped suddenly. Her head throbbed in pain. Several images that she shouldn't have seen before began to appear in her mind.

She saw herself inviting Kyon, Haruhi, Mikuru, and Itsuki over for an evening get-together.

Yuki's breath caught in her throat.

She saw herself go into the kitchen and rummage through the drawers while the others talked in the foyer. She came up with a slender kitchen knife moments later.

Yuki's eyes widened in stunned realization.

She saw herself call Haruhi into the kitchen shortly after. The girl with yellow ribbons asked if everything was okay, and quickly received a knife to the gut.

Yuki's stomach lurched.

She watched as Mikuru entered the kitchen to check on Haruhi. Upon seeing Haruhi's body on the floor, she screamed loudly, and had her throat promptly slit by Yuki, who had been hiding behind the door.

Yuki's knees buckled and she fell to the floor.

She watched Itsuki run into the room upon hearing Mikuru's scream. He spotted Yuki holding a bloodstained-knife and chased after her outside. It was while Itsuki was turning a corner in the garden, that Yuki leapt from the darkness and jammed the blade all the way up to the handle into his spine.

Yuki felt the bile in her throat rise.

She saw herself enter the foyer- but it was empty. A noise. Whirling around, she saw Kyon stumble out of the kitchen, a look of shock and horror on his face. His eyes were filled with tears. Slowly, Kyon reached his hand towards her. Yuki swayed uneasily and came at him, her weapon aimed at his chest. Kyon didn't even try to fight back. And even after he was still, Yuki continued to slash away until she reached into the ruined chest cavity and pulled out a small, dark lump. And all the while, Ryoko watched with her painted-on smile, even after Yuki dragged in the other bodies and began to... And the only thing she remembered now was herself trudging back up stairs to sleep.

Unable to take it anymore, Yuki placed her hands on the ground and vomited. She convulsed for a few seconds, and began to cough violently from both the sour taste in her mouth and the smoke entering her lungs.

"Why would I do any of that? There were my friends! I couldn't have... I couldn't!" Despite the intense heat slowly filling the room, Yuki began to shiver.

Ryoko stood on her toes, planted an icy kiss on Yuki's cheek, and continued to hold her. "Don't you understand, Yuki? Part of you wanted them as your new friends. The other part didn't. It wanted me. You just didn't see it. Look down."

Glancing down, Yuki now saw that her own clothes were drenched in blood, the fabric stained a shade of rust. Her once pale hands looked brown in the firelight from where the blood had dried.

"No..." Yuki muttered in disgust at the truth. Already she was beginning to feel drowsy and found it difficult to breathe. Tongues of flame were now lapping at her skin.

"Yes," confirmed Ryoko, now moving around to rest her head on the chest of her creator. "I didn't do anything. You did it all. I always knew you loved me more than them. Even when you broke my heart. See?"

And she gestured to her own butchered body laying in the fire besides Yuki's.

"You'll be going to a very warm place soon, Yuki. Your friends will be somewhere else. But don't worry..."

The next words crept into Yuki's ears like spiders.

"I'll be there with you, too. And I'll love you forever and ever."

As Ryoko laughed, Yuki desperately tried to find the urge to scream. But her throat was too dry to even make the smallest sound. Collapsing in Ryoko's arms, Yuki tiredly watched as the jaws of flame opened to swallow both of them whole.

Soon the snow melted away and dried, while the flower wilted away and died.

And all that remained was fire and darkness.


A/N: Poor Yuki. It was all in her head.

I realized that this even creepier when you take into consideration that in the anime, Ryoko remarks on how one day Yuki might turn on her friends at a moment's notice depending on how the Data Overmind feels about their research progressing.

I've seen plenty of Yuki/Ryoko fanart of them just hanging out with each other, but occasionally, I've seen a really blood-curdling picture. This pairing is alluring, yet twisted at the same time.

Please review and send me your feedback!