Disclaimer: I own nothing.
AN: This story is really more of a character piece than a story, but I liked writing it, so I thought I might as well post it. Takes place a bit before Setsuna goes off to Mahora to guard Konoka, and is probably a little AU in some way.
Tsukuyomi sighed blissfully, drawing yet another strange look from the healer. She didn't really mind that though; people were always looking at her oddly. Thankfully she'd finally learned to accept it instead of letting it bother her. Being bored with the people around her was much simpler than being annoyed. When she'd let herself get annoyed was when the bodies started to pile up around her, and as much as she enjoyed killing, the lack of restraint would only work against demons. If she killed that many humans, people might start trying to do things to her instead of just staring.
She didn't consider that a real problem, but for now, she was experimenting with the amount of human contact she could stand without going on some sort of rampage. It was a game of sorts that she had just recently developed.
Some days, it was only the knowledge that she was still playing the game that kept her from trying to kill the Shinmeiryuu swordsmen that spent far too much of their time staring at her. She could feel their eyes following her at all times, waiting for her to confirm what they could only suspect.
The looks themselves might not be annoying anymore, but all of the extra attention was trying her patience. She wanted to feel the warmth of their blood very badly, and soon, the gentle reminders that sometimes appeared in the back of her head and explained just how powerful a true Shinmeiryuu Master was wouldn't be enough to hold her back.
"How did you say this happened?" The healer asked nervously.
Tsukuyomi blinked at the person who was magically stitching up her bleeding forearm. He was talking this time. That wouldn't do. If he talked at her too much, she wouldn't be able to resist the call of his blood, and she was still playing her game. Not to mention that he had a very grating voice that was sure to make her eardrums burst when he screamed, and she could tell by the way he used his magic that he wouldn't put up any sort of a fight in the first place.
It was a shame he wasn't female. Their bodies tended to be soft enough that Tsukuyomi could ignore any obvious failings they had as opponents.
"Oh, I tripped and landed badly on my knife," Tsukuyomi lied chirpily. She did hope he wouldn't ask anything else with that horrible voice of his—she disliked being forced to lie.
"I see," he said, annoying his patient further. He was clearly recovering what little good sense he had, though, since he was quick to look back at Tsukuyomi's arm instead of continuing to stare.
Her arm was still bleeding quite a bit. The blood wasn't as warm as it had felt when she first sliced open her delicate skin, but it was still comforting.
She hadn't yet decided whether or not making herself bleed was against the rules. Technically, she was a Shinmeiryuu swordswoman. The rules she'd outlined in her head clearly stated that she'd lose if she cut a member of the dojo outside of practice.
Did she lose, then? After all, even if the only blood shed was her own, she was still a student of the dojo, and the reasons behind the violence were the same as they would have been if she'd gone after another practitioner. What she was trying to restrain wasn't the result, it was the motive that tended to lead—
Wait, why was that again?
Tsukuyomi frowned for a second, trying to remember why she wasn't supposed to want to kill people. Wanting it usually led to killing, which was something she enjoyed.
Oh, but other people didn't like it, so they responded by trying to kill her back. Especially Shinmeiryuu swordsmen, and most of them were stronger than her, since she was still in the beginning stages of her training. They would probably succeed in killing her back, which result in no more fun for her.
A light went off in Tsukuyomi's head, and she remembered the better reason she had for restraint: if she killed people, the members of the Shinmeiryuu dojo would most likely take offense (because they were very strange like that), and then they would stop teaching her, and she needed the teaching to be stronger so she could kill people without worrying so much about the consequences. Thinking about the consequences always took the fun away. It was confusing and made her head hurt.
Recalling the reason she was bothering with the dojo in the first place made her feel much better about following the rules of her game and not killing the healer. If he continued to annoy her, all she had to do to avoid breaking the spirit of the game, if not the actual rules, was get stronger than anyone else so she could take his life without fearing repercussions.
That thought made her very happy indeed. Her frustrated frown vanished under the force of her grin. She started to hum.
He would heal her arm, and she would get stronger.
And then she could kill him.
It was cold.
When Tsukuyomi tried to remember what life was like before she discovered the addictive taste of blood, that was what came to mind. A constant, dull chill that never left, no matter what she did. It felt like the world was made entirely of ice.
At first, she didn't know what was wrong—just that something wasn't exactly right, and she wanted to fix it. The thing she came to know as being cold was horribly unpleasant.
She found out how to fix it when her mother cut herself chopping up food. Somehow, her mother failed to notice any pain in her hand until the blood that the knife caught flew through the air and landed on Tsukuyomi's hand.
It was warm.
Tsukuyomi wanted that warmth more than anything else in the world. It was so very, very different from what she was used to; even the most stifling embrace had always felt cold to her. To know something as exquisite as this warmth was almost beyond her comprehension.
She could only wait a few hours before she needed to feel it again.
They were both asleep, so she didn't have to worry about the problems that usually came with killing people. Her mother's scream almost caused her some trouble, but she was very quick. The noise from both of them died down the instant before their hearts stopped.
Blood was splattered all across the room, decorating it very prettily.
And Tsukuyomi was on fire.
She left very quickly after that because people started coming into the house and yelling. They yelled more when they saw the bedroom. She didn't particularly like yelling, and she was too dazed by the warmth to think about dealing with them appropriately, so she walked out the front door and let them have their yelling.
Her mother's knife left with her.
The next few months were delightful. She had her knife, and she had countless creatures all around her the bled sweet heat. There were some busy days where she could actually forget that such a horrible thing as cold had ever existed.
But there were always people. They seemed to appear out of thin air sometimes just so they could steal her joy. And they always brought the cold with them. A few times, she made the mistake of brushing up against them. Each time, she would instantly lose the heat that her fun brought her, and she could never do anything about it. They were stronger than she was—even if she killed one of them, more would come.
Tsukuyomi stopped having fun. There were too many people, and the blood of small animals, which she could take down easily, wasn't keeping her warm enough anymore. She needed her knife to taste human flesh.
That was easier said than done. The people who ventured out into the small corner of the woods she lived in were always well-trained and experienced. She was neither, and it was starting to cost her dearly.
She hadn't wanted to be a swordsman. The thought of actually conforming to any discipline, even if it was one that would allow her to kill people more efficiently, bothered her. She wasn't the sort of person that appreciated confinement of any sort.
To make matters worse, her training would be with other human beings. Human beings that it would be a very bad idea to kill.
Without the occasional training 'accident' Tsukuyomi was sure that she would have frozen to death. There was also the random skirmish with demons, where she could be as ruthless as she wanted and no one would bother complaining. That was it, though.
Was it any wonder, Tsukuyomi thought dolefully, that she took such pleasure in her own blood now? It was the only source of warmth she could rely on now.
By now, the healer was starting to look concerned. It made Tsukuyomi want to laugh, but she knew better than that; if she did anything out of the ordinary for her, the uneasiness the healer felt around her would lose out to his sense of duty as a medic. And if that happened, more people would start doing things to her instead of watching, and that was the last thing she wanted.
Though they'd be more than welcome to try to do things to her in a few years. It was just now that was a very bad time for any complications like that.
So Tsukuyomi sat still and let the annoying man be concerned. The way he was acting was annoying and very, very funny, but she could put up with it. However, the second she decided that she was bored with her little game she was going to take extreme pleasure in killing him.
Not that he was really her first choice for a victim. One of the more watchful instructors would be a much better pick. Her boredom with them was fading back into annoyance the longer she went without cutting into someone else's flesh.
That was probably a bad thing.
The quiet voice made both of the infirmary's occupants look up. A girl, about Tsukuyomi's age, was standing by the door, a serious look on her face. The healer stepped away from Tsukuyomi, letting her arm fall to her side. He smiled politely at the new arrival, but something was off about his expression.
"Yes Setsuna-kun? What seems to be the problem?" His trembled a little.
Oh. So that was it. Another person that everyone looked at oddly. Good, at least she wasn't the only one around that no one trusted. That would make occasionally breaking the rules of her little game much simpler.
"Tsuruko-sensei is going to be personally assessing some of the older students today. She has requested your presence in case something goes wrong." The girl hesitated for a second, glancing at Tsukuyomi's arm. "She refuses to begin until you arrive, Sensei."
The healer sagged in such obvious relief that Tsukuyomi had to bite her lip to keep from laughing.
"As she should," he said officiously, drawing himself back up to his unimpressive full height. "I can't imagine who got it in their head to teach children such reckless techniques."
He made to march out of the infirmary, but he jerked to a stop when he remembered Tsukuyomi. To her glee, that was enough to make his obnoxious sense of importance vanish, and the nervous man she was used to dealing with reappeared.
"Ah, Setsuna-kun… you are familiar with bandaging wounds, are you not?" The girl nodded sharply. "Then would you please help Tsukuyomi-kun with her arm? Since I should be leaving immediately, I can't exactly finish healing her." Setsuna nodded again, and the healer looked beyond relieved. "Good. Thank you Setsuna-kun."
He left the room quickly without looking directly at either of them, and Setsuna walked over to the cupboard the pitiful man must've kept the bandages in. Tsukuyomi wouldn't know, since her injuries were always the kind that required immediate magical attention.
The serious girl stepped in front of her and nodded at Tsukuyomi's bleeding arm. "Can you lift your arm?"
Tsukuyomi smiled. "I can."
Setsuna managed to stay quiet for almost a full minute before she snapped back with a response. "Well will you?"
Tsukuyomi leaned back and tried to focus on something besides the warmth of the blood on her arm. Something told her it simply wouldn't do to be distracted right now. "On how much you're willing to tell me about the way he looks at you."
That was probably the wrong thing to say, if Setsuna's suddenly defensive expression was anything to go by. Tsukuyomi didn't really care, but if the other girl's reaction meant that she wasn't going to find out what was making the dear healer so afraid, she'd have yet another thing annoying her.
"He doesn't," Setsuna finally said. "Your arm?" She reached out her hand, the obvious threat in her eyes making Tsukuyomi stick her arm out reluctantly. As obnoxious as the healer was, she was at least used to his touch. Other people's—they were equally cold, but painfully so without the familiarity.
She wished for the hundredth time that learning swordsmanship didn't require being around so many people. When she could finally leave, she was going to make sure that she was never forced to be around so many of them ever again.
Setsuna didn't touch her immediately. She stared at the injury for a few seconds. No doubt she was realizing it was self-inflicted, Tsukuyomi thought fondly. She wondered if the girl would react the same way the healer did—she hoped so. Someone who scared the healer so badly deserved to have a few rules broken in her name.
But Setsuna barely blinked. She just shook her head and grabbed Tsukuyomi's wrist.
And that was when Tsukuyomi thought that she could think of a very good reason for the healer to avoid looking as Setsuna. There was something different about this girl. Terrifying, really, if she allowed herself to feel terror.
She didn't, though. She felt…
Setsuna's touch burned. It was hotter, by far, than anyone's blood she had ever spilt.
And that was just the girl's skin.
Tsukuyomi fought to keep herself from hyperventilating at the thought while Setsuna carefully bandaged her bleeding forearm. If that was just from skin contact, what would it be like to feel Setsuna's blood against her skin?
Just how much would—
But Setsuna pulled away before she could finish the hazy fantasy, and the cold came back in a fierce wave.
"That should hold," Setsuna said quietly. "If it doesn't, you can always come back."
"Right." No, she definitely wouldn't be coming back. Not after feeling something like that. She needed to go out and kill something before she spoiled herself.
For the first time, she felt a horrible, desperate need to hold herself back from killing someone she wanted. The desires were already eating at her; taunting her with the memory of the way Setsuna's hand felt on her blood—and arguing about what that meant the best course of action was.
Tsukuyomi stood up shakily, and, going breathless with the temptation, avoided brushing against Setsuna through sheer force of will as she walked out the door. She couldn't kill the other girl now any more than she could assault the healer. She would get caught, ruining all of the future fun she could have, and wouldn't it be more fun anyway when they were both stronger? It wasn't just killing she liked; the thrill of the chase was also fun.
And this way she could wait and think about the warmth—that blazing heat that no one but Setsuna possessed. She would wait, and anticipate the coming battle.
Because there would be one. No matter what, she would fight Setsuna, and she would feel that hot blood spill all over her.
It might take a while—certainly longer than she would've liked, since she wanted to kill Setsuna now—but Tsukuyomi could wait.
At least, that's what she told herself. Really though, she had never been good at being patient.