Botan's POV

I walked down the street, my head bowed down in shame, watching my feet shuffle their way across the damp, gray concrete of the park.

I remember walking down this same little concrete trail countless of times, but during each of those times, I was in a wonderful mood. I didn't feel…


I don't know how long I had been meandering aimlessly around the desolate area. The sun had set in the horizon well over an hour ago and people had already vanished, probably going home to their families and evening meals, whilst I stayed behind. I was alone, the stars and the moon my only companions. You would think that after what I've been through, I'd know better and not stay out this late alone, but I just wanted to be by myself.

All I really remember is leaving the apartment as soon as my brother and my friends entered the doorway.

They all questioned my always avoiding them and I replied with a shrug of my shoulders, but you know, I think they're right. I am avoiding them, but I had my reasons. They knew full well what my motives for doing so were, and I could clearly see how they tried very hard to keep their emotions bottled up while they were around me.

They think I can't see it, but I do. Their eyes are enough to tell me that it hurt them to see me the way I am now.

I don't blame them…

I rubbed my arms and shuddered as I felt the wind that had just picked up nipping at me. I finally began to feel my legs that had gone numb the minute I stepped out of the apartment, and I carelessly sat on the wooden bench on the side of the trail, contemplating on various issues.

They try… they try so hard to help me. They think that they can fix what happened to me, but what has been done can't ever be repaired. What has been so cruelly taken from me is something that I can never ever get back nor can I replace.

I'm not stupid; I'm aware that they fully understand that they can't make things as they were no matter what they do, but they fool each other; they lie to themselves and think that they can mend the damage that's already been done.

The bitterness in the laugh that escaped my lips at the thought seemed to come of its own accord.

They can be so naïve, and yet they say that I am the naïve one among our circle.

They put on masks when they see me, but I'm not blind nor am I unintelligent. I can see past those happy facades and straight into their souls.

Their souls that can't lie…

I can see the truth that they try to hide in their eyes.

Because their eyes can't lie… Full of sadness…

My brother's hazel eyes had lost their usual gleam and sparkle of ambition. He can't look at me half of the time now, and when he does, he pastes such an obvious fake smile on his visage that it makes me want to go up to him and turn the corners of his lips down so that his expression would match the feeling in his eyes. I know he isn't happy. His eyes mirror his feelings of sadness, bitterness, and maybe even guilt.

I hear him at night, his fists pounding against the walls that separate his bedroom from the rest of the apartment, and I can't stop the tears from forming because I know that I'm guilty too. If I hadn't been so stubborn and tried to prove myself, we would all still be happy. He thinks what happened to me was his fault because he wasn't there for me, but even if he were there, the situation would have been the same or maybe worse. 

And Ayame.

During the past week, I haven't seen much of her usual wit and antics. Her young face had aged so much in the meager time-span of a week, and all that's visible on that once cheerful face are nothing more but blood-shot eyes. She can't even look at me anymore without crying.

It's painful to see my brother yell at her when he would usually comfort her and tell her that everything would be alright. He's changed in the course of a week… and all because of me. 

What have I done?


Without knowing it, he hurts me the most.

His emerald eyes were drained of their normal mischief and fondness for us; his smile is no longer sincere.

He suppresses so much of his emotions when he turns to look at me, but just by the simple gestures of his body, I can decipher as much as sadness, pain, and maybe even regret in him. He was beyond hurt, and I have no doubt that he no longer sees me as the same girl that was living in me but a week ago.

It hurts me to see him looking at me because his eyes express a deep sort of melancholy something that can't be articulated in words. I don't want him to look at me! Not after…

I felt empty. I had felt that emptiness days ago, getting bigger and bigger, eating me up in its darkness and making me absolutely devoid. It was only now that I felt the pain that came with it.

I was a doll. A doll that was being played with but not in the same way that little girls play with them. The feeling was sick and demeaning. It was as though whoever held the strings on my back enjoyed the reaction I produced when they mercilessly and shamelessly displayed and offered me to a complete stranger.

My eyes began to itch and burn as I felt the rise of quicksilver in my eyes and begin to roll down my cheeks. I felt the splatter of bitter liquid against my skin and knew that the heavens were crying as well. Not for me, I hope. I don't need the gods' pities.

It should have been in my best interest to seek out shelter when the rains began to sprinkle liquid upon the earth, but I didn't feel like budging from the bench, nor did I have the energy to do it. The rain was falling harder now, and I could feel the cold of the rain seep into my skin.

Normally, I would have enough sense to return home in such weather, but I just couldn't.

I had no wish to do so.

I wanted to be alone…

My tears that had begun as a slow current were now splashes of waterfalls, and my sobs became uncontrollable. All I could do was sit in the desolate park, hugging my knees and rocking myself back and forth in a feeble attempt to soothe myself.

How long I had been sitting there, allowing the rain to sprinkle down and drench me to the bone, I didn't know, nor did I care. I just wanted… wanted to think…

To be alone…

I was taken out of my present thoughts when I heard my name.


The bearer of the voice sounded distant, but I couldn't mistake it for anyone else's but Shuuichi's.

I panicked.

I didn't want to be found, and I did not wish to be found by him most of all.


The voice was closer now, and I could hear the sincere tone of concern in it.

He cares… Does he…?

Or is it just another face…?

I tried to stand up, but found that my legs failed me. They became numb once more. 


I froze as I felt myself being levitated from the bench that I had been occupying. I wanted to struggle and get loose from him, but I just felt too weak and it was already hard enough to move as it was.

"We gotta get you out of here. You'll catch a cold."

I watched as the park whizzed by in a blur. I knew where he was taking me.

Back to the apartment…

That was really the last place I wanted to be at the moment, but I just felt so drained. Maybe I could tell him off once we get into the lobby.

Yes. That's what I'll do.

I felt my eyes begin to tire, and I was on the verge of slumber when…


Shuuichi, in his surprise, stopped running and looked down at me, the pupils of his eyes dilating with surprise. For a moment, I mistook another feeling in their depths as concern and worry but quickly shrugged the thought away.

"Botan? What's wrong?" 

"No! Put me down. I don't want to go home."

That's when I felt my exhaust leave me and I was already struggling to get out of his hold, but he was just as awake as I was or even more and wouldn't give me the chance.

"Botan! Stop being stubborn. We have to go back. You'll only get sick out here."

"I don't care. I want to be alone!" I finally managed to hop out of his arms and stood my ground. My knees wobbled and I felt myself falling when I felt two strong arms wrap around me, catching me.

Like he always did…

"B. Let's go. I promise that you'll have personal space to sort out whatever's bugging you… but I prefer that it be in a place that'll ensure your health."

"Please… please… just leave me alone… Shuuichi…"

Though I didn't feel the biting atmosphere anymore, I knew it was cold. My mumbling voice confirmed it so.

As I looked up, my eyes locked with his emerald-greens that were filled with a sincere confusion, but it killed me as he continued to look on, looking as though he were searching my soul.

For what?

I shut my eyes tight and turned my face away. I felt my body getting smaller, and I had no clue whether I was feeling that way because of what had happened to me or just because his stare was so intense. My mind didn't allow me to muse on that thought any longer as it commanded my lips to move.

"Quit!" I still didn't look at him; my eyes were now open but cast to the ground beside me.


"I said quit, Minamino."

"What are you talking about? I'm not doing anything."

"Just don't look at me. I… I don't want you to look at me. Not… like this. Not after… not after he…" I felt my voice waver and the words just seemed stubborn, like they had no intention of coming out of my throat. 

Silence overcame the distance between him and me; the only audible sound was the raindrops that were now pouring mercilessly upon us. The rain that had begun to drizzle in sprinkles now splattered in rivers that it seemed suffocating.

Minutes flew by before I heard him step up closer and start in a whisper.

"Is… is this what everything's been all about? The way I saw you… the way I still see you? The way…"

"Stop it!! How could you, any of you, want to be anywhere near me? I feel lousy, dirty, used. I feel so disgusting and I can't help but be psychotically self-conscious about the way I look every second of my life now!" 

My eyes became fiery as I whipped my face up to meet his shocked eyes. "Shuuichi, I feel like a whore!" I subconsciously took a step back as one of my hands clutched the little crucifix that hung feebly at my neck.

The crucifix you gave me…

"And not your whore, but his whore!"


The initial shock that came over me at the change of his voice made me jump.

"Don't you ever say that! Botan, you aren't a whore, and you are no way in hell Katayose's whore."

His usually calm tone was now hard and demanding as he spat out that last part, bitterness and hatred lined when he mentioned his name.

"I can't understand exactly what you're feeling, but trust me, if I could, I'd make things so you wouldn't be feeling all of this… this shit. Botan, the only thing I want right now is to be there for you, comfort you, but when you won't even let me near you, hold you, even get a word in with you, how the hell do you expect me to accomplish my duty as your boyfriend?"

He slowly took a step forward, slightly holding out his arms to me.

But I won't accept it.

He's only coaxing me so I'll go back…

And then it's back to square one.

…Are you certain?

"And if it ever crossed your mind that I don't feel the same way about you anymore because of what that bastard did to you, you're wrong. Dead wrong. If anything, it's only made me love you more for the strength…" 

Before I knew it, my hand came up in a swift movement and made contact with his face. He didn't say anything; he just looked at me blankly. I stepped back, tears falling, my brows knitted together in a confused anger.


I stepped back and covered my mouth in horror at what I had just managed to do. Here he was trying to comfort me, and my response was a good slap to the face. My breathing began to quicken and soon tears flooded my eyes again.

"Sorry… I'm sorry… Shuuichi. I didn't mean… didn't mean…"

My legs and mouth betrayed me as he stepped closer and held me in his arms, his voice dropped to a hush, soothing me with as many comforting words as his mouth would allow him to spit out.

And I felt myself collapse in his crushing embrace.


This fic used to be called Broken, but I changed the title after I mentally changed some things in the plotline that'll happen in the near future. I haven't looked at this since I like posted it a couple of years back mainly because I can't write deeply dramatic fics like this. =\ But I sort of got re-inspired after writing a Hiei/Botan fic. *hides* ^^; I revised this back in like early August, but I got lazy to post it here.

And to the kiddies, yes, this does touch upon the subject of rape. So hopefully, you're mature about this. If not, shoo!

If you've already read this back before it was revised, I sincerely hope that you've found this better, and if this is the first time… well, hope you like it anyway. ^^ Anyhoo, I'd love feedback and such. You'd make me a happy writer, and I'll try and haul ass to write the next part since school's started and everything. ^^;

Okee… standard disclaimers apply. I revere Yoshihiro Togashi's genius, and I'm only borrowing his characters for the sole purpose of this fic. Everything single solitary YYH thing belongs to him and yadda yadda. So don't sue.