PREFACE: A WARNING
It is STRONGLY advised that you have, at the very least, played and beaten the original Tsukihime in its entirety - that is, having gotten all the endings for all five heroines - before reading this story. If you have not, THIS STORY WILL MASSIVELY SPOIL THE GAME, beginning literally at the fourth line in on the first chapter. It is written in such a way that, if you have not played Tsukihime, you will very likely not know what is going on. It also contains some more minor spoilers for the Tsukihime PLUS+DISC as well as Kagetsu Tohya, but not nearly to the point that it does for Tsukihime. Seeing the (non-existant...) anime does *NOT* count for this - please play the game if you only saw that!
If you choose to read this story anyway despite that, be warned that it will likely harm your enjoyment of reading the original visual novels as a result, and as stated above, you will be in the dark about quite a few things. Obviously, I cannot control whether people play the game before reading this, so a warning will have to do. Consider yourselves warned in advance - you read at your own peril.
For those of you who have played the game, this story is based off of the very last ending - that is, this story is based off of the Far-Side route, Kohaku's path. In terms of what "happens," the story will assume this path was the "true" path - however, other elements from other paths are also mixed in as well.
Playing the PLUS+DISC and Kagetsu Tohya will give you familiarity with several characters who appear in the story; namely, Akiha's classmates at her school. This is not required, and I have done my best to flesh them out for the benefit of those who haven't played those games, but I'd still recommend it, because Akiha's sidestory in Kagetsu Tohya was, in some ways, the idea for this fanfiction, and some story elements do discuss events that happen in it. I believe you will enjoy the story considerably more if you have played all three games before reading it.
Also, if you do not like novel-length stories, this probably isn't a fic for you. Each chapter is approximately 2500-3000 words long, but I have written 75 chapters in all, plus an epilogue. This will be a long story. If you are looking for a quick little story, this will not be it.
That said... if none of this throws you off at all, then please, sit back and enjoy it. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it... usually. :)
And so, it begins.
Chapter 1: "Autumn Night"
Friday, October 25, 2002
"I hate you, Otou-sama!"*
I do not know why these are the only words I can use to express this. I should not be using such language, and yet, no other words that I can think of sufficiently capture the feeling for him that I have inside.
The man who raised me to be head of the Tohno household.
The man who forced his inversion impulse on Kohaku.
The man who kept me apart from Nii-san.
With a slight hiss, I throw my pen at the wall and watch as it bounces off. Such a childish action, I think in the back of my head, but I know full well what the power of hatred can do to someone.
I knew someone who gave into that. But that person does not exist anymore. They are no longer of consequence or significance. They are a simple memory, and I would prefer if they were not even that, but for now, a memory they remain.
I sigh, and pick up my pen from the floor, and set it down on the stack of papers I am signing and giving assent to. The contents rarely matter; even though I skim every single paper, I know the content within a sentence or two. Can this branch of the family do this, profit report that.
I look at the small stack of papers. Tonight's finished work. Mechanically, they are signed "Tohno Akiha."
I look at the large stack of papers. Tonight's unfinished work. Another sigh, this one of frustration.
Nii-san will not be back for some time. Today is Inui-san's birthday, and to celebrate, he and Nii-san will be celebrating for at least this weekend, and then on Monday Nii-san will be leaving to assist Ciel-san with something. It was difficult to see him off earlier, since usually by the time he returns home, he is not in the best of shape, and the back of my mind always worries that one day, he will not return.
Unlike Nii-san, I do not have such time to waste partying with friends, but a five-minute stretch will not delay me very long. I slide the chair into the desk for the time being and walk over to the window in my room. The sky still contains a faint hint of daylight, but the sun has set, and soon night will be setting in. I extend my arms to the sides, pushing them apart from my body as far as I can. I can feel the tension extend, and then melt. It feels refreshing.
My door opens after a soft knock. I can tell who it is based on the knock.
"Good evening, Kohaku," I tell her.
"Good evening, Akiha-sama," she replies. "I have brought a drink and a small snack to keep your strength up." I can hear that ever-present smile in her voice as she sets down the tray.
It is strange. This woman who had made Nii-san and I fight. This woman who I had sheltered when I found out what Otou-sama was doing to her. And yet... she comes of her own free will. I do not force her to, and I have told her as much several times since, but she just smiles and says "It is my choice, Akiha-sama."
As stubborn as I am, I know full well that when someone's mind is that set, there is no changing it. Nii-san taught me that. No amount of complaining, yelling, arguing, sulking... none of it changed him or his ways.
So to love him, was to accept that. And so I did. As I did for Kohaku.
"...Akiha-sama?" I feel a hand touch my shoulder slightly, and instinctively flinch. The hand quickly withdraws, and I turn to her.
"...I am sorry, Kohaku. My mind is preoccupied with a lot of things tonight. I did not mean to startle or worry you."
She smiles softly. "It is alright, Akiha-sama."
I usually do not discuss my thoughts or feelings with others. But yet, Kohaku is... well, was... my personal servant. After Nii-san and I nearly killed each other last year, I decided things needed to change. So I called a meeting together, the four of us, and in a rare moment of allowing others to see my inner thoughts, I asked them what they wanted me to do.
The answers were simple... and yet surprising.
Nii-san said he did not want me to change a bit, that he loved me as I was. Accepting my faults and flaws even better than I do... I feel fortunate to have him in my life, and I think without him I would truly be lost. I... admittingly still wonder if I would be better or worse off if me and him were more than that, but it would be quite difficult to explain to those who did not know of Nii-san's history. And admittingly, society at large would not approve of such a relationship. It would be bad publically, and we would have to hide such behavior, or run the risk of getting caught, so perhaps it is for the best.
Hisui stated that she wished to stay here and help out. I think she takes pride in her work with Nii-san. I think it is also possible that she loves him at some level, for she tries to go out of her way to gain his approval sometimes. Perhaps Nii-san loves her too, but in a platonic way, not an emotional way.
That would be reserved for Kohaku.
Kohaku was really the reason I had asked the three of them to sit down with me. Nii-san was recovering from our fight and me nearly draining his life from him, to a lesser extent I also had injuries, and I knew Kohaku was feeling quite guilty for what she had done. It was what Nii-san had given her - a ribbon - that changed her mind. Perhaps her original plan was to have sex with him to give him the strength to fight, but him giving her that ribbon saved the three of us. It snapped her out of her mental illness, her being alive kept me from thrusting Nii-san's knife into my heart, and it also returned Nii-san to his usual personality, that of Tohno Shiki and not Nanaya Shiki.
All she asked to do was for me to grant her request to move to another branch of the family. It was the least I could do to accept her request. With what she went through... well, I could see why Nii-san did not want her to suffer, and I thought he was right. And yet she comes every weekend since, occasionally over for longer, ensuring Hisui does not miss her, and that Nii-san gets a nice meal, and that I do not miss her so much and overload Hisui, in actual work as well as emotionally.
Kohaku has been training me in things such as cooking and cleaning a little. I really do not mind doing it as much as I thought I would. In fact, I took an odd feeling of pride as I finally managed to peel and slice an apple for Nii-san without disfiguring it or cutting my fingers. It was quite an unusual sensation, one of exhilaration.
Perhaps this is what Hisui and Kohaku feel when they are complemented...?
I am startled out of my thoughts when I am lightly shaken. I turn. Kohaku is still there, looking concerned.
"Akiha-sama, it is not good for you to be spacing out like that. Perhaps you are overworked?"
I shake my head. "Of course not, Kohaku. I have just had a lot on my mind, but it does not matter."
She gently places her hand on my shoulder, and smiles. It troubles me slightly. I know it is real now, but it still appears like how she was when she was "a doll." Seeing it makes me remember those times...
"Akiha-sama, I know you too well for that." Her smile dips slightly. "You are thinking about last year again, aren't you?"
"No, I am not," I lie. Kohaku knows that all too well, though. She leads me gently to my bed, and sits me down on it, before sitting in a chair herself.
"Akiha-sama," she begins. "I think it's wonderful that you still worry about my feelings and well-being, even though it's been so long. But please... don't stress yourself out over it. My past is my past, yes, and it's an ugly one. I still relive it in my nightmares sometimes. But Shiki-san was what kept that one little flicker of humanity in me left alive for all those eight years... and it was worth it. It should be me apologizing and worrying about things, Akiha-sama, and not you."
I sigh. I suppose it is only natural that Kohaku can tell when I am lying. Once Otou-sama died, she became my servant. She has known me longer than Nii-san has; it has been some nine years now. It is only natural that she can tell when I make such falsifications.
I also promised myself to be more truthful to her as a result.
"I cannot help it sometimes, Kohaku. What Otou-sama did to you was unspeakable. It makes me curse my name and my blood in my body. It makes me curse the fact that I had to drink your blood, and continue hurting you like I did..."
She stops my speech by leaning forward slightly and pressing a finger lightly to my lips. I look up at her. She is smiling.
"Makihisa-sama was a demon, yes. But once I came to my senses, I knew that even for all of what he did to me, Makihisa-sama was an even worse victim. I was raped, but he wouldn't even remember it, and when he had control of himself, he tried to comfort me, but when I screamed he kept his distance as much as he could. Akiha-sama, Makihisa-sama suffered worse than you or I have. He was losing his humanity, and he desperately wanted to hang on so he could train you as much as he could before his death. I like to remember Makihisa-sama, and not the demon that looked like him. So please, Akiha-sama, do not hate him like you do. He could not help it, and you know that."
I look away. I do not want Kohaku to see the tears trying to form in my eyes. She is right, and deep down inside... deep down inside, I know it.
Otou-sama was a strict, stern man. Strict and stern, but fair. The real changes in his personality came about when Nii-san was nearly killed by "him" and Otou-sama then hid "him" rather than kill "him."
It would have saved me and Nii-san a lot of trouble if he had, that much was certain. But for years, after I found out what he did to Kohaku, all I could see Otou-sama as, is a demon.
I wanted to avoid becoming a demon myself, but keeping Nii-san alive made me feel so cold. So cold and painful. My lips would turn blue, and my body wracked with pain, pain so intense it felt like every single cell in my body was ripping in half, at the exact same instant. But I suffered. I suffered because I had a purpose, a love for Nii-san, a desire to have him close and thank him for saving my life.
Or to put it more succinctly, something that allows you to go on even as you suffer.
Just like Kohaku.
My chin is tilted up. I cannot help but look in Kohaku's eyes, even though mine are swollen with tears. Once again, a kind smile crosses her lips.
"Akiha-sama, you're almost too kind sometimes, you know. You care about me, even if you don't admit it, so I know there is good and forgiveness in your heart. If you care about me at all, Akiha-sama, then please stop hating Makihisa-sama for what he did... and if you can't, then at least stop hating yourself. Tohno Akiha might be your name, and a demon might be in your blood, but it does not mean you are a demon, Akiha-sama. You're a demon only if you want to be a demon. Shiki-san no longer needs your life, and you know that your own demon blood is too weak to overtake you now that Shiki-san's life no longer hinges on your supporting it."
I look away. She is right. Since I killed "him" once and for all, the lifeforce he had stolen from Nii-san could be returned rightfully to him. I no longer had to support Nii-san's life, and so I would be able to retake the half I had given him, and with that retaken I regained my dominance over my Tohno blood.
It was liberating. More liberating than I had ever been after killing "him." Killing "him" was both my greatest success and my greatest failure.
Success, because I had put an end to "him" once and for all. I had ensured he would hurt Nii-san no longer.
Failure, because I had become nearly as much of a monster as he had, to the point where I had nearly killed Nii-san myself. When "he" died, Nii-san's lifeforce did not return directly to him - it went to me, instead. As a result, it temporarily increased the amount of demon blood inside my veins. Worse, his soul took up residence inside my body... and due to my emotional state at the time, he found it very easy to influence my thoughts. And so... rather than return Nii-san's lifeforce to him, I kept it for myself, leaving him a breath from death.
And for what? Jealousy? Jealousy because Nii-san could not help but look at me as just his sister? How imprudent of me. Even if we are truly not brother and sister, the fact I still call him Nii-san to this day, and the fact I will not even acknowledge "him" proves that perhaps it was just the foolish hopes and desires of a silly girl.
A finger snaps within my vision. I startle at it slightly. Kohaku is frowning as she withdraws her hand.
"Jeez, you're really out of it, Akiha-sama." She sighs a bit.
I shift slightly. "It is nothing to worry about, Kohaku. I will be fine. I am just... thinking a lot."
"Probably because it has been nearly a year, Akiha-sama," she offers. "That is why I've got a little surprise planned~~~❤"
I cross my arms and glare at her a little. "I do not appreciate surprises, Kohaku."
She giggles a bit, and leans over and hugs me. Well, it has been awhile, but I have to get back to work, so I quickly embrace her so it can be done and over with.
And then her lips press against mine.
Needless to say, my eyes - and lips - widen slightly in surprise. That is when I feel something enter my mouth.
Not blood. Something solid. Dropped carefully so that my body instinctively swallows it before I can manage to spit them out.
She pulls away, smiling. My eyes narrow with anger... but a sudden, deep drowsiness quickly overcomes my body.
"K...Kohaku... what... did you...?"
I feel myself lose my balance, and I feel my body collapse onto the bed. Her voice sounds distant and faint. The world is already spinning. My eyes feel so heavy...
"Sorry, Akiha-sama. But you will thank me later... I promise."
And then my consciousness fades.
* Otou-sama: A very polite way of saying "Father."
Kohaku drugging me? Why?
What are her motives?
Is she going to take advantage of the situation... and of me?
Next Week (6/13/10) - Chapter 2: "Akiha's nap has to end!"