Fandom: Persona 3
Length: 1,600 words
Disclaimer: I don't own Persona 3.
Notes: Having evaluated my sudden need to write this trash, I can only conclude that I am psychologically disturbed. Nuts.
Summary: And beware the smiling man. — Chidori
FIRST, they stick a needle at the base of her neck, and it crawls the length of her spine. She feels every centimeter and at one point they must touch something important, because her left leg kicks out and she tumbles forwards and the woman in the white coat says—
They put her in a dark place. A little tube. Her whole life is made up of tubes. She runs on them. There are three hooked up to the bends of either arm, and one stuffed down her throat.
She forces her atoms down. Tighter, and tighter, so they'll explode. She'll be a ball of orange light and then nothing, and that's the best part. There are no monsters in the dark.
"—She's not breathing."
They open her up. The machines beepbeepbeepbeep! and trill! Countdown! Bang!
Her cut nails scrabble against the skin around her tubes. They'd pulled her baby teeth.
"Chidori," whispers the doctor, stroking her face while someone else forces down on her ribs, pushing at her air, "Chidori you've got to breath."
"—small for her age."
"They all are."
"Yes..." The doctor measures the circumference of her arm with his fingers, thumb to the pointer's knuckle, "Underdeveloped muscles, of course. Pale. But that's to be expected. The thing is, they're fed."
"Children have fast metabolisms."
The doctor lets her go. She keeps staring up at the lights. Her eyes burn. She tries to blink.
"Not if they never move. Most of the others are fat. Too fat, actually. They haven't got the bones to support their weight. We should walk them."
She's starving. But not a belly-kind. Everything is hunger.
"—So you think they're failing?"
"Poor things," the doctor sighs, murmurs, pets her hair. Where her hair should be. "All of them. There is no medicine for people who want to die."
It's a mercy killing.
It's so much better than—
But the ghost fades, and Chidori calls out to the dark place inside of her, hearing only echoes.
They all snap at the same time.
Snap. Click. Synchronize. She explodes.
should the body come into contact with an unwanted element the natural response is to reject that
"Help me!" she begs, her throat wet and—she knows how red tastes.
expulsion by forcible means, if necessary, for the most important thing at the preliminary stage is defense, there shall be time for repair later
"I don't believe this," the doctors watch her, watch the others, the ones ripping themselves apart, pushing against their constraints and screaming, mad eyes wide as they'll go. "This is—how are we supposed to measure this?"
I'm here to kill you, says the ghost, whose name is mother is Medea, Die softly, my child.
"Please," Chidori says, or tries to, but all that she can manage is a strange, wet puff. She watches, exhilarated and wanting as finally, finally, she bleeds. Bleeds from everywhere, from her wrists and her chest and her inner thighs and it's beautiful, and it hurts, and she is terrified and cold and there are gold drachma's tucked beneath her tongue. The price for dark water.
"Help the girl! Look at her—someone get some bandages and an IV!"
No, Chidori panics, as Medea wavers, blinking on and off and off, leaving her alone and hurt and there is never a soft death. Her skin closes just in time for the needles to push in.
She shakes. Her fingers clutch at nothing and open and close and her mouth is full of the taste of coins. But she is still alive.
THEN, there is a new sort of hunger.
Medea cuts her open and Chidori heals and learns not to. Mostly. She still scabs up when she's tired.
I know, she promises, I know, I want it too. I'm trying.
Because living is hard and long and painful, and the suppressants make her swallow until her throat rasps together when she speaks. It would be so easy to make it stop hurting.
And still she lives. And still she wonders why.
One day she learns how to walk.
The first step cracks her bones. They heal.
The second step bruises the full sole of her foot. She heals.
"Why don't you heal the scars?" asks the shadow boy, his sick yellow eyes unblinking. Chidori takes the third step. Falling is exquisite, a luxury.
"Why should I?"
She doesn't like him. Junpei. He's loud, and—interrupting. That's right. He interrupts.
She can't hear Medea when he's talking at her like that, on and on and mindless, that sardonic half-grin. Her cuts scab over, and her hands hesitate over the page, almost self-conscious. She's drawn nightmares.
"Hey, whoa..." his head turns, "That's...good. Kinda freaky but, uh, really good. Cool. What are they?"
They're the starving things.
"Just something from a movie I once saw," she lies. Because he'll press, if she tells him the truth. Junpei doesn't get it. Junpei would rather believe in lies.
"You like horror movies, huh? Hah, I shoulda known."
She stares at him. Her thumb rubs the tablet down, running the ragged edge of shadow.
"Do you want me to bring you some?" he asks suddenly, leaning forwards, and clasping his hands loosely, "It can be...contraband. You know. I bet they only let you watch happy stuff in here."
"In here" being the psychiatric ward. The drop-off for crazies.
"You shouldn't," and she adds, "I don't want you to come here anymore. Leave me alone."
His gaze drops for a second. Her thumb has turned silver.
"Do you hate me?"
Yes, Medea whispers. Chidori swallows, and cannot bring herself to answer.
After a minute, he gets up, and she realizes that he's leaving. Her chest aches, and she thinks—good, he'll see she's bleeding.
But he doesn't because she's not, and the door shuts behind him.
Now, while he's gone. Let me spare you.
Chidori wakes up exploding. There is a ghost damming up her lungs and the sheets strangle her legs, stiffling her kicks.
I'm here, her mother and her friend and her monster hushes, Do not be afraid. Go softly.
Her hands twist. She has nails, now. Nails and teeth. Water bloats the skin around her eyes, and her spine jerks, and snaps, and she pushes, she struggles, she fights—to breath. To die while living. Each cut leaves her a little colder.
The machines beepbeepbeepbeep!
The lights blink on, Medea fades. A phantom. A hallucination. She's cracked, thinking backwards now, but her hands unknot and Chidori coughs up pennies. She climbs from her bed and steps towards those sick yellow eyes.
She hadn't thought he'd die like that. It's funny. She doesn't feel like laughing.
She looks. Junpei looks back at her, until he suddenly can't anymore. He's empty. He's bleeding. He's dead when she wants to be. Doesn't want to be. Maybe. No.
"Junpei," she says, quietly. She wants to ask him how it feels, when the blood stops running through veins. When it's just—
"Junpei," she says again, and—
and there is life in her and it runs like electricity in rivers and this is the end and this is so much worse than dying, the fear of it, fear of the dull red that spreads from Junpei like a carpet and fear of the monster within her and fear of pain and the fear that she has lost everything
I meant to save you from this.
This, Chidori realizes, this is what's worse than dying.
All humans are made from the dust of exploded stars.
No, she thinks, not that way.
And the red runs into Junpei runs from Chidori runs to the river runs out, out into the blackness that never scared her.
Under her hand, Junpei's broken heart quick-starts, trembles, steadies. He opens his eyes, and she knows their color without looking. Medea has broken from her.
Chidori's hands fall open, the color of paper without ink. She explodes. It's beautiful as the sight of a bone beneath skin. The ghosts are gone now, back to their dead.
And Chidori runs into the darkness, arms flung wide.