Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. I would assume the majority of you have either read through Ep7, or have looked up Ep7 spoilers. Just in case, this is still going to come with a SPOILER warning, as it does give away the culprit's identity. Oh, and absolutely NO Ep8 spoilers in reviews, please.
Eva Ushiromiya smiled happily as she prepared breakfast for her young niece, Ange. Or at least, she tried to smile. It was hard to smile after the murder of your husband and son.
She knew Ange could never replace her beloved George, that she would always feel empty waking up alone beneath cold sheets, and that things could never truly return to "normal", with over half of the family gone. But she knew Ange had to be going through the same grief as she. She had been spared from the massacre by a cruel stroke of fate—an illness that kept her bed-ridden and from going to the conference.
If Hideyoshi had been sick…if George had been sick…might they have been spared? Could she have stayed home to take care of them? Could she have made one to stay and help her? At least then, they wouldn't have…
"Children are bonds that can tie you to your husband."
Her grip on the knife tightened.
"Ange is of no use to me."
The knife brought down on the carving board struck with a bang that shocked her.
"I'm no man's wife, so there's no need for me to be a mother."
Eva gently placed the knife down on the carving board and took a few deep breaths. She would resume making breakfast in a moment, after she calmed herself. But she doubted she had ever truly calmed down from hearing Kyrie's harsh words. Eva had known she couldn't ever be a true woman by her father's standards, or by anyone's standards. But even she knew referring to a child in the same way Kyrie had…to view something so precious as nothing more than a bond or chain…to discard one of the greatest joys of life like one would discard a no longer valuable card into the deck pile…it infuriated her beyond words. Even if Kyrie had survived…even if the two women had gotten off the island alive and swore to never tell anyone else about what had happened…she would've just abandoned Ange.
Was it a revelation that had just struck her, Eva wondered? Was it something she realized right after committing her first murder? Or had she felt that way about Ange all along? Had Kyrie somehow sabotaged Rudolf, tricked him into getting her pregnant just to get him away from Asumu? For that matter…had Ange really ever been sick? Did she really have any health problems? Eva vaguely remembered what Ange's condition had been described as. Something about a cold and a fever…something else about her stomach, too. Vomiting? Diarrhea? Both? Was it even possible for someone to have that many symptoms all at once? Had Kyrie…?
Eva's train of thought was interrupted by the clicking sound of shoes belonging to a tiny pair of feet. She put on her best smile to greet Ange, who came into the kitchen looking sullen. "Ah, good morning, Ange!" said Eva. "I was just making you some breakfast! I'll be ready in a few minutes, okay?"
Ange did not reply. She just stood with her arms folded, her face wrenched up. "Ah…if you don't like miso soup, perhaps I could make you something else?" offered Eva.
Her peace offering did not go well with Ange. Before Eva could say anything else, Ange looked up and said sharply, "Shut up."
Eva's eyes narrowed. "What did you just say to me, young lady?"
"Stop it!" snapped Ange. "Stop acting like my mom!"
Trying her best to remain calm, Eva said, "Ange, I know this is hard on you, and I can never replace your mother, but—"
Ange sharply interrupted, "Stop saying that! You'll never be my mother! I'll never smile for you! I'll never listen to you! You killed my family! Everyone! My cousins…my parents…and my brother!"
The words tore into Eva's heart. She…she? How could Ange think that…?
Why not? Why not let her think it? Which would be worse for her to realize—that her aunt was a murderer, or that her mother was not only a murderer, but didn't give a damn about her own child? Would it be better for Ange to hate her aunt, who would still provide her a roof to live under no matter what hateful words may come out of her mouth, or for Ange to know she had been conceived for the purpose of being a mere "chain" and nothing more?
She was just a child. She didn't deserve to have this happen to her. She didn't deserve to have her parents be murderers. And she deserved a more caring mother.
Yet Eva wondered if Ange would come any closer to figuring it out if she were to act with kindness. Would Ange eventually realize someone else had to have been behind the murders if Eva treated this as a phase she was going through? Would there be a time when was older and would eventually press for information?
If being harsh would keep Ange from finding out the terrible truth…if it would make Ange forever hate her aunt and hold on to fond memories of her mother…then so be it. It would be better for Ange to view her aunt as a monster, and to remember her mother as the kind woman who would tuck her into bed and read one last bedtime story to her.
"As long as you are living under this roof," said Eva coldly, "You will treat me with respect. You will behave like a proper lady, as George would've behaved like a young man. Sit down and I will finish making your breakfast. Keep talking like that and I will have to discipline you. Are we clear on that?"
Ange scowled and sat down at the table. Eva turned and went back to the cutting board. She breathed in softly, hoping Ange wouldn't hear her stifled sobs, or see the salty tears splashing the carving board.
Shortly after Ange left for school, Eva went to the bathroom and stood above the sink. Ange's words had begun to sink in. She had not murdered Ange's parents or her brother. But what about…
"You're just a murderer who didn't get a chance."
"That was an accident," Eva said out loud. Her stomach turned and she said a bit louder, "That was an accident. I…I never meant to…"
And then a voice that did not belong to Kyrie spoke:
"You're so pathetic. You should just give up and die!"
"Sh…shut up," said Eva, trembling, trying to keep her stomach's contents down. "SHUT UP!"
It took her a second to realize this voice did not belong to the person who used to tell her this just when she was giving up. This was not a friend. It was herself.
Eva clutched on to the sink tightly, staring at her own reflection in the mirror. Loose strands of red hair hung down her cheeks. Her up-do was coming undone. Her make-up was smudged from the tears she had hid from Ange.
"You're a mess, you know," taunted the voice. "How do you plan on telling the world, never mind Ange, that Kyrie was innocent? How do you plan on doing so without making yourself look guilty? And to think, this all started over a pile of gold…the family wealth is yours, now. Do you like it? I hope you're happy with the knowledge that it came at the sacrifice of your loved ones…"
"I…" Eva gulped and pushed back a loose strand of hair. "I don't want it anymore. I'd give up all the wealth I had if it would bring my husband and my son back."
"Really? Hmm, that's odd-you weren't thinking about them when you found that gold, now were you?"
"I…I was thinking about our debt…" said Eva weakly, but she knew it was a pathetic excuse.
"Your niece, Jessica, would be the one to mourn her loss if everyone had agreed to go with your little idea. Did you really think it would work? What if she had eventually learned the truth of what really happened? Then you would've had a legitimate reason to be hated, now wouldn't you?"
"An accident…" Eva hoarsely whispered. She squeezed her eyes shut, and two tears rolled down her face. "It was an accident…"
"And it was because of your accident that Hideyoshi and George were eventually killed. You can't say Ange is a liar—you did kill her parents, after all. And you set up the bomb to kill her brother."
"I…" Eva's knees gave out and she fell to the floor. The cold, hard tiles scraped against her skin. She reached to her up-do and began to undo it, feeling her hair fall down on her shoulders. She breathed in and out, murmuring, "They killed them…they killed them…I did what I had to do…" Her voice grew louder. "I couldn't let her go back to Ange. Even if we had survived, she would've abandoned her."
"Or maybe not. Maybe she would've changed her mind and gone back to her. Maybe she would've told Ange you were the one to kill everyone, make you out to be the bad guy, send you off to prison."
"It…really is…all useless," Eva breathed softly. She opened her eyes and looked around the cold, empty bathroom. Never in her life had she ever felt despair as great as this. Being put down by her brother and father seemed so insignificant and silly now. What did a few insults matter in comparison to losing her family?
"You have two ways out, you know."
"R…really," muttered Eva. She slowly stood to her feet.
"Yes. See that bottle of pills just by the sink? The label calls them "painkillers"…how fittingly ironic. You feel a headache coming on, right? You could take one or two to settle it. And maybe, you could get a little absent-minded and take three more by mistake. And then you could feel stomach pains and think two more should do the trick. Then Ange would know for sure you killed everyone. The media would call your death "suicide by conscience". You could leave behind a note saying you could no longer bear the guilt of having killed your family. Then, no one would ever know the truth, and your suffering would be over."
Eva took the bottle of pills in her hand. She turned it over, thinking back to a year Ange had come to the conference, but had been sick. There had been some discussion amongst Rudolf and Kyrie about how well she took pills verses liquid medicine.
No. She had to stay alive for Ange's sake.
"Kill myself…and abandon Ange?" she cried out, her face wrenching with fury. "Never!"
She wrenched open the cap and poured the remaining pills down the sink, then threw the bottle to the floor. She breathed heavily.
"Too bad. Now your headache must be really miserable, isn't it? Then I will give you another choice: You can come clean. You can tell Ange that her mother took away everyone from her. You can proclaim your innocence to the media. You have no proof, of course. But who's to say it might not work? There is a chance your story will be believed."
"No," said Eva firmly. "No…Ange's mother loved her to her last breath. That is what she will know. And even if I did have proof…" She clenched the sink once more. "The family name is going down in ruin already. The media has already begun to take this story and twist it for their sick amusement. I will not…absolutely will not…disgrace the Ushiromiya name any further than it already has been. I will hold on to the one-winged eagle in my heart."
"So you won't take either way out. Then what will you do?"
Eva looked into the mirror, and saw a determined reflection. "I will carry on," she said. "I will allow the media to say what they will about me. I will let Ange hate me. I will carry this truth with me to the grave if I have to."
"Suit yourself. I hope you're happy in your own self-inflicted hell…*giggle* *giggle*"
Eva stood up straight and slowly walked out of the bathroom. She had a feeling this would be the first of many days of misery ahead of her. But she could deal with that. Maybe there was another world, another box, where she was helping George prepare for his wedding, where she and Hideyoshi sat up front as the proud, tearful parents of the son whom they were giving away to another woman.
But in this world, she would see to it that this cat box would never be opened.