My hair is purple. I think about that a lot these days. When you boil everything that has brought me to this point, it can be summed up just that simply. My vision is getting a little blurry right now; it's hard to see this sheet of paper. It's not tears. It's been so long since I have been able to cry, the days I could even work myself up to tears seem so long ago. People would say my life back then was a hell, a nightmare, but I would give almost anything to have them back again, to go back and see those days again, those memories fill me up with things I even now don't understand, I can almost lose myself in them and forget, do you remember them, Tohsaka?
I think I knew him better then he himself did, back then. That is natural, he was always looking for someone, waiting on one's arrival. He never thought of himself, my senpai. Always running, pushing himself to be something he admired, never giving himself even a moment to relax, to have fun, and he almost never smiled. I could make him smile, that was my secret joy, what I looked forward to everyday, I would wake him up in that shed, smile at his rumpled hair, his embarrassed look, and I would smile at him, when I did, I couldn't help but pour out all the love I felt, all the gratitude that filled me to the bursting point, I put all that into the simple good morning I gave him, and watching him hesitantly smile back….was like watching a sunrise, better, because it was something I caused. Did he know that I knew his dream? He told me when we were younger, how nice it would be to be someone that saves people, how much he admired heroes of justice. Every morning, I wanted to take him in my arms and thank him, because every single day, he saved me. He created a world that was warm and safe, that my brother and his needs, that awful basement with those…creatures that swarmed over me, that evil man who used me, all were but a rapidly fading dream, a nightmare that could be forgotten while we talked, or cooked breakfast, or played together in those days.
At night I would go home, and the nightmare would begin all over again, but even at the worst of things, on those nights where I tossed and turned, wracked with need and longing, or when my brother came to me, and fulfilled the needs of my body even as he tore my mind a little more with every experience, I could press myself to him, pretend it was senpai in my arms, and the beauty of that idea would bring tears of joy to my eyes, to mingle with the tears of shame that always ran down my cheeks. When I slept, my dreams could not be called nightmares. Nightmares were things for people with something to fear, my worst dreams were merely re-living my reality. I knew the substance of nightmares to well to fear them, and it was for that reason, that I loved to dream. I looked forward to each night, hoping to experience something rare and special. Because I occasionally had a good dream, a small wish granted in the night, and not all were about senpai, you know, a lot of them were about you, too. What would it be like if I was truly your sister, these were the things I dreamed about, smiling into my pillow, people would call me "Sakura Tohsaka" and they would say I was the number two idol of the school, I'm sure of it, I know I would never beat you. We would break every heart in the school, twice! Go to the same classes, chase the same boys, and cook the most amazing food together. And at night, maybe, we would sleep together in the same bed, like I hear a lot of sisters do, the worst fear we could ever imagine is to be separated from each other, even for a day.
And I would call you nee-san.
In the mornings when my alarm clock woke me, I suppose the death of those enjoyable dreams should of hurt more, but I loved the mornings, I would rush out of bed and get ready as quick as I could, and then I could make senpai smile all over again. So you see, in those days, my life was filled with beauty, why wouldn't I want them back?
Tohsaka, I wonder how you two are doing now. Does it mean anything to you, tohsaka, that each night when you hold him as he falls asleep how much I would give to do that for just one single night? One hour? How much it would mean to me, just to rest my head onto his chest and be lulled asleep by the sound of his heartbeat? You had everything I wanted in those days, you WERE everything I wanted. Your hair wasn't tainted by these foul, horrible things, it was dark and wonderful and sexy and beautiful, just like mine should have been. When you walked your head was held high, and people turned to watch you, because you were wonderful, just like I should have been. I wasn't jealous though, it wasn't in me to be jealous, I simply had a wish, and you were that wish. You were a probability that I could have been, if things had been just a little bit different. And senpai liked you, the first day I realized that, may have been the first time I was ever with senpai that I didn't feel like smiling.
That day is the second clearest memory I have, I wish I could remember each individual day where senpai and I just relaxed, talked and played together, but all those days seem to kind of blur into one big, wonderful, warm moment, as transient as it was precious to me.
On that day, I was wearing your ribbon, as I always did, I was adjusting it slightly as we walked into school, senpai and I were late and we were hurrying to class, when I saw you. I tried not to stare, you didn't need someone like me getting in your way, butting into your life, but I watched you out of the corner of my eye, just like I usually did when we passed each other in the halls, but this time something was different. Senpai had been talking, but he stuttered and stopped, bashfully. He had the cutest blush on his face, as you went by, his eyes tracked you, his hands clenched and unclenched, and he had to stop himself from turning his head as you went by. I remember thinking
"ah, see, nee-san really is everything I want to be"
I was devastated, but of course, by now you must already know that. But I was also glad, because, if you were everything I could have been, then maybe, in another life, senpai would of blushed when he saw me! That was the most beautiful thing I could imagine, and I reveled in that idea. I wondered how long it would take you two to get together. Of course you would, someone like you, would never miss senpai. I knew you pretended not to care, but the way he moved, the way he spoke, he was always shining like a star, I believed even then that you knew that to, you were just waiting for the right time to come collect him, I wanted to cherish the time I had left with him before you did. I day-dreamed about you all that day, but it wasn't anything bad, I admired you so much, I could never hate you, even if senpai admired you instead of me. it was a normal dream for me, nothing different than usual, I dreamed about the day when my sister would come for me. Tohsaka Rin, the great magus, busting down the door of the matou home, knocking aside my brother, and with your magic taking me away from that horrible place, and waving your hand and making me all better, killing these things inside me, letting me learn what it's like to live without the worms always eating and making me feel the way I do. I think in those days, sometimes I really believed you would you know. That day, I thought about you saving me, and marrying senpai, and we would all live together in that big house of yours, or perhaps, even better, back to his warm home. I loved senpai, I wanted to be with him, as a woman to a man, but he deserved someone like you, who shined just like he did, me, without the….me. if I could have that place, with you, and him, and we were all together, those worms no longer in me, I couldn't think of anything more I wanted in the world, it sounded like heaven, a place I might go in the afterlife if I was really good.
Everything changed during the war though, didn't it, Tohsaka? For you, for me, for my brother, for senpai….I am sorry, my hand is shaking a little, I hope its not hard to read this, Tohsaka, I want you to see this. I NEED you to see this. I will try to hurry. And so, the war.
The old man took me back into the room where he did what he called training and anyone with a soul would call torturing. He seemed happy, anxious even, I was worried, what fresh hell did he have in mind for me? But no, actually, he had a gift for me. Marks had appeared on my body, he called them, the command spells, he said it was time for the matous to claim their destiny. I don't really remember the details, only that I was frightened, and nervous. Rider came to me then, I'll always remember the look in her eyes. She understood me I think, even with that thing on her eyes, I think she saw right through me. I could…feel her….in my mind. She knew everything about me, and pitied me. She told me she would protect me, serve me, and if I would stand at her side, one day, we would stand before the most holy of objects, and I would have my wish. I remember thinking
…..My wish …?".
Then I saw senpai's hand. Fate had found a way to torment me more, it seemed. Senpai's hand, the mark of command was growing on it, plain as day. To receive a wish, I would have to take it from senpai's corpse. Rider…..I'm so…..so very sorry, for what happened next, Rider, you beautiful woman with hair like mine, who thought you could save me. I gave Rider to my brother. That's why you faced him and not me. The old man gave nii-san a book, it had the power of a command spell, rider would serve my brother. He was thrilled. He did things to rider that I knew all too well, to cement his domination over her, that was the price she paid, for the crime of wanting to help me. The worst day came, when a few days into the war, I couldn't control myself and my need any longer, and I went to my brother's room. Before he would relieve me, he made rider and I serve him together. The betrayed feeling I got from her, shared through my bond as her true master, was more then I could bear. And she died, ignobly, serving him. She sacrificed herself to save his life. That is all I know about the events of the war, because I could feel her last moments, and her last regrets, as if they were my own, as the blade tore open her neck. Nii-san disappeared. You and senpai vanished to. I wondered if you had all been sacrificed to the war's greed.
I wanted to die.
But then you two came back. I….I can't describe it the feeling in my heart when I saw you both, safe and sound at school, it was like a prayer had been granted to Sakura Matou, I was given my miracle after all…but, like most miracles, it came with a price. That day….was the clearest memory I have. You and senpai, were exactly the same, just going through the day ignoring one and other….and you were so very obviously in love. You two were radiant on that day, I have never seen anything more beautiful. Neither of you could stop grinning, and you blushed bright red if the other passed within one hundred yards. By the end of that week, I was sure you were lovers. Senpai was coming home late each day, he didn't say where he was going, and I couldn't find it in me to ask, but I knew. I had always known. The day had come, and you had claimed what was always yours, and you took my senpai away from me. I wanted to hate you so much Tohsaka …but I couldn't. he was smiling every day, my one accomplishment, the one thing that I ever did that made me proud, and you did it a thousand times better than I ever did, or could. He was beautiful in his joy, and you made him that way. I have to thank you for that; I never could have done so much for him. When you two left for England….you took everything I had hoped for with you. I couldn't hate you, or begrudge you your happiness of course, but that begged the question, what was I supposed to do myself? I had built my life on precious moments with senpai, of dreaming of being with my nee-san, now that those had slipped away, like cherry blossoms in the wind, I had nothing. I could never have anything, nothing to look forward to, just memories.
I suppose you can probably think of how my life went after that, and you would mostly be right. My dreams were all I had left, and each passing day, I found it hard to believe, even while I was asleep, that the joy I felt was really mine. You and senpai weren't coming for me. You were off somewhere, being beautiful, and I was all alone. Nii-san changed you know. Did you have something to do with that? I was never sure, I would like to think so, that you tried to give me something, even something small, that I could have from you. Not my brother's love but…not his contempt, either. He never came for me after that, never consciously degraded me to please himself, when I went to him, when the pain became to much, he simply preformed, as I asked, then he would hold me as I fell asleep. One time, I woke up, and he was crying. I pretended I was still asleep, he hadn't changed so much that he could stomach someone like me trying to comfort him. It made me wonder if things really could get better, I at least believed, that things could not get any worse. I was wrong.
"Bare me a child. A daughter, preferably"
He said that to me as I left training one day, it was to him an offhand remark. A detail he needed me to take care of, he couldn't of been less interested if he had asked me to get him something to drink.
My child, my daughter!
And he wanted it.
I…..I didn't want to think about it. I couldn't think about it. He wanted someone else, I knew the man, he wanted….another person, someone else to make into someone like me. I had left behind my pity long ago, I had submitted to this my whole life, Matou Sakura was an evil, sinful girl, who delighted in her own depravity, who had allowed her chains of slavery to be placed on her. I, Sakura, well deserved the name Matou. I had always knew this to be true, but, was I so evil? Could I give him a pure, sweet, innocent thing like a baby girl, and allow him to take it and turn it into something like me?
It was like somebody had doused me in gasoline and set me on fire, I could never do such a thing, I would die before I allowed what happened to me to happen to someone else. Of course I had considered suicide before but…..for a long time I had hoped for a miracle, I had believed one would come, but you tohsaka, you were my miracle, and senpai was my miracle, and you had left me here in hell. Even after you left, I had hesitated, if I killed myself, senpai would find out, he might learn who I was, what I was…..i never wanted him to know. I wanted him always to remember the smiling girl who woke him up and cooked breakfast with him, that was a precious memory to me, I wanted it to be a precious memory for senpai to. But I could not hesitate. The old man…zouken...I forced myself to think his name….would have that child if matou sakura did not exit this world.
The knife felt cold against my wrist, the blade seemed to gleam hungrily. I imagined I could feel it malevolently hungering to pierce me. Well, let it, I thought. So many things have tasted the deepest secrets of my body. I pressed it harder, blood began to flow. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. But …if not my daughter….then who? I wasn't so naive I believed the that Zouken….again I had to force out the name, even in my own mind, would stop just because one worthless girl had bled out in her bedroom, if I died, then would another little girl with her whole life ahead of her go to the old bastard? Would another girl grow up, watching her sister be the wonderful, bright, shining person she wished she could be? Would another poor soul have to watch the man she loved get on a plane, and try to keep the tears from falling as she waved good bye until he was to far away to see them?
With Matou Sakura's death, someone else would take her place. There was only one solution of course, I didn't even have to consider it. Does that show you how truly evil your own blood is, Tohsaka? I had nothing in me that could even feel remorse, in my mind, it was already done. I was evil, and twisted and broken, what did it matter if I blackened my soul still further to save another from my fate. Matou Zouken had to die.
Well, of course, it wasn't that simple. Even a normal magus wouldn't die easy, and I knew a very great deal about the man whose blood I was determined to wash my hands with, who better to understand really, I who had lived with these worms inside me for so long. I didn't learn the extant of things until later, but even then, that very night, when I became a murderess at heart, if not yet in deed, I knew killing Zouken would be the hardest and the greatest achievement of my life. Most people would think this was vengeance. I'm sure you do, Tohsaka, but it wasn't. what Zouken did to me I accepted of my own free will, I wasn't even sure you could call what he did wrong, so willing a servant he had in me, this was about making sure that my life was a one time tragedy, that this hell I find myself exists for only me. If I allowed Zouken to do this to another, either by inaction or by actually giving him a child…..then I would be at least the monster he is, worse because I might of stopped him.
The first place I looked was the internet. Which must sound ridiculous, whoever heard of someone plotting the downfall of a great mage by GOOGLING it? But that's exactly what I was trying to do. Of course, I was more subtle about it, I couldn't let Zouken find out, even thinking to directly about it was dangerous. I did not fear his retribution, what more could he do to me? But he might stop my ambitions, chain me down, force either nii-san or somebody else on me, then Zouken would have his next victim. Even to this day I don't know how much his cursed creatures let him know about me, I knew we were linked. It's entirely possible he knew, or at least had an idea of what I was doing, but, if he did, I suppose he didn't fear me. Rarely does a master fear the bite of his own whipped dog. I surfed chat rooms, dug out occult web sites, talked to shady characters, searching, always searching for someone or something that could help me strike right, the first time. I knew I only had one chance. Either zouken didn't know, or didn't truly believe, that I would strike for his life, but I would only get the one attempt. After that, I would envy the dead. Well, more then I already did, at any rate.
Then, I was found. I opened my in box, deleted dozens of spam letters, skimmed through and deleted all the letters from purported witches and wizards who could give me my every heart's desire, for just 49.99. and one more letter, in my mail box. I didn't know the name, and there was no subject. Curious, I opened it. On it, was written only one line
"Tell me everything"
And I did. I wondered If I wasn't falling for some trick of Zouken's, i could imagine the old man in his lair, a laptop on his lap, grinning, holding a slim thread out to the poor, desperate girl that wanted to beat him. But he KNEW everything. If this was my chance, I needed to take it. And if it wasn't, then I would suffer, it made no difference, Matou Sakura knew only suffering, had known it ever since you took my light from me, Tohsaka. I admitted everything. the worms, nii-san, the way I loved senpai, how I so wished I could be you, all of it. And I told the truth, that I needed to help someone, a little girl, from suffering my fate.
I received the reply within minutes. It came from another email address, with no subject. It said
"Wait. Do nothing. Think nothing. Do as he wishes for now, take birth control. He must suspect nothing"
I sent a response back, and asked how, how could I make sure he didn't suspect?
"Think of yourself as a doll"
For months after, I heard nothing. I did as told, I slept with nii-san, Zouken continued to train me. Nothing seemed different, except that all I could do was numb myself to my life, and wait, and pray for deliverance. I checked my email as often as I dared. For months I waited, trying to make myself a doll. It wasn't as hard as you might think Tohsaka, I had already had trouble feeling much emotion after you and senpai left. I think if I hadn't been forced "awake" by Zouken's desire for an heir, I might of reached this state naturally. But still, hope tried to find a way in to my heart. Hope that I might stop Zouken, hope that after he was dead…..well, what then? If he was dead, would the worms be gone to? I dreamed again, during that time, that I might go and see you and senpai. Maybe…maybe heaven awaited still, maybe I could shine to. Foolish wish, happiness is not for a murderess. I understand that, but I think, even I deserve to have a nice dream, don't i?
I recognized it as soon as it happened, I went to school. I went to class and opened my book. Inside was a scrap of paper, on it, it said only "church" and nothing more. If I hadn't had so much practice at being a doll, I think I might have given the whole thing away, with a rush of excitement, as it was, I just calmly contemplated things. Then I shrugged, and waited for class to end. You might think that I would skip class, go running over, you would be wrong. I attended the days lessons, and asked nii-san politely if I could stay over with a friend. This wasn't completely unheard of, even for me. Appearances needed to be kept after all. Nii-san looked at me. I remember seeing pain in his eyes. I think he might have known. But he simply nodded to me, and said he would explain things.
And so I met the witch. She was…perhaps not what you would expect. She was as young as I am, and pretty, if not beautiful, her kimono was old fashioned, but stylish. It suit her well. she was smiling. It was a smile I knew all to well. I thought, as I looked at her, this must be how it was for Rider, when you can just look at someone, and see the pain inside, you know what it looks like when someone has cried themselves out to many times, and then found one day they didn't have any tears left. It was the look she saw in the mirror when she knew she smiled to keep the screams in. this red haired witch, she knew pain. I think that the next thing I did was the first impulsive thing I have done since I asked senpai to let me take care of him, so long ago. I reached out and hugged her to me, if this person had suffered, as I had suffered, then maybe I should help her. But, that was not the way. I was not the healer, I had come to be healed. She embraced me, and held me back for a second, then pulled away, still grinning the same way. She giggled and told me that I was very affectionate, and that the boys must love me. i tried to smile back for her. She led me down, past the main building, into an old underground chamber. I have no idea how she had possibly found it, but still, as she led me toward a work station she had said up, that this dark underground cavern seemed to somehow suit her. Very naturally, she had me strip down, and began examining me. it felt like a physical I might get from any nurse, she actually had the manor of one, but for every knee she tapped to check my reflexes, she also poured strange potions into me and onto me. they made me feel so strange, in some cases, I could feel the worms reacting, but I said nothing, and felt nothing. I knew, a doll felt no surprise, and a doll would feel no pain. When it was over, she said that she needed time to experiment. She jabbed me with a needle for some blood, and sent me home. I noticed that as she waved, her smile seemed even more fixed on then it did when I arrived.
Another note arrived a few months later. later, after making my excuses I went to see the witch who wanted to help me. when she met me, instead of taking me into the cavern, we stayed inside the church itself. She sat me on a pew and then leaned against it herself. Her story was….to gruesome. Zouken was the worms. The worms were Zouken. They were linked, all this time, Zouken himself had been inside of me. and there was more, not only did they provide him with power, they were his means of extending his life. I could burn him, cut him up, and incinerate the corpse and he could reform, whats more, he could just as easily possess me with the worms within me. his fist was closed over my heart, and it was only his ignorance and forbearance that had kept me who I was. I was sure he would have done so already if it hadn't been for the mindset of a doll, which kept him from growing suspicious. I am sure you are wondering, as I did, as I still DO Tohsaka, who was this witch, where had she come from, what kind of person had the connections, the knowledge, and skill to learn these things? And even if there were such a person, why was she on the INTERNET? Next she would turn out to be a serious gamer or something. I didn't understand her at all. All I know is that she came to help me, to save me, from the worst fate possible, the fate of consigning someone else, to the life I had lived. This was an angel who had been tarnished, who had suffered, but had been able to grow because of it. I would of cried, if I still remembered how, who knows….maybe there had still been a possibility for me to, maybe I could have been beautiful, even after everything. But this hope was not to last long. You see, the witch, had a solution. The worms within me connected me to Zouken on the deepest levels, in a very real sense, we were sharing souls. She had concocted a powerful poison that wouldn't just corrode the body, but actually struck for someone's very life. She wouldn't tell much about it, but she did say that its principles were her own special design, and based upon the same principles of a young man she knew that had a unique understanding of death. In short, this was a potion of true death. If Zouken's life was connected to mine, this was the best chance she could give me. this brew, my salvation, was my best chance to defeat the old man. Not by giving it to him of course. No, the true death had to be actualized where his life actually was. And then I learned the final secret. Zouken, was embedded into my heart. The potion of death was meant for me.
Do you know what its like to have a moment of clarity, Tohsaka Rin? Where you look back over your life, and you see all the things you wanted to do? All the mistakes you have made? You see, that's why I am sitting here now, in this church, right now, with a pen and paper that was given to me by this angel of mercy that came to help me, next to an empty vial that was filled with death, and salvation. As I sit here, and look back at my life, and I see all the beauty, and pain, how I loved, and lost. I remember the sound of senpai's voice like I haven't in quite some time. And in this moment, I realized this. One day, long ago, I reached out to touch somebody. A small boy who wanted to be a hero of justice, It was the best decision I ever made in my life. And now, I wonder, Tohsaka, what would have happened if I had done that one more time. I have no regrets about dying, an evil man dies, a murderess dies, the world will be better for it. I don't regret senpai choosing you, you was always everything that was the best parts of me, he deserved you. But I do have one regret Tohsaka, and I don't want to go without doing something about it. I will never hear your answer of course, but that's not so important, what's important is that I asked, that I reached out to you, tried to feel you in my life. The same question I wanted to ask you every second of every day while you were still here, and senpai was still here, and my life was still filled with light.
May I call you nee-san?
Your little sister, Sakura Matou
P.S. please don't tell senpai. He would just blame himself.
That night shirou held rin as she cried herself to sleep, but she wouldn't tell him why.