Hello all. Time to get in the way - back machine. I originally wrote and published this fic back in 1998, when I was seventeen years old under the name "KarmaCat". All these years later I found it again and figured it deserved to a home here with the rest of my fan-related writing. I don't know how active the TaleSpin community is now, but I hope that perhaps a new generation will enjoy Their Fearful Symmetry. In any case it gladdens me to know it's here instead of floating homeless around the web.
I will be uploading it in the original chapters. It's a long story and I'm fairly busy, so it may take a while.
their fearful symmetry
Sarabi Genesis Kahn, seven years old and stolid as a senior, studied the morning paper at the breakfast table. Her concentration remained unbroken as she lifted a forkful of pancake to her mouth and set it back down again with a grace that made of mockery of her age. Her eyes danced along the articles of the business section. Despite the fact that she was barely in second grade, she could read almost as well as any adult, and had a vocabulary that may have been better.
She turned the page with elegance and effort, seeing as the paper was longer than her arm at the time, and extended a dull claw. She ran this down the stocks page as a pointer until she found what she was looking for.
Her father, Shere Kahn, sat across from her, chin in hand, watching this with amusement. The kitchen was bright that morning as the sun came flooding in, and his daughter's back faced a floor-to-ceiling picture window so her halo of neat white hair was offset by the rooftops of Cape Suzette.
Her little eyebrows raised and she peered upwards at her father with her piercing blue eyes. "Father," she began in a light seven-year-old voice filled with careful consideration, "I believe I made ten dollars today."
He had been waiting. "Did you?' he replied unsmilingly, but the young Sarabi could detect the obvious pleasure in his tone. "On what?"
"The telephone company stock. See, look." She pointed to a tiny listing near the top of the page, almost having to lie on the table to do so.
"Hmm. So you did, little girl, so you did."
"And you told me not to invest in telephones."
"But which one of us was right, Sarabi? You're learning to trust your instincts. I say, very good, very good."
"Would you like me to write that down for you?"
She raised her left eyebrow in perfect imitation of her father. "Well, of course," she replied.
He turned in his seat and reached into a drawer behind him, pulling out a small yellow notebook, and scripted "$10" and the date. It was a little game they played. He had taught his daughter to place imaginary money into stocks she thought would be profitable. For every hundred she would have earned, Shere placed ten dollars in an account for the girl, which she would gain access to when she was eighteen. A good deal of the time she was correct in her assessments, yet still she was seven and didn't quite know the ways of the world; for example, when she made a foolish investment in some obscure European candy when she and her younger sister were the only children in Cape Suzette to ever hold it in their mouths, he didn't interfere. He let her learn on her own. So Shere had to keep extracting and replacing money into her particular account, which confused the lights out of the people at the bank.
Sarabi folded the paper and resumed eating, pulling a strand of white hair out of her plate. Shere looked to her for a moment longer, remembering the shock he felt when he first held the warm body of his baby daughter in his arms and saw that cream hair. Having hair at all was a rarity amongst tigers in the first place, so that was startling in itself. But it was the combination of white hair and blue eyes that, at that instant seven years ago, almost made Shere drop his baby in astonishment. He recalled a limerick he used to hear in his youth regarding the subject:
BLESSED IS THE WHITE-HAIRED TIGER GLIDING THROUGH THE TWISTED MIER OF THIS PLAUGE-STRICKEN, WICKED WORLD
BLESSED IS THE MOTHER MAIDEN HEALS THROUGH LOVE AND GOLDEN LADEN THAT TAKES THE FORM OF A YOUNG GIRL
BRIGHT LIGHT STRIKE AND COME ALIVE MYSTIC FORCES WILL CONTRIVE COME, THIS WHITE-HAIRED GIRL, REVIVE HEAVEN IS WAITING FOR THIS TITHE
He had looked to his wife, August, and she only returned it with a slightly nervous, but pleased, smile. She had heard the folklore, too. When he was a child he had heard tales of long ago about white-haired, blue eyed tigers who were supposed to have special, unexplainable abilities that made them extremely valuable to their tribes. His first thought as he looked upon her, however, was a proud one. So, he thought to himself, I have sired a magi!
No less than two seconds later he dismissed it as nonsense. There was a brief flurry of attention when Sarabi's birth hit the papers, such as "Rare Child to Inherit Kahn Financial Empire", and some religious zealots kept trying to get into the building to see the baby, but Shere had them quickly arrested. Her features, he decided, were just a genetic fluke and nothing more.
But that made the girl no less brilliant and no less beautiful.
As a child, she was icy and stunning. As a person, she had taken wholly after her father. Intelligent, articulate, nothing less than a man of Shere's status would expect from a daughter, but-
Sarabi was cold.
So cold, as August had remarked in those few precious years, those lovely ones that took place before her death. Sarabi never wanted to be hugged or held, and shied from most any embrace; in fact, she would sometimes go so far as to back away if she saw one coming. Rarely, if ever, did she show any affection for Shere, or anyone. Her robotic, emotionless stance toward everyone around her was her trademark.
Which made her such a shocking polar opposite from her younger sister, Orly.
It was no more than seven thirty in the morning, and five year old Orly came galloping into the kitchen like a crazed gorilla bird, her slim little legs pumping as fast as they could until she finally made a flying leap onto the broad expanse of her father's back. He braced himself against the table and peered over his shoulder at her.
She gave him a big, innocent smile. "Good morning, Papa!" she almost yelled in his ear.
"That it is."
She proceeded to climb over his shoulder and onto his lap, reaching up, grabbing his cheeks, and kissing him on the nose. "Can I sit on your lap?" she asked. Her sister gave her a cross look and opened her newspaper again.
"It seems to me that you're already there."
"What Papa? Oh hey, I am!" she laughed. "I'm silly, I'm silly, I'm silly - silly Orly! Hee hee! Papa, did I ever tell you that I love my name?" She cocked her head at him and twitched her left ear, her yellow eyes shining up in daughterly admiration of her father.
Shere loved that.
"Thank you, Papa!"
After a moment of stillness, Orly thrust her arm across the table and slid Sarabi's unfinished plate of pancakes across the table. "Does Sara want this?"
"Sara thinks you act like a pixilaited gnome," came Sarabi's voice from behind her sheet of print.
"A what? Papa, am I a gnome? What's a gnome?"
"A small nasty creature. You're not a gnome, Orly. Sarabi, your sister is not a gnome."
"Could've fooled me."
Orly stuck her little pink tongue out at her sister, leaning back against her father's chest so he couldn't see her do it. She then proceeded to grab a fistful of pancake and stuff it wholly into her mouth.
"Now Orly,' Shere began, gently seizing her tiny wrist and wiping the syrup off, "if you're going to sit on my lap, I must insist you use silverware and calm down a bit."
She blew him a raspberry and laughed.
"Well, the same to you!" he replied, handing his daughter a fork.
She put the fork on the table and instead leaned her head against Shere's chest and listened to him breath, while studying her older sister with her newspaper, watching her cold robotic eyes trace back and forth over it, left to right, left to right. Sarabi absently ran her paw through her white hair and all of a sudden, Orly became very jealous. She wanted her sister's pretty long hair.
She stretched her arms around her father's chest. They didn't go all the way around. "I love you, Papa," she purred. Her father responded with an affectionate pat on her head, and Orly watched out of the corner of her eye for the possibility of an envious reaction in her sister's face.
She only glanced up momentarily and went back to her paper.
Orly's brow folded in five-year-old thought. How could she get her sister's attention?
"Saaaraaaabi!" she whisper-sung.
'What?' she replied.
"Sa-Sa-Sa-Sa-Saaaraaaaaabi!" she sang a bit louder.
"What!" her sister demanded, putting down her newspaper in annoyance.
"S-S-S-Saaaaraaaaaaaaraaaabi!" she sang much louder this time.
"WHAT do you WANT, you little retard?" she spat.
"That's enough, both of you!" Shere scolded in his deep rumbling baritone. Both girls instantly snapped to attention. "I don't wish to hear any more of that. It's far too early."
"Papa..." Orly mumbled and hugged him again. Shere looked down at her with affection in his eyes and ran his paw over the short orange fur over her scalp. Sarabi observed this, her lips pursed in dissatisfaction.
"Retard," she mumbled under her breath.
With a shockingly fluid movement, Orly's hand snapped out, picked up a piece of pancake, and chucked it directly between Sarabi's eyes.
What took place next was so inexplicable, and happened so fast, it was hard for anyone to fully comprehend. They never really did.
Sarabi's face showed a mixture of anger and calm, and as the piece of pancake fell off her forehead and onto the table, her eyes took on a glassy sheen; a look that was so unnerving and inhuman that it made even Shere's heart skip a beat. Before Orly could begin to laugh, the plate of syrupy breakfast before her suddenly flew off the table, seemingly by its own volition, and struck the girl square in the chest, knocking the wind out of her.
For a moment, the table resided in complete and total silence. Shere's eyes widened but his face hardened, that unnaccepting look he got when he was trying to process something incredibly weird but didn't want anyone to know it had caught him off guard. He stared at his daughter and she stared back almost as if she didn't recognize the man before her.
Orly was covered in syrup and her chest hurt from the plate, so of course, being five, she began to scream.
The look snapped out of Sarabi's eyes as quickly as it came, and her head lowered into her hands.
"Father, I think...I think I need to lie down..." The girl then left the table and stumbled to her room where she slept for the next three hours.
The incident was never spoken of again.