It was evening. The sun was setting way in the west, casting everything in the valley into shadow, and turning the sky shades of pink, orange and purple.

The path was made of stone, and it wound up the mountain trail towards a long flight of stairs. Trees waved overhead and to the side, casting a shifting curtain of shadows over everything. Everywhere, everything smelled of green. And, underneath the green, another smell. An old smell; an ancient smell. A smell of lost secrets.

The steps were high, but not too high. Not hard to climb at all, if one kept at it. The peacefulness of the surroundings, the pleasant rustling of the wind, kept one going, until one reached the top.

And at the top there was the shrine.

It was old and run-down. The gate was practically unpainted, and tilted drunkenly to one side. The shrine proper was, at that point, a shrine in name only. Still, there was a door, and a roof, and a donation box sitting forlornly on the front step. Enough to warrant stepping inside for a bit.

If one did take the unheard invitation and step inside, one would find a passingly strange sight. For within the shrine, was another gate. This one was smaller, only about six or seven feet in height, but a gate all the same, as if someone had shrunk the other gate and transplanted it inside the shrine. This gate, however, was in far better condition, gleaming red as if it were painted just before you got there, and the painter was about to come back and place a "Wet Paint" sign in front of it.

Aside from its strange condition, this gate radiated an aura of mystery. If one were to look at it, not straight on, but slightly to the side, one would perceive a strange unsettling of the air about it, and a gleam around the inner edge of it, as of a doorway not quite closed. Come here, said the door; come and discover what I hide.

And you'd listen. You'd listen, for it was the same voice that compelled Man to first sail over the seas. It was the voice that urged him to venture into strange and terrible places in the lands across those seas. It is the same voice that compels him to search out the stars.

And if you were to reach out your hand…just a little…trail a finger around the edge of the gate, remark at its smoothness…and then, with just the one finger…touch…enter…cross…the boundary…and…


Medicine Melancholy slowly opened her eyes. In front of her was her clock. It was just before six.

She reached out and stopped it just as the alarm went off. She then rolled onto her back, looked up at the ceiling, and closed her eyes for a second.

What lay beyond the gate?


A Poisonous Shade of Green


Another morning; the same routine. Get up. Make bed. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Fill schoolbag. Go downstairs. Eat breakfast. Say goodbye to Mom and Dad, even though they're still asleep.

Soon enough she was on her way to school. She would be early, but that was nothing out of the ordinary. Anyway it gave her time to study before class.

She went to the best school possible; always had. She had to study hard, but the results were well worth it. Nobody doubted that she would go to the best of universities, for whatever she wanted to go into.

"Medicine," she'd tell anyone who asked. "Just like my name. Maybe anaesthesiology or pharmaceuticals."

Then she'd smile and laugh at the irony of it, and you'd laugh too, because she had one of those laughs - just plain contagious.

Beautiful, smart, and funny, she was absolutely adored by all the teachers, envied by all of the girls, and sought after by all of the boys (and some of the girls too, though they'd never admit it). She was one of those people who just pull others towards them. It wasn't her intention. She just wanted to do her best by everyone.

"It just seems like the right thing to do," she'd tell anybody that asked. And that was it. There were no ulterior motives, no need for rewards or praise. She just wanted to help. And when she helped, you could feel that she was just doing it because that was what you needed. And you'd smile, because that kind of feeling just goes straight to all the dark corners of your heart and lights a candle in each one.

For all of her popularity, for all of her friends and suitors, Medicine was just never interested in anybody in particular. No crushes, no favourites. Except maybe once.

Whenever asked about it, she'd always give that toothy laugh of hers and change the topic. But she was interested. She hid it well, it was true; but if you were to spend enough time around her, you'd notice the way her head went up whenever he walked into the room.

"Ruairi," she'd say, "is a nice guy all around. Not the brightest, admittedly, but he does his best to help, and that's what's important, right?"

Maybe that was what drew her towards him. To find a kind soul like her own, floating through the sea of anonymous faces.

So that was Medicine. She was simple, but pure, and all around a nice girl. Nobody ever asked why she was named Medicine, because it was so obvious; she was the cure for the disease we know as sadness. So much was she the anti-sadness, that few people remembered her last name: Melancholy.

It was a word Medicine herself rarely used…until the first time she saw the girl.

"Such melancholy green eyes…" she whispered to herself upon seeing her.

The girl in question was standing behind the school fence, looking at them. She wore a long, loose coat around her, and despite the fact that it was spring, she wore a pair of bright red mittens on her hands, and a matching toque over her ears. From underneath the toque flowed strands of bright blonde hair.

But the most striking feature of her was her eyes. Peering out from underneath her hat, her eyes were the most remarkable, piercing shade of green that Melancholy had ever seen in her life. They stared at her through the bars of the fence, as if trying to reach her through sight alone.

Then Medicine blinked, and she vanished.

"What are you talking about?" asked one of her friends.

"Oh…nothing," she said vaguely.

She was about to get peppered with more questions, but then the bell rang to signal the end of lunch, and they had to go back inside.


Are you wondering who this mysterious girl is? So was Medicine, who kept seeing her everywhere she went.

At lunch break, looking out of the window during class, on her way home from school…Everywhere she went, the girl seemed to appear, and then flicker out of perception like she had never been there. Behind fences, on the other side of a busy street, standing underneath the shade of the tree…the girl followed her. Medicine began to get curious, and started visiting the places where she had last seen her. She never found anything.

One day Ruairi came and looked over her shoulder while she was doodling in her notebook. Her subject was none other than the mysterious girl.

"That's really good," he remarked honestly. "Are you sure you want to go into medicine? You'd make a remarkably talented artist."

Medicine, while revelling in his praise, replied by saying, "I can help more people as a doctor. That's why I'm going into medicine."

"That's a shame. You're very talented." It was an honest opinion, like everything he said. "By the way, who is she?" He pointed to the drawing of the girl.

Medicine shaded in the girl's mysterious, lonely eyes with one of her green pencils.

"I don't know," was all she said.


That school year ended. Summer came and went in its usual burst of heat and joy. Fall came, and bereaved the trees of their leaves; then fall, too, passed into memory. Winter came, encasing everything in a blanket of white snow. Midterm exams came and went; it was no surprise that Medicine made top of the class.

"I have no idea how you do it," laughed Ruairi, with whom she had begun hanging out with regularly. "I think you only lost maybe one point on that entire exam."

"Two, actually," replied Medicine. "I was distracted."

So many months had gone by without a single sighting that she had been surprised to see the girl again, right in front of the window. Her breath had briefly frosted the pane, and then she had disappeared again. The frost, however, had remained.

Of course, Medicine had been on the third floor; the frost was inadequate in explaining how somebody could stand in front of a third-story window.

"Medicine? Did you hear me?"

Ruairi's words brought Medicine back to reality. She focused her attention back on him, with a questioning look.

"I asked if you…wanted to go to the movies, or something. To celebrate our marks. Or yours, at least."

Medicine smiled.

"I'd be glad to."


That night Medicine walked home in a good mood, enjoying the beauty of the crisp winter night. She barely even felt the cold of the snow that got in her boots, or the breeze that managed to get under her coat. Her breath puffing in front of her, she looked up at the clear, starry sky.

'I want every day to be like this,' she thought to herself.

Then she rounded the corner to the street her house was on, and there was the girl.

She was looking up at Medicine's house, just standing in the street with her toque and coat, mittened hands wrapped around her chest. For a moment she seemed not to notice Medicine, and thus she got a better look at her follower than she had ever gotten before. Looking closer, Medicine was able to place her age at around fourteen or fifteen, three or four years younger than herself. Her coat was fluttering in the breeze, and Medicine was just able to catch a glimpse of some kind of skirt underneath. Looking even further down, she noticed that the girl was not wearing boots, but a pair of black dress shoes and white socks, strange attire for that time of year.

Then the girl turned, and fixed Medicine with her piercing green eyes. Medicine was rooted to the spot by that gaze: a gaze that cut down to her very soul, a gaze that said 'I know you' and probed the dark recesses of things she didn't even know about herself.

A sad, melancholy gaze. A gaze that spoke of distant longing in a far-off land.

Then the girl turned and ran, her shoes kicking up puffs of snow.

Medicine gave chase, calling out after her mysterious watcher. The girl did not heed her supplications, instead veering around a corner. Medicine followed her, skidding and almost tripping on a patch of ice.

But when she rounded the corner, the girl was nowhere to be found.

Quickly, she checked for footprints. They were there, but they seemed to just…end, mid-stride. She knelt down and gazed at the last visible footprint. It was as if the girl had just faded away, like a passing dream.

Medicine sneezed, and was suddenly reminded of the temperature. She turned about, and headed back for her house.


Winter ended, and spring came again. The trees regained their leaves, and the flowers began to bloom.

Medicine and Ruairi were now officially dating, or at least they were if you asked anyone but the pair in question. If you asked them, they would just say they enjoyed "hanging out" together. It was pretty transparent to everybody else.

Medicine hadn't stopped seeing the strange girl. In fact, she saw more of her; almost every day she would catch a glimpse of a red toque or mittens, or maybe a hint of green eyes looking down at her from the treetops. The girl's constant presence was a maddening mystery to Medicine. Sketches and doodles of her began to crop up all over her notes, especially the eyes – those enigmatic, lonely eyes. The girl's identity constantly nagged at the back of her mind, as if it were very important that she figure it out. Sometimes she felt like she could grasp it, but it kept slipping out of her hands.

On the day before exams, she tried to explain it to Ruairi.

"So for the past year and a half you've been seeing this girl?" he asked her. "About three or four years younger, always in a coat with a hat and mittens?"

Medicine said yes.

"I'd say it was stress, except I know you too well." He frowned worriedly. "Well, it doesn't seem like she wants to harm you, but maybe…" Then his expression suddenly brightened. "Hey, maybe you've got your own guardian angel. An angel guarding another angel, now isn't that funny?"

Medicine laughed at that, and then kissed him, deeply. He was taken by surprise at first, but then kissed her back. Those passing in the hall stopped to stare.

They broke apart, and smiled at each other.

"It's too bad the year is almost up," he said. "Soon, we'll be going to different schools."

"You've been trying hard," she said in a consolatory tone. "And I've been tutoring you. I'm sure you'll do really well."

"Sure," he said with a grin. "Now, I've got to go home and help Mom in the store, but I'll see you tomorrow. I know you'll be done first, so I'll meet you on the roof afterwards. Is that okay?"

Medicine nodded. Then they parted ways.


Medicine stood at the railing, gazing out across the town. She absolutely loved the rooftop; the feeling of the breeze caressing her cheeks, the feeling of the open sky overhead…Ruairi knew her well, to choose the rooftop as their meeting point.

The sun was just starting to touch the distant mountains, and Ruairi still wasn't out. This wasn't unusual, but it still made Medicine anxious. She couldn't wait to see him.

So, when she heard the door creak, she whirled around with a smile to greet him.

But there was no one there. The door swung closed, and nobody came through it.

Then, for no particular reason, she felt a tingling between her shoulder blades. She whirled around again, uncertain of what to expect.

There was the girl, standing in front of her, out in midair.

They looked at each other for a while, one in shock, the other with a strange kind of intensity.

Then the girl cracked a pained smile, and the watcher spoke her first words to the watched.

"Medicine."

The word carried with it a kind of odd fondness, as of an old friend, or even a lover. Medecine recoiled a little, partly in fright, partly in surprise.

"Who are you?" she asked, not wasting any time in getting to the point.

"Isn't it sad?" said the girl with that same, painful smile. "You can't remember me. But that's the price I paid."

"I've seen you everywhere, but I don't know you," said Medicine suspiciously. "I only saw you about a year and a half ago."

"But I've been around longer than that. Think back."

Suddenly, memories from her childhood came back, of a mysterious stranger who watched her as she played in the park. A memory of green eyes.

"How…You…" Light flashed before Medicine's eyes as if she had been hit in the head. She stumbled back.

"There isn't much time," said the girl. "I can't be here forever, and neither can you. I'm sorry about this."

The world blipped out, like a television screen.


It was evening. The sun was setting way in the west, casting everything in the valley into shadow, and turning the sky shades of pink, orange and purple.

Medecine woke up on a stone path. It wound upwards in front of her, turning into a long flight of stairs as it did so. Trees waved overhead and to the side, casting a shifting curtain of shadows over everything. Everywhere, everything smelled of green. And, underneath the green, another smell. An old smell; an ancient smell. A smell of lost secrets.

She looked behind herself. Away in the distance, she could see the town. It was nothing but a blurry grouping of shapes. She became scared and frightened.

"Go up the steps," called a voice from the woods around her. "I'm sorry, but the connection is fading. I couldn't bring you any closer. You'll have to walk the rest of the way."

The steps were high, but not too high. Not hard to climb at all, if one kept at it. The peacefulness of the surroundings, the pleasant rustling of the wind, kept one going, until one reached the top.

"I can't go out of this area," said the voice apologetically. "And you're leaving soon. I couldn't…I had to talk to you, one last time. I'm sorry."

Medicine reached the top of the steps. And at the top there was the shrine.

It was old and run-down. The gate was practically unpainted, and tilted drunkenly to one side. The shrine proper was, at that point, a shrine in name only. Still, there was a door, and a roof, and a donation box sitting forlornly on the front step. Enough to warrant stepping inside for a bit.

She took the unheard invitation and stepped inside, only to discover a passingly strange sight. For within the shrine, was another gate. This one was smaller, only about six or seven feet in height, but a gate all the same, as if someone had shrunk the other gate and transplanted it inside the shrine. This gate, however, was in far better condition, gleaming red as if it were painted just before you got there, and the painter was about to come back and place a "Wet Paint" sign in front of it.

Aside from its strange condition, this gate radiated an aura of mystery. If one were to look at it, not straight on, but slightly to the side, one would perceive a strange unsettling of the air about it, and a gleam around the inner edge of it, as of a doorway not quite closed. Come here, said the door; come and discover what I hide.

And beside the gate stood the girl.

She had cast off her coat, hat and mittens, and stood before Medicine in a fancifully designed dress. The top was brown, and had purple areas crisscrossed with white stripes. The bottom was a skirt, layered in blue, purple and black, with red ribbons hanging from it. A pink sash hung about her waist.

Her blonde hair flowed over her head, and from the hair poked pointed ears. She turned her gaze on Medicine, and her eyes were a more vibrant green than Medicine had ever seen before.

"Do you remember my name?" whispered the girl.

"Parsee." The word slipped out of Medicine's mouth, and then she felt as if she were hit over the head again. She stumbled, fell to her knees; when she looked up, through tears of pain, she could see that the girl, too, was crying.

"Yes, that's right. Parsee. You do remember."

Parsee came over and knelt down in front of Medicine. She took Medicine's head in her hands and asked again.

"Now, where are we?"

"The Hakurei shrine." It felt as if someone were pumping her head full of water until it burst. Her head hit the floor, and she was sobbing.

"Good. Why is the shrine important?"

"It is the focus of the Great Hakurei Boundary."

"What does the boundary encapsulate?"

"Gensoukyou."

"Who is the current boundary maiden?"

"Reimu Hakurei."

"What am I?"

"A youkai of jealousy."

"Where do I come from?"

"The Former Hell."

"Where do you come from?"

"The Nameless Hill."

With each question the pain redoubled, until Medicine was almost screaming out the answers, pounding her head against the floor in an attempt to block out the pain with a lesser one. Her eyes flooded with tears of agony. Parsee held her, trying to keep her still, also crying, though her tears were of a different nature.

"One last question. Who are you?"

"I am Medicine Melancholy, the poisonous doll, who tends to the lilies of the valley around Nameless Hill, and poisons all who enter."

Suddenly the crying and the spasms stopped. Medicine hung limp in Parsee's arms for a moment. Then she pulled away and stood up. She looked down at Parsee.

Tears had come back to her eyes, but they weren't tears of pain anymore. Her teeth were set in a snarl of anger, and her eyes, if one were to look in them, burned with untold wrath.

"Parsee. What have you done?"

A single scream of rage, and her uniform tore away from her. Her eyes began to glow, and she floated into the air.

"Medicine! Wait! I can explain!" Parsee got up and extended her arms.

"You made me human! HOW COULD YOU, PARSEE?"

Suddenly, dark clouds rushed out of her body. The fog encased the area, pressing down, smothering life. Plants wilted, and Parsee had to cover her mouth with her sleeve.

"Stop! Medicine! You'll poison yourself!"

"TELL ME WHY, PARSEE! WHY?"

"Because I was sorry for you!" Parsee coughed on the poison. "I saw how your hate was eating you up inside, and I couldn't be jealous of you! I just wanted to help you!"

"WE WERE SUPPOSED TO KILL THE HUMANS!"

"Yes, but you made me see how wrong that was! I was-" She suddenly choked and gagged. "I pitied you!"

"SO YOU WENT TO THE BORDER BITCH!"

"Yes, I went to Yukari Yakumo! I dealt with her! She made you human, and gave you parents, and everything!"

"HOW DARE YOU, PARSEE! HOW DARE YOU! HOW DARE YOU DO THIS!" Poison gas exploded out of Medicine as if a pressure valve had broken. It shot up into the sky like a geyser, killing passing birds. "I HATE THE HUMANS! I HATE THEM!"

Parsee fell to her knees, weakened by the poison and the force of her own anguish.

"Medicine! Stop! We can go back, start over!"

"NO! NO! NO! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!" The figure wreathed in dark smoke curled up and held her head in her hands. "I HAVE BEEN AMONG THEM! I HAVE BEEN KIND TO THEM! I HAVE KISSED THEM! I HAVE LOVED THEM!"

Her screams echoed around the valley, shaking the mountains, frightening animals, rending the sky in two. Parsee could not rise from her knees, and simply stared upwards as the poison consumed her body, her eyes overflowing with tears, her mouth open in a silent sob.

"I HATE YOU, PARSEE! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU! I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE-"

And then, suddenly, Medicine coughed. She coughed again, and again, and then her body was wracked by violent coughing spasms. She choked, and cried, and sobbed, and shrieked with rage and anguish.

Then, suddenly, it stopped. She stood silent in midair. The poisonous clouds dissipated. For a moment all was calm, and the air was still and silent.

She turned towards where the town lay, and raised one arm in its direction.

"Ruairi," was all she whispered.

Then she fell, and hit the ground with a clattering sound, as of many wooden parts.


Yukari was drinking sake in her garden when Parsee stumbled in.

The youkai of jealousy looked like the walking dead. She could barely even walk straight, and her knees continually buckled as if they were about to give out. She was continually coughing, gagging, nearly choking, and what breath she did manage came out as laboured gasps. Her skin was a strange shade of green. And when she looked up, her eyes were no longer the bright green they once were. They were dull, lifeless, and the same sickly shade as her skin.

In her arms she held a limp and lifeless figure that clattered as she walked. Reaching Yukari, she wasted no words, thrusting out the doll that had once been Medicine Melancholy.

"Bring her back," was all she said, in a hoarse, raspy voice.

Yukari put down her sake dish, and turned to face her visitor.

"You broke the terms of our agreement," she said plainly. "You were not to talk to her. You were only to visit the outside world in the time between the first snows and the last cherry blossom. You were not to leave the immediate area of the town."

"Yes," rasped Parsee.

"And you expect me to help you?"

"Yes," replied the green-eyed youkai, not even looking at Yukari. "I will pay any price."

"You realize she never loved you. She loved a human."

"Yes."

"You still wish to bring her back, knowing that she will hate you until the day she dies again?"

"Yes."

Yukari sighed, folded her hands, and prepared to bring out her trump card.

"Her hate for humans was what drove her."

"Yes."

"Her very ability to exist away from the one who created her was a result of that hatred."

"Yes."

"Because of your actions, she cannot hate humans. Therefore, if I bring her back, she cannot sustain herself. If I were to bring her back to sustain herself, she would not be herself. Do you see?" The youkai of boundaries gave the youkai of jealousy a hard, focused look. "I cannot bring back Medicine as you knew her."

Parsee had no response to this.

"At the very least, I will heal you. There is no reason for you to die."

Yukari waved her hand, and the green colour drained out of Parsee's skin. It poured down her clothes and skin, pooling around her feet, creating a dead spot in the grass. It streaked down her face, mingling with liquid that had already been there.

Parsee gave one last look at Yukari. Her eyes had not changed – they were the same poisonous shade of green.

Then, cradling the doll in her arms, she walked away.

Yukari turned back to her drink, and as she sipped from her dish, she could hear the mutterings of the green-eyed youkai.

"It's all right, Medicine…I'll take care of you. I'll make you better. Soon you'll be back to your old self, and we can kill the humans for breaking your heart. It wasn't my fault, was it? It was all his fault, for making him love you…No, of course you don't blame me. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't my fault. It wasn't my fault."

Yukari sighed tiredly, and waved a hand, restoring the dead grass to life. One last snatch of speech floated back to her.

"I'm so jealous of you, Medicine. You don't have to worry anymore."


Did someone ask for Medicine x Parsee? Here you go, Anon. Your suggestion has been fermenting in my mind since the day you posted it - now, it has come to fruition.

I am really, really happy with this story. The decision to try for a romantic tragedy was a good one. ProTip for all you other aspiring writers out there: never try to force a story. They always come out best if you let them take their own damn time.

As a quick side note, I borrowed the name "Ruairi" from Mabinogi, an MMORPG oublished by Nexon. I pulled the last name from the Wikipedia page on people with that name. An ancient king of Ireland. Not too important, but I thought I'd mention it.

UnendingEmpire, I am very sorry for having broken your combo.