The fairest one of all


She hates mirrors.

She tries to avoid them when she can. At times, she's even stricken with the desire to put her fist right through them- never mind if her skin gets cut and starts to bleed. She doesn't want to look; she refuses to look.

But that wouldn't solve the problem.

If she shattered every mirror she saw, she would only succeed in creating many, many more tiny fragments. They would continue to reflect her face many, many more times; and she would be unable to stop looking.

It's not the mirrors she hates.

What she hates is the image they reflect back to her.

She hates herself.

But, when she sees her reflection… she can't stop looking. It's like staring at a car crash. Hideous, tragic- and impossible to tear her eyes away from.

Who… is she… …?

If she studied the problem for a thousand years, and traced every line and counter of her reflected face with her fingertips, she would never be able to discover the answer.

She barely even knows if she can call herself a 'her' at all- and looking at 'her' reflection doesn't help matters. It only makes her more and more confused.

She was brought up as a maid; attired in cute skirts and an apron, a matching hat, red stockings and demure black shoes. She has been acting as a woman all her life- but is it only an act? She's not really a maid. Shannon is… but, then again, she isn't Shannon.

Shannon is attractive; large breasts and a soft smile that could light up a room, 'if only you displayed it more often', as Krauss jokingly said once.

She isn't pretty, though.

Not when the clothes have all been stripped away; pooling at her feet like the shed skin of a snake.

Her body is too thin, too weak, underdeveloped and disproportionate.

She should be a woman. They tell her she's a woman- and even she, herself, attaches female pronouns to her feeble existence inside her head… but her body doesn't reflect her brain.

It never has.

She can only accept her body if she hides it behind clothes- maids' skirts, a butler's uniform, a heavy, ornate dress- and pretends 'her' body is no longer hers' but somebody else's. She doesn't want to be trapped inside this imperfect cage of malformed flesh- this defective, disgusting shell of skin and bone that she can't escape from. This is a prison even more perfect than a closed room, or an island in a storm- because she cannot exist outside of this body. She cannot physically become somebody else, though she wishes dearly she could.

This body will never change.

She will never escape from it.

No matter how imaginary friends she creates, they will all share this feeble existence- and this ugly body.

She should be a woman, but she doesn't have any breasts. Her chest is flat, even though she's not a child. Why doesn't she have any breasts?

She should be a woman, but she can't menstruate. She has never had a period in her life. When Jessica complains bitterly to 'Shannon' about stomach cramps and pains and sickness, she tries to nod and act sympathetic, understanding… but how can she understand, when she has never experienced it herself? She feels pain over her periods as well- but it's not a physical pain; it's a mental one. Isn't it a natural function of a woman to bleed every month? Why, then, can she not do it? Is she really so useless that her body can't even bleed when it should?

She's half afraid that, if she cut her skin with a knife, her defective body would leak black ooze or ash instead of blood.

She should be a woman, but she will never be able to have children. It is impossible. She could no sooner nurture a new life inside her womb than she could fly to the moon.

When she was a baby, she fell from a clif and smacked against the rocks below. She can't remember it, but there was probably a sickening thud; a crack of bones; a crunch of her head caving in; blood painting the rocks red.

It's a miracle she's alive at all.

'Alive'?

That's a naïve assumption.

How you could call a life like this 'being alive'?

She broke three ribs. A leg. Suffered a compound fracture. It took her two years longer to learn to walk than other children.

The other damage was more long-lasting.

Her uterus was completely crushed. It was a messier version of a hysterectomy- but it had the same result.

George wants to build a bright, happy future with 'Shannon'. He has dreams of children; of grandchildren; of a large family, with lots of smiles. Of course, he expects 'Shannon' to give him these children. Shannon is more than willing to marry George; after all, she would do anything for him- she loves him.

She shouldn't.

Shannon, despite Kanon's reprimands, became ensnared by the lies of the witch- and she began to believe, foolishly (stupidly) that this kind of future was possible.

It's not.

Shannon forgot she was furniture.

Shannon's mind might be different from hers', and she might believe she's a different person- but it's a belief made in error. She's still bound to one lump of crippled, disfigured, sexless flesh; just like Kanon. Just like Beatrice.

Just like 'her'.

Shannon doesn't have any breasts, either. They're fake. But maybe she believes they're real.

She can't menstruate; though she lies she does to comfort Jessica during their 'girlie' conversations- and maybe she believes she can herself.

She certainly cannot have any babies- but, smiling shyly, she tells George she wants nothing more; she will do her best, because it's her dream, too.

It will only ever be a dream.

She wants the impossible.

Stupid furniture; stupid Shannon- why did she forget her place; why did she start wanting things for herself? Why is she trying to seize happiness for herself? She was never given permission to act like that!

Hey…

W-why is Shannon ignoring her?

Shannon isn't real. Shannon's in her head. So… why did her head stop listening to her?

Maybe… it's because her imaginary friends hate her, too.

They might be figments of her imagination- but, over the years, they became much, much more than that. They have hearts, too. They feel and think and want and wish and love- and maybe they do it in 'her' stead, because she's miserable and she hasn't been able to dream in years.

Not since he left.

Shannon is dreaming dreams of pure, maidenly love on her behalf- but those dreams will never amount to anything! Why doesn't she stop? When George wants to sleep with Shannon and discovers those breasts are fake, that body is fake, he'd find it easier and far more romantic trying to have sex with a bread knife than a hideous, androgynous thing like that, he'll leave her.

He'll surely leave her.

She doesn't know who she is; she doesn't know at all. She should be a woman- but if that's true, why is Kanon a boy?

Why does Kanon love Jessica?

…She doesn't know.

She doesn't know anything.

Her personalities are pulling at her from all sides, until it feels like her mind is going to splinter apart. She can't please them all. She can't even hope to stop them by this point. She was always a daydreamer (fantasy is the one refuge for those who cannot abide to reside in reality), and her half-formed dreams and made-up friends always had more substance than she did.

Sometimes, she wonders if she is the illusion.

Beatrice, Shannon, Kanon.

They're all moving away from each other; but, ultimately, they won't get very far.

They're bound by her body, and to her brain. Though they pull and pull, they can't escape.

But they're struggling.

They're trying.

They won't stop; they won't shut up; be silent, be still, leave me alone, leave me alone, leave me alone!

She can't do it.

She can't live like this anymore.

I-it… hurtstoo much.

A big family with George; children, grandchildren, faces wreathed with smiles.

A white wedding with Jessica- for, as Jessica has confided in Shannon on multiple occasions, she really likes cute things like that, even though she acts like such a tomboy, and Kanon would look so handsome in a suit.

Or, maybe even, if Beatrice is feeling particularly self-destructive and wants to make her miserable, idle daydreams of him returning to her on a white horse; and they'll ride away into the sunset together, just like he promised.

But he didn't come back.

Who could love somebody like her, anyway…? She doesn't even know who she is; what she is; why she exists; what's she doing; why didn't I just die that day? Why did Dr. Nanjo save me? Whyam I still alive… …?

There's no reason for me to be alive.

Her personalities all want happy endings- but those happy endings can surely never come true, because they're not real people. They're daydreams, delusions, fantasies, furniture- the only friends a freak like her could ever hope to have.

And… she's not a real human being, either.

When he took notice of her, reading mystery novels under the arbor and having shy conversations about favorite authors, she dared to hope she could be happy, too.

But it was all a delusion.

She's sorry for ever believing that now- and perhaps she's thankful of him for betraying her. Now, she knows not to hope for herself again; and she knows not to let her heart trick her head into believing her body can be loved.

She's not quite a girl, and not quite a boy. She only refers to herself as a female now for ease; she's hardly sure what applies to her.

Her mind has been divided so many times she can't tell where she ends and Beatrice begins.

She has created so many personas, trying desperately to escape her infallible cage of flesh, that she doesn't know who 'she' is anymore. She's poured so much of herself into these other mindsets that her own is becoming submerged; deluged; and now it's a struggle to keep her fingertips above the surface.

She's drowning.

And still, despite her frantic cries for help, nobody comes to save her.

Her prince will never return.

She only needs to look at her reflection in the mirror to be reminded of why.


a/n: So, I just read a translation of an interview with Ryukishi, and his obvious love/sympathies for the Yasu character really showed through, so I felt like writing something about Yasu. Oh, and because Yasu is a very interesting character to explore ^_^;
And also… I've seen some people argue the ShKanon theory can't be true because how would Shannon bind her breasts to convincingly play a boy? But I read a convincing theory that 'Yasu' doesn't have breasts at all; after being thrown from the cliff as a baby, her body was pretty much 'broken', which later messed up her development, leading to a lack of breasts and other defining 'womanly' characteristics. That also explains the gender confusion, and the Kanon identity. Oh, and in an interview, Ryukishi explicitly stated Shannon's breasts are fake. So that clears up that mystery.

I love Yasu, but I don't like writing her very much. It's too depressing XD
But I hope you liked it, anyway ^_^

~renahhchen xoxo