disclaimer: disclaimed.
dedication: to Chloe, for sailing this ship with me.
notes: yup. more little drabble fics.

title: buy it
summary: The slave auctions leave her with a sour taste in her mouth. — Ririchiyo/Soushi.

.

.

.

.

.

The slave auctions were a Shirakiin family tradition.

In typical fashion, they were a Shirakiin family tradition that Ririchiyo hated.

The outings themselves weren't so bad, because it wasn't like Ririchiyo was allowed all that often to be outside on her own; but it was the whole idea of owning another person that made her rage. There was something dirty about it that she couldn't quite put her finger on, but she wanted no part of it.

Also in typical fashion, her father didn't really give her a choice.

"Come along, Ririchiyo. It's high time you had a slave of your own."

"Only idiots require slave assistance. I do not, I'll have you know," Ririchiyo retorted. She would not feel guilty for this behaviour, she would not. It was completely justified. Completely justified.

Her father said nothing. He simply shook his head, as though he was wondering why he even spoke to her.

Actually, a lot of the time Ririchiyo wondered that, too.

The palanquin shuddered to a halt. Her father eyed her only once, and pushed the door open. "Come, Ririchiyo."

"No."

"Now, Ririchiyo," he commanded imperiously.

The look he gave her alone was enough to gall her into movement. She fought not to bare her teeth in his direction, and bowed her head with the pretense of minding her skirts to hide the disgust seething from her every pore. Ririchiyo descended from the palanquin, adjusted herself, and walked three steps ahead of her father just because she could.

(She was the sole inheritor of the House of Shirakiin. She could do whatever she damned well pleased.)

The auctions were loud, rowdy—horrible. The stink of sweat was thick in the air, the mindless chatter of the masses already working on giving her a headache.

"These people are peasants," she told her father, lips pulled up in a sneer. She had nothing but contempt for those that took amusement from the misfortune of so many. She had nothing but contempt for any of this.

"Yes, darling," her father soothed. "They are."

Ririchiyo was not to be pacified. She tossed her hair over her shoulder in a wave of dark violet, and ascended the stair to the Shirakiin box. She would have none of this; she would have none of it!

The very thought of it made her sick to her stomach.

She sat down on deep red plush, crossed her arms, and waited for this spectacle to end.

Her father sat, and the commentary begun.

"How about that one? Very… strong-looking, don't you think?"

and

"You mother would approve of that girl, though perhaps she's too slender to be of any real use…"

and

"Ah, Ririchiyo, look! That one is satisfactory; he looks like he'd take a bullet for you."

Ririchiyo closed her eyes and counted her breaths to stop herself from screaming.

But then came something different:

"Oh no. No, that isn't acceptable at all. That hair—no. Absolutely not."

Ririchiyo's eyes snapped open.

(It wasn't very often that her father said no to a slave.)

She looked down at the podium, and found the slave her father was looking at. He was pale as she was, with hair as white as snow. His gaze was trained downward, but as Ririchiyo stared holes in his collarbones, he glanced upwards as though he could feel the weight of her gaze.

His eyes were mismatched.

Ririchiyo had never seen anything like it.

The moment went on unbroken for some time. It went on until they started the bidding, and the screaming of the crowd shook her of her reverie.

But in those bare seconds, something shifted and clicked into place, and Ririchiyo thought that it was something essential, something deep inside. Something that perhaps could not go back to the way it was.

She didn't care.

Ririchiyo turned to her father and looked him in the eye. "I want him."

Her father was baffled. "But—Ririchiyo, he's—"

"You said I could have anyone I wanted, father. I want him," she repeated.

The man floundered.

"Father," she said, "please."

"I—well, alright," he said at last. He motioned to the man standing uncomfortably straight at his shoulder, and when the man bent, he whispered confidingly into his ear. Ririchiyo paid none of it any mind.

The boy on the stage was as different as she was.

She was sure of it.

tbc.