Doll

Rating: PG-13/T

Genre: Hurt/Comfort/Angst/Tragedy

Summary: For the hc_bingo challenge, prompt "Sacrifice". Azami and Akane are one.

Author's Note: Don't know. Desperately wanted to write something for Fatal Frame.

Disclaimer: I don't own Fatal Frame. It belongs to Tecmo.

()()

Father gave her the doll, and for a day and a half she just sat and stared.

She didn't eat. She didn't sleep.

But she'd been going without both of those long enough not to notice.

All she saw was Azami, and how father had brought her back to life.

In a sense.

"I'm sorry," She moaned, her arms around the doll's neck. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Don't be.

They did it before the Crimson Butterfly ceremony, and they did it now. She would sometimes not even have to speak out loud, and Azami would answer her thoughts. It was merely a "twin thing".

They talked about the village.

They talked about how different life had been apart.

They talked about crimson butterflies.

They talked about how good father was to bring Azami back.

What a good father.

()()

At first, Yoshitatsu didn't believe Akane when she said that Azami was back and fine and alive again. He thought that Akane was merely taking the purpose of the doll to a bit of an extreme.

But even then, if it meant getting his little Akane back, it was an extreme he was willing to deal with. If the Azami doll eased her pain, even erased it by some miracle, then he could be thankful.

But then, one day, Yoshitatsu started to notice odd things.

For instance, he thought he'd heard tiny footsteps padding about outside his workroom, but when he checked Akane's room and found her fast asleep, he figured he must have been dreaming; Azami's absence was so strong, he was imagining hearing her sounds all over the house.

Then, when he knew the doll had been left in one place, it would turn up in another place entirely. And Akane would coolly, placidly explain that Azami had moved all on her own.

Just as she should.

()()

Azami was back.

Really back.

And she was sad. Angry. And in pain.

Her sister's presence did little to ease it.

And while Akane was happy and grateful and relieved to have her sister back, she was incapable of overcoming the guilt she harbored for killing Azami in the first place and causing her so much pain.

"I'm sorry," She would whisper, clutching Azami tight to her. "I'm so sorry, Azami. I love you."

Sometimes Azami would comfort her sister, but other times she would just stay silent. Those were the times when the guilt hit Akane the worst. It was her fault that her sister, her other half, was suffering. Her fault.

At least she would never have to do it again.

()()

why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill?

why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill?

why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill?

why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill?

why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill?

why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill? why kill?

I'll never kill again.

()()

Akane was content, but Yoshitatsu was not.

He could clearly see what had happened: Akane's constant dwelling on her lost sister, her fixation on the doll had caused it to become possessed. Not by Azami, no: This was not his Azami. Akane was too blinded by her grief and guilt and depression to truly understand that it wasn't her sister.

Kill it, father. Azami said in his dreams, doe-eyed and innocent as she always was in life. It's not me. It's not me, father. It's killing Akane. Kill it!

She was right. Akane was getting cold, numb, lifeless. Before she had retained some life via her intense grief, but now she just seemed… Empty.

Except when she spoke.

"I don't want to kill," She repeated in a low monotone, over and over and over. He couldn't recall when he'd last heard her speak something else. That was all she'd been saying lately.

Dolls can steal souls, Yoshitatsu thought, when possessed by spirits meaning to do harm. They can control people like wooden puppets. As a doll maker, he was more than familiar with the lore.

He had to kill the doll. Had to kill Azami again.

Akane would hate him.

But he would much rather she be alive and hate him than dead.

()()

Why…? Why…?

Father wanted to kill Azami.

He had more or less forced Akane to kill her in the first place. He certainly hadn't tried to stop the ritual.

Why…? Why…?

When had father become so cruel? He'd brought Azami back, and now he wanted to take her away again?

Why…? Why…?

She wouldn't let it happen.

Akane swore she would never let anyone kill again.

Including her father.

()()

YoU Don'T neeD a suBStitutE foR Me.

I aM PArt of akane nOW.
I AM onE wItH AKanE.

KILL IT.

KiLL tHat sTupID dOll!

Akane saw the note, but did not read it.

It's a trick, Azami whispered into her ear. A spirit is trying to trick you, sister. Don't fall for it. Please, Akane, stop father before he kills me!

Akane nodded.

"I will."

I'll never kill again.

But maybe this once.

()()

Yoshitatsu awoke with Akane's hands around his neck.

Was this what his little Azami had seen when she'd died? No. Azami would have seen her aggrieved sister ending her life unwillingly. Akane's beautiful little face was contorted in rage. The doll stood behind her.

There was a small smile on its face.

I'm sorry! He wanted to sob. I'm sorry Akane, Azami! My daughters! My life! Akane kept choking, and his vision grew dark, and finally he felt himself slipping away into his own abyss.

His last thought:

God damn the ritual.

()()

Father was dead.

Azami was safe.

Akane turned to her sister. Her limbs were weak and trembling. She knew she was dying, but couldn't understand why. "I love you, Azami."

I love you too.

Akane fell to the floor.

The doll laughed.

-End