Persona 3: Free Every Spirit
Kari: For this chapter, you should listen to Not Tomorrow Piano Version from Silent Hill, it really sets the mood. Also, this chapter is a bit dark, you have been warned.
Disclaimer: I own the idea, plot, and writing for this story. Not the characters themselves, unless they happen to be OCs.
Chapter 5: Monochrome
"Have you ever realized how insignificant your existence is on this planet?" —Haruhi Suzumiya
The sound of a ticking clock enveloped the room. All was silent and still, as if holding its breath. Outside the men had driven away and the school children had paraded out of sight. Now a self-conscious and stricken silence overtook the neighborhood.
A dense fog shrouded the area, only penetrated by the soft foot-falls of rain. Every woman stayed alone in her house on those days, like a coin in a safe.
"Am I living?" Was the only thing Chihiro could say, during those dark times. When the sun refused to shine and the heavens would not open and bath the world in their eternal light.
In the kitchen she watched the unselfconscious foliage through the screen door, until the trees' spring branches swung lowly in censure. They reminded her of a noose, waving carelessly in the breeze.
It was in this trance like state, the girl forgot herself, sinking into a dim and watery oblivion.
A car passed. Its rush and whine jolted her out of her musing. The sound faded in the torrent of mist, and once again Chihiro found herself falling back. Further and further into the seams of her mind. That is, until the icebox motor kicked on and prodded her hushed brain awake.
"You are living," it said. "It is late in the afternoon, here in the kitchen. And you are in it," it spoke. Or maybe it was the dripping faucet, or maybe the grandfather clock that was bellowing in the hallway. Either way, it was then she remembered, she wasn't the only one in the house. Crossing the ceramic floor she trekked upstairs.
In the guest room the shutters were drawn closed, allowing muted beams to filter through. The room was practically empty, save for a bed and nightstand seeing as Chihiro never had a use for it.
Until now, she thought bitterly; quietly closing the door behind her.
And there, laying on the covers was a bandaged shiba-inu. The canine was curled up in a ball, snuggling deeply into the sheets. Its chest rose and fell steadily, and seemed to be content with its tail tucked neatly beneath its chin.
From the looks of it, the dog hadn't woken. Not even once.
Chihiro slumped heavily into the chair she had moved to the bedside a couple days earlier. With a long suffering sigh, she leaned back and intertwined her fingers, studying the mascot intently.
It was a male, from the looks of things. And had been apart of S.E.E.S. if the ripped armband was any indication. She repressed a wince at the thought of the club. Just what the hell did they do anyway? Their activities were never made clear, not to mention the members were always handpicked. They lived in a dorm secluded from the rest of the world and were always together, no matter what.
The two remained still, one in dreamland and the other lost in thoughts. Both drawing comfort from the steady pitter-patter against the glass. Chihiro had always liked the rain, even if she ended up getting sick after the drop in temperature.
It didn't matter who you were, or if you were accepted by those closest to you. Because sooner or later, the rain would fall on you, just like everything else.
It didn't play favorites.
And it was like this, stone-faced and solemn, that the ex-treasurer drifted off; mindless of her surroundings.
Time streamed in a full flood beside her; time roared raging beside her down its swollen banks; and when she woke she was so startled she fell in.
Shortly after the strange encounter, strange things started happening, or rather, had occurred? She couldn't tell anymore. Everywhere she went, she saw him. At the arcade she'd see his silhouette slipping in and out of the crowd, in the karaoke she'd see flashes of midnight blue hair on stage, and in the coffee shop her nose would be assaulted by the scent of pheromone coffee, a scent that clung to him like mint and cinnamon. Everywhere she went, afterimages of him were imprinted, whether in the air she breathe or the road she traveled down. He was always there.
Eventually, she was too afraid to leave the house. Because if she left, she'd hear his soft voice echoing down the street. She'd catch glimpses of intense silvery grey eyes, watching her. And it drove her insane, to be able to hear and see him, but to not actually be with him. It was when she started seeing things, did she actually contemplate going back, back to a place called home.
But could it really be a home? Or was she just crazy? Lunatics are similar to designated hitters. Often an entire family is crazy, but since an entire family can't go into a hospital, one person s designated crazy and goes inside. Then, depending on how the rest of the family is feeling, that person is kept inside or snatched out, to prove something about the family's mental health.
Most families were proving the same proposition. We aren't crazy, she is the crazy one. Those families kept paying. But some families had to prove that nobody was crazy, and they were the ones who threatened to stopped paying.
Like her family.
Chihiro knew that. She knew that her home wasn't actually a home. She knew that her family wasn't actually a family. She knew that her love wasn't actually wasn't alive. She knew that.
So why did she struggle so much to believe it?
It was her fault. It was all her fault. A little girl thought, sitting numbly in the waiting room. Outside the doctor was speaking in hushed tones with her mother, but it did nothing to quell her screeches. The only solace she had, was the fact that her sister wasn't there. She was still at school, unaware of what had transpired.
Her clothes were dirty, stained in mud and had streaks of dark crimson in them. The heavy scent of copper permeated through them and hit her nose, causing her to take in a shuddering breath.
Why? Why did it always have to be her?
"Chihiro sweetie, stay close to Daddy okay?"
Her eyes squeezed shut as she tried to block out the images...
"Daddy? Daddy where are you?" The child asked, clutching her arms, looking around frantically.
Why...why was she so stupid? He told her to stay, and yet...
"Well, well, what do we have here? A brat who's lost her father."
"C'mon kid, let's go find him."
Why didn't she run away...why did she follow them...?
"Why hello there, Mr. Fushimi."
"Looking for your daughter, I presume?"
Her breath came out in quick gasps. No...no...
"Tou-san! I'm sorry, I'm so sorry!"
Gun shots flew shattering the tension, screams from bystanders created a symphony of chaos. Shrapnel of glass flew slicing her arms and cutting her cheek, and the scent of gun powder overwhelmed her senses. That was when an orchestra of sirens entered the aria.
"Damn it, retreat! The cops are here!"
The blood...there was so much blood.
"Tou-san?! Wake up! Please, wake up!"
A trap. She'd led he father into an ambush. All because of the damn ribbon.
The doors burst open and in stormed her mother, her jaw was clenched and she was shaking rather violently. With quick strides she strode over and towered above the frightened girl.
Leaning forward she grabbed at the front of her shirt, and shook the child roughly, as though she was a rag doll. "This is ALL YOUR FAULT! Why did you run from him huh? Why did you make him chase you? IT'S YOUR FAULT HE'S DEAD. You hear me, you killed him."
The next thing she knew, a hand lashed out and struck her cheek. Slap. The force of it caused her head to audibly snap to the left, a cracking sound erupted from the sudden jerk in her neck. As pain shot down her neck and into her shoulder, she felt her cheek begin to swell, and knew it would be bruised later.
The woman continued to shout and scream, slapping the girl's face repetitively. Each one caused her head to snap one way and the other, but the accusatory jabs flew over her head. She felt numbness overtake her body, as she mind refused to turn. Instead, a mantra began to echo in her head.
Youkilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyo ukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyo ukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhimyoukilledhim.
yoU. KiLLeD. hIM.
She didn't even remember how she got home, all she knew was that one second her mother was smacking at her. And the next, it was her sister that was strangling her. The younger girl's hands had closed in around her wind pipe, and was slowly and painfully choking her.
Through blurry vision, Chihiro saw tears cloud the younger girl's eyes. Her face scrunched up in agony and fury, as she continued suffocate her elder sister. "You're bad luck." She hissed. "You were the one who was supposed to die. Kaa-chan never wanted you. It was Tou-san that told her to keep you, you know. If wasn't for you, it would just be me and Shuu. No one needs you!"
They were interrupted when a loud crash was heard. Slow, heavy footsteps shook the ground and the door creaked open. There stood, a short little boy, smaller than both the girls. He walked over and uneven footing and stopped staring at them blankly. 'Where's Dada?' He signed.
"He's dead!" Makoto spat. "And it's all because of Chihiro that he's gone! I told you she brings misfortune, first you and then Tou-san. It's all her fault!"
Chihiro laid there emotionlessly. It was her fault Shuu was like this? Why not? Her mind snarked. Everything bad that happens is somehow connected to you, if it weren't for you Tou-san would be alive. If it weren't for you, your little brother would be normal.
Shuu blinked slowly, his brow furrowing and a sinking feeling entered her stomach. Shuu wouldn't understand. It was like this every time he lost something, he couldn't comprehend the fact that if something was broken, it was thrashed. He'd never remember that once he lost something, it was gone for good. Instead he'd look for it. Look and look, until he got aggressive.
Her skin crawled as she remembered the times he'd snapped. Her arms still had the mementos he'd given her, from past fights. He may have been five years younger, but he was strong. Especially strong, when he got angry.
She could see the signs now, eyes distant and wandering. Body language tense. That was when adrenaline spiked through her. Grabbing Makoto's shoulders she roughly pushed the girl off, causing her to topple over. Rolling unto her knees, her head spun as a dizzying motion shook her world, but she forced herself up. Taking in quick deep breathes, she shot out of the room raced upstairs. Slamming the door hard to her room, and locking it.
Below she heard Makoto's yells as Shuu threw a punch at her. Missing, he stumbled forward and hit the table, cutting his temple in the process. The yells turned into screams as the fight raged on downstairs. Swallowing hard, she slid down the door frame and fell down in a heap. She knew, when her mother arrived all the blame would be placed on her.
What kind of elder sister would leave her siblings alone to fight one another? Especially when one had a mental disorder and the other was still reeling in shock from the lost of a parent? Shame filled her at doing such an act, a part of her wanted to go back down there and apologize. Because when it got down to it, she was bad luck. It was her fault Tou-san was dead. It was her fault Shuu was attacking Makoto.
But she also knew, as soon as she went down everyone would turn on her.
Unconsciously, she massaged her neck, without looking she knew that the skin was tinted blue from the lack of oxygen. Her face was an interesting color. A contrast between light and dark, some parts wanting to darken into bruises while others wanting to stay pale because of no blood circulation.
Her hand ghosted over her arms, over recent, scabbing scratches that stretched down the skin. Nothing to worry about for now.
Standing up, she stumbled towards the bathroom and fell over the sink, her eyes taking in her haphazard appearance in the mirror.
"You are more than the problems you create."
A dry smirk, appeared on her face as a cynical laugh fell from her lips.
I'm a coward till the end, Father.
Hazel eyes slowly fluttered open. The eerie red light of the digital clock told her it was eleven o'clock. She knew, what she had to do.
With a sense of detachment, she got up and unseeingly made her way towards the bathroom. Mind hazy, she only had one clear objective.
Opening up the medicine cabinet, she picked up a bottle. A small, white plastic bottle labeled 'Aspirin'. She just held it there for a minute, in her hands. Staring at it, as if it held all the answers to the universe.
"It's all your fault."
"You're bad luck."
"You killed him."
And she swallowed it. All fifty pills.
Things started to blur and whiz, and a sick feeling rose in her stomach, causing her to stagger. A sense of lightness overtook her senses, relieved that she'd managed her peculiar objective. Everything's going end. She thought. No more melancholy for this sad, dreary life. It was over. All over.
Somehow she'd made it downstairs despite swaying this way and that, and the entire time she'd unconsciously been holding tightly unto the empty bottle. It was in the living room, that her legs gave out under her. Collapsing heavily, she missed the couch and struck her head on the hard, wooden floor. The back of her skull throbbed faintly, the aspirin working its magic by dulling the pain.
The bottle fell out of her grasp, and rolled away. The lid long forgotten upstairs. As her vision began to fade, she could only smile softly, unaware of the damp wetness pooling beneath her hair.
*A/N: I'd like to thank my reviewers:
Haha, I'll take that as a compliment! =D Anyways, you may just not be used to reading about Chihiro being placed in these kind of situations. My writing style is different than a lot of people, by which I don't change it to suit the character, I coax the character into adapting the environment I create. From what I've seen, the fics that do focus on Chihiro are entirely different genres than mine, seeing as other authors see her differently. As such, your expectations for a standard fic focusing on Chihiro were shattered because it's not what you're used to. xD And considering the kind of person she is, not many people expect anything great from her because of her personality and since she's a minor/support character. I believe you can take any character and make an awesome story with them to be honest. I'm happy I've surpassed your expectations, and I hope you continue to enjoy it.
Oh yes, we get a taste of action before getting slammed back into angst. What do you guys think? I tried to shift styles with this. You have to keep in mind, in the beginning of the game it was hinted that Chihiro was mentally/emotionally unstable before Minato changed her psychologically. Now he's gone, she's going to get better and slip back constantly in this story. It wouldn't be realistic otherwise, would it?*