Author: Ysabet (umadoshi)
Characters: Rin and Shigure (non-pairing)
Rating: 13+ or so . . . *shrugs*
Notes: Spoilers for ch. 78, 79, and 104-107. Title (and icon text) from "Hey Jupiter" by Tori Amos.
1. Shigure was ten years old when Rin was born. He remembers watching her mother holding her, and comparing it to the way Ren treated Akito. He also remembers noticing that her mother was a little too eager to let other people hold her. As a baby, she reminded him of Akito, who he was rarely allowed to touch. He found himself holding her often.
2. Rin was eight years old when she had her first New Year's dance. She fell asleep soon after she finished, slumped against Shigure's shoulder. After he finished eating, he carried her home; since her parents were still out celebrating, he sat in her bedroom with her after tucking her in. He stayed there and listened to the fading sounds of the family's party until her parents returned at dawn.
3. After Rin's parents sent her away, Shigure went into Hatori's office and removed some of the recent pictures from her medical file. He looked at them for a long time, and then got very, very drunk. He tucked the pictures away in a folder in his desk, but never needed to refresh his memory by looking at them again.
4. When she was fifteen, Rin dropped by to show him a new outfit from her increasingly-daring wardrobe. She stood outside and spun around for him, showing off the plunging neckline and the laced boots that came up almost to the hem of the skirt. The look in her eyes was challenging rather than seductive, but he obediently watched the way the clothes clung to her when she moved. When she stopped turning, he gave her an approving smirk, but it was hollow. The photos hidden in his desk were all he could see.
5. After Shigure first moved out of the Main House, Rin visited him frequently. She came during school hours, partly to avoid running into Yuki. Occasionally they talked, but usually she simply wandered through the house, and he let her have her illusion of solitude.
6. Her visits abruptly stopped for almost two months--long enough for Shigure to draw his own conclusions. When she finally came by again, he tested his theory by casually mentioning Hatsuharu's name while pretending not to look at her. He felt a faint twinge of pride that her voice remained steady when she answered, but a tremor went through her hands, and her hips shifted involuntarily. Fear and desire, he thought automatically, and made a mental note to leave a fairly explicit manuscript someplace where Haru would find it. Rin had turned to look up at him, puzzled by his silence, and he found himself smiling at the idea of her eyes rolling back in ecstasy. It was a much more pleasant picture than the ones in his memory.
7. The first time Shigure visited her in the hospital after she 'fell' from the second-story window of a storage room, she was still so drugged against the pain that it was impossible to hold a conversation. Sitting silently beside her for an hour, while a sunbeam inched its way across the bed, gave him ample time to burn a new picture of her into his mind. Fresh bruises peering out from the bandages on her face and throat; the awkward flutter of her hands as she tried to concentrate enough to speak coherently; the way the nurses had positioned her to make her as comfortable as possible despite the gaping cut that had laid her shoulder blade bare . . . It was the first time in years he had been able to see her as she was, not as she had been. It was such a relief that he almost smiled.
8. The next time he saw her, she tried to sell herself to him. Bandages and bruises gone, leaving only the scar that Hatori suspected would mark her for the rest of her life; her eyes no longer held even a trace of the wounded child he had held onto. He watched her while she spoke, dark eyes and soft lips only inches from his face, and tuned out the analytical part of his mind that noted how the light cadences that had made her voice so expressive were dulled by the harshness of the words in her mouth. For a moment he wondered if he would be able to pretend she was Akito again. And then he imagined what Akito would do to her.
9. He almost fucked her anyway.
10. Rin silently left the offer open for months, although they never spoke of it. Shigure watched the way she moved when they were alone, and she watched him watching her. By the time she was re-hospitalized, he knew the lines of her body as well as if she'd been in his bed. But after that initial moment of weakness, he was never tempted by her again.
11. There is no "first memory" of Shigure in Rin's mind: her early childhood is saturated with his presence. Growing up, they lived close enough together in the compound that she saw him nearly every day of her life until she left her parents' home forever.
12. Shigure spent most of his time with Hatori and Ayame, and Rin--seeing how he dismissed most of Kureno's attempts to tag along--rarely followed any of them around. But when he was alone Shigure often came to play with her. "Play" with him might mean sitting outside and listening to him read, but it was just as likely to mean taking part in a prank that would get her in trouble for ruining her clothes. Rin was happy either way; an hour of Shigure's undivided attention was hard to come by, even for the grown-ups.
13. The first time her father beat her was the first time either of her parents had even hinted at hurting her; it came as such a shock that she simply sat still under the first few blows, rather than crying or trying to escape. It was also the only time she fled the house afterwards, bolting out into the sunlit compound. Outside, her instinct to flee failed her; there was nowhere to go. Shigure found her standing in the middle of a walking path, blinking back tears, and silently took her back to his house. He didn't ask what was wrong, and she didn't tell him; instead, she drank the tea he made her, and sat staring out the window at her own house until his parents told her it was time to go home.
14. As an adolescent, Rin was never sure what Shigure thought of her: he treated her with a bizarre mixture of careless affection and amusement that left her no room to get her bearings. In moments of apparent honesty, he dropped hints on how to manipulate people and deflect attention from herself; she learned just enough to recognize his mastery of those arts, and to stop trusting him.
15. When Rin told him that she didn't trust him, Shigure smiled and promised never to lie to her. Neither of them pretended to believe that the promise addressed the problem, but she kept coming back to him.
16. She was on a school trip the day Shigure left the Main House, and it was a week or two before she could find someone who would discreetly tell her where he had gone. When he answered the door, there was a momentary flash of such bitterness in his eyes that she expected him to tell her to leave.
17. She never told him about her relationship with Haru, but never doubted that he knew. What she could never figure out was whether he approved.
18. When she initially offered herself to him, she had no illusions about how Shigure would treat her if he accepted. In the hospital, biding her time until she was discharged, she had plenty of opportunity to imagine it, to dread his callousness, to harden her heart against it.
19. By the time Akito banished her to the Cat's room, she had begun to despair so thoroughly that even the thought of Shigure's careless touch seemed appealing compared to the shell she'd built around herself.
20. The first time they saw each other after she was freed, she recognized the sound of his footsteps behind her before he even spoke. When he convinced her to sit and listen to him, she found that, despite everything, she still naturally sat closer to him than she would with anyone else but Haru. Only their knees and arms touched, but it was enough to remind her of her childhood: Shigure spinning her around until she was dizzy, letting her curl up beside him to nap. For a moment, she let herself ignore the shame and confusion he made her feel, and dared to believe him.