Holy monkey jebus, I FINISHED IT.
You know, I actually laughed when adesso said we should try not to let our claims go for longer than, what was it, six months without posting a fic for it? I laughed and said, "Pfft! Please, it's not gonna take me that long to write something!"
Yeah. Look at me, finally posting -- four months later.
Hope it was worth the wait. ;)
Title: On His Own Terms: Twenty Facts about Sohma Shigure
Rating: Uh, PG-13?
Spoilers: Hmm. Just the Akito Spoiler just about everyone knows about already. Oh, and a mild Hatori-centric spoiler for events surrounding and following chapter 57. Small potatoes, really.
Notes: Obviously this is speculation, though I try to stay as canonical as humanly possible. If I've uncovered a spoiler, other than the one listed, of course, it's totally accidental.
On His Own Terms: Twenty Facts about Sohma Shigure:
1. He has always resented being the Dog and all the implications therein. He refuses to be defined by a spirit inside of him, and he fights against those traits that are supposed to be unique to the Dog -- loyalty and trustworthiness among them -- even if he feels that those traits are intrinsic to him. He will define himself; he will not be defined by anything or anyone.
2. Similarly, he will not be told by anyone who to love. Like everything else, he interprets the bond between the Juunishi and Kami-sama on his own terms. The bond exists, yes, but rather than being made a slave to it -- like Kureno -- Shigure desires to use this bond to further his own ends.
3. Shigure understands love -- he's seen how it can be a nurturing force, melting metaphoric ice and snow, soothing away thunderous storm clouds, and calming the loudest, fiercest winds. He also knows that love has a dark side, existing as if on the other side of a mirror. Love can crush. Love can smother. Love can destroy. It is a perfect weapon, and while there are some who handle such a weapon clumsily with spilt blood and screamed demands, he considers himself far more proficient with that particular blade.
4. One of the reasons Shigure finds Kureno so vexatious is because there seems to be nothing he wants. There are no strings for Shigure to pull, and if there are, they're too well-hidden for the Dog to sniff out. The Rooster's devotion and evident affection for Kami-sama threatens to unravel all of Shigure's hard work, and it's damned frustrating.
5. No matter what he does or says, there is a memory that sticks firmly in Shigure's mind, and it will never be pried loose. That memory is of a dream, one in which he felt -- truly felt -- what it was like to hold someone he loved. It wasn't an enforced love, or one that existed because of an invisible, intangible bond, but a love that simply existed. He keeps that memory in all its clarity secreted away deep inside of him, ignoring it until it is almost forgotten. During moments of doubt -- and the Dog does have them, though such moments are few and far between -- Shigure allows himself to indulge in that memory.
6. There is one thing Shigure thinks about more than he thinks about Akito, and that is the Curse and all of his plans surrounding it. He regards his plans like Michelangelo regarded the Sistine Chapel ceiling: with ambition, determination, and bitter resentment.
7. Shigure has always created worlds and people within them. Since he was a small boy, he's woven tales of imaginary lands. Like a god, he holds dominion over those worlds, and they become a repository for moments when his helplessness threatens to overcome him.
8. His stories are never as simple as good triumphing over evil. He prefers rewarding cunning and wily heroes who take any measure necessary to reach a final objective. The end must justify the means, no matter what the means.
9. Shigure has never responded well to authority figures. Mit-chan, for example. She is his editor; she is, essentially, in a position of authority over him. He considered manipulation via seduction, but ultimately decided it would be far too easy. Instead, he makes her an object of fun; she is his toy, and he plays with her, worrying her in his jaws like a bone.
10. Sometimes Shigure doesn't sleep very well. While during his waking hours he opts not to think too closely on the lives of those around him, at night the very things he tries to suppress all day return to him. This is why he works such odd hours; he is not a slave to his creative spirit -- he is a slave to his subconscious.
11. While Shigure certainly liked Kana-chan, he had been able to see from the start that the Curse would break her. She was too gentle, too kind, too soft. He'd tried to warn Ha-san, but the traits that would eventually be Kana's ruin were the very things the Dragon had loved most about her. Unfortunately, Ha-san suffered the greatest loss, and sometimes, in his more reflective moments, Shigure blames himself for never actively trying to break them up. He considers that one of his greatest moments of weakness.
12. Occasionally he wonders if Tohru-kun will crumble like Kana-chan did. They are so similar, after all, and Tohru-kun is taking on so much more than Kana-chan ever had. But there is... an indefinable something in Tohru-kun that separates her from Kana-chan. In fact, it separates her from most of the human race, which is why Shigure continues to back that particular horse.
13. Shigure tries not to congratulate himself too much on his successes -- it's a dangerous habit to fall into. However, he does allow himself to savor some of his larger victories. He knows Ha-san better than almost anyone, and he knows all too well the Dragon's icy demeanor is nothing but a defense mechanism. He also knows that if Hatori had any idea of how long Shigure had been plotting to bring him together with Mayu-chan, the Dog would be lucky to escape unscathed.
14. There is a fine line between what everyone expects Shigure to do, and what Shigure will actually do. He's made an art of keeping everyone around him on their toes, but sometimes... sometimes he gets tired. And in those moments, he considers doing what everyone expects, simply because it's easier. But to do so would be admitting weakness in himself, and he refuses to do that.
15. Many people have accused Shigure of caring for nothing and no one. This isn't true; he does care, but in his own way. Shigure cannot afford to allow himself emotional involvement: it complicates things overmuch. When you become emotionally invested in a person, you feel things too much and too keenly, and when that happens, it impairs your judgment. He detaches himself from emotions because he has a task to complete, and cannot allow himself to get tangled worrying about whether feelings and sensibilities will be bruised in the process. Some things are more important than hurt feelings.
16. Among others, both Mayu-chan and Rin have accused him of treating people like objects -- books, or pieces of scrap paper, even (that said, he has to give them credit for not falling back on the tired old "chess" cliché). Shigure sometimes wishes he could work up enough spleen to get offended at these comments. The truth is, while he doesn't view the people around him as objects, he does tend to view many of them as characters moving through a larger, more complex storyline. People are easily deconstructed, like the characters he creates, and by viewing them as such, Shigure is able to pinpoint their motives, desires, and flaws, manipulating the situation to his advantage, and making them think that their actions are a result of their own decisions and nothing else. Shakespeare said "All the world's a stage," but Shigure disagrees -- his world, at least, is a novel.
17. It was very important for Shigure to make Akito think that his expulsion from the Honke was her idea. For as long as he lets her think it was a punishment -- and not what he'd been angling for all along -- she will not expect him to come back to the compound's suffocating embrace. Akito can never know she did him such a huge favor.
18. It would have been just as easy for Shigure to live in a smaller house; as far as practicality goes, it is too large for just one person. But he'd insisted on one just that size -- for all of his books, naturally. It's not his fault if family members seek shelter under his roof. He certainly never asked for it. He just wanted room for his books.
19. While Shigure thinks a great deal about the Curse, and what it will take to lift it, he prefers not to think too much about what lies beyond the Curse, in a world where it's lifted. It's all very well and good to imagine a "normal" life, but Shigure will be the first one to point out that things are seldom ever the way we imagine them. It will take adjustment, but Sohma Shigure is nothing if not adaptable.
20. The irony of a Dog, a Cat, and a Rat living under one roof does not escape Shigure, and part of the reason he ever attempted such a thing is to prove it could be done with hardly any bloodshed at all.