[identity profile] amylan.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] redpenwriters
Title: Greyscale
Author: [livejournal.com profile] amylan
Beta: N/A
Rating: T
Genre: Shoujo, Fantasy
Notes/Warnings: Implications of almost-rape and some nudity
Summary: There's a reason why Magical Girls are rarely grown up.
Length: 3498



It was a few weeks after the whole werewolf thing that Selphi found herself in class, checking over her homework, and someone stopped in front of her desk. “Yes, can I help you?” Selphi asked, looking up from the English problems.

“Hello,” the young man replied, glancing from Selphi to the wall and back. “I, um… My name is Arata Mizushima.”

“Ah?” Selphi thought it over for a moment. “Oh, right. You’re in the class, too, right?” She smiled at the young man. “Did you need me to help you with something?”

Arata blushed. “Actually, er, yes. I was hopin’…”

“Yes?” she prompted, still smiling at him.

“Would it be possible… Would ya go out to a movie with me this Friday?” he finally managed to ask in a rush.

The American raised an eyebrow into a perfect arch. “You mean like a date?”

“I-if it’s not too much trouble…”

“No, of course not,” Selphi replied. “It’s a date, then.”

“Great!” Arata’s face immediately brightened. “I’ll see ya at th’ movie at 8:00, then.” With that, he swaggered off; an act that had Selphi hurriedly covering up a giggle.

“I suppose you do not have anything better to do?” came the cool voice at Selphi’s side.

The brunette just grinned at her partner. “Oh, chill, Aya-chan. We haven’t had a job to focus on for a while now; there’s no harm in me having fun in the mean time, is there? You’re always such a killjoy, you know that?” Selphi remarked, focusing back on her homework.

“I am not a ‘killjoy’, as you put it. I simply have a realistic perspective on everything, and if you recall, you tend to have rather poor luck,” Aya pointed out.

“Not with boys~”

Whatever Aya was about to say was forgotten when Hitomi seemed to magically appear at Selphi’s side and latched onto her arm. “Selphi-chan! Did Arata-kun just ask ya out?” the red-eyed girl demanded.

“…Yes?” Selphi was a bit stunned at Hitomi’s sudden appearance, though not enough that she didn’t glance down to make sure that the other girl wasn’t making skin-to-skin contact. “Why?”

If it wasn’t for the fact that Hitomi was currently attached to her arm so tightly that she was afraid she was going to lose blood circulation, Selphi would have leaned far enough away from the other girl that she would have fallen out of her chair – all because of the expression on her face. As it was, Selphi was leaning as far away from the other girl as she was able.

“Selphi-chan,” Hitomi started, her voice serious, “Arata-kun is a dear ol’ friend o’ mine. If I find out that you two went on a date and ya broke his heart or his mind or whatever else there is, I promise, I’ll make a doll for ya and I’ll hex ya with lots of blood and venereal diseases until the end o’ yer days.”

“…Just a friend, right?” Selphi asked.

Hitomi frowned and shook the other girl’s arm hard. “Yeah, we’re just friends. I’m serious, okay? Don’t ya dare hurt him,” she warned once more.

“All right, all right,” Selphi finally said. “I’ll be on my best behavior for the night, okay?”

The red-eyed girl smiled brightly in response. “Thanks a lot, Selphi-chan!” she said in a sweet voice, releasing the girl’s arm and returning to her seat.

Selphi rubbed at her arm gently, watching the other girl for a few moments more before turning back to Aya. “Is it just me, or does the number of friends that that girl has seem to escalate every time I end up talking to her?”

Aya just shrugged in response and the two girls returned to their usual morning activities.

***

Hitomi was on her way home that day when she heard someone that hadn’t spoken to her in months. “Oi, Yamino!”

With a feeling of anxiety, Hitomi turned around to the speaker. “Hello, Miss Aomori,” she replied, facing the other girl but refusing to look at her. “Did you need something?”

“I’ve got a warnin’ fer ya,” Ami said. “I’m pretty sure that ya won’t listen t’ me, but I figured I ought to pass it on anyway.”

“And what do ya want to warn me about?” Hitomi asked, her curiosity slightly piqued.

“You and Waters are going to end up in more trouble than you can deal with if you two don’t wise up soon,” Ami said.

The other girl groaned. “Yer not goin’ over that again, are ya?”

“Well, I wouldn’t have two if you ladies would listen ta me once in a while,” Ami fired back. “Think about it, Yamino. How often am I wrong about things?”

“Often enough that I don’t hafta give this prediction of yours the benefit of the doubt,” Hitomi replied sharply. “You don’t see anythin’ definitely after all, right?”

“That’s true,” Ami had to admit, “But that doesn’t mean that I’m wrong. I see everythin’ now, Hitomi, not just what th’ most likely future is. I see every single possible outcome, and as much as you or Water may not wanna hear it, I know that there’s nothin’ but trouble comin’ up.”

“I’m not hearin’ this,” Hitomi said, dismissing the other girl and walking around her.
Ami watched her go. “Fine, then. I may as well warn Waters if yer not gonna do anythin’,” she spat, beginning to walk away as well.

Hitomi spun around. “Don’t ya dare say a thing to Selphi-chan about this craziness o’ yers,” she hissed. “If you wreck Arata-kun’s chances the way ya did mine—“

“I didn’t screw up yer chances with Waters; you did that on yer own,” came the swift response. “Would ya stop blamin’ me for every single thing that goes wrong with yer life? It’s annoyin’ as all hell.”

“I’m serious, Ami-chan,” Hitomi responded in a deadly sweet voice. “If you try and tell Selphi-chan anythin’ crazy and it wrecks Arata-kun’s date, I will take out yer doll and I will make sure that you suffer insanity fer th’ rest of yer life and any lives that ya have to come.”

Ami eyed the other girl warily before walking away. Satisfied with the other girl’s reaction, Hitomi walked away as well.

***

That night, Hitomi took out the ball-and-joint dolls that she had made of Selphi and Arata. So carefully made that they almost seemed to be alive, she handled them gently, moving into the lamplight.

“I hope that you two end up happy, Arata-kun and Selphi-chan,” she said in a soft voice. She looked at the dolls of her two favorite people in the world. “I won’t let anything happen that would endanger your relationships, I promise,” she vowed.

With a smile, she examined the dolls she held. From looking at the Selphi doll, she had a sense of well-being. It seemed that the girl was in a good mood for one reason or another. Perhaps she really would abide by her promise and keep her hands to herself.

Looking at the Arata doll, though… Hitomi frowned as she examined the doll more closely. There was something off about it... Something in the very aura that it was exuding. The dark witch concentrated and, after a moment, a thin slit appeared across her forehead. The thin slit cracked open to reveal that it was a blood-red eye.

Whether it was because of her powers or because of some other force outside of her control, Hitomi had been able to open an eye on her body ever since childhood. Once or twice she had opened it in public view, though, luckily, no one had been paying attention at the time. She had had no idea what it was until her predecessor had come to visit her.

“The evil eye,” she had murmured in her breathy voice. “You must take care, child. I have never seen a case like this, but… You cannot have contact with other people, or you will surely pass a deadly curse onto them.”

So Hitomi had learned to isolate herself from other people, never again feeling the touch of skin-against-skin. Anytime that she touched other people, she was careful to grab them by their clothes or have her hands covered. It was a terrible price to pay, but in some ways it was worth it. Some of the abilities she had gained almost made up for the shortcomings of the curse.

For example, being able to examine the auras and souls of others was most certainly a valuable ability. She used it now, examining the power that streamed from the doll. The doll was crafted with certain aspects almost exactly like those of its originator, and so whatever held true for the doll held true for the person…

And what held true for the person was greatly disturbing to Hitomi. The aura around the doll was not the pure white of a nonmagic-user, atrophied and weak. Neither did it have the feeling of bitterness that emanated from those who used black magic, like herself. Instead, there was a feeling of energy that seemed to be constantly shifting and churning around the doll, as though it were looked for a foothold to form itself around.

Hitomi peered even closer, staring into the very soul of the doll. Perhaps it was what she should have done from the beginning, because it seemed that all that she saw was a string, very dingy and almost black with whatever evils Arata had committed or whatever evil powers he had soaked up.

“It can’t be true…” Hitomi said aloud, her body numb. “It can’t be…”

There were very few things that could turn a soul as dark as that, and only one thing matched up in her head for that particular shade – removing another person’s free will to force them to commit acts that they would never do in any other conditions. It wasn’t murder, but nevertheless, it was hardly good news.

No. No, it couldn’t be right. Arata had always been so kind to her… He wasn’t…

“Arata-kun…” Hitomi whispered softly, dropping the other doll so as to pet the head of the Arata doll. “…I’ll never forgive you for betraying me,” she ended in a hiss. Grabbing the doll’s head with her hand, she twisted it roughly, popping it off easily. Her third eye glared down at the doll and, a moment later, the remains burst into flames. Allowing the doll to smolder in her hand, she looked back down to the Selphi doll. “I have some apologizing to Ami-chan to do…”

***

“What are you talking about now?” Selphi asked, looking at Hitomi as though she were insane.
“Selphi-chan, ya can’t go out with Arata-kun, okay?” Hitomi pleaded. “Please! It’s for yer own good!”

“And how, may I ask, is it for my own good?” the American responded. “One date isn’t going to kill me, Hitomi-chan.”

“Well, I… sort of read Arata-kun’s aura last night,” Hitomi replied quickly, not wanting to go into specifics and explain exactly what she meant. “I know he can use magic and, well, I think he can mind control people…” she finished, half-mumbling.

“That sounds cool,” Selphi replied. “Come on, Hitomi-chan. Not all magic users are bad guys. We’re kind of living proof of that, aren’t we?”

“Yes, but Selphi-chan, he controls people’s minds,” the red-eyed girl emphasized. “That’s a sin against humanity! What if he tries ta use his powers to take advantage of you or something? Like he needs to kill someone or whatever an’ he uses your body to do the actual killing?”

“If he tries to take over my mind, he’ll have to deal with her,” Selphi replied, apparently uncaring of whether or not the other girl actually knew who she was referring to or not. “I guarantee you, she’s not going to stand for something like that.”

“But Selphi-chan—“

“Don’t worry about me, Hitomi-chan,” the brunette soothed, smiling slightly. “I’ll make sure to keep my guard up the entire time, okay? I’ll even make sure that carry some of my knives with you if it makes you feel better.”

Defeated, the other girl slumped. “I guess…”

Selphi tried to relax the girl with another smile. “Don’t worry, Hitomi-chan. I can take care of myself.” With that, she turned and walked away.

Hitomi watched after her. “Selphi-chan…” Thinking things over, she nodded to herself, coming to a decision. Spinning on her heel, she headed off to find Ami and come up with a plan.

***

“You are both insane, I hope you realize,” Aya stated flatly as she stalked through the park with Ami and Hitomi.

Ami rolled her eyes. “So ya’ve said, Arashi,” she replied. “Yer still here, though, so I don’t know what excuse yer gonna give fer that.”

“I may not believe in this power of yours,” the other girl replied, “But it is still the well-being of my partner at stake. It is best to err on the safe side of caution, especially when it comes to that girl in particular.”

This was fairly close to the answer that Ami gave when Hitomi had asked why they had to have Aya participate in this little mission at all. “C’mon, Yamino. Waters and Arashi’re partners. She’s getting’ involved, whether she likes it or not.”

“In any case,” Aya started again, breaking the silence that had begun to build. “Are you certain that you have the correct location down either way? I don’t he—“ The blonde abruptly cut off her sentence, her eyes going wide and her body visibly trembling.

“Miss Arashi?” Hitomi spoke for the first time, looking at the other girl in concern. “Miss Arashi, what’s wrong?”

In lieu of responding verbally, Aya seemed to curl into herself, looking around the park with her still-wide eyes. Her arms wrapped around herself tightly.

“Ami, what’s going on?” Hitomi demanded, seeing the dark look on Ami’s face. “Ami!”

“I was afraid of this…” the red-eyed girl caught the onmyouji mutter under her breath. She shook her head. “We need ta split up. Hitomi, you check over there by the other entrance,” she ordered, indicating the desired direction. “Arashi, try and see if you can sense out where Waters is. I’ll check on th’ other side. Hurry, before we’re too late!” Before another word could be spoken, Ami had dashed off.

Hitomi spared one more glance before running off in the direction that Ami had ordered her to. She ran and looked in every hidden nook and cranny, but still there was nothing. After a few more minutes, Hitomi had to stop to catch her breath and she paused by the entrance, resting against a tree.

That was when she began to hear it. The faint sound of something being torn. If that was Arata… A cold feeling of dread sunk into her heart and she slunk through the shadows to find the source.

It didn’t take long. The two weren’t exactly hiding; Selphi had been brought down and was pinned against a tree trunk in a sitting position. From where she was standing, Hitomi could see Arata’s face and she was struck by the look in his eyes – a cold, calculating expression that seemed to radiate enjoyment for the situation that he had his victim in. Edging around for a better look at Selphi, Hitomi could see that the girl’s upper body was entirely bare and Arata was beginning to push her skirts up and out of the way. Her face was completely blank. Part of Hitomi’s mind wondered why the girl wasn’t struggling, but it was a small part and quickly overridden by a feeling of rage and a desire for vengeance.

Arata didn’t see the red-eyed girl in the shadows, so of course he didn’t notice when a third eye had opened in her forehead. With a roar of fury, Hitomi sent a blast of energy funneling toward the young man. He looked up from his victim, and Selphi finally began to struggle, easily kicking him away from her nether area and out of the way. With trembling arms and legs, she tried to cover herself as best she could, stumbling away from her attacker.

“Selphi-chan, here!” Hitomi called, gesturing for the girl. Selphi managed to make her way to the other girl’s side, arms crossed over her chest as she tried to keep what little modesty she had left. Even in the darkness, she could make out purplish spots and reddish teeth marks all over the girl’s chest. As she reached Hitomi’s side, Selphi fell to her knees, then bent over and began throwing up on the ground.

“Yamino!” Finally Aya and Ami had arrived on the scene. “…Were ya too late?” she asked, looking the fallen girl over.

“That depends on your definition of ‘too late’,” Hitomi replied bitterly. Aya was still shaking, but she removed her jacket and handed it to Selphi, who accepted it gratefully and wrapped herself as best she could in the garment.

“…Oi. Hitomi-chan.”

“Yes, Selphi-chan, what is it?” Hitomi asked, kneeling down beside of the other girl. She glanced at Arata every few seconds, but it seemed that the blast from before still had his down for the time being.

Lifting her head, Hitomi was shocked to see Selphi’s trademark grin spread wide across her face. “Would you mind maiming that bastard for me so he can’t get away?” she asked sweetly.

“O-of course,” Hitomi stammered, thrown by Selphi’s reaction. It was hardly what she expected. Turning back to Arata, she saw that he was being to move and her rage burnt anew. Without thinking, she began to fire blast after blast of energy at the man, lost in a fury.
Meanwhile, Selphi slowly picked herself. “Dammit, this was a new dress,” she muttered, pulling the jacket forward enough to look at the tattered remains of her outfit.

“Waters, you sure that yer all right?” Ami asked, watching the American carefully.

Selphi grinned in response. “Oh, I’m fine! Don’t worry about me, I’ve been through a lot worse,” she answered.

“If you say so,” Ami said dubiously, returning her attention to Hitomi and her rage.

It had been a long time since Hitomi had used her eye for straight energy blasts. She soon became tired and stopped for a moment to replenish her strength. Arata took advantage of the lull and disappeared into thin air.

“DAMMIT!” Hitomi roared. “I wanted that man’s blood on th’ concrete!”

“Don’t worry about it, Hitomi-chan,” Selphi comforted, only half-paying attention due to trying to figure out the best way to wear the jacket and cover up the most marks. “He’s bound to pop up eventually… Maybe in a few years or something.” Looking up, her grin was tainted with bloodlust. “And then I’ll find him and cripple him, and then I’ll let her play with him. She hasn’t been able to vivisect anyone in a while.”

Hitomi nodded, and then her previous thought came to her. “Um, Selphi-chan… Why didn’t you try to get away from that guy?”

The American huffed. “The bastard’s a hypnotist, would you believe it? I was trying to tell him that I wasn’t the kind of girl to sell my body, and he just makes eye contact and bam! I can’t move my own body.” Shaking her head, she added a muttered, “If I ever get my hands on him, I’ll show him what a full body paralysis is like…”

“Well, it looks like we’re finished for tonight, in any case. Waters, you need an escort back to your place?”

“Please?”

Ami seemed to be examining the other girl’s expression, then nodded. “All right. Yamino, you go and take Arashi on home. It looks like she’s going to need a lot of rage to get through this if she wants to function properly.” With that, the blue-haired girl walked off with Selphi, keeping an arm at the girl’s elbow for whatever reason.

Hitomi watched the two until they were out of sight, then began to walk off without looking back at the other girl. “Let’s go, Miss Arashi,” she said, reaching out for the other girl’s sleeve.

Her fingertips lightly brushed against the fabric before it was jerked away. “Do not touch me,” Aya snapped, irritable as ever as she quickly caught up to Hitomi and continued stalking away.

The red-eyed girl stood and watched after the other girl for a moment, then shrugged off her surprise at the girl’s change in mood. It wasn’t like she wasn’t always moody anyway.

Somehow, Selphi managed to get over the whole thing with remarkable speed. Truly remarkable, considering that she was back in the classroom by the next school day. The incident left no mark on her; she took it all in stride, just as she said she would.

And if she laughed a little harder or grinned a little wider than she once did, no one was the wiser. Selphi wouldn’t have it any other way.

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