Crown of Thorns

The war was something that she never desired, but her birthright as a daughter of the Yagari family forced her to be a part of it. She killed level Est and slowly destroyed herself until the night her life was saved. Salvation was a distant dream, but maybe it was closer than she had originally believed.


12. The Heart's Desire

Everything was blurred. Nothing seemed real anymore. What had happened? Was it just a dream, a nightmare? She could only hope that it was just some perverted vision that had visited her while she had slept. She could only hope that was the truth, that she had imagined it all. That wasn't the case though. Her lips were still swollen from the bruising kiss that he had given her, that her brother had given her. Toga had kissed her. Her brother had kissed her. This could not be real. He would not have done such a thing. It was not like him. Her fingers moved to her lips. She could feel the warmth despite the hours that had passed. Why? Why had he kissed her? Was it because of his concern for her absence? Had he just overreacted? No, there had been something in that kiss... Her heart seemed to race faster at the thought that he might... She shook her head. It was too confusing. It didn't make sense. Why would he do this?


She was avoiding him. He knew that she was. He could not blame her though. She had every right to not want to be near him. He had overstepped the boundaries by kissing her. Glancing towards her window, he saw that it was dark and that the curtains were drawn. The curtains were never drawn and he knew that she was either locking herself away or locking him out. It crossed his mind to apologize to her, but he couldn't bring himself to. Walking past her garden, he then made his way to where their mother rested.

"Catch me, Toga."

"Welcome home, Toga."

"Stay away from her, Toga. She is not yours to have. We are not like those monsters. We do not sin like those bastards do."

He stared at the white marble tomb. His father had told him countless times before, but how could he deny his feelings. He had been ignoring what he felt for so long, it as only a matter a time... "What do I do, Mother?"

The tomb was silent.

She would have an answer, he knew, but she was not here to give him any. If only she hadn't been snatched away before her time. Even if hunters had short life spans, there was no reason for her to have been killed the way that she had been. He only had the memory of what she would tell them, how she would tell them to be true to themselves, to not lose themselves in their duty. Such a thing was dangerous, mostly for one's self. With Shiriko though.... He shook his head. Had he destroyed everything between them? "What do I do?"


The house was silent. A heavy stillness hung in the air. She stared at her ceiling, trying to understand. There were no answers to be found. Despite how long she pondered what the kiss had meant she had only found confusion. She didn't know why he had kissed her and she didn't know how she felt about it. Each time that she recalled the touch of his lips... She turned onto her side and stared at the closed door. He had left her alone. She was glad that he had. She didn't know if she could face him. After a time, she forced herself to stand up and walk to the window. Parting the curtains, she glanced outside. He was nowhere to be seen. A few times, she had watched him when she heard him go outside. He had gone to their mother's grave several times in the days that had passed. He had not yet left the house today. She let the curtains fall close.


The sound of the door opening announced his leaving. Rising form the bed, she watched as he walked to the grove of trees. When he was lost to her sight, she left the room. She had been neglected to leave the second floor the past few days and she could no longer afford to continue to do so for any longer. Descending the stairs without making a sound, she walked into the kitchen. The bowl of apples on the table drew her attention and she took one as she sat down.


Slowly, he walked from the grave. He had yet to find an answer to his question. He knew what he wanted to do, but was it the right decision. While he could care less about what their father said, he had to take Shiriko into consideration. It was her feelings that really mattered. He could always continue to love her from a far as he had been for the past few days. Entering the house, he paused when he heard movement in the kitchen. Not sensing a vampire, though it was unlikely that the creature would escape his attention if one were to enter the area, he made his way slowly to the room. It could only be one person. He caught her as she rushed to the stairs. "Shiriko," he said, grabbing her arm.

Her garden was looking well. She supposed that Toga had been taking care of it in the days that she had been neglecting it. Soon, she would have to tend to the garden again. Her gaze turned from the patch of dirt to the hall when she heard the door open. She had lost track of time, had stopped paying attention. Quickly, abandoned the room and walked quickly to the stairs. When he called her name she ignored him, but she forced herself to stop walking when he grabbed her arm. Staring at the floor, she refused to look at him.

"Shiriko," he said more gently. He released her arm.

Crossing her arms, she kept her eyes downcast. "What is it, Toga?" She probably shouldn't have spoken to him, but she could not help it. He was her brother.

"We need to talk." Her slight nod was only a small assurance. "About-" He stopped, not certain what he should say to her.

"Keep it." She finally let herself look at him. "We can put this behind us. It will be as if it had never happened."

"Is that what you want?"

His question gave her pause and she couldn't bring herself to answer him. Very quickly, she diverted her gaze from his.

She hadn't answered him. "Shiriko." He took a step towards her, but she moved away from him. "I do not want to put this behind us."

"Toga." She glanced at him before lowering her gaze again.

"I will not apologize for what I did, Shiriko." He took a step closer and she took a step back. Faltering for a brief moment in his approach, he then closed the space between them.

Her back was pressed to the wall. His hands were on either side of her, blocking any escape that she might have. She could push him away, but she felt as though she would be unable to. Her gaze met his and she knew in an instant that she was trapped. There was something within his dark eyes.

He moved one hand to touch her cheek.

She inhaled sharply in response to the gentle touch.

"I love you, Shiriko. You said to me once that I should not delay too long or I might lose the one that I wish to be with."


"I wish to be with you. I know that it is taboo. I do not care. Shiriko..." He leaned down, kissing her gently. He felt her grasp his arms before her grip relaxed. Drawing away, he met her gaze. "Please consider me, Shiriko. Consider what we might have."

She could only stare at him, silent. What could she say to him?

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