mikogalatea: Touga from the Utena movie-manga, with hands in pockets and looking behind while a single rose petal blows in the wind. ([Utena] Touga)
[personal profile] mikogalatea posting in [community profile] flybycontact
Title: Beneath the Surface
Fandom: Revolutionary Girl Utena (movie continuity)
Characters: Shiori, Touga, mentions of Utena and Juri
Rating: R (for some potentially disturbing subject matter, even though it isn't explicit)
Summary: Set before the movie. Shiori and Touga often spent time together as children, but even then, there were signs that something wasn't quite right with the boy. Contains spoilers for the movie and allusions to Touga's past.

WARNING: This fic contains implications of child sexual abuse.

Disclaimer: I don't own Revolutionary Girl Utena or any of its characters, nor do I make any money out of this fanwork.

-

Shiori often liked to spend lazy summer afternoons with Touga when they were children.

Today had been a particularly warm and quiet one, and they were in one of their usual places –- in the shade of the trees that lined one side of the riverbank. They sat together on the grass, with the then-eleven-year-old Touga settled against the trunk of a particularly large tree, and ordinarily they would have enjoyed the peaceful scenery of the river flowing and the people in their boats drifting along it while eating bento –- Shiori was still getting the hang of making it and didn't think she was very good, but Touga always ate it all and said he enjoyed it anyway –- and talking pleasantly about this and that.

This time, however, Shiori was not in such a good mood.

"What's the matter?" Touga, in contrast, was his usual charming self. "That expression doesn't suit you at all."

Shiori was indeed frowning. "You've been seeing that girl again, haven't you?" Her normally-sweet voice carried a sour tone as she spoke.

"You mean Utena?" Touga made no attempt to deny it; the fact that he was seeing the other girl had never been anything he'd particularly tried to hide from Shiori, perhaps because he'd expected her to pry and find out about it anyway.

Nonetheless, Shiori only felt her irritation growing. "You're with her a lot more than you are with me," she continued. "That's because you like her better than me, isn't it, Touga-san? You even let her call you by just your name!"

As he listened to her jealous complaints, Touga simply smiled and cast his gaze towards the river, not meeting her eyes. "It's not what you think," he said. "She just... reminds me of my little sister, that's all."

"Really?" Shiori gave him a suspicious look; it was the first she'd ever heard of Touga having a sister, and although she was an only child herself, the handful of times she'd seen him with Utena –- spying from afar or from behind some hiding place, wherever she thought she wouldn't be noticed –- made them seem far more like sweethearts to her than what she imagined a sibling relationship to be. "I didn't know you had a sister," she said, pressing him on the matter. "What's she like?"

Touga wouldn't turn to face her, and there was a significant pause before he answered her. "She was very sweet."

The trace of sadness that found its way into his smile then did not go unnoticed by Shiori –- and that wasn't the only strange thing she noticed, either. "Wait... why did you say she was sweet? Don't you mean she is sweet? Is she-"

"Shiori." Touga's voice was cold all of a sudden, and he was now facing completely away from her. It was clear that he didn't want to talk about this anymore.

The girl fell silent and hung her head. That's right, she thought to herself, Touga-san doesn't like talking about his family. It was something she had come to realise early on in the time that she'd known him; he almost never gave proper answers to any questions she'd asked about his home life, and all she ever found out about it before was that he lived with his father in a mansion. She wanted to smack herself for not remembering, and after having seen how Touga had reacted just now, she knew better than to try questioning him any further.

Part of her wanted to believe what he'd claimed about his relationship with Utena anyway, even if it was a thinly-veiled lie. She wanted Touga to be her prince, and she was sure he had to have realised that, because he still set aside time to be with her and treat her like another princess –- the princess in his heart, she convinced herself, if he did indeed see Utena as a little sister. Besides, although the fact that Touga was seeing Utena was no secret to Shiori, the fact that Touga was seeing Shiori was a secret kept from Utena, which was why Shiori made a point of staying out of sight whenever she watched the redhead spending time with the innocent younger girl; when she remembered that, a warm feeling of elation welled up in her chest, and regardless of her earlier mood, she couldn't help but giggle to herself.

Touga sighed and relaxed his posture again; he didn't seem to be holding any grudge against Shiori for her pushiness. With the issue from before having been quietly dropped without another word from either of the children, they went back to watching the scenery as they normally did.

After some time, perhaps because it was such a peaceful afternoon, and perhaps because of the gentle heat, Touga drifted off to sleep in the shade.

While her prince snoozed, Shiori found herself idly playing with a few daisies that were growing by where she sat. He might like it if I made a daisy chain for him, she thought.

Gently tracing the stem of one flower between her fingertips, she began to be filled with a certain nostalgia.

Come to think of it, I used to make them for Juri-san all the time, didn't I?

Indeed she had. On sunny afternoons just like this one, she'd played with Juri in meadows and along riverbanks –- even this very same riverbank, in fact –- and oftentimes she'd sat down and twined daisies together into chains that she would then offer to her childhood friend while beaming at her. Juri herself was invariably pleased to accept every one of the chains that Shiori made for her, treating them all as precious gifts.

Such a memory would have been a happy one to most people, but Shiori's expression soon lost its fondness as she recalled it, as though a dark cloud was passing over her. Although she had genuinely enjoyed playing with Juri back then, and although she still often saw the other girl, she didn't like to think about her too much anymore –- not since Touga had come into her life, and especially not since she'd started to feel so much anger towards Juri lately.

Juri, whom she had known for as long as she could remember.

Juri, who had protected her ever since they were small.

Juri, whom she thought had to have only done that because she felt sorry for her.

Juri, who must have only pretended to be friends with her all along.

Juri, who always put her in her shadow.

Juri, who was so smart and beautiful and talented and popular and so much better than her in every way.

Juri, whom she had no doubt Touga would like more than her if they were to ever meet one another.

Juri, who-

Shiori's delicate hand clenched into a cruel fist around the daisies, tearing them out of the earth; it was only then that she snapped out of her embittered thoughts and back to reality. She brushed the ruined flowers away, feeling ashamed of herself that she couldn't make them into a nice chain like she'd wanted to, then with one more deep intake of breath and a sigh, she was calm again.

She turned her attention back to Touga's sleeping form. He truly did appear to her like the fairytale prince of her dreams in this state, with his handsome face, his peaceful current expression, his beautiful red hair... before she'd met him, she'd never seen a boy with such long hair. She thought he had to be a girl when she first saw him, until her first conversation with him made it clear to her that he was indeed male, and quite the charmer for his age at that; from that point, it hadn't taken long for him to win her over.

Even now, she couldn't help but admire his hair. She wished that her own hair could've had the same silky texture as his, but she shook her head and cast that thought out almost as soon as it had crossed her mind; she didn't want to envy him the way she envied Juri.

Instead, she felt a compulsion to touch it –- something she had wanted to do for almost as long as she'd known him, but had never had a chance to before; Touga always did have some strange problem with anyone touching his hair, she'd noticed, although he evidently didn't have any issues with physical contact otherwise. Now that he was asleep by her side, however, she finally had the opportunity she'd been hoping for. She shifted her position on the grass as quietly as she could, trying not to make any sudden movements or sounds that might rouse him; then, slowly and silently, she reached a tentative hand out towards him.

Just as her fingertips were about to brush against his hair, Touga flinched.

Shiori immediately withdrew her hand. She held her breath for a moment, waiting to see if she had indeed disturbed Touga's sleep. Please don't wake up now. You'd hate me for this, wouldn't you?

Fortunately for her, his eyes remained shut; however, he still shuddered a little, again and again, and his expression tensed up into one of discomfort. Before long, he was beginning to moan in his sleep.

Shiori kept watching him in uneasy silence.

He started to shake and gasp, and soon after that, words began to escape his lips.

"No... stop..."

Shiori's eyes grew wide with increasing fear and worry. By this point, even a child like herself could easily tell that Touga was in the middle of a nightmare.

"Don't..." The boy had broken into a sweat, and he was tossing his head this way and that as if trying in vain to struggle from whatever monster –- surely it had to be a monster, because why else would his hand now be pinned down beside his head as though some invisible force was holding it there? –- had him in its grip.

The sight of Touga thrashing around and crying out in his sleep was quickly proving to be one that Shiori couldn't bear to watch too much more of. She wanted to wake him up straight away. "Touga-san...?" she called out, though it was too quiet in her nervousness to get through to him at all.

"It hurts..." Touga's voice was barely audible this time, but his words were no less disturbing for it –- especially to the young girl by his side who couldn't even imagine what kind of awful dream he had to be experiencing.

"Touga-san!" Shiori called to him again, louder and more urgent than before. When that still didn't work, she resorted to shaking him by the shoulders as well. "Touga-san!"

His eyes shot wide open, he let out one last gasp, and the hand by his head fell to his lap. He had finally woken up.

Shiori gently removed her hands from his shoulders, but otherwise remained by his side, facing him. While she was glad to have stirred him, she couldn't feel happy about the situation at all.

Touga was still breathing unsteadily, and even though Shiori was looking him right in the eyes, his own gaze was blank and unfocused; it appeared as though it was taking time for him to register her presence and where he was.

The girl before him tried to bring him back to his senses. "Touga-san? It's me! It's Shiori! I think you were having a bad dream just now."

It seemed to work, for Touga blinked at her soon afterwards, now properly seeing her worried face. "Shiori..." He spoke her name in simple acknowledgement.

"It was a terrible nightmare, wasn't it?" Shiori's concern was genuine, but her words were perhaps too insistent. "You were shaking all over and talking in your sleep... you said it hurt."

"Did I?" Touga raised a hand to his forehead, which was still coated in sweat. Something haunted remained in his eyes for a moment before he abruptly broke into a carefree smile. "It's nothing to worry about," he said, forcing a light laugh. "It won't do to make a princess fret over me." He swept several strands of his hair from his face -– a natural-looking gesture, and the sort he made all the time.

Ordinarily, Shiori would have been happy to be called his princess, and a slight blush formed on her cheeks regardless, but Touga's odd behaviour left her too unsettled to appreciate the compliment. Although she was still too young to entirely understand what was wrong at the time, the vague feeling that the boy had something he desperately needed to hide was there nonetheless.

"You don't have to keep staring at me like that." His tone was as lighthearted as it was before. "Relax, Shiori. I'm fine now."

"Are you sure?" Shiori's face turned warmer, this time out of embarrassment; she hadn't meant to stare. She still wasn't convinced by what he was saying, but when she thought back to their earlier conversation where he mentioned his little sister, she realised she had no choice but to let the matter go. "I'm glad," she eventually said with a defeated sigh.

An awkward silence fell between the children. It lasted for several minutes that felt more like several hours before either of them spoke again.

"How long was I asleep for?" Touga's casual question -– or was it so casual? -– seemed to come out of nowhere.

"Um..." Shiori put a finger to her chin as she thought about it. "Only for a little while, I think." She wasn't too sure, and she didn't want to admit that she had lost track of time while he'd been sleeping. "Why-"

"What's the time now?"

Touga's words cut in before she could finish, and there was noticeable tension in his voice. The haunted look in his eyes he had before returned, as if there was something he was deathly afraid of.

"What's the time?" he asked again, his nervousness even more apparent this time. It was clear that he needed an answer immediately.

As Shiori wasn't wearing her own watch today, she had to shift to look at Touga's, which was fortunately easily visible against his uncovered wrist. She read the current time for him just as he was seeing it for himself anyway.

With that, Touga let out a deep sigh of relief and seemed to relax again. "Good..."

"What's wrong? Is there a problem with the time?" Shiori couldn't think of what could have made him so anxious about it.

"It's nothing," Touga replied, a little too quickly. "I'm just glad I haven't missed curfew."

"Curfew?" Even with that succinct explanation, Shiori was still puzzled. She didn't recall curfew ever being an issue on any of her previous dates with him, and even considering that he'd fallen asleep today, she was sure this wasn't the longest they'd been out together; she couldn't imagine why it would suddenly be a problem now.

Unless...

A thought came to her, and without stopping to consider that saying anything about it might not have been a good idea, she asked another question: "Is your father strict about curfew?"

Touga did not answer her. He did not even look at her this time. Instead, he slowly stood up at last and dusted himself off, apparently getting ready to go home straight away.

His reaction made Shiori gasp, and a pang of regret stabbed her in the heart. "W-wait! Touga-san!" She hastily got to her feet as well, desperate to try and salvage things. "We'll be meeting up again soon, won't we?" Her eyes were burning as she pleaded; she was struggling to not cry.

"At the same time and place as usual next Sunday." Touga walked away a few paces, then stopped to look back over his shoulder. "Let's look forward to seeing each other then, Shiori." He gave her one more smile –- a warm, noble expression, albeit one that seemed forced somehow –- before facing forward again and starting to head off for real. He held up a hand, waving a casual farewell as he went. "Until next time... bye."

The girl remained where she was while she watched her prince leave the riverbank. Once he was out of sight and out of earshot, she dropped to her knees and promptly burst into tears.

She had never been driven to this state by a date with Touga before. Normally, being with him was the most joyous time she had at this point in her life, and it was a chance for her to believe that even someone like herself could truly be something special. Today, however, had only left her feeling utterly wretched.

It's all my fault, she thought miserably. I got mad first because I was jealous, and then I kept making him angry by asking about his family! I should know better than that, shouldn't I? She buried her face into her palms as she continued to sob inelegantly. I'm so stupid!

In her self-loathing, she didn't think to put any of the blame on Touga -– her beloved prince who, at eleven years old, was already going out with two girls at once and keeping it a secret from one but not the other. When he was the only person who ever made her feel good about herself, Shiori could forgive him for anything.

Even so, she couldn't deny that he had been acting strangely today. He had justified his affection for Utena by comparing her to a little sister Shiori never knew existed, and then had spoken of this sister as if she wasn't around anymore. He had brushed off what appeared to be a horrible nightmare by putting on a smile as soon as he could, pretending that it had been nothing at all; his fear had returned when he did something as simple as question the current time, yet he was just as quick to cover it up again as soon as he had his answer. Finally, when he had left for home so soon after he'd mentioned curfew, it didn't just seem to be because Shiori had brought up his father; instead, it had been as if he had to go there and then, as if something would happen if he didn't go immediately.

His behaviour had confused her, even frightened her; he hadn't been his usual self at all. The Touga she knew was kind, friendly, charming, smart, very grown-up for his age, fond of girls and always giving them compliments –- and he was brave, too. What could a brave prince like him possibly have such a distressing nightmare about, and why would he be so terrified by a simple curfew?

Many more questions swam erratically through Shiori's mind. Why didn't Touga like talking about his family? Did it have anything to do with his father? What was his home life like? What was so bad about missing curfew? How could he pretend to be his normal self so easily after being scared? Was his normal self even his normal self? Could he have been pretending this entire time? Just who was he, anyway? Why did he wear his hair so long when he was a boy? Did he notice her trying to touch his hair while he was asleep? Was there any reason why he didn't like people touching his hair, even though he was more than happy to hug and hold hands and even kiss?

As she finished crying and stood up to head back home herself, Shiori was left with the ultimate realisation of just how little she truly knew about Touga Kiryuu.

She would not find any of the answers she was looking for while she was still a child. Only several years later, long after Touga's death, would she find out just what kind of secret he'd been hiding beneath the surface all along.

Fin.

-

As always, comments and constructive criticism are both welcome and appreciated.

Date: 2015-12-22 01:32 am (UTC)
sarajayechan: art from the Shiori Book: http://ohtori.nu/doujinshi/index.php/Art/Shiori_Book (Shiori)
From: [personal profile] sarajayechan
oh jesus this was painful :( poor Shiori AND Touga

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