What do you need right now?
“It’s too much, she’s going to break!” Youko shouted at Yukina across the courtyard. The ice maiden shot a chilling glare at the kitsune that froze him where he stood.
Mika gritted her teeth against the pain coursing through her body as she fought to control the flames of the demon within. “I can do this,” she shrieked. Her breaking voice set Youko’s hair on end. She would singe those beautiful silver locks if he interfered.
He clenched his fists but did not take another step towards her. There was nothing he could do and anyway he was outnumbered. This was not something he could protect her from. Letting him sit in on her training had been a mistake.
Just give in, girl. Izanami’s voice in her head sounded bored. You wouldn’t have to suffer if you would just give me your body.
“No.” Mika concentrated on the black flames enveloping her body. Her father had once controlled them so there was no reason she couldn’t. The flames flared suddenly and she cried out.
Izanami hissed in her ear. That man barely held a teaspoon of my power. I would have burned him alive if he had tried to pull the whole well. The ancient deity despised Hiei, though he had been the catalyst for her unsealing.
“I’m stronger than him,” Mika snarled.
She could hear the grin in Izanami’s voice. Yes, but are you strong enough? Again the flames roiled. Mika tried not to scream in agony but she howled anyway. Youko called out to her, again urged Yukina to put an end to it. I think you could be, Izanami crooned. But you’ll never control me while you can’t even control your own heart.
Her voice faded and was replaced with Yukina’s soft chanting as the ice maiden took Mika’s face in her hands. The ice enchantments spread over her whole body, forcing the flames back within. Mika grasped them and forced them into the pit of her stomach as she had practiced. Yukina’s final incantation placed a temporary seal on them.
Mika collapsed from the strain but Youko was at her side to catch her. “You promised not to interfere,” Yukina scolded. Her usually kind voice was tinged with anger.
The kitsune’s ears folded back. “And I didn’t. I stood by and watched didn’t I?” His voice was nearly as cold as Yukina’s.
“Both of you, stop it.” Mika pleaded. “This is my own fault for not progressing fast enough.”
Yukina sighed and Youko relaxed. “That’s not true,” the other woman said. “That was the longest you’d ever held that much of the power.”
“It’s not enough,” Mika muttered.
“It’s enough for today,” Youko said and Yukina nodded agreement. He picked her up to carry her back to the compound. She wanted to protest, to insist she could walk on her own, but she could barely feel her body.
“Get some rest now, Mika,” Yukina said. “I’ll see how Kazuma is coming along with dinner and bring you some tea in a short while.” She headed into the heart of the estate as Youko turned towards the bedrooms.
She threw her arm over her eyes as he laid her on her bed. “I’m sorry,” she said.
He sat on the edge next to her. “For what?”
“This is too hard on you. I shouldn’t have asked you to stay.”
He laughed. “It was my choice. Someone has to keep you in line.”
She sat up on her elbows and glared at him. “I don’t need you to do that.” He smirked, his amber eyes flashing mischievously. Suddenly she was reminded of Yuri and her chest tightened briefly. A heart in conflict.
It dawned on her that she was never going to subdue Izanami as long as she was distracted with him. She would never be able to save Yuri. It wasn’t fair to Youko, either, being forced to just sit and watch as she struggled day after day.
Youko frowned. “What are you thinking? Something tells me I’m not going to like it. You’ve got that stubborn look in your eye.”
She forced a smile and placed a hand on his cheek. “I need you to do something for me,” she said.
His eyes narrowed. “Mika, you know I would do anything for you. But I don’t like where this is going.”
“I need you to go to my father,” she replied.
He pulled away from her and got to his feet. “You want me to leave?”
“No,” she admitted, “but I need you to.” He looked angry. “You can’t do anything else for me here,” she continued. “Wouldn’t you rather be out living than babysitting?”
“That’s not what you’re asking me to do,” he countered.
“Youko you are bored here.”
“I am not,” he replied petulantly.
“You can’t tell me you don’t feel useless on the sidelines. That’s not the Youko Kurama I know.” He flinched. “Go. Help my father. Find my brother. I’ll join you when I’ve finished my training here.”
He stared at her. She wished for the millionth time she had inherited either parents’ psychic ability to know what was going through his mind, but his face was unreadable. Truthfully she didn’t want him to go. She still thought she needed him at her side, but if she was going to beat her personal battle, she knew she needed him far away.
Finally his face softened and he nodded. “Ok. But you have to promise me you will beat her and come to us.”
She grinned. “You have my word.”
He shook his head and sighed. “Well I’d better leave before you come to your senses and change your mind.”
Her heart caught in her throat, though she knew he was right. “Don’t die before I can come rescue you,” she said, trying to lighten her own mood.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he replied with his usual smirk. He bent over the bed and kissed her goodbye. “Good luck, kitten.” He winked and dashed out the room before she could retort.
Yukina brought her tea shortly after. Mika explained that she had sent Youko away. Her aunt agreed it had been the right thing to do, and stroked her hair as she cried. They would train harder so she could be back at his side in no time. It wasn’t what she wanted, but it was what she needed.
Notes: Oh look another bit of fanfiction. I’ve been struggling with this particular story for about a year. This prompt really helped me get out of that rut so when I take a break from these daily prompts I’ll finally be able to go back and finish that story. It’s only been about eight or nine years in the making.
All characters need something. What sorts of things do your characters need? Do you let them have it right away? Do you make them work for it? Get your thoughts down. Who needs what and why, and why should they get it?
Friday’s prompt: It is the end of your life and you are up on stage being presented with a major award. What award is it, and what have you won it for?
Yeah I think that’s gonna be another from my fanfiction universe. Ali has lived a long time after all. Until tomorrow!