A/N: Expect errors…Read and Review!

Disclaimer: I do not own Mai-Hime


-Prologue-


I was there kneeling in front of my brother's cremated body. The tears in my eyes had finally dried up while my father's were still glittery.

He wept in silence.

It deeply wounded me seeing him like that once more. I could still remember the last time that he lost control of his inner emotions and poured them out in public; It was when my mother died.

Now, after many years, history was repeating itself.

As I stared at my brother's picture before us, mixed feelings began to overwhelm me. I began to reminisce how he was such a good person to everyone; as a brother, a son and a friend. I clenched my fists that were laid on my lap while I questioned him in rhetoric, like he was still there.

'Brother, how could you leave like this? You went away without even saying goodbye. It was so sudden.It hurts, brother…for me, for father. You did not deserve to end up like this. You could have done more beautiful things. How had life given you something that's too early for you to take? You—'

I was abruptly cut off from my sullen thoughts when I noticed through the corner of my eye that Nao, along with some relatives, turned their heads to look at something.

Someone.

My head spun around and saw who it was. But as if nothing happened, I returned my gaze in front. I could tell that my relatives and family friends were already giving their acknowledgment of her presence even if I wasn't looking.

Suddenly, a surge of strong emotion engulfed me. With gritted teeth, I balled my fists harder. It was a feeling like I couldn't forgive; something very new to me.

Hatred.

'It was her fault!' I finally thought. 'What is she doing here anyway?'

My father seemed to be finally aware of the person because he stood up. He walked toward that someone then bowed his head slightly in greeting. I couldn't see why the woman still deserved to be welcomed. A cold shoulder was the right thing for that woman,

My sister-in-law.

My brother's wife.

No. She wasn't anything related to me from now on. I despised her, hated her more than anything else. Hearing her voice made me detest her more. There was even no trace of grief in her tone despite of herself being my brother's widow.

'What did she come here for? ! To rejoice and see how we mourn over the man she had been wishing to be out of her life completely? ! How can she be like this? !'

After a while, I found myself standing up hastily, my hands remained coiled into fists. I was shaking out of pure anger, like I would burst if I wouldn't let it out. I got Nao's attention because of that but I didn't notice.

I turned on my back and went towards the woman. My strides were fast and heavy which made the other people in the room give their attention to me.

And she wasn't an exemption.

I halted in front of her while I stared daggers. Her expression wasn't anything fazed by it though. It remained neutral as expected and I scorned her for that. She was acting like it wasn't her husband's funeral. She was supposed to look all sad and depressed like how any normal person who lost their loved one would act.

'Does she even really care?! She's just here for a show! Just for fucking formality!'

Oddly enough however, I never dared to pry deeper into her eyes of crimson. I didn't know why, but I was afraid to see something in there that I never thought would exist.

"You still have the nerve to come here after all you've done, huh?" I said with contempt.

She didn't answer, maintaining her composed form.

"Where were you the moment he died? Huh? Are you even aware how his life ended? Were you even there when he needed you the most? Huh?" I continued as I forgot being civil. "Well, it's freakin' obvious! You don't know a thing because you never give a damn! You weren't around because you were too busy indulging yourself in adultery with another man! I—"

"Silence, Natsuki!"

I didn't need to see who interrupted my outburst. Just by hearing that commanding voice, I knew that it was my father. I felt him approach to where we were although I was still feeling the anger.

"Shizuru, forgive your sister for saying such things. She can just be too tactless at times." He shifted his glance at me after that.

I did nothing but remain silent although my glare still lingered on her. 'She deserves such humiliation!'

"What happened isn't anyone's fault, Natsuki. So don't go around blaming it on her. And I do not in any way like what you are accusing of her. Now, apologize to your sister." he's tone was firm as he said that.

"She's not my sister! And—"

"No need for an apology, father. Let Natsuki say want she wants to say. Don't worry about me." Shizuru said, her face calm as always.

"No, Shizuru. I cannot tolerate such rudeness. She doesn't have the right to judge you like that. You knew how you've become a part of the family; You are also my daughter. I cannot allow such actions especially from your own sister." explained my father.

Shizuru was about to say something when I forgot that I wasn't supposed to insult her again. My emotions were just getting the better of me.

"Happy now, aren't you? You have the guts to say that because you knew very well that father will take your side. But if you think you'll get an apology from me, well, I'm telling you, you'll never get it!"

"Natsuki!" my father called out again, but I was too flooded with rage that I couldn't stop myself from letting it all out at the despicable woman. She, on the other hand, only stared at me with an unreadable expression.

"I don't know why everyone is still putting up with you. But I know one thing…" I declared firmly. "…you are the sole reason of his death. It's all your damn fault! If you just didn't leave him and considered his feelings; he must have been alive. But you're selfish! You shouldn't have come into his lif—"

"Enough!" this time my father had placed himself between me and Shizuru, so I couldn't see her fully. "You've said too much. And I'm not pleased with any of it. If you think your brother and mother are happy with what you're doing, I am telling you, you are mistaken." With that, he called out to my best friend. "Yuuki, if you won't mind, take her out from here for a while."

"Yes, Kuga-san" Nao took my hand and led me out of the room. But before I was completely off, I made my last word with Shizuru.

Scornfully and sternly, I uttered "I really hate you. And I swear…" I intensified the hostility in my glare. "... that will never change."

I wasn't sure if my eyes were just playing tricks on me but I swore I saw her usually neutral face change into something she never showed. Was she in pain? Or hurt? Was it because of what I accused her of or was it something else?

I didn't know and neither cared.

With those thoughts in my head, I chose to let them pass as I went out of the house.

I just hoped that she'd be completely out of our lives.


To Be Continued…