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Title: Mirror Image
Summary: Hisoka learns something about himself that he never wanted to know. Spoilers through the Gensoukai Arc.
For Jekka and Kizu. Thanks to RubyD and Falstaff for prereading.
Didn't like confronting (the Muraki in you)
Was afraid of fighting (the Muraki in you)
Knowing I would lose (to the Muraki in you)
-King of Swords, Chapter 6.
“Tsuzuki.” Dazed. Hisoka clutched at the side of his head, as sharp bursts of remnant pain throbbed through his skull. “Where is Tsuzuki?” The first words he had spoken in a long time. Hours? Days?
For a moment, he didn't know where he was.
“Shhh.” Gently, gently. “It's all right. Tsuzuki's just resting.” A blatant lie, but it was impossible to explain otherwise. There was just a deep sadness, the memory of pain in Tsuzuki's eyes. It took Hisoka a second to realize that those weren't his thoughts and feelings.
“Hmm. He woke up. I'll go tell the chief.” A gruff and brisk voice: that was Terazuma. “You'll be okay in here, all right?” It was a command more than it was a question or suggestion.
“What…what happened?” But even as Hisoka spoke, his eyes widened as he remembered. There was a sting on the right side of his face, and he clutched at his sweat-matted hair as if one pain would dull the other.
Kurikara. Gensoukai. The other world where he had fought the high-level shikigami to a draw. He had won by a hair's breath - somehow, some way - with a hidden reserve that he hadn't known was in him. At least, that's what it seemed had happened in the battle. There, time appeared to dilate, ten thousand years in the span of a second. The memories folded into themselves until nothing was left but a crush of twisted time and faded sensation.
But there was the contract. Because a shikigami like that was never merely defeated.
“My eye!” With a gasp, he sat up and was off the infirmary bed, scrambling over the tossed and turned bedding, knocking over surgery carts speckled with blood.
But before she could catch up to him, he was already in front of the mirror.
“Wakaba…chan.” He stared at the ruin where his right eye had been. He had been expecting a gaping hole, or perhaps at least his normal eye, having miraculously healed in the manner of all Shinigami. But instead, there was a prosthetic. He knew it couldn't be real. It was a paler green than his real eyes. The difference was almost imperceptible, but he knew exactly how green it should be. The pupil responded like a normal eye, but it tracked just a little slower than normal. And it didn't tremble at all, holding unnaturally still in his head.
“Y-You can see fine, right? Right?” Wakaba was trying to be cheerful yet she wavered on panic; he scared her like this. She took a deep breath and tried again; she was forcing herself calm. “Hisoka…you should have waited for Watari. He worked very hard to make you an eye that works right. It should have come back…b-but it must have been something that happened in Gensoukai. I've heard about things like this before, Hisoka, so don't be scared. We'll find out what happened and maybe it can be…”
As she spoke, the words became nonsensical to him, turning into a tonal drone in his ears. Suddenly, it was too much to take in all at once and Hisoka crumpled to the ground, knocking his knees against the cold tile floor.
All around him, silver surgical tools were scattered like shattered ice amid discarded blossoms of blood.
“I'm all right…” A gasp. Everything was coming back all at once. His insistence on surpassing Tsuzuki. His fights with Tsuzuki. The pursuit of power that had endangered everything around him. And yet he didn't stop there. He didn't turn back, he didn't question it, he didn't think. It was a pursuit that he could not deviate from until he had attained his goal, even long after he had forgotten why he was there in the first place.
“Shhhh.” Wakaba's fingers brushed his cheek and her mismatched eyes came into focus, bright with unshed tears. “It's okay, Hisoka. If you don't like it…you can just cover it up. See?” She brought up a brush and her fingers deftly untangled the straggled mess of his hair, gently changing its part.
Wheat-blond hair slipped into a veil before the right side of his face, concealing the disfiguration.
“Look. You can't even tell the difference.” Her voice quavered with barely suppressed grief.
“No…difference at all.” Hisoka's shaking hands were stained with blood. And if he looked in the mirror…he would see Muraki again.