Notes: Spoilers for the canon endings of Fatal Frame I and II, and vague ones for the Photograph ending of Fatal Frame III. Mio is the hardest of the protagonists for me to write (I prefer Miku and Rei), so I'm hoping I got her right.

Faking Sisterhood
by Estirose
c 2012

She meets Miku at Rei Kurosawa's house, after her uncle has her move in. To be honest, she'd rather live with Uncle Kei, but he thinks it would be better if she was around two other women who had run into the same kind of thing she had.

At first, she resists. Miku and Rei are nice, but the room she's in reminds her little of her own. The room had belonged to Rei's now-dead fiance, and sometimes there are books of his in the bookshelf, books that talk about things she doesn't want to deal with. Sometimes she dares read them, and then she wakes up a night or so later, sweating, remembering the people of Minakami Village as they reach for her.

Miku is usually the one who comes in. Rei sometimes as well, but Miku seems to have a sense for when she's got a nightmare. She listens when MIo tells her what happened, and Mio finds it easier to tell Miku what happened far easier than she did Uncle Kei. Sometimes Miku shares stories of old Himuro Mansion, about little girls trapped in wells and novelists that haunt shrines.

Sometimes Rei comes in and tells her about that place she was trapped in, but not as often, for which she is glad. Minakami village is starting to fade in her memories, at least it's not as fresh, and she likes it that way. She finds it hard to connect with the older woman, though she is also easier to talk to than Uncle Kei.

Mio has to wonder if Uncle Kei sent her to live her because of that. Because he figured that she would feel more comfortable talking to those who were not her blood.

Miku asks if she wants her to share her bed. Mio refuses the first time, but she accepts the second. It's comforting, somehow, to have someone share her bed, and Miku never does anything Mayu wouldn't do. It is embarrassing sometimes to find out she's been clutching onto Miku and calling her Mayu, but Miku doesn't seem bothered.

Maybe it's because Miku lost her older sibling, too. Maybe she needs the comfort just as much as Mio does.

Sometimes, Mio stops on the way down the stairs when she and Miku are going down them because she's used to waiting for Mayu, and then Miku bumps into her. They don't even apologize to each other anymore over it.

Miku sometimes looks guilty, too, and Mio tries to hold onto her, as if it would solve all of her problems. Miku has told her about Mafuyu, who looked after her when their mother died, and who chose to die to help out a ghost.

It makes it easier for Mio hearing that, because Mayu chose to save a whole town by dying. Mafuyu had not needed to die to save everything, but he'd done it anyway. Mayu had done it to put everybody in Minakami in peace.

At least her sister hadn't died a needless death, or at least not one as needless as Miku's brother.

She tries to console Miku about it, though, because she knows what it feels like more than Miku does. Maybe she needs to be here, not for herself, but for Miku. Because at least her sister's sacrifice had saved everything. She asks Miku to sleep with her every night, not because she needs it, but because she thinks Miku does. Because Miku needs someone with her, and she doesn't mind sharing her bed.

It causes Miku to cry harder. She sees Rei talking softly to Miku and wonders what Miku can't tell her about.

And then Miku stops sharing her bed. She gives her a few days, and then finally goes to her room, demands to know what's going on, because she really doesn't want to see Miku hurt. Miku sniffles and tells her about the Munakatas, Yae and Ryozo, the family that lived in Himuro Mansion. And then she says that she thinks that Yae is her great-grandmother, and Yae might have had a sister named Sae.

There's little that Mio can say to that. She runs out of Miku's room and slams the door to her own. She remembers the name Ryozo Munakata, the folklorist's assistant. She has to think about things for a long time, because the name Sae brings up things she didn't want to remember.

Yae had left her sister behind... she didn't mean to, but she had. Sae had died, come back, possessed Mayu. Killed an entire village, with the Kusabi. Mio doesn't want to like Yae, and she doubts she ever can.

But can she hate Miku for what Yae had done? Can she blame the innocent Miku for her great-grandmother's crimes?

She thinks of Miku, sitting there, looking guilty. Miku knows what it is like to lose a sibling, and Mio knows that she would never condone what her great-grandmother had done. She feels guilt over what had happened to Mayu, and Mio can forgive her for that, even if she will never forgive Yae.

Mio doesn't go back that night. But she goes back to Miku the next night, tells her that Miku is not responsible for what Yae did. That she wants Miku to be her older sister, to be there for her, to protect her from nightmares.

It's apparently what Miku needs to hear. She smiles, and Mio smiles back. Miku will never be Mayu, and Mio never wants her to be. But Miku will be her older sister, and Mio will be Miku's younger one, and even if they're not really sisters, they will be together.

This time, forever.

Fatal Frame fics