Note: Written as a side-fic for "Comfort In Arms", going into the
incident where Miku goes to Himuro Mansion. Warnings for suicidal
ideation, as Miku is Not In A Good Place.
In The Place Where You Die
It finally becomes unbearable. Miku finally packs her small purse and
travels back to Himuro Mansion, because no matter how nice Aso-san and
Kurosawa-san are, she doesn't deserve their kindness.
No, it's obvious to her that she should have died in that cave-in with
Mafuyu, and it's time to remedy that. It doesn't matter that she can't
see Mafuyu or Kirie, she'll be able to see them after she dies, and
that's all that matters, doesn't it? If she wants to be with them,
she'll be with them.
She leaves a note in her room, makes sure everything's tidy so that
Aso-san and Kurosawa-san can just pack everything away. She makes it
clear that it's not their fault, it's hers, and she just needs to be
By the time she reached Himuro, she's tired. The house looks ready to
fall apart, like it did when she left it a month ago. She hopes against
hope that it will stay in one piece long enough for her to get out to
the Moon Well.
The entrance is unchanged, all cold and foreboding, with the giant hole
in the middle of it. She shivers, remembering all she went through, and
opens the door again. Not to leave, though, but to make sure she can
There are a few routes she can take, but hopefully she can get to the
outside via that great hall down on the left-hand side of the hallway
with the ropes. She doesn't want to see either place again, not really,
but she has to. She sees the hallway far too often in her dreams.
That great hall, too, but mostly the rope hallway. Mentally, she maps
the route out, through the room with the candles out into the Atrium,
and then out to the Well.
She can't quite get up the courage to go through the door. She stands
in front of it, reaching out to grasp it and open it, but she isn't
ready for the ropes. Not really. It's not tiredness, not really, but
"I have to get there," she reminds herself, and forces herself to pull
the door open. Inside, the ropes hang, forebodingly, from the beams.
Ogata isn't there, she knows that, and neither is her brother's camera.
All she has to do is take steps, more steps, more steps. The more steps
she takes, the sooner she'll be outside.
Outside is safe. The place might not be haunted anymore, not by anybody
other than Mafuyu and Kirie, but it's not exactly structurally sound.
There's a small pressure on her shoulder as she stands in the doorway,
as if someone had put their hand there, as if to tell her something.
But she doesn't think that Mafuyu is up here, and Kirie definitely
isn't. She's probably imagining things in her desire to get to where
her brother is.
But she can't step forward. And she can't leave. Aso-san is sweet and
kind, like her brother, and he might decide to come here, to bring her
to his home. He'll serve her tea, look at her in concern, and she'll
never be left alone to do this again.
So, she shudders as she walks through the ropes. If she's careful, none
of them will touch her.
The door to the great hall is boarded up, like it had been. The door to
the fireplace room seems stubbornly stuck, as if some natural or
unnatural force is stopping it from moving. She goes back into the
entryway, remembering the third way around: take the hidden hallway to
the stone garden and through the room with the buddhas, and around that
way. It wasn't the way she wanted to go, but it's the way she has to
When she comes back, she heads towards the hidden door.
The mask is gone. Was it there before? She can't remember. She tries to
open the door anyway, but it refuses to budge.
She's so tired. She's expended so much energy to come here and she
can't get to where she wants to go. If she can't get into the Mansion,
she can't join Mafuyu and Kirie. And if she waits too long, she'll be
taken home by Mafuyu's well-meaning friend.
Miku decides to nap behind the screens, near the door. She won't be
seen easily that way, maybe Aso-san will miss her and assume she went
home. She closes her eyes, making a pillow of her jacket, and wills
herself to sleep.
When she wakes up, she's in a car. Aso-san is driving, and he gives her
a small smile. Her jacket is draped around her, slightly worse for
wear. But he doesn't say anything until they get home, after she's sat
down in the living room and handed a cup of hot tea. Aso-san is
obviously worried when he shouldn't be; he sits there, not condemning,
but just sits there.
She doesn't want to talk, either. She should be in hospital, for what's
effectively a suicide attempt, but she's glad he's decided she just
needs comfort and friendship. She's starting to see why he and Mafuyu
were such close friends.
"I know you don't want to talk about Mafuyu," Aso-san says, and she
remembers that she's never really said what happened to him. "But I
know it's hurting you, Miku-chan."
Miku wishes she could say something useful, but it would be a lie to
say that she doesn't want to go back. She does, she wants to find her
way back in. She still wants to join her brother.
"It would have been better if you'd left me there." She remembers how
he wasn't there, nobody was, when she went to find Mafuyu. He was the
only one she could count on in the world. She should have stayed.
"Mafuyu would have wanted you to live." The words are gentle, in gentle
tones, so much gentle that she's amazed she isn't drowning in it.
"Miku-chan, just because he's gone doesn't mean it's the end of the
Aso-san can't understand. She finds herself sniffling, because what she
really wants to do is break down, cry, and then try again. Of course,
Aso-san probably won't let her. He doesn't understand what Mafuyu did,
and how she didn't stop him from dying and didn't stay with him.
"There's not much I can do," Aso-san says. "But I want you to feel like
you can come to me and Rei about it. You don't have to hold it in, and
you don't have to feel like you're a burden to us. Miku-chan, when
Mafuyu asked me to take you in, in case something happened to him,
neither of us wanted you to feel guilty about it."
Aso-san slides over on the couch, putting an arm around her shoulders.
"Cry if you need to, Miku-chan. I'll be here."
There isn't much that she can do, but cry. She doesn't know how to get
to Mafuyu, she doesn't want to live, but she doubts that Aso-san will
let her do that again. No matter how wrong it was for her to live,
Aso-san is the kind of person that forgives her, just like her brother
She wishes she could forgive herself, but it won't be that easy. In the
meantime, she leans on Aso-san, Yuu, and cries into his shoulder
because that, finally, is the only thing that she can do.
Fatal Frame fics