Note: Written for FireEye for Yuletide 2012. Very slightly AU as I have issues with the text that says the house that Rei visits in the beginning of the game is the Manor of Sleep, and therefore tend to ignore that.

In the Ruins
by Estirose
c 2012

Rei couldn't have imagined exploring the ruins of the Manor of Sleep without Miku and Kei. They'd all experienced the terrible place, run up and down its corridors, fought ghosts, unraveled mysteries. They'd saved themselves, and Rei had put Reika to rest, finally. She hoped that Reika was enjoying a happy ending in her afterlife, with Kaname.

Miku was quietly supportive, as she always was. It was part of her nature, the steady caring part. Kei said she reminded him of Mafuyu, out of Miku's earshot. Neither of them were sure that Miku had completely recovered from that part of the adventure. She didn't want to cause the younger woman pain, especially since Miku had gotten Rei through hers.

Rei had thought about making the trip without Miku, but she felt in the end that Miku had as much right to go as Kei did. All of them were still healing, a little or a lot. Miku might be fragile, but she was also strong.

Everybody was like that, Rei thought, but she saw it in Miku the most. She still wasn't sure how Miku's brother Mafuyu had died, just that he had, and Miku had survived where he hadn't. Miku may not have come out whole, but she'd come out, and Rei hoped that she'd heal in time.

Kei was in the best shape of the three of them. But then again, the person he'd been searching for was still alive. His niece Mio was in worse shape than he was, and in worse shape than Miku. But then again, Rei didn't know if she could have survived Yuu's loss if they'd been as close as the twins had been, from what Kei told her of their relationship.

He had told her one day that he thought he'd seen Mayu in place of the butterfly a few times. She would have scoffed, if not for the girl in the picture. Perhaps Mayu had been a figment of his imagination, but she'd been enough of a figment to show up on film.

With everything that had happened, it wasn't that odd. She only wished that Mayu would have been able to bring comfort to Mio. But then again, she doubted anything in that house was there to bring comfort, just to cause more pain.

It made her survival, hers and Kei's and Miku's, all the more amazing.

When they arrived at the place, after hiking in, she stumbled a bit. The house was a shadow of what it had been. There was a crack wide enough in the front that she could see the ruined room inside; it was so decrepit that she couldn't identify it even though she was sure she'd been in every room in the place.

Kei caught her so that she couldn't stumble, and she thought it was a shame that she hadn't met him before she'd met Yuu. She liked Kei, but she wasn't sure it was the best time to start something with him. It wouldn't be fair to Kei and it wouldn't be fair to Mio.

Miku was staring at the place, holding her hands together at her chest as she tended to do when she was unsure or scared. "Are you okay?" Rei asked, and Miku looked over at her.

"I... it's not Himuro Mansion...." Miku walked forward, testing one step as if planning to go in. Rei had to admit that she didn't want to go in herself. She'd been through the place too much in her dreams to visit in real life. Miku tested the door, but she couldn't open it. "It's... locked. Or warped...."

"Let me see." Kei had been the only one to be able to move things in the shared dream. Since Rei didn't usually have any problems moving a dresser, she could only assume that something in her assumed she couldn't move it, so she couldn't. Either that, or it was something that would have developed had she been in the dream as long as Kei had.

She pulled at the door, but it stayed stubbornly shut. Warped, most likely. Kei's hands joined hers, and then Miku was on the other side, and suddenly, the door was open.

There were holes in the foyer hallway, and Rei could see the rooms to either side. The tatami, was, of course, ruined in the room she could see. She was aware of Kei and Miku behind her, drawn in like they had been before.

Except this time, they could leave. This time, there were no ghosts sealing the doors, no tattoo curse drawing them back in.

Kei put a reassuring hand on Rei's shoulder. He was good at that, she thought. Not too overly close - they still didn't know each other quite that well - but warm and human. Yuu had been even warmer, cuddling with her on a regular basis even if it wasn't cold. He was the first person Rei had turned to when she was upset.

Maybe that was why she'd taken his death so hard. Because he would be there for anybody who asked, and especially her.

"This is like Himuro," Miku said softly. Rei had never been in the place, except in Miku's dreams. She never wanted to go there in real life. "Yuu took me... brought me back from there, once...."

Rei blinked. Had Miku gone there... after? Yuu had brought her back?

There was so much she hadn't paid attention to. So much that Yuu had known about Miku that she hadn't. She'd never thought to ask Miku what happened to her relative until the dreams, but she was sure that Miku would have told Yuu. Everybody talked to Yuu.

"He told me about that," Kei said, and Rei had to wonder. Why would he confide in Kei, and not her? Maybe because she wasn't listening. Hadn't been listening, and she should have, for Miku's sake. "A little. At least that you'd gone."

Miku nodded. "But I think it's gotten a little bit better. It's not as bad as it was. I wasn't that scared when I went back, because I knew only Mafuyu was there...."

Maybe this was what Miku needed more than she did. Maybe seeing the ruined places helped her go on more than words ever would. "Would you like to go back again?"

Miku nodded. "It would be nice. It's not quite as bad as here, I mean it's not falling apart as much as this did. Maybe I could see Mafuyu."

"I wonder if I could, now," Kei mused. "Or if I could just see in dreams."

It actually sounded like a good idea. She didn't know if she had the sense either, but she might want to find out. And Miku's brother shouldn't be too frightening. He looked kind in Miku's picture.

And maybe it would help Miku heal more. She idly wondered if they could do that for Mio, and then remembered that even if Minakami had reappeared, it was under water now.

She never thought she'd feel peace in a ruined house's foyer, in a place where she'd run for her life. But Miku was right, and Yuu was right. She had a life to live, and a good one, and everything else would follow.


Fatal Frame Fics