Note: For fic_promptly. The prompt was "Fatal Frame, Mio, every replay is her attempt to understand what she could have done differently to keep Mayu alive". Mostly canon-compliant, with one exception, but not enough for me to consider marking it AU. Inspired by my complete inability to go in the right direction to meet Itsuki in chapter 2.

Not In Dreams A Butterfly
by Estirose
c 2012

She goes through the village again and again in her dreams.

Sometimes she deliberately goes the wrong way, hoping that if she does things in a different sequence, sees things a different way, then Mayu will survive, somehow. If she finds things faster, slower, if she fights the ghosts, if she doesn't fight the ghosts.

If she drags Mayu everywhere, across rivers and streams and all around the houses, even when Mayu protests she's too tired to do anything. If she leaves her twin in the Osaka house and runs around the village without her, looking for clues.

In her dreams, Mayu is not a butterfly.

There's one where she survives, falling over the edge, but Mio saves her at the cost of her own sight. But that's a small price to pay, one of them having eyes and one of them having working legs. It makes them equal, and that's all Mio can ask for.

There's one, her hopeful dream, where Yae and Sae are together, where they leap in and sacrifice themselves instead of having Mio and Mayu do it for them. There are grateful villagers all around them, but Mio doesn't care in the dream, apart from herself and Mayu being together.

And the sad-but-beautiful one where she's too late to save Mayu, where everything happens again. At least they die together, as they were born together. Mio would have gladly taken that one if it mean that Mayu was with her, in the end.

There are the terrible ones, too; one where she abandons her sister, leaves her behind because she's a coward. Many where she misjudges her shots and dies apologizing to her sister, and one where Mayu has gone mad from being too long with Sae, and kills her for her inability to strangle her own twin.

But in every one, she tries something different to save Mayu, in the hopes that she'll wake up one morning, reach over, and find her twin there.

And every morning, she wakes up alone, tears brimming in her eyes.


Fatal Frame fics