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On A String And A Prayer

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Faith was a difficult concept to grasp. The idea of placing trust in something unfounded, intangible, and outside personal capabilities was absurd. And yet, it was a cornerstone of human activity. They believed in the impossible, stretched their inflexible tassels towards the unknowable; life after death, a greater purpose in creation. It was a reckless mindset that facilitated foolishness, and the consequences of such stupidity were often terrible. Of course, it was terribly amusing to witness ambitious upstarts being ground under heel as they so rightfully deserved, but Junketsu couldn’t fathom why they tried.

At first he thought it was symptomatic of desperation. Only those at a disadvantage could possibly rationalize acting in the face of obvious failure. And yet confidence also inspired unnecessary risk. It was maddening that contradicting motivations resulted in the same behavior. There was only one conclusion he could reach: faith was inherent to human nature. For creatures so small and insignificant, so fragile and weak, belief smoothed out the harsh wrinkles of reality.

Satsuki was different.

She accepted her frailty and conspired against inadequacy. She acted on truth, foregoing empty promises in favor of the strength of her arm and cutting edge of her mind. She trusted no one until that privilege was earned, and at steep cost. Ironbound, unshakable, absolutely relentless, qualities worthy of admiration.

Then Mother happened.

On the cusp of her victory, the snipping of one last thread, Satsuki placed her faith in the impossible.

 

Her plans were unraveling beneath Mother’s touch, and so was he. A rhythm so achingly familiar unspooled from her hands and entwined his fibers; purity, perfection, home. Curling around it was second nature, a memory he had almost forgotten, but could never deny.

He belonged to Mother.

It was by accident he heard Satuski at all. Her eyes pulled him back, untangled his threads by what he saw in them. She was afraid. Fear did not suit Kiryuin Satsuki at all. The wrongness woven across her face was enough to make him feel beyond the rhythmic pulse thrumming along the edge of his thoughts. They were dangling from a thread so very close to snapping.

“Please.”

He shuddered as the word squeezed through Mother’s crushing fingers. It resounded in Satsuki’s chest as a steady beat that rolled from her to him. Defiance in the face of fear and failure. She refused to concede defeat even against insurmountable odds, and it would take more than brutal cunning or boundless strength to even try.

Satsuki believed in herself. Did he?

His fibers creaked against the strain tearing him in both directions. Truth called from one end and hope at the other. Mother had every right to lock him in a glass box, Satsuki gave him a choice. Mother blessed him with a name, Satsuki gave it meaning. Mother deserved his loyalty, Satsuki earned it.

She choked. Her eyes shined under Mother’s brilliance, an impossible shimmer that nearly spilled onto her cheeks, but Kiryuin Satsuki did not cry.

Junketsu did not understand faith, but perhaps it was not something to be understood. Though it was the height of stupidity, he looked away from Satsuki; he knew in whom to place his faith.

Mother was very unhappy with his betrayal.