Ah, I can't sleep again tonight,
Because you exist,
Because I was raped by you. -Dir en Grey, "Disabled Complexes"
~ Because You Exist ~
"Will he still want you when you're all tattered and torn?"
The slow silky drawl of Reino's voice invades her waking thoughts, making her doubt herself, convincing her that Sho's feelings for her are as shallow as that demonic man claims they are...
"Is that for me?" Sho asks, eyeing the bento box in Mimori's arms. The cloth covering it is pink with a pattern of rabbits.
As her mind spews Reino's taunts back to her once more, Mimori can't help but think that Sho's look is one of scorn.
"Noooo," she answers slowly, hugging the lunchbox against her chest. "This is mine."
Sho starts to reach for the box anyway, thinking the girl is trying to be cute by teasing him. Surely she wouldn't actually deny him food?
But she turns and walks away from him without another word.
Sho's stomach growls, but the real-world sound is drowned out by the ghosts of clinking chains and tearing fabric, and Mimori starts to hum over the vile soundtrack of her defilement.
She does not realize that the tune she is humming belongs to Vie Ghoul's latest single, which is also trapped in her mind on continuous repeat.
"Don't worry about your fame. Even if you can't face the public after this, you'll be immortalized in our new song. What will Fuwa say when he realizes the lyrics are about you?"
Shoko notices that Sho is upset over something during lunch. His nervous tension manifests in fidgety movements, as though he is too agitated to keep still.
"Sho..." she starts, but hesitates to ask him what is causing his bad mood.
The singer startles, as if he'd forgotten his manager was sitting beside him.
"Shoko." He scowls at her. "Did I do something to make Pochi mad at me?"
"Mimori?" Shoko asks, nonplussed. That's the last person she would have expected to be giving Sho any grief. "Not that I know of. Why?"
He ignores the question as he turns the odd interaction with Pochi over in his mind again and again. Something at the back of his mind tells him he has enough pieces to put the puzzle together; he just isn't sure what exactly the pieces themselves are.
"He's already given us matching nicknames," Reino whispers, chuckling darkly as he licks her ear. "Imagine what he'll say when he finds out. 'Pochi and Beagle, a perfect pair.' I bet he'd even buy us matching collars."
No, no he wouldn't! Sho would never do that to me! Mimori wants to shout, or at least speak her denial aloud, but he sounds so sure of what he is saying and she is starting to doubt... And she can't scream, because if someone comes running to save her and she is seen like this, her career will be over. The woman always comes out worse in these kind of scandals.
She sobs quietly as his hand slides under the torn collar of her blouse, leisurely palming the soft skin of her shoulder. The tears come faster as she realizes he is taking his time to savor her fear, when she wishes he would just hurry up and get this over with.
"Don't touch me!" she cries out, batting away the offending hand.
Mimori opens her eyes to find Sho staring at her wide-eyed, his hand still outstretched toward her. He blinks a few times and his arm drops slowly to his side.
"You... shouldn't sleep here," he says softly, hesitantly.
She has never seem him hesitate over anything before. Glancing around, she realizes she'd fallen asleep on a couch in one of their agency's waiting rooms.
"I'm... sorry," she stammers out.
He is facing her but turned slightly away, refusing to meet her eyes, not wanting to see the accusation there. He still doesn't understand what slight - real or imagined - has turned her against him this way.
"I didn't... I didn't mean to hit you, Sho. I was having a nightmare."
Normally she has no boundaries with him, but now she is acting as though she is afraid of him or something. It doesn't make any sense.
"I know," he says. "That's why I woke you up."
This time, he is the one to walk away.
Over the course of the next few days, Sho keeps trying to figure out what he's done to make Pochi start rejecting him like this, but he just can't figure it out. He starts to wonder if maybe she overhead him complaining to someone else about how clingy and annoying she can be, and feels a thrill of fear at the thought that he may have created a second Kyoko. But that thought is dismissed almost as quickly as it forms, since Pochi hasn't turned into some demon of darkness that's hell-bent on revenge. She's just been awkward and standoffish around him for some reason which he can't figure out.
Sho is startled out of his thoughts by the sound of an oddly familiar melody playing somewhere nearby. He can't quite place where he heard it before, but he feels like he should know. Without thinking, he heads toward the source of the sound. He reaches the room in which the radio is playing just as the lyrics start.
"NOOOOO!" Mimori howls, grabbing a a pillow from the couch upon which she sitting and flinging it at her manager. "Turn it off!"
The manager, not quite sure how to react to what appears to be a childish temper tantrum, just stares at the teen idol, dumbfounded.
Mimori covers her ears, curling up in a little ball in the corner of the couch, and repeats tearfully, "Turn it off."
Sho recognizes the song now - Vie Ghoul's latest hit, "Virgin Sacrifice". It is also the song that Pochi was humming the day she first rejected him.
"You let your blood be spilled,
For the sake of something,
That isn't even worth your time,
Bitter tears welling as you,
Become falsely willing-"
Sho strides past the useless manager and snaps the radio off with a sharp click. He's heard enough. Hell, the lyrics of that song were basically a big fuck you from Reino right to him. The bastard could basically admit in a song that he'd raped a girl, and Vie Ghoul's popularity would just continue to soar. They could laugh it off to the media as being a song about literal sacrificial rituals from history or whatever, and he would just fucking get away with it.
Mimori keeps her hands pressed over her ears even once she is fairly certain that the radio has been turned off. She doesn't want to take the chance that it is still on and her mind has just managed to tune it out somehow.
Suddenly, she feels someone's hands close around her wrists and attempt to pull them away from her head. She resists, clamping down more firmly to keep her ears covered, until she hears Sho's voice bark out: "Hey!"
Her head snaps up at the sound of his voice and her teary eyes meet his hardened gaze.
"Sho..." she whispers.
He watches her expression change as she realizes that he is here at her side, touching her of his own free will. And although he could have forced her to uncover her ears if he'd wanted to, he didn't. His fingers are still wrapped around her wrists, but his grip is gentle.
"Did he do something to you?" Sho asks, voice taut with barely-restrained anger.
"W-who...?" Mimori stammers.
His eyes narrow.
"You know who I mean. Fucking Reino! From fucking Vie Ghoul!"
Tears spill down her cheeks and he doesn't know whether it's because she's remembering her trauma or because he's yelling at her when she is already upset. He sucks in a shaky deep breath and tries to tamp down the worst of his anger.
"It doesn't-" He stops and gathers his nerves, then draws her into his arms. She lets herself fall against him, and for a few moments they just cling to one another. "Even if he did, even if that song is about you, it doesn't mean that I'm just going to let him take you away from me. Even if he touched you first, it doesn't mean that I lose. As long as your heart belongs to me, then you're mine and he can't have you. And I'll make sure he doesn't ever come near you again."
Even as he says the words, he wonders how much of what he is feeling now is born from the ghost of his regrets over Kyoko, how much of it is the spite he feels for Reino, and how much is actually any amount of affection that he holds for the girl in his arms. And how much of any of those things matter now that this fierce sense of possession has been kindled within him, and he's declared himself her protector?