The Lady Who Never Grew
He watched as the girl cleaned up from the diner they had, he noticed that she never ate anything, he eyed her carefully as she picked up dishes and put away leftovers. It was when from her soaked hands slipped the serving plate that violence ensued. A large expensive piece was now broken, and at the fault of her hands
Gojo Sataoru had never seen his father angry before that day.
His mother wouldn't let him leave the table, claiming that it wasn't safe with all the glass on the floor. His blue eyes watched the girl start to pick up larger shards until his father stomped over to her.
His eyes widened as his father grabbed the girl, who was on her hands and knees cleaning, and threw her down onto the glass. He could hear his father's voice screaming at the girl but he couldn't believe that it was his dad. It was all fuzzed out in his ears. His dad wasn't like this.
He sat at the table complicity as the girl was dragged back up off of the floor by her hair. forced to walk across the shards with her bare feet that had never before been gifted with coverage. His father walked her out into the backyard and that's when he heard the most disgusting sound his ears had experienced.
The sound of metal clanking before there was a short silence. He could hear the sound of something snapping through the air. It was like a loud pop. He listened to it around ten times before he heard a sob that had his stomach turning. There were at least 15 more cracks that sounded.
The sob soon turned into a yelp, and soon to a broken scream.
The sound stopped and the metal clinking was heard again. Then a spray of water was heard, then it was gone again. Suddenly the girl was brought back in, held tightly by her upper arm. She was once again thrown onto the glass on the ground.
She made no noise as she picked it all up, the pieces digging into her legs and hands, drawing blood that she seemed unaware of. He could only see her cheeks, the tears streaming down them made his heart clench. All she did was make a mistake, why did his father do this to her?
Once everything was picked up, he was allowed to leave the table. He went to the kitchen to grab water before bed. He saw the pretty lady leaning over the sink, staring at the sky longingly and clutching something wrapped in a cloth.
He forgot all about his water as he sprinted to the bathroom and threw up everything that he had for dinner. He wasn't yet accustomed to grotesque sights like the one provided to him in the kitchen.
The back of the pretty lady's shirt was torn to shreds. As was her skin. The majority of the blood had been rinsed off outside when he heard the hose come one.
Her back was in shreds. He could clearly see her spine, the bone having no coverage and being left open to the world. There were chunks of skin that he thought were bigger than his hand that were missing. Gaping holes in her back, and she seemed not to mind.
He asked his mother about it that night when she went to tuck him in for bed.
"That thing in there is what is known as a curse. It is very bad, and evil. It would kill you if we gave it the chance. It doesn't feel anything that we feel. It doesn't feel love, joy, humor, sadness. And it doesn't feel pain, that's what makes it so dangerous. One day you will control it."
That was all she said, then she left and went to bed.
Years later when he was 16, he found her doing something that she shouldn't be. He was home alone and saw her eat a roll of bread. She had no idea he was there as she sat on the floor. She had her side against the cabinets, head limp against the wood. She cradled herself as she ate the tiniest meal he had ever seen.
His shoe scuffed the ground to get her attention. He watched her inhale quickly, a gasp, the bread disappeared and she was standing all of the sudden. Her eyes were glossed over and her lip twitched once as she awaited what he would do to her.
He gulped and opened his mouth to speak but then quickly closed it. Then he opened it again, hesitated, and then finally said something.
"What's your name?"
Her head snapped up and he met with her cloudy white eyes.
She couldn't see anything.
She was blind.
This whole time she was blind and he never knew. He could see tiny slits in her eyes, they weren't natural, like there had been something forced in there. Had she not been blind before and his father did this to her?
"Do you know how to speak?"
He was curious.
"I-I'm sor-rry. I-I-I did-idn't mea-mea-n t-to."
She stumbled over her words so bad that he could barely understand her. Her eyes could never find his, he noticed, as she was always just a little too far off, not being able to see his eyes.
He knew now what a curse was, but he wasn't sure that they knew everything about them. She seemed to very much feel pain, she seemed able to tune into her emotions, she seemed human if for the fact she hadn't aged a day in his 16 years of life.
"You can eat it. I don't mind."
"W-wh-what? Wh-at?" She repeated the 'what' like she didn't like how it sounded the first time only for it to come out even worse the second time.
She even stuttered in her breathing. She inhaled and stopped and then breathed in more with a shaky sound. And then started to exhale, and interrupted her exhale by breathing in a little more and then finishing her exhale.
He could tell she was nervous. Something he had been taught a curse couldn't feel. His eyes came off of her face and locked onto her body. She was shivering, or shaking from nerves, he couldn't tell. Her skin was sickly pale, almost a grayish-blue tone to it. After all it was winter and she wore a thin cotton t-shirt and a pair of holed shorts, again she had no shoes or socks.
He noticed that she wouldn't move and so he accepted that he got her to say anything and instead decided that he was going to give her some socks to help protect her feet. He knew he should have punished her, but he couldn't. And he especially couldn't now with finding out she was blind.
He walked away, and came back within seconds. She still stood there staring in the same place, with shame written across her face. He felt bad for a minute, leaving her there like that when she probably couldn't even tell that he left, she was so weak.
He gently grabbed her to guide her to put the socks on and he watched her face die. The curious, somewhat fearful look she had was gone. Replaced with nothing.
Her eyes were no longer glossed with unshed tears, her lip no longer quivered, her body no longer shook, all the muscles in her body relaxed. He knew what she was doing. He had done it once before too when fighting a curse.
It hurts less when you relax all your muscles.
He gently slipped the socks onto her feet and then left loudly. He quieted down one he reached the doorway then watched silently. Her thinking that he was gone, broke the character of acceptance.
She extended her arm all the way down to feel the ground before sitting down. Her hand slid down her calf to feel the weird material he had put on her feet. Her eyebrows furrowed as she felt around the fabric, she pulled at it to see what it would do. He was slightly unnerved with her staring straight ahead at him, but knew she wasn't actually looking at him.
He watched her stand up and take a couple of steps. The smallest light reached her eyes as she stared ahead.
That was enough for him, he smiled and silently left her to do whatever else she was going to do.
His parents came back that night. He heard shouting right away when they came in, but never saw what happened. He just knew that he was the one who messed up today.
He didn't see her again for a week.
When he did, she was once again in the kitchen. He saw her limp along to get to the other side of the room. She used the counter as support. He sighed knowing that the punishment was his fault this time.
His eyes followed her as she fell to the floor. His eyes trailed to her feel which no longer held a pair of socks, but ugly burns.
The bottoms were burnt, cut, bruised, anything that could have been done to her feet. He was sure one of her toes was only still there because of the bone.
He couldn't look any longer as he felt the bile coming up in his throat. Tears stung the corners of his eyes and his stomach churned uncomfortably. He swallowed it down to not seem weak.
Around a month later, Gojo found her in the back yard. His parents were frantically searching for her, but he found her so easily. She clutched an object in her hands.
It was the same cloth from that first night she had been punished. She looked so... content. So happy. Just holding whatever it was that she had. He felt terrible for this poor girl. Even if she was a curse.
He made sure to take louder steps. When her ears picked up on his first foot steps, the object disappeared from her hand. She turned in his direction and deeply bowed. He frowned at her. Even though she couldn't tell, he didn't like that she was older but she was bowing for him.
His father hurried outside, frantic in his search.
"You found it Saotoru!" His father called.
"Yeah, I found her." He said.
"Well. You'll be the one to punish it then. It's about time, it'll be yours soon." His father said.
He doesn't know how he got in this position, but you were sitting in a chair, palms raised and flat out. He held a fire poker that had a red tip, ablaze with heat.
His father placed his hand over his for the first one. His father made him push the metal rod down onto the center of your palm. Not just against it, no. Through it.
The second one he had to do on his own. The guilt piled up inside him as he shoved the fire poker through the center of your hand.
The lady didn't scream, didn't whine, didn't cry. He felt disgusting. How could he do such a thing to her.
Eventually, they were right. She was his to command now. He moved out, lived on his own with her, and taught jujutsu. She became his assistant teacher. It was only allowed because the higher ups knew that she would never be able to act out.
And so she would meet the love of her life once again.