He watched his reflection in the mirror; bare-chested, jagged scars, more old than not, crisscrossed his chest and arms. Scattered were small half-moon burns, mostly on the undersides of his arms, where the baby skin lay. Where a burn would hurt a small child the most.
It reminded him of distant memories; from a time before Kido, Seto, and his Big Sister Ayano. Back before the crimson-eyed demon took ahold of his heart and bestowed him with a power he never wished he had.
Of a time when he had parents.
Suddenly a loud, booming voice echoed inside of his mind; he inwardly cringed. He recognized it all too well. It had consoled him during those long, sleepless nights. It wrapped him up when he was lost and alone, surrounding him in a black veil of lies and deceit. It pushed him towards others when he wanted to do nothing but curl up and cry.
It made him, shaped him to its own interests; molded his desires into its own.
"Why do you even bother?" The monster boomed inside of his mind, "What do you have to live for? You're a terrible friend. You lie to everyone." Kano grimaced quietly. He'd spent his life fighting the monster; at least somewhat. He was not going to fall for its tricks anytime soon.
"I know I'm a liar," He murmured, voice soft; sounding fake even to himself. He focused on the mirror once more, his eyes losing their crimson hue as he tried to smile. Naturally.
The final product was a congested mess of awkwardly-placed muscles. It was not much of a smile. Or, rather; not much of an honest one. He could smile just fine with a bit of assistance. Most of them believed that it was genuine; those that didn't simply accepted it and left it at that. They didn't question.
He wasn't sure if he was irked by that.
"Look at you, can't even smile without my power. You can't function without me." Kano glanced away from the mirror quietly, ashamed. It wasn't entirely true. He was still Kano. He was still the little Shuuya deep inside, right at his core. At the centre that he refused to give up to the beast. It was his memories that kept him from giving up right then and there.
"… That's not true," He murmured after a moment's hesitation. He could continue on without his power if he had to. There would be some major personality changes, and he may have to go into hiding or something to sort himself out. But he'd turn out okay. He'd have to if he wanted to stay Kano. The monster inside of him loudly snorted in derision, its crimson eyes reflecting in his own for a fraction of a second as it placed a smile on Kano's face for him, exerting its power over him at the same time.
"It's your fault, you know. Your fault that I'm here." Kano glanced away mutely in understanding. He knew he was at fault; that he was to blame. He'd known that for a long time now, so why was he being told again? He closed his eyes as a familiar scene replayed in his mind.
A rough, calloused hand gripped the child's own hand tightly, dragging him towards a rather noisy room. He was pushed towards a thin, roughed up old mattress with little more than a think, muddy blanket. It was not a very welcoming sight for a quaking six year-old, who was placed on it with a less than gentle hand. He hugged his stuffed rabbit, 'Mr. Floppy Ears', to his chest and watched as the adults left the room, caring about him no more than when they picked him up from that god-awful home.
Immediately a series of eyes turned towards him. Some were filled with pity, many filled with curiosity, and several others filled with a childish sort of aggression. They were mad – they all were – and they wished to pick on the small child who was forced into a room. The children here were easily twice his age or so; the ages varied from ten to thirteen. But it was a large jump for a young boy who was almost six.
The unfortunate child, who had come in with nothing but scruffy old clothes (if they could be called that; they were more like a servant's loins, and a dirty old rabbit was about to lose his only reliable companion.
The rabbit was wrenched away from him within moment; the children turned Mr. Floppy Ears this way and that, mocking an inspection. Then came a phrase that Kano would learn to despise.
"Destroy it." The little boy screamed, beg, wailed for them to stop. They were hurting him! He could only imagine his friend's pain as he was ripped from limb to limb. Cotton stuffing went flying out, peppering the ground with small, white puffballs which quickly soaked up some of the dirt that covered the ground. Paws were tossed, with cruel glee, out the window. First his left, then his right. Then one ear, that was already half on, half off. It quickly followed the arms.
The legs went, until all that was left was the body, the head, and a single ear, flopped over to the side as though it had surrendered itself to its fate. One kid stuck his finger into the empty socket, pulling out more stuffing.
Kano begged for them to stop. But he could do nothing to save his friend; the bullies would not relent.
All he was given back was a faceless creature that no longer resembled his best friend who would comfort him when his mother and father would not.
It would be the first of a series of losses.
The kids stood over him, taunting the boy, barely out of the toddler stage, berating him for being a baby. For being so weak, for being unable to protect himself from the older kids. Eventually, the verbal assault was over and Kano curled into himself, sniffing and hiding his face in the too-thin pillow.
He ended up missing dinner; not one cared. Kano was alone.
There was no one there to kiss a scraped knee better anymore.
"Look at how you were treated!" The monster roared, its crimson gaze watching Kano's reflection in the mirror; through his own eyes. The blonde scowled and raised his fist. He was tired of those eyes; they haunted him in his nightmares, lurked at the dark corners of his dreams. It was everywhere. Yet it was all in his head.
A hand, clenched tightly, punched the mirror with enough force to splinter the glass, causing it to quickly fragment and shatter, pieces scattering in a small pool on the floor and Kano found himself taking a step back to avoid cutting his own feet.