Chapter 20:

Awareness of Loss Becomes Permanent

X = Y

Kei's heart stopped. Momentarily, anxiety-filled astonishment settled into his body. His mind was at ease but inanimate from fear. Extremely distraught and tristful, the memories of his life with his brother surfaced quicker than light illuminating the darkest tunnel.Bookmark here

"It can't be..." Kei spoke in disbelief. His eyes dilated, and the mood written across his face dropped.Bookmark here

"Yeah...It can't...I don't remember having a twin..." Rei spoke, trying to appease the situation, but he stuttered irregularly. His mischievousness, blocked by the acute emptiness that raged around his body, could not make an appearance.Bookmark here

Kei lowered his gun and began walking towards Rei. His legs were shaking furiously, and his arms were vibrating with angst. Like two twigs on the verge of snapping, he tried walking steadily, but he ostensibly had forgotten how to walk.Bookmark here

"Hey...Kei!" Rei stuttered intermittingly with a broken smile.Bookmark here

An influx of emotions possessed Kei. Emotions that resurfaced, and they were older ones that made themselves notable at his parents' funeral. Overcome by his anger, unknown to Rei, he approached him with an unpleasant and uninviting face.Bookmark here

"Why weren't you there at our parents funeral..." Kei spoke with anger enveloping his face. "I did everything I could to get to you...but you weren't even bothered..."Bookmark here

A gust of wind smacked Rei against his face abrasively. His head was like a bell clobbered with a mallet. Astounded by the revelation, Rei was unable to move nor comprehend what his brother said. Resentment, remorse and anguish on Kei's face made Rei reciprocate those emotions.Bookmark here

"What?" Rei exclaimed in dire confusion.Bookmark here

"What have you been doing for the last five years!" Kei exclaimed in anger.Bookmark here

"What do you mean about our parents funeral! Hey! Tell me!" Rei exclaimed in tumultuous distress.Bookmark here

Kei turned his back and moved away from Rei.Bookmark here

"I'll sort this out. How many bodies are back there that you beat up?" Kei spoke bitterly.Bookmark here

"I was trying to get information from them, so I could find that gang that burnt our parents alive," Rei responded passionately.Bookmark here

"Come with me," Kei responded with dejection.Bookmark here

"Wait! Are you even listening to me?" Rei exclaimed with slight anger. "I haven't become a gangster if that's what you're thinking. What have you been doing these past five years then?" He added. "I'm not going out there if people are going to recognise who I am. I don't want that hassle. Not for me or you and not for them!" He raised his voice with vigour and confidence.Bookmark here

Rei turned around with a blend of a saddened, angry look on his face. "Then keep yourself hidden. I'm not going to tell anyone that you're alive. Everyone thinks you're dead. Just come with me." Kei continued to feel agitated.Bookmark here

With a surprised look on his face, Rei agreed but still doubted Kei. In his car, Kei drove down the road to the graveyard at the location of their parent's burial. Rei followed on foot with this hood covering his face, watching the streets closely for any activity. There, at the graveyard, Rei stood staring with almighty grief whilst Kei stood behind him.Bookmark here

Rain began to pour from the heavens. A day like this was one that Rei would remember enduringly. His face was in shock, but his body detached itself from his mind and heart. Rei's disconsolate demeanour was nothing short of what Kei expected.Bookmark here

"Why didn't you tell me earlier, or even better, wait for me?" Rei said in shock.Bookmark here

"I tried telling you. Kanda, Meya and I went to the news station and did an interview, asking for you to come. I gave the date and everything." Kei said poignantly.Bookmark here

"Meya...Kanda..." The realisation, caused by hearing their names, hit Rei harder than the punches he sustained during those five years of training. "Where are they now?"Bookmark here

"They're gone to university. They went into the city. They don't live here anymore." said Kei.Bookmark here

Kei began to shiver, his body was shaking, and he began to cry. Both drenched in water, he quickly went up to Rei to hug him. Time froze within that moment for Rei, ice-bounding everything perceptible.Bookmark here

"I missed you, Rei," said Kei, with tears running down his face and both arms around Rei.Bookmark here

After those words plunged into his heart, Rei pushed Kei away with slight force. Alarmed, Kei wondered why his brother pushed him away. The thought of brotherhood escaped his mind. The force created from that push made Kei ponder how Rei obtained such deadly strength.Bookmark here

"How is he that powerful..." Kei thought.Bookmark here

Immediately after, Rei grabbed him by his shirt collar and lifted him off the floor, his legs dangling like chimes in the wind. With a sinister look, charged with death hidden behind doors of animosity, Rei glared at his brother.Bookmark here

"Tell me...that I'm a monster," Rei said with his darting eyes.Bookmark here

Rei dropped Kei, whose eyes swelled with anger, provoking him to punch Rei directly in his stomach. Unaffected by his punch, Kei became shocked, almost sceptical, gazing at Rei, ardently in disbelief.Bookmark here

"Impossible...You're like a brick wall..." Kei spoke incredulously.Bookmark here

"This is what I've become, Kei. For the past five years, I've trained with the very best Martial Artists there are. They could flatten anyone with a single flick. I'm sorry for everything, brother." Rei spoke lamentably, sorrow harrowing his sentiment.Bookmark here

He approached Kei and hugged him once more, crying this time with true feelings towards him. Their brotherhood was mightier than the hate they accrued through those years. Both crying sincerely, they embraced each other with affection through that hug.Bookmark here

"It's unfair...this entire world is unfair..." Kei said with heart whilst sobbing.Bookmark here

There were people around who were staring, but they continued with their life, perceiving it as a formality. Unknown to them, the bystanders did not see Rei, nor was their reuniting comprehendible.Bookmark here

"I know, I know. I've seen things you would never want to." Rei said whilst trying to smile.Bookmark here

"Yeah...So have I." Kei responded, trying to mimic his brother's happy attempted tone.Bookmark here

Rei pulled away from the hug and looked at Kei sombrely.Bookmark here

"You still weren't there for the funeral. Why?" Kei inquired.Bookmark here

"It's too long to explain. I moved away from this world and entered a new world. You could say I was living in the past. No technology. Just my fists." Rei said before briefly pausing.Bookmark here

"Oh. You didn't have to leave me for that long. You have no idea what I felt! I thought you were dead! It broke me so many times, thinking that you wouldn't come back!" Kei exclaimed.Bookmark here

"Yeah...well, I'm sorry. There's nothing I can do about that now. My goal and yours seem to be the same, but I'm doing it my way. I'm not backing down from what I said five years ago." Rei retorted.Bookmark here

"The world isn't only about you, Rei. You're not always centre stage." Kei retorted.Bookmark here

"Whatever. Do you have any information on where that gang is? You said you were going to be a detective. Did you manage to make it? Do you know who did it?" said Rei sternly.Bookmark here

"No. I just started working at the precinct two years ago. They promoted me to a regular detective. I put myself on our case, and the department let me, but I couldn't do find anything. While you were gone, people were being killed. Big gang members were dropping like flies, but the person who killed them didn't leave any evidence behind." Kei spoke informatively.Bookmark here

Suddenly, his phone started vibrating. He was getting a call, and he picked it out of his pocket. With the phone next to his ear, he answered it.Bookmark here

"Yes, this is detective Kei Hirojima. Yes." Kei said formally. His face changed to a mixture of horror and astonishment. "What! Understood. I'll see to it then. Over and out." Kei said before hanging up the call.Bookmark here

Kei looked at him with panic and terror, whilst Rei could only be confused by his expression.Bookmark here

"What happened?" Rei said purposefully.Bookmark here

"Follow me into the car. I have to make sure!" Kei said as he ran away.Bookmark here

Rei could only run with him, and both entered his car. Rei was in the navigator's seat whilst Kei was in the driver's seat. Out of the glove box, Kei pulled out a laptop. He lifted the screen and switched it on, opening up the internet. His face returned to horror, and so too did Rei as he understood the situation completely.Bookmark here

"Kazunori's dead. The captain of our football was killed this morning at his apartment in the city..." Kei spoke in fright.Bookmark here

"How? Who killed him?! How did he die!" Rei spoke with a sense of tranquillity so he would not lose his mind.Bookmark here

"A month ago there was a data breach. Someone hacked into Tatashi Industrial's network. They took their data, but they also managed to steal the private information of students who attended schools and universities in this town, and cities across the prefecture, including Metagawa Highschool. Three people were involved, and they were given a ten-year sentence because they gave the information away to someone." said Kei.Bookmark here

"Whoever has that data is going after people we know...Kei. Take me to the city, now. Even if you say no, I'll go there myself. Kanda and Meya are there too, right? Who's going to protect them." Rei said with a grave expression.Bookmark here

"You can't! What if you get killed out there. Who's going to protect you?" Kei spoke concernedly, his word irritating Rei.Bookmark here

"You don't know me anymore, Kei. Maybe one day we can get to know each other again, but we're not at the centre of the stage! They're going to take more people away from us! I don't want that! I'll never let them do that again! Now drive me there, and don't tell anyone about me either." Now with deadlier eyes behind his visage, Rei became vexed. He would not hesitate to destroy the brotherhood between them.Bookmark here

"What are you going to do there?! You don't even know where they live!" Kei exclaimed back.Bookmark here

"Yeah, but I'll find them! Why do you think they killed Kazunori, Kei?!" Rei exclaimed with lesser fury than Kei.Bookmark here

"I don't want to say it, but I know. That night was the start of it all. They're trying to get rid of the evidence, including us. If I was a detective and I was smart, I'd say they're going after our classmates that left Metagawa two to three years ago. Fine, I'll get you there. After that, I'm doing this my way. You're too fixated on using violence to get them." Kei said with a dishonest look.Bookmark here

"I don't use violence. I use skill and technique. But it's good to hear from you," Rei responded with a broken smile.Bookmark here

Driving down the road to the city, where the demon incarnate stood tall, Rei initiated his plan of confronting the demonic entity to eliminate it. Reluctant to follow through, Kei sat there, allowing his brother to commit to his ridiculous plan. Without knowing who they were after or what the entity wanted, the two brothers set off, both with their distinct ideal, nurtured through their time isolated from one another.Bookmark here

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