X = Y
The warehouse that found them, the general hiding in the shadows, revealed itself that day; perhaps too much was revealed. Darkness, encroaching on the earth, hiding what came to light, allowing for innate trepidation to ensue amongst human emotions, delicate and brittle like the mind, would eclipse what happened once more.
The warehouse ceiling, made of reinforced steel, brown from rusting, flaking off like snow, smashed against the ground, causing dust and smoke to blow through the face of Kei and the officers who arrived. The clanging of metal reverberated to a tune of malice, and the constant noise, deafening the perceiver coalesced with the separation of a loved one, embodied the harbinger of condemnation.
"No!" Kei exclaimed, running towards the scrap ruin.
The police pointed guns at the general on the floor, forced him to surrender at a standstill, laying there in defeat, foresaw his departure from the gang and punishment for his incompetence.
Kei, grasping his lapel tightly, tears accumulating in his eyes, persuading them not to release, and yelling aloud, communicated with the police.
"We need backup! A large group were crushed under a warehouse destroyed by explosives. I'll give you the location! Bring a rescue team!" Kei exclaimed emotionally; the only thought worth thinking was his brother.
The officer, approaching the general slowly, cuffed him, holding him by the arms, and someone was tending to his wound, attempting to cease the bleeding from his leg. Kei, who was looking at the kimono wearing villain, immersed in his anger, glared at him, wishing nothing but dilapidation for him.
"I can't believe it. I, Naruki Jin, was defeated. It was but a matter of time. There is someone more...elusive than me. The second, and last general, of our Eternal Ruler." Naruki reasoned to himself.
"Kei Hirojima! Naruki exclaimed, turning around, walking away. Grinning fearlessly, smiling viciously. "There's still one more person who will kill you before you get to our Ruler!" he exclaimed, shrieking even, laughing in spite, happily.
"You'll never get away with murder! Did you actually think that you could! No one ever does if they do something stupid like that!" Kei exclaimed, waving his hands around, gesturing, portraying his anger, and releasing it.
Firefighters and more police arrived, exiting their vehicles and running to the site where nothing but metallic rubble lay waste to the earth. Excavating hurriedly and uncovering superfluities of bodies, the police ascertained that gangsters discovered under rubble were dead. Kei, frantically digging, trying to lift metal sheets meagrely, suffered from desperation and loneliness created from the absence of Rei, knowing well that death was irreversible, trying to find his brother.
Miraculously, after ten minutes of stability, the sheet metal began shifting itself, moving irregularly, possessed by a spirit. Holding it up, with nothing but his conviction to live, Rei appeared, glistening amidst strength, his garments tattered, and his grimace, cut and bleeding, with dust enfolding his body.
Everyone was astonished, and no one was more jubilated to see him than Kei. Running wildly through the metal, he tried making his way to Rei, and so to did the police offers, amazed by his apparent strength. Slumped over, limping, and holding his arm, Rei began walking through the debris, cautiously but tired.
"Rei! Rei!" Kei thought to himself, and his tears vanished from the wells supplying them.
"Masters. All that training paid off in the end...I'm somehow still alive...after carrying the weight of a billion people on my hands..." Rei mused to himself, fainting with his thoughts playing out, remembering everyone he met and loved.
His parents, Kei, Abe, Meya, Kanda, the Masters, the Elders, his school, his friends, all of them, their lives, shouldered on him. Momentously, he never once thought of the burden they beget on him, only the generosity bestowed unto him, accepting him for what he became, guiding him in life, acquiescing happiness in those terrible moments, and believing in his friends whole-heartedly in those unforgettable moments.
An abundance of police vehicles, and plethoras of ambulances, arrived at the scene, bringing stretchers and trolleys out. Only two people required the ambulance, the rest confirmed dead, and their bodies placed, peacefully, into body bags.
The night, a mortuary for the dead to rise, granted respite for this one day, everything stagnant, preserved by time standing still. Both parties sustained a form of loss, more so the enemy.
Inside the hospital, Rei woke from his vegetated state, wondering heedlessly in mind, his eyes incapable of dethawing themselves, remaining blurry for a time, feeling pain surge like a river entering a tributary. Glancing to his left and rubbing his eyes, he saw three familiar faces, sitting there, two crying and one, whose sadness became tears harbouring joy.
Kei, Meya and Abe were there, gushing tears, and so too were their words, relieved that he re-awoken from his supposedly infinite slumber.
"Rei! You're awake! You're alive..." Abe exclaimed.
"You fool...I don't know why I listened to you..." Kei spoke, teardrops expanding in his tear ducts, smiling.
Rei sat up, perplexed by the sudden commotion, incapable of comprehending their vivacious concern. An IV drip, with a tube travelling directly into his hand, he tugged, stopping him from moving. His clothes were changed, resting to one side near his bed, wearing teal coloured hospital garments.
"What the heck happened...why are you three crying. I wouldn't expect you to cry, Kei. Stop it." Rei slowly stopped speaking; his focus switched to their faces crying. Finally grasping the situation by its tail, he became empathetic. "I see...I nearly died. You don't have to worry about me. I saw it all, I know it all." Kei said, finally smirking.
Kei, seeing a pure, honest smile, subjectively from Rei amassed astonishment, transpiring quickly into solace.
"Rei!" Meya exclaimed. "We heard everything from Kei! We called him to talk, and we didn't know this happened to you.
Rei stared at Abe, who smiled, rubbing the tears away from her eyes.
"How long am I going to be here for? What happened to the gangsters and the guy wearing Feudal Era clothing?" Rei questioned them.
"You'll leave when the doctor tells you. As for the guy, we caught him, but he's not speaking. He's in this hospital getting surgery, because I shot him in the leg so he couldn't run away. Everyone you fought died in that explosion. I should have known better." Kei exclaimed in a self-deprecating manner.
"Explosion? You were in an explosion?" Abe inquired with a solicitous altruistic look.
"I guess so. That warehouse was destroyed, completely. The roof didn't fall flat. I was lucky. It fell lop-sided. Part of the roof smashed into the ground before it fell on me, so it broke into pieces, and I held that part up. It cracked from the point it hit the floor, and it travelled through the entire roof..." Rei explained, pondering, in focus.
"Our troubles aren't over yet. Detective Yasuhid
e told me that they found a body in your apartment building, Abe. In the janitor's closet, a person who worked at the hotel died. It was pretty recent, by the sounds of it. About a day or two ago." Kei exclaimed.
"Let's get back to the police department then." Rei said, standing up from his bed, ripping off the IV drip.
"But you're still injured, Rei!" Meya said with concern.
"Why don't you rest the night here? It's late, and you need some rest. You can't work if you're injured, right?" Abe explained calmly and reasonably. "Once this is over, you can come and rest at my new place, and you can take a tour of it. But this time, be nice!" Abe spoke reassuredly.
"We can get Kanda and the other girls with us. We can have fun, like the old times." Meya added happily.
"Yeah...like the old times. We'll do that." Rei said, looking at them.
"You two are going home with the police, right?" Kei asked, standing up in front of them.
"Aren't you the police, Kei?" Meya playfully asked, smiling.
"Yes, but I'm a detective and a forensic scientist, not just a police officer. Let's give Rei some space to change then we'll leave. I'll tell the staff and doctor it's on urgent business." Kei acknowledged his brother's persistent motive to move forward.
Alone, Rei thought to himself, staring at his clothes, especially the scarf he stole. "I'm never going to be able to return it. Maybe I could give it to someone else. What about the dead body in the back of Abe's hotel? I never knew it was a hotel. It felt like a normal place to live. Who took out that person?"
In Kei's car, he and Rei drove down to the police department, alongside two other police cars, one which contained Abe and Meya. They exited their vehicles, but what introduced itself was unpleasant. A squadron of police officers came running, pointing their guns at Rei and Kei. Bewildered, they looked around, wondering why the police were opposing them.
"What gives?" Rei exclaimed, his head up and his scarf on his face.
Abe and Meya instantly jumped out of the car, slamming the doors open and closed, focused on Rei and Kei. The officers, who formed a circle around them, preventing any escape, did not allow the girls to enter.
"Hey! What are you doing! Kei! Rei!" Abe exclaimed.
"Why are they getting arrested? They've been helping this entire time..." Meya said, terrified at the incident unravelling, her eyes the purest beholder.
"Let them go!" Abe exclaimed.
The police officers did not budge, nor did they care about Abe's plead. The officer pestered by Abe turned around, intending to intimidate her, ingraining fear into her.
"Stop that! Move back now!" he spoke, agitated by her presence. Abe stepped back, smiling nervously.
"Why are we being arrested? I'm not going to pull out a gun. What's the reason?" Kei questioned calmly, perplexed by the ostensible villainization of him and Rei.
"Bring them into the precinct! There aren't any civilians inside. We can take in the waiting area." Detective Yasuhide Ogi spoke enthusiastically.
"Yasuhide? Could we not have talked about this like we did on the phone?" Kei questioned.
"We will. But it's dangerous for us." Yasuhide replied.
"How? What have we done! I was sent to hospital for this, and you're going to spit in my face for it?!" Kei exclaimed back.
"If it came across that way, I'm sorry. I have to make one thing clear. I'm a detective after all." Yasuhide replied kindly, respectfully apologetic.
"Kei!" exclaimed Meya.
"We'll be fine. Go home. We'll talk later." Kei looked behind his shoulder, speaking favourably for their well-being.
"No! We'll follow you! They're so mean!" Abe exclaimed. "Meya, let's go! We're in police protection, after all. What can they do to us!"
Inside the waiting area, the police continued to surround them. Abe and Meya were waiting near the entrance, watching keenly, from an outsider's viewpoint. Detective Yasuhide Ogi entered the circle, standing there smiling like he found the final piece of the puzzle, aeons passing, for a moment to behold the magnificence of a masterpiece.
"Now. At the apartment, where the explosive went off. There was blood at the scene, and DNA was left behind. Now I know you're skilled enough to not leave any behind. By why is it that on the victims who were beaten, was your DNA there? I went back and checked their clothing and took what I could. It didn't make sense to me. Who beat them all up? Then there's the guy at the back of the janitors closet. I'll talk to you about that later, but answer me." Yasuhide said.
"Um..." Kei, who had always been professional, his heart plummeted, quivering like bow erratically aiming, anxiety possessed him.
"Not to mention your DNA was on the bodies of the criminals that were beaten at the end of that street. I spent the entire day collecting evidence from the clothing of the criminals upstairs, and the rest of the day waiting for the diagonisis!" Yasuhide said.
"Enough! That was me." Rei exclaimed, taking his scarf off his face and putting his hood down.
All the officers, Yasuhide, Meya and Abe, eminently astounded by a momentous occasion, their faces were portraying disbelief, their worlds rocked by one congruous action. The unveiling of Rei's identity brought a smile upon Yasuhide's face. A melody mellifluously played within his mind, the pieces assembled perfectly, complimenting one another, amalgamating.
"There it is! There's our answer! Somebody who shares the same DNA as you. I can't believe it! He's been there with you this entire time, Detective Kei Hirojima!" Yasuhide exclaimed.
"Their twins?!" one of the officers exclaimed.
"Yeah! Put your guns down. In the eyes of the justice system, what you did to those men was assault. But, you have my word, and Detective Kei's, that we'll fight for you in court. I still haven't gotten an explanation. What was your name that girl screamed out? Rei, was it?" Yasuhide asked.
Footsteps from the corridor, attracted to the situation by the commotion, echoed. A man of importance walked in, and the officers lowered their guys, averting their gaze out of respect.
"What's this disturbance, Yasuhide? What are you doing to these people? Oh, Detective Kei Hirojima. And what looks like his doppelgänger." Superintendent Tatsuoku Koedan spoke tiredly but sarcastically.
"Superintendent! I'm sorry for the noise." Yasuhide decorously spoke.
"Is this why you wanted a unit? I don't see the person who could have done that." Tatsuoku questioned him.
"That's him over there. The twin of Kei Hirojima, Rei Hirojima. I wondered why you two sounded familiar. You went missing for five years and returned. Thanks to him, people were saved." Yasuhide said.
Another familiar voice interrupted the flow of conversation.
"I can vouch for that man. He's a good person." Officer Akashi said, hiding behind some officers.
"It's you..." Rei said in faint surprise.
"Now that I have a chance to see your face, it feels weird. I'll get used to it though." Akashi said, smiling.
"I'll sort this out for you, detectives. Go back to your jobs." Superintendent Tatsuoku Koedan spoke, addressing the officers in the spacious waiting room.
"Thank goodness!" Abe exclaimed.
Both her and Meya ran past the officers in the circle, approaching both Rei and Kei, now standing behind them.
"Wait! If you knew that he was my twin brother, then why would you do that?" Kei exclaimed to Yasuhide.
"Think of it my way. Someone could have planted your DNA to frame you, or you could have been evil. I was sceptical!" Yasuhide said, walking towards them.
The officers dispersed, returning to their designated duty, forgetting about the clamour that occurred without warning.
"People's lives are on the line. I was sure that you were a good person, but I checked your record, just to make sure. I found Rei Hirojima's file and your parents. I'm sorry about everything, but what if the person that was hooded, and always stayed with you, did all of this? I was looking out for everyone at the end of the day. But, this still doesn't put him off the hook." Yasuhide explained, his energetic attitude intrigued the four speaking to him.
"I know. I thrashed all of them. In the apartment and on the streets. I'll take whatever punishment, but please let me get to the person behind all this." Rei spoke softly, comprehending the situation.
"That's fine by me. Detectives aren't the ones who settle the date. The police are. Both of you, come with me. Say goodbye to your friends." Yasuhide spoke, leaving the two.
"One more thing! Don't tell anyone about my return. I'll do it when I want to. Understood?" Rei spoke confidently, with a mean stare.
"Yeah. I'll speak with the officers about it." Yasuhide responded, his back turned to them whilst talking.
Rei and Kei turned around, meeting the eyes of Abe and Meya, both gleeful and oblivious to everything else.
"Now that you're secret is out, I don't have to try and cover up for you!" Abe spoke, smiling.
"I think we should leave, Abe." Meya spoke kindly.
"Yeah. I'll see you two later!" Abe replied happily.
"Wait. Abe. Take this. I don't need it anymore." Rei said, handing over the black scarf in his hand. "It's not mine, but I'm making it yours. Take it."
Abe, staring fondly at the scarf and Rei, took the scarf, bereft of hesitation, glancing at it with sincere solicitude. Raising her head, she was stunned, placing both hands on the scarf, pushing it against her chest.
"Thank you...are you sure, Rei?" she questioned and glanced at him affectionately.
"Yeah. Now please go somewhere safe. Let's go, Kei." Rei responded, attempting to reciprocate her emotions.
"Bye!" Kei smiled, walking away.
Meya looked at Abe and smiled; influenced by her tranquil and relaxed demeanour, the sight of her smile was soothing, and they turned to walk away.
Transpired from what was unknown, human curiosity and the mind, derived from unsullied thought, pure and conscious, forced a hand that sought knowledge, for it is simply powerful, to feel an eternal pinnacle, basking in reconciling love, admiration and belonging. Thus, the brothers would soon meet with the ideals of an estranged person, wishing for a single ruler, heeding to his call, indifferent about the world, living vicariously through the shadowed night, brought upon the world by his liege.