Chapter 10:

Reality

The Forbidden and the Gifted


[1:38 p.m., July 18th 2044; Warsaw, Polish Czechia. Katarov stands over the battered body of Ichigo, on the roof of the train and looks onwards. The sun beams brightly, as the train continues to roar on eastwards towards Kiev]Bookmark here

Katarov [Stretches backwards and takes a deep breath]: Ah shit. That took a ton of effort, God damn it. I guess Aleks wasn’t lying when he said that they were sending their strongest guy out here.Bookmark here

Ichigo [Grey screened flashback]: The hell are you talking about? This ain’t God-damn final fantasy or some shit, you imbecile. Gift? Power? You’re the god-damn lunatic here.Bookmark here

Katarov: Did he seriously not know anything though? They just sent him here without a clue? Better yet, this probably means that they don’t know anything of the sort, right? Bookmark here

[The train whistles loudly]Bookmark here

Katarov: That’s… odd. I would’ve thought that your information departments would be better than that [Nudges Ichigo’s body, which lies motionless on the top of the train]. You put up a valiant effort, even if it wasn’t a fair fight from the start. [His eyebrows cock downwards, and he licks his lips, looking forward menacingly] But, most fights are never fuckin’ fair. That’s what this filthy world has created, after all. [Sighs, then takes a deep breath] At least you got the damn tough fight you wanted, didn’t ya?Bookmark here

Aleksander [Peering his head out of the opened window, looking upwards]: You good boss?Bookmark here

Katarov [Turns his head back and looks down]: Oh Aleks, yeah, yeah. What, you’d think I’d bite the dust here? Ha.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Oh of course not boss. I just heard the cars rattling a little less, so I came to check on you, that’s all. Bookmark here

Katarov: Ah, of course, of course. [Pauses] Anyway, what’s the schedule for Kiev?Bookmark here

Aleksander: We’re supposed to meet him.Bookmark here

Katarov [Climbs through the shattered window into the car with Ichigo’s body]: Who’s ‘him’?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Y’know, don’t ya?Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh Aleks, this is why you’ll never get anywhere. You’re so scared of people overhearing this type of shit – would it kill ya to be a bit more forward? Bookmark here

Aleksander: Oh shut up mate, this is classified shit, but you’re an asshat, so whatever. His name’s Oskar… Scandinavian guy.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, the Yoshino guy with the daughter who won all those awards?Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yeah, him. Don’t you remember doing business with him?Bookmark here

Katarov: Do I remember? Ha! Him and the other, they were instrumental in getting me to where I am now, y’know? Bookmark here

Aleksander: Oh yeah, I’ve heard this story a million times mate. But that was this guy? Really?Bookmark here

Katarov: Yeah. He’s got a family now though, so that probably complicates stuff for him at least. Heard their living out east though.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Whatever. At least he’s someone we can trust – like the other guy who helped ya. Bookmark here

Katarov: Never can have too many of those, y’know? [Pauses] By the way, I asked what’s the plan for Kiev, but you still haven’t told me shit about a plan, you only told me about who we’re meeting.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Well, Oskar’s supposed to have some information on their government. We might be able to spring something together.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, really now? We’re really gonna make this Dreadknight thing a full-blown success, eh?Bookmark here

Aleksander: It depends on his information, but we may be able to move in pretty much unscathed, and from there, it’s a cake walk, no?Bookmark here

Katarov: That’s what I’m hoping for. Man, it’s been, what, a year or so since we started this shit? Look how far we’ve fuckin come. Bookmark here

Aleksander: Don’t get too ahead of yourself though man. Our movements probably based solely on the information this guy’s got for us. If he doesn’t have good enough shit, we’re back to waiting patiently and sieging some more places every once in a while.Bookmark here

Katarov: But this is a glimmer of hope, no? If the information’s good, which it hopefully is, our revolt would be done – we’ll toss the corrupt sacks of shit out of office and unite the Baltic states, like they should’ve from the start.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yup. If – and if – the information’s good, we’ll be home free with our people. We’ve already gotten so many supporters too. So many people who are so sick of this shit.Bookmark here

Katarov: That’s the shit that outsiders don’t know. People are tired of this. They need change.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Like that damn Westerner.Bookmark here

Katarov: What? He said something to ya? Bookmark here

Aleksander: Oh, nothing in particular, but he just downplayed a lot of what we went through and who we are. He said that we’d just turn into the same people as the corrupt bastards that are in power right now. Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: Sly bastard, you truly were a genius. You would’ve been such a perfect second in command. Alas…Bookmark here

Katarov: Ah, nonsense, nonsense! He’s just an outsider butting into our nation’s problems. He doesn’t know enough about the regime, or what they’ve done, or what they will do. Sickens me. Bookmark here

Aleksander: It’s a shame that not one nation backs us and our mission to do good for our people, even if it means using the tactics that we are. Bookmark here

Katarov: I mean, we have Russia at least. They’re a big supporter, even if they don’t openly say it.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yeah, but they’ll only ever help us with munitions or weapons or anything if we actually capture these states first. They look at us as nothing more than some rebels right now – until we make actual ground, they aren’t a real supporter.Bookmark here

Katarov: Yeah, yeah, but some of the men who have come to follow us aren’t even from our nations, y’know? They’re from Russia. They aren’t military, but they’ve been drawn in by rumors of us that have spread there. Once we get the whole country itself to back us – once we take down these corrupt bastards – we’ll be in the driver’s seat.Bookmark here

Waiter [From Train Loudspeaker]: Hello again. Thank you for riding with our bullet express today, we’ve reached our destination in Kiev, approximately 10 minutes ahead of schedule. Please disembark and have a safe and pleasant day in Kiev. Thank you!Bookmark here

Aleksander [To Katarov]: Sounds like we’re here.Bookmark here

Katarov: Yup. [Grabs his bag, which is covered in blood, from one of the seats] Is he supposed to meet us here or what?Bookmark here

Aleksander: I’m pretty sure he i – [The two disembark, and hear a voice from in front of them]Bookmark here

Oskar: Yo there!Bookmark here

Aleksander: Yoshino?Bookmark here

Oskar: Yup.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Kat, seems like ya guessed right.Bookmark here

Oskar [Eyes Katarov] Ah, Katarov, I presume?Bookmark here

Katarov: So, you do remember me then, I take it?Bookmark here

Oskar: How could I forget? You truly were brilliant in every form. You far exceeded both of our expectations. [Pauses] How’s everything now? You had gotten more used to it over the past years?Bookmark here

Katarov: Of course I have. I can’t thank you two enough for what you’ve done – it’s truly revolutionary.Bookmark here

Oskar: Speaking of revolutionary shit, how’s everything on this side of the pond? I’ve been taking care of the kids more often back so I haven’t been able to come to this side of Europe very often. Your guys holding it down?Bookmark here

Katarov: We’ve grown ever since the last time we saw ya. Tons of people buy into the idea of freeing ourselves from the shit that is our current lives, and everyone’s here for a new United Empire.Bookmark here

Oskar: So, I take it you’ve won over a lot of people’s hearts, haven’t ya?Bookmark here

Katarov: I think I have, yeah. Lots of people from the states here are eager to hop on and try and start an uprising. Us two – me and Aleks here – as well as some of the other more reliable guys that we know, have taken out some governmental authorities and party leaders without making it too obvious. Just looks like some hired gun tomfoolery or whatnot.Bookmark here

Oskar: You got to be careful with that though. Even if it’s designed to just pick them off, they’re definitely gaining intel on you lot. Sure, you haven’t been designated a terrorist organization yet, but there’s no way they got no information on ya if they’re sending a damn hitman to come kill ya.Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, you knew about that as well?Bookmark here

Oskar: Why else would your bag be bloodied, and you’d look beat up as all hell if not for a damn hitman? [Sighs] Who was he?Bookmark here

Katarov: Japanese national.Bookmark here

Oskar: You can’t be serious. Bookmark here

Katarov: Oh, I may be mistaken, but he looked and sounded Japanese. He was super strong too. Like, I had my work cut out for me.Bookmark here

Oskar: You can’t be talking about the Japanese hellhound, right?Bookmark here

Katarov: Huh?Bookmark here

[Oskar looks over to Aleksander, who nods his head]Bookmark here

Oskar: They sent him, eh?Bookmark here

Aleksander: I was surprised too, yeah. Bookmark here

Oskar: And you idiots thought it’d be a great idea to go in with just you two? What kind of foolishness?Bookmark here

Katarov: Eh? He died, did he not? What’s the big deal with making him seem like a big shot?Bookmark here

Oskar [Puts his hand on Katarov’s shoulder in an intimidating fashion]: You got him to come to the roof of the train, didn’t ya?Bookmark here

Katarov: I did, yeah.Bookmark here

Oskar: So, he had no information on ya, did he?Bookmark here

Katarov: He didn’t know anything about the gifts, no. He was completely – Bookmark here

[Oskar slaps him]Bookmark here

Oskar: You got so fuckin’ lucky. So lucky, y’know?Bookmark here

Katarov: Huh?Bookmark here

Oskar: If he even knew the slightest bit about gifts or anything, he would’ve killed you on that train. Hands down. Bookmark here

Katarov: Eh? You mocking me, even though I won? What’s the big deal old man? I thought you were on our side, especially considering you’re the one who made me what I am today.Bookmark here

Oskar: It’s because I can’t believe your stupidity! I know what you’re capable of and what you aren’t damn capable of. If you had to use the damn airflow from the roof to your advantage, hats off to you, but if he had a damn clue what was going on, you wouldn’t be standing here in front of me. There’s a reason he’s called their hellhound, you know? He was their most vicious assassin and could tear throw men like it was nothing! You’ve gotta improve on your own ability man!Bookmark here

Katarov [Glances at Aleksander]: You knew about this?Bookmark here

Aleksander: I knew that he was their top dog, and that he went by Hellhound. I didn’t know that he’d actually be that strong.Bookmark here

Oskar [Interrupts]: Listen to me. I’m glad that you’re alive, I truly am. But people, or at least governments, are eventually gonna become educated on these ‘gifts’. Once they do, you won’t have that advantage to yourself, would you?Bookmark here

Katarov: I wouldn’t, but – Bookmark here

Oskar: It’s the truth. Don’t ‘but’ me. You need to still get stronger, to the point where your gift is just something that you use as a subsidy to your actual ability. You’re relying too much on your gift and forcing your entire fight around it. If your opponent doesn’t give you that edge, then what? Bookmark here

Katarov: But – Bookmark here

Oskar: Your gift isn’t even offensive like the others, so it’s useless to even try and put everything you have behind it. It’s only good for sensing vibrations and discrepancies and using that to dodge and block attacks, no? Your gift is meant for defense, like we told you way back then. Use it in conjunction with your fighting ability to create a mismatch anywhere, anytime… but you’ve got to be able to fight anywhere, in any situation, because people will come for you with the intention to kill. [Pauses] You have an honorable enough mission that I wouldn’t choose anything besides supporting you, and that’s why I’m telling you all of this. Bookmark here

Katarov [Sighs]: Fine. I’ll do as you say. I won’t have you looking down on me any longer, even if you are my teacher. [Pauses] You got any information that’s of use?Bookmark here

Oskar [Pulls out a knapsack and hands it to Katarov]: That’s all I’ve got. It’s got paperwork on a lot of the upper ranking guys, as well as some weapons that I was able to get out of the northern countries, which should be handy enough. Bookmark here

Katarov: That it?Bookmark here

Oskar: I can’t tell you everything, because I myself haven’t looked through a lot of the papers, but you guys should be able to use a lot of that information to take some stronghold positioning in a lot of the states. Show it to your men and see what they think.Bookmark here

Aleksander: But they’ll decide to go now.Bookmark here

Katarov: So? If they do, all the bet – Bookmark here

Oskar: No. Show them and keep eyes out. You still need to get stronger Kat. I know you can, and I know you will. Bookmark here

Katarov [Grimaces]: Yeah, alright. I’ll do that. You’ll see what I’ll become then.Bookmark here

Oskar: Well, I’ll be off then. You two have a lovely time here, and head back as soon as possible to share this with the rest of your comrades.Bookmark here

Aleksander: Will do. Thanks again for this. Let us know if anything else comes up.Bookmark here

Oskar: Will do, will do. Bookmark here

[Oskar walks away from them, as Aleks and Katarov discuss things quietly between themselves. Katarov’s right eye color quietly changes from light green to a scarlet color]Bookmark here

Katarov [Thinking]: You’ll see man. Power? Gift? I’ll get it. You don’t know shit yet. You’ll see one day. You were never the one who ever believed in me anyway. Your lucky I even think of you as a teacher despite how little you did – especially compared to the other guy. [Pauses] Whatever. I’ll just do this and show him who I really am. Piece of shit.Bookmark here

Aleksander [To Katarov]: You alright?Bookmark here

Katarov: Yeah. I’m fine. Let’s go back, we got what we needed and got rid of the guy we needed to get rid of. Let’s see where our lives go from here. Bookmark here

[Katarov and Aleksander leave the platform, heading for the opposite train, bound for Warsaw. A man dressed in a suit passes them as they leave the platform and enters the original train. He walks toward the bloodied car and sees Ichigo’s body, which had been brought inside the car by Katarov]Bookmark here

Official: Ah I see, I see. Even you weren’t a match for him. What a shame. Bookmark here

[He pulls out his phone and dials a long-distance extension]Bookmark here

Official: What to do now, what to do. This country’s gonna be fucked, that’s for sure. And Japan’s gonna blast us for killing their ace. For fucks sake man.Bookmark here

[The phone line connects]Bookmark here

Official: Is this Kurou?Bookmark here

Takuya: Yes, who’s this?Bookmark here

Official: You should know by the long-distance number, shouldn’t ya?Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh, it’s you lot. Whadya need?Bookmark here

Official: When’d Ichigo land here in Warsaw?Bookmark here

Takuya: Uh, couple days ago… why?Bookmark here

Official: Ah, I see, I see.Bookmark here

Takuya: You need some information on his whereabouts or something? I could ring him if you need it, but don’t you guys have his information? Didn’t I send it before?Bookmark here

Official: No, no, it’s not that.Bookmark here

Takuya: Eh? Then what is it? You think he needs backup or some shit? Don’t you know who he is? Plus, isn’t he already there? What help is this late backup gonna do?Bookmark here

Official: Sir… [Pauses] we found Ichigo.Bookmark here

Takuya [Pauses]: Oh, that’s great! How’s he doing?Bookmark here

Official: Uh, sir… I don’t mean we found him like that…Bookmark here

Takuya: Eh?Bookmark here

Official: Sir. He’s dead. I found his body on the train cars in Kiev.Bookmark here

Takuya [Pauses again]: Wait… you said Kiev? You just asked me if he landed Warsaw… that can’t be him. You’re probably mistaking him…Bookmark here

Official: Sir, the car was the bullet from Warsaw to Kiev. It just got here. Did he say anything about taking it?Bookmark here

Takuya: He didn’t say anything, no. He just wanted to find Katarov and beat the brakes off him. Bookmark here

Official: Ah… so that confirms it.Bookmark here

Takuya: Huh?Bookmark here

Official: I just saw Katarov pass by me with one of his lackeys. Met up with someone here and is heading back to Warsaw.Bookmark here

Takuya: How do you know it was Katarov?Bookmark here

Official: Anyone in these parts knows Kat when you see him.Bookmark here

Takuya [Chokes slightly]: So… what you’re saying is Ichigo’s dead?Bookmark here

Official: Well, his body’s here and all the evidence that you’ve told me up to his point leads me to further believe that we don’t need any sort of further checkup, but I can always have one done.Bookmark here

Takuya: No, no. That can’t be him.Bookmark here

Official: Sir, he’s battered all over. He’s bloodied. This is the body of someone who got into some serious shit with Katarov, no doubt about it. Still, I can make him out by his face, which is still intact for the most part.Bookmark here

Takuya: Wait, you’re saying that he’s that badly battered up?Bookmark here

Official: He is. Looks like the final blow was a stab. Doesn’t look like any guns or the sort were used. He just looks like he got beaten up. Katarov didn’t look like he was in phenomenal shape either, if that helps make ya feel better.Bookmark here

Takuya [Confused]: Huh? No… that can’t be right. How’d he lose? What’d he lose to? He’s our damn watchdog… he couldn’t have just up and lost now.Bookmark here

Official: You gotta remember, this guy’s the class of Eastern Europe. He didn’t get to the top here from nothing.Bookmark here

Takuya: But Ichigo’s the best damn guy we got. He was the best that any of us non-rebels had against Katarov and them. And even he wasn’t enough?Bookmark here

Official: I’m afraid so.Bookmark here

Takuya [Breaks down slightly, clenching his face]: So now what… you expect me to just report to the higher ups that their best guy’s been taken out? What now?Bookmark here

Official: We can send some form of compensation from our end for the loss and – Bookmark here

Takuya: I don’t want fucking money! I want my guy back man! Fuck!Bookmark here

Official: Sir, there’s nothing that we can do… we can get the body autopsied, but that’s the best we can do on our end. Bookmark here

Takuya [Clenches his teeth, holding back tears]: So, what are we supposed to do then?Bookmark here

Official: Does he have any brothers of age? Maybe one of them can re – Bookmark here

Takuya: Stop.Bookmark here

Official: Eh?Bookmark here

Takuya: Don’t drag his damn family into this. He just wanted them to live peacefully and that’s why he kept up with this hellhole of a job, and it fucking got him killed. Don’t ever bring up his damn family in the same sentence as our line of work. Bookmark here

Official: Okay, okay, I get it. You sound a little rattled mate, and I get it. I’ll get off the call then. Hopefully you’ll be doing alright.Bookmark here

Takuya: Yeah, yeah, whatever man. Shit man. Whatever. [Hangs up]Bookmark here

[The scene changes from a European background to Takuya in his hotel in Tokyo – the time is 7:41 p.m.]Bookmark here

Takuya [Kicks his desk]: FUCK MAN! There’s no way you’re gone mate. There’s no damn way. We were just talking before you left… and you’re gone? You've gotta be shitting me man. Holy shit. No man. No. This ain’t fair man. No. [Pauses] And how the hell am I gonna tell his mom and brother then? God damn it. This ain’t fair man. He shouldn’t be gone man. God damn it!Bookmark here

[Takuya paces around his hotel room, before opening the main door and heading out. He checks his phone for the time and steps into an elevator, pressing the ground floor button. As he steps out of the elevator, he comes face to face with another man in a suit]Bookmark here

Man: Takuya! You already leaving?Bookmark here

Takuya: Gotta take care of some affairs, so I’m gonna be heading out. Bookmark here

Man: Oh, but the higher ups were supposed to arrive later today. Most of the paperwork’s already been done but it’s rare that we get to see them, right?Bookmark here

Takuya: Listen mate, I got some serious stuff to get to. I’d love to stay but I’ve gotta go, alright?Bookmark here

Man: Man, what’s bothering ya? I’ve seen ya around so much that I know this ain’t how ya normally act. Something the matter?Bookmark here

Takuya: No shit’s something the matter if I’ve got to leave this urgently.Bookmark here

Man: Then tell me what happened at least…Bookmark here

Takuya [Lowers his tone, and whispers]: Our ace is dead.Bookmark here

Man: Eh?Bookmark here

Takuya: Y’all probably know him by his street name… ‘hellhound’ ring a bell?Bookmark here

Man: Eh??? Ichigo?Bookmark here

Takuya: Yea. He’s dead. Bookmark here

Man: There’s no way… [scoffs] You’re bluffing, surely – Bookmark here

Takuya [Grabs him by his collar]: You think I’d bluff about my own guy? We’re not kids playing on the fucking playground, alright? I ain’t bluffing about shit. Now get out of my way.Bookmark here

Man [Startled]: Shouldn’t you tell the higher ups though? Bookmark here

Takuya: They’ll get the word eventually. Hell, they may have already got it. If they haven’t, you relay this shit from me. You got it shrimp?Bookmark here

Man [Shaking]: Yeah. [Pauses] Yeah, I can do that.Bookmark here

Takuya: Good. I’ll see you around then.Bookmark here

[Takuya walks past the man and towards the doors, when he reaches into his pockets and grabs a key. He presses the key, and the unlocking of his personal Corvette – can be heard. He walks up to it, opens the door and hops in the driver’s seat before driving off onto the main road and exiting onto the highway]Bookmark here

Takuya: 30 minutes from here if I just take this road up? Alright. [Inhales, then exhales deeply] How do I tell his family though? He told them it was an easy mission too… ah, shit man. [Pauses] Let’s hope she’s at home at least and Shin’s at his club so he doesn’t need to hear of this. Bookmark here

[The scene cuts from him driving on the highway from Tokyo to northern Japan to him taking an exit onto a rural sideroad. The corvette continues down the road and takes another exit towards a quiet residential area and turns into one of the houses]Bookmark here

Takuya: Well fuck. Here I go.Bookmark here

[He opens his car door and walks up to the porch, knocking on the door. After a short pause, Ichigo and Shin’s mom can be heard unlocking the door, and she opens it, before her face drops in disbelief]Bookmark here

Mom [Looks at him with a broken smile]: He’s gone, isn’t he?Bookmark here

Takuya [In tears]: I didn’t want to come to you like this. I really didn’t.Bookmark here

Mom: He was lying about it being an easy mission, wasn’t he?Bookmark here

Takuya [Grits his teeth and wipes back his tears]: Yes, yes, he was. He didn’t want to worry you, so he told me to keep it low as well. [Wipes back his tears again] I’m sorry. I’m sorry I lied to you. I’m sorry I lied to Shin.Bookmark here

Mom [Puts her hand on Takuya’s shoulder, to his shock]: I knew his job was tough. I really did. I was ready for this day to eventually come. I didn’t think it would be this early in his life, but I knew that he wouldn’t live the full, happy life that everyone else is living.Bookmark here

Takuya [Wipes his face again]: You had to have told him this though, no?Bookmark here

Mom: I did. I told him this many times over, because I knew that if he just went back to a regular life, no matter what, he would’ve been able to live it out as long as possible with Shin and Shin’s friends who all look up to him.Bookmark here

Takuya: Then, why?Bookmark here

Mom: He was like a superhero to them. To Shin, to Yuki, to Takashi, Naomi, Hikari and all of them. They didn’t know what he was doing, but he was someone special because he always went places and always came back with those medals of honor that you guys give out. Even more than that though, I think Ichi always wanted to help the people out and he knew that, as shit as it was, this was the skill that he was given. If he could help take down corrupt people for what he believed was a righteous call, he’d do it. And there wasn’t anyone, not myself, not Shin, not even you, who could stop him.Bookmark here

Takuya [Laughs sadly]: You’re so right with that. If there was a job that he didn’t think was right, he’d make sure to let me know, and more often than not, he’d tell me to piss off and find someone different to do it. He wasn’t the epitome of a good person through and through, but his moral compass always pointed him in the right direction. [Pauses] I know you just said that you’re prepared, but it’s okay to cry Mrs. Taiki. At least let your emotions go now before you have to face Shin like this. Bookmark here

Mom [Starts crying slightly]: It’s okay. You don’t have to worry about me. It’s emotional, but all I can say is, at least he went out doing what he had prided himself on. [Smiles slightly] He won though, didn’t he?Bookmark here

Takuya [Thinking]: I can’t possibly tell her that he lost right. Not now in this state. No, I can’t tell her that he lost.Bookmark here

Takuya: Yeah, he did everything he could. They were strong, but he went out like a hero. He did everything he could, I’m sure of it.Bookmark here

Mom: That’s good to hear then, at least. I hope Shin will take this well though.Bookmark here

Takuya: How are you going to possibly tell him? Do you want me to explain to him tomorrow? I could always cancel what I have going on, Ichigo was always my number one priority.Bookmark here

Mom: Oh no, no, don’t worry about us. He’ll be lost for words and probably won’t talk to anyone for a couple of days or even a week, but deep down, he’ll believe that his brother died as a hero, which he did. I’m sure that deep down, he’ll take this a lot better than a lot of people would.Bookmark here

Takuya: I hope he will. I really do. I hope he grows up to live a happy life, away from the mess that is the world that Ichigo and I have been made apart of.Bookmark here

Mom: I know Ichi’s answer, but what about you? Would you ditch this life if you could?Bookmark here

Takuya: Unlike him, I’m just an informant. I don’t do any heavy lifting or anything. I’m merely just the piece of shit on the side that gives out information and hides behind everyone else in an actual fight. I’m not a guy who’s fighting for justice, and I don’t have the moral compass that Ichigo had. I’m not particularly a good guy, I’m just here because this is what life brought forth to me.Bookmark here

Mom: But you’re clearly at a loss for words now that my son is gone.Bookmark here

Takuya: Ma’am. Your son was one of the few people who willingly chose to be my friend. He chose to befriend me, rather than just working as a tandem like a lot of other people before had. He’s one of the few – actually make that only – people who truly cared about me. His aura was truly and utterly different. Everything about him was different. He was a lovely person and a great friend, and he definitely made a huge impact on my life. Bookmark here

Mom [Cries harder and wipes away the tears]: Thank you.Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh, was it something that I said?Bookmark here

Mom: Ichigo was treasured by these kids here, but he didn’t have many friends since he left school early after being scouted by you guys and didn’t really have anyone in the neighborhood who he could really talk to and let himself go around besides myself. I’m so glad that he left a mark on your life, I truly am.Bookmark here

Takuya: That’s just the person he was ma’am. I’m sure that Shin will follow in his brothers footsteps well. [Pauses] Oh no, no, I don’t mean like in terms of his job – I don’t want Shin to come into this line of work – I mean he’ll follow in the footsteps of his brother and be a genuinely good human being for a lot of years.Bookmark here

Mom: Oh yeah, no. I could never let him join this line of work. I know he’s destined for big things in other ways, so I’m sure he’ll be totally fine with it.Bookmark here

Takuya: Will you finally tell him about what Ichigo did though?Bookmark here

Mom: Hm. I don’t think I will now at least, I think I have to save that for some time in the future, when Shin’s more mature and would be able to take it better.Bookmark here

Takuya: Don’t you think telling him now would help him understand though?Bookmark here

Mom: Maybe. But I think he has to wait, because I don’t want him thinking that he should be getting into this field too, right?Bookmark here

Takuya: Fair point.Bookmark here

Mom: Anyway, do you want to sit around for a bit and relax, since it looks like all of your emotions came bursting out right here. You want something to eat, or anything like that?Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh no, no, I can’t inconvenience like that.Bookmark here

Mom: Nonsense. I know you think this is me putting on a brave face, and yes, deep down I really am hurting, but it’s okay. Like I said, I was prepared for it. I am broken by the news, yes, but I have another child who I must be strong for. You staying to catch your breath won’t inconvenience anyone, I assure you of that.Bookmark here

Takuya: Still, I just can’t be doing that. I truly appreciate the sentiment Ma’am, I really do. If you ever need help with anything, just call me and I’ll send some people. If it’s anything Shin needs or anything like that, it’s truly the least that both the higher ups and myself can do for him. And if Shin ever needs anyone to talk to in the future, or ever needs any help with anything, let him call me up.Bookmark here

Mom: Oh, for sure I will. I’m sure Shin’s heard tons of stories about you from Ichi.Bookmark here

Takuya: I won’t talk to him about anything that had to do with Ichigo’s job until you give me the green light of course, but if he ever wants to see some old videos and pictures, he’ll know where to go. Still, I’ve seen him and his group of friends before – I doubt that they need someone like me, but if he ever does, I’d be welcome to talk to him.Bookmark here

Mom: Thanks – your name is Takuya, right?Bookmark here

Takuya: Yeah. I’m glad he told you and Shin about me, makes me know how much he really cared about me all that time.Bookmark here

Mom: He did. He said that you guys would get into long arguments with each other over the pettiest of stuff, haha.Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh man, did we ever. If Shin ever wants to know about what his brother’s tastes were, I’ll be sure to let him in on some secrets. [Pauses] By the way, where is Shin?Bookmark here

Mom: Oh, him and the others were having a little get together with Takashi and them.Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh yeah, I had heard something like that from Ichigo. Is Shin leaving town too?Bookmark here

Mom: No, no, him, Yuki, Naomi and some of the others – if you know them – are staying behind. Only three of the boys are leaving to Yokohama. Bookmark here

Takuya: Ah, okay. Hopefully they keep in touch then. [Pauses] But it’s good at least that he has Yuki and some of the others with him. He still has some friends here, as well as some friends there.Bookmark here

Mom: Yup. I couldn’t be happier for all of them.Bookmark here

Takuya [Checks his watch]: Oh yeah, shoot. I should get going. [Pauses] Make sure to let me know whenever you need anything, alright? The compensation money should come in soon, although I know you don’t want to be hearing about that. But make sure you get it – if you guys don’t, I’ll have a word with the higher ups, alright?Bookmark here

Mom: Okay, okay. Will do.Bookmark here

Takuya: Make sure to keep your mental health in check too, alright? If it’s too much, we have services that we can provide.Bookmark here

Mom [Covers her tears]: Don’t worry about me, or even Shin! We’ll be fine! Just keep doing what you’re doing and keep on going with Ichigo’s legacy, alright?Bookmark here

Takuya [Unlocks his corvette]: Will do ma’am.Bookmark here

Bookmarked
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