Rainbow of the Horizon—Illuminating Our Darkened Path
It was a great day. The country is bestowed with a pleasant weather. The clouds are fair and the sun is shining in a bright morning. Forecast says that weather will be clear in the entirety of Orio.
Though, the world continues to revolve like how it used to be since the inception. However great the day is, it remained normal. People walk the streets; pedal their bikes, travel the roads, and come to work and to school. Indeed, very normal.
So normal that it was not needed to enclose the word inside a parenthesis.
But as tranquil and peaceful the day is, the morning was full of tension. One certain man in all of humanity has not yet eaten a grain, and is driving in his car with cold sweat pouring down to his chin. His rushing eyes were filled with fear and worry, but deep within, he felt extreme happiness and anticipation.
But amidst of the stack of emotions, a pained voice resonated to his ears. It was a painful cry of a woman who is about to give birth, sat in the back seat of the car together with a five-year old boy in glasses, holding the weakened hand of his mother.
There is the awareness of the man that the hospital he is going to is very near to his house, but he was in panic and grabbed the keys of the vehicle.
It was a very short time over four wheels, and they made their way to the doors of the emergency room. The panicking in his trembling body has lessened. His wife is finally in a room, thus, he waits with his son behind the glass, watching the mother with a hopefully momentary pained face.
~ ~ ~
After some time… the fear and worries are as if a bubble that popped to oblivion. Another life was born in the world.
"Amano…! Sorry I'm late!" a man suddenly came running in the hallway. "How's Senna?!"
"Almost there, Eijiro. She will be fine…"
And so, a cry has finally sounded, penetrating through the glass. Then, a doctor came out of the room and happily said:
"Congratulations, Mr. Sakato. Your second son is safely delivered."
Tears flowed in the corners of the man's eyes. He was happy that his second child is born. He was happy that his brother was able to witness it.
He thought that it was uncool of him to ask advice to his brother, and ended up picking a name to his son. He was a bit glum at first, but he thought the name that was picked is a pleasant one.
"Eijiro, look at him…! His hair… it's gray!"
It was exclaimed not with anxiety, but somehow a very lively tone to the voice of the man. Although they were struck by astonishment, it was nonetheless a rather beautiful sight.
"Hahaha… Now that makes his name make sense."
"…? His name… Gin? What do you mean, Eijiro?"
"You see… applying his name to the language of the North translates the word to "silver."
Look at that. Your son has silver hair. It may be coincidental, but what gives?"
"Ahahaha… Thanks for choosing the name. I didn't even know you thought of it that much."
"Oh. Since I came late, how was his delivery?"
"It's a normal delivery," the wife replied to her biological brother.
"I see… Well, I guess I'll be cancelling my entire schedule for the day. Please go rest, Senna. We will keep watch of you and your son while we're here."
"Mhm. Thank you, brother."
This is a story… in which it began with the birth of a certain infant given the name of Gin Sakato. He was born a healthy baby through a normal delivery, but he held a very distinct feature of having a shining silver hair.
The infant's parents are Amano and Senna Sakato, and he has a brother five years older than him. He also has a grandfather who lives under the same roof. This is his family.
But there is one more person included in his family. He called himself Seijirou, but his real name is Eijiro Kurogane. Someone, from an unknown existence far from the world. Eijiro is an Exile.
He was separated from his family when he was twelve years old. As family, he was a Kurogane with the same blood flowing in Senna Kurogane Sakato's veins. Thus, he became an orphan and grew up assisting in the orphanage. But things changed when he met Amano Sakato more than eight years later. He was astonished to see her younger sister, all grown up.
But of course… Senna didn't remember him, is what he thought. He had the habit of teasing the two from their closeness, in which, is where he can find the level of happiness seeing his family again. He was overjoyed to find out that Amano and Senna started a relationship, and eventually married.
At the time Kei Sakato, the eldest son was born, Eijiro, confessed to Amano that he was an Exile and told that he was the long lost sibling of Amano's wife afterwards.
It was a painful revelation, but the storm had finally passed by. 27th of October in the year 2001 came, and witnessed the birth of the second child of his sister.
Eijiro has been living with happiness together with his once lost family.
After a year, Gin was followed with another child, and he became a big brother to Anna Sakato.
Time flew by quickly, and by the year 2007, he started attending school at the age of five in preparatory. Around his elementary years, Kinrou Sakato, his grandfather passed away.
He then graduated from primary school and went to Blue Ink High School. He became a first year in junior high school as someone from the batch of the first grades to be accepted to the upcoming and newly implemented senior high school system in Orio.
He met his first friend in junior high school, which is Nagi Kajima. But they became a group of four with the addition of Jean Ando and Akira Bentley. With this roster, they quickly became the main men in the Art Club.
It has come to the point where they have been promoted as fourth years. In the second week of the school year, they met two girls from their class at lunch. They joined in the guys' table for the reason that every table is already occupied.
One of them is Shiro Kirishima, a girl that features a ponytail with a gaze perhaps showing her characteristic of being an ambivert. Although, Nagi had become attracted to her.
The other one is Ringo Akanami. She has a jet-black hair with a length coming down to her shoulders. It does seem that she is an introvert.
But there was more to it.
She has the characteristic of being aloof, with the ineptitude of being unable to socialize. It always felt like an aura of negativity is around her. But Shiro had become wary of it.
The two girls chose to be in the Literature Club while the four continued in the Art Club.
It was to Gin's surprise that he was neighbors with Ringo. Because of that, they slowly became friends. Ringo started to open up little by little, and she even said herself that she was always lonely. But there seems to be things that she can't tell.
That is, she was the only survivor of the Medical Children Program ten years ago.
Her code number was 019. She suffered from a whole year of experimentation through various incomplete medications. Of course, such drugs were not uncovered but nevertheless, the cure to an epidemic that affected children was made under Rishou Kagetora's supervision. Even so, the project was never disclosed to the public as it involved the dark side of the society at that time.
The first time she had ever experienced coming to school was when she was admitted to Wisteria School as a first year. She has never left her house until four years ago.
She originally lived in Sector 392 but because of her sister requiring to be near her company office, they moved to Sector 527.
But there is also the reason that she was discriminated in Wisteria because of her inability to socialize and her lack of trust to others aside from her family.
Even she was still wary of Shiro Kirishima and Gin Sakato.
And it took Gin two months to have been able to talk to her properly. It was considerable, as they are both being hesitant, even with Gin being adequately social. But even with the struggle to make Ringo befriend him, he continued a normal life.
~ ~ ~
October 26, 2017.
The Class 4A has lost a student. Akaji Mashido, their class representative passed away… or rather, he was killed.
He was found lying cold at the back of the stage at the first hour of the day. No one knows who might have done that to him.
Because of that, the classes were suspended and the students were to be dismissed at nine in the morning. But in spite of an hour of attendance, Marcus Rodriguez, Eissen Lochry, and Stefan Carillo did not come to school… ever.
Akaji Mashido's death remained with no reception of justice.
"Uncle?" Gin saw Eijiro waiting for him near the school gates. Thus, the two walked the serene White Street towards home.
"I heard the news. Your mom asked me to pick you up just to be safe."
"Thanks… Even I was scared after hearing the news earlier…
But I've never seen the principal until today. It was surprising."
"Ohhh… Taketo Juushiro, if I'm not mistaken?"
"You know him, Uncle?"
"What a guy… So he never showed his face until today. He really likes to be mysterious."
"So you really know him?! That's somewhat amazing."
"Hahahaha. So, he really looks like his son, right?"
"Huh? The principal has a son?"
"Of course he does."
"But now that I think about it, I was reminded of someone when I saw him…"
"If I'm not mistaken… was his son's name… Akira?"
"What?! As far as I know there's only one person with the name Akira in school…! What in the world?! So he's the principal's son?!
Wait… he said something about not having parents and living with his uncle… No way…"
"Gin, am I hearing things right? He has no parents?"
"Yeah… That's what he told me."
Take… what in the world are you doing…?!" Eijiro carefully whispered.
"Anyways, you owe me a quarter pound burger, Uncle."
"Oh, yeah! I almost forgot about that! Alright, let's takeout and go to Zen Park. Is that good?"
"Y-Yeah… Though I need to get another layer in the house. It's cold…"
"Wow. Defeated by mere cold?"
"Oh, come on! I wouldn't even doubt that it might even snow tomorrow or something!"
Indeed. Gin Sakato, together with his uncle Eijiro has lived a normal li…
Now, shut up.
I was delivered through cesarean.
I am an introvert.
I was code 027. I was a Medical Child when I was five years old, and I was the only survivor for a full year. I even ended someone's life.
I entered school for the first time as a first year in Blue Ink.
I was hit by a truck, leaving me nigh dead. My bones were shattered, so was my life.
I slashed my torso with a knife because of my despair.
I left to be alone for two years, but came back.
I found the purpose of my life, and I found the one I love. Rin is my beloved, and I am glad that she did not become a Medical Child.
I'm somewhat happy that I saved her. She socialized even being an introvert like me.
She is even in the same club as I am.
And… Eijiro Kurogane…
He died in the day I was born.
Even an illusion can't give complete bliss. You may have found happiness, but you exchange your current happiness to those illusions. What? Just to satisfy them from sorrow? From loneliness?
Do I even know how my Uncle looked like? Do I even feel satisfied watching an episode like that? Do I even feel happy that I lost the one I love in exchange of an illusion I never asked for?
We are in this harsh reality where we can't manipulate it to our preferences.
I've been asleep for so long.
I'VE HAD ENOUGH OF DREAMING.
▪ ▪ ▪
"Ahh… I spaced out."
My consciousness fled to somewhere for a moment. But I snapped, and realized that I am still standing under the falling snow. It is cold. I have come to that thought upon seeing my breath visibly fading away to the air.
It is cloudy. There are no signs of the sun showing up.
"Looking too much in the bright side…
It burns. It blinds your eyes…"
I myself am astonished to how I am behaving. I barely… I don't even remember this uncle of mine. I didn't even know of his existence until a few months ago.
But it hurts. It hurts to think that he had died. I didn't know Eijiro Kurogane, but I'm feeling a great deal of sadness inside me, even just imagining how he fought an illness for such a time.
I want to know him. I wonder how he lived a life in an orphanage. I wonder how he lived a life of being an Exile. I wonder how he lived a life of putting a mask in front of his own family.
I barely know him… but now I feel and can at least relate to the things he had gone through. He suffered more than I did. I have no idea how hard it is to be separated to your family for a very long time.
In my perspective, I see the sense of consideration in him while he wore a mask in front of my mother. She was always with Dad when they see each other, and he did not want their relationship to be ruined by him. Even after being separated, he still knows his sister. He was sure that Mom will break down and will somewhat be hurt upon realizing that her brother is just there.
But no one really knows if he might have felt that way. No one knows why he was terrified of seeing his family be hurt, instead of feeling happiness.
However, in the end, I can't comprehend someone who is gone now.
▪ ▪ ▪
Gin has suddenly gone missing.
A good morning has turned into a bad one, with Rin waking up to Gin nowhere to be found.
She came running to their family house, but he isn't and wasn't there. She came to their school, but she remembered that today is Saturday, and the mark that the first semester has ended.
It was not a great day. The weather is not the nicest. The gray clouds have completely covered Cotona along with the falling snow.
Though, the world continues to revolve like how it used to be since the inception. It was not a normal day.
For someone who has lost their memories, she can't think of anywhere Gin can go. All he could think is him being alone, lost in a forest full of wild animals ready to predate. Especially with him having a very unusual hair. Having to walk through the crowd will surely catch attention.
But in spite of the danger, she continued to look everywhere, until she came to Giotto's which was about to open.
Inside, it was nice and warm. The door slowly closed behind her. There she saw the staff preparing for a long day of work, but they stopped upon seeing a familiar face.
"Has anyone seen Gin…?"
"Ms. Akanami? What's the matter? I know that chef is still on his leave," one of them answered.
"But if you're asking, we haven't seen him. He has not come by."
"…Where could he have gone to…" worry has gotten over herself, making it obvious in her expression.
"S-Sorry for bothering you… I have to go then."
As she hurriedly walked towards the door, she was stopped by a hand that held her on her right shoulder.
Being taken over so much thought in her mind, she immediately looked behind, assuming if it was Gin. Relief showed on her face with her wide eyes. But it was of course not the case. Nothing would be that easy.
However, it was Hiro who stopped her.
"Please calm down, Ringo. Please think this through.
Everyone, we'll delay opening for today. For the moment, make a cup of coffee and something for Ringo to eat.
And I would appreciate it if we can talk alone."
"N-No… Please don't bother."
"Hey now. Anyone can tell that you look exhausted. Based on your situation, it seems that Gin is missing."
He offered a seat in the nearest table and the discussion has started with the assumption of Hiro being entirely correct.
"So, what happened?"
"Gin… I woke up seeing that his room was open. I looked everywhere in the house, but I can't find him."
"Hmm… Did he leave a note or something?"
"Nothing that I saw. I asked his family, but they also don't know. I went to school, but I just remembered that it is already the semestral break."
"I see. So he really is nowhere to be found."
"Ms. Akanami, please have this. Whatever the situation you're in, we're quite worried about you," a waiter placed a cup of coffee and pasta on the table and immediately left.
"His memories haven’t come back yet. So that's another thing to worry about. Has he come out of his house after you two came back from the base?"
"No. He had stayed for the duration until today. I don't think he can go anywhere… I have no idea where he went to…"
"Well, let us think this through for the moment. Although it seems that you can't stay for long. Are you going to continue looking for him?"
Then, let's infer the opposite. Perhaps Gin has regained his memories, and went off somewhere. That's pretty reasonable, isn't it?"
"That guy really is mysterious. Even I don't know where he could be right now.
Oh wait. Ringo. He turned 19 today, is that right?"
"Ah… that's right… Today…
As if a light bulb has lit over her head. A resolving thought surfaced.
Without saying anything, she finished the plate and the cup.
"Hiroomi, thank you for this. I will be going now."
"What, did you have an idea where he is now?"
And I realized it was my mistake to overthink. We've been together for quite some time; he had always depended on me without me knowing. But it's time for me to hope for him.
This time, he wasn't to be depended. He is weird through and through."
Hahahaha… Is that so. Now go, Ringo. Do not doubt your thoughts and feelings."
And thus, the door closed with Rin leaving from Hiro’s sight.
"I was so mistaken… He can never forget…
He can never forget this day…"
Rin has calmed down. With her leaving the restaurant, she just walked over the piling snow.
She was led by her feet back to Gin's family house.
"Uncle Amano. He probably has regained his memories."
"In that case…"
"I know where he is, but at the same time, I don't."
"Ahh? Ringo, you're sounding like Gin right now."
"Please, Uncle. Can you give me a ride? You should know what day it is today."
So that's where he is. I can't be his father if I can't understand a vague statement like that.
Let's go, then."
~ ~ ~
Rin and Amano were the only ones that went on the road. It was quiet, but filled with tension.
He did not realize how much Gin will be affected, and how it will have a great significance to his life. It was the same to his grandfather. Kinrou had somehow managed to change his emotionless grandchild. He made him smile through his cooking, and he made him cry because of his death.
Eijiro made him smile and cry through his letter…
Amano wonders how his son will feel on Eijiro's death.
"Is Gin burdened by Eijiro's death…?"
"Most likely, but I still do wonder.
My son… I can't tell what he is thinking most of the time. He has grown in our guidance without us knowing his character. What was worse is that he didn't even know of it himself.
It's not because he was timid, awkward or shy… His loss of humanity had molded a child's heart and mind, creating an empty persona.
He never used to love art. He does not even like to interact with people. But within his monotony, we can feel that that child was full of hatred and despair. He developed distrust on others and he isolated himself.
In the past, even if he didn't remember anything, he felt a great fear, but he can't cry.
He didn't have a nice childhood. No, he didn't even have a childhood. But somehow, my father did what I can’t; he also started to change in the midst of him entering school. And Ringo. Because of you, you've made him a human again… but then he threw his existence of being 'human'—as an Exile, I mean.
Now, he's living the way he wanted to, and he has you. Honestly, even if he's fine now, I don't think he will have the wisdom in the future. That's why; I'm leaving that matter of future to you, Ringo."
Those last words… she did not understand what it meant. But she felt that it left a sense of duty; leaving her a role only she can do. But she does not have an idea what it could be.
▪ ▪ ▪
A clink sounded as something metallic was attracted by the gravity and subtly bounced back as it was being held by a chain on hand.
It was a rose carved from pure silver. Gin has released it from his right hand as his warmth can't find the coldness of its entirety.
He held it for the entire time he was standing in front of Eijiro's grave, staring at the written name on the stone. He had the stone cleaned from its whiteness, but the snow kept falling making the top white again.
He was thinking of burying the brooch six feet underground.
"But you wouldn't like that, would you? Even if I don't intend to inherit this, I still kept it. I'm sure that that will be okay to you.
You didn't even get to wear them. Let alone you didn't even get to attend your beloved sister's marriage because of your condition.
So… someday, I will wear them in your stead. This is the only part of you that I have. I didn't get to know you… but a newborn does not know of what it felt to regret.
You're asleep down there. Even if you can't hear what I'll say, I will just keep blabbing this and that."
The snowfall hasn't stopped yet. But his coat was able to fight the cold without fail. That in itself is an accomplishment to make him stay standing still in the freezing weather.
"I was a failure of a human, way back from being a child. But I'm trying to make up for it. I lost the essentials of being human. But somehow, I myself became one now.
I bet you're a sore loser. Did you even have a girlfriend or a wife? Well, not like I'm bragging but I found mine. Rin is a very sweet and kind girl. She's the reason I have changed so much. I've had feelings for her for who knows when it happened, and I reckon that she also felt that way towards me. I rejected the thought, but I hoped for it anyway.
I'm happy that Rin is still with me even with my chaos. She denies her strength but I myself know that in this world, when you say that you're mentally broken, attempted suicide, or killed someone, they will run away. But she didn't. She is the first person I opened up outside of my family. It was so much for me that I cried. But instead of running away, she embraced me. It was something I always yearned for.
For the entirety of my childhood, I wasn't even cold. I was simply numb. I didn't even know how to comprehend the warmth I felt when I was being tightly hugged by my parents. It was because I was empty. Even I asked myself: 'Why am I still alive?'
I am still alive for the sake of my family. I don't want to bring them sadness anymore. Was that how you felt when you met Mom again?
Even if you have regrets, I will carry them on. I will live in your stead. I barely even know anything of you, but I respect you. Even if you're already gone, your will still live on. So there's nothing to worry… 'for I am here.'"
The freezing wind blew from the east. The gray clouds have subtly turned white. It was not a shine, but a glimpse of light that reflected to fluttering silver hair. Snow still continued to fall.
It was indeed different to rain. Analogical to despair, it rains down and sometimes floods. Hope is found beyond the dark clouds. Light will always pierce through. But there is not a fixed principle that hope only rays like the sun. That is why we hope, even in the darkest of darkest.
"Man… I said some embarrassing stuff, huh?
Well, I don't think I can say much more but I still can't go home. You see, I am someone's shadow, and I have my light.
It turns out that my light is searching for me. That was my bad. But nonetheless, the light found me."
The silver hair continued to flutter. His eyes are closed, and he spoke with a smile. He knew that there was someone behind him and so he intentionally said those.
His earlier words did not seem to have anywhere to go. But this time, he made sure and was guaranteed that he conveyed the message.
"Sorry for running off just like that, Rin."
"I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't even tell you where I was going. Again, I'm sorry."
"Don't even say anything more. Just stay still."
The slow and few footsteps amplified the unusual sound of the grass and snow beneath. It literally sounds trivial. But even Gin can hear the sound of the cloth converging as Rin slowly made her way towards Gin, wrapping her arms on him and leaning her head to his chest.
"Mhm… You're acting cute again…" he told and placed her hand on Rin's head.
"We didn't realize that the time when Eijiro saw you up close, even if between a window, it was already his final moment," Amano spoke behind. "He came back to his room soon after, and closed his eyes with a smile. Seriously, he didn't stop nagging about the letter while he was lying down."
"But he asked me a rather strange favor before passing away."
"'I at least want you to remember me through Gin. Not as Eijiro, but as Gin. He is not me, and I will no longer be around. I'm sure Senna would be sad, so I will appreciate it if you can do it,' is what he said.
I realized that you haven't seen him even on a picture, so you wouldn't know. But even with your hair when it wasn't that long… that in itself was a strong reminder that Brother left something to us.
But just like he said, and we acted on it. You are my son, and not my brother."
So I'm carrying an existence in my existence. Ahh… I'm so glad that I have at least done something for him. Maybe my being is his final wish. Goodness, he's embarrassing."
"Hahaha… To be honest, you really have a lot in common—just like how you two sometimes look so uncharacteristic because you can't help but care about others. Goodness, that's embarrassing.
But in the end, I would say that he is more unpredictable than you."
While Rin is still clinging on to Gin, his father walked forward and placed his right hand on his son, only to vigorously put it away.
"Oof. That's hot."
"Ahahaha… Sorry. Did you bring your car, Dad? My legs will be giving out soon."
"My word. I've never felt a fever this bad."
The planted head of Rin suddenly looked up. The reason she was still clinging is because Gin felt like a heater.
It was comfy and very warm, she thought.
"Gin? Are you sure you're still okay?"
"Hmm… maybe worse than what you're imagining. My fever isn't communicable, thankfully."
"Geez. I'm amazed that you lasted under the snow for so long. It can't be helped. I will take care of you since you did when I was sick."
"Haha, thanks. I promise I won't randomly sleep anymore."
"And you should probably keep your body in check. I don't even know if you can even jump a floor."
"You even noticed that… thankfully I'm a big eater. And oh, while you're nursing me, why don't you tell me about when I have no memories?"
"Oh, yeah? You're so cute when you were so oblivious to things."
"What a strong relationship these kids have. Even Senna and I weren't like that when we started."
"Well, well. Let's go in the car. It's cold.
You sure have what it takes to be a wife, Ringo. You know your husband well, I see."
"Surely you jest, Uncle."
"There you go again with your trivial talk, Dad. I sure hope I'm not like that if I will ever have a kid."
"Gin… like you can talk. You two really are a father and son pair."
"Come back after five or more years and then you can brag about yourselves in front of your mother and I. I promise we'll listen."
"You should keep quiet, Dad. I have a lot of problems to deal with after this. It's not like I will be buying a ring in the next chapter."
"If you do that, Gin, I will say no."
"Whaaaat. What could you be talking about, Rin? All I said was buying a ring."
"Ugh. You got me… Well, no, for now!
I don't know if your face is red because you're flustered or sick, but I hope you realize that you're saying embarrassing things!"
"Ah, sorry. I didn't."
"Aghh…! You're finally back, Potato!"
Indeed, he's finally back (again).
That's is for 025!
I guess there will be two more chapters to conclude this arc. But I really enjoyed writing that pseudo timeline at the beginning of the chapter. I don't know what got into me when writing that, but I had a very large commitment to it which is why it made this chapter one of my favorites, and I hope you liked this chapter too.
Thank you for reading!
026: The place with their absence.
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