Rating: PG-13 (may increase later)
Description: A look into the darker side of life. Yamato comes to rescue his little brother only to find out that his brother isn’t the one who needs rescuing.
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Daisuke liked to sit too closely to the jukebox, to listen to the heavy beats with his face pressed up against the booth seat, a hand protecting the free orifice, and let the harmonic noise filter it’s way through ply board, foam and bone before announcing itself to the brain.
He always came to this same grubby little bar when he needed to get away, take a break. He had told Takeru that it was one of the few places where he could really think, where his mind seemed clear and any problem, whether it be some bothersome moral dilemma or something much more practical like how to go about getting into and out of a building within his self-imposed time limit could find it’s own solution. Takeru had laughed, but then he had always preferred silence.
But noise had always been Daisuke’s natural bedfellow. It reminded him of the taiko drums at the old Shinto shrine near where he had lived as a child, of sitting on the edge of the bricked path and hearing the beat of the drum in the strangest of places as the large paper carps fluttered in the current above. Closing his eyes, he would almost swear that each thrump was landing on him rather than the taut membranes mere meters away.
He had only realized that she was there when he felt the edges of her kimono brush over his splayed fingers. He was happy though, young brown eyes glancing up to grin at much older ones.
“Dais,” she had mouthed, cool, delicate fingers brushing through his hair in some mad attempt to control it.
Daisuke tried to picture her, as she would be now. The eyes would appear older, perhaps more tired, sadder. Or at least he hoped that they would carry with them some semblance of sadness.
He hoped that he had meant that much.
“Daisuke!” The hands were roughly shaking him out of his half-dreamlike state; sharp nails pressing into his shoulders painfully. Miyako looked scared, out of breath. “You have to go,” she begged, the pleading tone to her voice striking Daisuke as decidedly odd for one usually so exceptionally composed. He looked deep into her, his eyes asking the question his mouth refused to form. What, or rather, who?
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Daisuke cursed himself for his body’s involuntary start, blushing lightly at the idea that he had been spooked by the sound of the door sliding open. He glanced, sighing, at the room’s newest occupant before returning his gaze to where it had been focused, a stone lantern in the compound’s garden, only a few meters from where he sat on the built-in window seat.
“Mmmm?” Ken strolled slowly over to Daisuke, reaching out to run a soft hand through his hair with an affectionate hum, “I must have forgotten that you had moved in here.” Ken’s soft smile did nothing to hide his cold, almost annoyed indifference. It only strengthened Daisuke’s resolve not to acknowledge Ken’s more than obvious lie.
This, at the very least, seemed to amuse Ken.
“To be honest, I half expected to find layers of dust and old cobwebs,” the hand moving through Daisuke’s hair gave a short tug. There were few things Ken hated more than being purposely ignored, “You’ve kept it quite nicely.” Again, the room lapsed into a heavy silence.
Daisuke could feel Ken’s cold, waiting stare. “Look at me.” The voice was low, barely audible, but the implied threat was enough to make Daisuke turn empty eyes in Ken’s direction. Ken stared into the eyes, looking, it seemed, for something that was not there, that had never been, the hand still tangled in Daisuke’s hair tightening further and further, painfully, before suddenly releasing its grasp. “You remember him too fondly, I’m afraid,” Ken gave Daisuke a sad, almost wistful smile, “He was never as wonderful as you imagined him to be.” Again, there was a long pause before Ken continued, “I wish you could see that, I really do.”
Daisuke swallowed dryly. “Ken…” he begged, his voice raspy. Ken held up a long white hand, stopping Daisuke’s explanation before it had even been formed.
“It doesn’t matter now,” he announced slowly, “The present will always be of more concern than the past, else how would we ever make it to the future?” again, that sad, sad smile, “I only wish that you didn’t insist on making everything so difficult.”
“I know,” Daisuke agreed softly, pulling his knees close to his chest and inadvertently providing Ken with a place to sit.
“I understand why you like it here,” Ken admitted, turning his head to gaze out on the garden, “It really is beautiful.” Ken smiled, leaning forward so that his weight rested against Daisuke, his head, pillowed on arms draped across Daisuke’s knees. “They say spring is the thing,” Ken turned his head to look up at Daisuke, “But I don’t agree. Winter has the true power over life and death. If winter never ends, spring cannot exist. It is power, not silly flowers, that is truly beautiful, is it not?”
Daisuke shifted uncomfortably in Ken’s stare, feeling cornered, but too afraid of dislodging the dark haired man to really attempt escape. “But winter always ends,” he reminded Ken carefully.
Ken’s short laugh was completely lacking in humor, “Don’t make a mistake,” he warned, turning his head to study the cold-washed landscape, “Just because something has always happened, doesn’t mean that it always will.”
Ken sat for the longest time, watching the unchanging gardens as Daisuke watched him before finally pushing himself back into an upright position, meeting Daisuke’s locked eyes.
“Idiot,” Ken sighed, standing carefully, never loosing his contact with Daisuke’s eyes, “Why do you always insist on being such an idiot?” Ken shook his head, his eyes brimming with what Daisuke believed to be real tears as he swore shortly under his breath, “Goddamned fucking idiot.” But as quickly as the moment had come, it passed, Ken’s voice regaining its former strength as he declared unnecessarily, “I’ve decided to put Ishida in here.” The statement was clipped, cold.
“Ken…” Daisuke mouthed the name, more than spoke it.
“Hn,” Ken dismissed the silent request out of hand, turning and walking toward the door, “I’ve sent Miyako to get him and they’ll be here shortly. I would appreciate it if you had removed your belongings before then.”
“Ken!” Daisuke’s voice had taken on a strained, almost insistent edge, stopping Ken were he stood, hand still reaching for the notch in the sliding door’s frame. The room stood in silence; Ken’s back ramrod straight, his entire frame seeming to vibrate with stilled motion. For the first time in a very long time, Daisuke found himself truly fearful of what it was that Ken would say. “I—“ he began carefully only to have his words cut short by Ken’s icy stare.
Ken let out a low growl, venom dripping from each carefully formed word, “Do not address me so informally, Daisuke-kun,” he instructed, his lip curling in an almost feral snarl, “If you give me nothing else, I will have your respect.” Ken slid the door open and, stepping carefully over the embedded track without so much as another word or glance in Daisuke’s direction, he disappeared.
“Has it ever occurred to you that, perhaps, thinking isn’t your strong point?”
Daisuke glanced in the direction of the mocking voice, smiling slightly at the purple haired girl leaning against the door frame, “Why hello!” he announced in his most sugary voice, winking at her from where he sat, Indian style, in the center of the musty room, “And a good afternoon to you, too, Miya-chan.”
Miyako shrugged off Daisuke’s sarcasm without concern, “I mean really. What’s so difficult about picking someone up and bringing him back here?”
“Maybe you should be asking yourself why it was so easy,” Daisuke answered mysteriously with a grin.
“Nice.” Miyako complemented half-heartedly, “Very zen.”
Daisuke rested his hands palm up on his knees, closing his eyes briefly as he mumbled in a deep voice, “Na ma ba dha, na ma ba dha.”
“Cute.” Miyako obviously was not impressed, “You didn’t answer my question.”
Daisuke looked at her strangely, returning to the box that he had been in the process of unpacking before he was so rudely interrupted, “I wasn’t under the impression that you really wanted an answer.” Miyako just shrugged, waiting.
“I guess,” Daisuke began slowly after he realized she would not leave without his explanation, “that I just didn’t like him.”
When he failed to continue any further, Miyako frowned, “Bullshit, Daisuke. You never like anyone. What makes this guy so different?”
“Well…” Daisuke answered, seeming to consider the question very carefully, “Maybe I really didn’t like him.” He gave her a wan smile. Miyako sighed at the flippant answer, not buying it for a moment.
“It’s because he looks so much like Takeru, isn’t it?” she fired point blank, not failing to note Daisuke’s flinch. Daisuke did not answer, focusing on the box in front of him as he pulled first a couple of books out, then a small clock and finally an old tin coffee can that rattled with loose change, setting each item on the floor beside him, pretending, or so it seemed, not to have heard the painful statement.
“Dais—“ Miyako tried softly after a few more moments had passed with out a response from Daisuke, “I’m sorr—“ she paused, considering carefully what it was that she had been about to say, “I—“ Miyako tried again before giving up with a gusty sigh, “Why?”
The question made Daisuke pause momentarily, licking his lips before giving her a bitter sort of smile. He pushed the now empty cardboard box out from in front of him as he stood to face her, “Why what?” his practiced nonchalance felt too real to be real. Miyako fought the urge to shake him.
“Why didn’t you just do what Ken asked you to do?” there was a pained, almost frightened edge to her question that made Daisuke want to apologize for having worried her. In the end, however, he just shrugged the question away, unsure that any answer would have been sufficient to ease her fears.
“Daisuke,” Miyako warned, her voice low, “I’m not stupid.” Daisuke smiled. “I know what you are thinking,” she continued, “and it’s crazy. Okay? Just promise me that you’ll remember that it’s crazy.”
“Do you remember what Takeru used to say?” Daisuke asked suddenly, ignoring her request for his word, “Do you? He used to talk about how we humans were born only to die. That from the day we entered this world, we are actively dying,” Daisuke gave a bitter chortle, “I always said that he was an idiot, but in the end, he was right.”
Miyako swallowed nervously, watching Daisuke carefully, looking, it seemed, for some telltale sign she thought should, or rather would be there, but as of yet, she had not identified. “Maybe,” she spoke softly, almost to herself, then, raising her voice so that he would be sure to hear her, “Maybe.” She gave Daisuke a sympathetic sort of smile, tossing her head as she continued, “But just because we are all going to die someday, doesn’t mean we can’t put it off as long as possible, right? I mean, Takeru always said that, too.” She walked over to where Daisuke had set down the coffee can, picking it up and peeling off it’s plastic lid, “After all, if we are going to dredge up the past, lets make it an honest past,” she started picking though the various coins, pulling out some of the larger ones, “As I recall, Takeru was always somewhat of a fucking blowhard.” She pocketed the change and snapping the lid back on the can, tossed it at Daisuke, “For the trouble I had to go through doing your job,” she grinned, moving back to lean against the door’s frame.
Daisuke just rolled his eyes, but at least he offered a small smile, somewhat reminiscent of the smile he had once sported, before their world has started crumbling to hell. “Whatever,” he offered up good-naturedly, “Are you here just to rob me blind or is there actually some purpose to your visit?”
“Both,” Miyako announced casually, suddenly remembering why it was that she had walked all the way over to the west side of the compound, “I came to collect on your debt and Ken wanted me to tell you that there would be a special gathering this evening.”
The last part, at least, seemed to pique Daisuke’s interest, “Hm? Ken asked you to come? Why didn’t he just use the D-terminal like he usually does?” Ken had always made a point of using technology to its fullest, of not relying on the oh-so-unreliable human when something he trusted so much more could be used to do his bidding.
Miyako just shrugged, far too familiar with Ken’s idiosyncrasies to be particularly concerned by them, “Ken is Ken,” she answered mildly, “and sometimes it’s best not to consider his motives too closely.” She brushed her hair over her shoulder in an offhand manner, “He was probably just too busy and I was there anyway.”
Daisuke frowned. Ken was Ken. Of that, he was all too well aware. And there was something about Ken’s sudden change in procedure that did not sit well with him. Something felt not quite right, confused.
Daisuke’s unexpectedly morose silence had Miyako studying him closely. “Daisuke?”
“Huh?” Daisuke jumped, Miyako’s voice jarring him from his deep thoughts, “Oh. Nothing,” he smiled, a completely dishonest smile, but one Miyako found to be believable, nonetheless. He flashed a peace sign in her direction, letting out a self-satisfied sounding, “Ha-ha!”
Not quite the old Daisuke, but close enough that Miyako was willing to let sleeping dogs lie. “Whatever,” she muttered, this time it was her turn to blow him off, shaking her head as she used her shoulder to push away from the doorjamb, “See ya later, weird-oh,” Miyako promised bemusedly. And then she left Daisuke alone in the room to finish his work, offering no more of a goodbye than a slightly saddened gaze.
“Ken is Ken,” Daisuke repeated softly, glancing over his right shoulder with a nervous, twitch, “Ken is Ken, and sometimes it’s best not to consider his motives too closely.”
And sometimes it is deadly not to, a quiet voice seemed to echo faintly through the dusty room.