Chapter 2: Turning Saints Into the Sea
Chapter 3: Did You Fall for a Shooting Star?
Chapter 4: Even if You Cannot Hear My Voice
Chapter 5: Metal Fingers Clutching Dirty Sheets
Chapter 6: So Take This Night
“I need you.”
Daisuke studied the screen of the D-terminal, shaking his head even as he thought, “What for? Why do you always have to be so damn cryptic?” Still, he pulled his D3 out of his pocket, twisting back and forth to figure the position the flashing light before hurrying in that direction.
It was closer than he had realized, his step faltering slightly as he recognized the building—the very same building that Takeru had pointed out on Daisuke’s first day at the compound, warning Daisuke against ever darkening its doors.
It isn’t wise to toy with old ghosts.
Or so Takeru had said. Still, the flashing red light on Daisuke’s D3 had not moved. Gathering his courage as best as he could, Daisuke took a deep breath, and silently willing his nerves quiet, headed resolutely towards the building.
Daisuke looked through the already open door into the room’s dark interior. It was impossible to make out any detail with his eyes still tuned to the brightness of the day. He made his way forward carefully, his senses tingling with the realization that he was as good as blind, and would be until his eyes finally adjusted. Stepping over the track, he paused to listen but could not make out so much as the sound of a breath. A quick glance at his D3 showed his signal nearly overlapping with Ken’s. Still, the only evidence that anyone was even near the building was his own truncated shadow blocking most of the meager sunlight that pressed in through the open door.
“Daisuke.” The voice in question took Daisuke by surprise, even if it did not sound particularly surprised itself. Daisuke stepped fully into the room, blinking his eyes rapidly in the hope of speeding the removal of the bright spots that were hampering his vision. After what seemed like an eternity, Daisuke’s slowly dilating pupils allowed him to distinguish the outline of Takeru’s form standing near the center of the room. He took a few cautious steps in that direction.
“Don’t tell me that you’re worried.” The words were spoken with the disinterested coolness that only Ken had perfected. Daisuke glanced back over his shoulder to where he could barely make out the lanky form, standing just inside the shadows darkened by the light streaming through the open door. He had found Ken.
"Me? Worried?" Takeru shook his head like he could not quite believe what he was hearing, "Perhaps we should talk about how our great oyabun can't even bring himself to actually enter his dear older brother's room." Takeru let out an uncompromising grunt, "At least," he clarified, shooting a glance towards Daisuke, "not without first calling for backup." Ken’s lip curled upward, in a soundless snarl, even as he shrugged indifferently.
"Takeru?" Daisuke questioned softly when both men lapsed back into silence, insult exchange momentarily complete, “What’s going on?” Takeru did not take his eyes off of Ichijouji long enough to even acknowledge the question. Undeterred, Daisuke next turned his query toward Ken, “Ichijouji-sama?” but Ken’s only response was to clinch his fists tighter, his eyes never leaving Takeru’s face.
After what seemed like an eternity to Daisuke, Ken suddenly pushed himself up from where he had been leaning by the wall, pulling his shoulders straight, tight.
"I came, didn't I?" There was cold steel in Ken's voice even as he answered Takeru’s long since asked question. Ken did not like being challenged. And when he was, he found himself loathe to back down, even when good sense told him that that was exactly what Takaishi wanted. Still, for all the strength in Ken’s reply, he had been unable to hide the tiny shiver running underneath the icy words. And Takeru must have sensed it too, because he smiled the most hateful smile Daisuke had ever seen.
"You came." The words were patronizing and clearly mocking, but deep underneath, rang with finality. Whatever Takeru had planned, he seemed to believe it would all end soon, a realization that filled Daisuke’s gut with icy fear. Takeru took a few steps in Ken's direction, frowning as Daisuke moved, almost unconsciously, to stand in his path.
Takeru quickly went to side-step the boy, frowning as Daisuke easily moved with him. “This has nothing to with you Daisuke.” Takeru complained, his frown deepening as his second attempt to step around Daisuke was blocked as well. This time it was Daisuke’s turn to withhold comment. Instead he did his best to get Takeru to look at him, really see him, and to understand just how much this did have to do with him, even as he moved to block Takeru’s path a third time.
“Daisuke!” It was only then that Daisuke realized that Takeru’s refusal to look at him was, in and of itself, Takeru’s implicit acknowledgement of the very thing Daisuke had hoped to be able to communicate. He knew. Takeru knew. But he couldn’t allow himself to care. Whatever it was that Takeru was trying to gain—it meant more to him than Daisuke. And knowing that hurt Daisuke more than any words or any fist ever could.
It was only a split second, but Takeru was able to use Daisuke’s fleeting distraction to slip around him, walking with purposeful stride to where Ken stood, his eyes firmly pinned on the approaching blond. The violet-blue eyes did not even blink as Takeru stopped suddenly, his own scuffed tennis shoes mere centimeters from the tips of Ken’s trim leather Oxfords, and leaned in close.
“Was there something you wanted, Takeru-kun?” Ken’s words were soft, gentle and expressing a vague, almost perfunctory curiosity. The two might have been discussing the weather over a friendly afternoon tea. Takeru smiled, indicating his willingness to play along.
“I’ve been thinking,” Takeru admitted, ignoring the sardonic way Ken tut-tutted at the disclosure, “about how it is we came to call you oyabun.”
“I shouldn’t think it too difficult to figure out,” Ken scolded, “After all, you were there, were you not?”
Takeru nodded his agreement before leaning in even closer, not bothering to fight the urge to smile at the way Ken’s body tightened as Takeru’s breath ghosted past his ear. “But I was actually referring to Osamu¬-sama’s death,” he whispered, grinning even as he used his body to brace the dark haired man against the wall.
Ken’s response was swift. He shoved the blond man hard enough to send him sprawling on the floor, face tilted up from where he now sat with a look of wry amusement.
“Oh come on,” Takeru chided, hopping easily to his feet even as he brushed off the butt of his jeans, “It’s not like you were particularly subtle about it. You pushed him in front of a god-damned bus.” But if Takeru was hoping for an emotional response, none was forthcoming. Instead, Ken had resumed his disinterested stare.
“I think I’ve made it quite clear, Takashi-kun, that I dislike being touched,” Ken intoned, “Please try to remember.” The simple words somehow managed to suggest that Ken did not really believe Takeru capable of even that much.
Takeru could not help a small chuckle of genuine amusement that escaped him at Ken’s well-played nonchalance. Arrogance was easily the oyabun’s greatest strength. Now to see if it was his greatest weakness as well.
“My apologies,” Takeru offered, stepping forward again, standing not a half-step further away from where he had been only moments before, seemingly oblivious to the look of vague annoyance Ken shot his direction.
“Was there something else, Takashi¬-kun¬?” Ken queried after Takeru failed to continue.
“Something else?” Takeru mulled the words over carefully before continuing, “Yes. I suppose there is something else.” Takeru smiled, ignoring Ken’s look of resigned annoyance, “Don’t worry,” he assured the silent oyabun. “It’s a simple thing really,” Takeru guaranteed him, “I just asked you here to tell you that this is the end.” He smiled at the vaguely interested look that Ken gave him, the first of the conversation, “The end of you.” Takeru promised, “And the end of the Tokeisou-gumi.”
“Oh?” Ken questioned, much as if he were listening to some child describe something in which he had nothing more than a polite interest, “Why’s that?”
Takeru, too, purposefully kept his tone light, answering easily, “Surely, you must know.” Takeru smiled, strolling leisurely towards the young oyabun, “Justice,” he answered, shrugging indifferently, “Or maybe it is revenge for all the lives you and your family have ruined.” Here Takeru’s anger seemed to get the better of him, “For all the lives you have taken.”
Ken waited until Takeru had control of himself again before asking, “And how do you expect you’ll be able to manage that?” There was a genuine curiosity underlining the soft words.
“Because, I know, Ken,” Takeru insisted, not even noticing the way Ken’s lip curled at the dropped honorific, “I know the truth. Everything.” Takeru shook his head as if he couldn’t believe the utter audacity of Ken’s question, "Do you really think that there is anything you can do to stop me?” he asked.
At first it did not seem as if Ken was going to respond, but after what felt like several long minutes he broke the heavy silence by reaching over to pull the room's door shut. There was a second of total darkness followed by the vaguely insect-like buzz-click of warming fluorescents as the room brightened with artificial light.
“Everything, eh?” Both Daisuke and Takeru’s eyes turned toward where Ken had silently shifted, an easy half meter from where he had been seconds earlier, his hand sliding off the seemingly well-known light switch even as he sent an unperturbed smirk in Takeru’s direction.
“Everything.” Takeru confirmed, grinning wolfishly at Ken, even as the older boy narrowed his eyes, "Even what keeps little Ken-chan awake at night." Ken bristled at the pet name, a feral snarl twisting his lips even as Takeru continued, “Even why little Ken-chan can’t bring himself to enter Osamu-sama’s room without calling for back-up.” Daisuke watched as Ken’s entire body seemed to tighten, starting with his fists and continuing until every muscle was tensed with barely repressed emotion, only to have it all drain away, just as quickly, leaving nothing more than the burning hate in Ken’s eyes. But the short moment had been enough. Takeru’s face shone bright with his victory even as he took a step back.
“Like I said, it’s really so simple, isn’t it?” Takeru asked, smiling as Ken’s dark eyes followed his every movement, “Little Ken-chan’s Achilles’ heel?” Ken let out a barely audible growl at the continued use of the pet name, but otherwise did not respond.
“To think that it was always so obvious,” Takeru continued, shaking his head even as he began to pace about. “At first I couldn’t figure out what Taichi had to do with anything,” he told Ken, “but then one day I just realized. He knew.” Takeru turned suddenly from where he had been pacing, closing the distance between himself and Ken with just a few quick steps, “He knew, didn’t he?” he asked the young oyabun, looking for confirmation of what he had already worked out for himself. “He knew about you, about Osamu-sama.” Takeru nodded at the way the corners of Ken’s mouth tightened, his eyes smoldering with rage.
“Of course he did,” Takeru finally concluded for himself, “It all makes sense now. Why else would he have ever put himself in that position? Why would he have risked leaving us behind?” Takeru’s blue eyes widened as he felt himself making connections that heretofore had eluded him. “What other possible reason could he have had for risking everything if not some misguided notion of saving poor little Ken-chan?”
There was a flash of what appeared to be genuine respect in Takeru’s eyes before the blue darkened once again with disgust. “Be honest now,” Takeru chided, a sarcastic edge to the cadence of his voice, “Was Taichi part of your brilliant plan, or did you just get lucky?” Takeru’s disgust was obvious. Ken, however, did not seem willing to rise to the bait. If anything, his body had relaxed, his eyes softening.
“You don’t understand anything.”
It took Daisuke a moment to realize that Ken had even spoken, his voice so soft as to be almost inaudible. Still, there was no denying the hard edge of truth in the simple statement. Daisuke tried to catch the expression on the dark-haired boy’s face, but Ken had turned away from him and Takeru, both, his eyes, instead, searching for something on the far side of the room.
“Do you really believe that someone like you would ever be capable of grasping the entire puzzle from only one or two pieces?” Ken did not even glance at Takeru as he asked his question, moving quickly in the direction he had been staring just moments before, “I guess I should be impressed you’ve figured out as much has you have,” Ken stood before the heavy oak desk that sat against the far wall, “but somehow it’s just more... Ken trailed off, looking as if he were fighting against his own better senses as he reached for the small right hand drawer, his hand shaking slightly even as he forced it to grip the pull and open the drawer.
The drawer opened easily, but there was no missing the self-depreciating sigh that escaped Ken’s thin frame. With a shake of his head, Ken reached in and removed whatever it was that was waiting there before turning around and making his way back to Takeru.
“So you have it all figured out, eh Takeru-kun?” he asked, his voice warming with vague geniality. He even smiled, a quiet, simple smile that chilled Daisuke to his core. Ken reached out, offering the object he had removed from the drawer to Takeru with easy indifference. Daisuke, however, could not help his sharp intake of breath as he recognized the heavy black make of a gun. Ken’s eyes never left Takeru’s face even as he held his free hand up, stalling Daisuke’s automatic step in their direction.
“It’s okay,” Ken assured Daisuke even as he gestured for Takeru to take the weapon in question, “Osamu killed Taichi for me,” something seemed to catch in Ken’s throat, twisting the edges of his mouth with pain momentarily before he continued, “And I killed Osamu for Taichi.” Again, Ken offered Takeru the revolver “It’s only right,” he admitted quietly, though Daisuke was not sure who Ken was trying to convince.
Takeru reached out, wrapping his hand around the barrel of the gun so that he and Ken now both held it between each other, “You think I won’t do it,” he surmised, nearly dropping the gun when Ken let go, taking a step back. Takeru grabbed the gun with his left hand, turning it so that he could hold the grip correctly even as he raised the weapon in Ken’s direction. “I will.”
Ken smiled at the haughty confidence in Takeru’s voice. “I’m counting on it,” he assured Takeru. Daisuke couldn’t bear the ugly smirk that seemed to twist Takeru’s features, watching instead as Takeru’s finger curled around the trigger in eager readiness.
“Just one question first though,” Ken interrupted Daisuke’s silent dread. Takeru did not answer, but then he did not pull the trigger either, leaving Daisuke to wonder if that was all that Ken could expect to get in way of consent. Ken must have been thinking the same thing, because with only the token of pauses, he continued, “Why?” Ken allowed the silence to stretch much longer this time before clarifying, “That is to say, is this really about Taichi?” he queried, “Or...” Ken seemed lost in thought, a single finger tapping at his lips as he pantomimed intense concentration, “Or is it Osamu-oniisama whom you intend to avenge?”
This time it was Ken’s turn to smile at Takeru’s involuntary intake of breath. “What?” Ken asked, his voice mocking, “You didn’t really think nobody knew about that did you? That you were the only one who knew everything.”
“Or was that little piece of information just something I was supposed to take to my grave?” Ken leaned in towards Takeru, his aggression matching, if not exceeding that that Takeru had displayed earlier. “You get to take out the big, bad Ichijouji,” Ken sneered, “and your precious Daisuke never needs to know that secretly you were just getting your revenge for being cuckolded. No need for him to know you happily fucked the kind of guy who’d throw you over for his own little brother the minute his own father was cremated. Is that it, Takashi-kun?”
Ken took a step back, the fury that had been boiling over only seconds earlier draining away until the only emotion left on his face suggested a deeply fatigued resignation. “Well?” he prompted, his arms open.
“Why?” This time it was Takeru who was asking, “Why Taichi? If you knew, why didn’t you ever say anything to me?” Takeru had lowered the revolver, his head cocked to the side as he tried to process the new information that he had just been given, “I would have...” Takeru’s voice faded as he considered what, if anything he would have done to help the small, quiet boy he blamed for destroying his optimism. Ken must have guessed his train of thought because he answered with little more than a derisive humph.
“Don’t grow a conscience now,” Ken complained, “Not when we’re so close to finally dropping the curtain on this ridiculous nightmare.” The words were caustic and dismissive, but Daisuke could easily tease out the fear underneath. Now, if only he could believe that Ken’s fear was for his life rather than that it might be spared. But, somehow, he just was not able to convince himself that that was true.
The inherent challenge was enough to goad Takeru into raising the gun again, the end of the barrel hovering no more than a meter from Ken’s thin chest. Takeru smiled, “I always imagined you’d put up more of a fight,” he admitted, his slight shrug making the revolver bob in an almost carefree manner.
“You may think you know everything, but really don’t have the first fucking clue,” Ken replied every bit as nonchalantly, the oddly un-Ken-like obscenity falling easily from his tongue even as his eyes gently fluttered shut, much as if fighting the urge to sleep had suddenly become too much effort. After just a second though, the deep purple eyes flashed back open. “It’s just all so perfect,” he admitted, smiling at Takeru’s obvious confusion, “Osamu kills Taichi, I kill Osamu, you kill me...” Ken’s words faded, long hair brushing his shoulder as his head tilted in thought, “But who,” he questioned, sending a significant look in Daisuke’s direction, “kills you?” He smiled at Takeru’s clear discomfiture. “And then...” again he allowed his words to trail off, a humorless smile mocking the idea that Takeru had never bothered considering.
“Stop this Ken.” Daisuke was as surprised to hear his own voice as the other two boys seemed to be. “Enough already, he gets it,” Daisuke promised in lieu of Takeru.
“Hn.” Ken ignored Daisuke, motioning instead for Takeru to lift the barrel of his gun higher before tapping his head impatiently, “Thorough is important,” he acknowledged, “but so is quick.” Ken smiled, “Surely even you can appreciate that, Takashi-kun, given Taichi-san’s demise?”
“Ken!” Daisuke’s voice was insistent even as he made short work of the distance between he and Ken, “Enough!” he repeated, grabbing, shaking even, the taller boy. Ken eyed the hand clinched painfully around his arm but he did not shy away as per usual.
He did, however, give Daisuke the smallest of heartfelt smiles, his eyes burning warmly, if sadly, for the barest of seconds before he turned them back to Takeru, “Aim carefully,” Ken instructed, taking a step towards Takeru in what could only be perceived as a helpful manner, “I won’t forgive you if you miss.”
“You think I won’t really shoot?” Takeru asked, raising the weapon a little higher as Ken had suggested.
Ken shook his head, “No. I think you will,” he smiled. Then, without even a hint of premeditation, Ken’s right hand curled into a fist, landing with unrestrained force against Daisuke’s solar plexus, crumpling the younger boy forward. Ken gently loosened the fingers still fighting to maintain their grip on his arm, lowering Daisuke’s bent form to the floor softly before standing back up and taking yet another step in Takeru’s direction. They now stood no more than three paces apart, Takeru’s keyed-up stance offering an odd foil Ken’s quiet demeanor.
“Quick.” Ken prodded, “Before he gets up.”
Takeru nodded, easily adjusting the gun to account for the shorter distance but unable to keep from hesitating at Daisuke’s sharp cry.
“No!” Daisuke croaked, his voice still rough with pain and the effort of speaking, “Takeru!”
“Just kill me you god-damned coward!” Ken insisted, his frustration overcoming his innate politesse. But Daisuke was not about to give up either.
“Stop this Takeru,” he begged, watching, hoping for some crack in the icy blue of Takeru’s eyes. “Please…” Daisuke struggled to his knees, his eyes never leaving Takeru’s even when the pain made it difficult for him to catch his breath. But Ken was not going to wait for Daisuke to gain the upper hand.
“Enough!” Ken reached forward, wrenching the gun out of Takeru’s hands and turning so that he now held it angled down toward Daisuke’s head. “Get up.” Ken motioned with his head for Daisuke to stand even while Takeru could only watch, horrified.
With little more than willpower alone, Daisuke managed to get first one foot then the other under himself, standing slowly, his right arm still slung protectively around his middle.
“Stand up.” Ken insisted again, pulling Daisuke fully upright. Daisuke could not help but flinch as he felt Ken place cold steel against his temple. Ken was angry.
But Ken’s attention was entirely on Takeru and it was Takeru whom he addressed, telling him shortly, “Make him leave.”
It took Daisuke a moment to realize that he was, in fact, the “him” to which Ken was referring.
Takeru, too, seemed surprised by the order, hesitating before reminding Ken, “I’m not the one who told him to come.”
Daisuke could feel Ken’s hand shaking though the gun resting against the side of his head, though whether it was in anger, annoyance or something totally different, he could not be sure. But, after what seemed like an interminable silence, Daisuke heard Ken release an almost amused sounding breath.
Daisuke strained his eyes to get a look at Ken and was surprised to see small smile on the taller man’s face. He felt, more than saw, the older boy shrug before Ken called his name, “Daisuke.”
“Yes,” Daisuke turned his head to answer Ken without even thinking of the gun still pointed in his direction. But he would have been hard pressed to miss it now as both his eyes rose to note the edge of the barrel not more than a couple of centimeters from his face.
Ken fought the urge to roll his eyes at the utterly ridiculous way Daisuke’s eyes crossed as he considered the weapon pointed directly at his forehead. Ken lowered the gun, waiting until Daisuke’s attention was focus once more on himself.
“Daisuke,” Ken repeated before continuing, his voice hard, “Get out of here,” Ken nodded toward the door.
“No.” There wasn’t even a moment’s hesitation before Daisuke answered, nor was there even the vaguest inkling that he might be talked into reconsidering. But Ken was willing to press the point.
“Get out of here,” he said again, “Now.”
“No.” This time the response was, if anything, quicker. The look that Ken shot Takeru clearly stated, “I told you so.”
“What do you expect me to do about it?” Takeru asked when it became apparent that Ken had no intention of continuing.
Daisuke watched Ken’s lip curl, just the smallest hint of the frustration Ken was feeling leaking out, “Now’s not the time for false modesty,” Ken’s voice had dropped low, dangerous.
“My, my,” Takeru continued, oblivious to the danger in Ken’s mood, “Is Ichijouji-kun really suggesting someone might be more capable than he?”
The gun was up and pointing at Takeru before anyone had a chance to react.
“Ken...” Ken glanced over toward Daisuke when he heard the soft appeal. Something seemed to cloud his eyes as he considered the possibilities offered by Daisuke’s apprehensive tone.
“Would it be enough?” Ken asked himself softly, watching Daisuke all the while. He just could not be sure.
“Ken?” this time Daisuke’s tone was questioning. Ken tightened his grip on Daisuke’s arm, turning Daisuke to face Takeru even as he pressed the barrel of the revolver into Daisuke’s side.
“I won’t ask you twice.” There was no missing the finality in Ken’s voice. Still, Takeru found himself hesitating. He did not really understand why it was that Ken had suddenly decided that Daisuke should leave. Did he think that Takeru would not be able to pull the trigger with Daisuke watching? Did that mean that it was not all a bluff? Is this really what Ken had been planning all along?
Or was this Ken’s way of just convincing him that it was? Ken held the gun. What would keep Ken from shooting him as soon as Daisuke was out of sight? Ken would not worry about any possible consequences. Takeru did not doubt for a moment that the young oyabun would not hesitate to tell whatever story best suited his ultimate purpose.
But what was his ultimate purpose? And did it really matter. Regardless of what Ken intended, the gun was pressed into Daisuke’s side and like any venomous creature, pressed hard enough, Ken would strike. So it really became a question of who was to suffer the serpent’s wrath.
And Takeru knew what his answer to that would always be.
“Daisuke,” cold blue eyes met warm amber, “What the fuck do you think you’re doing here?” he asked, “Get out.” Daisuke’s mouth opened to argue, but Takeru continued to hold his gaze, “I said,” Takeru removed the goggles hanging around his neck, tossing them in the direction of the red headed boy, “Get the fuck out.”
Daisuke dropped his eyes to the goggles held secure to his chest by the hand that had reached out to catch them without a second thought. He did not have long, however, to consider the meaning behind Takeru giving up his most prized possession. Daisuke’s eyes turned to Ken as he heard the telltale click of the gun’s hammer being pulled back.
“Daisuke!” Takeru’s voice had taken on distinctly insistent edge. Daisuke looked back into bright cerulean eyes, dreading what he would see there, “Leave.” Liquid blue resignation and no room allowed for argument.”This doesn’t have anything to do with you.”
“No.” It was the only answer that Daisuke could give. Everything suddenly stopped, Takeru’s eyes darkening until the blue was actually more of a grey.
“Get out of here,” Takeru insisted yet again, his eyes doing their best to drill holes into Daisuke’s obstinate soul. Daisuke shook his head no, his eyes no more willing to acquiesce.
“Fine!” Takeru threw his hands up in the air, “I give up,” he admitted, “Shoot the son of a bitch,” he told Ken. The dark haired man sighed, carefully lowering the hammer of the gun, before dropping the gun to his side.
“Such a complete idiot,” Ken complained, though Daisuke was not sure to whom Ken was referring. “I’m leaving.” Ken informed them both. He looked at the weapon in his hand for a moment almost as if he were unsure of how it had gotten there before handing it off to Daisuke. The gun was heavy in Daisuke’s grip.
Daisuke looked down at his hands, one holding Takeru’s goggles, the other Ken’s gun, and suddenly found himself struck by the realization that he did not really want either. At least, not now. Not when he was so well aware of the meaning inherent in each.
“Damn it, Ichijouji!” The words startled Daisuke out of his thoughts. “You’re not talking your way out of this one,” Takeru promised, stepping in front of Daisuke, but not before Daisuke saw him reach for a second gun holstered under his jacket. “I meant it when I told you this was the end.” Takeru brought the gun to bear on Ken’s still turned back.
“Stop—“ Daisuke would be too late, but still he turned, swinging Ken’s gun around toward Takeru in some vain, all-but unconscious hope that the motion might distract Takeru long enough to give Ken a fighting chance.
But he was too late. Daisuke flinched at the reverberating sound of the gun, answering the surprisingly hollow pop of Takeru’s weapon by firing the weapon in his hand more as a defensive instinct than because of any coherent thought. Eyes wide, desperate to protect, what? Himself? Takeru? Ken? Daisuke couldn’t be sure. The only thing I could be certain of was the odd way his world suddenly seemed to narrow until all he could see was the confused way Takeru cocked his head, a shaky hand reaching down to gently finger the rapidly blossoming wound on his side.
And then he smiled. Takeru smiled. An amused, somewhat self depreciating smile. That things could have come to this. That he could have let them come to this. So much for the god-damned plan. Daisuke was at his side, gently prying his fingers from around his gun and dropping it to the floor even as he slowly lowered Takeru down next to it. Ken was there to, the only indication that Takeru had hit his target a smear of red blood on his shirtsleeve.
But no. Takeru had not even accomplished that much. The blood Ken wore was Takeru’s own. Takeru watched as Daisuke grabbed Ken’s arm for what had to have been the second time, his own dirty hands smearing the clean pressed shirt further. Smearing it with Takeru’s own blood even as Daisuke shook the unresponsive oyabun, shouting something as he pointed toward the door. Or, at least, Takeru imagined he must be shouting something. Somehow, the entire scene came off as nothing more than some over-acted silent film, the player’s desperate gestures and mimicry of words hoping and ultimately failing to compensate for the lack of a more natural form of communication.
And then Daisuke was kneeling next to him again, both hands pressing down against hole in his side, utterly ineffective against the gurgle of blood seemly desperate to escape the confines of Takeru’s body. Ken still stood over him, a pale hand pressed against a reddened cheek. Had Daisuke struck him? He must have, but Takeru did not know how he could have missed it. Still it was satisfying to see the only emotion that Takeru had ever hoped to elicit from the notoriously stoic oyabun: fear. Only now, after everything that Takeru had tried, after every carefully laid plan, only now did the older boy give Takeru the one thing he had so desperately wanted.
And why? It wasn’t fear for his life. The Daisuke frantically working to keep what little was left of Takeru’s life from leaking out his side didn’t have a thought to spare for the young oyabun. And after, Takeru thought, after he was gone and cold and nothing more than a small pressed wood box of ashes, what then? Did Ken think that Daisuke would be any kind of threat then?
And the truth of that was painted in pain across Ken’s face even as he kneeled down next to Daisuke, overcoming his natural squeamishness to press cold, shaking hands against Daisuke’s warm, wet ones. Ken was helpless to stop his one chance of death from leaking away.
“Daisuke,” Takeru spoke his name in only the barest of whispers. Daisuke was surprised he even heard it over the pounding of his heart and the odd keening noise Ken kept making. Still, his eyes were instantly on the blond’s face and Daisuke was rewarded with a beautiful, heartfelt smile. He smiled back at the quickly fading man, shushing him even as he leaned in closer, hoping for another word. Takeru did not disappoint.
“Daisuke,” he repeated, bright blue eyes expressing a happy hopefulness pale lips could never have managed in their current state, “My Daisuke. Thank you.”
Daisuke did his best to offer a smile in return, but even without a mirror to judge, he knew his own offering was far from believable. But Takeru did not mind. On the contrary, he found the pain in Daisuke’s dark eyes his own bright reward.
With one last heavy breath, Takeru was gone.
><> | <>< | ><> | <><
“Hmmm, hurts, don’t it?”
Daisuke did not answer the mocking tone but was unable to stop his eyes from rolling. Shit. Even that hurt.
“Daisuke?” Yamato questioned at the pained groan, his hand gently patting the side of Daisuke’s face, “Come on, Daisuke. Open your eyes and look at me.” Daisuke let his head roll to the side, looking at the blond sitting on the pavement next to him. Yeah. This was better. Lying down was definitely better than trying to stand. Why hadn’t he thought of that sooner?
“Because you can be a bit of an idiot,” the blond answered for him, a friendly smile removing any hurt from the words.
“I’m the idiot?” Daisuke asked, fighting to push the words past a too-thick tongue, “Since when?”
“Daisuke?” Yamato asked again, gently turning Daisuke’s face so that his focus shifted from the younger brother to the older. “Don’t try to talk, okay? Just stay with me. I have someone coming. Soon,” Yamato promised, even as he glanced worriedly out towards where traffic could be heard passing. Daisuke’s eyes shifted right at Takeru’s bemused chuckle.
“You were right,” Takeru admitted, “He really is a complete idiot.” Still, Takeru smiled warmly at his brother, an almost wistful look filling his eyes before he rose easily to his feet, brushing off the seat of his jeans even as he stepped around Daisuke to look at the other young man lying on the pavement.
“Ken.” Takeru glanced back over his shoulder at Daisuke, frowning at the barely choked out name. Yamato, too, looked up, his eyes searching Daisuke’s face before glancing over to where Ichijouji lay.
“It’s okay,” Yamato hastened to assure Daisuke, a hand on the side of Daisuke’s face doing its best to gently turn seeking brown eyes away from the slowly advancing pool of blood surrounding the dark haired man. “He’s—“ Yamato could not bring himself to actually say the words, finally opting for the somewhat prosaic, “He’s at peace.”
Takeru cocked an eyebrow at his brother before turning back to Ken, only admitting after a long pause, “You know, he’s right.” Takeru turned back to Daisuke with a shrug, “The little S.O.B. actually looks happy,” he complained before tacking on a muttered, “Figures.”
Daisuke smiled at the ill-disguised disgust in Takeru’s voice. “Good.” It would be useless to pretend he felt otherwise and Takeru would not have believed it anyway. Besides, Daisuke knew that Takeru was really as relieved as he was and it was his relief that angered him as much as anything else. Daisuke smiled. Leave it to Takeru to be stubborn to the end.
“You wouldn’t want me any other way,” Takeru insisted, his glib response only confirming Daisuke’s thoughts. The younger blond frowned at his brother who has usurped his earlier position on Daisuke’s right side in an effort to stanch the flow of blood from Daisuke’s wound. Yamato did not seem to get the hint, though, his energies focused on his work and so Takeru settled on Daisuke’s left hand side, smiling when Daisuke’s eyes followed.
“Thanks.” The simple gratitude from Takeru was as unexpected as it was rare. “For looking out for him,” Takeru clarified, hooking a thumb in Yamato’s direction, “or at least, for trying,” he chucked, “because you didn’t do a real great job.”
Daisuke wanted to tell Takeru just where he could put his half hearted thanks and just how good of a job he had managed to do, given what he was working with, but somehow, the words just would not come. Just as well, really. Daisuke could hear the faint echo of sirens heading closer. They would not make it in time. It was almost painful, how happy that made him.
“Alright then,” Takeru declared, standing one last time, leaning back to stretch before reaching down and proffering Daisuke a cool hand, pulling him up so that they now stood eye to eye.
“Better?” Takeru asked.
“Yeah,” Daisuke agreed, his eyes darting over Takeru’s shoulder to where Ken lay. Takeru stepped aside without argument. Daisuke kneeled down next to the dark headed boy, his fingertips ghosting over the blue-black eyelashes resting almost as if in sleep.
“He’ll be happy?” Daisuke did not really expect a response from Takeru so the gentle tug of fingers working through the messy snags of his hair surprised him. Daisuke glanced over his shoulder to where Takeru stood, considering the serene face of the older boy.
“I don’t know,” came the honest response. And that was all that could really be said. They did not know, could not know and would never know.
But they could hope.
And Daisuke fully intended to do so. And judging by the uncomfortable look on Takeru’s face, he, too, found it difficult to disregard such a fundamental part of his nature, much to his distaste.
“And Yamato?” Daisuke could not help but worry about the older man, still fighting to stay with the paramedics even as the clearly suspicious police officers tried to move him further away in the hopes of getting some answers.
Takeru, too, was watching his brother, trying to will him the good sense not to deck the young officer that kept trying to pull him over to their vehicle. “He’s stronger than you give him credit for,” he assured Daisuke, “Stronger than—“ Takeru flinched. Right hook to the jaw. He knew it, “Aww, shit...”
“Such a fucking blond,” he heard Daisuke mutter under his breath.
With his best put upon sigh, the younger blond turned to Daisuke, “What about me? Huh?” he asked, “Miss me?” There was no denying the bright twinkle in Takeru’s eye. Daisuke just shook his head. Be it ego or audacity behind the question, he knew that there would be no settling it with a simple answer. At least, not peaceably.
“Idiot,” Daisuke chided, sounding more cross than he actually felt. But somehow, even though he spoke harshly, Daisuke could not help his smile, a pure, gentle smile. He reached out, threading his fingers through Takeru’s and giving his hand a squeeze, even as he let the blond lead him away without argument or question, though where they were going, Daisuke had no idea. And, in all honesty, he really didn’t care. Home was where your heart was, and right now, Daisuke could honestly say that heart was here, walking next to him.
In the end, all Daisuke could do was shake his head, miming a vague disbelief at the blond’s audacious question, even as he found himself wondering out loud, “What made you think that you were ever actually gone?”
I'll sing it one last time for you, then we really have to go.
You've been the only thing that's right, in all I've done.
And I can barely look at you, but every single time I do,
I know we'll make it anywhere away from here.
Light up, light up, as if you have a choice,
Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you, dear.
Louder, louder, and we'll run for our lives.
I can hardly speak, I understand why you can't raise your voice to say.
To think I might not see those eyes makes it so hard not to cry.
And as we say our long goodbyes, I nearly do.
Light up, light up, as if you have a choice.
Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you, dear.
Louder, louder, and we'll run for our lives.
I can hardly speak, I understand why you can't raise your voice to say.
Slower, slower, we don't have time for that.
All I want is to find an easier way to get out of our little heads.
Have heart, my dear, we're bound to be afraid.
Even if it's just for a few days, making up for all this mess.
Light up, light up, as if you have a choice.
Even if you cannot hear my voice, I'll be right beside you, dear.
-Run, Snow Patrol
That's it! That's all she wrote! I hope you enjoy what will most likely be my last Digimon fanfiction. I just don't watch the show like I used to, nor do I still read much fanfiction. The inspiration... has slipped. But it was fun while it lasted. *grins* Thanks for the wild ride.