Chapter 1: Dwelling
"Do you ever feel alone?" His hands were always warm.
"Alone? Hmm..." He seemed to ponder it a long time -- too long.
"Maybe." He concluded, eyes clouded with mystery. "Maybe it's because we are alone." His fingers intertwined with mine.
"Number Three." The voice erupted through the intercom. He gave me a smile, one full of love and maybe something more bitter. "See you, Kazu-chan."
His fingers left mine, a sad smile on his lips like he knew something I didn't. I could only stare.
Was printed all too neatly on the back of his bland, white jumper. He glanced back once -- that was when I realized this would be the last time I'd see him.
He wasn't even crying but I most certainly was.
Eijun stuck his tongue out, sliding it up a vanilla flavored cone. Enjoying the cold sliding down his throat, a simple smile on his lips. Dwelling on a better time, when parents hugged their children and their children hugged back. He could feel a darker time creeping up inside his brain, his hands shaking a little too nervously for it to be considered anything normal. The sounds and screams erupting his reality and his fingers losing their grip on the cone and --
"What are you doing, Three?" Wakana’s voice brought it all to an end, forcing him back to reality, almost like she was interrupting a really good song with her really nice voice.
"Sitting, for the most part." Eijun replied, the small smile on his lips fading into a thin line. "You can call me Eijun now, y'know that right?" He bent his neck back, glancing over his shoulder at Wakana. Her arms were behind her back, her upper body leaning forward, standing on her heels. She clicked her tongue, landing flat on her feet, her back straightening.
"It'll feel like I've forgotten that way." She admitted, hands slipping into her bright green jacket.
"It feels like dwelling to me." Eijun mumbled, with a shrug. "C'mon, it's hot and we've got things to pick up today." He shuffled to his feet, brushing invisible dirt off his pants. He decided against brushing off the cone and tossing it in the trash, it was already dirty and lying on the dirt -- some animal is bound to come by and snag the fallen treat. He wasn’t really worried. Wakana was going off about something the kids did that day, something about stealing fruit. Eijun wasn’t interested in all the boring details, it felt like he didn’t have enough time to be.
The walk back was short lived, Wakana pointing out the various plants that littered the ground, petunias. They were her favorite so of course she was pointing them out. She was chiming about how they were her favorite due to how pastel they looked. She stated they were calming and easy to look out -- hard to care for, so of course she was ecstatic when she found them growing naturally in somewhere like here.
“They’re like a beacon of hope, you know?” Wakana stated, crouching down so that way all her weight was being applied to her toes, her back hunched as her thin fingers reached out to touch one. Wakana had a thing against picking flowers -- Eijun had learned that the hard way. Said boy simply watched, hands pushed into his orange skinny jeans, his jacket was a shade darker than the orange pants.
Wakana bent forward, her nose barely grazing a pink petunia. Her eyes shutting, acting as if the scent alone was pure bliss. Eijun could only stare at the clouds, watching the white puffs float across the rather blue sky. It was chilly -- not extremely cold but not too warm. Eijun’s personal favorite.
“What’s your favorite flower, Ei-chan?” Wakana asked, tilting her head back to glance at him. It took him a second to pry his eyes away from the sky, his eyes lingering on the ground for a split second before shrugging.
“I’d say sunflowers but they really aren’t a favorite anymore. Maybe… Lilies. Red ones.” Eijun fessed, his shoulders rolling up in a shrug. “It’s not hard to tell you favorites.” He teased, snickering under his breath. Wakana stood up, lightly punching his shoulder after straightening out her plaid skirt.
“Gosh you’re kinda depressing, y’know that, right?” Wakana asked, scowl apparent on her face. He stuck his finger between her brows where a crease had started. “You’re gonna get wrinkles.” Eijun stated a bit dryly -- Wakana swatting at his hand. “You’ll be the reason!” She mumbled, huffing as her arms crossed.
The rest of the walk was silent -- not the awkward kind that left you regretting the whole situation -- but the perfect, comfortable kind. The two stopped at the corner and Wakana bowed politely, stating her goodbyes before waving him off -- yelling at him to not be late tomorrow. Eijun could only roll his eyes.
Work wasn't something that he really cared about -- picking plants and weeds just wasn’t appealing and it hardly paid. Sometimes the farm was gracious and tipped the two an extra cent -- Wakana usually got the extra cent because she was a girl. Eijun could only shake his head. “If only they knew…” He mumbled. Maybe life could shape up -- maybe the two of them could forget everything that happened in that place. Forget the cruelty and the insanity altogether. “Society, huh?” He asked no one in particular, his foot kicking a nearby rock as he headed home. The more prestigious and rich lived upwards -- in the mountains. It was cool up there and they didn’t have to suffer the blinding heat as bad. Eijun rolled his eyes, it’s not like he cared that he was poor -- he was angry that some people who simply didn’t deserve it were.
Maybe the world was normal and he was twisted but something in his gut screamed at him -- telling him it was the other way around. “How do you even live your life after something like that?” Eijun muttered, opening the door to his rather rundown home -- his family shouting obnoxiously loud.
But was he really? Eijun could only think that there was something more -- something he lacked. That he missed, but he couldn’t remember it. Hell, he hardly even remembered the darkest days of his life. He just knew they were dark and twisted -- he could only trust his gut in these matters. But for now, this was home. This is where he was needed and that’s all that mattered.
He was four when it happened -- his father had gotten drunk and harshly slapped him against the face. A sting biting at his cheek. He could hear the gasp from his mom, a sharp noise laced completely in worry and fear. So much fear.
He was five when he was given a test -- a test that'd be for his benefit. A test that would supposedly shape the new generation. The foster care seemed ecstatic, people congratulating him for passing -- saying it was quite the achievement. His mother was proud, fingers gently pushing hair behind his ear.
Kazuya was seven when his mom died and he didn't even know. Communication with anyone outside the establishment was illegal. Reporters were kindly turned away, like they were hiding an awful secret. (Which they were.) The tests left a sharp pain in his head -- one that sometimes caused him to cry and whine. The polite nurse and kind eyed doctor would tell him it's fine.
Kazuya saw a boy, one that excelled in reading and writing -- shocking to him, seeing as this boy was straight out of the country. Kazuya couldn't remember the boy's name, (seems like no one could) Kazuya could only think of brown hair and threatening eyes. He could only think of a loud laugh and an obnoxiously wide grin. He could only think of tears as he watched the boy defend another kid. Could only think of pain as they said the boy was to be terminated for displaying acts of violence.
The rumor that went around was that termination meant freeing the patients.
But everyone knew it was a lie to keep them at ease.
It happened too quick, red burning flames and running. Hand in hand -- stumbling over the brush and uneven ground. "Run!" Kazuya shouted -- but it fell upon deaf ears. No staff there to scold them, just tiny feet pounding against the dead grass. Kazuya spared a glance back, eyes widening.
An explosion. Painting everything black, grey, and orange. Shoving -- no, throwing them straight into a chain link fence. Crying choked from sore throats, sobs reaching silent, no one able to hear. Not even himself. They climbed and climbed. Escaping, running. Falling, pain, running. Both boys' swore that day, swore to never look back.
They did anyway.
Kazuya sat silently, legs propped up on a wooden coffee table, eyes shut. All too tired. Youichi letting out a string of curses somewhere -- the bathroom. Kazuya knows that this isn't the way to go, but it'll get them known; recognized.
Riddles and more riddles. Words with more than just one meaning -- words that hit too close to home. Words that remind them about that place. Remind them of brown hair and fire lit eyes. Remind them of loud shouting and the source of happiness.
Reminding them of when it all came to an abrupt end.
Kazuya can't help but wonder. Wonder if there is an afterlife, one full of love and new beginnings.
Kazuya hopes the brown haired boy is happy -- in a better place. The boy deserved so much more.
Youichi beats Kazuya to the door, both well aware of the illegal substance passing through the door frame. The box is dropped with a loud thump.
"If you're done moping, come help me."
Kazuya doesn't hesitate -- doesn't see a reason too. He knows exactly why he's doing this. It's to let the brown haired boy have some sort of peace. Knowing his death won't be forgotten.
"Twelve, do you think they're proud?" It slips past his dry lips, floating in the air heavily. Sudden tension and Kazuya can only play with the red wire between his index and thumb finger.
Youichi is quiet for a long time, brows creased in either worry or concentration -- maybe even both. "Don't see why they wouldn't, those disrespectful brats better be happy." Youichi mumbled, tweaking around with a phone and a piece of copper.
For Youichi, love is the color pink dancing atop a pale head. For Youichi, love is the number four. For Youichi, love is crying over the wooden plank that was sloppily hit into muddy and damp ground.
For Youichi, love was painful. He just wanted to make sure both Four and the brown haired kid's deaths aren't silent -- that they're known.
That the place they spent years locked up in isn't forgotten.
Out of all the wooden planks with decaying wood, neither of them no which belongs to the boy. This usually causes Kazuya's grin to falter and Youichi's eyebrows to crease.
They stand and stare, hands shoved into pockets and tension heavy. They said when they got out of that place, they'd do it all. But one can only wonder, what have they done?
They've made a few bombs and blown a few places to smithereens. They've dropped a few riddles and accidentally saved a few people. But what else? Have they moved on? Why are they still in Tokyo? Who's going to figure it all out?
Kazuya and Youichi can only hope, lips pursed in thought, eyes closed or narrowed in concentration. They can only pray to a God that neither of them really believe in.
Maybe they should just accept fate for what it is, accept what fate handed them and move forward. This -- whatever it may be, isn't just dwelling anymore.
Pls comment if there are mistakes and leave me kudos ye
Chapter 3: Living/Pretending
Wakana and Eijun
No, this isn't the last chapter though it may seem like that. It'll get more interesting from here on out though because I've come to the conclusion it's getting a little dull and long. Don't worry though, this is the last irrelevant backstory chapter. I'm just trying to add character development.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Promise me you'll come back when they're done, okay?" Kazuya said, shaky hands brushing the hair out of Eijun's face. Eijun laughed -- noisy and happy.
"Of course, Kazu-chan!" Eijun grinned from ear to ear, hands settled on Kazuya. "It'll only be for a little while, okay? Don't worry." Eijun shifted backward -- like he was staring at an art project.
"Hey, Ei-chan?" Kazuya asked, messing with his food -- not intending to actually eat it.
"Hm?" Eijun hums, mouth stuffed, crumbs sitting stubbornly on his bottom lip and chin.
"What does Death Row mean?" Kazuya went ahead and let his fork go, it dropping with a small clatter against the plate.
"Hmmm," Eijun swallowed the rest of his food, a white sleeve coming up to furiously wipe at his lips. "It's kinda like... Being told you're dumb," Eijun waved his hands around in a motion. "Basically, I'm not smart enough to be here so their gonna tutor me." Eijun smiled, although this time it was a little sad.
Kazuya could only narrow his eyes, chin resting in his palm. "But you are smart, Ei-chan."
"In an hour," Eijun started, hands behind his head, back flat against the stone cold bed. "I'll be receiving my first... lesson." Eijun seemed a little hesitant.
"Huh? In what?" Kazuya asked, head looking up from his book, legs swinging behind him, arms crossed under his chin.
"Life." Eijun smiled, smiled so bright it was almost blinding and Kazuya could only stare, a confused look crossing his face. "Life?"
"Boring!" Youichi muttered from a nearby bed, glancing up from his game of chess. "Life's pretty lame. Shouldn't they be helping you in math?" He asked, head tilted.
"Maybe." Eijun shrugged, seeming just a tad distant.
"Maybe they're starting with the easier subjects." Ryousuke mumbled, stifling a laughter but failing as everyone else in the room startled cracking up.
Everyone but Eijun and Kazuya. Kazuya glared a little at the others because Eijun looked almost hurt.
Eijun stares silently at the ceiling, a few chips and cracks are noticeable on the old paint. It feels like a dream. That whole experience feels like something straight out of a movie, maybe a fiction book. All Eijun knows is it doesn’t feel real and probably never will. He shifts a little in his bed and then forces himself up because he's going to be late for work at this pace. (And Wakana won't have any of that -- he knows she'll leave without him -- get all the pay and refuse to share).
Wakana meets him at the curve, eyes shining like beautiful dandelions and Eijun snickers silently to himself. His own eyes are glossy with sleep and his hair is still a little too messy to go unnoticed. Wakana simply laughs.
The two arrive at work, seconds to spare. They start picking weeds -- sometimes shining shoes on the side for even more money (though it hardly pays). Eijun's quick and loud, drawing attention from far and near. Wakana shakes her head, knowing that without Eijun's loud voice and obnoxious flailing, she'd be making close to nothing.
Eijun continues calling out and it's been a long day's work. Eijun -- quite sneakily if he says so himself -- slips a few extra dollars into her yellow envelope when she's not looking. She won't except anything like this from him. He shakes his head knowing that tomorrow he's going to get whacked upside the head -- but that doesn't matter. She needs it more.
This isn't obsession or dwelling.
Wakana needs the money because she decided -- quite boldly -- to take over an orphanage. One full of bright and happy kids -- some too smart. She has what you can say a phobia of someone coming along and doing what they did to her. She doesn't want the kids' to become apart of a failed experiment. Wakana doesn't stop teaching them all she knows though because who's going to properly do it?
Besides, she wasn't chosen to go to that place for no good reason. The tests they conducted were brutal and she never wanted to do it again.
If she fell behind though, she'd be separated from the others so she dedicated all her time to studying. If she was separated from the only ones there for her, she'd be completely lost and alone. She gave it her all and it paid graciously then, but now everyone thinks she's just trying to get a job and doesn't really know squat.
Wakana spends every dime and nickel on these kids, making sure to create funds for higher education because she wants them to succeed. She doesn't want them to stay poor -- to suffer anymore. She occasionally pulls money out of her savings to buy them all toys or materials to fix up the place. Wakana's strong but Eijun is stronger so he usually makes the repairs on the rundown excuse they call an orphanage.
Perhaps life isn't so bad. Maybe, just maybe, they can push forward and acknowledge it happened. Acknowledge that what they went through was unfair -- but instead of focusing everything on it, they can just live. Wakana smiles because this isn't dwelling or obsession or forgetting or pretending.
Idk if that was any good -- remember I typed this with my phone. Sorry this took so long to post.
Chapter 4: Ending/Continuing.
Eijun’s family consisted over three people besides himself. They weren’t his biological family, just people willing to take in a lost and injured kid. They treated Eijun with love and respect, never made him go to school. They seemed to understand that school only made Eijun anxious -- sometimes it triggered a panic attack. It was almost like the brown haired boy was incapable of learning -- of living.
It was dinnertime by the time the golden eyed boy got home, sweat dusting across his forehead. He kicked his sneakers off at the door, sitting down on the floor while he removed the sticky, black socks. He sighed after removing the clothing, laying back and allowing his head to his the floor with a soft ‘thud.’ One arm rested on his forehead, the other laying on his stomach.
“Eijun? Is that you?” Eijun was the name they gave him, saying they weren’t going to call him by some number. That number didn’t matter anyway, because Eijun was very loved. The number was given to children that simply just didn’t matter. Maybe he didn’t matter all that much, but he was loved. He can take that to heart because hey, he made it through some dark spots based only on the name his adoptive parents gave him.
“Yeah.” He mumbled, deciding he should say it a little louder when he got no response. “Yeah, it’s me.” Eijun slowly sat up, arms stretching above his head as he pushed himself off the wooden floor. Legs tingly and tired -- sore and all. The boy wandered into the living room, eyeing his rather obnoxious but still well loved family.
“Hurry and eat before it gets cold.”
The children all seemed ecstatic to see Eijun, eyes bright and full of love and --
Everything turned to dust in a split second, gold eyes wide as the building seemed to tumble over. Mouth sitting slightly agape as wood shards flew around, arms covering his eyes finally, shirt fumbling behind him. He wished he didn’t see that -- he wished that his arm didn’t fall away quite that early because there was Wakana. She was fine, looked scared -- but then there was a pipe and now she’s not fine. Nothings fine. Everything is tumbling to pieces, blood. So much blood.
Eijun felt his knees buckle, falling down to the ground. Tears streaming down his cheek, mouth failing to work. Who...Why?
He screamed. He screamed so loud he sure one of his vocal cords gave out. He screamed through the fire, screamed as people urged him to get away that it was dangerous. Screamed as he fell over himself, fist pounding the gravel, screaming until it turned into choked sobs.
It wasn’t over, he was fool to think that this was the end.
There is no end to this game, the end is when he stops breathing.