Hello! this is the third of my CompanionDolls Series. i suggest you read the first ones first if you haven't (01-M15Ak1 and 17-5H1N0BU) to get a better grasp of things XD but you can do as you like! XD
┌┌┌┘┘┘ 23-N0W K1 └└└ ┐┐┐
"He's still obsessing himself over that old Cdoll?"
"I guess so...it's the very first Cdoll he created afterall..."
"But it's funny he couldn't find what's wrong with it. To think that he's called a 'genius'..."
"I know right?"
He could tell that there has been laughter always behind his back. Gossips, mockery, looking-down. But all were done discreetly and he didn't mind them. After all he knew he deserved it.
He'd been the head and brain of the Marukawa Robotics Development Division but he couldn't save his assistant and very first creation. His name? Kamijou Hiroki. He requested himself to be demoted to 'maintenance engineer' while still trying to work on reviving his Cdoll. Working every night to bring back the one that used to bring a storm of emotions to him; 23-N0W K1, his Nowaki.
He gave a defeated sigh. His hands full of black stains, grease from oils and cuts, from the soft yet sharp edges of wirings he had painstakingly connected to the center of the 'chest cavity'. He could be taken as a painter. But his canvas wasn't flat but a complicated body only a few people would understand.
His brown eyes narrowed at the black wrist watch. If he pressed the small button on its side, he would finally know if this sleepless week had paid off.
"How many times have I done this..." he whispered as he lifted the ice cold hand while his tired pleading eyes wandered over the entirety of the body before him. "Please..."
The body had a slight tanned color. Its skin somehow looked healthy under the piercing white lights positioned right on top of it. The blue of its open eyes was staring up the ceiling but obviously not processing anything. The lower half of its body was only covered with a white fabric completely dirty as Kamijou Hiroki.
The only living person in that room filled with the iciness of metals felt his throat constrict. This was the 56th time. He knew. He'd been counting. He'd been doing this thing trying to fix his first Cdoll to no avail. But each time he failed, the pain was as if always the first.
He slowly crept his shaking fingers to the small button of the wrist watch. Pausing, he closed his eyes and felt for the sensation of the button first.
"Please...work now...Nowaki..." and then he pressed it. That small button. That cruel button.
And there was nothing.
Hiroki opened his eyes. He lost his grip of the cold hand and it fell rather loudly back on the steel bed. The engineer ran a hand over his face, smudging the grease on his skin as he staggered a few steps back.
"Another fail..." he whispered. "I failed again...what am I doing wrong...why won't you come back?"
Feeling the heaviness on his shoulders weighing him down, Kamijou Hiroki removed his dirty lab coat and threw it on the floor. Silently, as if mourning again for the 56th time, he went to the wall and one by one turned off the lights.
"I never meant those things I told you..."
He never looked back at the lying fake male body on the steel bed that the darkness was devouring.
"I can't do this anymore..."
He closed the door slowly, telling himself that this was the last time he'd ever attempt reviving that defected piece of junk. He rested his stiff back against the door he just closed and looked up. He gritted his teeth as he was fishing for his phone hidden away in the pocket of his pants.
"Yes...this is Kamijou of 'maintenance'...Hai...hai..."
He started shaking. He started feeling something cold on his cheeks so he raised his arm over his eyes. He was being conflicted but he had made up his mind right then and there. He had to move on.
"Yes. I want you to dispose the Cdoll in fixing room 12...T-thanks..."
Three years ago, he was just a novice. A novice with all sorts of ridiculous problems in life.
He lost his previous job and got the lowest position when he was just starting at Marukawa. The man he liked rejected him and had no one to turn to. His family was enstranged because of his 'weirdness'. The friends he knew was nowhere to be found. And he was broke. That year was hell for him.
It was only by accident that he came up with the very first CompanionDoll. As if he was in a trance, he didn't care if Marukawa would kick him out for using the facilities without the proper forms. He just snuck in the area and while drunk, piece by piece created something that would never leave his side. All his knowledge in the university came pouring out of him like river. And he was born.
He named the tall, expressionless Cdoll as '23-N0w k1 out of the excitement brought about by the moment. Later he just started calling him 'Nowaki'. And Nowaki became his tool to money, popularity and fame.
They had been partners. Kamijou soared up the company ladder with this artificial intelligence that brought upon success and fame to Marukawa Robotics as well.
On that one winter day too, three years ago, Kamijou witnessed the ugliest winter in his life. There was no snow. Only a drizzle on that night. A chilly air blowing at him as he stood stupefied before his expressionless Cdoll.
"Hiro-san...If I ask you to be my 'lover' instead of my 'creator'...would you agree?"
"Huh?" Kamijou was dead tired from a congratulatory party that night. The CompanionDolls series just got another fanchising abroad. Upon turning back to his Cdoll, his brow was raised. "What bullshit is that?"
The blank face of the doll kept mighty high as he stared at his creator. "My chest feels hot everytime we're together..." the doll calmly explained. "I've read in some book that people feel that way when they're in love..."
"You're asking me to go out with you?"
Nowaki just nodded. The chill rising but he didn't seem to be affected. It was only Kamijou wrapped by so many layers of clothing.
Kamijou then burst out laughing. But the ring of his laughter sounded off.
The brunette has finally turned his body entirely facing the tall darkhaired object. "Listen to what you just said. 'People'...are you even human? That's just creepy..."
"Didn't you create me because you were lonely...?"
The brown of his eyes looked like dirty mud as he narrowed them at the tall 'man'. "You sound like a whiny child to me. I never placed a program like that in you...you are starting to annoy me."
Thick greyish clouds started to accumulate, blocking what little light the moon was offering that night. From that spot, in the middle of the wide Marukawa parking lot, Kamijou lopsidedly grinned.
"You know why I made something like you? Because I want something that wouldn't question me. Something that would follow anything I say."
"Hiro-san...what is this weird sensation in my chest then?" the Cdoll asked as the drizzle wetted his face as if he was crying. He could never cry.
"It's always so hot when I see you...why can't I love?"
Kamijou raised a hand as if dismissing the one before him. "You can't. That's just how it is...," turning his eyes into slits, Kamijou took a step forward. "You're just probably broken somewhere, idiot. I'll fix you when we get back."
Right after the two of them had entered the first floor of Marukawa Building B where the cdolls were being produced and where Kamijou had set up his living space, the expressionless Cdoll just acted on his own and grabbed his creator by the arm. Dragging Kamijou without a word, his grip tight and painful that the brunette could only gape in disbelief.
"What the hell are you doing?!" Kamijou shrieked after being pushed to the wide steel bed that was being used for fixing defective Cdolls. "Stop right this instant!"
"I don't know what to do with myself Hiro-san..." the Cdoll whispered, walking closer to the bed. "I keep wanting to know your heat..." he pulled his shirt up, exposing his tanned skin. "...against this cold skin of mine..."
Kamijou, shocked and defenseless grabbed a nearby hammer on the steel table beside him and raised it for his defense.
"What's wrong with you?! Nowaki!"
"I told you...I love you..."
Like a piece of paper, it didn't take Nowaki so much of an effort to remove what Kamijou was raising in the air. He dropped the hammer, producing a loud thud against the tiles before wrapping his ice-cold arms around the fear stricken Kamijou.
The brunette's eyes were widely staring at the darkness of the room around him. His skin was crawling everytime he feels the icy lips pressing on his neck. The heavy block of ice trying to assault him was then on top of him. Expressionless as ever, like a statue moving on its own accord.
"Nowaki...get off me..."
Kamijou was really afraid. Afraid of what was happening to his Cdoll and to him.
"I will dismantle you myself! Get-off!" Kamijou continued to push the inhuman strenght pressing down on him. "NOWAKI!"
And then it happened. For the first time ever they've been together, Kamijou Hiroki had slapped Nowaki on the face with all his strenght. The sound of the contact was so loud enough to wake both of their senses.
Kamijou was breathing heavily as he stared at the shocked eyes before him. Even in the dim, those blue eyes seemed to glow on their own.
Slowly, Nowaki leaned back, his long fingers touching his own face so gently. He couldn't possibly feel pain but in Kamijou's eyes, Nowaki for a brief moment looked...abandoned.
"I'm sorry..." Nowaki whispered.
The brunette hurriedly closed the colar of his shirt that had been pulled open and glared at the silent one before him. He was angry.
"Hiro-san..." the Cdoll uttered, voice for the first time shaky.
"This is how you treat the one who created you!?"
"I told you...I love you..."
"Get out of my sight. I don't need you. I DON'T FUCKING NEED A DEFECTIVE CDOLL AROUND ME!"
"Minoru-san, where's my master?"
"Huh?" Minoru, a chubby colleague of Kamijou Hiroki furrowed his brows. As far as he could remember, 23-N0w k1 always called their head 'Hiro-san'. This sudden air of animosity between the two since last week was starting to get not just into his nerves but the whole department's. "Ano sa...when are you two going to be reconsiled? This is already going on for a week..."
The expressionless Cdoll just looked at the screen of the computer before the chubby man and waited for an answer.
"Tsk...The head is inside the programming room. He was mumbling about creating his new assistant all this time you know? What did you do to anger him this much?"
"I am defective."
The other more sincere engineers busy working on their own tasks glanced at the tall 'man'. They sensed a rather sad feeling around him. They had been working with Kamijou and that Cdoll 'Nowaki' for a long time now that somehow, they even have forgotten that Nowaki was not human. The two fighting like this was disturbing.
"Nowaki...you're the first Cdoll ever. You can't be announcing you're defective that flippantly."
"I am..." Nowaki whispered as he started making his way to the 'programming room' where Kamijou was working.
Upon reaching the huge, gray metal doors, the Cdoll composed himself and glanced once more at the folder he was holding. After a few more seconds, he pushed the door only enough for him to pass.
Kamijou's back was facing him as the man was working on the skeleton of metals where all Cdolls were being framed.
"What are you doing here?" Kamijou hissed without even looking behind him. "I told you to get out of my sight didn't I?"
Nowaki watched the fluid movements of his creator as the man connected tons of different colored wirings without any problem. Kamijou was a god in his own degree. And Nowaki even if Hiroki was acting this cold to him, felt this searing pride to have been created by such awesome hands.
All these emotions were nothing new to Nowaki. But it was only this time that he had started questioning them. He shouldn't be feeling these things. He was supposed to not feel anything like these.
"I...just brought the data you asked me to gather before..."
"Hmph...you shouldn't have. I have already assigned you to a different department. So you can all leave the tasks I have assigned you before."
Nowaki dutifully placed the folder above the table near him and just stood on the side.
"Are you going to stay there forever?"
"Stop calling me like that."
"I really am sorry."
Kamijou just focused on connecting the last few wirings that would connect to the main software. "If you're sorry for trying to assault me, then leave."
Nowaki paid one last bow to his creator before turning his back. He took little steps, the kind little wavering kids would make when they were being punished. A hand then pushed the door open. Silently and carefully, Nowaki moved. He gripped the knob tighter, lingering a bit longer by the door.
Kamijou's hands halted from what he was doing but never looked behind him.
"I think I am defective from the very start," Nowaki said in a tender voice. "That 'love' thing has started to consume me from the very start you told me that I am your very first Cdoll and that I'm your partner..."
Kamijou slammed a plier down the steel table and glanced a little towards the source of the pitiful voice.
"Are you done? I'm busy."
"...I'm really sorry for breaking that trust."
Then the doors closed. With that soft click that sealed the finality.
A little while later, Nowaki was found sitting on his 'assistant's chair'. The table before him was neat. The files sorted with their corresponding labels. Even the single plant had been watered. The leaves were still sparkling wet. The computer before him was on. But he was immobile. His eyes blankly gazing at the old picture from when the CompanionDolls project was just starting. There was only the two of them then. Kamijou and Nowaki.
"What's wrong with this guy?"
When Kamijou was called to see what was going on, he walked over the immobile Cdoll with animosity.
"Oi...can't you go charge your own self? Stop making a fuss...you're really starting to get useless..."
Getting annoyed for being ignored, Kamijou tugged at the broad shoulders with a bit of force. And then Nowaki toppled down the surface.
There was no sound that escaped Kamijou's lips. He was left wide eyed as he watched Nowaki fall down head first on the floor.
23-N0W K1 had no defect whatsoever. He was in top-notch condition when the engineers checked on him to see what was wrong. However, for some reason, this Cdoll, this Nowaki had just stopped responding to anything.
Some came up to the theory that Cdoll Nowaki, had chosen to 'die' himself.
"Why did you do this?"
His voice could be barely heard. He just mouthed the words as he stood before the immobile figure lying before him. Kamijou had always seen countless Cdolls lying on this very table. Those defective ones beyond repair. But this was the very first time that this fixing room had felt like a morgue.
Kamijou ran his hand over the face of his first Cdoll lightly and stopped on the closed eyes.
"You know me. My anger will disappear in two weeks or so...how can you be so impatient...?"
The lone engineer glanced around him. Surrounded by nothing but scraps of metals, aesthetics, hammers and drills, Kamijou stepped a bit closer to the one that had a life before.
"Can't I have the freedom to be angry? You suddenly jumped on me when I'm so confused..." Hiroki lowered his gaze to the mouth that spouted so much nonsense a few weeks back. "Can't I be embarassed? I didn't know what to do myself when you said those things..."
And then tears just flowed out of his eyes.
"Moron...how can I apologize...how can I tell you nothing's wrong with you if you can't hear me...?"
No one replied. Just this eerie silence telling Kamijou that he was really alone in that room.
"Come back..." Hiroki whispered. "Come back Nowaki."
But the one being called never did.
He tried fixing the Cdoll without knowing what to fix. Until the months passed by turning to years and he'd been doing the same procedures over and over. Each time a failure. And each failure felt like he'd been stabbed himself.
Dying 56 times should be enough. So after three years, Kamijou Hiroki finally decided to let go.
Kamijou woke up late that morning feeling sluggish. The snow outside, resting on the tree branches were starting to melt down. The early signs of Spring was already presenting itself. But Kamijou felt more robotic than the ones he had created.
He walked with his head bowed to his office with a small bottle of water. It wasn't for him. It was for the flower that his Cdoll always used to water every morning. Three years had passed since then. And that small plant had grown, occupying quite a space in the corner of his office.
"Perhaps...I should just throw it away too?" Kamijou mumbled to himself. Seeing other things that would remind him of his Cdoll would just hurt. "Right...this is the last time I'm doing this..."
He opened the door to his office. The sunlight was already filling in the room. Had he forgotten to close the blinds the other night?
Kamijou just shrugged and started uncapping the bottle of water. And when he stood before the plant, he halted. He blinked hard. He stared hard.
The plant was glimmering from the sunlight. Some droplets giving an illusion of diamonds hanging at the tips of the green lively leaves. Obviously, someone had just watered it a while ago when he wasn't there.
"I told those new recruits not to enter my office..." Kamijou hissed as he put on his lab coat wearing his ID. He was set to give the beginners a piece of him.
Right when Kamijou was to pull open the door, his phone rang. He was starting to get annoyed this early in the day that he fished his phone out without glancing who was calling him.
"Kamijou-san? We're the disposing team...The room you said is Fixing Room 12 right?"
"That's strange Sir...there's nothing insid-"
Kamijou lost his hold of his phone. The device fell on the floor with a quiet thud as the grey carpeting absorbed the fall. And from behind him, felt cold arms circling his waist. The coldness and the comfort of something snuggling against his neck gave him goosebumps.
"That's really mean...Hiro-san you're really disposing me?"
Hiroki didn't dare to move. He just stood there letting this moron do as he pleased. Unlike what he did three years ago, he wasn't shoving him away. He wouldn't do that anymore. Nor he had the energy to break away.
He had longed for this. He waited for this. The day when he could be honest with himself and to him.
"Moron...you're so late..." Hiroki whispered as he looked down on his feet. "You're worse than a sulking child..."
"I'm sorry...Hiro-san..." that familiar calm voice came rushing into the brunette's left ear. "...there's nothing I could do about this defect...I tried to remove it and fell in a deep abyss of data I can't process..."
The brunette lifted his hand and touched the head resting on his shoulder. For a long while he just let his fingers comb through that silky dark hair. His phone on the floor kept on ringing but he didn't pick it up. The sweet melody of his ringtone just filled his office.
"You don't have to fix the defect..." Hiroki replied as his tears began to well up in his eyes. "...Here I am knowing you're not human...but I waited those damn three years for you..."
The ringing of the phone finally stopped. It was only then Kamijou's heartbeat prominent in the room.
They remained pressed against each other like that. Coldness against the warmth. Man against something still incompehensible.
A small laughter escaped Kamijou's lips. He's deemed smart, but nature's reasoning couldn't have a space in his mind regarding his Cdoll. His Nowaki was more important than any reasoning of nature. Who cares?
Those who have experienced this would understand. This defying of reason and soundness for this 'defect'.
"...I am the same as you after all..."
chapter end notes;
thank you for the time reading! please share your thoughts..
wahah i feel guilty now. it's only n0w k1 that got revived but m15ak1 and 5h1n0bu didn't. ahahaha..well...i like it this also..this is the first time i ever wrote for the egoist couple! Kyaaa!
*cover note: (the cover could be seen in my tumblr) the text on the background is a poem from hyakunin isshu, poem 55.
which I roughly translate to...
"the sound of the waterfalls that has been severed long ago and the fame of it which continues to be heard..."
i used it because i happen to be rereading these poems and i have my own reason why i used it in this one shot. hahaha...it's up to you how you'd interpret this with the oneshot...XD
3. 23-N0w k1