Kotaro ran at full speed. He had to reach to his superior before it was too late. That damn masked ghoul had gotten on his way, but Kotaro had managed to knock him down. He sensed something was wrong when Mado hadn't answered his call. Kotaro had promised to be at the bridge and he was sure that Mado was fighting alone against two ghouls. Although Daughter ghoul was only a child, she was still dangerous. Rabbit was older and had killed one investigator. Mado always knew what he was doing but Kotaro was worried. Even the most skilled investigators did mistakes when they let their guard down.
The bridge came to view and Kotaro got his quinque ready. His whole body was pumped with adrenaline as he ran towards the fight. Rabbit had gotten up and it looked like she was ready to attack Mado from behind.
"Get away from him!" Kotaro shouted out.
Mado's head turned around. Kotaro swang his quinque at Rabbit who unfortunately dodged aside. He was going to hit her again, but instead she took Daughter ghoul's arm and they ran opposite direction. Kotaro wasn't going to follow them. This time he let them escape. He turned to Mado who was struggling to stand up. Kotaro looked in the water and was shocked to see a ripped off hand and a stump of leg. He immediately got next to his superior.
"Mado-san, stay down! You're going to lose blood if you're trying to stand up!" He forced the older man to sit but Mado struggled back.
"They're-...getting away...I must get that kagune...I must kill them off..," Mado's voice was raspy and exhausted.
He tried to reach for his quinque but Kotaro grabbed his wrist. He looked at his superior's eyes with anger and shock. Mado pulled his hand back and stared Kotaro with disappointment. Kotaro ignored it since he didn't want to waste anymore time and tried to stop the bleeding. He tied the coat's sleeve over the damaged arm and did the same with the leg. He took his phone and typed 119. A lady from the other side asked what was the problem and Kotaro explained the situation and the location while keeping an eye on his superior. He hung up the call when all was finished.
"The ambulance will be here in 15 minutes," he said.
Mado didn't answer. He stared at the direction where the ghouls had run. Kotaro couldn't believe how the older man was acting. Shouldn't he be glad that he was still alive? Why he looked so disappointed? Kotaro was having a hard time to keep his face cool.
"Sir, don't you realize? That Rabbit was going to attack from behind and it might had killed you. You're a professional, so why did you let your guard down?"
"Amon-kun, first of all, even when your hands are trembling, even if it costs your arms and legs, you fight! This is what I have taught you a long time ago, but you disappointed me by letting those two escape. That sow's daughter had a perfect kagune too... I was so close to get it until I got distracted by your arrival."
"Then what did you want me to do?! Run after them and leave you behind?!"
"I'm not weak. Leaving me behind would have been a better option than letting them escape. Number 745 will become a strong ghoul with that kind of kagune," Mado sighed.
Kotaro had enough. His emotions took control over his mind and he was tearing up. His shoulders were twitching as he tried to hold his sobbing in.
"I didn't follow them because I was worried about you... Don't you see that? Why would I follow those ghouls when your hand and leg are ripped off?" Kotaro raised his voice when the tears poured down his face," You were close to die, Mado-san! If you had died-, I would have blamed myself! You're my superior, my mentor, my-..."
Kotaro looked away to hide his crying. Breaking down like this wasn't like him. Mado stared at the younger man and didn't know how to react. He had never seen Kotaro cry before, not even when he told about his tragic childhood a year ago. Mado had always thought his death wouldn't affect anyone's life, well, it would affect Akira's life, but no one else didn't care about him as much. But Kotaro seemed to care more than others. Mado lifted his left hand and placed it on Kotaro's shoulder. The younger man didn't turn his look.
"I'm sorry... I didn't know you cared about me this much. And I apologize if It sounded like I was blaming you. Nothing isn't your fault and I'm touched to hear how much I mean to you, Amon-kun," Mado's tone had changed soft.
Kotaro's sobbing had quieted down and he turned his head. His expression was embarrassed now.
"I'm ashamed for crying... This must be uncomfortable to you."
"Don't say that. It's alright to show emotions. I know you can get sensitive sometimes," Mado cracked a smile.
"Maybe that's true. Are you feeling dizzy or anything?"
"I'm perfectly fine, a bit exhausted. I'm not going to die for sure."
"It's amazing how well you can tolerate pain, sir," Kotaro said it as a compliment.
"I have been an investigator over 25 years. Injuries and danger are common in this job. But you handle those things well already. You definitely will surpass me in the future. Who knows, maybe you will be our next Arima," Mado gave a small chuckle.
The ambulance arrived in front of the bridge. Kotaro wanted to come with Mado but the older man ordered him to go home and get rest. He watched as two men brought Mado, and his quinque since he told them to do so, in the car and drove away back to the hospital.
It was still raining outside. Kotaro took his suitcase and chose to walk his way home. Mado wouldn't be working for weeks, which was upsetting, but at least his superior was alive.
Three weeks had passed. Kotaro was on his break. He sipped coffee and watched outside from the window, his suitcase beside him. Weeks working without Mado had felt strange to him. Marude had ordered Kotaro to work with Shinohara whenever needed and that was alright. The last time he had visited Mado at the hospital was three days ago and he was glad to see the older man getting better so fast.
Kotaro didn't care to look at other people. He was deep in his own thoughts that he didn't notice someone walking behind him either.
"Nice day, isn't it?"
Kotaro turned around, "Mado-san?!"
"Hello," Mado gave a wave.
"What are you doing here? You should be at the hospital."
Mado smiled wider and took his glove off from his right hand. It was replaced with a prosthetic one. Kotaro stared down at it, amazed to see it moving. It looked advanced and lasting and something out of a sci-fi movie.
"This is... unbelievable! Y-you didn't have that the last time I visited!" Kotaro spoke a bit too loud.
"I got this from CCG. Thank Marude for being so generous. I couldn't work without my hand and leg, so CCG made me prosthetic limbs instead and I don't need to pay back. Very kind of them."
"That is great to hear!" Kotaro smiled," I thought the same and got worried about you. I knew you couldn't work but now there's no need to worry."
"The best part is that I can remove my hand. Now I can attach my quinques part of me," Mado's voice darkened," Oh, all those new quinques I can use. Ghouls don't even know what is waiting them when they encounter me," he chuckled to himself.
Kotaro swallowed and changed the subject, knowing too well where it always led, when Mado spoke about quinques.
"A-anyways, it's good you're back. I missed you."
Mado cocked his eyebrow at him.
"I was away only three weeks, Amon-kun. But I missed you too~."
Kotaro's cheeks reddened. Mado's smile dropped as he gazed outside.
"I got a lot of time to think when I was at the hospital. I trust you not to tell anyone, but the truth is I keep on living for revenge. My main goal is to kill One-Eyed Owl with my own hands. I don't care about anything else," his expression was heavy and he took his time to continue.
"Kasuka, my wife... She was everything to me. I want to avenge her death. When I do that, nothing else matters. But what you said to me and how you cried for me made me realize my selfishness. Giving up living would be cruel to my loved ones. Akira loves me and needs my guidance. You need me as well. I will kill the Owl but I don't need to sacrifice my life to do so."
Kotaro listened. His heart was aching to hear all this. How unhappy Mado truly was and what were his motives. He had a sudden urge to hug the older man and comfort him, but he didn't dare.
"I really don't do much outside the work. I create quinques at home, go through new ghoul cases, study more about those monsters. I'm obsessed with my job, but I can't help it," Mado turned his head back to Kotaro," You look awfully sad, Amon-kun."
"Mado-san...If there's anything-,...I can help you."
"You're a good man. I'm happy to work with you and that's enough for me. Now wipe that miserable look off your face, it hurts to see you like that."
Kotaro was silent. He opened his mouth after a moment of thinking:
"Do you...need a hug to feel better?"
It was an innocent question. Mado couldn't help but smile at this. Kotaro was always a serious man but sometimes his questions and expressions reminded him of a child. He patted the younger man on the shoulder.
"You can be so adorable, Amon-kun. Now let's get back to work, shall we?"
"I was serious..."
"I know and that's why it is adorable," Mado chuckled and headed towards the busy office floor.
Kotaro followed a few steps behind, his face redder than before. He smiled to himself. Fate or simple luck, he didn't care, but Kotaro sensed some things might change between him and Mado.