Table for Two
Table for Two belongs rightfully to SIN Productions © 2005. Plagiarism is illegal and is considered a crime. Ronin Warriors is © Sunrise, Inc. All rights reserved. Comments and criticism are welcome. Rated T for Kento-angst.
story was originally a song-fic which was banned according to FFnet's
TOS. If you would like to read the story in it's complete form go to my
website listed on my author page.
In the corner of a downtown bar Kento finds himself staring at an empty chair across from him, wishing it were anything but empty.
The back corner of the bar had become his favorite spot since, well, since he could remember. He tried not to remember, because remembering would lead his mind back to dwelling on circumstances that shouldn't be dwelled on. And thus, the back corner had become his comfort. Along with his new best friend, Jose Cuervo.
Pouring a dose of Jose into a shot glass, the burly man downed it without even the slightest flinch. Contemplating putting the bottle down he shrugged indifferently and poured himself another, finishing it much like the first.
The burning sensation itching at the back of his throat didn't bother him like it used to. In fact now it seemed only like a dull irritation as the course of the alcohol finally began to take their effect.
It was taking more and more these days to drown his sorrows.
The dim lights from the pool lamps were the only light source in the semi-crowded establishment. The crack of pool balls being hit by que sticks echoed around him intermingled with calm conversation. Smoke lingered in patches here and there and employees bustled around serving various alcoholic drinks to the occupants.
He seemed to be the only one not enjoying himself and for that Kento couldn't help but frown. As his eyes scanned the bar a nice, clean-cut man waltzed up to his table and asked kindly, "Do you mind if I borrow this chair?"
Kento immediately became defensive, "It's saved." He growled, glaring daggers to the unsuspecting man.
The man immediately held up his hands in defense, muttered an apology under his breath, and turned on his heel to avoid confrontation.
Kento hadn't meant to come off with such hostility, he just couldn't help but feel his nerves shot. He pulled the empty chair beside him closer for security. After a moment he couldn't understand why he just didn't let the man have it. There would never be anybody sitting there, so why should it matter?
Slumping visibly in his chair, Kento continued to stare at the bottle of tequila, the only thing that had gotten him through this fiasco. He picked up the bottle and stared at the glass that reflected the different color lights from neon signs hanging in various places around him. Spinning the bottle in full rotation in placid wonderment, he finally set it back down.
Feeling a little under the collar and worse, he could almost taste the salt of his unshed tears. But alas, the tears never came and the Ronin of Hardrock continued to sit alone in the crowded pub.
Nobody, aside from himself and the regulars of the bar, knew about his daily residence at this one particular bar downtown. He could never tell his friends, it was just something better kept quiet.
And they thought he was unable to keep secrets. They always thought of him as a sluggish, oafish, brainless muscle with a cocky grin. Kento could just hear their thoughts of him: Kento could never even think about being lonely! He would never understand! He's just blissfully oblivious.
Blissfully oblivious, Kento sneered to himself, I wish. So I don't feel, do I? If that was the truth then why do I always end up here?
Why was there this aching emptiness nagging in his chest? Why could nothing fill the empty void that so suddenly complicated his life?
He knew he was more then just brawny and clueless, but nobody else did. He wish he could see Rowen's face when he found out he knew how to play chess; and better yet that he was actually somewhat good at the game. Or Sage's arched eyebrow at the fact that he did know style, and secretly adored Gucci, but felt that more comfortable clothes were suitable for him.
It would feel oh so good to see Mia's lighted up shock at a complicated seven layer French cake Kento knew how to bake to perfection. And Cye's obvious gasp if ever knew the hardheaded Kento kept a private diary on his feelings and experiences.
But he figured, they would never know. They never dared to scrape past the surface of his personality and just assumed what they did.
Well that was fine with him. They could think what they wanted. And he would too.
Kento knew it was foolish to keep this escapade going, but no matter how many times he tore himself away from this very spot, he always kept coming back for some unexplained reason. Always reserving a table for two, when there was only one in his party.
But that empty seat was indeed reserved. Reserved for somebody no less than spectacular, amazing.
Someone who would take the time to understand him.
He kind of figured that seat would forever be empty. There could never, and never would, be a person who would occupy that seat. It was the sickening reality that made that pain in his heart explode with sheer terror that he would remain alone and lonely.
It had only recently, since the battle ended with Talpa, that Kento had dawned on this realization. Nobody could ever love him; he was everything they never wanted. He had accepted in the past, figuring it would be something he would have to learn to live with. But as time passed by he couldn't accept it; and the pain worsened.
He craved for the loving touch of someone. To be shelled up in your own emotions and to not be able to experience the joy of loving another was too much for Kento to handle.
Was it too much to ask for to ask for a companion? Perhaps not a lover, but someone who would come to understand him and regard him as a human being rather than a food indulging, muscled jock?
Wasn't there supposed to be someone for everybody? Someone who is out there that is perfect for you in every way, and you everything they ever wanted? Wasn't there?
Then if there was how come he kept coming back to this bar? And sitting in the same exact seat, at the same table, in the back corner by himself…fighting for a chair that would never be taken?
The urge to take another shot overwhelmed Kento and he poured himself a double just to make sure the effects of the drinks wouldn't let up. He didn't want to be sober tonight. He would rather drown in his misery then face the cruel world of reality.
Blinking back his blurry vision, he watched as a couple took the empty table across from him. Holding hands, the boyfriend pulled the chair out for his date, and with a smile that promised more, she accepted the offer.
Kento watched them with feigned interest for a moment or two, and when the two looked over at him he smiled at them and raised his glass. As soon as their attention diverted back to themselves, Kento found himself once again toying with the shot glass, wishing to be anywhere but where he was.
But where else was he to go?
Glancing at his watch he was surprised to find that the bar was to close in less than an hour. Had time passed by that quick? It had been close to nine when he had walked in here and now it was nearing one in the morning.
Shaking his head Kento felt like his life was passing him by. As if he was wasting his time by himself, but he had nobody else to waste time with.
This was how he dealt with emotions and would continue to. Drinking them away seemed to keep them bottled up thus keeping his friend's questioning eyes and words away. Leaving him peace to contemplate his own life on his own terms.
Knowing he was too drunk to drive, he staggered to stand up by himself and managed to look somewhat sober. Grabbing the bottle of tequila, he quickly swallowed the remains and wiped at his mouth with his hand. Setting the now empty bottle back on the table he fished out his wallet, hidden in the depths of his jacket pocket, and lay some bills for the waiter.
He brushed the empty chair left for his nameless someone, leaving it for yet another night. Passing the bar counter he returned to his normal aloof, but warm personality that everybody knew him for.
"Kento." The bartender reached out and the two slapped hands, "I called you a cab. It should be waiting for you outside."
"Thanks man." Kento slurred out, but he didn't care that he was drunk. And he doubted the bartender cared either.
The bartender nodded, "See you tomorrow, same time?"
"More than likely." Kento rambled off and began to walk towards the exit. Opening the tinted door, he pushed it open to have a blast of cold air rush against him. Immediately he spotted the taxi waiting with it's engine running and he sauntered towards it, eager to get home and jump into his warm bed.
But he couldn't help but glance back inside, back to his corner of the bar, to that table he occupied every day, to the seat that he speculated would forever remain empty.
Opening the door to the cab, Kento stopped suddenly. Raising a questioning hand to his cheek, he was astonished to feel moisture. Wiping it quickly, he examined it and nearly choked back a sob.
With his voice tight he climbed into the car and slammed the door shut, hoping the driver wouldn't turn around and stare in astonishment at a grown man blubbering.
"Where to?" was the gruff demand and Kento sighed in relief as the man continued to stare forward.
"Koji Manor. Outskirts of town." He replied with only a slight strain in his voice.
As the cab accelerated and pulled out of sight of the bar, Kento couldn't help himself but watch as his surroundings passed by. In the dark night everything looked grim and Kento felt more silent tears slip down his cheeks.
The only light in the dark streets of Toyoma seemed to come from above and Kento slanted his head so he could see the giant full moon gleaming perfectly in the velvet sky. Blinking back tears Kento let his head rest against the seat and closed his eyes.