Tokiya looked far across the vast, blue oceans, apparently focused yet seeing nothing. The seabound wind blew his silvery hair from his face, playing mischievously with the strands. He didn't seem to mind the chaotic tangling of his mane, as his gaze focused into nothingness.
Five years, he supposed, was long enough. Long enough to bury the sad memories he had once held on to with unyielding conviction. The determination to destroy that force that had crushed his childhood bliss, to avenge Mifuyu-nee chan's untimely death had now become something to put behind. A chapter to be closed. Meguri Kyoza was dead and there was no trace of what had become to his lifeless body. It's over, Tokiya seemed to hear Mifuyu's voice whispering to him. It's time to live your own life.
He smirked. His own life. Somehow Tokiya didn't quite grasp what his own life should be. All these years living in hatred and revenge gave him little time to ponder on how he was to spend his life after. And now that he was at the helm...he didn't quite know what to do.
Of course there was another ghost to exorcise. Her name was Sakoshita Yanagi. The beautiful young woman he had inadvertently given his heart to. Initally he had thought it was merely her resemblance to his dead sister that made him want to protect her. Later on he realized that she held a different spot in his heart. First love, even if he grudgingly refused to admit it. Yet he knew it deep inside. It was all for naught, however, as Yanagi had given her heart to a different man.
You had better make her happy, Recca, he had told the leader of Team Hokage. Or else you'll have to answer to me. Recca merely laughed at him. Of course I will, the younger man said. And Yanagi looked at her ninja with stars in her eyes.
Tokiya tried to banish the thought. He must forget. He should. It's been five years. Five long years since he packed his bags and left for Hokkaido to find himself. Five years since the death of Mori Kouran, their greatest adversary. Five years since Team Hokage had parted ways to live their own lives, and he, Tokiya had seen no one since then.
I wonder how they are, he found himself asking. He had not heard a word from any of them since. Not that he tried. He had left without a word of goodbye. Not telling them where he went. Not even Yanagi. Especially not Yanagi. He had wanted to be left alone.
He went to his cabin to collect his bags as the ship prepared to dock along Tokyo Harbor. He deliberately stayed behind so he wouldn't get caught in the crowded melee rushing to get down the ship. After all, there wasn't anyone waiting for him.
Tokyo had not changed much. It still boasted of high-rise buildings and the streets were still busy with people rushing back and forth. All of a sudden he missed the serenity that was Hokkaido where the air was fresh and crisp and the people seemed to take life one day at a time.
He stepped out of the taxi as it made a halt in front of a house that slept with inactivity. He sighed.
It was time to start life anew.
"Oi, Mikagami!!!" a voice called from behind.
Tokiya closed his locker and turned his head. A young man with short, cropped black hair and rounded spectacles approached him.
"Wanna have lunch?" he asked Tokiya, "There's a new Ramen house across the street where they serve great soba!"
"Okay." Tokiya nodded, then taking his book and walking with the young man who invited him. It's been three weeks since he first stepped into this university and he's still adjusting. Takameda Inoki was the first friend he made, and apparently the only one he was gong to have. It had been a necessary evil for one, as Inoki was his roommate at the apartment he was forced to take since his house was of a great distance from school. Secondly, he was the only one who had the guts to come near him and the patience to put up with his mood swings. Not that there weren't others who tried, for there were. The majority of which were females whom he brushed off without a second thought. Thankfully, Inoki knew where the lines were drawn. He respected Tokiya's privacy. He was also a good conversationalist and a simple, quiet man. Most of all, he understood Tokiya, for he was alone too.
The Ramen House was filled to the rafters with students from the University. They were only able to get a table because Inoki had been friends with the owner. They sat in a corner of a restaurant which was far from the bundled masses. Inoki opened up a conversation about the upcoming school fair, to which Tokiya merely answered a few nods and "uhuhs." He concentrated on eating the steaming hot noodles they served him while inoki spoke starry eyed about the up and coming activity.
"They're staging Beauty and The Beast this year." Inoki informed. "Interested?"
"To play Beauty? No way!" he grumbled as he sipped the tasty soup.
Inoki laughed, "Of course not, silly!" he then winked at the ensui master, "Even if you do look effeminiate, your flat chest is going to give you away." Inoki suppressed his laughter when Tokiya's stare shot darts at him. "I mean you could audition for the Beast part...not that you're beastly or anything." he immediately rectified as sweat poured on his forehead. "Didn't you tell me the other day you wanted to do something different? And I thought this would be something nice for a change..."
Tokiya simply grunted as he sipped the remnants of his fruit juice. He held his tongue in check before uttering any snide remarks. Inoki was, after all, just trying to be helpful. The other man, seeing his annoyance, shifted topics to the booth their class was going to put up. This was interrupted when a female voice piped up.
"Hi." came a familiar feminine voice from behind Tokiya. "I was wondering if I could share your table?"
Tokiya looked up, only to be taken aback upon seeing the beare of the voice. Could it be...
Tokiya could not hide the surprise in his voice. He stared for a moment at his former teammate, not quite believing the sight before him. Her hair had grown long and fell in soft, purple cascades on her shoulders. Her bangs were swept back neatly with a headband, with a few strands falling forward. Her basic features were the same, though now, they seemed to have...softened to a certain degree. She looked a little more...feminine.
"Long time no see!" she greeted cheerily, slapping him on the back, almost causing him to throw up his recently ingested noodles at Inoki's face. Some things obviously never change. "How have you been?"
"Fine. And you?" he said nonachalantly.
"I'm doing great!" she responded happily. "Sophomore year is a lot better than freshman year is."
Tokiya looked at his watch. "I have a class in 10 minutes. I have to go."
Fuuko merely nodded. "Okay." She placed her books on the table as Tokiya snd Inoki stood to leave. "Maybe we could all get together sometime." Fuuko suggested. "The old gang...and talk about what's been happening."
"Yeah, one of these days." he smirked, "See you around." with that he turned around and left the ramen house.
"You know her?" Inoki asked excitedly as they crossed the street.
"A little." Tokiya replied, "We went to the same high school." He refrained from mentioning that Fuuko was his teammate during the Urabutosatsoujin. That was too much to reveal anyway. "Why do you ask?"
"Why, she's the most popular girl in Sophomore year, Fuuko Kirisawa!" Inoki exclaimed.
"Really?" was Tokiya's disinterested reply.
Inoki looked at his friend in disbelief, "Don't tell me you didn't think she was a babe? Every red-blooded male in school gets a hormone surge whenever she passes by."
Tokiya merely smirked. "Yeah, maybe. But I'm not every male." he pushed the door that led to the main hall of the classrooms. "Come on or we'll be late."