Disclaimer: Guyver, and all things associated with such, do not belong to me. Though I would be very happy if I owned Aptom and Masaki, and probably Commander Gyou as well ;). Guyver and all things therein belong to the genius Yoshiki Takaya, the fine people at Shonen Captain, and another company who I'm not going to mention by name because they're a bunch of bastards. Kenji, however, is entirely my creation. This story uses elements from the Manga, the Anime, and some of my own ideas. Enjoy!
Son of Mine
Masaki Murakami – rebel Proto-Zoalord, investigative reporter, and all-around thorn in the side of the Chronos Corporation – looked around for the small, well-camouflaged tent that he had set up sometime earlier. Hidden inside that flimsy-looking little scrap of canvas was his one and only weakness: his six-year-old son Kenji Murakami. Kenji's mother, Masaki's wife, had been killed in the firebombing of the Murakami household just after Chronos had made him into a Proto-Zoalord and he had gone on the run.
If those bastards at Chronos ever found out that I still had any living relatives… Masaki didn't finish that thought. He did not want to think about what Chronos would do if they ever found out about Kenji; his prior experiences with them were enough to convince Masaki that he needed to take precautions. A lot of them.
If anything the disaster in the forest, when the Guyver I – Sho Fukamachi – had been forced to kill his own father in order to prevent the elder Fukamachi from killing him, had driven home the fact that Kenji would never be safe if Chronos found out about him.
So he took Kenji with him wherever he went, hiding his son in any out-of-the-way place that could be found. When Masaki went in to the city, Kenji was always hidden in his car, since Masaki rarely stayed in one place for very long. But now, now that he had met up with the Guyvers and could count on their help and protection, maybe it was time to introduce Kenji to them. Kenji had never mentioned it, but Masaki could see in his son's eyes how lonely the boy was becoming.
I know why that is, of course, Masaki sighed, remembering again just how this entire mess had come about.
The house had been burning, and Masaki had been forced to transform into his Proto-Zoalord form to survive the heat and flames as he searched for the only two people who had mattered to him in those desperate moments. He had found Kenji, huddled on his bed. Kenji had been unconscious, either from the heat or from sheer terror, and at the time Masaki had been thankful for that. He had still been in his strange and utterly inhuman Proto-Zoalord form, and he hadn't wanted to find out how Kenji would have reacted to his appearance.
Masaki had picked his son up in the gentlest manner possible, not wanting to jostle the boy and risk having him awaken. Getting out of the house had proved to be harder than getting in, though, and in the end Masaki had been forced to blast his way out. To this day, he still had no idea how Kenji had managed to sleep through the noise of the blast and the falling wood, plaster and metal.
Finally coming up to the tent where his son was hidden, Masaki ducked through the thick bushes that further obscured Kenji's hiding place from anyone who might take the time to look for it. Before even setting off on his search, Masaki had taken great pains to ensure that no one was following him. And, even after all of that, Masaki had still taken an elaborate, extremely circuitous route to get to the tent.
Some people might call it paranoia, but some people had never been forced to deal with Chronos. Unzipping the front of the tent, Masaki spoke softly into the quiet of the forest.
"Kenji? Kenji, hey, are you awake yet?"
Kenji's head poked out of the open tent flap.
"Dad? Dad!" the younger Murakami smiled up at his dad, happy to see a familiar face after all the time he had spent alone. This camping stuff was fun, but Kenji had been starting to miss his dad.
Masaki smiled back as his son, ruffling the floppy blue-black hair that Kenji had inherited from him. "I brought you some more food, in case you get hungry. But try not to eat it all at once."
Looking around at the few items that he had managed to scrounge for Kenji to amuse himself with, Masaki sighed. It had been relatively easy to buy things for his son when he had been out alone on the road, with no one to know that he hadn't actually been eating the food or reading the books that he was buying. And, even if they had wondered sometimes, no one had ever commented on it.
Ducking his way half into the smallish tent, Masaki felt his son snuggle into his arms. Wrapping Kenji in a long-overdue hug, Masaki felt once again that things were as right as they could be with his life. Even with Chronos and their seemingly endless army of Zoanoids after him, these stolen moments with his son let Masaki feel some semblance of calm. They also made him more determined than ever to bring Chronos down, to not have to hide his son and deny him all semblance of a normal life.
To not have to be afraid that someday, some Zoanoid would stumble on Kenji's tent. They, if they ever came, would have to wonder why he looked so much like a man who was known to be an enemy of Chronos. And they weren't above kidnapping, either. As he held Kenji tighter, Masaki prayed to any deity that was listening that something like that would never, ever happen.
But, even with all the risks he was taking every time he made this kind of trip, even with all the precautions he made himself take, Masaki still found that it was worth it just to see his son again. After a minute, Masaki pulled back. Cupping Kenji's chin, Masaki took a second to just look at his son. This was the kind of thing he fought for, lived for.
"I brought you some more water, too."
"Thanks, dad. I was starting to run out by now," Kenji smiled up at his father as he said this.
"How have you been doing lately?" Masaki asked, again feeling guilty for the fact that Kenji had to live like this. It was yet another reason that Chronos had to be destroyed.
"Good. Really good. I've been reading a lot like you said, but those history books you got me are kind of boring."
"Yes, I know." Like his son, Masaki had no great love for history. "But I want you to keep at them. How about your math work?"
"I've moved on to multiplication now," Kenji said, and looked proud of himself for his accomplishment.
"Great," Masaki smiled. "How's your English work coming?"
Kenji sighed, rolling his eyes. "I wish I didn't have to do it. Please dad, say I don't have to do it anymore? Please?"
Masaki chuckled, then tried to look stern. Tried, because his son was currently looking at him with the most comically exaggerated hopeful look the elder Murakami had seen yet. Masaki couldn't help himself, he started to laugh and after a few seconds or so, Kenji had joined him. It felt good, Masaki thought, he didn't laugh like this nearly enough. Of course, there just weren't a lot of things for him to laugh about normally.
Once the both of them had calmed down, though Kenji was still chuckling a bit, Masaki took a deep breath and tried to regain his composure. The effect was somewhat spoiled by the fact that Kenji was once again giving him that same look. Masaki shook his head, biting back the urge to start laughing again.
"I'm sorry, Kenji-chan. You can give me that look all you want, but you'll still have to do your English work," Masaki grinned, mussing up Kenji's hair again.
Kenji pouted, and Masaki just gave his son a sidelong smile. Kenji was really cute when he was trying to get out of something, Masaki had to admit. "Now, are you going to tell me how far you've gotten, or am I going to have to quiz you on it?"
"No," Kenji made a face. "I'm doing pretty well on it, I just really, really hate it." Kenji pouted again.
Masaki sighed, then he chuckled softly. "Okay, okay, point taken. Now, how do you like the other books I got you?"
"I like those a lot," Kenji smiled. "But some of them are kind of hard to understand sometimes. I really like the sci-fi ones, it sounds so fun to live out on another planet, or to go flying off in a spaceship whenever you want to. I wish I could do that."
"Yeah, sometimes I wish I could, too," Masaki muttered. It would make things a lot simpler with his life, but he knew that he could never leave. Not until Chronos had been destroyed.
Another of Masaki's precautions was limiting the amount of time he spent with his son. It wasn't something he liked doing, but Masaki knew that it had to be done. He sighed, knowing that Kenji would protest again, and then he would have to explain himself to his son yet another time, and watch as Kenji's dark blue-green eyes clouded over with the sadness and dull acceptance that Masaki had come to hate so much.
He sighed. "Kenji, you do know I can't stay for very long, right?"
"Yeah dad, I know," Kenji said, lowering his head sadly. "But, you'll come back soon this time, right?"
Masaki had long ago made it his policy never to lie to his son. Lying never made anything better, and most times it just made things worse. It was better not to make promises than to break them. "You know I can't do that. I'm too well known to Chronos, and if they ever decided to follow me back here-"
"I know, I know," Kenji said, nodding sadly. "Chronos would take me away from you, and we'd never get to see each other again. I know all that, Dad,"
"Good. Then you know why I have to stay away," Masaki sighed, lowering his eyes. "I don't want it to be like this Kenji, believe me I don't, but until the Chronos Corporation is completely destroyed, you're just going to have to stay out here."
"I will, I promise. I'll be strong for you, Dad."
"Be strong for yourself, Kenji," Masaki advised. "I'll be strong for myself, and I'll come back as soon as I can. I promise."
"All right, Dad. I hope I'll see you again soon," Kenji said, putting on a brave face for his father's sake, if not his own.
Masaki nodded, just once, before turning and crawling out of the small tent. This was always the hardest time of his trips to see his son: having to leave him behind and hope that whatever luck that had kept Chronos from finding him up till now would hold out for a little while longer. Zipping up the tent, Masaki turned and walked away. It was hard, and it was emotionally exhausting, but Masaki wasn't sure that there were any viable alternatives right now.
Walking with no real direction, except 'away from Kenji's tent', Masaki circled slowly and carefully back to the cabin where he, the Guyvers, Guyver I's friends, and Agito Makashima's civilian allies were staying for the moment. Masaki knew that a time would come when all of them would have to move on again, since Chronos was bound to figure out where their new base of operations was by the simple expedient of watching where they went when they left a battle.
When he was too far from the tent to feel safe about turning back, Masaki remembered that he had wanted to bring up the subject of taking Kenji with him, to possibly stay with the Guyvers and so be under their protection. Masaki sighed, there were times that he almost wished that he could mentally multitask as efficiently as a real Zoalord. Not many of them, but there were times.
Not looking back, since he could always return to Kenji's tent later on, Masaki made his way to the temporary home of the few people who actively fought against the Chronos Corporation. Though, if he had known the character of the events that would transpire later this day, nothing would have kept him away from his son. Not even an army of Hyper Zoanoids.