Third attempt at this fandom—hopefully, this one will actually survive unlike its predecessors. Kiba/Toboe—don't like, don't read! They will be the main pairing. In addition, the ending of the series left a lot of room for interpretation and manipulation. Hope you don't mind! XD
Disclaimer: Me don't own Wolf's Rain, k?
The city was grimy. The filth and putrid fumes had poisoned the air. Kiba wondered to himself why he was there. He glanced around the alleyway and caught sight of it again. The lone pale flower that stood amidst such dreary landscape. It had caught his attention no more than a few days ago while taking a detour around his usual way home. Kiba had been enraptured by it—such frailty and beauty to be found in such a loathsome place was rare. He stared at it now and thought to himself. There was a certain familiarity surrounding this strange flower. He had seen its kind before—many times in fact. They were littered all over Tokyo—and even more bountiful in Hokkaido. But Kiba had never seen one here, in this lonely back alley of a desolate factory long abandoned.
Suddenly his watched beeped. Kiba looked down at his wrist and clicked his tongue in dismay. It was past seven. He had an appointment and he was ten minutes late. Sparing the flower one last glance, he turned around and sped down the streets back to his small apartment.
The city was alive at this time. And now that Kiba was venturing further away from the old factory, the air became cleaner. He recognized these scents. This was home. This was where he was born and raised. Kiba ran until his heart was racing—that sluggish exhaustion seeping into his legs as he pushed himself. It seemed he was always running.
When he reached his apartment, he paused at the doorway. He could hear sounds inside. Someone was fumbling his or her way through his kitchen. Kiba smiled slightly to himself as he turned the knob and entered his apartment quietly. He placed his shoes on the side and slipped into his more comfortable slippers before stealthily making his way to the kitchen. There he found his culprit, who was currently cursing to herself as she raided his refrigerator.
"I see you've made yourself at home."
The woman jumped and whipped around to face Kiba angrily. "Kiba! Must you always do that? Do you not make any sound as you move on purpose? Because it's not normal!" she exclaimed, placing her hands on her hips.
Kiba sat down at the small table. "What are you doing here—nee-chan?"
The woman, bearing the same untamed hair as her younger brother, pouted. "You treat me with no respect nowadays, Kiba. I come here all the way from South Korea and you have the nerve to be late!" she complained as she shut the refrigerator door after pulling out several eggs. She went over to the stove and began heating up the wok. "I'm starved. I didn't eat anything on the flight."
"Sora… I have a question."
"Hmm? What is it?"
"In South Korea…are there any of those white flowers we have here in Japan?"
Sora looked towards her brother's direction for a moment before shrugging. "Naturally. You know those lunar flowers bloom everywhere. They're like weeds—only a lot prettier," she replied.
Kiba lowered his gaze to the floor. "Right," he murmured.
The sound of crackling was heard as Sora dropped three eggs into the wok, stirring them around with a spatula until they were one, big yellow mass. She added some ham and cheese and continued mixing them for a few minutes before lowering the heat. After wiping her hands with a towel, Sora sat down before her brother and poked him gently with a finger.
"What's up, huh? I thought you didn't like flowers."
Kiba blinked at her in surprise. "I…don't hate them," he said slowly.
"How's school anyway? Final year at the university, right?"
"What made you go into botanicals anyway? You were studying medicine for two years and we all thought you would stick to that one."
Kiba shrugged. "I don't know. I just decided to change. Besides…I never really wanted to become a doctor anyway," he answered quietly.
Sora gazed at him warmly. "Well, whatever you decide, you know we're all here for you."
A small smile made its way onto the dark-haired man's face as he nodded. "I know."
There was not much for him to do here. All the teachers knew of his reputation and just allowed him to wreak whatever chaos he wanted. There was no authority to challenge anymore—they had relinquished their power to him long ago.
Hige sighed wearily as he sat in back of the classroom, balancing a pencil on his nose. He had graduated from high school already—but that did not stop him from coming back. He had his many names to go under to register to as many schools as he wanted. Presently, he was enrolled in Tokyo University. But he had no class today and so decided to undertake one his many aliases and head back for a day at high school. To the teachers and students he was Waka Toshi—teenage delinquent extraordinaire. It also seemed he had something of fan club in this school. Hige smirked at that.
He had been attending this school on and off for the past year—generally he came at least once a month—but he had so many other names to go under that he simply he could not go to high school every off day he had. There were other activities that called his attention—the go classes at the recreation center, the amateur tennis club, the famed arcade tournaments, and other miscellaneous things. For each one he went under a different name. Only at Tokyo University and at home did anyone know his real name. And only those that he personally befriended.
Which were few.
Hige was a known deserter. Once he got tired of these activities he would no doubt switch to other ones. One time he had left the swimming club when they had a major competition scheduled the next day. He simply decided the night before to not show up and signed up for the tennis club instead. Of course him not showing up automatically disqualified the swimming club from even competing since he was a part of the team and no replacements were allowed. They had been furious. But since he barely spoke to any of them—and had lied about his personal information—they could not track him down as they had wished and deliver him his punishment.
Hige was also a natural escapee.
And escaping was a very nice word for describing what he wanted right now as he stared out the window. The sky was clear and a perfect blue. Late summer was finishing its cycle and the weather was readying itself for autumn. Hige smiled. He loved autumn. The air was cool and the scenery was breathtaking. It also meant winter break would be coming up soon—and that meant he would be able to spend even more time than usual haunting his normal domains. And that also meant more terrorizing for those who came to know him.
Hige enjoyed his life.
He had no emotional attachment to anyone save his family. His mother was the only one he had left—besides his crazed brothers. They were something else altogether, though. Sometimes Hige wondered whether you could love and hate people so much at the same time. He was the youngest of four. And his older brothers always made sure he knew that for a fact. Hige really did resent them for that.
Suddenly the rest of the class stood up. Hige watched in a slight daze as they filed out the door, heading to the cafeteria. He stretched his back languidly before following.
Hige stopped and looked over his shoulder. "Yes, Yamada-sensei?" he replied, somewhat surprised at bring addressed. The teachers always left him alone.
"Why do you come here if you do not even bother to learn?"
For a few seconds, Hige stared at his teacher. Yamada-sensei was old—in his late sixties at least—and his eyes showed care and compassion. He was a true teacher that always gave his students as many chances as they deserved and was always willing to explain an idea or concept over again. Hige liked him.
"Well…it's not really hurting you guys. I'm not bothering you."
"But you are also not learning. That is why we're all here. Watching you sit in the back of the room all day with a pencil in your mouth does me great disrespect. Do you not care about your future, Waka-kun?"
Hige was amused. In all his time pulling off these charades, no teacher had ever went up to him out of concern for his future. He was one of the elite at Tokyo University. He would be graduating by next term with a degree in psychology. His future was already set. The only reason he did this was to fill in his leisure time—and to study people. After all, he would be a psychiatrist one day and he needed all the practice he could get. And many of these high school children and club members were worthy study cases.
As he looked into the face of Yamada-sensei, Hige smiled and made up his mind.
"All right, I won't be bothering you anymore."
There were plenty of high schools in Tokyo.
There were certain advantages to running a bike gang. One, he was in charge of a whole group of crazy motorcycle freaks who revered him like a god. Two, he could get around vandalizing the streets of Japan with a quick escape always on hand. Three, he was defying the city officials. That in itself was the only reason Tsume needed.
Zooming down the road at ninety an hour was his way of relaxing. There was nothing that could compare to the freedom and relief he got off from driving. The risk and excitement humbled him. And because the streets were empty tonight, he felt no worry of being troubled by outsiders. Even his own gang could become irksome after a while. They were weak—many of them. Most came from harsh backgrounds—domestic violence, drugs and murders, hate for themselves, hate for the rest of society—they were his kind of people since Tsume himself did not harbor any affection at all for the world around him. He was an orphan. Abandoned like a dog by his parents when he was a mere boy. He had been forced to grow up quickly.
And he never looked back once.
Tsume took one look at the sky. It was an inky blue with little stars glittering brightly. The moon was in its crescent phase. He stared at it for a while longer. How curiously shaped the moon could be. If he looked at it from the side it would appear as if someone was grinning at him—and those stars would make up its eyes. All at once Tsume felt as if he was being mocked. He revved up the engine and sped up. Ninety would not do for tonight.
He streaked through the countryside like a maniac. Tsume screamed to no one. There was no one to be found. In an empty region like this, solitude was assured automatically. Even the roads were dusty and in dire need of being remodeled. Various dirt and pileup would sometimes act as obstacles while Tsume drove. It did sharpen his reflexes, however. But tonight he had drank two bottles of beer—and his reflexes were nowhere in sight as a shadowed object obscured his path.
It was a testament to his skills when he managed to guide the bike to the side, half-drunk as he was, until it hit the grassy edge. Tsume toppled over the seat and onto the ground, panting slightly from his narrow escape. He could have easily careened down the road and flew bodily into the air. Fortunately, it seemed it was not his time to die yet. Good, too. Because Tsume was not ready to die. He still had too much to get back from society.
Tossing his helmet aside, Tsume sucked in a deep breath of fresh air and started laughing, humorless and bitter, as he raised his fist to the sky. Tsume. It was not even his real name. He had never known his real name. Before his parents had abandoned him, they called him nothing more but "brat" or—if they were feeling more eloquent—"shitty little fucker." The name "Tsume" had been given to him by the instructor at the dojo. The old man never taught Tsume anything, but he had learned simply by watching and practicing at home when his parents were not too busy trying to break his bones.
He sometimes wondered whether they were alive or not.
If they were—he would kill them if they ever showed their faces before him again.
Tsume needed no one. He wanted no one. Because no one was not someone and therefore he could not be hurt. He tilted his head back and lied down against the grass. He never even knew why they hated him. But that did not matter. All he had now was his gang and bike. It became a tedious affair after a while, but it always provided him with satisfaction. Breaking into stores and trashing public parks while running from the cops—it was his way of living. Living on the edge, always tiptoeing back and forth between life and death.
Tsume had no regrets.
He had bruised his ribs again from that fall. They had only just recovered from his bungee-jumping incident a month ago. It seemed he would have to postpone the gang's hijacking agenda for tomorrow until next week. Tsume stood up slowly and got back on his bike after righting it. His nighttime meditation was done for today.
People often said he was naïve and too kind for his own good. Even as a young adult now, he still received the same comments. It was not something he could control. He genuinely believed in the human heart. But humans could be too complicated for him sometimes. That was why he preferred animals—which was why he was currently working as an intern at the animal clinic located down the corner of his block.
Toboe loved animals.
It did not matter whether the pet be a dog, a cat, or a snake—he loved them all. He was attuned to their senses very well, and many people—even the doctors—had taken notice of that. The animals loved him in return. They never tried to hurt him. Even the wildest of pets would grow tamed and endearing under his kind smile. It was a natural gift. However, this uncanny ability would sometimes go too far for people—especially when they spotted Toboe talking to the animals as if he were really holding a conversation with them.
For this reason he was considered as something of a hermit. People took pity on him because they believed he spoke to the animals for the reason that he had no human friends. They were quite inaccurate on that assumption. Toboe had human companions, though they were few. He was a kind and sweet man, if not somewhat misunderstood. He never let it bother him, though. Toboe had once been an insecure boy—trying to please his family, his elders, and society as a whole. He eventually gained his own silent confidence as he matured. Some would call him loony. Those close to him knew better.
Toboe looked up from where he was treating Skittles, the young male canine that had injured his paw, and spotted the late afternoon sunlight leaking in through the shaded windows. He sighed to himself and wiped away a stray lock of hair from his face. Though he had kept his hair longer as a child, he had decidedly chopped it all off once he graduated from high school. The bangs still kept getting in his eyes, though. His hair grew far too fast. Toboe smiled at the Labrador before him.
"Nice day, right, Skittles?"
The dog gave an affirmative bark and licked his hand affectionately. Toboe chuckled and stroked Skittles' smooth back. "Nothing ever puts you down, huh? Next time, try to be a little more careful and not get too excited at seeing the deliveryman. You always have to pay attention to your surroundings—even if there is food," he directed as he tucked in the last piece of gauze.
Skittles barked again and licked Toboe's face this time before the latter had to push him away, laughing. "All right, all right! You don't need to slobber me to death," he said with a grin before guiding the dog back to the waiting room where his owner leapt up excitedly to greet him.
Toboe wished people could be as simple as animals. But he had long forsaken that foolish idea. People were infinitely more difficult and emotional than other animals. Perhaps that was why he felt so connected with animals; Toboe himself was a ridiculously simple man as well. People called him childlike because of this despite him having graduated from school long before any other of his fellow peers had. People also wondered why Toboe had chosen such an occupation when he could have easily become a neurologist or any other type of special doctor. Toboe simply ignored them all.
Again he looked at the window. There was nothing to see, however, but the sunlight filtering through the metal shades. He grew slightly frustrated for a second. For some strange reason, he wanted to see outside. He wanted to see the people walking past the clinic and see—life. He cleaned his hands at the sink before heading out into the waiting area for a bit, staring at the front door like it was his haven.
He turned around slightly to see the doctor smiling at him as she greeted the next client. "You can take a break if you want. You've been cooped up in here all day," she said.
Toboe smiled and nodded. "Sure. Thanks!"
As soon as he stepped out, he breathed in the fresh autumn air and sighed blissfully. He then glanced at his side and blinked in surprise. Stooping before the mini garden standing in front of the clinic was a young man roughly a few years older than him with wild dark hair staring at the lunar flowers. Toboe blinked once again before speaking.
"You like them?"
At once the man started and looked at him in surprise. Before he could say anything, however, a motorcycle came crashing through the street on the verge of colliding with another car that was attempting to park alongside the block. Toboe watched in alarm as the bike's breaks screeched through the concrete ground to no avail. The bike and car were going to crash. The rider jumped off at the last minute and at nearly the same time the driver of the car came rushing out. With a sudden tumultuous union, the two exploded into flames and pedestrians all screamed. The accident had occurred right in front of the clinic. Toboe stood his ground in a slight daze before noticing the driver and rider trudging up the street in shambles. Without a single thought he rushed towards them.
"Are you two all right?"
The rider of the bike, a typical gangster looking man with silver hair and many piercings glared darkly at him. "What the fuck do you think?" he snarled out.
The other man, a bright-faced fellow with a cheerful grin waved his hand offhandedly. "Ah, whatever. Good riddance, actually. I've been looking for a good reason to get a new ride," he replied.
Toboe smiled at this comment before shooting the silver-haired man a look. "What were you thinking—driving down the street like that? You could have killed someone—or yourself!" he scolded, though his tone was not harsh.
The man gritted his teeth. "Listen, junior. I don't need a lecture from a kid like you."
"The name's Toboe, and I think you do need the lecture."
Just then the other man jumped in. "Toboe, is it? Well, I'm Hige, and let me offer you this piece of advice. I don't think this guy's worth it. He's obviously…well…a bad guy," he quipped, gesturing to the biker.
"What's your name, anyway, stranger? We crashed our rides together. I think we should be introduced at least."
"Tsume," he spat out.
Hige nodded slowly. "Well, Tsume, no harm done, right? I won't press any charges."
The silver-haired man clenched his fists. "You won't press any charges? And what about me? Who told you to take up so much of the goddamned street when you're parking, huh?" he demanded fiercely.
"Are you serious? You're blaming that accident on me? Is there any logic behind that?"
"I don't give a fuck about your logic."
Toboe stared at the two as they argued—or rather—as Tsume yelled and Hige take it all in stride. He sighed and looked at the wreck before him. Other people had already called for a fire truck and the firefighters were currently attempting to douse the ravenous flames.
"This reminds me of something," came a quiet voice.
Toboe turned around and noticed the man from before was still there, though his attention was now fixed on Hige and Tsume. "Do you know these two?" he inquired.
The dark-haired man turned his gaze on him. "You're Toboe?" he asked, and when the latter nodded he continued. "My name is Kiba."
Toboe stared at the man for a while longer. The sudden image of a white wolf appeared in his mind for an instant—and he wondered where that had come from.
Yes, very strange. I gave them all families—well, except Tsume. But he's a loner. XD This story does have a plot. It may not be obvious now, but it will appear eventually. Yay, it's my first Wolf's Rain fic posted here! Please tell me what you think. I may consider other pairings but Toboe and Kiba are a surety. We need more fics with them together!