This short story is based on an idea of my dear pal from Báile Átha Cliath or rather, Dublin. :o) She graciously permitted me to post my take on it.
Earth Girl Arjuna Timeframe: after ep13
Some time after we left the main characters of Arjuna at the end of ep 13, they are found by the old farmer (ep 4) and brought to his house.
There, Tokio has an odd little talk with Chris...
Tokio Ooshima had been watching him for a long time now. The young stranger who had so harshly intruded into his and Juna's life a year ago. Then, he had seemed so powerful and void of any emotion or consideration. Now he lay there on the futon, close to the fire, completely helpless and seemingly asleep or dozing, his chest rising and falling slowly, barely visible.
There had been days when Tokio had wished the worst on Chris Hawken and had imagined how it would be to beat up that rival for his girlfriend Juna's love. Only now that he had the chance, he couldn't anymore, for he had realized that Chris had actually never been in love with her. Chris loved her as a brother would love a younger sister but that was it. Besides, it was unfair to beat up someone who couldn't fight back at all.
Still, he couldn't resist savouring the thought that Chris would now hopefully keep his fingers away from Juna, now that she had done what the TI-1 had wanted from her.
On bare feet he walked on the tatami mats over to the futon and sat down, his legs crossed and his chin resting on his palms. Odd, really. Now, that he was able to take a closer look at his former "opponent", he saw several things in the young man's face: Illness, fatigue but also the delicate features, fair eyebrows and hair and the small, straight nose. In fact, Chris seemed completely harmless now, a mere shadow of the powerful being he had proved to be on more than one occasion.
"Go on…don't deny you don't quite like me at all … Ooshima-kun…I am not blind, you know." a voice, hardly more than a strained whisper, cut through the silence. Startled, he focused himself once again on the prone figure in front of him. "What the…? Oh, you're awake!" Chris smiled weakly and replied dryly, "I wasn't asleep… your thoughts wouldn't let me."
Aggressively, Tokio leaned forward, "Did you read my mind, freak?"
The young TI shook his head no. "You were broadcasting… Everyone with even the slightest hint of the Gift would have been able to catch them…No wonder Juna was overwhelmed." His speech sounded strained and the effort he put in it was clearly audible. For an instant, he closed his eyes and struggled to even out his laboured breathing.
Tokio had always mistrusted the petite stranger because of his harassment of Juna and had never voluntarily spoken to him. Neither had Chris. But why would Chris address him now and what did he want?
"We can't go on like that forever…She needs you more than you think…and her burden won't get lighter, you know. I can teach and support in one way…but that which comes from true love I cannot give…" Somehow, these words gave him a sinking feeling in his stomach. It was always the same with that freak: He always wanted something, but astonishingly, this time he didn't order him around as he used to do with Juna.
Chris chuckled weakly and opened his eyes again to regard him levelly. For the first time, Tokio noticed that the young man's eyes were not of one colour, but of two. The left eye was a shining turquoise, while the right eye was a strange, misty grey. He also saw that his eyes were slightly slanted, like those of a cat.
Somehow, Chris' gaze seemed ancient, wise, sad
and amused – all in one.
"The world won't go as you and I would like to have it, Ooshima-kun…so I'd suggest we arrange with the way things are." Until now, Tokio had been rather speechless from astonishment, but now he spoke up.
"Would you care to tell me what you want and that straight and without any unnecessary adornments? You order people around as you please, you harass my girlfriend and then you have the nerve to ask something from me? Are you friggin' mad?"
"Think what you may…I am not the keeper of
your conscience…but be aware that Juna's health and strength lie
in both mine and your hands." A spasmodical cough shook the young
TI and he struggled onto one elbow to be able to breathe easier.
Like a wraith, Cindy dashed in and handed him a cup of odd-smelling tea. He took a grateful sip and lay back down. Although he had closed his eyes once again, something seemed to pass between the child and him and after he had weakly waved one hand, she disappeared again, but not without throwing an accusing glance at Tokio.
Almost against his will, Tokio grew worried. Perhaps he should leave
Obviously Chris had read his mind once again because he shook his head.
"What do you want? That I embrace you and say
it's okay what you did to my Juna?" Torn between worry and
anger, Tokio leaned forward. "What is it? Spit it out, little
His angry words seemed to have hit a sore point because a shadow passed over Chris' pale face before he spoke again.
"Your Juna? Is she yours? Do you own her?" He took a deep breath, "She isn't something you can possess like a chair or a table…ah, how foolish you are! I never said I would expect such a thing from you! You took me literally, like Juna did for so long!"
"Eh?" Now Tokio was really confused. What was this? A challenge? A peace-offering? Something in between? What did Chris want from him?
"A truce.", Chris' voice cut through his jumbled thoughts.
"Yes. For her sake and yours…we can't go on like this. There is no other choice.", he sounded urgent, pressing him to follow his train of thought. "Will you make something like peace with me for Juna's sake? She doesn't need another private war going on right now."
Tokio pondered what Chris had said. Somehow the freak was right, he couldn't deny that. He didn't like Chris, but that didn't mean Juna had to suffer from it. Besides, maybe Chris could really be of help to Juna. He knew his trade, didn't he?
After what seemed an eternity of thinking, he slowly nodded. "It's a truce then." Tokio reached out to carefully touch Chris' frail shoulder since his hands were under the futon's blanket. Just before he would have touched the white, loose haori his vis-á-vis was wearing, Chris pulled one hand from beneath the blanket and very lightly brushed Tokio's fingertips with his own.
For the first time, the TI-1 smiled warmly at him and nodded. Then he closed his eyes and fell asleep.