Author's Notes: The epilogue. In which I attempt to bring closure. Enjoy.
Chapter 14-Healing Scars
sequel to Untold Secrets
I sighed as I looked at myself in the mirror. Even now, the faint scars on my face still bother me. "It's been sixteen years," I mutter to myself. "Why can't I just let it go?" Taichi always reassures me that they're just scars... I don't have to let them mean anything.
Still, they serve to remind me. I'm not quite ready to let them go.
I sighed again and reached for my brush, but just then Dominie ran in. He was my adopted son, and at seven years old he actually resembled me a tiny bit. Blond hair, blue eyes, same slight frame. Nothing else about us was alike though, but at a distance most people couldn't tell.
"Taichi says to hurry up!" he exclaimed, fisting his hands by his sides impatiently. "And he says to stop stressing!"
I smiled despite myself. Dominick was one of the few truly good things in my life. "I'll be along in a minute."
"Alright!" He ran back out of the room, presumably to stand at the front door and wait anxiously.
I went back to staring at my scars in the mirror. I knew they were barely visible to anyone who didn't know they were there. I really shouldn't always let them get to me so much, but... Absently, I brought a hand to my side, where there was a large ugly scar courtesy of Kento's knife all those years ago. I'd spent two weeks in the hospital recovering from the stab wound. I'd turned down surgery to reduce the scar. It was an even bigger reminder than the ones on my face, and I wanted it.
"Yamato, what the hell is taking so long!" Taichi yelled out from the other room. "We'll be late!"
"I'm fixin' my hair!" I yelled back at him.
"Hair-gel freak!" he teased me.
"Shut up!" I shouted back good-naturedly. I heard Dominie giggle in the other room, and assumed Taichi was doing some silly thing like sticking his tongue out at me.
I sighed, not really all that happy. "Today's the anniversary of Kenji's death... Why do we do this every year now?" I said to myself. "It's so morbid."
"What's morbid?" Taichi asked, walking in and wrapping his arms around me.
I murmured happily and leaned into his embrace. "This grave visiting," I answered him. "Why did we start doing this every year? It doesn't help. It only makes everything worse. We don't need that."
"It's what Ny wanted, you know that," Taichi said quietly.
"And we're actually listening to him?" I responded, somewhat rudely. "This is the guy that turned to ecstasy and prostitution to forget the death of his cousin."
"And you're the guy that spent four months in a mental ward and the next three years in depression, wallowing in the death of his cousin!" Taichi retorted.
I flinched and stiffened, one hand absently straying back to my side, the other reaching up to trace the scars on my face. Remembering. Four months spent in the mental ward, suicidal and near catatonic. I didn't speak for three months, didn't eat for three and a half months. I had to be fed through a tube. I had to be tied down, lest I try to hurt myself. And once I was released, I still had to spend three years in intense therapy just to get back on my feet.
But it wasn't something spoken of much, and never in the way Taichi just had. It hurt. I looked away from him, fighting sudden tears.
"I'm sorry," Taichi said, instantly sounding contrite.
I took a deep breath. "It's okay," I said softly.
"No, it's not. Geeze Yama, I really am sorry. You know me, open mouth and insert foot." He paused. "There's no shame in being in the mental ward, or being depressed and needing therapy."
"I know, Taichi, I know," I said wearily. "It's alright, really. I'm just a little on edge. I shouldn't have taken it out on you."
He smiled at me, and leaned over to gently kiss me. "We should go," he said against my lips. "We still have to drop off Dominie with Takeru and Hikari."
"Mmm," I murmured, leaning into the kiss. "You're right."
We broke apart reluctantly.
"Dominick, come on! We're taking you to Aunt Hikari's now!" Taichi called. "Let's go!"
"Thanks for watching him."
Hikari smiled at her brother. "It's no problem."
I looked around, ignoring them. "Where's Takeru?"
"He's helping Daisuke with the noodle stand again," Hikari replied. "Daisuke really wants it to be a success."
"It's good they still get along; for awhile, I thought they'd never make it past the break up," Taichi remarked, shoving his hands in his pockets. He was still standing by Hikari's front door. He looked almost uncomfortable to be here. I don't think he'd ever quite gotten used to the fact that our siblings had married each other.
Hikari just gave another one of her gentle smiles. "Well, Daisuke has a new girlfriend. It helps him not think about Takeru so much."
Taichi grinned. "Daisuke can't stand staying single long, huh."
We all laughed, though it wasn't really that funny. Daisuke had taken it hard after Takeru had dumped him. The rest of us had honestly thought they'd never speak to each other again. Surprisingly, it was Takeru and Hikari's marriage that had helped mellow them out.
"Well, we should get going," I spoke up. "Thanks again, Hikari." I raised my voice. "Bye Dominie!"
Dominie ran in, giving hugs to both me and Taichi. "Bye! Love you!" And he zoomed back off again. I blinked.
Hikari grinned at my surprise. "Tohru got a new game; they'll probably spend the whole time playing it."
"Ah." I laughed. "Well alright then. I'm not sure when we'll back, probably a few hours from now. Call if you need anything, both of our phones will be on."
It didn't take long to reach Ny's apartment. He lived with his boyfriend a few blocks from the hospital, finally having started to straighten out his life. He opened up right away when we knocked.
"Thanks for coming," he said as we walked in. "Something to drink?"
We nodded, and he headed to the kitchen to get us something.
"Where's your boyfriend?" Taichi asked.
"Working," Nyusumi said shortly. He handed us our drinks.
I frowned, absently accepting mine and looking around. Something wasn't right. Wait... "Where's Ratsuii? I thought he'd be here by now... His wife's watching their kid, right?"
"Ah, about that..." Ny said, sounding uncomfortable."Ratz is back in rehab."
Amazingly enough, I stayed calm. "How long has he been there? And how did he get there?" I asked, setting my drink down and leaning against the counter.
"A week. He checked himself in."
"I see." Now I was angry. "And what of the band? We worked damned hard to bring it back together and up to where it is now! Does he not care about its success!"
He sighed, taking a sip of his drink. "Cut him some slack, Yamato. The band's doing fine, you know that. We don't have another tour until next year. Our album isn't out for six months yet, and even our local concert for the fan club isn't until two months from now. Why shouldn't he check himself in rehab for a month if he's been drinking again? At least he's acknowledging the problem."
I was unwilling to let it go so easily, though I admitted to myself that he did have a point. "Well, someone should have told me." I scowled at him.
Taichi, who had been silent through our little exchange, finally spoke up. "You're just mad because he's getting out of what you can't."
I glared at him. "Shut up."
Nyusumi looked at me, running a hand through his blue and purple hair. Even at thirty-four, he still dyed it outrageous colours. "You don't want to do this?"
I stubbornly didn't answer, and looked away.
"He thinks it's morbid," Taichi said, when it was apparent I wasn't going to speak.
"Morbid?" Nyusumi asked, sounding a bit confused.
"It is!" I burst out. "It's horribly morbid! Why do we need to go and visit Kenji's grave on the day he died?"
"So we won't forget him-!"
"That's bullshit! We don't need some grave marker over his dead body to remember him! We'll always remember him, every day of our lives! It's not something you can easily forget, Ny. Look, I'm not saying it's wrong to go. But if you want to go, go to actually visit him, and go whenever you want, not just one goddamned day every year! You should go because he was your cousin and friend, not out of a sense of duty. This isn't like your hospital or anything, the dead aren't a responsibility."
There was a long silence. No one looked at each other. No one moved.
At last I let out a sigh. "I'm sorry," I said, calmer, quietly.
Ny sighed as well. "You're right. I guess it is kind of morbid. And I shouldn't have forced you guys to go with me, especially if you didn't want to."
There was another brief moment of quiet before Taichi spoke. "So. Let's go visit our friend, shall we? He's missed a lot these sixteen years, we'll need a couple hours to catch him up, and the day's not getting any younger!" He grinned.
Ny and I just looked at him, before we slowly started to smile back.
It was late, and starting to get dark outside. We were in the car on the way home, Taichi driving, Dominie asleep in the backseat, tired out from running around for the past few hours.
Taichi was quiet as he spoke, trying not to wake our son. "That wasn't so bad." He reached over to grasp my hand, but still careful to keep his eyes on the road. "Was it?"
I shook my head. "No, not really. Not now that Nyusumi is finally taking it the way he should. It pisses me off the way he tries to see everything as an obligation now. Taking over his father's hospital has ruined him."
"You want him to quit?" came the matter-of-fact question.
I shrugged, even though Taichi couldn't see it. "Never really thought about it before. But it must be a lot, having to deal with being the administrator of the hospital and still manage the band at the same time. Maybe we should hire a manager, take some of the stress off Ny."
"Mmm," Taichi said non-committally.
"Maybe you should talk to him about it before you go and make any major changes. After all, it's his band, is it not? Didn't you tell me that he was the one to start it?"
I laughed. "Of course. I'm not stupid, Taichi. I know it's his band; I wouldn't plan any changes without consulting all the members. Besides," I mocked, "you're supposed to be the stupid one, remember?"
He knew I was only teasing. He could be occasionally airheaded, but he wasn't stupid in the least. "Silly me, I can't believe I forgot!" He pulled into the driveway, turning off the car.
I smirked as I got out of the car, picking up Dominie and carrying him inside to put him to bed. "It's okay, I still love you anyways."
"Aw, that's so sweet! I love you too!"
"Okay." I leaned over and silenced him with a kiss.
He shut up after that.
End Part 14.
Book 2 finis
Author's Notes: It's DONE. omg, it's DONE T-T Yes, I made Takeru dump Daisuke so he could marry Hikari. Mwahah. I like Takari. And besides, how often do people marry their first love anyways? Please. I had Ratsuii married too, heheh. And Ny took over his dad's job as administrator of the hospital. His dad died. Yes. I wish I'd managed to work Ratsuii's back story into this. His is the most detailed one I came up with over the years, more so than Kenji or Ny. Ah well.
AFTER FOUR YEARS AND THREE MONTHS IT IS FINISHED, HA! HAAAA! (despite the original November publish date from ffnet, it was started in late august) and it's a piece of crap that needs a major rework, but fuck that.
P.S. To those who have me on author alert, sorry for raping your inbox by uploading this all at once. Feel free to maul me.