Disclaimer: Yun Koga is the owner. I am appeasing myself by using her creations for my own dirty purposes. LoL
A/N: This is the end. Some of you might be dissatisfied at how this wraps up (so do read till the end), but hey, that's to be expected, right? XD I am not the greatest of writers in the world, so if you wanna badmouth this thing for whatever reasons, PM me please, instead of smashing it down in a review. I will see criticism as something to help me improve my writing. Thank you.
Underneath Cyan Skies
Chapter 26: There You'll Be
"Ah, yes, Akame?" Hisashi kept his voice in check as he spoke through the phone. "Come back now? But I haven't retrieved Ritsuka yet."
"That doesn't matter anymore. Just get back here."
"Ah, all right. I'll be heading back now then."
Hisashi looked to this change of events as something to be dreaded, even though he couldn't be too sure what Akame was going to do or say to him. Perhaps he was still angry? Yet he didn't sound at all angered over the phone, though just a bit commanding.
The drive back was going to be a quick one.
Akame looked to his phone for a moment after he had hung up, snorting slightly. Someone was sitting across from him and his eyes were watching him like a hawk. Akame could have considered it unnerving if it weren't for the fact that he wanted to be watched like a livestock ready to be devoured. On a professional tone, this would be considered business, but to the red-eyed youth, all he could see this as was penance.
He was cut off before he could continue. A twinge of restraint, though present, made to be hidden quite easily once he had his voice under control. Akame began. "I . . . This might come off as ridiculous at this point, but I really can't say anything else. A change of mind and views can do wonders for a person."
"I suppose it can."
Get on with it. A mind-altering experience isn't going to dissuade me.
"I've held your pet hostage all in the hopes of spiting you, but it has backfired on me. And through this problem I have come to realize my mistakes." He gulped once, steeling his heart and pushing his pride aside. Nana told him to take things slow, he had remembered. "I'd return him to you, but he isn't here anymore. However, I won't give you any aid to find him. (Even though he has tried . . . By using Hisashi)."
"The little child has finally realized his own insecurities and has now resolved to fix things by talking? Don't flatter yourself." Ritsu wasn't the least bit moved by Akame's words. "Return Ritsuka to me here, and only then will I consider your forgiveness as something nearly acceptable."
"But . . ."
The sound knocking of the door made as a suitable distraction away from Akame, and he was grateful for it. Him melting down to nothing like this was pathetic, and to let it happen so abruptly was by any means beyond his own understanding. Nana miraculously made him see the light, it seems. The knocking continued followed along with a voice, "are you in here, Akame?"
The man being addressed rose from his seat and went towards the door. As Hisashi stepped in he did a double take at the person sitting on the comforter (which he usually occupied while here with Akame). "Um, am I missing something here?" he asked, eyes growing wide. He knew without a doubt that the man sitting on the comforter was none other than Ritsu himself.
"Stop gawking and sit down," Akame hissed under his breath just as soon as he closed the door.
"You are Tateyama Hisashi?" Ritsu asked. His voice cut through the smaller man like cold steel, and Hisashi couldn't help but shiver slightly. He nodded. "I see. Then you're the accomplice who has been helping him." His eyes motioned towards Akame, whom who was still standing by the door.
Hisashi looked to Akame, searching his face for some sort of sign. He was more than simply scared, he was frightened out of his wits. After a moment he announced, "ah, yes I am."
"Ah, well, I have gone out to search for him, but I haven't recovered him. It was my fault he got away, so Akame shouldn't have to take any of the blame."
This was similar to the replay of the event which started the whole situation. Akame was obviously inferior in every way and, so was Hisashi. The only thing different this time was the fact that Ritsu didn't have any hybrid humanoids as his sidekicks (bodyguards).
"Return everything that is rightfully mine, would you?" Even though he was looking at Hisashi the whole time, he was indeed addressing Akame about this issue. "I don't wish to make things any more complicated."
When it looked like no one was going to speak, someone else made their presence known. A tall, blonde-haired woman came out from behind Akame, just as she entered through the now open door.
Ritsuka sat at the dining table, not looking at anyone or anything. For some odd reason he felt ashamed to be returning in such a fashion. The maddening rush of coming home had faded, and the more logical things in his head began to kick in, followed closely behind the "oh so loveable word" embarrassment. (A/N: Embarrassment. Like I could ever love that word! LoL)
"I must apologize for coming back like this . . ."
"How could you come back at all?" Masao asked, somewhat perplexed. "I may be a friend of his, but seeing as how he's treated you harshly for so many years, I was thinking you wouldn't want to return. But here you are, sitting at my dining room table. Talk about a turn of events."
"Master Ritsu went through such a painful phase while Ritsuka was gone," Aki83 interceded. "He was suffering so much, that at times I was thinking he was never going to recover." Ritsuka looked to Aki83, and Masao quickly shoveled away what hope the servant had on his face with a stern glare. "Well, not that it is any of my business to spread what our Master does or says. I am sorry, Masao."
"Just leave it at that and shut up." Little did Aki83 know that Masao was going to spill the beans a little later on anyway, based on Ritsuka's reaction to his oncoming lecture.
In the eyes of Masao he was certain Ritsuka should not have returned. Ritsu's breakdown might have been heart wrenching at the time, but if he were to see his pet again, god knows what was going to happen. Would he tighten his hold, almost to the extent of suffocating the poor thing? Would he be more severe, all in the hopes of never letting Ritsuka get away again? If a chance for change could come, no, will come, would Ritsu take it in both hands and try to make it work? Masao pondered, fretted, pondered, and fretted some more. Whatever decision the humanoid was going to decide made Masao uneasy. He was almost certain of the creature's impending response.
"Why was he suffering?" The humanoid's eyes grew intensely wide. "Was it because of me? Was it all my fault?"
Masao rubbed one hand across his face, frowning at the same time. "You should be more concerned for yourself, and if the urge to leave kicks in, then I won't stop you. Here's your chance before he shows up."
"Ma-Masao," Aki24 stammered. She was against his way with words. "You mustn't say that."
"What? You gonna stop me?" The female servant backed down when she knew she had nothing to say in retort. "I'm only saying this in the best interest for the hybrid humanoid. Living a life of pain, pain, and even more pain is not something I'd be looking forward to, that's for sure."
"Then was my coming back here pointless?" Ritsuka asked.
Will he take me back? If he doesn't I don't think I will be able to bear it. Heh, the mark on my shoulder really burns . . . Just like how it burned down where he first took me. But I remember him being gentle, too, at the same time.
"As pointless as you want it to be," Masao added. He waited with abated breath.
"But I remember him being gentle, too, at one time," Ritsuka suddenly said, face flushing slightly. "It was long ago, but I definitely remember." The feeling of shame was beginning to leave him, and the want to stay becoming stronger. His voice grew with confidence as he spoke. "And if I have come back to the ends of the earth only for more pain, I will take it. I will take all that Master Ritsu is, because pain is always a part of everyone. I can't escape it and neither can you."
"Well said, hybrid humanoid." Masao applauded, slightly smiling. "Looks like I won't be able to talk you out of this, can I? Ritsu has got one hell of a loyal pet, despite how he treats you. I think I'm gonna tell you something he'd never want you to hear, but I think you deserve to know. He had a reason for selling you back to the pet shop, and it was with very good intentions I assure you. Due to his sudden loss of kupos, he thought it was best to relinquish his ownership over you all in the hopes that some kind soul would buy you. Yet, things didn't turn out that way. He loved you more than he was letting on at first . . ."
"Loved me more than . . .?" The words came out softly and slowly upon Ritsuka's lips, though he did not finish the sentence.
"Yes, he loves you. The idiot didn't want to admit it, and due to him keeping everything to himself, he literally exploded. We had a hell of a time trying to calm him down."
He loves me.
Aki83 sighed, happy at the most. He exchanged looks with Aki24, relieved to see that she was smiling as well.
I love Master Ritsu, too.
"So that's what happened, huh?" Both Kio and Takara looked to Seimei, Kio being slightly amused while Takara being a bit anxious. "Soubi's being the gentleman to return the misguided pet home."
"He isn't misguided," Soubi chided. "More than anything I think he knows what he wants."
"Ritsuka will be very happy if he is reunited with his former Master. The way he was so determined to return really made me feel he could take on almost anything. I admire that ability of his - the ability to be at his strongest when he is at the same at his weakest."
"What a way with words, Seimei," Kio remarked.
"Ah, thank you," Seimei replied, not particularly thinking much of Kio words. "Shall I go make some tea, Master?"
"If you'd like." Soubi looked to Takara, saying, "why don't you go help him out in the kitchen, Takara. That is, if Kio doesn't mind.""May I, Master?" Takara asked.
"Yeah. Go ahead."
When both of the hybrid humanoids had gone into the kitchen, Soubi was the first to speak, beating Kio by a second.
"She's changed from the first time I've met her. You're raising her quite well."
The dirty-blonde smiled, shaking his head. "I haven't really done anything; the change has occurred because Takara made it happen. I was only a pillar to support her as she went along her way."
"Ahahaha, stop trying to sound cool; it's awful coming from you."
"What! You're the worst when it comes to lines like those! You have no right to talk to me like that! Bastard!"
"Kio, I hope for you to keep taking care of Takara for as long as you live, because I do believe you've happened upon a treasure that is hard to come by.""Ah . . . Yeah, I suppose. Well, you do the same with Seimei."
Within the confines of the kitchen the feeling of working alone with Seimei was very reminiscent to Takara. They had done this together countless times by now, but she finally understood when she was asked to accompany Seimei into the kitchen, it meant their Masters wanted to have a private conversation. However, in this way, she could have a private conversation with Seimei, too.
"Takara, you're looking much happier these days," Seimei suddenly said, surprising the other humanoid. She nearly dropped the teapot she was holding.
"Ah yes, I am much happier. You've noticed?" Seimei nodded. "I want to stay happy like this forever."
"A decent prize, given what you've been through before you came here."Takara stilled, wondering why she never thought to ask this single question. "What of you, Seimei?"
"I mean . . . were you happy before you met your current Master?"
"It's hard to say; perhaps I was at times.""I understand."
Takara could tell Seimei was getting uncomfortable simply from saying those words, and she knew not to push his further for answers. He hadn't the right to pry about her past, nor did she to inquire about his past.
Let things calm and settle as they were.
"Please let me introduce myself - I am Nana."
"No surname?" Ritsu asked.
"Nana will be just fine. Please, let me speak on behalf of Akame; you see, he isn't well proposed when it comes to ways with words. He is truly, deeply apologetic, and though his pride might stand in his way somewhat, I assure he has given up any ties he wants to have with your pet. Yes, he did say he wasn't going to help you find your pet, but that won't be necessary because your pet has already returned home."
A look of slight surprise came across Ritsu's face briefly, but he quickly hid it away before anyone in the room really noticed it.
"And how do you know of this?"
"Your friend, Masao, called me." When Ritsu gave her an inquiring glance, she added, "I am an acquaintance of his, in case you're wondering. He also told me someone by the name of Agatsuma dropped him off at his home."
"Is that all?" Ritsu asked, itching to stand up and leave.
"Hmmm, that pretty much sums it up." Ritsu stood then. "Ah, before you go though, I will have Akame return all the kupos he has stolen from you within a reasonable timeframe. And I assure you, there will be no repeat of this incident."
"I'd hope not. Now excuse me." With that being said he left without uttering another word.
Nana let out an exasperated sigh.
"Akame, you silly idiot, why'd you go have to make things harder for yourself! If I weren't standing right outside the door listening in on your conversation, who knows where this might have led!
"Thanks? Is that all you can say to me?"
"What else do you want me to say then?"
"Never mind. Although, Akame, there is one thing I'd like to know. Why'd you do it?"
"Revenge.""No, really. Why, Akame?"
"I don't know; maybe it was because I was craving for something . . . I can't really explain it."
"Craving something . . . If you don't understand it yourself, I don't think I would be able to completely understand it either. But that's okay. I'll still stick by you, and don't you think of ditching me ever again."
Nana was relieved. This issue was resolved quite easily, and she was glad Akame didn't put up too much of a fight at this point. At one time, Akame was seeing right through her - he was seeing her but not for who she really was. Now he could see her clearly. No mistakes this time, for he was no longer shrouded, enveloped. Let some rain fall from the heavens, because that might just be what he needs to clear his head. Yeah, that'd be nice, right?
The mind of the youth are easily succumbed to new things, and they blow through them like the breeze blows through tree leaves, easy and free.
"Master Ritsu." The words fell from Ritsuka's mouth effortlessly. "I've come back. I'm finally home."
"Ritsuka." He swallowed, tasting the words on his tongue and lips as they softened his features. "Welcome back."
There isn't anything to worry about anymore, because there you'll be.
Sidenote: Akame didn't put up much of a fight! I know, I know. He's young. Young people make many mistakes in their lives, when they tend to go down the wrong path. Live and learn, right?