DISCLAIMER: Neither Busigt-81 nor myself own Initial D...unfortunately
The only thing that saved Keisuke from falling off of his chair was the fact that he was sitting on an extremely large couch. "What do you mean? His father?" he screamed in disbelief.
Ryousuke merely ignored Keisuke's outburst and focused on Takumi, "Takumi, talk to me," Ryousuke urged gently taking a hold of the fingers on Takumi's injured hand.
At Ryousuke's gentle touch, Takumi turned his attention away from the younger Takahashi, as Keisuke continued to splutter like a fish out of water. Looking deeply into Ryousuke's eyes, Takumi saw the earnest concern and care the older man held for him, and all thoughts of lying to Ryousuke evaporated from his mind. He opened his mouth in an attempt to say something but no words came out.
Ryousuke watched as Takumi continued to open and close his mouth and couldn't help but chuckle, "You look like a fish."
Takumi closed his mouth firmly and shot Ryousuke a glare, which only made Ryousuke laugh harder. Leaning forward, Ryousuke added, "A rather cute fish." He then had the pleasure of watching Takumi blush an adorable shade of pink as Takumi looked away from Ryousuke and focused on their joined hands.
"Takumi," Ryousuke paused waiting for Takumi to look at him, however, after receiving no response Ryousuke decided another method was required. A sly grin crossed his face as he gently ran his thumb back and forth across Takumi's knuckles.
'He called me cute...why...why would he call me cute?" These thoughts continued to run through Takumi's mind as he stared at their joined hands. 'Why is he holding my hand? Is this normal?" Searching his memory for other occasions where Ryousuke had touched him, Takumi realised that Ryousuke touched him alot. 'I wonder if Ryousuke touches everybody else this much or is it just me?' The thought that Ryousuke only touched him that often, sent a warm tingle through the pit of Takumi's stomach, 'Hmm...I wonder if..." Takumi's thought process was cut off when he felt the sweet and gentle caress across his knuckles. Briefly, his eyes shot up to meet Ryousuke's amused orbs, before looking back down, mesmerised by Ryousuke's gentle caress.
Ryousuke chuckled as Takumi's cheeks turned a bright shade of red, "at least I got his attention". Becoming serious once again, Ryousuke prodded in a gentle tone, "Takumi, you still haven't answered my question."
Keisuke, who had been watching with avid interest as Ryousuke teased Takumi, groaned at Takumi's clueless response. "Takumi," he all but growled out, "did your father hit you?"
Taken back by Keisuke's irritation, Takumi averted his eyes and wrung his hands as doubt reared its ugly head. "Maybe they don't care about me..."
Once again, Ryousuke glared at his younger brother before focusing his attention on Takumi, "Takumi, ignore Keisuke, his just an idiot," Ignoring Keisuke who scoffed in response to his statement, Ryousuke continued. "Takumi, did your father hit you?".
Motivated by the concern evident in Ryousuke's eyes, Takumi whispered a silent affirmation..
There was a short pause, before Ryousuke asked, "Does he hit you often?"
Once again, Takumi nodded his head with a whispered "yes" in response.
A pregnant silence followed Takumi's confirmation, both brother's exchanged glances and leant back, thinking of what to do next.
Keisuke was the first to break the silence, "Takumi, why does he hit you?"
Takumi frowned, baffled by the question, "Why?" both brother's nodded, "because...because...I...I deserve it."
This time, Keisuke, who had been perched on the edge of the couch, really did fall off his seat. "You d-d-deserve it?" He spluttered, "Nobody deserves to be treated like that!" He exclaimed, arms flailing around madly.
"But...but..." Takumi stuttered.
"No, Takumi. Keisuke's right. Nobody deserves to be hurt like that. No matter what they've done" Ryousuke tried to reason with him.
Shaking his head violently, Takumi jumped to his feet, wanting, desperately to convince them that everything was his fault, "But, I do!" he shouted, "I...I...killed her. If it wasn't for me, she'd still be here! If it wasn't for me, he'd...he'd be happy and...and...his life would be better!" Takumi tried to control himself, but failed as he fell to his knees, sobbing and shaking uncontrollably..
Staring wide-eyed at the normally level-headed and soft-spoken teenager, both brothers were surprised by the sudden outburst. The young man before them wasn't known for being very expressive; in fact, he rarely ever showed any emotions, except for the rare smile. Briefly exchanging worried glances with each other, and not knowing what else to do, they quickly moved towards Takumi and attempted to calm him.
"Takumi..." Ryousuke reached out and gathered Takumi in his arms, running his hand up and down Takumi's back. Slowly, gradually, Takumi's sobs subsided as he calmed down, but Ryousuke made no move to release the younger driver.
"Takumi, who did you kill?" Keisuke asked cautiously.
"Mum" Takumi mumbled, his face still buried in Ryousuke's chest.
"How?" Ryousuke prodded.
"I...She...she died giving birth to me..."
gasped in shock and opened his mouth to say something but closed it firmly once
he realised there was nothing he could say to make the situation better. Giving
Ryousuke a look which clearly said, do
something, Keisuke waited for Ryousuke to take charge.
Seeing the look Keisuke gave him, Ryousuke knew that he had to do something because it was obvious that Keisuke had no ideas.
"Takumi, it wasn't your fault," Ryousuke tried not to flinch at the triteness of his words.
"But...but...it was...if I..."
"No." Ryousuke interrupted Takumi's protest, "It wasn't your fault. I'm sure your mother loved you, and she would hate to see you in so much pain over her death." When Takumi didn't respond, Ryousuke re-affirmed, "It's not your fault. You couldn't stop your mother from dying, Takumi and your father has no right to blame you for it."
Takumi leant away from Ryousuke slightly and whispered "Really?" Keisuke and Ryousuke both nodded and Takumi felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his shoulders. He still felt that his mother's death was his fault, but the fact that the brothers didn't think so made him feel better.
"How about you go wash your face and then we will continue our conversation, ok?" Ryousuke said, standing up and offering a hand to Takumi. Accepting the proffered hand, Takumi nodded while wiping his face.
"Here, I'll show you the way." Keisuke offered headed towards the doorway, waiting for Takumi to follow him.
After spending a long time in the bathroom, reprimanding himself for the scene he made, Takumi realised that it was rude to make the brothers wait so long. So, taking a deep breath he exited the bathroom and slowly made his way to the living room, where he found Keisuke and Ryousuke sitting on the couches flanking the sofa. Standing in the entranceway of the living room, Takumi bowed his heads, clasped his hands in front of him, and stared at his feet as if they could tell him the meaning of life.
"I'm sorry," Takumi mumbled, "I didn't mean to cause such a scene."
"Don't be stupid, Takumi," Keisuke huffed.
"What Keisuke means is, there's nothing to be sorry about. You don't have to apologise." Ryousuke intervened before things started to go south.
Shifting his gaze from Keisuke to Ryousuke, Takumi said, "I...I...know you're only worried about me, but really, you don't have to bother about it. It's not your problem. I'm sure you have more important things to worry about."
"Takumi, there is nothing more important to us than you're well-being."
Baffled by Ryousuke's heartfelt declaration, Takumi said the first thing that came to his mind, "Why?"
"What kind of question is that?" Keisuke blurted in confusion, looking from Takumi to his Aniki, who looked just as surprised by the question,
"Why wouldn't we?" Ryousuke asked when Takumi just gave Keisuke a blank look.
Staring wide-eyed at the brothers, Takumi wondered why they didn't feel the same way as his father, and managed to stutter out a reply, "I'm...a failure...I can't do anything right. I'm just the tofu boy who a good track record. I..."
"That's enough, Takumi," Ryousuke's perfectly controlled voice interrupted Takumi's ramblings, "You're not a failure and I don't think you're just some tofu guy."
Takumi could see Keisuke nodding his head in agreement, but he still had his doubts. After all the only reason they all met was because he was a good driver. They may not think he was some tofu guy but that didn't mean he wasn't a failure who could drive.
Seeing the doubt still lingering in Takumi's eyes, Ryousuke continued, "And if you couldn't do anything right, I wouldn't have so much faith in you. Do you really think I would want a loser who couldn't do anything right as a member of Project D? Let alone one of my aces?" Ryousuke waited for the words to sink in keeping a steady gaze on Takumi.
'I guess he wouldn't want just any driver as one of his aces. Afterall Ryousuke-san could have chosen anyone, but instead he chose me. So, maybe I can do something right.' Takumi thought to himself, but there was still the issue of his dad. Still doubtful, Takumi hesitantly stuttered, "But...but dad always said..."
"Well, his wrong!" Keisuke asserted, moving forward to take Takumi by the shoulders and shaking him gently. "You are not useless. Or worthless. Or a failure. You are a great racer! You beat both me and the infamous White Comet! More importantly, you're a good person. A good friend."
"And, it wasn't your fault your mother died." Ryousuke added in a gentle tone. Sometime during Keisuke's tirade, Ryousuke had made his way forward, to stand behind Keisuke. Indicating for Keisuke to release the boy, Ryousuke took up Keisuke's previous position.
"Takumi, look at me" he waited for those big brown eyes to look at him before continuing, "Do you trust me?"
Takumi's instantaneous and confident reply caused the edges of Ryousuke's mouth to twitch upwards. Out of the corner of his eyes, Ryousuke could see Keisuke had a wide toothy grin on his face and tried not to copy his little brother. 'I have to remain serious or else we'll get side-tracked again.'
"So, you trust me when I say that you're not a failure."
Takumi nodded hesitantly.
"And you believe me when I say you're not useless, right?"
This time Takumi murmured an assent, even though he still seemed a bit doubtful.
"You trust me when I say that your mother's death wasn't your fault, right?"
Takumi froze under his hands and remained silent for a brief moment before he looked at Ryousuke and mumbled, "I...I guess so..."
Knowing that it would take Takumi some time to believe that he wasn't responsible for his mother's death, Ryousuke decided to let that one go, "That's good enough. For now."
Removing his hands from Takumi's shoulders and taking a step back Ryousuke took out a cigarette, offered one to Keisuke who, predictably, took one and then offered one to Takumi, who, as he expected, declined. Taking a drag of his cigarette, Ryousuke allowed the nicotine to relax his nerves and thought about what would happen next.
"So, what now Aniki?" Keisuke asked, inadvertently voicing Ryousuke's thoughts.
Ryousuke merely shrugged his shoulder and turned his gaze to Takumi, "What do you think, Takumi?"
"Ah..." came Takumi's trademark clueless response.
Keisuke laughed and Ryousuke chuckled lightly at Takumi's typical response. The laughter relieved the tense and solemn atmosphere that had filled the room and Takumi couldn't help but smile.
"It's getting late, let's get some rest. Takumi you'll stay in the guest room and I'll lend you some of my clothes." Ryousuke spoke after the laughter, mainly Keisuke's, had died down.
The prospect of missing deliveries in the morning made Takumi's face cloud over and he opened his mouth to protest, "I really should head home. I have deliveries in the morning."
"NO WAY!" Keisuke exclaimed, "You are not going home to that nutcase you call a father!"
"Don't." Takumi's voice was hard as steel and he fixed Keisuke with a cold glare, "Don't say that about my dad. He may not be the best dad in the world, but his still my dad, so don't say things like that."
Ryousuke's eyes widened at Takumi's cold tone. He knew that Takumi could be scary when he was angry but he had never thought that Takumi was capable of speaking to himself or Keisuke like that.
"You're defending him? After everything he's done to you?" Keisuke couldn't believe what he was hearing. "How can you defend him? He may be your father, but he...he...LOOK at what he did to you!"
Takumi's jaw tightened and Ryousuke could tell that Takumi was close to exploding so he needed to put an end to this.
"That's enough. Takumi, Keisuke's only worried about you and like I've said before, his an idiot," Ryousuke interrupted. Keisuke huffed in reply and took another drag of his cigarette, but otherwise didn't say anything else.
Looking like a reprimanded child, Takumi looked at Keisuke apologetically and said, "I'm sorry, Keisuke. I...I..."
Keisuke merely waved his hand in a dismissive manner at Takumi's stuttered apology.
"Takumi," Ryousuke spoke once again, "Keisuke is right, though. You can't go home."
Takumi looked at Ryousuke pleadingly, hoping he would understand, "I need to go home. I can't stay here."
"No, Fujiwara," the use of his last name silenced any of Takumi's further protests, "No arguments. You can't go home. I won't let you go home. You'll stay here in one of the guest rooms and either Keisuke or myself will lend you some clothes."
When no response was forthcoming, Ryousuke prodded, "Okay, Takumi?"
Realising that he didn't have a choice, Takumi reluctantly nodded his head.