The Quiet Man
Chapter 1 Freedom
It was a cloudy and overcast day, but as far as Keitaro Urashima was concerned, it was his final day of incarceration at the East Tokyo Juvenielle Detetion Facility. It was his 20th birthday, and as such, he had fulfilled the sentence imposed on him by the Japenese government for the charge of involuntary manslaughter. Seven years earlier during a martial arts tournement, he had let his anger cloud his judgement and went to far in a match, killing his opponnent in a sudden and unconventional move, developed by his families clan. The results of his arrest and subsequent jailing led to a decision by his parents to exile him from his families clan for bringing shame on them and dishonoring the opponent and his family. This decision was not universal as only his grandmother tried to stand up for him. She was over-ruled by the other clan leaders and as such Kietaro was left on his own. During his incarciration his granny Hina always kept in touch with her grandson, sending him care pakages, letters of encouragement and money, if it was needed.
During his stay at the jail, he was meeting twice a week with counselors to help him control his aggressive nature. After seven years of therapy and anger management exercises, his combative and
violent nature was curbed. Keitaro felt better about himself and remorse for his past behavior. The changes in how he interacted with others were noticed by the staff and his granny Hina when she visited.
He no longer lashed out at others and instead devoted himself to helping the youger charges, giving the quiet words of encouragement, and sharing his care packages with others in his perdicament. He had even started teaching a small class on martial arts with heavy emphasis on medatation as a way of calmly thinking out situations instead of blindly reacting to them. Since his progress in self-improvement was considered an overwhelming sucess, the program he was participating in was implemented country wide by the government to other institutions in hopes of rehabilitating other young people prior to thier release into society.
After his final processing for his release, he was given a check from the Detention facility for work performed during his stay. The amount was not much, as it was designed to help him with his entrance back into society, not pay for it completly. He was also given a letter from his grandmother. In it she stated that upon his release she had hopes that he would come and live with her at her inn she was managing. Walking out the gates, he was saying his farwells to inmates he had known. With promises to keep in touch, he was finally through the gates and out on the road. His initial thoughts were what he should do now that he was free. His parents had made it clear that he would not be welcome at home, and with the little money he had, his first thought was getting a bite to eat. He proceeded down the road to the suburb bordering the facility. In the small city, he quickly found the bank that the check was written against, went inside and cashed it. Leaving the bank, he located a small soba shop and quietly ordered his meal. Sitting there enjoying the noodles, he reflected on his past.
'It feels so strange to be out.' He thought to himself. 'For the past seven years, I've been told when to get up, eat, take classes, eat, go to work details, eat and when to go to bed.'
As he reflected on this, he suddenly realized he felt lost, not knowing what to do after living such a structured life. As a mild panic attack started to set in, his mind quickly shifted to the meditation he had taught to others.
'Relax'. he told himself. 'Focus, and think not about what you have to do, but what you want to do.'
As he calmed down, he took out his sketch pad and began to draw some of the other patrons in the shop. During his first sessions with counselors, they had asked him to try different methods of coping with his aggression, from writing to model making and it was then he discovered a hidden talent for drawing. During his interment he had gone on to draw and eventually paint wonderful and calming scenery. Three of his best paintings graced the cafeteria, the wardens office and the recreation room of the detention center. Sitting there sketching, his mind started to relax and after about thirty minutes he had calmed down enough to figure out what he wanted to do next. With limited funds and options he eventually decided to go to his grandmothers. Paying for his meal, he went out the doors and headed for the train station.
Catching the train into the heart of Tokyo, he sat back and tried to relax. After a 40 mintue ride and two tansfers later, he stepped out into the Hinata city distict. Looking around he realized he had no idea of which way to go. Accross the street he spotted a phone booth and quickly dialed the number his grandmother had given him in the letter.
After the fourth ring the phone on the other end was answered.
"Hinata house. Motoko Aoyama speaking." came the voice from the other end.
"Yes, I would like to speak to Hina Urashima please." replied Keitaro.
"Who may I ask is calling?" questioned the young woman on the other end.
"Her grandson, Keitaro." was the polite response.
"Please wait while I check to see if she is here." she responed.
As he was waiting the phone was answered again only this time by a different voice.
"Hello, what can I do for ya sugah?" came a definite female and sexy voice.
"Yes. I am trying to get in touch with Hina Urashima. Is she there?" Asked Keitaro for the second time.
"I'm sorry sugah, she's stepped out for a while. Is there something I can do for ya?" came a purred playful response.
Taken aback at the tone and the nature of the question, Keitaro swallowed nervously and stuttered out a response.
"Y-ye-yes. could you t-tell her that her grandson is coming over and if it's not to much trouble, could you give me directions from the train staion to the inn." he managed to get out.
'Inn?' thought one Mitsune Konno aka Kitsune. ' He must mean here, but it's not an inn any more.' "Sure thing sugah. As far as getting from there to here, just walk straight away from the station to the bridge. After crossing the bridge, look to you're left and see the tall staircase, go up those and you can't miss it."
"Thank you. I should be there shortly. Please don't forget to tell my grandmother I'm on my way." Keitaro quietly replied.
"You're welcome sugah, and I'll be sure to give her the message." Kitsune replied.
As she was hanging up the phone, Motoko came back in.
"Did you hang up the phone?" She asked.
"Yep." came the grinned response.
"What about granny Hina's caller? You did not just hang up on him did you?" asked Motoko with a disbelieving voice.
"Of course not. He asked about granny and I told him she wasn't here, then I gave him directions to the dorm." smiled Kitsune.
"WHAT? I can not believe you would give some strange man directions to this dorm. What if he is a deviant lecher? or a pervert?" Motoko asked in exasperation.
"Well, he did say he was granny's grandson, and he did sound kinda cute, so why not?" Kitsune replied, her grin getting wider.
"I can not believe you Mitsune. To think you would so carelessly do something like this. I mean how do you know it was her grandson? What if he comes here with a couple other men?" she replied in frustration.
"Well then you and you're sword will make short work of them, right." she said lightly.
"I would prefer not to sully myself cleaning up your mess." Motoko responded.
"Relax, it won't be a problem. Besides granny told me before she left to expect him to call or show up, since I was the only one here at the time." Kitsune laughingly replied. "Plus I was bored so I just wanted to tweak you a bit to see what you would do."
Giving the fox an irritated look, she finally sighed, drew in a deep breath and began to calm down. "Did he say why he was coming here? Or perhaps granny Hina might have said something about him?" Motoko asked.
"Nope. But I figure it shouldn't be that big a deal, should it? He's probably coming by to visit and then should be on his way, right?" she questioned.
"One can only hope, Kitsune. I for one do not wish to tolerate him more than required to be polite." Motoko replied, looking like she bit into something sour.