Last chapter! Thanks to everyone who read and reviewed, please make sure to review this one last time!
Okay. So, this chapter might end a little strangely, but I like it. That's really all I have to say right now. Hmm… Perhaps I'm too tired to think of anything. In that case, I shall impart half-awake wisdom:
Screw socks and shoes. Today, your feet go commando.
Art I made WITH A MOUSE for this story. So it took a while. So you better go look at it.
Six months ago…
Rei sat stiffly in the hard chair, cursing the unforgiving cold of the dim room. Before him, behind a large desk with his hands together in a steeple-like alignment, was the head of the school. Rei looked toward the bald man and took a deep, self-preparing breath.
"It's interesting, how someone so composed as yourself would sink to such a low, Mr. Kon. Why, just last week I rewarded you for your citizenship after the bakery case. I'm surprised by all of this."
Rei said nothing, just nodded. Respect was, without a doubt, the biggest issue with this man. One foot over the line and you would be in more trouble then you thought possible. Adjusting his glasses upon his crooked nose, the man stood slowly and paced toward the window where the blinds remained shut. He parted two of them with his knobby fingers and peered out into the light, thinking.
"I expected better from you and Mr. Yin. Believe me, he would be here as well if it weren't for the head injury he suffered in your brawl. You two shall have to make up for this upheaval in some way…"
Rei nodded slowly again, even though the man couldn't see him. Slowly looking up, he finally spoke.
"In my defense, Elder Tai, Lee was the one who swung first."
"Oh yes, so I've heard. Kevin Ki seemed quite insistent that I show mercy on your part."
Rei blinked. Kevin had done that?
"After all, he was the only witness." Elder Tai continued. "But you understand why I don't trust the boy; he does have questionable loyalty to the village."
Something shifted in the air the instant those words were spoken. Guilt sparked somewhere deep inside of him, reminding him of the bitter argument that had gone on between the three of them only an hour before.
"How the hell could you be a fag?! Why would you ever choose that?"
"It's not a choice, Lee, I was born this way."
"Don't give me that bullshit, Rei. How could you?"
"Guys, please stop yelling…"
"Shut the fuck up, Kevin."
"Don't speak to him like that, Lee, he hasn't done anything!"
"I said shut up, you damn queer!"
"Don't call me that!"
"I'll call you whatever I fucking want too! You're disgusting!"
"No I'm not! Why can't you just accept this?"
"You want me to accept it?! How about you accept this!"
That was when the first punch flew. Rei had taken it straight in the face. From there, it was just physical attacks and name calling. Kevin had backed away, not wanting to be struck, but not knowing how to get the two to stop arguing. Neither Rei nor Lee paid him any attention until Rei landed a kick to the side of Lee's head, sending him to the ground flat. It was only then that someone – Rei couldn't even remember who – came up and saw what was happening.
And the whole argument was about Rei being gay. If Elder Tai was questioning Kevin's loyalty to the village, then what of Rei? He couldn't possibly let this man know about his sexual orientation, or else he would be exiled. Suddenly, Rei felt overjoyed that he had round-house kicked Lee in the head.
After a long pause, Tai spoke again. "But none the less, this matter will not be dismissed. Until Mr. Yin is available to defend his case, this will be postponed. I will speak to the two of you soon. Excused."
Silently, his conscious heavy, he stood and left the room.
"Mariah, I'm scared…" Kevin whimpered. The two had been chased into the bathroom where the door had remained locked. Mariah could tell that Lee and Gary were waiting close by, and as she sat there and stared at the floor, she couldn't help but acknowledge that they would have to come out sooner or later. Slowly, she turned her head to look at Kevin. He was sitting beside her in the tube, hugging his knees. He was shivering, his lips holding a gentle tinge of blue. She sighed.
"I know, Kev… We'll be okay."
"No we won't." Kevin said solemnly, sobering enough to look up at her. "Lee doesn't give up. One time I told him to get therapy when we were in public and he waited three days to get me back for it."
"… What did he do?" Mariah asked cautiously. Kevin looked at her blankly for a moment before his eyes slowly fell back towards his knees.
"He bit me."
Mariah blinked, disgust and confusion morphing her facial features. "He what?"
"He bit me. He came up behind me and bit my shoulder really hard, and then he shoved me to the ground."
Staring, her mouth open, Mariah let the news sink in slowly and painfully. How sick was Lee? What would make him do such a thing?
"I have a scar, from it. It looks like a vampire attacked me or something."
Mariah looked at her feet and shook her head. This was sick; the abuse sounded almost sexual now, like Lee was getting turned on by hurting Kevin so much. How in hell had her brother gotten so demented?
A harsh ram on the door. Kevin flinched harshly before whimpering, and Mariah felt her breath catch in her throat. From outside the door, Lee spoke simply and angrily.
"Don't make this worse than it is, Mariah. Open the goddamn door."
"Get therapy." Mariah said boldly, gaining a shocked look from Kevin. There was a growl before Lee's footsteps stormed away. Kevin continued to stare at Mariah while she smiled weakly at him, shrugging. Still, he couldn't relax. Looking nervously back at the door, Kevin curled forward and pressed his forehead against his knees pitifully.
"I'm gunna die this time, I know it."
Mariah's head snapped back a fraction. "Kevin," She said, sounding hurt, "don't say that!"
"But it's true." Kevin said sadly, not looking up. "He's really mad and Gary hates me and there's nowhere to run this time. I'm gunna die today."
And much to her horror, Mariah found that she couldn't argue with him. She blinked slowly, looking toward her own feet, and the n the polished texture of the bathtub. She looked up toward the mirror, and suddenly wondered how many times Kevin had cleaned up a cut or bruise in this bathroom. She felt utterly dirty for being there, and couldn't help but wonder if maybe she should ask Kevin. But… no, she had to be strong. One of them had too.
"Can you hear that?" Kevin asked suddenly, his voice soft. Mariah looked at him with narrowed eyes.
"That sound." Kevin replied immediately, looking toward the door. Mariah followed his gaze just in time to see the lock on the doorknob turn. Her eyes widened only seconds before the door burst open. There, filled the doorway with clenched fists, was Lee. His teeth were gritting together and his eyes were burning with hatred that neither Mariah nor Kevin had ever seen before. He smiled awkwardly and, without a word, stepped into the room and closed the door tightly behind him. Mariah stood defensively while Kevin just sat there, suddenly very calm.
When faced with death, how do you respond? Imagine yourself sitting there, staring it in the face, and you know that you can't stop it from coming. Do you try to run? Do you take a deep breath and accept the events as they've happened? After all, you're only one human. How could you possibly deny something that was never anywhere near your control in the first place? I've asked myself this question every night, and I can't decide what I would do. Would I run? Do I have anything to live for beyond this? Is there something to fight for? Or do I face it like the man my father wanted me to be, and let it come? To I embrace the inevitable, or try to fight against it like so many people do? Perhaps I'm asking too many questions. Maybe it's as black and white as whether you get out of bed in the morning or not. It shouldn't be so hard. But… My death is not in the hands of chance. It's in the hands of him. That anonymous 'him' that haunts my dreams. Will he finally kill me? Or will he just spare me over until another day?
I don't think I can ask myself that question again.
Kevin blinked. The dialog to something he had posted in a blog weeks ago suddenly flashed through his head. As Mariah and Lee started yelling at one another, their echoing voices blurring into the sound of Kevin's heart pounding in his ears, he let his eyes close. Was he ready to die, or did he have the will to fight? Shivering gently against the porcelain of the tub, Kevin opened his eyes again slowly and looked up at Lee. His face was blank, if not sad. Somewhere in his conflict with Mariah, Lee looked down at Kevin, and the youngest in the room could spot the elder mouthing 'what the fuck are you looking at'. But he didn't hear. Blood pulsated through his body, as hot as fire and still not doing anything to thaw him out. Suddenly, and without his mind's consent, Kevin stood.
And Mariah and Lee stopped yelling. They both looked down at him, Mariah's eyes brimming with tears while Lee's radiated anger. And as Kevin lifted his eyes to meet Lee's, he suddenly felt the courage to speak. Calmly, softly, peacefully. Kevin finally spoke his mind.
"If you're going to hurt me, Lee, I want to you to know something. For the first time in five and a half months, I've been happy. I've felt like I can smile without you smacking me. I've done something and not been ridiculed for it. I'm sorry if I can't be who you are or who you want me to be, but I know one thing for sure; I'm happy with Tala and the others. And if that's such a horrid crime," Kevin paused to laugh half-heartedly, "– to be happy and loved, then fine. Beat the shit out of me. Kill me. But some day you'll realize that you're the one who's sick. Not me."
Lee stared. Mariah stared. Kevin looked down at the floor. There was a long pause before Lee narrowed his eyes and swung his hand up. Spotting it, Kevin just closed his eyes before Lee's palm smacked him upside the head.
Somehow, he kept his balance. He slid a little on the floor of the tub and felt his ankle twist. Mariah must have tried to stop Lee from hitting him again and failed, because she hit the door just as Kevin looked up. Lee caught him in the face with a punch and knocked Kevin right down. Without missing a heartbeat, he snagged Kevin's casted arm and pulled him right off the ground and over the edge of the tub, so that his feet were dangling about three or four inches off the ground. Kevin cried out in pain as Lee tilted the cast towards a horizontal position. The closer it got to being flat, the more Kevin kicked and screamed, before Mariah dove onto Lee's back. A loud crack followed by Kevin being dropped to the ground ensued. Lee struggled to pry Mariah off of his back while Kevin gripped his arm, hot tears rolling down his cheeks.
The door opened. From seemingly out of nowhere, Gary grabbed hold of Mariah and pulled her clear off of Lee. He held her back, kicking and fighting, while Lee recovered and moved toward Kevin again. Grabbing him by the back of his shirt, Lee hoisted him up and glared at him.
"You think I'm sick? You're Tala's bitch, Kevin. You're a little faggot who can't even pitch. Maybe I ought to kill you, save the elders the trouble of fixing you."
"Then go the fuck ahead, you bastard, I'd rather be dead then be their lab rat."
Lee's eyes narrowed even further and the smug look vanished from his face. "Why you little-"
"Get the fuck away from him, Lee." From just outside the doorway, passed Gary, a voice filled with as much anger as Lee bellowed into the bathroom. Lee stopped short and turned, Kevin still suspended in the air, his shirt collar choking him slightly while Lee pivoted. Gary turned sharply to receive a fist to the face, sending him to the floor. Mariah gasped and pulled away in time to keep her balance. There, filling the space that Gary's large build had just abandoned, was Tala.
"You." Lee growled, dropping Kevin suddenly. The small neko-jin hit the floor with a thump and groaned, but before he could move Lee's foot stamped onto his upper back. "You're the one who started all of thi-"
"Don't pull that angry evil captain bullshit now, Yin. Get your foot the fuck off of my boyfriend."
Both Lee and Kevin blinked. Weakly, Kevin looked up at Tala as if to ask 'really?', while Lee's shock turned immediately into deeper anger.
"Don't you dare tell me what to do, you-"
"I said shut up, you stupid fuck." Tala growled, starting forward suddenly. Lee blinked again, startled by the forced nature in Tala's actions, but before he could prepare and defend himself, Tala had his hands wrapping around Lee's shirt collar. Glaring, the red head spun Lee around and chucked him out of the room almost effortlessly before turning and squatting down. Carefully, he helped Kevin into a kneeling position.
"You okay?" He asked softly, supporting the younger who immediately fell against his chest and fought more tears.
Lee pushed himself to his feet and staggered backwards, enraged and bewildered. Behind Mariah, Gary had risen and was holding his head in pain.
Lee spun. There, looking both angry and dejected at the same time, was Rei. The words that had been forming at the tip of Lee's tongue suddenly dissolved away, and his mind drew a blank. He stood still, like a deer in the way of a speeding car, and stared.
"You're done, Lee. You can't hurt him anymore."
"…" Lee's mouth hung open. He hadn't seen Rei in a long time, and the last interaction they had had was an argument that ended in a physical fight. He had taken a kick to the head. He continued to stare.
"And don't for a minute blame me for all this. You're the one that tore the team apart with your anger." Rei paused and sighed, shaking his head slowly. "I'm so sorry that you became this. You were my best friend, Lee."
The two held eye contact for a long time before Lee looked away slowly. Rei could see the anger returning, but it was tamed. Lee knew he was defeated.
"Rei." Tala's voice sounded from the bathroom. "Hurry the tea party along; we need to get Kevin to a hospital."
Lee remained where he was. Mariah took a deep breath and moved into the bathroom, but Tala had already scooped Kevin up. Rei glanced at Lee one more time before he too moved to help Tala, but as he passed by the elder neko-jin, he felt a hand clamp around his upper arm and whip him around. He started, caught off guard, but before he could even blink he felt Lee's fist crashing into his face. Mariah gasped as Rei hit the floor, Tala stopping short.
"He's not going to a fucking hospital, he's going to hell." Lee growled, the anger flashing back full force. Tala took a step back and bumped straight into Gary, who took him by the shoulders and flung him almost effortlessly into a wall. Tala shifted just in time to take the majority of the blow, but as he fell to the ground Kevin still tumbled from his arms. Mariah turned to help, but Lee's fist caught her in the back of the head and sent her to the floor, out cold. Kevin back up against Tala and let the elder wrap his arms around him. 'It's okay', Tala whispered, but Kevin didn't register it. He just pressed up against Tala's winded form and whimpered. Rei, stumbling to his feet, managed to put himself between Tala and Gary, and for someone who just took a fist to the face, he did a damn good job of fending the elder off. Lee, on the other hand, had the opportunity to dive forward toward Kevin. Tala's foot shot up, holding the elder back by his chest, but Lee still shoved his arms forward and snagged Kevin's good wrist. Kevin cried out and tugged helplessly while Tala struggled to get Lee off, one arm still wrapped around Kevin's waist.
Then Lee did something that attained everyone's attention. While he held Kevin's hand close to his face, Lee opened his mouth and bit down on Kevin's index finger so hard that after a crunch, he had almost bitten off the front-most two segments of the finger.
Kevin's scream was so deafening that it shocked even Lee, who pulled away and spat out the blood before covering his ears. Red fluid, thick and hot, seemed to get everywhere without it actually coming out of the finger. Kevin kept screaming, his cries slowly losing their intensity as he pulled his hand toward his stomach. The blood soaked his shirt. Tala let go of him then, the shock passing him first, and he dove forward, smashing a foot into Lee's face. He moved to do it again before Rei pulled him back, and he saw why.
On the floor, yelling in his own pain, was Lee, holding his left eye. Aside from the blood that spilled between his fingers, a strange white fluid ran down the side of his face. The cries of agony shook Tala and Rei to the core before Gary shoved them aside and knelt beside Lee. Taking the opportunity, the two still standing backed away. Tala lifted Kevin, now reduced to groaning in pain, while Rei scooped up Mariah, and together they rushed from the apartment, leaving Lee and Gary alone.
"Still think he's taking advantage of him?" Kai asked calmly, stroking Rei's hair. He looked down at his lover, whose head was resting upon his chest. Rei sighed.
"No, I guess not."
"Ff. How could you?" Bryan asked from his own seat. "Tala has spent the last three days in that damn room with him."
"Dedication doesn't mean love."
"Yes it does, Spencer." Rei said, closing his eyes. "It does when the dedication is on a level like that."
Ian tossed the magazine he was reading onto the table. "Yeah, well I still think Tala doesn't deserve him."
Bryan rolled his eyes. "And you do? I'm sorry, maybe it's the head injury, but I don't remember you doing anything to help him out. At all."
Ian moved to retort before Kai cut him off. "Shut up, we're in public."
Silence fell over the waiting room again. Rei and Kai cuddled on a sofa while Bryan, Spencer, and Ian sat in separate chairs. They all sighed at once, eyes wandering in different directions. After several moments of silence, Rei spoke.
"I just can't believe Mariah is pregnant."
Kai sighed. "It was bound to happen. Look at the people she was hanging out with."
"She can't go home, though."
"Meaning…" Bryan interjected, suddenly sounding vaguely concerned. Rei looked up at him.
"Meaning she'll have to live somewhere. And I would feel just awful if I didn't help, Kai."
Kai blinked. "What?"
Rei looked at him for a moment, hard. Kai sighed.
"I don't want to live with her."
"She's sorry, Kai. She made mistakes, we all did. I did. She deserves another chance."
"Not under my roof."
"Then buy her a house. You can afford it."
Kai blinked. "Hell no."
"Think of the baby."
"Don't play that card with me."
"What if she lets us adopt it?"
Kai opened his mouth to retort and stopped. His mouth slowly closed. He looked at Rei. They had discussed adoption before, but it had never actually seemed like a reality. Kai wasn't exactly dad material. But Rei was, and he seemed to think that they could do it. After a long silence, with everyone waiting impatiently for Kai's reply, he rolled his eyes.
Rei smiled, and rested his head back down.
"So that's how I got that scar."
"Really? God, that must have hurt."
"Yeah, well…" Tala paused to sigh for dramatic effect, "It wasn't that bad."
Kevin rolled his eyes and smiled. "I'm sure. How's the shoulder?"
"Stiff. How's the… everything?"
Tala smiled, remaining silent. He looked at the neko-jin carefully, the smile remaining though softening. After a few moments, Kevin looked right at him.
"Can't help it. You're cute."
"Yeah, well… It's creepy."
"You don't deny it?" Tala said, perking suddenly. The smile spread. "Is that an ego I see returning?"
Kevin laughed gently. "Oh shove off. It's not like I'm going to be a wounded little puppy forever."
"Well good." Tala countered immediately, leaning back. "I don't like wounded puppies. I much prefer sex kittens."
Kevin blinked, his cheeks warming slightly. "Have you always been so forward?"
"Oh…" Kevin murmured. His gaze downcast, he sighed and smiled tiredly. A long, peaceful silence followed in which Tala stood and strolled to the window to look out over the city, and Kevin found the strength to nestle into the pillows that propped him up. His eyes closed, he drifted closer to sleep with each passing moment before he caught himself and pulled back to reality.
"Tala?" He asked sleepily. The elder turned to look at him with a raised eyebrow, as if you say 'yes, you rang?'.
"Can we get a dog?"
The red-head blinked. "What?"
Shifting gently in the hospital bed, Kevin looked down at his lap sheepishly. "You know… Like, a big dog? I mean, the police got the flat and all they found was that letter. Doesn't that worry you?"
Tala looked at him for a long time before sighing. "Yes. It does. Actually, it scares the crap out of me, and very few things do."
Slowly, Tala moved back across the room and climbed onto the bed beside Kevin, lying down carefully. Kevin rolled his head over and rested it against Tala's shoulder, snuggling up.
"I promise, Kevin, I'm going to take care of you."
"You didn't expect too, though?"
Tala blinked. "Huh?"
"On the subway. You had no idea what you were getting into, did you? You were just horny?"
Tala looked Kevin straight in the eye. For a long time, he remained like that before sighing and laughing gently.
"How long have you been wondering that?"
"Since the morning after when I woke up with an aching ass in your bed."
Another laugh. "Okay, okay. Yes, I was just horny. And you happened to be the most beautiful thing I had seen in weeks. But once I got sucked into it, and realized how strong you were for surviving that for as long as you did, I found more emotions toward you then just lust."
Kevin chuckled. "I wasn't strong at all, Tala. I was scared."
"No, see, that's the mistake." Tala said, resting back down and allowing Kevin to snuggle up again. "You might see it as fear, but the overview of all that happened… Well, you were brave. You withstood all of that abuse and suffering and you still managed to carry on. Until the end of course. But that's human."
"…" Kevin said nothing for five whole minutes. Then, out of nowhere, "So we can get a dog?"
Tala groaned. "I thought you'd forgotten about that."
A sigh. "Okay, we'll get a dog."
"Yay!" Kevin cooed happily, snuggling close enough now to fall asleep. As his breathing calmed and evened out, and sleep claimed him, Tala smiled to himself.
"But it's going to be a Husky."
"You disgusting demons haven't rid yourselves of justice yet. We'll find you. We'll kill you or cleanse you, but you will not be allowed to continue this unholy lifestyle."
Time passed from winter to spring to summer to fall, and it became custom for Kevin and Tala to go for a stroll through the city parks every afternoon. Accompanied by Soviet, a large, fluffy, and protective Husky with pure white fur, they explored Berlin together as they settled into their new home with Bryan, Ian, and Spencer. Near enough lived Kai and Rei, and in a studio apartment closer still was Mariah, now deep in her term of pregnancy, and due in the winter.
"I will never give up. Rei, you have tainted the very name of your heritage. Mariah, once my sister, and now a whore, has tarnished our family name. And Kevin, you diseased little slut, may have a second chance at redemption only if you come forward yourself."
In September, on a chilly day, Tala tried his hand at baking, and managed to create a lop-sided chocolate cake for Kevin's sixteenth birthday. Kevin told him the following morning that it had been the best birthday of his life, and Bryan, Spencer, Kai, Rei, and Ian could all vouch the notion.
"Get as comfortable as you'd like. I will return. And when I do, you shall all taste righteousness as the Gods intended. You should only hope you die before I get to you.
On November fourth, Anya Yin was born.
Ah, breathe in that musk of potential squeal. Even if this is the official ending and there won't be a sequal, at least it leaves you guys with something to think of, right?
Okay, so I gave Mariah's baby a Russian name. Sue me. I think, seeing as she lives in Russia with the Blitskrieg boys, it's fitting. Besides, maybe she didn't choose it. Maybe Rei and Kai did. Maybe they did because they're adopting it. Mayyyyyyybeeeeee. Hmmmmmm.
Thanks for reading another one of my stories! As always I love you for it. Please review and let me know what you think!