Monday, September 6th of 2012 / 12:32 p.m.:
Monday, September 6th of 2012 / 12:32 p.m.:
Detective Theo Watanabe turned to give his partner a playful look as he dared her to knock on Satan's door. The hand he waved to invite her forward was a light beige, calloused from hours spent at the local shooting range, with a hint of the dark brown, messy hair piled atop his head across the back of it. His wooden irises, with all the swirls of polished maple, were alight with amusement as he watched her roll her own clever, lime-colored eyes. With deliberation that mocked his false timidity, she reached her own hand forward – smooth and the color of peace skin – and knocked her knuckles against the surface in several hard raps, before placing her fist back into a pocket and regarding him smugly. He merely smirked and shifted the manila folder more comfortably under his arm, and listened for the sounds of footsteps in the apartment beyond. Within seconds they heard the racing beat of small feet, heard the lock click open, and as the door swung wide they rested their eyes upon the daughter of the condominium's owner. Mitsuki Nakamura was dressed in blue overalls and a white sweater, and her face fell momentarily in disappointment as she saw two adults standing there and not her friends, but she smiled quickly enough and welcomed them, called to her single parent over her shoulder that Mr. Watanabe and Ms. Sato had arrived, and went into the kitchen dutifully as her father asked her to get out the supplies for tea for the guests. The adults, meanwhile, removed their shoes and stepped into the greeting room, their gazes causal as they peered over the interior of the home and tried not to allow their envy to show. It was an impressive space; that much had remained unchanged whenever they'd visited, and sometimes it made them more than a little miffed at their meager salaries. Though considering the circumstances surrounding the current ownership of the place, they supposed they should be grateful.
A melodic, amiable voice called out from the office, "I will be with you in a moment, detectives. There are some things I need to gather before Mitsuki's companions arrive with their chaperone, so please, make yourselves comfortable."
As if doing so was particularly hard. The two knelt at the table in silence, watching the five-year-old dance as she waited for the water to boil, evidently excited to be off with her friends soon, until a tall form drifted down the hall towards them in slow, smooth strides. The adult was a lithe man, pale of flesh and long in limbs, his snowy lavender, shaggy hair hugging his scalp and bristling across his chin. He wore lilac clothes to bring out the stark purple color of his keen, cat-like eyes, which gleamed with an inhuman intelligence that seemed ageless to those who met his gaze. Theo, his partner Lily knew, admired the male for his grace and sophisticated speech, and for the mysterious aura that emanated from his enigmatic being…but to Lily, the fellow was nothing more than a vampire lying in wait, playing with its food before bursting forth from the darkness to feed upon its prey. Even the warm look he gave his child did not keep at bay the shiver of unease assaulting her as she regarded him, nor as he went into the kitchen and told Mitsuki that he would finish the tea and slid 3000 yen into her hands. She grinned and thanked his profusely, embraced him about his thighs, and then leapt away as she heard a series of light knocks on the door. When she opened it, the curious faces of the neighbors' children peered in, along with that of Mrs. Hibiya, their mother, when she asked if the little girl was ready to go to the festival downtown. The father merely nodded, encouraging the child to enjoy herself, and after the kids had dashed to the elevator and the front door snicked shut, he poured the ready tea and glanced up as Theo called, "3000 yen? That was generous of you, Mr. Nakamura."
The man smiled as the familiar ritual began. "Again, Detective Watanabe, I do believe my adopted family would be offended if they heard you addressing me by that name. I was not even married to their daughter when she passed away, and the only reason I can be included in their group is thanks to Mitsuki. It is not me they find delight in, after all…so please, call me Ayumu."
"Ayumu is far too casual," Lily commented dryly, but let it slide as always, and took the cup of tea she was handed. The father placed the other full cup before Theo and poured his own, placing the kettle upon the table slowly. Afterwards, he gave them the usual files they had requested and allowed them to search through the papers for what they would never find. As he sipped his drink, the woman went on officially, "Last night there was another homicide: this time the target was the renowned businessman Ikuto Sagisu, suspected of running a prostitution ring and trafficking young girls overseas for pedophiles to get their rocks off with. He might have been scum, but his company has demanded the murderer be caught…and since it was obviously Tsukuyomi – as you can tell from the over-the-top carnage in the crime scene photos – we are interviewing the usual suspects, starting with you, since you're at the top of the damned list."
Ayumu's lips twitched upwards as he regarded her in quiet amusement. "You are just as delightful as ever, Ms. Sato – but on what evidence do you believe me to be this vigilante?"
The detective's fingers drummed across the surface of the table in agitation. "Nothing concrete, but you have to admit, you haven't had much good fortune when it comes to encountering criminals in the past, have you?"
Ayumu's expression became solemn; in past interviews with these two agents of justice, many of the truths and fabrications of his history had been revealed to them. A necessity of course, to give his choices in his life credibility, for if one was going to lie about something as elaborate as life, one would have to "lie big," and provide just enough truth to escape the detection of polygraphy. Inevitably, he had to acknowledge that the false series of events gave him more than a little motive to be the vigilante dubbed Tsukuyomi by the police, the namesake derived from the Japanese god of the moon, and for the fact that the non-fictional entity only wandered out during the night, as well as made its most important executions by the light of the full moon. First, there had been the events he had described of his childhood: of watching his immediate family die around him, and of the being integrated into the most infamous gang of the city for his psychic abilities - Team Rocket. According to what he had told the man and woman, from there he had been placed in one of the lesser fractions, each of what were named after a legendary pokemon, and then designated a number: in this case, the soldier group had been called "Mew," and his number had been "Two"; hence the identity of "Mewtwo," which he had gone by even after deserting from the gang wars. That was why the Nakamura family had known him as such, and why he was entitled with the term in official documents from before their daughter's death, and not his original identity that he had reclaimed. Then after those adolescent years, he had disclosed that he had toyed with being a pokemon trainer. Ultimately, though, the pursuit was not of his tastes, so he released his captured team after a year. From there he had wandered as a vagabond, taking odd jobs to keep his stomach fed, until he was twenty-six years and chose to return to his hometown, thinking the choice safe after a decade had passed. In the capital he had met Anne Nakamura late one night in the local park, and after he had escorted her home she'd invited him to stay with her, for they'd had much in common in the likeness that their lives had been damaged through encounters with the same gang.
From there he'd recounted mostly truth, describing how they had grown fond of one another before having their lives together cut short when Anne had turned up in an alleyway, beaten within an inch of her life, and within a few hours succumbed to her injuries in a hospital bed. Skipping the part where he had been thrown into a murderous rage, he had said he had fallen into a deep depression, which had only eased after Anne's brother had informed him of the biological samples Anne had left him. Reality, at that point, began to diverge from verity: he'd explained that believing it to be Anne's will, he'd contacted one of his living cousins (removed several times over) whom he had visited during his travels, a woman named Michi Maboroshi. She was the daughter of a missionary, a man who had visited the tribes of South America and had married a native. The term "Michi," he had informed them, was not the Japanese name for "path," but the word "cat" in Quechua (a namesake given to Michi because she had not wailed after her birth, but mewled), which was one of the indigenous languages of Peru. It was in that exquisite country where she was raised, although she now spent most of her adult life in her second home in Guyana. At any rate, Michi was more than happy to come overseas to live for a time in Kanto, for she had travelled the nations of her own continent extensively and thought a change desirable. She had also been thrilled with the idea of getting to know one of her relatives from her father's side of her family, and it had helped that there were numerous electronic toys for her to puzzle over in the new nation – not that Michi was unintelligent, but she chose to live in a simple manner. After a few months in her new home she'd agreed to act as a surrogate to the child Ayumu wished to create from Anne's gametes. They had gone to a private practice for the procedure, and nine months later Mitsuki had been born.
Of course, from there Ayumu had to officially regain citizenship status and acquire documents for Mitsuki and Michi (the latter so she could freely commute between her homeland and Kanto). This move had gained the attention to the police, who were searching for a man with reasons to hunt down and execute criminals, a man who would eventually become known as "Tsukuyomi." And Ayumu, in their minds, had an abundance of motive: first there were the battles he had been forced to fight as a child, and hence his understanding of how to eradicate a gang. Second was what had happened to Anne, for within hours of her death the men determined the suspects of the assault were found shredded and crushed (to make light of the brutality of their executions), along with dozens of their fellow members in the same Team Rocket faction. On a related note to that potential grudge, was that in the past few years – other than a few random incidences - the same organization that contained such scum had been getting its fringes torn off. Now those suspected of being its elite executives were in hiding or had turned themselves in, for so far the vigilante had not attacked the imprisoned. Third was the fact that, in light of the newest murder, there was an evident desire to protect young girls (many being of Mitsuki's physical type). Fourth was that Ayumu was a self-confessed powerful psychic, whose powers could easily commit the horrendous murders ongoing in the corrupt capital, and that his build nearly matched Tsukuyomi's from the glimpses the video recordings had caught before shorting out. Fifth was his utter lack of social life, though this could be explained by Ayumu working at home to raise his daughter directly (but Lily stubbornly chose to ignore that tidbit of information).
However, all this "evidence" was based on wild theories and coincidences in timing. Concrete facts, unfortunately, always eluded the investigators of the Tsukuyomi Case. Perhaps the biggest inconsistency with what the detectives tried to pin on the man was that - although the memory of the witnesses was always fuzzy and hence completely useless to them, a trend of repressed traumatic experiences that made the force members wish to rip their hair out – Tsukuyomi might not actually be human at all. In fact, as reports piled on their desks, it seemed increasingly likely that the vigilante was a pokemon instead. Ayumu, aware of this fact and more, placed much of his defense upon this point…yet Theo and Lily were not satisfied. Out of all their suspects, none seemed less human than Ayumu Nakamura, despite his cultured persona and cunning mind. The smirk he sometimes wore only made his strangeness more evident to them...and it didn't help prove his innocence when Ayumu said he agreed with the purge of evil elements Tsukuyomi was instigating. He said he was even grateful for the entity for destroying Anne's murderers and making the city safer for his daughter to grow within, and that he would even thank the being if he could!
The only reason he supposedly didn't follow along the same path was the child herself, as he would never be so foolhardy as to put her in danger. If he was Tsukuyomi, he'd declared, and it was discovered who his daughter was, Mitsuki would be targeted for abduction, used as a bargaining chip, and then doubtlessly killed as a lesson not to cross kingpins. Furthermore, what would happen to the girl if he were to die in his crusade? Certainly, Michi and Joseph would raise Mitsuki, but they were not her parents - they were her guardians, and wasn't it horrible enough that she had already lost her mother? It would be too cruel to deprive her of her father as well, would it not? He had gone on to say the biggest problem with vigilantism, besides endangering your loved ones, was an inability for the hunter to determine who was truly worthy of punishment. If a mistake was made, and an innocent or a person capable of reforming was killed, it would not be a righteous death penalty: it was murder, and so the vigilante would become a villain, not a hero.
Such were the reasons for and against the possibility that Ayumu Nakamura was Tsukuyomi. However, making one essential leap of true evidence would move them beyond mere speculation; for if they could tie Ayumu to the pokemon demon officials were beginning to believe Tsukuyomi was, then they could apprehend their suspect, as law enforcement was demanding the leading detectives to do once their proof was no longer circumstantial. Regardless of the fact that the vigilante was having more luck cleaning the streets of criminals than the police department before him, he was a wanted entity….
At any rate, as Lily sipped the rest of her tea and listened to her partner asking the usual banal questions (since she'd started growling her usual accusations at Ayumu within the first two minutes, forcing Theo to step in), she viewed the files that their researchers had sworn were authentic. Her men had even cross-referenced them by contacting the names and telephone numbers the papers had listed, and had found electronic copies in the government databases. To her, this suggested they should add charges of extensive forgery and hacking onto Ayumu's list of criminal offenses, though how he'd managed to make the persons themselves swear under oath that everything they contained was valid was beyond her. The family, of course, could be explained due to Mitsuki, but the strangers…? Was it memory manipulation? For a psychic, that was possible, but it was a risky endeavor, because one misstep could toss the victim into an asylum for senseless, incoherent blabbering. That was the damned part about dealing with a powerful meta-human: the proof of a crime was rarely material and hence couldn't be held up in court, which was why the case was floundering. There was just no way of knowing what had occurred without another psychic to translate the leftover energies into the equivalents of fingerprints. As most psychics were frauds or weren't powerful enough to be of any help, and Sabrina of Saffron was refusing to lend a hand in persecuting the male who was destroying the gang that once occupied her city, they were out of luck on that point. No one else was within Kanto jurisdiction to seek official aid from, nor did anyone in her department particularly trust outsiders, not even from Jhoto. Decades of living in a city where all levels of its infrastructure were infiltrated by the crooks made the innate suspicion inevitable. Sighing in soundless aggravation, Lily looked over the copy of Anne Nakamura's will again and commented with boredom, "You know, with everything this woman was leaving you, someone might think you made a deal with some old gang buddies to get rid of her, and then killed them later so they couldn't talk."
An eerie silence followed her muttering, and when she looked up she nearly dropped her cup in surprise: Ayumu Nakamura's face was contorted with fury, his fierce eyes boring into her with utter rage at her thoughtless words. She could see his body was shaking, and she raised her eyebrow at her partner, who was giving her a wary look for incurring the anger of a man they had previously believed incapable of the emotion. He could be cold and indifferent, yes, and even creepily heartless, but this was more reaction than he'd provided in the past dozen times they'd come to see him. Finally she had managed to get under his shell, had found a hot iron prod him into tripping up…and she hadn't even done it intentionally. Still, his low, slow snarl as he spoke disconcerted her, as if blades were skating over her skin…. "I assure you, I had no knowledge of what Anne had deemed to provide me in her will, woman. More importantly, I would never have done anything to harm her. For you to suggest that I had a part in her murder…do not insult her or myself in such a way! A large part of me died when she did…I did not even contemplate continuing to live until-."
Lily interrupted him to say, "Oh sure, I'm not saying your grief afterwards couldn't have been real, but that doesn't mean you were incapable of the act. It happens sometimes, that people kill someone they love for money or other benefits. Besides, wasn't she pregnant when she died? Maybe you didn't want to be a father, so you-."
"Is Mitsuki not proof enough that I wanted the child I was denied when Anne was murdered-?" Ayumu growled, his gemstone eyes flashing pale blue with fury.
Ms. Sato shrugged casually, unworried about his apparent rage. "You could have changed your mind, or better yet, had the girl conceived and born for your cover. I've come across worse motives for bringing a child into the world. Besides, if you cared so much about Anne, why didn't you go out and find her when she didn't come home after her appointment? Why did a rare pokemon bring her to the hospital and stay with her until after she died, and not you? Where were you when she passed away, Ayumu? Home? That was rather careless of you, considering how much you supposedly loved her."
Ayumu stood, his eyes narrowing at the mention of his pokemon persona: this had never been brought up before. Had the alterations he had placed in the doctor's memory failed? Had the man been forced to undergo hypnotic therapy, or was this wild bit of information fabricated just to bait him? He growled in response to her fishing. "Firstly, Mitsuki was made for entirely tender reasons, not to provide me a sort of shield. Secondly, I did attempt to find Anne when she was late coming home, and eventually I traced her aura to the hospital – by which point she had died. Thirdly, I have no knowledge of how she was brought there, or of the creature that stayed with her until she had perished. Perhaps it was an abandoned pet who found her and tried to take care of her, or comfort her when it became clear she was not going to survive…or maybe it was a younger Tsukuyomi, who failed to guard her as he now tries to with others. That, it seems, would make a certain amount of sense - it could have even known Anne from an earlier time. Whatever the case, their bond is not something I know anything about, whether it be a meeting of chance or some lingering thread of fate."
Theo and Lily both silently applauded him; his words seemed foolproof, if rehearsed with their poeticism. After a pleased look at the verbal flourish, Theo spoke up, commenting, "Well, I suppose that makes sense. Do you have any idea what might have happened to this pokemon, Ayumu?"
The other male released the tension in his muscles as he shook his head slowly. "No, I am afraid not. It probably ran off, tried to hunt down the culprits, and was killed in the process: strays usually meet that type of end – they are shot if they do not rot of disease."
Theo sighed, took a swig of his drink, and said, "Well, there is one thing I find curious, Ayumu."
"And what might that be?" The man asked, retaking his seat and tilting his head quizzically, appearing unconcerned that Theo had taken up the role of interrogator, though the superior officer did not usually speak the more prying questions. He played the good cop, frankly, while Lily preferred being his opposite whenever she could, getting a rise out of being the badass girl. In those few seconds, the detective finished his cool tea, poured himself another glass, stirred in honey, and commented, "…Besides the fact the people only began to see you some months after Anne died, not before, and that people from the other buildings reported that she had a pokemon living with her that you say you don't recall, though you were intimate with her, I have to ask…do you have a cat, Ayumu?"
The father blinked at the detective, initially thrown by the inquiry. Yet then his amethyst eyes widened minimally as he realized the implications of what the man had said - had Theo found a way to hang him? Presently the officer was suggesting that either Ayumu was the pokemon, or that he was harboring it, and those notions hit far too close to the mark for his tastes. Gritting his teeth, Ayumu answered the question in careful monotone. "I do not have a pet, Mr. Watanabe, or I assure you my daughter would be fussing over it. However, I have considered purchasing one for such a reason – Mitsuki is rather fond of felines."
"Is that so?" Theo asked lightly, and raised an eyebrow. "Now, I know you and your child have very pale hair, Ayumu, but it's not nearly as short and fine as some of what's in your carpet," he commented, holding up a white strand before them. "The last time we visited I managed to pluck up few of these and had them tested in our forensics lab. The hairs definitely belong to a pokemon, though there wasn't a known species that matched the sample. We have no records in our biological database that can identify what shed the hairs, and none of our experts can tell us what-."
The detective stopped speaking when the recording device before him began to smoke with grey tendrils. With an amused expression, Theo picked up the small black machine, tossing it between his hands to avoid being burned until it cooled. Flipping open the cartridge, he found the inner mechanics and tape melted into a dark, stinking sludge. He tsked at the sight and the revolving smell it perfumed the air with. With mock sadness, he lamented, "Oh, Ayumu, do you have any idea how much these things cost? How am I supposed to explain that I wrecked another one of these in your house? Really, you should get a cat and say it pees everywhere and spare me the trouble…that, or I'm billing you again."
"I apologize. My temper at your suggestions made my control fluctuate - I shall try to regulate myself better next time," Mewtwo said casually, as if he had broken nothing more expensive than an easily replaced plate.
"Uh-huh, sure," Theo drawled, and tossed the device to the scowling Lily. "Seriously though, buy a cat. You're going to be put down if anyone besides Lily and I figure out what you are – it's our job to take the insane approaches to a case, and nobody really believes us because of it, but if we can decipher this much from the available information the other investigators can too. I know you're doing this for Mitsuki's sake, considering what she is, but you need to be more careful. At the very least, don't leave a shred of your bloodied cloak at the crime scene. Luckily for you, Lily smuggled it into a nearby fire."
Mewtwo seemed amused at the latter information. He turned to the woman and gave her a teasing smirk. "My, my…I was rather under the impression that you were torn with allowing me to continue my endeavor."
The redhead curled her rosy lips at him and explained. "I don't approve, but you haven't given us another option. First you threaten to fuck with our memories if we ever tried to tell anyone or wouldn't play along, and then there's the fact that it would screw with Mitsuki if you were busted. Since I rather like the child, I'm hesitant to toss her precious papa to the wolves. Besides…figuring out the homicides of civilians versus pretending to figure out the homicides of scumbags…? Yeah, no comparison there – I will happily deal with the deaths of scumbags, thank you very much."
"I see," Mewtwo replied. His eyes flickered over them both before he said, "Now if I may ask, how soon will you be on your way? You both appear to be dressed for hiking."
The humans glanced at each other: Theo Watanabe wore a black nylon vest over a pair of sturdy, tan jeans and a pine-green sweater, while Lily Sato wore blue jeans and a woolen cobalt sweatshirt. Though still early in autumn, the chill was considerable in the Mt. Moon Range, where they were spending the next week. Their camping packs were piled in the backseat of the car they'd rented for their forced vacation. After the Tsukuyomi Case had escalated and the body count numbered in the dozens, their superiors had decided to give the force officers a brief leave every three months for mental health purposes. After the first few workers had succumbed to the stress from the frenzied media and the rush of corpses, and were admitted to mental health wards, the higher-ups had decided this was the only way to prevent future breakdowns. That the case was going nowhere justified the move to those who protested it. Hence, the partners were effectively leaving the capital to recharge their batteries in the wilderness. For Theo, raised in the suburbs of Cerulean City, it would be a taste of home; for Lily, a city-bred Viridian, it was a dunking into the hell of nature. Since they would be hunting, she supposed there were some perks, so long as the other detective was willing to gut anything unlucky enough to get hit by their bullets…. After a moment, Theo replied to Mewtwo's question. "We were planning to head out at two so we could crash in Pewter tonight, and then in the morning drive up north. Why do you ask?"
"I have a personal matter to attend to, which I would like to complete before Mitsuki returns from the festival. However, if you would prefer to linger longer…."
Theo shook his head, gathering the contents of the folder they had brought and standing. He would not want to interrupt whatever plans the creature had; such would defeat the purpose of defending the entity. "No, that's fine. We wouldn't want to overextend our stay," he said, and glanced at his partner with a smile. "Are you ready to hit the road, Lily?"
She gave him a scorching glare and snarled, "As long as I'm driving."
Her partner, knowing the dangers of having her behind the wheel, nonetheless nodded his consent to sooth her ire. He had to pray they'd make it to an inn before she steered them into a fatal accident. Wary now and thinking that he might never return to Viridian, he said farewell to the pokemon-in-disguise and the two quitted the apartment. As they walked into the summoned elevator, and listened to it hum as it descended, Lily's demeanor shifted. She asked in a quiet voice, "…Do you think we're doing the right thing, letting his continue his campaign?"
Theo looked directly forward, not meeting her eyes as he spoke in a low, serious tone devoid of his previous playfulness, "Yes, I do; because he's right. Viridian City has spoiled to its core, Lily, and the judicial system that should keep it in order is broken by misuse. If we want a chance to heal the people and rebuild this capital, someone has to have the willpower to clean the rot away. Since Ayumu is not a man bound by our rusted laws, he can continue his work until we can fully stand back upon our own feet. Until then, it is our job to keep his pursuers off his tail and out of his path as he forges the way in which we must follow."
Lily lifted her chin somewhat as she contemplated the concept and its potential to go awry. "…And what if the god falls, Theo? What will we do then?"
Her partner stepped forward as the compartment stopped and the doors rolled open, the thudding of his boots muffled by the carpet. "If that happens, we shoot him in the back. That is why he allows us to know what he is – we're his safeguard."
With that he and his companion departed from the building, boarded their vehicle, and began their extensive drive into the north….
Far above them in the condominium they'd just left, the creature known as Mewtwo to his family, Ayumu Nakamura to the public, and Tsukuyomi to the ones who lived in awe and fear of his capabilities, watched their car drive into the Routes, before turning his eyes away and walking back into his office. Placing his wallet into his pocket, he glanced around at the space briefly: the walls were covered in tacks and newspaper clippings, online articles, photographs and names, and a map of Viridian City. The desk pushed against the wall held the computer (the screen containing a shifting polyhedron that altered its colors like a kaleidoscope as it bounced against the monitor's sides), a few notebooks and pens, along with a sealed bottle of iced coffee that, had he truly been a feline, would have killed him. Fortunately, he could use the drink as a ward for sleep, fueling his natural insomnia, though he yet preferred the pleasures of tea. Teleporting the beverage into the refrigerator, he pushed the uncomfortable wooden stool under the desk and locked the door behind him as he stepped out of the workplace. Having already read and commented upon the reports of his Philosophy Majors – who attended the online branch of the university in which he was a member of staff – within the previous days, and having worked upon several financial accounts after waking, Mewtwo now had the remainder of his day free. As he left the apartment complex, passing through the festival grounds as he wandered down the streets, he searched for his daughter among the citizens with no avail. She and the others seemed to be exploring shops now, not attempting to win the games outside. Continuing onwards, trusting Mrs. Hibiya to care for his little one, he arrived at a familiar flower shop, and paid for his order when the owner turned and smiled upon seeing his arrival. Thanking her as she handed him the bouquet of forget-me-nots, he walked on, eventually reaching the outskirts of town and climbing the steps to the cemetery.
Few people wandered among the graves this day, as many were instead spending their time enjoying the celebration below rather than dwelling on sorrowful visitations to the dead. Yet to Mewtwo this was one of the dates in his life designated for a couple hours of solemn musing. Hence, he had come to Anne's grave, the sole guest to her resting place upon this day, and set the blue flowers upon her gravestone. Tilting his head upwards, he saw only a few light clouds drifting across the sky, along with colored leaves of fire and desert sand tones, with a few pink ones in the fray of the breeze. Casting his eyes downwards, he smiled even as he felt a dull ache throb through his chest…his grief no longer sought to tear him apart, but the pain was still there, if muted until the moments when a memory came to him, so strong and potent that it made him gasp and fight for breath. Yet time and Mitsuki was healing him, if slowly…though he doubted the remorse over what could have been would ever fade. He spoke softly then, saying, "It has been a few months, Anne…I apologize for that. I can honestly say that I have been busy, but it hardly seems an appropriate excuse, considering that my main occupation is within the night. Still, I am sorry for not coming sooner."
Running his palm over the stone, he brushed away the gathered leaves, and went on, "Your family, to my understanding, is doing well, as are your friends, though I daresay Mitsuki would have more news about the events in their lives than I, as they all prefer conversing with her than me. Not that I blame them…I understand…but it is an unfortunate fact. As for Mitsuki herself…she is beginning to grow far more adventurous with her young companions, and though she respects my wishes, I can tell her will strengthens further each hour. Like you, she will be an independence spirit, as well as remarkably lovely: as the months pass, I can see her shaping into your appearance. Sometimes I am forced to wonder how much of me truly makes her who she is. Certainly, she is even more…bookish…than you were, but that is a small trait. I suppose I will simply have to wait to view the woman she will mature into, and then gauge which of us she resembles more. I doubt I will be displeased either way."
His fond smile became slightly sad as he fell silent for a few minutes, listening to the calls of migrating birds and the trees whispering about the cemetery. He could hear in the distance the snapping of firecrackers and the hiss of sparklers, as well as smell frying cakes and sugared taro. The air tasted of cooking oil and smoke, and felt refreshingly cool, instead of muggy with common smog, as it filtered through the cemetery gates and flowed among the grave markers. Tomorrow and the following afternoon he would enjoy the celebration with Mitsuki, having given this day to his daughter to share with her fellow children. He was looking forward to venturing into the sun and activities of the festival grounds, but first…first there was this. His amethyst gaze focused upon the headstone as he murmured, "…Anne…I am uncertain whether you would care for the being I have become. While I do not see you condoning the actions of the ones I punish, I believe you would find my transformation into a monster far harder to bear, even though you always knew it was within my potential. Yet this crusade I have undertaken…it is not about revenge for how we were wronged: I have long since lost that motive. I do not do this for myself Anne, nor you, nor even the innocents who I save…I fight for our daughter's sake. I do this so she can grow without the threat of being injured and defiled by those who would hold only contempt for life. I do this so I will never have to worry that she will not come home one day, when she chooses to go where my senses cannot follow her. I will not see her innocence destroyed…I will not lose her as I did with Amber and with you. I will keep her safe. That is all I can take upon myself: just protecting one person precious to me, not the world – just our daughter."
If he delivered more people than that, it would merely be an additional blessing. Because if he had to choose between Mitsuki and the world, he would let the world crumble in anarchy and destruction, for Mitsuki was his light…she was the one who kept him from becoming lost in the demon he had made. She kept him coming home, kept him living, until one day he could discard Tsukuyomi for a normal life with his child. Perhaps this was selfish, but Mewtwo had never intended to become a hero – he had merely wished to eliminate the great evils that thrived in this capital. Not the petty ones, which could be handled by the true officers of the law, but the kings and queens of sin and corruption, who spoiled the city around them with their miasmic doings. Those were who he truly hunted…for once they were gone, perhaps there was a chance that for a short while Mitsuki could live a peaceful life and find her perfect happiness, without the risk that it would be cut short as her mother's had been. That was all he wanted: to make a period of calm, and maybe through it Viridian City could heal its festering wounds and become a place of wonder once more. Until then, he would be Tsukuyomi, appearing on moonlit nights to force justice into the shadows; he would be the creature of eventual ghost stories as he wandered through the dark heavens to the dawn….
Before murmuring farewell to Anne once more, he whispered, "I miss you, beloved, regardless of how you might think of me…and even if I now speak only to a smoothed stone, what I felt for you remains the same," he said, and as he turned away went on,"…And for our sake, I hope you were wrong about an afterlife. I want to believe that someday Mitsuki and I might find you again, even if it is in a mere echo of life."
He drifted away, and within the next few hours arrived home to await his daughter. Around seven in the evening she returned to the apartment, said goodbye to her exhausted friends and their mother, and spied him making dinner in the kitchen. She smiled as she smelled the stir-fry with sweet-and-sour sauce, taking off her small shoes and going over to the mantel as she greeted him and he welcomed her back. There was no hearth for a fire; the architectural feature was merely an elevated shelf where incense, pictures, ceramic statuettes, or other bits of art could be placed. In the center of the flat length was a single photograph in a picture-frame, showing the smiling face of the young woman Mitsuki knew to be her mother. Though the female's face was scarred, the little girl thought her beautiful and always felt comforted whenever she looked upon Anne Nakamura. The woman's image seemed to emanate a sense of warmth and love with the benevolent grin she wore as she laughed at something the photographer had said or done. Mitsuki's small, pale fingers touched the picture briefly as she greeted her mother with a happy chirp, and she replaced the incense sticks in the two trays, one on either side of the frame, and lit them with a spark of Pyrokinesis. The sweet, smoky odor filled the area, and Mitsuki also placed in front of the photograph a few flowers she'd picked, hoping Anne would like them. She felt like her mother would, because her father had always spoke of her kindness and her appreciation of gifts, but as she had never met the woman before she couldn't know for sure. The little girl wanted to meet Anne terribly, but her papa had said the woman had wandered far away from the city, and it would take them a lifetime to reach her if they tried to follow her. He had said that his mate would have wanted Mitsuki to enjoy her childhood and school years - which she would be starting next April before being offered the choice of becoming a trainer (which she'd already decided against) or continuing on to secondary school - and then afterwards make the most of her adult life.
So as much as Mitsuki had wanted to go after her mother, she had agreed with her papa…and seeing how happy that had made him, she knew she'd stick to that plan. She smiled at her mother one last time before washing up for dinner and sitting as the table as Mewtwo served them both. He had shifted back into his normal form, which Mitsuki liked better, and from there they began to discuss their days. In an excited rush, the little girl told her father about each of the games she had played, about getting a serving of tako yaki to share with her friends, and about exploring the all of the shops and booths. The group had also watched some of the parade dancers and the drama groups perform with their pokemon on the streets, and told him how at one point Mrs. Hibiya had had a bucket of confetti dumped on her when she was passing under a window. She described the decorations and the music, along with gossip she had overheard, though on this latter subject she scarcely understood much of what she repeated, and couldn't pry the meanings from her father when he began to smirk in amusement. At some point he told her briefly about Lily and Theo's intended camping trip, and their suggestions that Mitsuki and he purchase a cat – an actual feline, mind, not a pokemon equivalent – to which Mitsuki happily agreed. Mewtwo commented that if she was willing to care for it and made certain it was female, they would go look at kittens in a shelter sometime soon. The only detail he impressed to the girl was essential was that the feline have mostly white fur. The girl - too excited about the prospect of getting a pet - agreed fervently and never asked why that was necessary.
After they finished eating and washing the dishes, the two sat on the couch and made plans for the next couple of days. Mewtwo assured his daughter that yes, they would have sushi for one of the lunches (the girl absolutely loved fish rolls – that much she had inherited from her father), and yes, he would play whatever games she suggested he try. He hoped she would never realize just how much he was wrapped around her little finger; he would be doomed if she understood her power over him. They watched television for a short time after that, skipping past the news channels still airing updates on the Tsukuyomi sightings, instead viewing a few children's anime shows that Mewtwo knew Mitsuki liked, during which he grinned faintly as he caught the little slips of adult humor that escaped his child's understanding. The bright, vivid colors flashed upon the screen as a mock pokemon battle took place, reminding him vaguely of the thrills some humans and their teams took out of the competitions. Once the credits rolled, the traditional reading hours commenced. In these the two would read their own books separately, or Mewtwo would read to Mitsuki (or, on occasion, vice versa). This time, he read a few chapters from the classic Frankenstein, appreciating the beauty of its graceful phrases and use of vocabulary, as well as indulged momentarily in the irony of loving his creation rather than hating it, as the scientist who had made an abomination had feared his monster.
While Mitsuki only understood the story in the lightest of contexts, that it was about a charismatic fellow who followed the threads of alchemy to create new life, and that the resulting being was destined to wreck tragedy and woe for its maker, she seemed to enjoy it nonetheless, and understood that it bore more meaning to her father than she could fully comprehend. As she began to drift off, Mewtwo mused that one day he would have much to tell her…of his true history, of his connection and life spent with her mother, and of her own conception. Currently, she believed that Anne had carried her, and after giving birth, had needed to leave for reasons unknown. Mewtwo did not have the heart to try to explain Anne's death to her, or of how the child the woman had carried before her death had not been Mitsuki at all. Yet someday he would tell her the truth, and hope she would forgive him for his deceit. After all, no matter how mature and intelligent she might be now, there was no possible way she could understand how she had been created, and while he trusted her to stay silent about his dual identity, would she be able to keep the manner of her birth concealed? He did not wish to take the risk, not yet, and so reassured himself that someday she would know what he hid from her presently. For better or for worse she would know…and at the very least, she would comprehend that she had been created through an act driven by the need to love and be loved. It was more than he had possessed at his conception….
As he placed the book aside, beginning to gather the girl up in his arms, she struggled and stirred fully awake, murmuring, "Wait, papa…I got you something from the festival…."
Mewtwo looked at his daughter in surprise, pulling away slightly as he said, "Did you? That was kind of you, Mitsuki, but you did not have to-."
Her eyes crinkled with her glee. "Yes I did! Stay right here; let me get it!"
She darted away, going over to her shoes and pulling out a small box she had stashed within one so the gift would not be discovered prematurely. The container was made of black felt, thin cardboard, with no symbols or names imprinted in gold or silver letterings to indicate the business it had come from. As Mitsuki held the present out to him, he slowly took it in his paws, carefully pulling the cover from the little box. His eyes widened as they rested on the piece within. Pulling the thin silver chain out first, he balanced the decorative piece with his fingertips. The smooth disk of sterling silver, the size of an average coin, was perfectly circular, and the crystal cradled within the metal appeared smooth and polished to a glassy hue. The gem had been manipulated to mirror the surface of the full moon, including having areas of shadow and snowy white marking the mars (or "seas" of the moon), the craters and their scars, and the plains of undisturbed white sands. It was - he knew from the pale blue color and its weight - an actual jewel, a Moon Stone cutting to be precise, the necessary divots creating the reflection of Luna filled with a thin coating of glass. Mitsuki explained that the necklace was a moon pendant, and that she'd thought it would be fitting for him to have, and then told him that it opened up into a locket. Indeed, as he pinched it lightly between his fingers on its side, there was a crease in the metal, and with his telekinesis he eased the fold open on its hinge. The spaces where two pictures could go were empty, the inner frontal surface gleaming with the pale gem, while the other could flip outwards, revealing a tiny cavity in which Mitsuki had placed a small curl of her hair.
Silently he clicked the locket together and flipped it over, finding a small engraving upon the back: the kanji character for "beloved." He smiled, feeling his heart constrict as he glanced to the picture of Anne, deciding to make a copy of that face and one from Mitsuki's photographs so he could place both of his females' images into the tiny metal frames. Subsequently he would be unable to wear the pendant during his hunts, for losing the piece was too great of a risk, but at all other times the pendant would remain wrapped about his necks. He looked into his daughter's face, her expression anxious as she waited to see how he would respond, and then he smiled at her. "Thank you, dearest…it is a remarkable gift. Would you help me put it on? My fingertips are not nimble enough to manipulate the clasp."
Mitsuki beamed and nodded happily, and as he turned around, she undid the chain and placed it about his necks. Her tiny fingers redid the clasp so the locket hung below the curve of his collarbone, the metal cool against his chest. Her father turned and hugged her firmly afterwards, touched by the gift, and asked, "How did you afford this, though? It could not have been cheap."
She smiled coyly and explained, "I saved up the money you gave me, though that wasn't enough…but when Mrs. Hibiya saw that I wanted to buy it, she offered to pay half the price if I agreed to keep Cody and Tia out of her way while she cooked."
He grinned, amused by the concept and its resulting imagery. "I daresay you received the better end of the deal."
His daughter wrinkled her nose at him, contemplating the memory of the bargain. "Not according to Mrs. Hibiya."
The replica laughed, stroking her curly locks of her soft, cream-brown hair in a tender caress. How could someone as flawed as him be blessed with a child like her? Grateful to whatever higher power there was if a deity existed, he sighed contently as he inquired, "Now what precisely is the occasion? Why did you feel the need to buy me something as valuable as this pendant?"
Mitsuki gave him a perplexed look, and blinked at him as she cried out, "Don't be silly, papa - it's September sixth! This is your birthday present from me!"
And smiling wider than before, she said, "Happy birthday!"
Her father stared at her in surprise…how had she known the significance of this day? He echoed the question of his thoughts aloud, and was told that Mrs. Hibiya had asked Mr. Watanabe and Ms. Sato if they knew the date after their last visit. The woman had remembered Anne Nakamura once lamenting the difficulty in finding a gift for her roommate for Christmas, openly declaring how glad she was that she would not need to worry about the matter again until next September (a month, he recalled with an inward shudder, she had not lived to see). Upon finding out the exact day, the neighbor had told Mitsuki, as the girl had expressed an interest in the matter after witnessing the birthday party thrown for Mr. Hibiya. Since that time the girl had intently searched for the perfect gift for her father, and had eventually found it in an antique shop. She had saved her allowance for purchasing the locket from that point on. It had been a long, slow process, and she had feared she wouldn't be able to raise enough money on time, but with Mrs. Hibiya's help she bought it when she'd gone out today. Mewtwo made a mental note to thank the woman, for Mitsuki reported this all with utter bliss, and he realized suddenly that the child seemed happiest when making him happy as well. Again, he marveled at the concept that he was blessed with such a darling girl, and embracing her again he whispered that he loved her gift. He was fifteen this year in body, though the number was skewed while in human form from necessity. Still, he had lived decade and a half, and much had occurred in those short years since his birth....
Nuzzling his little one affectionately, he picked her up, deeming it time she was tucked into bed. He helped her dress in her pajamas and buried her under the blankets, hearing her squeal in delight as she tried to surface from the covers. She peeked out at him, grabbing his purple tail and allowing him to tug her from the sheets with it. Once they finished playing, he turned on her music box and kissed her forehead…she smelled of cinnamon, sweet and spicy. The father stayed with her until she wandered through the gates into the kingdom of Morpheus, watching her cuddle with her stuffed animals and hearing her murmur something about a "kitty" (he could scarcely believe he was going to buy her one, but he supposed a pet was something every child required, for responsibility training and a bane to loneliness), and then went into his own room. There he popped his willing joints first, stretched out his muscles, and as he curled into his covers, regulated his breathing; he had created the exercise to obtain restorative sleep. Now the clone added a new comfort to the procedure: he held the locket in a paw as he stared into the night outside the balcony window. The half-moon set slowly, and soon he too succumbed to dark, serene dreams; content dreams where Anne and Mitsuki played together, with the mother's vision restored so she could gaze upon the little one who was as much her love's as hers. His spirit self watched them with a smile, thinking that all was right with the world…and though not in the manner of his imaginings, someday it would be.
Over a month later, standing high atop the flagpole of a skyscraper, the wanderer watched the crescent moon rise, its light casting a ghostly hue over the capital and imbuing into his eyes white fire. It was time to begin the hunt. The pelt of the moonlight vigilante rippled silver as his muscles coiled before launching him into the ebony firmament, his cloak whipping around him in umber waves as he flew into the night.
There was work to be done.
Author's Note: Well, first, congratulations to whoever made it to the end! I'm very impressed with that kind of dedication. If anything was unclear, I apologize; but the fic was written under the assumption that its readers have taken high school classes, and possess some basic knowledge concerning Japanese culture. True, I was not entirely accurate at parts, but the flaws were left in for a purpose. At any rate, if you guys aren't planning to listen to the rest of my rant, please, if you would be so kind, leave me a review!
Now onto the rant: obviously, the portrayal of Mewtwo in Moonlight Vigilante is far different from what I usually write (or what anyone else usually writes for that matter). Most of the time I portray him as a white knight, a polite male, or even something of an adolescent who doesn't know how to deal with the opposite sex or his emotions – and usually he is a pacifist unless driven to violence. In this fic, not so much: he is not a man in this fic – he is half of one, with the other half most certainly of a predatory, animal nature, being calculating and cold. As what he does to his prey indicates, he's brutal in cases, and at times even...snarky. Mostly, I did this to try to make him more realistic. Instead of a human in pokemon skin, he was a pokemon with human qualities. Furthermore, an in character Mewtwo is not the listed positive traits about…oh, he might defend others, and perhaps even grow attached, but beyond that he's far from noble, and not perfect. That's the issue with most Mewtwo fics: he has no flaws in personality and certainly not in body. I wanted to turn that idea on its head, and I rather like the effect it gave. Remember, he's a monster: he killed his creators without batting an eye at their murders, he destroyed facilities on a whim, he abducted and brainwashed a woman, and then forced countless individuals into amnesia for convenience. This is merely escalation of that foundation – after all, in this story he hadn't been around people for years, and anyone who isolates him or her self long enough will eventually lose their humanity and sanity. So he's become a demon fighter, as he was supposed to be, yet even for his violent tendencies, this by no means declares he cannot be redeemed. That is ultimately the goal of the story: for him to find a road to redemption, and just maybe, real happiness.
On a similar note, about the portrayal of Anne – there is also a rather annoying trend I've noticed about his potential loves interests. Most often these are, of course, female Mewtwo, and we all know why. However, if they are other species, notably human, there is usually something unusual about them. They might have psychic powers, an eccentric personality, or some dark past of abuse or concerning Team Rocket. I did not want to do that this time: I wanted a normal woman, albeit blind, as someone whom Mewtwo could take an interest in. Of course, Mewtwo doesn't usually take an interest in banal creatures, which was why I had to form a past encounter and subsequent changes in her outlook on life. However, many of us go through similar shifts in our perspectives, so I still believe her to be a more realistic interpretation of her role. At the very least, I know that her traits and behavior are derived from a real life source (though I did not consent with her choice, by god. I do not write self-inserts for a reason…when fangirls do that, it pisses me off…).
Anyhow, this story has multiple sources of inspiration I'm certain some of you might recognize: primarily, the Marvel Comics movies Daredevil, Batman Begins, and The Dark Knight. The philosophies presented in those films fed many in this story. In addition, there were some nods to various other medias, including The X-Files, Full Moon wo Sagashite, and Full Metal Alchemist. Last are three fanfiction works that boosted my imagination for aspects of this story, including Forgotten by Melora Maxwell, Sword and Shield by Kayasuri-N, and The Incomplete Soul Saga by Miyuutsuu. I highly suggest reading their works when you have the chance. I would also like to mention and thank the following websites: Wikipedia (for reaffirming my anatomy and genetics lessons), Google (for the various little things I had to look up), Time and Date (for all the moon phases), Narconon Drug Rehab for Abuse and Addiction (for the drug withdrawal information), Behind the Name – the Etymology and History of First Names (for helping me figure out what I was going to call everyone besides Anne, whose name I knew from the start). They were of immense help with research, which is the key to writing a good story, and can be very amusing if you're into it.
Also, while most of my beliefs concerning Mewtwo and Mew are accurate to this fic, there is one inconsistency that I have to acknowledge: I do not believe that Mew is female. Yes, I have portrayed her as such before now; and in this story too since I needed to give Mitsuki a "surrogate mother"…but considering the themes in Mewtwo Strikes Back, I believe the pokemon is a male. Other than that, many of the theories I stated in the story follow my beliefs: concerning the design of Mewtwo body (both its strengths and weaknesses, as stated in the guidebooks), the empathic imprinting that makes his behavior so human-like (because honestly, Amber could not have taught him everything he knew…especially not how to talk), and his sexuality (by the way, I apologize to any homosexual readers if they were offended by something I wrote). On a note to explain the breeding theory, which I will use in other works: I take the idea that Mew is the ancestor of all pokemon to a literal extent. As the creatures can transform into any being, it seems only natural to me that a few would get a little frisky while out of natural form – considering what humans will sometimes do, that idea can't downright be shot down. Plus, in case no one else has noticed this, the pokemon races are rather compatible with one another. This suggests a communally similar chromosome count, which often occurs if the species in question have common ancestors (avian races, in particular, are prone to mixing genes). That was what I was attempted to get at with the myth…and as for Mew not being a cat, look at sharks and dolphins, and again you will see what I meant.
Finally, I had three main experiments I wanted to try in this story: 1.) writing a blind love interest; 2.) having the main character being an abuser of drugs; and 3.) having the antagonists as the equivalent of Nazis. Such were my curiosities, and they fit together surprisingly well in this story. The fanfiction flowed well, was removed from my usual teenage audience, and affected me in emotional ways that I've never truly experienced before with a story: gratification after a satisfying fight or scientific musing; elation after the love scene; sorrow keen enough to make me cry when Anne died (a necessity, but one that killed me to write); and even a bit of fear at the creepy and slightly insane thoughts of the protagonist; and more. There were vulgar parts and poetic parts, and in all, this has been one of my favorite projects to work on. I hope I've succeeded in providing the Mewtwo fandom a strong story that its members can appreciate. I am pleased with it thoroughly.
At any rate, thank you for reading. See ya' later!