You or Someone Like You 3
Pain & Remorse
Disclaimer: I do not own Outlaw Star. I do own Red Wing/Hitomi and her crew though.
"You've seen Hanmyo's ship?" Hitomi asked eagerly, "Have you?"
How was he going to answer her? His voice seemed so small. He nodded lightly. He'd have to answer a little bit at a time, slow and easy. 'Stay calm, Jim.' He told himself mentally.
He shook his head. "Around the time I met Hanmyo."
"How many times have you seen it?"
"Twice. Once before I saw Hanmyo and again after we met. It wasn't far from here. It was in outer space." He replied. Now he was having trouble hiding his anxiety. "I didn't know it was hers."
"I see," she said, nodding. She let out a sigh. "Dead end." She turned around and began looking through the box once again. "Well, let me see if I can find--"
Jim couldn't believe how easy it was! He got away with it, but he had to tell her the truth before she found out some other way. "I swear, Hitomi, I didn't know it was Hanmyo's ship!" he blurted. "I didn't know!"
Hitomi was shocked by his outburst. "What?" She turned back around.
"Hitomi, sit down," he urged. "I have…have to tell you something…about Hanmyo. You don't have to keep looking for her."
Hitomi didn't sit down. She remained standing. "But she's my sister. I must find her."
Hitomi--Hanmyo's--Hanmyo's--" he stammered. He couldn't say it. But he had to.
"Hanmyo's gone!" he cried, dropping his head and scrunching his fingers in his hair. "She's dead!"
"But---how?" She asked. "Did you see her ship crash or something?"
"No. It was a battle."
"With what ship?"
"The outlaw star," he replied, his chest tightening.
"How do you know this, Jim?"
"Because--because I was on Outlaw Star!" he raised his head up. "I'm Gene Starwind's partner!"
"Gene Starwind," she whispered, "I heard of him…"
"We were attacked by Hanmyo's ship but none of us knew she was the one piloting it! We just knew that it had to be someone after Jim and we had no choice but to defend ourselves!"
Hitomi swallowed. So far, she was taking it rather well. "You said you saw her ship twice."
"Yes, I saw it once on the way to Symka5," Jim said with a sigh. He was surprised that she was at least letting him explain. "That was when we were first attacked. Then we left Symka5 for a little bit to finish the job. I made an appointment to see Hanmyo again and I kind of wanted to get the battle over with so I could see her again. After the battle, I didn't see her or her cats again. She never showed. But I swear, I didn't know it was her ship!"
"Her cats," Hitomi whispered, "help piloted the ship.
Jim groaned, 'no, that cats are dead because of me too?'
"I'm so sorry, Hitomi," He apologized, "I'm just so sorry."
"Well, thank you for your information," Hitomi said, reaching for her gun. "Now I must kill you." She pointed it right between his eyes. "After searching for eight years I find that my sister has been dead for seven! One year would've made the difference. But she's gone now! You were the one who took her away for me and for that you shall die!" Her hand was not steady. It was shaking but she proceeded to pull the trigger, though her finger felt too weak to pull it.
"I loved Hanmyo!" Jim shouted.
"I loved her!" Jim cried, his eyes squeezing shut. "I know I was just a kid but I knew I was in love with her the moment I saw her. I loved her hair, her eyes, her smile, her voice--everything! I loved everything about her. When she didn't show up at the fountain, I looked everywhere for her. I carried a huge void inside my heart for seven years, wondering if I'll ever see her again. She was the only one I wanted to be with…her, or someone like her." Jim forced his eyes open, "and then, I found you. Go ahead and shoot me if you think it will help you with your grief, but it won't bring your sister back."
"Get out," she muttered, still holding her gun.
"I said get outta here!" she hissed, her voice low to keep from shouting. She didn't want to hear her comrades hear her, know that she was in distress. "Get outta my sight before I change my mind."
"Oh, thank you!" was all Jim could manage. "I hope to--"
Jim turned around quickly, almost tripping over some boxes. He opened the door and ran toward the exit. He bumped into Brice.
"I told you your second visit with Red Wing would be no better than your first," Brice said.
Otto grinned and muttered to Brice wondering why Jim wasn't dead yet.
Jim grabbed for the door handle…and paused. He had to say something. He couldn't just run out like this. "I have a message for Hitomi--uh--I mean Red Wing." He turned and looked at Brice and Otto. "Tell her if she wants to see me again I'll be at the fountain at 1 PM tomorrow."
"I'll--I'll make sure she gets it," Brice said.
Brice and Otto turned to each other, "the fountain at 1 PM tomorrow." Brice said. "Why one?"
Otto shook his head, "12:30 is much more reasonable."
Flowers in hand, Jim walked to the fountain at one o'clock on the dot. There, he found Hitomi sitting on the edge of the fountain waiting for him. "I wasn't sure you'd come."
"Brice and Otto talked me into coming," she said. "Otto said to meet you at one but he insisted that I come 30 minutes early."
"Well, one o'clock was when I was supposed to meet Hanmyo," Jim explained.
"I see." She noticed the flowers. "What's with the flowers?"
"They're for you."
She scoffed. "Why?"
"Thought you'd like them," he said. "To help you with grieving for Hanmyo."
"Jim, I don't need silly flowers to help me cope with the loss of my sister!" she hissed. "I need to kill someone!" She held him at gunpoint again. "You're really Gene Starwind's partner? You don't look like the kind of guy to be his partner!"
"I know," he said. "But…I'm still his partner. If it weren't for me then the Outlaw Star would be scrap metal or something. He needs me. My team needs me."
"I should kill you," she said, "I rally should. You killed my sister. You were the last one to see her alive--and because you say you love her--I want to keep it that way."
"You're not going to kill me?" he asked, relieved.
"No," she said, walking past him. "I'll just kill Gene Starwind instead."
"No, Hitomi, don't!" he cried.
"Don't call me Hitomi!" she hissed, "I am Red Wing! Understand?"
"All right--Red Wing," he said. "You can't kill Gene. He's my partner! If you're going to kill him, you'll have to kill me too! And the rest of the Outlaw Star team!"
"How noble of you," Red Wing said, impressed.
"But you can't kill Gene because you can't kill me. You can't kill Aisha because, well, she's an immortal Ctarl Ctarl. You can't kill Suzuka because she'll kill you first! And you can't kill Melfina because she's the Lady of the Galactic lay line for Heaven's sake!" Jim shouted. "We're a team and we destroyed the Jerato as a team! If you kill one of us, you'll have to kill all of us. But we weren't the ones who attacked first."
"Oh, so you're saying its Hanmyo's fault that she got killed, huh?" Red Wing demanded. "If she had just left you alone then she would be alive right now?"
"Well, of course…but it's not her fault either. It just happened." He said. "You can't kill my team. It won't bring Hanmyo back."
"Yeah…you're right," she said. "Well, I supposed there's one thing left to do." She slowly lifted her gun up, the barrel right to the side of her head.
"Hitomi, what are you doing?"
"I want to see my sister again," She replied. "And this is the ticket in. Goodbye, Jim."
"HITOMI! NO!" He dropped the flowers and rushed over to her. "You can't!" He pulled her arm up in the air and the gun went off several times.
BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG! Click. Click. Click. Click
The gun was out of bullets. It fell out of Hitomi's hand to the ground. Jim turned her around. "Why did you try to kill yourself?" he demanded. "Are you crazy?"
"You would be too if you found out that the last of your family was killed," she replied tiredly. "What am I supposed to do?"
"There are better ways to deal with your grief!" he grunted. "I miss Hanmyo too but I'm not about to kill myself!"
She pushed him away from her and reached inside her pocket. She pulled out a white envelope with a blue angel's wing sketched on the face of it. "I was saving this for a last resort." She said.
"What is it?"
"A letter to Hanmyo," she replied. "Wrote it after you left. Do you remember where in outer space the Outlaw Star battled with the Jerato?"
"I think so," he said. "Want me to take you there in the Outlaw Star?"
She scowled. "Go to the place my sister died in the ship that put her there?"
"You're right. Sorry."
"We'll take my ship," she said. "The Seeker."
"Okay. Let's go."
"So, this is the place?" Hitomi asked Jim.
"It was seven years ago," Jim sighed. "And we fought a lot of ships."
"I see," she said. "Close enough, I guess." She took out a capsule and placed the envelope inside. Then she pushed it a hole, like for a torpedo. "Goodbye, Hanmyo…rest in peace." She pressed a button and the capsule holding the envelope shot out into what could have been Hanmyo's dark, airy grave.
Trying to keep herself from becoming emotionally drawn, she dropped her head. She felt Jim's hand fall on her shoulder. She flinched and shook it off as she walked away.
"Hitomi," he whispered.
He tried touching her again but she pushed him away. "Hitomi…it's all right. Let it out."
Jim was persistent. He had to let her know he was there for her and wanted to help her with her grief. He grabbed her arms and pulled her to him and hugged her tight. She tried to fight him but his hold was too strong.
"Just let it out," he said.
Hitomi relaxed. It was useless to fight him. She really did someone to comfort her and Jim was the best candidate. She slid her arms up his back and her hands clasped his shoulders. He pushed her head to his chest.
"I'm here for you," Jim said.
"Jim…" her eyes welled up with tears and she buried her face in his chest. "Oh, Jim…Hanmyo…my sister. She's gone…gone…gone…if only I had started looking for her sooner maybe I would've found her sooner…Oh Hanmyo…Hanmyo…my sister…I'm so sorry…so sorry…"
Her shoulders heaved and her chest tightened up. Jim held her tighter and rocked her. "Just let it out," he told her. "It's okay. Shh. Shh. I'm here."
She did. Hitomi broke down completely. She let out a sob and pulled Jim closer to her. Jim's eyes filled with tears, some of sadness and pain for the loss Hanmyo and some of relief and gratitude that Hitomi was breaking down and dealing with the loss of her sister. Most of all, he was happy, relieved that he found out what had happened to Hanmyo and even if he didn't find her again, he found someone like her.