First and foremost, I am extremely grateful for everyone who had reviewed and favourite this story. It makes me really happy, and I can't say thank you enough. 8DDD
As for now, I am working on other stories, mostly centering around Souji and Naoto. Although I am unsure whether I can pull those ideas nicely, I will post them when the opportunity arrives. I am also planning to post two more bathhouse prompts I've filled. I will definitely post them when I get the chance to use actual computer to use the internet, since for some reason it's impossible to post new stories using cell, although uploading the documents and updating stories are completely feasible. *sigh* And just for information, the title of the two stories are Cure for Two and For All He Knew, for any whom are interested.
And as for this extra, I am inspired to write this after an idea I had regarding Souji's death in the main part of the story. I feel like I need to explain his cause of death, although it might not be the main case here. OTZ
/end writer's rant
The last time he spoke to her, he told her, "Everything will be alright."
The last time he spoke to him, he told him, "Take care of your mother."
The next time they heard about him, he was gone.
Raidou loved his parents. He loved his caring and intelligent mother. He loved his strong and smart father. But what he loved most was how his parents loved one another dearly. He stole a peek to his father's study once, and there he saw his parents embracing one another. He giggled, he was simply happy to see his parents togethe, loving one another. It gave him warm feelings inside, made him feel secure. After all, he knew stories of parents getting divorced even at his young age of thirteen. The children of divorced parents were miserable, from what he knew. He did not want to be like them. He was happy to have perfect, loving parents. He wished these happy days could last forever.
However, it was said that everything has its end. Raidou still remembered what Uncle Tatsumi once told him, his parents actually, at the event of his daughter's death. Happiness is like a train wreck--when it ends, it crash everything you have. Raidou did not understand what he meant at that time, but he had a feeling that he would definitely hate it when it happened to him. After all, Uncle Tatsumi sounded bitter and hurt when he said those words. He looked weak, unlike the strong and tough image Raidou usually had about him. Raidou was only an eight-year-old at that time, but he could understand why. Uncle Tatsumi cared about his daughter a lot. When she passed away due to an illness, Uncle Tatsumi and Aunt Tatsumi blamed themselves for not being able to find a cure for her. It was sad. Raidou did not want the same to happen in his family.
Not until the news came.
The memories of that day were still clearly engraved in his mind. A man in white uniform came to their house, looking for his mother. Raidou did not know who that man was, but he had a feeling that the man was not going to tell his mother a good news. His expression was solemn and he smelled like disinfectant. It reminded Raidou of hospital, and Raidou did not like hospital since it was such a gloomy place.
The next thing he saw after that man had finished talking was his mother's horrified expression. She covered her mouth with her hands, and it was enough signal for Raidou to tell that things were indeed bad. He went out from his bedroom where he was hiding and peeking at them, reached for his mother, and placed his hand into her lap. She realised Raidou's presence almost immediately, and she held his hand. Yet it was different, for Raidou. His mother was not holding his hand the way she held it before--calm, protecting, strong. Her grip on his hand were weak, and her hand was as cold as ice. It was like she was trying to lean on something so desperately, and the only thing available was his hand. It was unlike the mother Raidou knew. She was different after listening to what that man had to say.
That man must be bad.
Raidou looked up at that man's direction, intensely staring at him. That man, he made Raidou's mother sad. Raidou wanted to hate him for that, but he could not. That man's expression was sad, too, and Raidou did not understand the reason. He wanted to ask his mother, who always knew every answer to every question. He was a big boy, he deserved to know what was happening. However, before Raidou could ask anything, he could feel his mother gently touching his head, telling him, everything will be alright. But Raidou did not believe her for the first time in his life. She was unsure when she said those words. It was different from her usual confident tone, it sounded more like a question to him. He wanted to press on and ask questions, but he backed down. He knew his mother was in no condition to answer his questions. All he knew was that his father would come home, comfort his mother, and things would go back like it had always been tomorrow. After all, he promised to go back home that night, and the day after tomorrow they were going to visit Inaba.
But he never came back.
The very next day, Raidou's mother went to hospital. Alone. Raidou wanted to accompany her, but she said that she wished to go alone. He understood, and stayed at home. However, when he saw her expression after she had arrived home, he wished that he had gone with her. His mother's expression was painful to see. She was sad, devastated, and empty in the same time. It gave Raidou goosebumps. He wanted to know why, yet in the same time he wished that he did not have to know anything. He looked at his mother's blue-gray orbs, and she seemed to understand what Raidou had wanted to know all along. He is gone, she said, gone to a place far, far away. And Raidou knew better what she meant by those words. It reminded him of Kana, Uncle Tatsumi's late daughter. She, too, went to that far place and she was not going to come back. Never, Uncle Tatsumi said, and that word had a sad ring into it.
The following days went like torture for Raidou. He often saw his mother spacing out while sitting in the study, her eyes looking far away. She smiled whenever she saw Raidou, but he knew that her smile was empty. It was unlike the warm smile she had in her lips before that man in white uniform came. Her lips curved, but her eyes were not smiling. Raidou hated it. He wanted his old mother to come back. He wanted his father to return. He wanted everything to come back like it had always been. Yet deep down, he realised that what he hoped would not come true. His father had gone away to that far place; and like Kana, he would stay there, waiting for everyone else.
He is reserving a place for everyone else there and he will be waiting for us, Uncle Hanamura said when he visited Raidou and his mother. Somehow, what Uncle Hanamura said terrified him. When his father was still there, Raidou had once eavesdropped on his parents' conversation. He heard his mother telling his father that she would go anywhere he went. Raidou wondered, would his mother follow her promise to his father, and went to that far away place to be together with his father? Then he remembered the story of lovebirds his teacher once told him. Those birds are born to be with each other. If one dies, its pair will follow. And he remembered suddenly, didn't his father once said that he and his mother were like those birds? He did not want to lose his mother. He held his mother's hand tightly, not wanting to let her go. She seemed to understand the meaning behing Raidou's gesture, and hugged him tightly. I will not go anywhere, she assured him. It made him feel more secure, and he leaned closer towards his beloved mother.
The next day was a funeral. Raidou already knew whose funeral it was, although his mother tried to cover the whole fact. He was mature enough to realise what had happened. His father had passed away. The fact became even more obvious everytime he heard what people attending the funeral said. How his father was a great man when he was alive. How the train his father boarded on that fateful day crashed. No one was able to survive the catastrophe. Not even his father. It was painful to know the truth, but it was more painful to see his mother' expression. She was trying to hold back tears. Or possibly, all her tears were already dried up, seeing from her swollen red eyes. It was like she was thinking that everything was a bad dream, and only to be smacked by reality when she saw his tombstone. Raidou wanted to touch her, hold her hand, hug her, but he found himself unable to do them. His mother looked like a fragile glass, who would break away if touched. He did not want that.
If he could, Raidou wanted to cry, too. But he could not. He felt that he must try to stay strong, to ease his mother from whatever pain she might endure at that time. And foremost, he wanted to hate his father for the first time ever at that moment. He wanted to hate him from going away suddenly without any notice. He wanted to hate him for making his mother despair over the fact that she lost the man she loved most. He wanted to hate him for leaving him and his mother alone. He wanted to blame him for everything. Yet he could not. Raidou realised that the accident was not his father's fault. He did not believe that his father would want to leave them, either. He knew that his father loved his mother and himself more than anything else in the world. Still, he felt the need to blame everything to someone, for it made him easier to accept the painful truth. A lot easier, even. He did not know why.
At the night after the funeral, Raidou found himself unable to sleep. Before, he had entertained the thought that somehow his father would return, and everything that happened was a big lie. Yet after seeing and knowing everything, he could not even think of anything anymore. Once more, he wished that he did not have to know anything. He wished he could turn back time, and prevented his father from boarding on that train. However, his wishes made it even more painful for him to accept his father's death. There was so much things he could do to prevent it. It seemed so easy to prevent his father from going away. Thinking about it made his chest heavy. He wanted to cry, but he could not. He tried to, but not even a single tear could come out from his eyes. Maybe it was shock, he thought. A shock too great that prevented him from crying. Or it could be that he was crying in his sleep, as his pillows would always be wet every morning whenever he woke up.
Raidou sat up. He wanted to see his mother. He wanted to check whether she was alright or not. He had been listening to the sounds of someone crying every night, after all, even though he was too afraid to check. That night, Raidou gathered all his courage and went to his parents' bedroom, where he believed the sounds came from. His gray orbs instantly captured the image of his mother, her hands were holding a picture and fresh tears flowing from her beautiful blue-gray eyes. In an impulse, Raidou ran from his current position, his small hands around his mother's frail body. He still remembered what he said to her that day. Don't cry, he remembered, I'll always be there for you. Father will always look over us from that place, he never really left us. He did not know why those words came out from his mouth that day. They just did.
He promised to take care of her and he would not leave her, like what his father told him the last time he spoke to him. Then he saw his mother smiling, holding back her tears, and saying that she believed that his father was looking over them from the sky, and that he would be saddened to see her like this. She promised Raidou that she would still smile, for his and his father's sake. Raidou bit his lip when he heard his mother's promise, it was too heavy. But it was true, she kept her promise. Raidou never saw her mother crying anymore since that day, yet he thought that she was trying too hard that it made him felt guilty. She might had her warm smile back, but it was different. He knew. Half of his mother died away along with his father's death, and it was him who was clinging and keeping on the other half of her to stay alive. However, he realised that what was lost from her mother would not return; no matter how hard he tried, no matter how many old friends trying to return those part to her, no matter how long it had been.
And it had been a long time.
...the part of the lovebird is completely made up, and it is extremely filled with faulty information, I know. But nevertheless, I hope that this extra story will still be enjoyable!