az: Since sometimes I need to leave the toku fandom for a while.
Written by Izzu alias honou-no-izumi
"I don't feel a thing."
"I used it because I have the power to do it."
"That's all to it."
Reaching this point, he wondered if Ryuzaki was telling him the truth that time. When it came to him, he wasn't sure what's the truth or lie anymore. Just when he thought Ryuzaki was an arrogant and manipulative bastard, the guy ended up revealing to him his kinder side. Just when he thought Ryuzaki was an evil person who had murdered people in the past, it turned out that he was actually innocent. Just when Ryuzaki seemed to be uncaring, the guy would later...
Deep in the reaches of his farthest memories, he remembered a woman telling him to never hate anyone. Or else something terrible might happen. Was it his mother? His real mother? But he already had a mother, and she looked nothing like the woman in his memory. But the woman knew about his powers from the very beginning.
When he had first used that power, he had never thought a thing about it. His only thought that time was that Baron had died. But later he realized, that time when Baron had died; just seconds before he had touched the big dog, he had been feeling a very strong feeling of hatred to Baron. He hated the fact that despite how much he had shouted for the dog to stop itself from attacking Shiho, Baron did not stop. And then he remembered that odd feeling he felt when his powers had activated. When he realized that, he started burying his own feelings in his heart; intending to never use that power. At least, until that night at that camping ground.
He had wondered whether or not Ryuzaki's powers worked similarly like that. But instead of hatred, it was love. Ryuzaki's dark demeanor and secretive attitude made him toss that thought aside. And then there was that incident with Kumakiri at the hospital. The young lad had cut his hand deeply with that folding knife he had. He hadn't really felt any pain then; his thought was more over the fact Shirakawa's mother had been stabbed because he had failed to stop Kumakiri. He was angry with Ryuzaki's presence at that time when he seemed to be mocking him.
And then without warning, the man had reached out his hand to heal his wounds. He thought he had imagined it then. That heartless man couldn't have had such a strong feeling of love. He had felt it though, when the cut on his hand had started to heal themselves. It was not such a comfortable feeling. Having just a glimpse of the seemingly heartless man's true emotions, considering the circumstances; he wasn't sure what to think of it. Was the man good... or evil?
He had noticed Ryuzaki's interest in him, for quite some time. All of those accidental meetings that they had in the past, all of them couldn't be all just mere coincidences. Just as his own interest about Ryuzaki, he had a feeling that that man was also curious about himself. That guy would have wondered as well why they had these kinds of supernatural powers, wouldn't he? These powers of life and death, there must be a reason why they had ended up having them. Is there something that both of them had a similarity with? Are they...?
For some reason, as much as he wanted to know the truth; Aoi Ryosuke could not finish that thought. Somehow he was scared. Scared that the truth would somehow change everything that he would know and believe, up to this point.
Damn Ryuzaki! Why was he doing all this to him? Why did he have so much interest in him? Why did he have to appear in his life, making his simple life turning into such confusing and painful experience? Was this a test for him? For what purpose? What was his real reason for doing everything the way he did?
All this attention that Ryuzaki had been paying on him, pressing him on how he should use his 'Devil's hand'... somehow made him self-conscious. It was like there was something that Ryuzaki was trying to tell him. As if he hadn't enough problems. What with Sawamura... and matters relating to Shirakawa and her mother? Lucky, his effort seemed to get some good results with the Kumakiri. Hopefully the young man would give himself up.
Still it made him uncomfortable. Perhaps it was the way Ryuzaki had looked at him. No matter how many times he had told himself to not believe anything that Ryuzaki had said or done, those eyes had always probed him. Taunt him. It was those eyes that always made him believe and hoped that he was really as honest and earnest as his words had been. But whenever Ryuzaki had dashed that illusion from his mind, he was always left confused. What was it that Ryuzaki was aiming for? Was it to tell him something? Or make fun of him? Somehow that confused him.
What was it that Ryuzaki thought of him? Somehow he felt he desperately wanted to know. That man was interested with him; even Hasebe-san noticed it. She even told him that Ryuzaki had even gone looking for him at one time.
What did Ryuzaki want from him? Looking back, he realised. A lot of times, Ryuzaki made an effort to remain in contact with him. Either to talk about him or himself; or to talk about other things... he always find the time to do that. Most of the things that he had found out about him so far were from Hasebe-san. Ryuzaki had always talked cryptically to him and sometimes the way he talked... he never manage to figure out what his thoughts were really about. But whenever Hasebe-san told him about how Ryuzaki had acted and what she had found out about his past, Ryosuke couldn't help but wonder why Ryuzaki had behaved differently with him.
Whenever Ryuzaki let his guard down and talked to him in that earnest way he always did, looking at him with that saddened eye... he wondered what he should be allowed to believe or think. His every move and decisions up to now, indirectly; it had been guided by Ryuzaki's actions and taunts. Was that what he had intended for him? What were Ryuzaki's reasons for that?
His family supporting his decision and himself, for now it gave him strength. Because he really needed it now. Never before he had ever felt so alone like this.
Ryuzaki's concern over him somehow scared him.
Why did Ryuzaki cared so much about him? Why had he gone to his house and meet his mother? What did he want from him?
Ryosuke bit his lips as he finally reached the St. Futabazaka church before dashing inside to find Ryuzaki...
He had thought that Ryuzaki had done something bad to Pastor Tatsumi. Who would have thought that when the first blast had occurred, when Ryuzaki had fallen onto him; he mostly... shielded himself against the full blast of the explosion! Why did... Ryuzaki tried so hard... to protect him? More than his own life... as if, his life was more important to him...
Ryosuke could barely remember what happened later. All that he was feeling was the intense pain he had felt all over his body. Not sure how much damage he had actually received, but it was enough to cause himself to slip in and out of consciousness. Any other sound he had heard was the chatters of the medical team that had attended to him. For some reason, everything felt surreal.
"Aoi-san? Aoi-san, hang in there!"
Hasebe... san? Are we already at the hospital?
Not sure if it was a dream, but somehow he felt a comforting presence engulfing his body. Somehow, this presence felt calming...
Somehow... this feeling, it felt mostly like...
"Tatsumi-san... was your real father."
"Ryuzaki knew that and didn't heal him. No, it's because he knew that thus he didn't heal him."
How could he—? Could Ryuzaki really be that cruel? Just because Tatsumi-san was his father... so he didn't—was that, really the truth? Sawamura couldn't be telling him the truth, could he? Ryuzaki could be so cold at times... but could he really be so cold?
"Don't touch me!"
"I... don't want you to suffer anymore..."
Ryosuke held his breath as those words came back to his mind. It wasn't his imagination, was it? Pastor—his father, had refused being healed. He didn't imagine it, did he? Ryuzaki... he had looked sad that time, hadn't he? He really wanted to save Pastor Tatsumi, didn't he? Why did he not? He had told him to not use his power and Ryuzaki had promised not to use it on him. Yet, Ryuzaki still saved him. So why hadn't he do it? Why did he have to be so obedient to Pastor Tatsumi?
Is he more important than Pastor Tatsumi? Why...?
Why things had to come to this?
"Ryosuke? Are you all right?"
Ryosuke looked up to see his father giving him the concerned look. His father helped him up as Ryosuke just moved closer to hold his father and cry on his shoulders. The old man gave a cry of surprise before patting his back.
"Let's go home..."
"—I've finally found a way to atone to my sins..."
Ryosuke froze as he let his hand hover over his cup of coffee.
Why hadn't he realized this before? Was it because he was still aggrieved over the death of a man whom he belatedly found out was his father? Then, what was the sin that his father had done in the past that he had to attempt to try taking Ryuzaki's life? If Ryuzaki was really his father's target, then why had he gone to meet the person who wanted to take his life?
"You don't need to use that power of yours..."
"I... don't want you to suffer anymore..."
If those words... were for sure not something conjured by his optimist mind, his father must have known about Ryuzaki's past. And he also knew about his own power. Could Ryuzaki... have told Pastor Tatsumi about him? That time when he had been dying, Pastor Tatsumi had spoken to him as a father. But the day before... that man hadn't acted as if he knew that he was his son.
Could it really be some connection between Pastor Tatsumi and Ryuzaki? Between Ryuzaki and him? That time, the word that Pastor Tatsumi had spoken to refer to himself when talking to Ryuzaki... that word, he definitely heard it.
"Father... does not want you to suffer anymore..."
Then, was it really the truth? The relationship between himself and Ryuzaki... their relationship with Pastor Tatsumi...
"If there's someone you really wanted to protect, you should make that person strong. So that even if you're not around, he can continue living on his own. That's what it really means to protect someone."
Ryosuke felt his tears falling freely over his face as the realization dawned at him. Ryuzaki's actions all this time... that time at the church. All this time, Ryuzaki—he had always been protecting him...
From the very beginning... since that time when they had finally meet for the first time at that prison cell...
"It's not because of you. If I had wanted to bust out of this place, I could always do it any time..."
Ryuzaki could have gotten out of that prison cell any time he wanted to, yet he decided to stay there despite his innocence. He only decided to get out when Hasebe-san brought him to that prison.
Ryuzaki had wanted to get out of that prison because of him. Because he had met him! Then, Ryuzaki really was—he really was his...
[Everyone, from now on... I planned to stop using my power.]
Ryosuke turned around towards his television set as the news bulletin aired Ryuzaki's message. Ryuzaki... was telling people to look for him if they wanted to be healed. That couldn't be what he really wanted to tell, could he? Ryuzaki... he couldn't possibly be able to heal everyone, he himself knew that well. Then his real message...
Ryosuke stared at the screen as Ryuzaki's image seemed to stare back towards him. Then the real message... should be intended to...
[What is it that you can do for me? Please find that answer, and come here.]
That same question. Ryuzaki really intended this message to be for him. He sighed as he sat on his chair. Ryosuke glanced down towards his glass table as he fingered the protective charm that his real mother had given him.
So was that your wish?
"Demon's hand... exists to erase the God's hand..."
"That person... save him. The one that could save him... is you."
You really think that I could save him? Father...
Ryosuke stared down towards his father's grave before staring back onto his hand. He closed his eyes for a second. He opened his eyes again as he reached a conclusion in his mind.
Then I really have no choice, isn't it? I have to go there.
Strengthening his resolve, Ryosuke turned around towards President Kumakiri's car.
"You're my older brother, isn't it?"
Ryuzaki turned towards him looking as if he wasn't supposed to find out about this particular fact.
How do you think you could continue hiding this fact from me, Ryuzaki! How can you think I could forever overlook how much you have cared for me? How could you even think I could be able to even hate you... even one bit?
"With this hand, I will eliminate God's hand from this world."
He lifted his hand to grab his brother's neck as Ryuzaki closed his eyes.
You really wanted me to kill you?, Ryosuke thought frantically. You really are... fine about it? Do we really have to end it like this?
Ryosuke's hand shook as he continue hesitating.
He couldn't do it. He couldn't. He finally realized it. Ryuzaki... no, his brother... he loved him. He loved him so much! There's no way... no way, he could ever kill his brother.
Ryosuke felt his heart crying.
Must their fates have to end like this? Was there no other way for them to live peacefully?
Heavens... please tell him that they wouldn't have to end it like this...