The Justice's Chagrin
Ken was ready to panic.
Somehow, despite all accounts of the weather being sunny it ended up raining. To say it was just raining was a heavy understatement. It nearly matched the typhoon that had hit Tatsumi Port Island ten years ago. Ken fought his way from his car towards Aigis's apartment with only the cover of a shoddy umbrella.
He was visiting Aigis and Hamuko, since he had said and promised weeks ago he would when he had the time. After all, he yet to meet the little girl who shared the same past as Minato, with the exception of the Dark Hour and all experiences linked with it. He had heard from Aigis after all.
The girl, Hamuko, at first would not speak for days. She would stare blankly towards the sky through any sort of window, and gaze, as if searching for something hiding in its Azure depths, while Aigis made daily rounds and visited her everyday. Ken sympathized with Hamuko. He did something similar after his mother died protecting him… But for her, she had lost her entire family within the course of one day. And to think she had no other relatives either… Ken understood what she was feeling completely.
He of all people knew it was a terrible feeling, to be ridden with survivor guilt.
Ken was actually looking forward to meeting the girl too, after hearing so many good remarks from Junpei, Aigis, Yukari, and Fuuka. Now he actually had the opportunity to meet her.
Yet, imagine his distress when he rang the doorbell to find the little boy who bore a striking resemblance to Akihiko shifting anxiously at the door. It was Shinjiro Sanada. But where was Aigis? After a bit of coaxing, Ken finally persuaded the boy to move out of the door way to let him inside. After a bit of glancing around, Ken realized that the boy was by himself.
"Shinjiro-kun." Ken started to say as he knelt to the boy's height. "Where's Aigis? Why are you by yourself? Did something happen?"
"…It's… Amada-san, right?" He asked nervously, to which Ken nodded as he gave him a pressing look. "Aigis-san went out a while ago to get Hamuko."
"When did this happen?" Ken began to say, seeing Shinjiro's uneasy apprehension. "Do you know where they went?"
The boy shook his head. "Hamuko said something big was gonna happen outside. I told her not to go because it was raining, but she didn't listen to me. Idiot." He added as an afterthought.
Ken experienced a slight taste of nostalgia. Whose idea was to bring up him exactly like Shinjiro? Well, not exactly, but similar enough. "So Aigis got worried and followed her?"
"Yeah… but the rain's gotten a lot worse now. I hope they're okay." Shinjiro muttered with a worried expression as he glanced out the window.
"They'll be okay. Aigis has been through a lot worse." Ken confirmed, but felt somewhat doubtful himself. It was storming outside, with rain pelting loudly against the pavement. The apartment rumbled.
Shinjiro was obviously worried. Ken had the feeling that if he took his eyes off of him for a second, he would be out the door in a mere matter of moments. He had to do something to get the boy's attention… but what?
"Just call me Ken. I'm not that old." He replied absentmindedly.
"Okay… Ken-san." Shinjiro tested, and received a approving look from the twenty-year old. "You've known mom and dad for a long time, right?"
"For nearly ten years. Your dad was a role model of sorts for me, and your mom was equally the same." Ken admitted. "Heh, she's the one who told me to clean my room when I was around your age. She kind of acted like a mother for everyone who lived there."
"Yeah, we lived at the same dormitory together, despite the fact everyone except for me and the dog that lived there were older than us. Unless you count dog years." Ken chuckled slightly. "Why ask?"
"The other day, Dad said that I was named after his dead best friend so I would become strong and kind as he was." The boy looked up at him with curious eyes. "Since you seem to know them really well, does that mean you know who dad's best friend was?"
Ken gulped. Did it really have to come to this question? If he answered it, it would make sure that the boy would try going outside. It would also buy time for Aigis to come back. Awkwardly, Ken stood up and pointed over to the small sofa in the apartment's living room. "Uh, you should probably take a seat…?"
Questioningly, the boy raised an eyebrow, but otherwise followed Ken's direction and hopped on the sofa. Ken followed the same suit before exhaling a breath. How was he supposed to explain who Shinjiro Aragaki was to a kid with his namesake?
"Well…" He began to say with a breath, still edgy. "Shinjiro-san was the same age as your dad. He was brave, and stronger than I could ever be."
"…That's it?" The little successor of Kirijo stared at him critically. Ken was vaguely reminded of Mitsuru's stare.
"…Shinjiro Aragaki… He was brave enough to face death head on." The boy's eyes widened considerable, as he gave a pressing look. Ken continued quietly. "Not many people really knew much about him, except for Minato-san, Mitsuru-sempai, and Akihiko-sempai. He always kept to himself, so… yeah. Shinjiro-san, was someone that literally no one would think of messing with. He seemed like a scary guy to most people, but it turns out that he was really kind. He used to cook and feed Koromaru treats, as well as cook food in the dorm while the others were away for them to eat later. Akihiko-sempai admired him because he was naturally strong… I did too for that matter."
"…But what happened to him?" Shinjiro dared to ask. Ken shifted uncomfortably. It had been so long since he had talked about it, and a kid no less was asking. "If he's so strong, then how come he died?"
"With power came a price. He wasn't like any of the others…" Ken mumbled quietly as he lowered his head. "Twelve years ago, there was this… accident. I was there during this accident, and because of it… someone died. Even though it wasn't Shinjiro-san's fault, I blamed him all the same. So for two years, I want my revenge against him. On the same day that person died, I confronted him and…"
The boy blinked as Ken's voice trailed off. "Ken-san…?"
"…He died protecting me…" The boy's jaw dropped, but Ken failed to notice. "Under a full moon, ten years ago, Shinjiro Aragaki died to save me… I hated myself for it. No one blamed me for it. No one yelled at me, no one was angry… in fact, when I came back, they welcomed me." Ken bit his lip. "If only I had been stronger, if only I hadn't been so consumed with hate back then, he would still be alive. But… Thanks to him, I- no, Akihiko-san and I have definitely grown." Ken let out a mirthless chuckle as he rubbed his forehead. "It's funny… why is it so hard to admit now? It's been ten years… you'd think I'd stop acting like such a kid, don't you think? After that entire mess… I'm still the same as I was before."
"Uh…uh…! Ken-san, you shouldn't blame yourself…!" Shinjiro stuttered, evident he didn't quite understand everything Ken had told him. Nonetheless, the boy gave him a stern look. "Mom and Dad hold you in high esteem… so don't feel bad! I… I don't think Shinjiro would want you to feel bad either."
Ken groaned internally. An eight year old was comforting him? How pathetic could he get? "You're definitely right there, Shinjiro-kun." Lifting his head up, Ken shot the boy a friendly smile. "He would've probably told me to get off of my ass or something, and stop moping. But it's really been too long… I mean, ten years. Shinjiro… ha, I bet if he saw me now, he'd probably laugh at me and call me a kid again." Gazing at the boy, Ken gave him a serious, but gentle look. "Shinjiro-kun. For your sake, and the person you were named after… live life to the fullest."
"…What does that mean?" The boy asked him wonderingly. Laughing, Ken tousled the younger boy's hair much to his chagrin.
"You'll find out when you grow up- but don't rush. You're only a kid once, after all." Ken murmured as he lifted his hand away.
"Living life to the fullest, Ken-san?"
"Exactly." He replied, looking outside towards the rain splattered window. "Living life to the fullest is something everyone should do. If you live that way, rich or poor, you'll be happy no matter what you do." Ken paused as he caught hold of a familiar object in his jacket. Smiling, he stared towards the cloudy sky before adding as an after thought-
"I'm sure... It's something that he would want as well."
A/n: So! I… am not very familiar with Ken. Hopefully I didn't screw things up.