az: Another multi-chapter. Using the Hope AU universe. Yeah I know, I am silly like that.


Atonement

Chapter 1: Time twist

Written by Izzu alias honou-no-izumi

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A man stood nervously at the edge of the platform as citizens of the city bustle around towards their destination. He glanced towards the direction of the empty railway, wondering when the next train would arrive. Before he could have a chance to back off, he heard the sound of the approaching train. Without hesitation, he took a flying leap forward—to the alarm of the people at the platform—as the man closed his eyes, welcoming the approaching vehicle that could take him to the next world...

xxx

Time can do a lot of amazing things, Ainosuke realized. Without realizing, his older brother's health got better and he managed to regain most of his physical abilities. It had been a slow process, but somehow it gave some good result. Not something that he would shove aside. The only thing that has not changed, was the fact that his brother still had not been able to remember anything of the past.

He knew that he should have been grateful. After all, his brother was still alive. Something this small shouldn't matter... but he couldn't help it. As much as he still loved his brother, the brother that was with him right now... was more of a stranger than someone who used to be so close to him. It was slightly selfish, he knew. He couldn't help himself being a selfish human to ask for something more despite already getting a piece of a wish.

It was simply human.

Ainosuke sighed as he walked out of the compounds of the Kisaragi Junior High, before sighing in content. Brother wouldn't be home so soon, so he should have a bit of time at home to figure out what to make for dinner. Miruku-san also shouldn't be too busy either, so he might just ask her for help. The three of them did somehow end up being like a family now...

xxx

Ainosuke parked his bike at the side before jumping in alarm to see his brother waiting for him. Yumehito grinned.

"What? Surprised to see me?"

For a moment Ainosuke thought that his old brother had suddenly reappeared before him, seeing the coy expression that his brother was showing him. But that feeling immediately passed as he realized that it was only his wishful thinking. It can't be that easy...

Yume cocked his head at him.

"What's the problem? Oh... I've been reassigned into the investigations department, that's why I've got the day off."

Ainosuke blinked at him, before sighing. He almost forgot that small arrangement he had made with Kato-san, months before. Because they had a hard time deciding what to do about his brother, when he had insisted to finding a job himself and not wanting Ainosuke to bear the burden alone. Though in his situation, it got a bit tricky.

Somehow, at some point... Kato-san had suggested for his brother to reapply for the police academy to become a police again. After all, even if it had been a false guise for him in the past... his brother used to be a detective before. And in a way, this was a kind of atonement his brother could do for his past sins. Somehow, he had to wonder what kind of strings that Kato-san had manage to pull to allow that to happen.

Ainosuke smiled.

"So, should I call niichan... Tanaka-keiji after this?"

His brother grinned at him before pinching his cheeks.

"Don't be cheeky. Anyway... I was assigned to be Kato's partner."

Ainosuke glanced back towards his brother as he noticed him frowning. "What—"

"Somehow... I wonder why that felt familiar..."

Trying not to appear alarmed, Ainosuke ushered his brother back inside the apartment as he started talking about how they should celebrate his brother's promotion...

xxx

Kato smiled at him as he went to pick up Yumehito from their apartment. He and Ainosuke exchanged greetings before he watched them leave. Relieved that everything had turned out to be just fine, Ainosuke went back inside as he cleaned up Oyasan's shrine before preparing to go to school.

Without warning, he accidentally knocked down the name plate as he hastily picked it back up. His heart suddenly raced.

Hopefully that was not a sign for bad things to come...