Kanda Yuu woke up from his coma on January 19th, 2011.
He didn't remember much of what happened. Police filled in the details for him—they found his prints on a sword that stabbed murder victim Lavi Bookman—but the evidence disappeared. No one knew what happened to the sword that should have landed him in jail. He didn't got to jail. He admitted to nothing. He spoke few words. People considered him insane. Perhaps he was insane, but he did get the Noah in a bunch of trouble. All were arrested for terrorist activities, every last one. Allen Walker died the same day Lavi died.
The government restored back to normal, but security became a bitch.
He asked the doctor why he didn't die. He knew he got shot in the heart.
"An organ donor, actually," he replied. "Lavi Bookman wrote in his will that he wanted you to have it, which is odd. He wrote it a week before his death. You miraculously lived because of that, you know. You should've died."
It confused him because Lavi got stabbed in the heart.
"Actually, no," the doctor told him when he expressed his confusion. "His heart was on the right, not the left. A rare occasion, that is. The stab wound was in his lung. He died from drowning on his blood."
Kanda Yuu got discharged from the hospital on February 20th, 2011.
He moved away from Grandworth. He had no belongings to bring with him. He had no one to say goodbye to. He took the money he saved in his bank account and bought a new apartment in a new town, three hundred miles away from where all his trouble began. He got a pet rabbit and named it Lavi. He also got a pet dog named Alma. Both pets loved him.
He got a job. He worked at a sewage treatment plant. He made friends with a co-worker named Noise Marie, who was blind yet could still do his job better than anyone else there.
Life rushed by. He paid attention to nothing, spoke little, and asked for nothing.
He stopped taking LSD, period. He chucked all the remaining bottles he had into the ocean.
It was the least he could do.
The alarm clock beeped, telling him it was 4:30, on a Monday morning, causing him to grumble loudly and slam his fist onto the piece of technology. It stopped beeping as his fist throbbed in agony. Alma barked loudly to fill in the gap of silence, not caring for Kanda's developing headache. He was tempted to throw a shoe at the annoying animal, but he decided against it. He sat up, tired, as his legs dangled over the bed. His disheveled hair was tied back into a formal ponytail with no dangling sides. He frowned. It was the second-year anniversary.
The doorbell rang as he hurried to get dressed, his body still slow from sleepiness. He rushed to the door as he attempted to put on his sock, opening it while putting on a shoe. Noise Marie stood there, looking tired as well. "Still getting dressed?"
"Kind of." He managed to tie his shoe before grabbing the other one. "Thanks for watching over the pets while I'm gone. I won't be away for long."
"It's no big deal. I have no animals or family of my own." The large man laughed a little, though it was humorless. Kanda realized he knew next to nothing about him, but he still liked him nonetheless. He was the type to not take shit from anybody by silently staring—or not staring, as the case may be—down on them. "I'm just surprised that you asked for a favor. I haven't heard you talk in over two months. I was starting to get worried."
"Che." He finished tying his shoe and looked for his jacket. "There's food in the refrigerator. The animal food is in the pantry. Alma goes out twice a day for a walk, and you can just leave Lavi in his cage. He doesn't move much, but he eats a lot."
"All right. I can find everything. I've been here once before."
Kanda picked up the crystal lotus necklace, which rested on the table. The kitchen light made it glint as he approached it. He slipped it around his neck and behind his shirt as he located his bag. "Thanks again," he said. "When I come back, we'll play another game of poker for one hundred dollars. This time I got the braille deck of cards."
"How considerate of you." Marie stood in the middle of the room as Kanda walked towards the door, bag dragging behind him. "I just noticed this is the most you've ever said to me in one conversation. Are you starting to forgive yourself for whatever you did?"
He paused at the door, as if shocked by the statement. Marie knew everything about him, it seemed, even though he didn't say much. "Che. I guess, but not completely. The keys are on the table."
"Have a safe flight," Marie replied.
Kanda left without another word.
Grandworth didn't look the same when he arrived at the airport. After finally getting through security, he stepped out to see ribbons wrapping around every lamppost. Local businesses dominated the downtown area, the bigger businesses non-existent. Lenalee's cafe was still open as he wandered down the sidewalk, hungry from the long flight. When he stepped in, the staff was different. A small girl stood behind the counter, smiling at him as he approached.
"What would you like, sir?"
"Japanese or American?"
"That'll be five-fifty, please."
He paid in cash and waited alone by the window, watching the people hurry around. A group of teenagers walked by, his old teacher Tiedoll following them. Kanda waved, but he didn't notice as one of the kids nearly stepped out into the busy street. He sighed as the noodles were placed onto his table, the girl smiling at him. "Complementary coffee, sir?"
"Comin' right up!"
He ate his noodles slowly, drinking the coffee when she gave it to him. Something inside of him hurt, a little piece of his heart, probably. He chuckled to himself. It wasn't his heart anymore, it was Lavi's, beating inside his body. He didn't deserve Lavi's heart. He killed the poor bastard, for starters, and yet he still had it. In fact, Lavi requested for him to have it a week before his death. It bothered him that he did that, that he wrote a will as if he knew he was going to die.
He finished eating his noodles and left the cafe, entering the autumn air. Halloween decorations lined the windows of shops, but he paid no attention to them. People walked by him and he walked by people, unnoticed, unseen. He liked it that way.
A flower shop caught his attention after he wandered a little while, not wanting to go to his destination quite yet. He entered, looking around for something suitable for the occasion. People glanced at him, and a few gawked, but he didn't notice as he picked up a bouquet of white roses. The petals had a slight yellow tint to them. He paid for them before putting them in his bag, the flowers sticking out of the bag's pocket.
A new apartment building where the first one burned down replaced it, though a plaque dedicated to those that lost their lives was embedded into the wall on a granite stone. He read the names quietly to himself, noticing Bookman's name was there. He sighed and put a rose below the plaque before continuing onwards.
The sunset brewed up an array of reds, oranges and yellows as he wandered towards his destination, noticing the infamous Grandworth Auditorium no longer stood. Housing developments replaced it, surprisingly enough. He passed them by without a second thought, though the thought of Alma settled on his brain. She also died in a burning building, probably because of the smoke before she burned to ashes. He frowned as he approached an iron gate, decorated beautifully with lanterns, and opened them to find himself in a familiar graveyard.
Gravestones lined the path that wound for about a mile, though he only needed to walk about half of it. The trees, with yellow, orange and red leaves falling around him, rustled with calm winds. The cobblestones led him to a familiar row and he stopped, counting up to the seventh gravestone, and walked on the still-green grass. Ashen-shaped leaves rested on top of the grave until the wind blew them away, leaving it undisturbed. Kanda knelt before it, reading the stone,
February 20th, 1993 - October 24th, 2010
Fly soft, fly low, into the night sky,
My lovely, beautiful,
May you never be forgotten, Lenalee Lee,
May you be remembered
He stared at the words embedded in marble, knowing that nothing lasted for eternity, but her brother wrote the epitaph on the stone, so he had no right to make a comment on the poem. He unzipped his bag and pulled the white roses out of their plastic wrap. He laid a few on top of the stone, then covered the ground where her grave rested with the petals, one rose lying in the middle. He stared at it for awhile, unmoving as the sun's final glade disappeared behind the horizon line.
"Lenalee," he whispered. "I know I'm the reason why. I wanted..." He paused, wiping something wet away from his eyes. Dirt, he concluded, must have gotten into them. "I wanted to thank you for praying. I couldn't save them. I'm not good enough to be alive. But I try. I'm trying to make it up to you, to Lavi, to Allison and to Alma, and to all the people in the auditorium. I wanted you to know my hallucinations stopped, and..." He paused, finding himself crying. He couldn't be crying. Kanda Yuu never shed a tear for anybody. "...and that I am finding a reason why to live.
"I created a group. I made it because of you. I'm trying to get people off the streets and off drugs. I know that's something you would've done. In fact, I know you would've. Hell, you would've organized the whole damn thing, because that's just how you are." He laughed sadly. "You would've asked me to help you out, and back then, I would've said no, as always. But I'm at that point where I'm willing to say yes because I'm not giving up. Not when you died because of me."
He sobbed. He didn't care if anyone saw him. He cried without shame before her grave.
"I'm sorry. Thank you for never giving up on me, even in your last moments. Thank you..."
He could feel something touch the back of his head, something warm as a voice whispered, You're welcome. I forgive you, Kanda. Keep trying, for my sake, for their sake.
We're all by your side and we're always watching you, so you'll never be alone. You'll never be alone anymore. We're here, so keep living. Never give up again. We're praying. We'll all be here in your heart, Kanda.
Komui walked down the path and found her grave as he did on her birthday and the day of her death, breaking down into tears once or twice before he even made it. Reever followed close behind, as did Johnny, who kept supporting him. It was never easy for him, they both knew that, and they knew once they reached the grave, he would be hysterical.
This year, however, as their supervisor stood before the grave, he didn't choke. He stared as Reever and Johnny hurried to catch up with him. The silence confused both of them as the older brother stood there, eyes solemn and staring. "They did it again," he said.
Reever approached him, confused before noticing the white rose petals and the roses themselves. The stone itself was modeled intricately after a butterfly, and the white made it seem to come alive. "Did what again, Chief?"
"They came again and decorated her grave," he answered, putting down his own assortment of flowers. "Whoever did it did this last year, too."
"Perhaps it's a friend of hers?"
He nodded. "Perhaps."
He rested the flowers against her grave, a small, faint smile forming on his face as he touched the cold marble, feeling the words etched in the stone. "Big brother's here, Lenalee," he said.
Up above, Lenalee smiled, and her friends, all surrounding her, smiled, too.
Wow. I think I cried several times writing this. Thank you, my dear readers, for going along this far with me! I cannot appreciate it enough, not even with a thousand words. I originally wrote a different epilogue, but then I wrote this one, and I liked it better. You guys are the greatest. I hope that you loved this story as much as I did. Please, like Kanda, never give up. Never stop trying.
I hope to see you someday, in the future when I (hopefully) publish my own story.
See you someday~
—Mr. Ree (Jasmine Heckler)