An Orphan's Answer

Disclaimer: These yummy guys aren't mine. They're not yours either. We can go sit in a corner together and cry about it. : (

Author's Notes: Thanks for the great reviews so far. Keep 'em coming, and I'll keep writing. Okay, I've only seen up to episode 5, but I know a lot of spoilers. So, if I write something that makes no sense, don't flame me. Okay, you can if you want to, but I'll just ignore it. Lots of Omi angst in this one, folks! Enjoy, and please R&R!

Working… file not found.

My computer blinked the words back at me with a calm satisfaction. I sighed in frustration and brought my hands up to my face. This was the most important file I've ever needed, and it was not found. This file had all the answers in it.

I needed those answers.

Query: Who are Tsukiyono Omi, aka Takatori Mamoru's, parents?


I reached for my glass of soda when the words appeared on the screen once again.

Working… file not found.

My hand dropped and I thought of different ways to ask the same question. Who gave Tsukiyono Omi up? Who left him to die? Who made him the enemy? Who chose his fate?

There was no way to ask the computer those questions. It could give me realistic answers, but these questions would never be answered. Not for me, at least.

I heard a knock on my door and sighed. I recognized Youji's lazy footsteps and heard him open the door. I thought briefly about closing the screen, but what did I care if he saw my question? All of them knew who I was, what I was. I couldn't hide it.

I heard him stop right behind me. I turned around and saw him looking at the screen.

"Youji, did you want something?" I asked patiently. I knew he had come to tell me to relax, or get off the computer.

"Omi, what's this?" he asked, concern in his voice.

"I was just-" I started, but stopped when I looked at him again. His eyes seemed to tear through my soul, and I didn't say anything. I just sat there and let him tear me apart. Even unwillingly, Youji tore me apart just by looking at me like that.

"Why?" he asked, kneeling down so we could be face-to-face. "Why do you do this?"

I shook my head, not to signify that I wouldn't explain, but that I couldn't. He sighed and got up to leave. He closed the door behind him, in effect shutting me out form the rest of them.

I knew what he was thinking, what all of them were thinking.



Youji walked back towards the living room, where he'd just come from. Aya and Ken was there too. Ken was sitting down with some soccer rosters in front of him, while Aya sat upright in a chair near the window. He was staring out that window, looking at the stars. Youji walked into the room and they both turned to look at him.

"He's still on the computer," he said, and sat down in an easy chair. "He's trying to get info about his parents."

Ken stared at Youji dumbstruck, but Aya just nodded. He'd seen it coming.

"His parents? But they're-" Ken stopped, realizing he had no way to finish the sentence without saying what they'd avoided so hard to mention. "Why?" he finished lamely.

Youji just looked at Ken, and that seemed to say it all. He might have continued to speak, but Aya moved forward in his chair and they both turned to him.

"He needs answers." Aya looked from Youji to Ken. "And we can't give them to him."

"What kind of answers could he want?" Ken asked, hoping for some insight. "Doesn't he already know enough?"

"No," Aya said, shaking his head. "If this was hidden from him, he needs to know what else might be in his past. He needs it all."

"Whatever else there is can only hurt him more," Youji said, looking at Aya. "He may need answers, but not this much." Youji looked at Ken, then back to Aya. "Not this much."


I shut off my computer and turned to leave. I had to sleep. I needed answers. I had school tomorrow. I needed answers. I had work tomorrow. I needed answers. I had a life.

I needed answers.

I opened the door and glanced down the hall. Ken, Aya, and Youji seemed to be in the middle of a conversation. It stopped abruptly when I closed the door behind me.

"I'm going to bed," I said, trying to be light-hearted. "School tomorrow."

I walked down the hall and out of sight before they could reply. I didn't need to see Youji's look, that glance of remorse or comfort. I didn't need to see Ken's eyes, darting to me to look me up or down. I didn't need to see Aya's face, completely unreadable. Except I could read it. That expression that gave me no hard feelings, no anger, no resentment, only friendship. That gaze offered me friendship, and what did I offer it?

A forgotten past, a dying present, and a lost future. That's what I had to offer. A family of murderers and con men. A Takatori. One more name on the hit list.

I closed my room door behind me and jumped onto my bed. Ignoring my homework, I shut off the light and looked up at my ceiling.

All this time I had thought I was one of the good guys. Now I'm a bad guy. My actions don't mean anything anymore. My words don't count. My blood… that's what counts. My damn Takatori blood.

I shut my eyes to the dark. I shut out the darkness that crawled around me, trying to sleep. I closed my eyes and found only more darkness inside them.


I couldn't concentrate. What was this test on? I couldn't think. Was I in math, or science, or english?

The day passed me by like a blur. Some people talked to me, but I avoided most of my usual spots. Places where I know people would look for me. I took the long way to my classes. I sat hunched down in my seat. I didn't volunteer information in class, and my teachers didn't ask.

They didn't bother to ask. They never did. It was an almost unspoken rule amongst the teachers and myself. Give the kid a break. He's an orphan. He's got to work to make a living. He works hard just to survive. He looks tired today, so what? Let him rest.

I never complained about my situation. They longed to ask, to get involved. They never did. They only knew so much, after all, and I wasn't willing to give them any more details than were necessary.

School passed by in a haze. Even my computers class went by in a fog. I couldn't concentrate. One word kept rolling through my mind.

Takatori. I'm a Takatori.

I let the word roll over my tongue during one break between classes.

"Takatori… Takatori Mamoru…" I closed my eyes and let my breath hiss out between my teeth. I couldn't get used to it.

I didn't want to get used to it.

It was fifth period when I completely lost it. One minute I was sitting in my seat, another I'm being poked at in the nurse's office. I didn't even remember going up there.

"What?" I asked, slowly.

The nurse clucked her tongue and gave me a note. "I'm sending you home early. You have a sore throat, fever, and your eyes are red. Go home, get some sleep." She looked at me, and I felt that familiar longing form her to ask me. What was home, she wanted to know. What was home to someone who had never known one.

I didn't have an answer.

Youji came by minutes later to pick me up. He passed as my guardian when necessary. He looked at me when I got in the car, and said nothing as he drove away.

"I'm not sick," I said, looking at him in the driver's seat. "I'm just tired."

Youji glanced down at me, then back to the road. "Just tired…" he repeated, letting his words draw out slowly.

I don't know what he expected me to say. "What do you want from me?" I asked, staring out the window.

"The truth, Omi. Just the truth."

"You know what the truth is, Youji?" I asked him, suddenly trying to vent all my anger out. "The truth is that I'm the enemy. A traitor. A spy in your midst. I didn't even know it, but there it is. It's in my blood. I can't get rid of it."

"Omi, that's fucking bullshit." Youji lit a cigarette, puffed on it. "Why would you say that? You're part of our team. Who gives a shit about your past? You never were a Takatori to begin with. You're Tsukiyono Omi. You've always been that, ever since you can remember."

"It's not what I remember that bothers me, Youji." I looked out the window at the trees going by and let out a slow breath. "It's what I don't."

Youji sighed and made a sharp left. A car honked when he swerved out of its way. "Listen, Omi, you're beating yourself up over nothing. No one cares about your past. We all know where your loyalty lies."

"Do you?" I asked, watching a strip mall go past. "I used to think I did, too. Now this happens. I don't know who I am anymore."

Youji didn't say anything for the rest of the ride home. I was thankful for that. He had good questions. Questions that needed answers. I didn't have those answers.

We got back to the flower shop a few minutes later. Ken was outside, setting up a display for a sale that afternoon. I got out of the car and grabbed my backpack.

"Hey, Omi, you feeling alright?" Ken asked, looking up at me. "The school called and said you were sick."

"I'm fine," I lied, and went past him. "Just tired," I called back over my shoulder.

Youji stayed outside to talk to Ken. That was fine with me. I went into the living room and saw Aya sitting on a chair, polishing his katana.

"Hey, Aya," I said, dropping my backpack on the ground for a minute. He nodded back at me and continued his work. It was the best answer I could expect out of him.

I walked into the kitchen and got out a glass of soda. I felt tired, and my throat hurt. My head was throbbing, and I figured I was probably sick. I got sick easily, a side effect of staying on my computer all night long. I took a quick gulp and let it sit in my throat a minute. I liked the cold sensation it gave me. It woke me up. I swallowed and turned around to find Aya looking at me.

I walked back in the room and picked up my backpack. "I've got some homework," I said, and left to go to my room. I couldn't stand the thought of him watching me after what we'd learned. Even I was starting to wonder…


No more than an hour later, I was already deep into my search. My eyes didn't hurt yet, but I knew in a few more hours it would come. My fingers were already tightening up, but I shook them out to drive away the numbness. I typed out a question on m screen.

Query: Where was Tsukiyono Omi found?

Answer: Data incomplete. First member of Weib, the assassin group. Previous records inaccessible.

I knew they were, I thought. I had made sure they were inaccessible. I never wanted any part of my life to come back to haunt me. I thought I had remembered the worst of it. I was wrong. About that, and so many other things.

I typed in more questions, none gave me any insight into who I was. I searched hospital records, under both Tsukiyono Omi and Takatori Mamoru. Nothing. I searched medical files, school files, police records, even government databases. I scanned telephone numbers, addresses, even street vendors who traveled around a lot. I looked through everything I could find to see if any of it gave me a clue to my past. Nothing panned out. Apparently, Takatori Mamoru was an undocumented person.

There were records for Tsukiyono Omi, of course. Name, age, date of birth, school, grade, profession, et cetera. They had records upon records for the legal side of Tsukiyono Omi. Nothing about Weib, of course. But still, enough to prove that he existed.

But Takatori Mamoru was like a lost soul. No one knew anything about him. There were no records, no dates, not even one mention of his name anywhere. The Takatori's must have covered it up, I thought. I could probably get under it, but how long would that take? Might take days, or even weeks. Weib needed me. I couldn't let them down.

That is, if they still wanted me. And that was why I needed to find out what I could about Takatori Mamoru. If I was a danger to the team, even in the slightest way, I had to get out. If there was any doubt about my identity, I needed to know.

Aya wanted to kill the Takatori's. I agreed with him. They were a group of heartless, soulless monsters. They used people for fun and manipulated people for profit. That was what was coursing through my veins. Takatori blood. But did that make me a Takatori? I was raised Tsukiyono, I still went by Tsukiyono. Did that blood matter?

Yes, yes it did matter, I thought dejectedly. As long as any trace of Takatori was in me I was a threat. A danger. I couldn't be trusted.

I looked back at the time on the computer screen. Seven hours had gone by since I had started. It was just after eight at night.

Still early. Plenty more time left.


Ken walked to the computer room door and listened. He still heard the quiet typing of Omi's fingers on the keyboard. He thought briefly about knocking, but instead turned around and walked back to the shop.

They were closing, and Youji was busy hustling the girls out the door. Aya was arranging some plants that had fallen, and watering the flowers. Ken was supposed to be cleaning, but he had wanted to see if Omi was alright.

"Alone at last," Youji said as he slammed the door shut, locked it, and flipped the sign to 'closed'. "I thought it would never end."

"He's still at it," Ken said, picking up some cleaning spray and a rag. "Omi's upstairs typing. He's been in there since he came home early from school."

Youji shrugged, and walked around the side of the store to get to a broom. "So what?"

"So shouldn't he be resting? What's he doing that's taking up so much time- " Ken stopped suddenly, and felt like slapping himself on the head.

Aya looked at Ken and said softly, "He's researching. Leave him alone."

"Why, though?" Ken asked, spraying the windows and wiping them clean. "Why's he doing that?"

"He's beating himself up," Youji said, slowly sweeping the floor. "He talked a little about it on the way home today. He kept saying he's a danger to us. A threat, or a traitor." Youji looked at Aya and found that he had stopped collecting flowers to stare at a lone freesia that had fallen. "He's taking it really hard."

Ken threw his rag down on the counter and punched a fist into it. "He knows we trust him. Why does he think we'll care about that?"

Aya looked down at the freesia and said, "But we can't ignore it, either."

Ken turned around to argue, but found he couldn't. Aya was right. They couldn't ignore it. However much they wanted to, it was there, and it was causing one hell of a problem.

Youji knelt down to sweep the dust into a dust pan. "He kept talking about blood. How his blood would never change. Shit like that." He stood up again and wiped off his pants, then looked at his knees. "Fuck. That'll never come out," he said with feeling. He pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit it, lightly puffing on it to soothe his nerves.

Ken had gone back to working on the windows. "Doesn't he trust us? After all we've been through, doesn't he trust us more than that?"

Aya slowly twirled the freesia around, looking at it from all angles. He understood perfectly. Omi did trust them; he didn't trust himself.

Ken looked back at Aya, who stood up twirling the small flower in his fingers. He could almost see Aya's thought. "You should talk to him," Ken said. "He needs you to talk to him."

Youji looked back at Ken, surprised he had picked up on that. Ken usually didn't understand that sort of thing. Youji understood, though, all too well. That need for acceptance. "Don't go unless you want to, Aya," he said, speaking softly. "You can't bullshit this sort of thing."

Aya got his jacket and went out the door. Youji figured he wouldn't be back for a while.

"Where's he going?" Ken asked, astounded. "This is serious."

"It is," Youji agreed, looking at him. "And Aya needs time."


I looked again at the familiar blinking words. My brain didn't even bother to process them. I knew the gist well enough by now.

I glanced down at the clock. 1:30 AM. I sighed letting my eyes close for a minute. Even after over twelve hours straight on my computer, I was still no closer to answers then I had been before I started. I had hacked into every mainframe within fifty miles of Tokyo. Not a one mentioned Takatori Mamoru.

I tried to open my eyes again, to work harder at finding something. My head was pounding, my eyes were sore, my back was stiff, even my fingers were cramped and numb. But I still at least five more hours before I had to get ready for school. Six, if I hurried and didn't do my homework.

My right hand hovered over the keyboard, but my left was busy propping my head up. I leaned forward to see the screen better. Another six hours could yield something. Something I needed to know. Something I had lived for too long not knowing. Something that would mend my relationship with Aya. Something that would make him not hate me. Something was there…

Something had to be there.


Aya was standing at the edge of a cliff. He looked down at the city, still bustling with life even after midnight had passed. He had stood there for the past hour, trying to make sense of what was going on. He thought he almost had it.

Omi was a Takatori. Omi, the computer whiz, projectiles expert, youngest and first member of Weib. Their Omi was a Takatori.

The Takatori's were the enemy. They attacked his sister, left her to die. They controlled random people and left them to die. The Takatori's were evil.

Omi was a Takatori. The Takatori's were evil. Omi was a Takatori. The Takatori's were evil.

Omi was evil.

But he couldn't get that thought to make sense. It didn't seem to go together with the Omi he knew. The kind, caring, joyous member of the team who was probably the most devoted to Weib out of them all. The orphan who went to school by day, worked at a flower shop during the afternoon, and assassinated at night. The young yet mature kid who 'never forgave the bad ones'.

Aya held up the freesia and looked at it more closely. It was bright and open, honest, and had a sweet fragrance. It suited Omi perfectly.

That bright, honest Omi. Takatori Mamoru.

Aya sighed. He had sworn to kill the Takatori's. He wanted to erase their line, wipe out the entire lot of them. He had sworn that none would escape alive.

He still wanted to kill them all. All of the evil Takatori's that destroyed lives and made innocents suffer. All the Takatori's had to be destroyed.

But Omi wasn't a Takatori. His blood might say he was, but his heart cried out otherwise. Omi could never be anything but kind.

He needed reassurance. He needed to know that his friends still trusted him. He needed to know he hadn't been abandoned.

Aya turned and walked down the cliff towards the flower shop. Omi was his friend, a trusted teammate. And blood could lie.

It usually did.


My eyes were half-closed and I could only make out vague shapes. I grabbed another can of caffeinated soda and drank half of it in one swig. I needed the energy.

It was only 3:47. Plenty of time left for working.

My left hand was still holding up my head, but my eyes didn't want to cooperate. I was fighting to keep them open when I heard the door open behind me.

I turned around slowly, using the chair to support myself. Aya was standing there, in his usual black with his katana at his back.

I nodded and tried to speak, but my voice came out as a harsh croak. I shook my head instead and rubbed my hand over my throat, to show that it was still sore.

Aya stepped into the room and held out a hand. I took it and stood up, leaning on his arm for support. A question lingered in my eyes, and I wondered what he wanted.

He took out his katana and let me look at it. It was still gleaming form the polish he had layered on it that afternoon. He held it out slowly, and let me examine it.

Then, he swiped it across his arm quickly. It was so fast I couldn't blink, and I cried out.

"Aya, what-" I started, my voice still hoarse.

He held up the blade to silence me, then said, "Your arm."

I held out my arm, terrified of where this was leading to. He swiped the blade across it quickly. Pain shot out across my arm and I jerked back, but he caught my arm with his other hand.

Slowly he pressed our two wounds together, letting our blood mix. His eyes locked onto mine. He stepped closer and I could feel his heart beating.

"Blood lies," he said softly. He pressed our arms harder together, letting blood drip onto both of our clothes. "It means nothing." He held up our arms in front of my face showing me our mixed blood. "This is what counts."

I understood suddenly, overwhelmingly, what he was saying. I looked at our mixed blood and realized I couldn't tell mine from his. Our blood was the same, just like a brother's blood. We were brothers, family. Family meant more than just a name. It was what was inside that counted, and we mirrored each other there.

I felt tears coming to my eyes and used my other hand to dry my face.

"Aya-kun," I whispered, trying to talk past the pain in my voice. "Thank you."

I felt relieved, almost giddy, to hear him say that. To hear Aya forgive me. To know he still trusted me, still considered me a friend.

He slowly let go of my arm, and I let it drop to my side. The pain was gone, and it was already healing. It had been a shallow cut. He didn't want to hurt me.

I shut off my computer, without finding any more answers. I had school tomorrow, and I had homework to do. Besides, there was always work and new missions. I needed some sleep, too, since I still felt sick. There was something to do every minute of every day.

I looked back at Aya and realized I had found what I was looking for.

I had all the answers I would ever need.