Y O R O K O B I – K A N A S H I M I
Chapter Eight: Memories of You
Listening to: Lacie (By: Yuki Kaijura. I'm obsessed with her. I can't help it). Seriously, there's a certain part in this story where you HAVE to listen to this song as you read. It could work in multiple ones, but at least listen to it once in a spot here. Well…you don't have to, but if you do it'll probably make you cry… I'll actually try really hard to make you cry for once.
I wanna keep Yorokobi under fifteen chapters. Because I feel like if it gets any longer than that then I'll never be able to finish it and it will be in an extremely long hiatus just like Kyrie Eleison.
THANK YOU FOR REVIEWING! I LOVE YOU GUYS!
Crosswire: For fanboy squealing, you have earned 100 extra points on my favorite reviewers list, XD. Yes, I made the "Kobato versus Hanato" aspect somewhat open to interpretation in the past chapters. Juuuust the way I liked it.
As for Ioryogi's hair… I know he's a blue dog, but I couldn't imagine a kuro-puu look alike with blue hair. Yes, I'm bad, XD. So just imagine his clothes have some semblance and coloration of blue. Who knows? Maybe it was blue and he decided to make it black? XD
YukinaKisaYanaseLVR: Ahh, the meeting between Maiko/Saika and Kobato. That was fun to write… What was more fun to write might have been how Kojiro and her interact in this chapter, hehe.
Lol sorry about that, =D
James Birdsong: And the mysteries will hopefully begin to get solved in the coming chapters. If they don't…uh, well I fail as a writer of mysteries and shall not delve into that business, -sweat drop-
Kataragurl27: Thanks for liking this fanfic! Um...what else to say...
Hello (Awesome name to put, XD): DON'T DIE! Although…this review reply is almost 2 months late… Dang. I hope you didn't die before this chapter came out. If you did, my condolences. I shall place the fanfic on your grave in honor of your lovely memory and for loving this story. Amen
LiLkawaiibunny: I had that inner conflict as well the more I began to write this type of Kobato. It's a tough battle that is spanning a war inside my semi sane skull that is known as my mind. To end the war, I must continue to write, which I must and shall.
XXxStrawberryAngelxXx: Why is it that as I type your username, I'm suddenly craving chocolate covered strawberries? …Ah, I digress. I have updated and hopefully I can get this story finished before I'm off to college! If I don't…then that's just totally sad on my part… -sweat drop-
Please excuse some grammar errors. There are probably some in here (Seeing as how I wrote this a while ago and touched on only a few things now.)
Ten years ago…
Sing to me of the night
Like you did long ago
The moon was reflected in your eyes
And the stars in mine
The gods are watching over us
They scold us when we do wrong
But is loving one another bad?
Saika stopped her song abruptly when she felt arms circle around her waist. The demoness in disguise giggled and leaned back into the embrace.
"How was college?" she asked and Kojiro shrugged while nuzzling her neck playfully, eliciting another laugh from the noir haired woman.
"Boooring," he whined and hugged her tighter. "You're lucky you don't need to go to school."
She somehow managed to turn to face him while staying in his embrace and she tapped his nose with her finger. "It's better than being cooped up in the hospital all day, isn't it?"
"I'd rather not go there at all." He sighed in exaggerated defeat. When she gave him a hard look he relented even more. "Yes ma'am…"
"We may be the same age, but you act like Kobato-chan." Saika joked as the girl in question appeared near the doorway.
"Nii-chan, you're back!" The pinkish brunette charged forward and hugged her brother, leaving him sandwiched between the two most important girls in his life.
"How's my birthday girl doing?" he chuckled.
"Good now that you're back!" her brownish amber eyes turned to Saika and narrowed childishly. "Nii-chan is mine!"
Saika laughed and let go of Kojiro. "Kobato-chan. You're eleven years old now. Surely there must be a boy you're interested in, hm?"
Kobato stuck her tongue out. "Boys are yucky!"
"Ouch…" Kojiro winced and ruffled his little sister's hair. "Really? No boys I should be worried about?"
Immediately at her brothers 'interrogation', her face flushed a deep red and she looked down at her feet. "T-There's no one…" When her brother continued to smile at her she blushed even harder.
"Kojiro, I think you're helping your sister develop her brother complex…" Saika said with a lilt that sounded half joking and half serious.
The birthday girl blinked in childish curiosity and the red was gone from her cheeks in an instant. "Brother compess? What's that?"
"You see, when a girl starts—"
"Ah, Kobato-chan! I think I hear grandpa at the door! Go greet him for me, alright?" Kojiro interrupted quickly. At the sound of her brother needing help the little girl went racing to the door as Kojiro let out a sigh of relief. Saika tried holding her laughter by turning around and clutching her stomach between trembling fingers. "Maiko…" He hissed and walked slowly towards her after closing the door.
"T-That was…priceless…!" she managed between quiet giggling.
He tackled the demoness, thus making the two of them land on the couch with a soft thud. Her cheeks were red and sore from laughing so hard but she sobered at the sight of her boyfriend's wicked grin. It almost reminded her of Ioro—
"…ko? Earth to Maiko!"
"Huh?" Saika blinked and the smirk was now replaced with a concerned expression.
Kojiro frowned and leaned in closer to the demoness. "Are you alright? You zoned out there for a bit."
"Y-Yeah, I'm fine." She smiled weakly and then wrapped her arms around his neck. "So, piano room door closed?"
"Yes." He gulped when she pulled him closer.
"Is it child proof?"
"Sorry to say this but it's not…" came a voice from the door. They both turned slowly to see an elderly smile coming from the Hanato siblings' grandfather. He had a knowing smile on his aged face and at least one of the couch occupants were as red as a tomato.
"Uh… H-Hi, grandpa…!"
Needless to say, it wasn't Saika.
After an awkward conversation with grandpa and a tease session from his girlfriend, Kojiro sighed and took refuge in his room. He ran his fingers through his hair and fell back on his head to stare at his ceiling. He was twenty-one and quite proud of it considering his circumstances.
"You alright?" the voice came after the knock at his door.
He chuckled softly. "No 'can I come in'?"
Saika closed the door after entering and sat at the edge of the bed. He didn't budge from his supine state. The demoness sighed. Five years had passed since she had descended from the Otherworld and she had not gotten one inch closer to finishing her mission. Sure, she had gotten close with the Hanato brother, but…
"You're sighing again. What's wrong?" He noted and she pursed her lips slightly. "And you're beginning to pout. That means I'm right."
"Has anyone told you that you're annoyingly perceptive?"
"Annoying? Yes. Perceptive? Why thank you!" he grinned and propped himself up with his elbows. "Tell me about it."
"I wish it were that simple." Saika sighed.
"Then make it simple. I'm perceptive remember?" he tried making the conversation light but she couldn't bring herself to boil it down.
How could she tell him that the past five years were a lie?
How could she tell him that she was supposed to 'erase' his little sister?
How could she tell him that she loved him enough to risk their lives just to be with him?
Just how far would her selfishness go, she wondered.
"You know…that I love you, right?" she began quietly and looked down at her lap. Kojiro nodded silently, encouraging her like she did years ago. "What if I told you that when I first met you, it wasn't by coincidence?" Kojiro tilted his head. Saika bit her bottom lip and conceded defeat. "…never mind."
"Oh c'mon," he whined childishly and she forced a playful smile while poking him in the chest.
"See? A kid to the core."
"…Just because I'm a kid doesn't mean I don't know when someone's hiding something."
Saika's blue eyes widened in shock and she was faced with his serious brown ones. They were the ones rarely anyone saw. Even the demoness had only seen it less than a handful of times. They weren't suspicious, nor did they hold feelings of ill will, but they were analyzing her thoroughly and it took her off guard. She quickly recovered and raised a skeptical brow.
"Hiding? Kojiro, what could I possibly hide from your?"
He sighed and took her hands in his. "I've been meaning to ask you for a while…" Kojiro furrowed his brows and stared down at her hands. "There's another guy, isn't there?" Despite its structure, his tone was matter-of-factly. Her jaw dropped slightly in hurt shock and he corrected himself quickly. "Don't get me wrong—I trust you, Mai. I know you haven't been seeing anyone these past five years."
The demoness frowned and squeezed his hand softly. "If you trust me, then why are you so worried?" She averted her eyes and looked away as if she was bashful. "I'll admit… There was someone before." Her mind was reminded of the Otherworld lord that she tried so hard to impress. She didn't notice that her hold on Kojiro's hands tightened. "But it's not like that anymore. Don't you believe me?"
"If it's not like that anymore then why is it that whenever you say you love me, your eyes say otherwise? They're always focused on something else now." There was a pained expression in his face and Saika fought against every instinct—every shred of conscience left in her—that told her to just tell him everything.
"Kojiro, it's nothing." She tried to reassure him and forced a smile. "I—"
"Don't," he interrupted and withdrew his hands, unable to see her genuinely conflicted expression because he got up from the bed and made his way to the door. He paused when his hand touched the cold doorknob. Slowly he turned around to face her and a sad smile was on his kind features. "I'll see you downstairs later, kay?"
The human left the demoness alone in the room while she stared blankly at the spot he just stood.
The cheers and claps of the Hanato circle of friends and family sounded deafening in her ears. She had put up a strong front—smiling and joining in on the festivities—but she was elsewhere mentally. Kojiro must have realized this too and frowned whenever she refused to maintain eye contact longer than what was deemed necessary. Even Kobato's incessant nudging and large eyes couldn't distract him from the empty space beside him.
At last when the party was over and clean up had begun, he had cornered her in the study. Saika smiled weakly. "Kojiro—"
"I'm sorry." He cut her off and rubbed his temple. She stared at him in confusion and curiosity. "I shouldn't have said those things."
The demonesss's lips thinned momentarily before she gave up and sat down on a couch in the room. "No, it's my fault. Your assumptions were well founded. I'm not surprised that you were mad at me."
"But I'm not mad!" he near shouted and took the seat next to her. Kojiro heaved a deep sigh and folded his hands. "It's just… You're leaving me on edge. I can't tell what you're thinking anymore. I can't understand what you're trying to hide or why." Saika could see the tips of his ears turn red. "I'm just worried about you…"
"…that's what got you so worked up?" she asked with a soft laugh. He straightened himself up and turned to her with an incredulous look. His face was a light tint of red and his bottom lip formed into a pout.
"This is where the girlfriend is supposed to say 'You don't have to worry'!"
"I tried that. Look what happened earlier! You bailed on me! Besides, it's crazy. It's the craziest thing that can't possibly be taken seriously!" Saika laughed again and then leaned her head on his shoulder. "…if I told you, then you wouldn't want to be with me anymore. You would regret meeting me all those years ago."
Kojiro chuckled. The sound reverberated through her like a warm drink on a Christmas morning—a human act that she was grateful to experience. "If there's anything I don't do, it's regret, Mai. So c'mon…tell me." He gently rubbed her arm comfortingly and she exhaled.
"What would you do…if I told you that you could have been born completely healthy?"
He began to laugh again but this time it brought no comfort to the demoness. "Well of course that's possible. But I guess I'd rather it be me than—"
"No, you definitely would have been born healthy." Saika shook her head and looked him straight in the eye. "You would have lived a normal life. You could run around freely, climb trees and even continue school like a normal human." She paused. "But…your sister was born."
"Kobato…? What does she have anything to do with this?" at the mention of his sister; especially in this type of conversation, he grew somewhat anxious.
Saika took a shaky breath. "In a world not too different from this one, a human soul descended to earth and was sent to heal the hearts of others in order to have their wish granted. Her soul had a time limit of four seasons." Her blue eyes then averted his gaze again. "Unfortunately she was unable to complete her task and disappeared."
Kojiro frowned. "So what does this have to do with me?"
"…during her year stay, she was given one important rule. She is not allowed to fall in love with a person whose heart she had healed." The demoness looked at her hands for a while. It was as if the words she was looking for would appear in them. "The reason behind that rule is so that situations like these never occur. Those feelings between her and the person most important to her created some sort of 'abnormality.' His deepest wish was to see her one last time. That—among other things, was what made it possible for her to be reborn into this world. However one ripple leads to another."
"So what you're saying is," Kojiro began slowly. "I was never supposed to have a sister?" his matter-of-fact tone never ceased to amaze Saika. "I could have been born healthy and without a care in the world?"
"Well that's a relief then." A sharp gasp came from Saika and she stared at the human boy with a bewildered expression. He met it with a warm smile. "I mean, being an only child is kind of gloomy, don't you think?"
"Don't you get it?" she snapped. "You could have lived a normal human life! Your lifespan wouldn't be this short!" The demoness bit her bottom lip. "Aren't you supposed to be scared of dying?" Before he could reply she brought her head to her hands in frustration. "Why? Why did you have to be the one affected by her birth the most?"
"C'mon, you don't know that! For all we know I could have been a monkey in another life." He tried to make this info session light but she scoffed.
"With your climbing ability that's highly unlikely…"
He cupped her cheeks with his hands and lightly pressed his forehead to hers. "Exactly. We don't know what could have happened. And even if I could have been born completely healthy, the fact remains I'm gonna die one day. Probably far sooner than you would considering what you've been saying."
"Ah," he grinned. "Perceptive remember?"
"Annoyingly so," she grumbled but allowed the corner of her lips to curve upwards. Saika closed her eyes and took his hands in hers. "Why aren't you mad at me?"
"Why would I be?"
"I've been lying to you this whole time. I used you to get closer to Kobato-chan!" She cried out and bit her bottom lip. "
The only reason why Kobato-chan is still alive is because I can't bring myself to finish this job." Kojiro simply smiled at her, which in turn fueled her irritation. "Kojiro—"
"It's alright, Mai. And I don't regret it, y'know. Meeting you. What matters is that you haven't done anything to hurt us since you met us—me." He cupped her cheeks now and wiped away stubborn tears that escaped her notice. "I don't know what you're going to do and I'm not going to force you to make a decision that will endanger you…" He chuckled and she caught a self-depreciating tone within it. "Hah… What kind of 'loving brother' am I? I should be begging you not to hurt my sister, or swear that if you laid a finger on her I'd kill you."
Saika laughed as well. "Haha. Well, even if you did I can still kick your ass." The two of them shared the moment of happiness while silently agreeing on one thing.
One day at a time. They could deal with it all the complicated stuff later.
A tall figure was leaning against the metal frame of the swing set, arms folded in a lazy fashion. He looked up to the sound of footsteps to see Saika clad in her usual black dress. He eyed an intricate white sash around her waist that had designs so similar to those beings of heaven. That was new… It stood out against her clothing and tanned complexion. She greeted him with a small nod and proceeded to sit down on the seat of the swing. Her bare feet skimmed the soft dirt.
"Have you decided?" Ioryogi asked. Saika simply looked up to the midnight blue sky. One hand released its hold on the chains and reached up as if to cup the waning moon.
"Do you know why the moon disappears every month?"
He let out a disinterested grunt.
"Long ago, two people met and became lovers. However, their families deemed them unworthy of each other and forced them into an arranged marriage." Saika continued to stare at the moon. "Despite this, the two continued to meet—be it in the morning or at night. Until one day, the wife of the man became jealous and killed his lover." Her hands gently played with the edges of the white cloth around her waist. "With her dying breath, she told him to forgive his wife and that she loved him. The gods above took pity on her and—instead of going to heaven, made her goddess of the moon. Unable to handle her disappearance, he instead cursed his wife and killed her before killing himself to be with his lover. Angry yet still moved by his lover's strong feelings, they made him god of the sun. The two would always know of the other's existence but could never touch nor whisper words of love to one another. It was his punishment and her fate." Saika then played with the ring on her finger with an unexplainable look on her face. "However the gods occasionally turn a blind eye to their watch and she sneaks away to him. Hence, the moon disappears."
"And what became of the other man?" Ioryogi inserted, mildly surprising the demoness. She finally turned to him and chuckled.
"It never talks about him after that. Some say he moved on while others say he was the one who killed the man. Either way, his role was unimportant." She sighed and got off the swing. "He wasn't able to save the woman he loved, nor was he able to beg the gods to change their inescapable fate."
He took the konpeito out of his pocket and offered it to her. "Maybe this can change things." Saika examined the piece of sugar with a hard stare.
"It's becoming unstable. At this rate it's gonna disappear without being used." She put it up to the light and saw that a large crack was starting to get closer to the center. "And when that happens…"
"Kobato is gonna die again." He finished with a low growl in his tone. "That damn Fujimoto. He still can't decide between the two of them."
The demoness handed the konpeito back. "I'll give into your request this one time and help, Iorogi-sama," she grinned at his annoyed 'tch' at the title. "Is it alright…if I get something off my chest?"
He laughed half-heartedly. "What? Got a love confession or something?"
"Yeah, got a problem with that?" The crickets suddenly became deafening in the night as Saika swallowed.
"Ah, that felt better!" she interrupted him and stretched in an exaggerated manner. "I've been holding that in for god knows how long!"
"Don't get me wrong. I don't feel that way about you anymore. Your plushy phase was a total turn off," she wrinkled her nose in distaste. He didn't let up his look. "Yes?"
"…I'm not gonna say sorry but... Thanks…" He mumbled and her jaw dropped.
"Did I just hear THE Iorogi say thank you?" she laughed and rubbed a tear away from her eye. "Anyway why are you sayin' thanks? It makes me feel like the good guy here! I'm still here to make your life miserable for those years of skipping out on work that I had to end up doing!"
"Oi, shut up," he warned and she could have sworn she saw familiar flames in his dark eyes. Dealing with his mood after made her wonder how Genko does it. "You know what I'm talking about, Saika." He answered her question. She bit her tongue. It was true. Too many times in the past Saika saw long brown hair instead of black and amber in the place of blue when she stared into his eyes. She saw white, almost transparent wings instead of leathery ones as dark as night. So many times she questioned whether or not she wanted to kill him for his ignorance or to chain him up and keep him all for herself—to force him to look at her and only at her. Not her look-alike…
"I don't regret it, y'know."
'Funny. It took me this long to realize I don't either,' she thought and smiled sheepishly. Saika untied the sash around her waist before handing it to him. "This was supposed to be for you."
"Eh? What the hell is this?" he raised a brow at the white and gold cloth. After a few seconds, the feeling of the fabric and lingering presence on the sash brought a shocked look on his face. He turned to Saika. "How did you get this?"
"Suishou would have wanted you to have that." She said with a voice above a whisper. Saika turned to leave but he stopped her.
"Kojiro must have been one hell of a guy. I'll be sure to give in a good word for you up top, Saika." Saika could imagine him smirking. "Who knows? Maybe the moon doesn't have to wait anymore."
Instead of answering, she left the park, unable to hold in her grateful sob any longer.
The number you are calling is not available. To page—
"Damn it!" I cursed and slammed the phone down clumsily in its machine. My fingers rubbed my temples and I groaned. Maybe I'm overreacting. It's only been a day since she dropped off that package… She just hasn't decided to return any of my calls.
…Maybe one more time.
Yeah, maybe she was in the shower, or sleeping, or—or outside gardening. While my mind was going into overdrive my hands were already at work picking up the phone and dialing a number they memorized muscle by muscle.
"That's the eighth time you've tried today, Fujimoto-kun," said a voice from the door. My fingers froze on the dial and I matched gazes with my assistant. Despite her even tone, her eyes held a concern that I had once seen (And occasionally still saw) in Sayaka's and Chitose-san's eyes. Haruka sat down across from me and reached over the desk and let her fingers brush against mine in a surprisingly friendly manner. "Wanna talk about it?"
I thought about it for a moment and let out a resigned sigh. My hands relinquished its death grip on the phone and I ran my fingers through my hair. When I looked at her again she stared at me expectantly and I coughed awkwardly. Like hell I knew how to explain the core of my stress…
Haruka tapped her finger on her lip in thought. "This is…about a girl?"
I slowly nodded. A large part of me could not believe that I was actually going to have this kind of conversation in my life. But hey, at this point I'm desperate. That 'Ioryogi' punk hasn't contacted me yet and Hanato still isn't picking up her phone. Is she ignoring me again?
"What, did she dump you or something?" Haruka's eyebrow rose and her lips formed an interested pout. Already I was beginning to regret this decision.
"…No. We're not together." I answered carefully—fully aware of how the female species can over-exaggerate events or gossip. "We're just…"
"You're the one I care about the most, Fujimoto-san!"
…What were we?
Were we friends? Acquaintances? I must have known her for perhaps two months now but we've never verbally agreed on the ground we stood on. Was that what people normally did?
"Aw, that's what all men say when they don't wanna get in too deep." She said and my eyes widened. Her lips formed a cat-like grin and I felt my cheeks heat up. "You liiiiiike her, don't you, Fujimoto-kun?"
"Fujimoto-kun, I told you to call me Haruka. Although I'm your assistant, right now I'm a friend. Alright?" Haruka stared at me seriously and I gave up. She was like the nosy aunt I never had. I guess that doesn't sound so bad…
"…thanks." I allowed a smile and she got up from her seat.
"I don't think there are new cases today, so you can wrap up early. Just put the files away and make sure you have the court cases I gave you last week in your drawer." Haruka winked. "Now, since I was so nice it's time for me to charge you for my service."
I raised a brow skeptically. "Yes, Haruka-san?"
"Instead of calling her, go take a personal day and see her." My assistant shook her head as if that was the most obvious thing to say. "Seriously, seeing you attempt to call a girl is almost painful."
Forget resting at home. Right after work I jumped on the next train and rushed over to her house. The sun was setting, casting hues of red and orange over the trees. I didn't even know what I was going to say to her but something in my gut told me I had to see her. My legs dragged me up the hill while I proceeded to call her from my cell.
"Hanato?" I answered quickly and a bit louder than I intended. I paused to collect myself. "Are you alright? You haven't been answering your phone."
"Fujimoto-san, what happened? You sound so worried." she asked curiously on the other side of the phone and I felt my cheeks redden ever so slightly.
"And? Your point?" I covered up my embarrassment with what I thought was my uncaring tone.
"I'm sorry," she spoke softly and I sighed heavily.
"Why are you apologizing? You haven't done anything wrong." Hanato didn't say a word for a few seconds and I furrowed my brows. "I'm outside right now."
"O-Oh, really?" she sounded surprised but I heard the slightest tremor in her voice. I can confidently assume that she understood my intention. "I'm sorry; I can't make it to the door right now."
"So…you're home but you can't get the door…" I replayed slowly.
"Kobato-chan, get back in bed." I heard another voice. It sounded muffled on the phone but I could just make out a male tone.
"Hanato?" I called for her when she didn't say anything for a few seconds.
"Ah, maybe you should call back another time, man." The voice said. "Kobato needs to rest a bit."
The voice suddenly became clear to me since he picked up the phone himself. "What's wrong?"
"Look, nothing to worry about alright? Call back tomorrow and—"
"…Fine. I'll open the door, Fujimoto. You're not gonna like what you hear though."
The long awaited chapter is here! Sorry it's so late. I was having a war with myself on how to end this and how to get there—the latter being the hardest part now, XD. So, right now it's sounds like a storm is brewing…hmmm…this doesn't bode well, does it? Sorry if my writing is a little all over the place. I'm outta sync with Yorokobi.
Currently it is 1:44AM on my side. You gotta applaud that. I could have waited for a better time. XD, god I love you guys.