k59: i can't believe i'm starting another multi-chapter, seeing how busy i will be this & next year.. but, well, this idea just stuck in my head & demanded to me to write it.. i'll find time to write this.. for those who have chosen to read this, this will be a very slow progress, i've warned you.. so u'll have to be very patient... well, that settled... enjoy^^~
Prologue – 'That Fated Day'
The moment he opened his eyes, everything was quiet. Too quiet that he was sure even the sound of a needle falling would make a loud voice. Soundlessly, he got to his feet and, ignoring the people who looked like they were frozen with their eyes fixed in the tv screen, slipped out of the room. The corridor was unsurprisingly empty, but he hurried anyway. This point of stand still could be broken any time.
And just as the thought was formed in his mind, the hell broke loose.
He ducked into the closest door in the vicinity and quickly closed it back. Just as he leaned back onto the door, he heard sound footstep from the door behind him. Mixing into the sound was his teacher's frantic calling of his name. His lips formed a small, sad smile.
"I'm sorry, Sayama-sensei. But I can't go. I can't. I just can't. Not when there's a chance to make sure that my suspicion is right. To make sure that…"
His breath hitched and a single sob making its way out from his mouth. He slid down with his back still leaned on the door. Sitting on the floor, he hugged his legs close to his chest, face buried on his knees.
"That my brother is still alive."
He sat there, waiting and fighting down his urge to cry. Only when he finally heard nothing from the door behind him did he started to move.
It was the first thing that came into his mind as he stepped out of the room he had been hiding in. Everywhere he looked, his eyes always met a dull colour of orange. He used to love this colour, the colour when the sun departed from the sky. But now, this only seemed to accent the stillness, made it looked dead and abandoned.
His legs stopped walking as he reached the room the laptop was kept. Wordlessly, he pushed the door opened and made his way to the laptop. He grabbed a similar one from the desk behind it and transferred the stickers to it. The next one to go was the chain and he nodded in satisfaction as he was sure his brother would never know the difference without turning it on.
Hugging the real laptop close to his chest, he slipped back out of the room. It took him a bit of time, but he finally find Ohuchi's desk and reluctantly placed the laptop there.
It seemed… no, felt… wrong.
All of his life, he had always looked up to his brother. To know that his action would probably turned up against his brother…
He shook his head furiously. This was no time to think about this thing. What important now was to make sure that the terrorist did not get his hand on the laptop. If that person really turned up to be his brother, then…
Before he got the chance to finish that thought, he felt his forehead thumped to something solid lightly. Raising his hand to rub his temple – not that it hurt, it was more like a reflex action – he realized with a jolt that his feet had brought him back to the 'laptop room' as he had dubbed it.
Sighing softly, he moved his hand to the door knob and was about to turn it when something caught his attention. The room was no longer empty. He caught glimpse of the person inside just as he pointed his gun to the chain that locked the fake laptop to the table. Tightening his grip on the handle, he pushed the door open as the loud noise shattered the silence, drowning the creak sound when the door opened.
He walked soundlessly in front of the table, eyes staring intently on the figure right in front of him.
He could see the man froze for a moment at the sound of his voice. But instead of soaring, his heart seemed to drop. The man then diverted his eyes to his and his heart break at the familiar brown orbs that gazing their identical copy.
He could not hold back a soft sob that escaped his throat at the familiar voice.
"Why did you do it? It's you, right? Big brother?"
The man said nothing in return, and for a split of a second, he wished that he would deny it. That his suspicion was wrong. That his brother was not the one behind all of those cases. But then the man snorted and he felt his hope crashed ruthlessly to the ground.
He watched pensively as the pulled off his mask and he was greeted with his brother's familiar face. He took a deep breath in hope to relax, eyes still fixed on his brother.
"Why did you do it?"
His brother smiled briefly before sitting on the table behind him. His pose was completely relaxed, acting as if his little brother did not just find out his secret identity. When he finally talked, he had entirely ignored his question. Instead, he asked back.
"Why are you still here? Why did you not escape with everybody else?"
He took a deep breath, feeling very tired suddenly and very much at the verge of crying.
"Because I figured your real target is to get the laptop. You just wanted to empty the police station, right? All that you did, they were for this purpose, right?"
Maybe it was just his imagination, but for a second there, just in a flash, he thought he saw his brother's eyes gleamed with pride. No, it couldn't be. It must have been only his imagination.
"How did you figure it out? Hm?"
"At the Virus Research Centre, you talked in front of the camera there. It was then that I realized it was you."
His brother chuckled and he felt his heart cracked at hearing it.
"Even though I had specially made this mask to disguise myself?"
He watched as his brother threw the mask to the table right in front of him. He felt tears started to gather in his eyes.
"Maybe your face. But your hand was still my brother's."
A look of confusion took place to his brother's face.
He lifted his hand, forming a gesture that his brother had very often showed to him, before lowering it down.
"That hand gesture was yours."
"Ah~! I guess I did that."
He watched warily as his brother casually put his gun back into its holder. With eyes still fixed on the gun, he continued, "It's okay. Everything will be alright."
He lifted his eyes to meet his brother's. "That was what your hand gesture mean. My big brother is not the type to commit suicide, so the possible answer is only one. That capsule must have been a fake."
A ghost of smile touched his brother's lips, but he was too focused on getting his feelings and composure in check to notice this.
"Correct. But everyone got worked out and ran away. Humans really are stupid, right?"
His brother laughed and all he could do was to watch silently, with the crack in his heart getting bigger by each passing second. His lack of response did not go unnoticed by his brother, who looked at him with a blank expression.
"Huh? You don't think it's interesting?"
He could not help the pout that was working its way to his lips. Nor could he help the hurt that filled his voice as he answered, "It was not interesting in the least."
"Ah, really?" His brother had put in a frown here, as if not understanding why his little brother was not laughing along. "But I had been dying to try it. Even though, truthfully, there are other ways for me to get my hands on this laptop."
"I had always thought that my brother was murdered by someone. Do you have any idea how that made me feel? Have you?"
He did not know what had gotten into him for him to yell at his brother like that. But whatever it was, it was still no match to expressionless face that his brother was giving him right now.
"But this was something that I did for you as an older brother. No matter how sad you were, it was still better that knowing your big brother is a robber and murderer."
To say that he was taken aback by his brother's answer was an understatement.
"Hey, hey! Surely you have realized that I need to get rid of people below me in order to live the life that I do now. Ah, by the way, the body that you buried was Hamada, my ex-assistant. He was getting in the way and stole my laptop, so I killed him."
His eyes widened as his brain processed the information given to him.
No. No! It can't be true! His brother can't be a murderer. He just can't!
He turned desperate eyes to his brother, silently pleading for him to say that it was not true. That all that he had been told was a big lie.
"You're a murderer?"
He asked finally. When his brother continued to look at him with that blank expression, the tears that he had valiantly held in bay until now was starting to threaten to spill over.
"That's a lie. It must be!"
A rather hysterical tone had filled his voice by now.
"You were forced, right? Those bad guys, they threatened you and force you to help them, right?"
A smirk was thrown casually his way and his brother slowly picked himself up from his sitting position. When his eyes met his, the junior high student felt a chill down his spine. That look, those eyes, it was as if the kind brother he knew was no longer exist.
"Good and evil. Which one do you think is better? When you think about it for a while, the answer is very obvious. The correct answer… is evil."
He shook his head rapidly, his composure quickly fading.
"That's a lie! It was obvious that the answer is good. Instead of doing bad things for yourself, it is better to do something good for somebody else's sake."
His tears were pooling at his eyes, but he did nothing to wipe it away. Instead, he concentrated all his attention to try to talk his brother out of it. To knock some sense into that brilliant brain of his.
"I've always admired you, you know? The way you took care of me while you still struggling through university. You even made it so far as to be accepted to work in a huge company."
His brother nodded, and in a moment he thought that he did it. But, just as quickly, his hope was crushed again.
"That was just it. I am a scientific person. I can't accept things until I try it myself."
It was his turn to frown now, "Try it?"
This time, his brother really smiled at him, even when there was no warmth in it.
"My left eye. The left eye that I donated to you."
That sentence hit him harder that any punch would ever be. Was that all what he was worth in his brother's eyes? Just an experiment? Just like any other specimen that his brother could try his theory into?
By this point, he had shut down anything that his brother said to him. Tears started flowing down his cheeks. If his brother really thought nothing of him, then there was no point of arguing anymore. He just stood there, seemingly listening, but in reality he just stared blankly at his brother.
He felt empty inside. He felt like someone had just taken a hammer and crushed his heart into pieces. He felt his world crumble around him. He felt nothing mattered anymore.
He let his gaze followed his brother. Eyes staring unblinkingly as his brother picked up the laptop and moved to stand beside him. Finally he was out of his self-depreciating trance enough to make out what his brother was saying.
"By the way, there are only bad things here," his brother gestured for the laptop. "Like bank robberies and terrorist attacks. Such perfect crimes."
His eyes widened once again and when he spoke he could not get his voice above a whisper.
"Please, stop it…"
"Sorry but, I'll continue to carry out the things in this laptop."
He was pleading with his brother, but it seemed like his voice can no longer reach him. It was hopeless. His plea only fell upon deaf ears.
"Will you kill me?"
His brother snickered at his disbelief expression, "Let me tell you." He stared dumbly as his brother pulled out his gun and pointed it at his forehead. "I. Could. Kill. You."
His heart clenched painfully at his brother exclamation. Brown eyes searching for any trace of warmth in that now cold and distant eyes. But he found none. It was as if the brother that he knew was no longer exist, no longer alive. Instead, in front of him, there was this stranger with his brother's face and voice.
Yes, that was it. His brother was dead, at least the brother he knew. He was all alone now. Then, if that was true, what was the point of living?
Nothing. There is nothing I can cling to anymore. I have no one who cares about me. I am all alone. Then, mum, dad, it is alright, right? If I am about to die, wouldn't it be best if I die because of brother's hand?
That was the last straw. His mind flooded with anguish and depressions and he could felt himself giving up. He closed his eyes, tears rolling faster than ever.
"Kill me then."
If he had kept his eyes open, he would have seen his brother's eyes widened in shock. The way his brother's brown orbs searching, just like he had done a few minutes ago, for any sign that said he was no serious. His brother's lips were moving open and close, too shocked to form any coherent thought. He saw nothing of these.
The only thing that he knew right then, was that everything was over. That any second now, he would be joining his parents, would be welcoming the darkness that would embrace him. And darkness did come to him. Just in another form than what he thought.
He felt something hit the back of his neck, just like earlier that day, and winced from the pain. And for the second time in the span on 24 hours, he fell unconscious.
Yumeto stared disbelievingly at the limp form he had caught in his arms, eyes wide with shock. He had not known what to do the moment his brother said to kill him. His mind had shut down and finally, opting to let this matter rest for a while, knocked his brother unconscious.
He slid to the floor, bringing his little brother with him.
This was not supposed to happen. He was supposed to go to police station, take his laptop, and then go away. Simple. But, now that he thought about it, since when did anything had ever been simple with this kid around?
He chuckled humorlessly, pulling his baby brother into his laps, cradling him close. He smiled sadly and ran his thumb over his brother's cheeks to wipe the tears away.
"Why – oh do tell me why – should you so brave, so compassionate, so… you. Why can't you live happily with the money I gave you and accept that I'm gone?"
He had not lied when he said that faking his death was something he did thinking of himself as Ainosuke's older brother, though most of everything else were big lies. With his brother figuring out that he was still alive, all he could do was to convince him that he was evil, hoping that his brother would then backed away.
But no. His baby brother had bravely confronted him, trying to get him back. So he pushed his little brother further away, threatening him and telling him spiteful words. Even threatened to take his life. All of that for nothing.
Ainosuke was still the same boy he knew. Still the same kind-hearted boy, still too curious for his own good. And he had broken him. He had broken his baby brother to the point that his brother completely lost his will to live.
How would he ever fix this?
How could he leave him like this?
Carefully considering his options, he looked around the room and his eyes found the whiteboard hanging on the wall. He did not have the heart to leave his brother. Not when there was a chance that his baby brother might be suicidal, remembering the finality that he had whispered those two words. Steeling his will, he carefully laid his brother down on the floor and walked to it. Satisfied with what he had written for the policemen, he moved back to his brother.
He placed his laptop on his little brother's stomach and rearranged his arms so that his brother was now holding it close to his chest. He then gently moved his own arms to the back of his brother's upper torso and the other the back of his knees. With extra care, he lifted the still form into his arms and started walking out of the building.
Even before he walked pass the door, he could see Noriko waiting impatiently for him beside the car. He could saw her lifting her eyebrow when she noticed his disguise was gone. The eyebrow shot even higher when her eyes landed on the unconscious form in his arms.
He was about to walk down the steps when she stopped him, arms crossed in front of her chest.
"And what do you think you're doing?"
He let his mask slipped back on, letting no emotion showed on his face.
"Ainosuke knows. He figured out my disguise. And I think it was too risky to let him roam about freely."
Noriko narrowed her eyes at that, but said nothing. Wordlessly, she walked pass him and into the building. He sighed heavily and gestured for the driver to help him open the back door. He slipped inside the room and positioned his brother so that his head was resting on his laps comfortably.
When he was done, he looked out of the car, only to be met with suspicious gaze that Noriko was giving him. She was gripping his mask with her hand. Her lips were pressed into a thin line and for a moment he thought she was going to question him. But to his relief, she merely closed the back door and took a seat at the front seat. Not a moment later, the car started zooming through the empty street.
Sighing in relief, he focused his attention back to the person lying on his laps. He put a hand on his brother's forehead, grimacing as he remembered the resigned expression his brother had given him.
He did not know what to do with his brother right now. But he did know one thing for sure. He was not going to let his brother out of his watch.
For a very long time.