By Tsukisamu Sayako
It was nothing, shouldn't even be a concern really, but nothing Mamoru did could get rid of this sadness that lingered in the back of his mind, this malaise that pressed on his heart.
He never should have come out for a walk.
He was 27 years old! Hadn't he found peace already? Hadn't he come to terms with the knowledge that he had no father to celebrate Father's Day with? Or the fact that his father had cruelly abandoned him after raising him for seven fucking years? What kind of father does that anyway!
Everywhere he passed were advertisements for Father's Day, even the convenience store that he occasionally made his purchases from had a cardboard sign in the window reminding passersby of the upcoming "holiday". Except it really isn't a holiday now, is it. No one takes Father's Day off, just like no one ever takes Mother's Day off. Both of those holidays fall on Sunday!
A sardonic smile appeared on his face, coming to the realization that he was bothered by celebrating Father's Day more than celebrating Mother's Day. Then again, he thought it wasn't that big of a surprise when he had never really remembered his own mother, a woman named Kikuno who had committed suicide when he was only four.
He never bothered investigating the circumstances leading up to her suicide, even now.
The cheery ring tone of his cell phone went unheard in the din of Tokyo traffic, but he felt the vibrations in his breast pocket. He quickly pulled the small flip phone out and winced at the caller ID. Taking a deep breath, he answered the phone.
"Where have you been?" a woman's voice came through shrilly, reflecting the worry within her voice.
"Sorry, Aya," Mamoru answered, "I went for a walk after work."
"Bad day, huh?" Aya asked, quieter before, but still loud enough for him to hear.
"I'll tell you about it when I'm home."
"Don't take too long," his wife of five years added in concern.
"I won't," Mamoru smiled. They didn't share parting words, knowing they would see each other again shortly.
A black sedan pulled up next to where Mamoru stood and a pale-haired woman quickly stepped out from the back and held the door open for her employer.
"Persia-sama," she greeted tersely.
"Thank you, Rex," he replied gratefully, getting into the car that had always been nearby, just as the tens of operatives and security details in street clothes have been the moment he stepped out of the Japanese Capitol building.
His secretary got into the car after him and the car began its journey back to the Takatori estate on the outskirts of Yokohama near Yokosuka.
He looked out the window with his pale blue eyes, not really seeing the scenery pass by. He knew that Rex was watching him carefully; Manx had drilled that requirement into her successor before she left to head up the London branch for Kritiker. He also knew that the taller woman won't tempt to inquire what was wrong until they were on the expressway.
"I'm fine, Rex," Mamoru broke the wordless silence, keeping his eyes directed to the outside. "Just thinking, that's all."
"May I ask what about, Persia-sama?" she asked quietly.
Instead of answering her question, he simply turned towards her and smiled, silently telling her that it was a personal matter.
The smile fell off of his face as he turned back to look out, realizing why he was feeling this way now.
There was a fear within himself that he might end up like his father, letting his ambition take precedent over family. He couldn't imagine how Ran would react in the future if he had turned into his father. He winced at the unsavory thoughts. Was it possible that history repeats itself in his family and Aya committed suicide?
If that happened, would he actively seek out Ran to let the fiery-haired man kill him?
The car pulled onto the expressway and sped quickly past the slower traffic.
"Manx-san sent a letter," Rex said softly. Mamoru looked at her with confusion, waiting for her to either explain further or to hand him the letter.
"It was sent to your house, Persia-sama," she explained. Now he was really intrigued.
He hadn't informed Manx about his relocation from his studio apartment in one of the many high-rises in the Shinjuku area. Nor had he told her about his marriage to one Fujimiya Aya, knowing perfectly well that his "mother" would have questioned his decision to marry the baby sister of his former teammate, especially since she knew more about Kritiker than the average civilian while not officially a member of the secret organization.
He didn't doubt that Manx had the means to obtain such classified information, considering the fact that she had served as interim Persia after his uncle's death and the man who came before him; the same man who had ordered the death of General Norman Powelle, the same man who regretted that Kritiker hadn't been able to save Akira.
Still, he wondered why Manx had sent mail directly to the estate instead of the mailbox for Kritiker's shell company. Was it of such personal note that must be delivered directly to him?
The rest of the way was filled with silence.
When they arrived at the Takatori estate, Aya was already standing at the front doors. Two servants, the butler and Aya's own personal nurse, stood behind her silently, carefully observing their mistress in case she required their assistance.
Mamoru frowned at his wife's stubbornness. The doctors had recommended rest for the woman ever since the birth of their second child, but she never took their advice to heart.
Not bothering to wait for Rex to open the door for him, Mamoru quickly got out of the car and went to his recovering wife.
"Silly Aya," he murmured worriedly, supporting the woman as he led her back toward the traditional house.
"I'm fine, Omi," she laughed. "Honestly. I've never felt any better." Mamoru stared at her skeptically. "Honestly!"
The blue-eyed man only chuckled softly, letting go of his wife to allow her the freedom to move without assistance. True to her word, she didn't seem at all weak compared to before.
The couple walked around the house to reach the nursery, where their four years old son sat at a large table with his nanny playing with him. Their daughter, barely three months old, slept quietly in her cradle next to the old woman.
"Papa!" the boy exclaimed happily upon seeing his parents in the courtyard. He quickly abandoned the Diplo project he had been playing with and ran to his beloved father.
"Hikaru!" his nanny scolded at the boy's decision to forgo his shoes to get to his dad faster.
"It's alright, Chihiro-san," smiled Mamoru as he picked his son up. "What have you done today, Hikaru?"
"I helped mom pick out flowers!" the young child answered with a toothy grin. "And, and!" he continued before wiggling in his father's hold. Mamoru quickly let go of his son, following the child over to the project he had abandoned briefly. "Look at what I made!"
Mamoru accepted the object that had been thrust into his hand with a smile. The figure made out of colorful blocks looked nothing like him, not with the varicolored clothes the boy had haphazardly put together with the blocks, or the black hair on the top of the figure. But Mamoru knew it was him, considering the fact that the boy had formed a white cross symbol down the torso of the block figure, an innocent reminder of his morbid past.
Aya took the block figure from his with a look of worry in her eyes even as she handed the figure back to her son with a smile. She knew where Hikaru had gotten the symbol from, the large white cross that was nailed to one wall in her husband's study. But what was more important was the meaning of the relic, considering that neither she nor Mamoru were of the Christian faith. The presence of the cross was instead, a reminder of the purpose of Kritiker, to fight in the everlasting war against corruption and evil.
"Okay, Hikaru," Aya said, patting her son on the head. "Papa and Mama have some work to do. Be a good boy for Chihiro-san now, okay?"
"Okay!" grinned the boy before he returned to the table.
"Takatori-sama, Aya-dono," the old woman bowed briefly.
The couple continued further towards the back where Mamoru's study was next to the rock garden. The blue-eyed man went directly to his desk, where a Manila envelope sat in front of his chair. While he scrutinized the exterior of the letter from Manx, Aya quietly requested the butler for green tea and rice crackers before she slid the shoji door close.
"Why did Kitada-sensei send this directly here?" she asked quietly, searching Mamoru's face for his reaction.
"I don't know, Aya," the man answered truthfully. He swallowed down a lump of discomfort and reached for the letter opener, hesitating as he placed the silver blade underneath the orange beige paper.
Before the purple-haired woman even voiced her encouragement, Mamoru quickly slid the knife across, cutting through the paper with a loud rip. He set the blade down and pulled the thick sheets of paper out, silently noting the distinct texture of stationery paper.
There were only three sheets of paper, but a familiar sepia photo caught his attention first—the family photo of the entire Takatori family that had been taken a few weeks before his mother's suicide. His father and uncle stood next to each other with smiles on their faces, neither one showing the conflict of beliefs that ultimately led to their deaths.
His fingers brushed over his mother's face gently, as though he could reach through time to have at least one tactile memory of his mother. He could imagine the pride she showed in her beaming smile and sparkling eyes, proud of her sons. If he tried hard enough, he could hear the lilting laughter that echoed through the old Takatori estate near Chiba.
Aya had picked up the letter penned in Manx's elegant handwriting and scanned over the words with interest. A soft gasp from her caught Mamoru's attention and he looked up to see his wife blinking deliberately at the letter.
"Aya, what is it?" he asked, brows furrowed in concern.
She said nothing, only handing the letter over to him to place the final two pieces of paper side-by-side while Mamoru read.
His expert eyes quickly scanned over the script before landing on the single sentence that told him everything.
The DNA results proved that Takatori Reiji was not your father.
Mamoru had to blink twice and reread the same sentence before he continued down the letter.
He was right; you are the son of Takatori Shuichi, not Takatori Reiji.
He didn't bother reading the rest of the letter, looking down on the table where Aya had placed the DNA tests. When he couldn't focus on the results, he looked over to Aya, who had tears in her eyes.
It was all that he needed.
He stood in front of the simple grave for Takatori Shuichi silently, looking down with sadness and nostalgia. A single flower sat withering on top of the granite marker, the telltale sign that Birman had been there not more than a week prior. Compared to that lone white lily, his bouquet of white bellflowers, orange marigolds, yellow and white chrysanthemums, and black roses seemed gaudy and disingenuous. Yet, it was the most appropriate thing he could bring to his father's grave.
After all, he had started his vigilante career with the flower shop as a cover.
"Father," Mamoru started, stopping when his throat suddenly became dry; no amount of words could possibly describe his feelings at the discovery. He felt relieved that he was not the son of a tyrannical man, but the son of a righteous man. But simultaneously, he felt angry at his own father, the same man who had raised him up to be a killer—a killer of evil men, but a killer nonetheless. What kind of a father would raise their own kid to become a killing machine?
Still, he couldn't fault the dead for not knowing they were related closer than they had originally thought. According to Manx, his father hadn't known until he confronted his older brother on the day of his death. He had no reason to doubt her words, especially since she didn't know until then as well.
"Happy Father's Day," he said with a hollow laugh, one that would surely cause Shuichi to grimace if he were still alive to this day. "I dropped by the Koneko to get you this." He knelt down and placed the bouquet of flowers at the foot of the grave marker. "And no, I didn't give away my identity to the fifth generation."
He remained kneeling in front of his father's grave silently, his fingers brushing over the etched lettering that was beginning to erode from the weathering over the last nine years. There was nothing he could say to make the dead answer, nothing that could quell this torrent of emotions within his heart.
His eyes blurred and before he knew it, tears were falling from his eyes. In the empty cemetery, he allowed his emotions to run unchecked. His bowed head only helped to hide the tears should another person grace their presence.
The sound of grass crunching under feet came behind him and Mamoru quickly pulled out a handkerchief from his suit jacket, wiping away the traces of his tears. A wooden bucket with memorial flowers and incense was gently set down to the right of him before Aya knelt down, her hands pressed together palm-to-palm in traditional prayer.
The fear that had plagued him ever since his wedding day was suddenly erased. There was no bleak future without his wife, his children, his "extended" family that was Weiβ and Kritiker. His father's legacy shall remain intact with Kritiker, as will his.
When the couple left the silent graveyard, the head of Kritiker was at peace. He smiled at his wife, who smiled back brilliantly. The ghost of his heritage no longer hung over him like a dark cloud. He was finally free from the shackles of his family's tainted past.
He could finally be the father Aya knew was in him, without fear of corrupting his own children like Takatori Reiji had with his sons.
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies. I only own this fanfic.
A/N: Oh gosh, I haven't written a WK fanfic in such a long time, but I felt compelled to write when I was mulling over Father's Day. This is probably going to be my only work for WK right now unless I get another idea that would fit the WK characters better. I had intended to publish this earlier, but never got around to actually doing it, blah.
I deliberately ignored what happened in the drama CDs to make this work, and I couldn't help but pair Omi and Aya-chan up, haha.
Of the four flowers presented, only three have any real meaning in terms of "language of flowers". White lily symbolizes purity of a departed soul; marigold represents grief; and bellflower means "thinking of you". Chrysanthemums are often used in oriental flower bouquets for the dead, so their Victorian meaning doesn't apply.
Thank you for reading this short piece. Until next time, this is Tsukisamu Sayako out.