Author note: I do not own Yakitate! Japan. Nor do I own the song that partially inspired this fic, 'Cry' by Alexx Calise.
Warning: Vomiting, mentioned violence, implied/onesided TsukinoxMeister, implied KuroyanagixMeister, sort of implied SophiexKuroyanagi, mentioned swearing, vomiting, and, um...forcing oneself to eat something terrible? And...spoilers for Yakitate! Japan, specifically in terms of the manga-verse. Finally, this is sort-of AU. It's basically my take on what happened after Azuma beat Meister Kirisaki.
Constructive Criticism would be great, and please read and review! Thanks!
Sitting in front of Tsukino Azusagawa was Meister Kirisaki, his eyes seemingly calm, yet truly full of devastation. The atmosphere of the nearly empty diner was tense, at least for the 28-year-old General Manager of Pantasia.
He couldn't help it. He betrayed Pantasia and went against Azuma. And lost. Sophie was seriously angry when she found out, and actually punched him (yes, punched him) in the face repeatedly; ignoring the fact that he had his titanium mask on. When her knuckles were bleeding completely and she couldn't bring herself to scream and hit her brother anymore, she ran.
Kuroyanagi had followed the 23-year-old, probably to try to help her calm down, and Meister just didn't know what to do. He just stood there, his dented titanium mask dripping with his sister's blood and he was biting his lip to the point of it tearing and bleeding, too.
That was when Tsukino had dragged him aside, and asked him to simply sit down with her for dinner and talk things out.
Tsukino figured that Meister probably didn't have anyone to turn to...not really. Ken Matsushiro had urged Tsukino to talk with him, knowing that the General Manager probably didn't want to talk with Kuroyanagi or Azuma or Kawachi...and definitely not Sophie, so Tsukino was the only one left.
"I...still can't believe I did all of that." He muttered quietly. "Betraying Pantasia...you...everyone else there...I could have destroyed it if Azuma had not beaten me."
"Your father was manipulating you, Meister. You didn't have a choice in that." Tsukino responded, trying to reassure him.
"But I left. I had a choice in that." Meister responded, leaning his head against his hands, both elbows propped up on the table. "Every choice one makes in life has a consequence. Every. Single. Choice. I should have been aware of that."
The two were silent until the server came along, asking if they were ready to make their orders.
Meister just simply ordered omelet rice, but Tsukino was confused with what he whispered into the server's ear after that. The server just nodded and jotted it down on the notebook he held in hand. Tsukino, realizing she didn't know what to order, just told the server that she would have the same as him.
"Are you sure about this, Tsukino?"
"I don't know what to order. Omelet rice isn't that bad, is it?"
"Alright...let's just hope you're prepared for the consequences that follow."
The two were silent again before Tsukino broke the silence.
"Have you...spoken with anyone...in the past while before you got here?"
"Not really..." Meister admitted. "I tried to speak with Sophie earlier, but she wouldn't listen..." he sighed. "Since earlier today...no...probably since weeks ago, I've just been causing a lot of trouble for everyone...being a hindrance. I truly apologize for that." He looked downwards a little bit before he and Tsukino made eye contact briefly. The two looked away from each other a little, unsure of what to say next.
Tsukino noted that even his light blue eyes seemed full of concern and sorrow. Usually, they were completely calm, and completely full of confidence. She remembered the times at the Pantasia Newcomers tournament whenever he came into the room. The ladies would swoon for him, or scream for him to take off his mask, which he never did. He would quietly wave and smile at them, however, and the fans would just scream louder.
Whatever happened today and past few weeks had probably shaken his confidence. His loss to Azuma didn't help, either, and the same went for him losing his father after getting so close to getting him back, and the fact that his own sister was screaming at him and punching him in the face who-knows-how-many times.
The omelet rice was served. The two stared down at their meal on their plates.
Tsukino took a bite...and nearly gagged. The taste was foul. She swore besides eggs, shrimp, and rice, there was maybe some sort of sauce that she didn't know what it was, as well as some chicken, and peppers and such, too...
"I told you, Tsukino..." Meister seemed to give the ghost of a smile as he spoke. "You have to be prepared for the consequences." He then took a bite of his own omelet rice and swallowed. He groaned quietly, putting his head against his left hand temporarily. "This is awful..."
"You don't have to eat it all, Meister-san..." Tsukino trailed off.
"The same goes for you." Meister took another bite of the meal. "I haven't eaten much in days or weeks, Tsukino-chan. If Kuroyanagi knew about this bit of information, he's going to throw a fit, so I might as well eat the whole thing so he won't be as mad."
"No, Meister...I ordered this too, I should eat as much as I can too. It would be rude if we didn't eat any of whatever the chef made for us."
"If you insist..." Meister sighed before he took another bite. "Bon appétit, Madame."
Tsukino observed him quietly as she ate. It was as if he was seriously forcing himself to keep eating, even though he nearly gagged once or twice and started to look sick...as if he was he was fighting something...what if...
What if he was using this opportunity here to punish himself for his deeds, by consuming this entirely disgusting meal?
The two finished their meal quite quickly, and Meister was now holding his head in both hands again.
"Are you okay? Um...I have antacids..." Tsukino fumbled with her purse before putting the little container of pills near him. "You can use these to help with your digestion."
"No...No..." the Meister muttered quietly. "I'll be fine..."
He got up and left the table, heading towards the washroom. Tsukino stood up, looking at him as he went. She didn't know what to do...
Meister staggered into the bathroom stalls, slamming the door closed and locking it. He tore off his mask, throwing it to the ground. He couldn't stand it anymore. He was just feeling so sick of it all...
What was the point of trying to get your family back if you kept falling at every little crack in the ground?
Yellowish-brown vile dribbled out of his mouth and into the toilet bowl. He coughed and hacked out the contents of his stomach, tears streaming down his face. He swore. He screamed. He yelled even more swear words. He even punched the ground once before staring at his bloody knuckles.
He sat back, leaning against the stall door and started weeping, holding his head in both hands.
Meister froze. It couldn't be...
"I know you're in here." He heard a small knock against the stall door. "Just please, talk to me..."
Meister unlocked the door before backing away from it. The door opened slowly, revealing Ryou Kuroyanagi. The raven-haired 22-year-old looked down at him with concern before getting down on both knees so it would be easier for the two to look at each other.
Meister instinctively grabbed for his mask, but couldn't get himself to put it back on his face. He put it down near him, looking downwards as he tried to wipe the tears with the back of his other hand.
The two were silent for a moment before Kuroyanagi spoke up.
"How long have you...kept this hidden? About your family? Have you ever told anyone before all this?" the 22-year-old executive kept his voice low as he spoke.
"...I've only told Matsushiro-san. Before I became General Manager." Meister spoke quietly. "I've kept it hidden from everyone else for who knows how long...because I didn't want anyone trying to sympathize, you know? Otherwise I would be treated too kindly, and that just seems like a hindrance to others, in my opinion." he sighed before continuing. "It just hurts. It's like it's killing me..."
"You don't have to punish yourself for all this."
"I know, but..."
"You can go ahead and cry on me if you want. I won't tell anyone."
The General Manager of Pantasia started sobbing again, wrapping his arms about Kuroyanagi and tears staining the raven-haired man's jacket. Kuroyanagi sighed quietly as he reassuringly embraced the older man. When they finally let go of each other, Kuroyanagi just put a slip of paper into Meister's hand after the General Manager put his mask back on.
"What's this for?" Meister looked confused before he looked at the paper and saw numbers on it.
"Just...give me a call anytime you need it. I'll be there." With that, Kuroyanagi helped the other up and walked out of the bathroom.
Tsukino glanced at the 28-year-old beside her in the limousine back to Pantasia Main building. Meister had fallen asleep, but Tsukino supposed he needed the rest. He looked so tired and it was a long, tiring day, especially for him. The other thing she noticed was that she was holding hands with him. She didn't mind that...okay, okay, it was slightly awkward for her (it wasn't like she had ever really held hands with anyone else like this before), but she figured she could bear it. At least for him...
For the next while, things were going to get tougher and tougher. The paparazzi would probably try to swarm Pantasia and St. Pierre about what happened earlier in the day and Tsukino knew that she and her friends had to get Sophie and her brother on better terms with each other as well.
Things were going to get tough...but as long as everyone was there, they could make it through this mess.