Chapter One: The Departure

The sun descended as I dragged myself down the same old, abandoned road. On my way home I was drenched by the tears of the clouds, every step I took echoed far into the distance disturbing the gentle howls of the wind. It felt like every bone and muscle in my body was desperately trying to drag me down...

This story revolves around seventeen years old Shin Hitomi. A Japanese male born and raised in Hirosaki. Shin Hitomi grew up together with his fraternal twin brother Shun Hitomi under the watchful eyes of their parents. The two brothers always stuck together despite their difference in personality. Shin is stubborn, short-tempered, strong-willed and impulsive. Despite claiming that he doesn't care about what others think of him, he attempts to maintain a "cool image". He's also quite a capable and thoughtful student but his appearance makes him look like a delinquent. Shun is intelligent and quick-witted. He usually seen gently smiling though on a few occasions, he is shown to have quite a fiercely angry personality when pushed too far. He doesn't like to partake in 'unseemly' actions or event, he is usually punctual and lectures Shin on how to behave. He also has a sense of pride and tries his best to stay calm and composed.

When the two brothers find out about their heritage, they both react differently. Shun grasps the situation quite quickly and accepts the fate bestowed upon him, he later takes pride in his heritage. Shin is quite the opposite, he becomes confused and just goes along with it. But the more he finds out about his heritage, the more he seems to negate it. Currently the clan is but a small religious group that lives to honour is predecessors by wearing cultural clothing and such. Shin dislikes this as it directed a lot of negative attention towards him. The two brothers didn't really get many luxuries due to their parents' low wages. Shin and Shun weren't at all introverted yet they were lonely growing up because others stayed away from them because of their heritage. Shin was quite weak as a child and was picked on quite a lot but his brother Shun was proud and always stood up for him.

In high school, the two brothers, for the first time, met someone who was friendly with them despite knowing about their heritage. Her name was Naomi Mizuki. A loyal, patient and hard-working girl who had just been transferred to the same school as Shin and Shun. Those two were the first she met. She's also quite naive since she spent most of her life within the premises of her home tending to her grandmother's garden, therefore she is rather clueless when it comes to typical adolescent experiences.

Towards the final days of high school, Shin decided to move to Europe, England specifically. There he could continue my education in college and then move onto a decent university. That is, without the influence of his heritage. His brother Shun refused to go with Shin and tried to persuade him to stay but decisions were already made.

"Today's the day I finally leave home and live an independent and normal life." I thought to myself. I was in my room packing everything up for the journey when suddenly my twin brother Shun Hitomi entered the room, just so you know we're fraternal twins, not identical.

Shun: So you're finally leaving Shin, you know I never thought you had it in you.

Shin: What are you trying to say?

Shun: Oh nothing, just hurry up. Father is waiting outside for you to pick you up.

Shin: Okay.

Shun: …You'll be gone for a while, won't you?

Shin: Yeah, it's a shame you can't come with me, it would've been a great experience for the both of us.

Shun: I told you this before Shin, I'd love to come with you but if I do who will look after father and mother?

Shin: They can take care of themselves.

Shun: Even so, who's going to carry out our clan's traditions?

At that moment I kinda felt guilty and didn't know how to react so I looked down at my luggage, smiled and said "You're still going on about that, you know you don't have to do this."

Shun: That may be what you think Shin but I will stay loyal to our clan. I don't know why you refuse to do the same but I won't judge you on your decision.

Shin: (Deep breath in) Well that's good. Anyway, good luck with whatever you gotta do.

Shun: You too Shin.

And with that Shun left the room. After packing everything up I also left the room. On my way to the exit I saw my mother waiting for me, I could tell she was barely holding back her tears so I dropped my luggage and wrapped my arms around her to comfort her.

Shin: I'll miss you mother.

Shin's mother: Promise me you'll take good care of yourself Shin.

Shin: I promise.

Shin's mother: And that you'll always give us a call every now and then.

Shin: That too.

Shin's mother: And make sure not to forget about us.

Shin: You know I never will. You're my family.

Shin's mother: Yes we are… I love you Shin.

"I love you too so… you can let go now." I said with a chuckle, my mother took a step backwards and smiled at me. As I then reached for my luggage, my brother Shun came in and helped me carry it to my dad's car. I saw my dad inside the car and caught a glimpse of his face expression, he looked disappointed.

After everything was safely loaded into the car, I waved my mother and Shun goodbye as the car took off. The distance from my house and the airport was quite a distance; I felt a lot of tension in the car. I knew I had to do something, these are probably the last moments I'll have with my father in a long time. As soon as I opened my mouth though, he started speaking.

Shin's father: You disappoint me Shin…

Shin: (Exhale) …

Shin's father: I still do not understand how you reject your own clan, your own pride and then simply leave the country.

At that moment, I instantly knew where this conversation was heading so I tried to slip in a few words and change the subject but ignored me and just continued his lecture.

Shin's father: Look at your brother Shun, he's made it his responsibility to carry on the clan's traditions and the history that our ancestors have left for us.

I realised that it's pointless to let this lecture carry on any longer so I boldly interrupted him and exclaimed "Father! I have already made my decision so there's no point in lecturing me about it; let's just talk about something more positive, okay?"

Shin's father: … (sigh) I see. You're just like your grandfather; once his mind was made up no one could change it.

Shin: (Deep breath in and out)

Shin's father: I'm sorry about that. But still, your mother and I have been taking care of you since you were a child and therefore we do expect something in return.

Shin: ..?

Shin's father: Don't give me that look, you better take care of yourself otherwise you won't be able to pay us back.

Shin: Fine, I promise to take care myself.

Shin's father: (Grins) Hm. You better hold onto that promise.

By then, we finally reached the airport and I exited the car.

Shin's father: Alright, we're here. Hurry up and get all your stuff or you'll miss your flight.

Shin: Okay dad, see ya' soon!

Shin's father: Wait!

Shin: What? Oh... Sorry I forgot. (Walks towards his father)

Shin's father: (Hugs Shin) The path you go now is up to you, and along this path you will come across many difficulties that may burden you. But remember this; a burden is only a burden if you use it as an excuse. (Leaves Shin and takes a step backwards.) Keep your mind clear and your head held high and nothing will stop you.

Shin: …?

Shin's father: It's an old saying that was passed down our clan.

(Intercom Announcer): Flight A12 to Europe departing in thirty minutes.

(Shin looks at the airport then back at his father)

Shin's father: What are you waiting for, that's your flight!

And with that I rushed through the airport's gates, from the inside I waved my dad goodbye too as he drove off. This was the first time I ever entered an airport.

(In the next two paragraphs I'm just showing off my descriptive skills, they aren't related to the story so you can skip them if you like.)

The lounge was brightly lit and tastefully decorated. Huge screens displaying the arrival and departure of flights greeted us at different spots. It was a busy time of the day. There were a large number of people with baggage in tow, some standing in queue before ticket counters, some proceedings towards different numbered gates. There were many children also. We heard voices at short intervals announcing the arrival, departure or delay of flights and at times asking passengers to proceed towards a particular gate for security check.

There were counters of various airlines with smartly dressed men and women who were answering the queries of passengers, weighing their baggage and issuing boarding passes. The gift shops in the airport were well stocked with books, toys, chocolates and knick-knacks. I also came across a florist with large varieties of flowers, a saree shop selling traditional bangles, sarees, and numerous snacks counter.

After I was checked out and everything I headed towards Gate A12 where my plane was waiting to depart, I then proceeded to climb the stairs leading into the aircraft and searched for my seat number.

Within 18 hours, we finally reached England. The aircraft was slowly descending as everyone fastened their seat belts and turned off their electronics. Whilst descending I looked out the window and saw something unusual on one of the many towers surrounding the airport. There was a shady figure in robes on the roof, he/she glanced at me and within the blink of an eye dissapeared.

(That's the end of this chapter, thanks for reading. Please post your comments and opinions below. Also, correct me if necessary. And don't worry about the first paragraph.)