I sat in front of the TV, my red hair pulled back into a loose ponytail. The leather couch in the theater manager's room squeaked as I shifted myself, trying to wake my tingling leg back up. The newscaster was reporting about the hunt for Takizawa.
Akira Takizawa had come into my life a year prior with nothing but a gun and a cell phone—literally—standing in front of the White House. I later learned that he'd lost his memories, and was pulled into an action adventure to find them, while figuring out who and what the Selecao were. Takizawa somehow managed to save Japan not only once, but three times. The third time, he'd left me, promising to come back. He only had one more thing to do. Too bad he ran off with my heart in tow…the jerk.
Six months later, we still hadn't heard from him. Waiting for him was tough, but not unbearable. I held up okay. I moved into Takizawa's shopping mall with all of the other NEETs and was working in a retail store, waiting for Eden of the East to be able to start up again. Getting tagged as a terrorist site is kind of bad for business.
"The whereabouts of terrorist Akira Takizawa have been confirmed, and the building is surrounded." The reporter's voice ripped me from my wandering thoughts. They'd found him? Impossible. I stared at the screen intently, and literally jumped from my seat when a familiar mop of black hair caught my eye. There he was, in his green jacket and blue jeans, standing on top of a factory building. What was he doing? I thought the whole point of hiding was not being found. It must have been one of his tricks.
The camera zoomed in on his smiling face and he waved. I had to stop myself from waving back. He just had that effect on me. A small smile spread across my lips, and we shared a moment, right there. I have no idea how, but we did. What the reporter said next made my smile drop right off my face.
"Akira Takizawa has just announced that there are bombs inside the building, and he intends to detonate them if anyone tries to enter." He was lying. He had to be. I reached into my pocket and pulled out his Noblesse phone, reassuring myself that it was still there. I squeezed it as my anxiety increased.
The police must have suspected the same thing I did, because they inched closer to the door of the building.
Guess they called your bluff, Takizawa. How are you going to get out of this one? I thought, squeezing the phone tighter. Suddenly, all of the officers turned tail and ran. Everyone was confused, even the newscaster. There was a lot of chatter as people tried to speculate why they would do such a thing when suddenly the first floor of the building exploded, causing the rest of it to crumble. My heart dropped into my stomach, but I quickly picked it back up, telling myself not to doubt Takizawa. He had to have gotten out of there. He'd promised to come back to me. He'd promised.
The next two hours were hell. Paramedics searched through the rubble, and with every passing minute that no bodies were found, my heart soared a little higher. If they didn't find his body, it meant that he'd escaped with his life. I walked over to the little kitchen addition in the room and was pouring myself a glass of water when I heard it:
"A body has been recovered. I repeat—a body has been recovered. We're still waiting on identification…oh, this just in. The body has been identified. It is, in fact, Akira Takizawa. Again—the body from the building is Akira Takizawa."
I dropped both the glass and the phone. I bent down and picked up the plastic glass out of pure habit before I stumbled over to the television to turn it off. Then—and only then—did I allow myself to collapse. He was gone. Takizawa, the man who saved me—the man I loved—was gone. Just like that.
No. He couldn't be dead. I wouldn't believe it. There had to be some explanation…
A small sound came from the other side of the couch, and I dived for my phone.
"Takizawa?" I answered frantically. Tears finally began to well up in my eyes. The person on the other end of the phone paused before sighing.
"No, Saki. It's me, Hirasawa. Have you been watching the news?" His voice was so calm—I tried to model mine after his.
"Yes," I confirmed, my voice cracking. No, I had to keep it together.
"And have you heard from Takizawa?"
"…no." I could feel the tears spilling over now. My breath hitched in my throat.
"So this is really happening, then," Hirasawa sighed. "Saki…I'm so sorry."
No… I thought. Don't say that. You aren't supposed to say that. You're supposed to tell me that everything will be fine…that it was just a trick. You're not supposed to believe it. Was this a scene from a movie? Maybe it's a clue… But I couldn't think of a single movie where anyone faked their own death by blowing up a factory. Then again, I hadn't seen very many movies.
"Saki, are you still there?" Hirasawa spoke up, concerned. I cleared my throat, trying to get control of myself.
"Yes, I'm still here. Listen, I'll talk to you later, okay Hirasawa? It's—uh—it's getting late. And I'm very tired."
"I understand. Good night, Saki."
"Good night." I dropped my phone, falling to my knees. So it really was true…he really was gone...
I tried my best for the next two months to grieve in private. I continued on with my life. I still went to work, came home, ate, slept. Sis tried to drag me and Micchon out a couple of times, but it just wasn't any fun. I didn't feel like dancing, and any time a man hit on me, I almost felt like I was cheating on Takizawa. Eventually, I just started rejecting the offers.
Then, Osugi started trying to get me out of my house. He called every day, asking me to go to dinner, go get ice cream, or—the one that hurt the most—go to a movie. I started to just stay away from the phone when he called.
I had taken to watching movies from Takizawa's personal shelf in my free time. So far, I'd seen Dumbo, three of the Bourne movies, Scarface, and—my personal favorite—Kate and Leopold. I was scooping myself some ice cream, about to watch an animated movie called The King and I, when Osugi came barreling through my door.
"Hey, Saki," he greeted, blushing. He glanced at my tank top and sweat pants, my hair pulled back into a bun, and his face fell. He tapped himself in the face before giving me a determined look. "We're going out tonight."
"I'm about to watch a movie, Osugi. How about another time?" I said softly, gesturing toward the TV.
"You always say that. 'Maybe another time.' But there's not going to be another time, is there?" he demanded, calling me out. I dropped my gaze.
"I just don't feel like going out, that's all."
"Then why don't we stay in? I'll order us some food, and we can watch a romantic movie. Make it a—"
"No," I cut him off, a little firmer than I meant to. I took a deep breath before starting again. "I mean, I'm just not up to it. I'm sorry. Maybe another time."
"It's been two months, Saki, and he hasn't tried to contact you. He isn't coming back. It was evident on the news. He's gone. You can't keep yourself holed up here waiting for a dead man! Not moving on with your life is the last thing he would've wanted for you and you know it!" Osugi blew his top. Silence stretched out between us as he realized his mistake. I'd overheard all of my friends talking right after Takizawa died. They weren't supposed to say the "d" word around me. I felt anger begin to boil my blood. I was a grown ass woman, damn it! I wasn't made of glass!
"Not moving on with my life?" I countered—my voice raising. "You think I'm not moving on with my life? So, me going to work—every day—isn't me moving on with my life. Me going to see all of you every now and again isn't me still living my life? I haven't just holed myself up in here since it happened, okay? What about all of the times I went out with Sis? All of the times I met you for dinner and ice cream? Or have you forgotten those?" I huffed from my rant, trying to calm myself down. The hurt look on Osugi's face only angered me more. I slapped the lid back on the tub of ice cream, threw it back in the freezer, dropped my bowl in the sink, and stomped off to Takizawa's old room. I threw myself onto the bed and buried my face deep into a pillow. I wasn't about to let Osugi hear me cry. I was mid-sob when I heard a hauntingly familiar ringtone drift from the dresser into my ears. I shot up, snatching the Noblesse phone up and staring at it for a moment. Osugi's voice came as no surprise to me, as I'd heard him enter the room when the phone started ringing.
"I swear that thing was broken just five minutes ago," he breathed. I flipped it open and brought it to my ear.
"Hello?" I answered slowly. My heart was pounding.
"I have a surprise for you. Come outside." The sound of his voice was enough to propel me out of the room and into the main mall. My sock-covered feet slipped on the linoleum as I sprinted for the front entrance. He was here. He was here. He was here.
I paused at the door, not sure if I should really open it. What if it was a trick? At that moment, however, I realized I didn't care. I shoved the door out of my way, my feet feeling frozen on the cold pavement. There stood Takizawa, alive and well. He smiled at me and I lost it. I ran straight into his arms, feeling him pick me up and swing me around. I cried, squeezing my arms tightly around his neck. He held me there for a moment, and for the first time in eight months, I was truly and completely happy. Then, I was pissed. I pushed back from him, glaring straight into his brown eyes.
"What. The. Hell?" I spat out. He stepped toward me, but I shoved him—hard. He stumbled back a little, his face falling. "You leave me for six months, promise to come back, and then die? If you were alive the whole time, you could've at least told me! I sat here for two months, crying every night, feeling my heart break into millions of tiny pieces, and you were alive the whole ti—" Takizawa—who had been saying my name repeatedly, trying to get my attention—cut me off with a kiss. I struggled for a moment, not ready to let go of my anger, but my body melted into his against my mental will. My happiness at seeing him again returned, and I snaked my arms around his neck, trying to bring him as close to me as I could. All too soon—but not soon enough—he pulled away, looking deep into my pale burgundy eyes.
"Let me explain, please," he half begged, half demanded. I opened my mouth to give him another what-for, but his sharp gaze silenced me. I waited for him to continue. "About five months after I left you, I found Mr. Outside. At first, I thought he'd erased his own memory, but later realized that wasn't the case. I got my slap in, and we teamed up. For the first month after finding him, all I did was talk about returning to you, but Mr. Outside was against it at that point in time. He informed me that if I tried to find you then, we'd both be constantly running. I had to come up with a way for the police to stop chasing me forever. The only way they were going to do that was if I died. I wanted to tell you—really, I did—but I couldn't contact you." I opened my mouth, but he placed his hand over it, clearly not finished. "You were being watched, Saki. They'd bugged your phone, as well as the phones of all of the members of Eden of the East. Only recently was I able to convince Mr. Outside to turn my Noblesse phone back on, and that was only because the police stopped tailing you about a week ago."
I removed his hand from my mouth, feeling my anger beginning to ebb. "So…are you back. You know, for good?" I asked quietly. His eyes darkened.
"I can't stay in one place for long. The cops are still looking for me. They found out we lied about the identity of the body."
"About that, if the body wasn't yours, whose was it?"
"It was a cadaver from a nearby medical college. Mr. Outside paid off the search team to claim it was mine. He's on our side." He chuckled a little at this. That warm smile must have been infectious, because—even though I was still I little bit angry—before I knew it, I was smiling, too. He bent down and touched his forehead to mine, nuzzling me. "Please don't be too angry with me. I kept my promise."
I nuzzled him right back. "You aren't staying, are you?"
"I can't. Not forever. But I was hoping that—just maybe…" he trailed off, lifting his face from mine.
"What?" I inquired, playing right into his little scene.
"Maybe you would be willing to come with me." My eyes brightened. "It'll be dangerous," he warned.
"If it's anything like before, I think I can handle it."
"Everyone will think you're a terrorist."
"As long as I'm with you, I don't think I care much." I retorted playfully. His face then turned serious again.
"You won't be able to see your family and friends very often. Are you sure you don't want to wait here?"
"Are you trying to convince me to turn you down? 'Cause I'm not going to. You were the one who offered to take me with you, and I'm going to take you up on it. I'm not going to watch you run off into adventure without me again." I snuggled my face into his chest. I could feel his smile as he put his face into my hair.
"I love you," he whispered. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to hear him, but my heart raced anyway. I tightened my grip to hide my beet red face.
"I love you, too. I have since you pulled me onto the boat with you."
"I have since I first saw you. I win."
"You're a liar," I laughed. He looked down to see my dirty, wet socks.
"Let's get you inside before you get frostbite on your feet. We wouldn't want you losing any toes," he joked, pulling me into the mall by my hand. I smiled softly at him. It had taken him eight months and faking his own death, but he'd kept his promise, and I wasn't getting left behind this time.
Hey everyone. Eden of the East is the newest anime that I've watched, and I have to say, it might be my current favorite. I absolutely loved it. The idea for this story came to me after I'd finished the second movie, "Paradise Lost." I just couldn't get it out of my head. To me, it just seemed like something that Takizawa would do.
As for Saki and Takizawa's reactions, I think I kept both of them pretty much in character. In hindsight, I probably could have based Taki's death off of a movie, but really, right now that's just too much work, even for a fellow movie junkie. ;P
I hope you guys liked the story. Keep a look out, I may be pushing some more oneshots for this series out of the woodwork, I may not. Haven't decided yet.