Author: Green Phantom Queen
Summary: Meet Yayoi Tokuda, bored college student who's trying to understand her place in the world after her stint as the Coma Zodiarts. Her life revolves around classes, coming home to be with her best friend JK and writing. However, after learning about the death of Gentaro Kisaragi, and the story of the War of the Stars, Yayoi's life begins to change in ways she never thought possible.
Note: This is a side story to "Horseshoes and Hand-grenades" and is not necessary to read to understand the plot.
Split 1: Routine
"The less routine the more life."
-Amos Bronson Alcott
"Have you ever wondered that your life is nothing more than a sequence of events that just keep repeating on and on ad infinitum?"
That's what I thought to myself as I listened to the lecture on Charles Darwin and evolution. While everyone is listening intently to the lecture, I'm doodling away in my notebook, trying to find a way to make the minutes go by faster. Outside of my class, it's a beautiful day. The clouds have parted to reveal the sun shining down and wishing everyone would have a wonderful afternoon.
In case you don't know who I am, my name is Yayoi Tokuda. I'm a college student who recently graduated Amanogawa High after an...incident with me being some sort of star based monster who could make replicas of other monsters using my hair. I wasn't lying on what I said.
Anyway, after I calmed down and had time to accept that I was growing up, I found myself going through the routine of going to my classes, heading to the library when I didn't have classes, and basically watching the world go by. I sometimes would recollect the happy memories I made when I was head of the newspaper club, taking pictures of the students of Amanogawa High with my trusty camera in hand. I used to know every student's birth dates, hobbies, blood types and their favorite foods, in case you didn't know.
But that's in the past, and my protege/childhood friend JK, has taken up my cause. He's probably preparing to meet up with his friends in the "Kamen Rider Club" that he keeps telling me all about. It's supposed to be a club that honors the legendary Kamen Riders and also fights off the Zodiarts—monsters based off the constellations—that wreaked havoc across Amanogawa High. Needless to say, he was a bit shocked when he found out that I became one of them, but after he learned of my excuse, he gave me an apologetic hug and told me he forgave me.
I cried the minute he patted my back with a reassuring hand.
My thoughts are interrupted by the professor telling us to have a nice day, signaling the end of class. Everyone starts to pack up, including me. I'm already slipping my bag over my shoulder while I tuck my pen behind my ear and place my books away. Another day of classes done, and the next thing to do is go home where JK and his father were at. Just like what happened yesterday, and the day before that, etc...
Nothing's happened since I graduated and, most of the time, I have to accept that.
The walk home was quiet, as usual. Technically, home was with my mother and father, but they're doing some important business in Hokkaido at the moment. For now, home was with JK and his father.
Okay, you're probably wondering why my friend's named JK. First off, it's like the Western name "Jake", minus the vowels. Second, it's because his name is similar to his father's, and he insisted on calling himself JK to differentiate between the two. He's been called that ever since we were little kids. My parents and his father were close friends, so the two of us got along pretty well. We were like two peas in a pod, until JK went to the dark side in middle school due to something that happened to his...
No, that subject is to be kept secret until JK's ready to let go. I won't divulge until he's ready to say what needs to be said.
That's what I wanted to tell him as I enter his home. Instead of seeing JK strumming on his guitar, he's on the sofa with crumbled tissues near his feet. I quickly remove my shoes and drop my bag onto the nearest chair as I rush toward my friend.
"What happened?" I asked. "What's going on?"
"Yayoi-chan," JK answered, grasping onto my shoulders. "It was horrible...he's dead..."
"Who? Is it your dad? Did he drown in some sort of storm while out at sea?"
"No, dad's fine. It's Gentaro..." JK blinked the tears that are now falling from his eyes. "He was murdered..."
Gentaro...that sparked a memory in my head. Gentaro Kisaragi, the delinquent who wished to befriend everyone in Amanogawa High. Anyone who was anyone knew about him—mostly because he would go up to them and immediately befriends them without batting an eyelash. Why does he do it? Because he can, and that's as good of a reason, right?
Still, to have someone like him die so young...how was that even possible?
"How did it happen?" I asked. "JK, who killed Gentaro?"
"Ryusei," JK quickly answered. "He comes in and kills Gentaro with the one-inch punch. He made some sort of deal with the Aries Zodiarts."
"Aries Zodiarts? Who's he?"
"Yamada Tatsumori, member of the Drama Club. He exchanged places with Ryusei for that transfer student program."
Of course he did. Talk about irony.
"And Ryusei sided with Yamada for what? JK..." I placed a hand over his own. He notices this and stares into my eyes. "What happened? Was it by gun shot or knife wound? Was it a blow to the head and blood pour out?"
"No, nothing of the sort," JK answered back, shaking his head. "It was death by one-inch punch."
Who did Ryusei train under? Bruce Lee? To kill someone with a punch like that, and to perfect that technique at such a young age, was a terrifying thought. Moreover, who the hell would teach that move? Isn't that something that you don't want in the hands of someone as unstable as Ryusei Sakuta?
Still, this wasn't my time to speak. I just stayed silent as JK continued to speak.
"It's my fault," He exclaimed, head in his hands. "I didn't do a background check on Ryusei and Gentaro was so willy-nilly on getting him into the Kamen Rider Club after a punch to the face." He threw a pillow onto the ground. "We just went along like we were sheep and he was this shepherd who brainwashed us. Tomoko was the only one who actually had half of a mind to suspect something was wrong, but even that wasn't enough."
"It's not your fault," I told him. "If you didn't know, you didn't know. You can't beat expect to know everything at once. Sometimes, you have to keep searching for the answers."
"I had the chance and I blew it! I'm a horrible person! I failed him..."
I stayed silent and hugged JK as he continued to sob. I didn't know how to console him in regards to that last statement. It wasn't his fault.
JK's dad, Keizou Jingu, entered the house a few hours later, and he cooked dinner for the three of us. JK wasn't feeling that hungry—even though we were having grilled mackerel for dinner, which was his favorite. I was pushing aside the fish bones on my plate as I remembered what JK told me about Gentaro's death.
Gentaro...died happy. He helped Ryusei by dying to resurrect a friend, and for what? The dead don't come back to life, and if they did they'd never return as who they originally were.
"JK," said Keizou, noticing his son not even touching his meal. "What's the matter? You haven't been this down about dinner since...that incident."
No one talked about "that incident", particularly because of how Keizou needed to retire from his rock-star career and become a fisherman to support his son. It was also because of that incident that JK and I decided to go into the information business. What was it like to study people and what they did? Who were they and why were they like that? Those were the questions we pondered after the events of "that incident".
"I'm fine, dad," JK replied, taking some kimchi into his mouth. Once he swallowed, he continued to speak. "Something happened today and...someone died."
"It wasn't a suicide was it?" asked Keizou. Suicides were one of the things we had trouble discussing, mostly because it related to "that incident." The word 'suicide' had very dark implications for the three of us.
"No, it wasn't. He died in a fight and I just stood there and did nothing."
"If you didn't know, you didn't know," said Keizou, placing a hand on his son's back. "Don't beat yourself up about it. You did that for three months after...that incident."
"I'm still beating myself cause of that."
"She wouldn't have wanted you to be so down. She'd want you to keep living your life and following your dreams. Please Kaizou...don't..."
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!" JK screams, standing up. "I told you never to call me that again!"
"JK, calm down!" I said, also standing up. "JK, please..."
"Just leave me alone!" JK exclaimed, pushing me out of the way. "I...need to be alone."
He stormed toward the stairs, his feet stomping with each step. Once he made it toward his room, he slammed the door shut. I sat down and placed my head into my own hands, unsure as to what I could do to cheer him up.
"He'll come around, Yayoi," said Keizou, passing a plate of apple slices my way. "Apple bunny?"
I stared at the apple slices and the V-shape of the peel that resemble rabbit ears. Every now and then, the three of us have apple rabbits in honor of her and "that incident". I took one into my mouth and began to eat, trying to ignore what I knew was the heartbreak and pain that JK was going through. This wouldn't have been the first time that he was unable to save someone important him, but it probably won't be the last time he cried himself to sleep.
It must be hard being him, having to put on a happy smile on his face while subsequently breaking down inside.
A few days later, we all attended Gentaro Kisaragi's funeral.
JK was up front with the other members of the Kamen Rider Club: Kengo, Yuki, Shun, Miu and Tomoko. Ohsugi-sensei was with them, most likely as the club adviser, and was sobbing about school uniforms and the like. I was sitting in the far back with Keizou, amazed at the number of mourners attending the service. JK definitely wasn't kidding at how Gentaro was able to make a thousand friends in the span of ten years.
Up on the stands was Gentaro's grandfather, Goro Kisaragi. From what I understood, Gentaro's parents died when he was only eight, but he still kept smiling. To be able to stay positive after suffering through that type of trauma would've killed most children his age, just like it nearly killed JK. Yet Gentaro proved that there was still something to smile upon even when you know that the people you loved would no longer come back to life. If only JK had that willpower to forgive himself for "that incident"...then, his life would be so much better. Until then, he'll keep staring at an old bedroom for her...
As I began to apply more makeup, I thought I saw someone in my compact mirror. They stuck out because he was the only one wearing black—whereas all the mourners were draped in white. The person didn't notice my presence though. However, I knew from the outfit he was sporting who that person was.
It was Gentaro Kisaragi. He was alive.
I looked back at the stage where Gentaro's memorial shrine stood. Amongst the flower bouquets and numerous candles was the face of a boy with bright eyes and a smile that could light anyone's day. I turned my gaze back to where I saw Gentaro in my compact, but he was now gone. Was it some sort of illusion? Was I hallucinating?
No. I don't hallucinate. What I saw was the truth. Gentaro Kisaragi was alive somehow, that's all I needed to know. The only question on my mind was whether or not JK knew that for certain.
If he did know about Gentaro's resurrection, then I had some questions regarding the story he told me.