I do not own My Bride is a Mermaid
Epilogue: The Crow and the Butterfly
Many Years later…
Nagasumi hadn't been in his apartment for what seemed like ages. As an up and coming journalist he rarely had time to himself. The apartment was a small single room with light blue walls and a skylight. The couch in the center of the living room was a little worn and lumpy but it served its purpose. He stretched his legs forward and propped his feet on the glass end table. San wasn't home so he could get away with the little things shortly after graduating both had made their marriage official. They were living on their own now in a low rent apartment. They had wanted something a little nicer but for now this was all they needed. Nagasumi took an interest in journalism and writing. It took several years but he was able to graduate near the top of his class. San on the other hand went into the medical field. She was a nurse now. Originally she had wanted to be a surgeon but she changed her mind half way through the program.
Nagasumi mindlessly flipped through the channels looking for anything to catch his eye. There were a million other things that he could do but it was his last day off. His supervisor was a real hard ass and worked him to the bone. As he toyed with the thought of returning to his desk to finish his work he caught a glimpse of a familiar face on the television.
Sarutobi had become quite famous. After high school he tried his hand at college but dropped out all three times. For a while things were looking pretty grim but then he got the offer of a lifetime. It was all thanks to Kai that Chimp was able to land a photo shoot for a modeling agency. Over the years Sarutobi turned into a very handsome young man and now he was on every other magazine cover or TV channel.
"When we last left off we were talking about your high school days. What can you tell us of your friends, Nagasumi, San and Mawari? What are they doing with their lives, have you kept in touch?" The newscaster asked politely. Sarutobi smiled earnestly and offered a light shrug.
"Nagasumi is working for some newspaper or something like that. He's a writer. We haven't spoken much since graduation. As for San I heard she's a nurse. I try to call them when I can but my schedule is so packed that I barely have time for a social life." The reporter was content with the answer and gave a light reassuring smile then continued with the interview.
"How about Mawari? When we talked earlier it was pretty clear that you and she were close." Not many could see it but when something bothered Sarutobi he would twitch ever so slightly. It was a nervous tick that very few could see. It was only for a brief second but Sarutobi lost his air of cool. Before the newscaster noticed he quickly chimed in a voice that was lightly peppered with melancholy.
Well after her transfer of schools we barely spoke. At first we kept in contact but slowly everyone just stopped hearing from her." Sarutobi's features darkened ever so slightly. At least Nagasumi had thought that. As the show continued Nagasumi heard the front door open. He greeted his wife with a hug and a kiss.
"How was your day, honey?" he asked soothingly, his arms gently wrapped around her. San returned his embrace, kissing him lightly on the lips.
"It was alright better now since I'm with you." She replied warmly. San moved to the couch and gestured for Nagasumi to join. After taking his seat San placed her legs on top of his.
"How did results come back?" Nagasumi remarked casually. San smiled as Nagasumi gently rubbed her feet. Her answer was a quick kiss. She didn't say another word as she cuddled close to her husband, her arms tightly wrapped around him. She was pregnant
After the interview Sarutobi went out for a drink. Lately he had been drinking more heavily. He had tried to quit twice now but both times ended badly. After a string of bad relationships and nearly overdosing on cocaine his life was quickly spiraling out of control. His current girlfriend Aiko was a sweet girl but Sarutobi had started to believe she was seeing another man. When he wasn't partying Sarutobi was working himself to the ground, booking several shoots the same day.
His poison for tonight was bourbon. One of Sarutobi's many favorites. The slightly bitter yet sweet burn it left on his throat was almost ecstasy. The slight charcoal aroma of the liquor pursed around his nose as he brought the shot glass to his lips. He savored the first drink of the night. As he ordered another round he spotted an American tourist at the far end of the hotel bar. She fit his type, small petite brunette with auburn eyes. When she noticed that he was looking her way the American woman offered a sweet smile. That was Sarutobi's moment. He waved down the bartender and had a drink delivered to her. A sweet aged scotch that offered a near honey aftertaste. Within moments of her getting the drink the woman made her way to Sarutobi, she took the bait.
"Thank you! I'm Megan." she offered in slightly broken Japanese. Sarutobi earnestly grinned as her red dress that left little to the imagination. The stilettos she wore went perfectly with her outfit. Looking her over again Sarutobi felt a chill run down his spine.
"I'm Sarutobi." He replied sheepishly in very smooth English. He had found that using an American's language took them off guard and tonight it indeed did. Megan's eyes widened ever so slightly.
"So tell me Megan, what brings you to Japan?" Sarutobi asked gently.
"My job, the company I work for has a branch out here. I don't know how long though." Megan replied with a smile as she finished her drink. Sarutobi lit up a cigarette and offered one to her, she declined. As he took his first inhale of tobacco he tried figuring out what sort of work Megan was in. From her stance she was very confident that was obvious so she was most likely a manager or supervisor, someone with power. Dominant women were Sarubtobi's personal favorite. As the night drew on Sarutobi learned that Megan was the head of a tech software company. Her and her friends from college wrote professional security programs for big business and as it turned out it was a very lucrative endeavor. It made Sarutobi want to learn computers but only briefly. He was quick to remind himself that programming his microwave was a challenge. Furthermore Megan had years of experience, starting on this sort of thing at the age of twelve.
"It's truly impressive, Megan. Frankly I'm jealous." Sarutobi commented genuinely. The compliment hit its mark. Her eyes lit up ever so slightly. Beneath the slightly drunken haze Sarutobi noticed the tiniest bit of arousal.
"This is kind of bold but I don't suppose your single now are you?"
"As far as I know I am." Sarutobi lied through his teeth. A tiny giggle escaped from Megan as her hand lazily brushed against Saru's shoulder. A light tingle ran down his spine. It wasn't the actual deed that excited him. It was the hunt. What happened afterword was just a bonus. Sarutobi lived for this moment of acceptance and lust. It suited him. Only this time something was off. Normally if he was seeing someone he never once thought of them but for some reason Aiko popped into his mind. He shook it off none the less.
"Listen, my place is actually pretty close, this bar's about to wrap up shop, why don't we continue our conversation there." Sarutobi remarked under his breath. That earned him another giggle and a wink. As both stood Megan lost her balance a bit but Sarutobi was able to catch her. She smiled and drunkenly pecked him on the neck. As she did he could hear Aiko's voice in the back of his mind, I love you Sarutobi Kun. He had to shake it off this time. When Megan noticed he waved it off and offered the excuse
"Just a little too drunk is all." Actually quite the opposite, nowhere near how drunk I like to be. He thought to himself as he allowed Megan to walk with him arm in arm. Soon they were out on the busy streets of Tokyo. It was letting down a light sprinkle so they had to huddle close under the umbrella. The neon lights flashed and illuminated the misty night. Horns honked and people shouted. Yet it was oddly silent for Saru. Aiko had gone to high school with him. Granted he didn't know her name then. She was a shy bespectacled girl that always stayed in the background. After graduating Kai was the one who introduced her to him. He had done so hoping she'd keep an eye on Sarutobi. She had. Aiko was a saint. He had cheated on her before but she always forgave him. Until the final time, she warned that if he were unfaithful ever again she would leave. He had heard that threat from countless women. Yet it was different now. Aiko had done so much for him, she was there whenever he needed comfort, whenever he would wake up from one of his drug binges tending to him. It was peaceful with her. A peace that he actually grew to love.
"Is something wrong?" Megan suddenly asked bringing him out of his haze.
"Oh it's nothing just tired." Another lie. When did Sarutobi get so good at that? He shook his head slowly and took a light breath. He didn't say another word until reaching the front door. Aiko was visiting her parents for the weekend so the house was his for all of his needs. Briefly he considered telling this girl to leave. Briefly he considered changing his mind but the emptiness in his chest wouldn't let him. Instead he undid the lock and allowed her entry into his home. Megan allowed herself in and Sarutobi closed the door. It was just another night but why did it hurt so much. Once inside he poured the girl a drink and himself one as well. When he sat down he quickly checked his cell phone for texts or missed calls. That was a mistake. His background was him and Aiko on their first date. It brought a stinging sensation to his heart one that oddly moved him to the unthinkable.
"Say, Megan, after this drink I'll call you a cab. Tonight…it…it isn't good for me." She looked a little hurt as she asked
"What's wrong?" He didn't explain. Instead he hurriedly finished his drink and ushered her out of the door when the cab arrived. Once alone Sarutobi reached for his reserve alcohol, the strong stuff. In one fell swig he downed most of it. He belched a bit as vomit tried creeping its way up. To clear his mind he started walking around his three room apartment memories of Aiko continually flooding his mind. Of all his girlfriends she somehow had done it. She had tamed the beast but the darkness was still there. It would always be there. That was when he made his biggest mistake. He started to go through his saved images on his laptop. It spanned from his time in high school with the gang to personal photos of him and Aiko. He stopped on one particular one. It was during a vacation to Kyoto with her. It was where she offered her virginity to him. She was a pure hearted girl that deserved someone who would love her. Not this degenerate mess. Sarutobi madly ruffled his hair as he tried to calm down but once he started panicking it was no use. He screamed into his pillow for what seemed like ages. Then the final chord snapped. Calmly, collectively he reached into his top drawer. He had purchased the luger after a robber broke into his apartment. The barrel felt oddly warm when he placed it on his temple. He closed his eyes, pressure building on the trigger but he stopped. There was something he had to do, he had to say goodbye to the one person he actually admitted to caring about.
It was late but Kai didn't mind. He held odd hours as a manager of fifteen or so models. He had just gotten off of the phone with a late night talk show host. One of his clients that was up and coming had recently had a breakthrough so Kai's phone was like a machine gun, call after call for the next big thing. He didn't mind the work, he got to work hands on with Japan's up and coming models that would set trends for the summer, teenage heart throbs that would get a fan girl's eye…it was good work. After graduating high school he had come to the decision not to rely solely on his family's wealth. That he would make it as his own man. It had its hurdles but in three short years he was signing contracts that netted in a good lump sum of money.
Tonight however he wasn't up because of clients or work. No it was a little closer to home. Aiko was staying with him due to Sarutobi's reckless behavior. She had lied to him, saying that she was going to see her parents. It was a believable lie, Aiko was a dutiful child that often took breaks to visit home. Right now she was cuddled up in Kai's arm quietly sobbing into his sleeve. He patted her head and gave her light peck on the crown of her head.
"It was going so well, he quit drinking, quit using, he was happy again." All Kai could do was hold the petite green haired woman closely to him as she continued to cry. This had been the second time in their relationship that this had happened. Kai was honestly done with Sarutobi's completely reckless behavior. Ever since graduation his life had been like this. Something had finally snapped in him. Kai just didn't know what. For now he had to focus on Aiko, their former class rep.
"You know what, my boyfriend, Choji made this excellent soup the other night, do you want some?" Kai asked gently. Aiko remained silent and buried her face deeper into Kai's shoulder. Kai had come out as gay a year or so ago and in the most awkward of ways. He had tried telling Sarutobi how he felt for him but the monkey didn't believe him. At least not until Kai almost kissed him due to mixed signals. They rarely spoke of that night and if so it was very brief.
"I think I'm going to leave him." Aiko managed in a resolved and level tone. Kai honestly was about to suggest the same thing. This had gone on long enough. It was time that Sarutobi started being accountable for his actions. When he had matched them up Kai had hoped so hard that Aiko's kindness would flush away his demons and it did for a time. Yet as always they came back worse than before.
The rain was picking up outside methodically tapping against the skylight windows. It was a calming noise as Kai rested back in his couch. Aiko had returned to the far end a handkerchief dabbing away the last of the tears. Just as she did her cell phone began to ring. It was from Sarutobi. Kai insisted that she not answer right now but she impulsively did. As usual she put it on speaker phone so Kai could help her spot the lies. At first there was nothing but static. Shortly after something akin to muffled sobs came echoing through the penthouse living room. He was drunk that much was for certain.
"I'm sorry, I nearly did it again I nearly broke my promise again. It won't happen anymore Aiko, I love you." Sarutobi said in gruff slurred voice. That was all they heard before the gunshot on the opposite end of the line.
It was near midnight. San was still awake with a tub of ice cream with her feet kicked up on the end table. She wasn't paying attention to the drama movie her mind was elsewhere. She would be a mother. On top of that the DNA results would come back soon. It was nerve wracking. Her mother would be the first to know the results at least after Nagasumi. Ever since the divorce San distanced herself from her parents. Gozaburo had been hospitalized for nearly three years now. A faction of merfolk nobility had placed three bullets into his back and chest. Amazingly he was still alive albeit wheelchair bound. He tried to keep contact with San but she rarely spoke with him. That was when her cell phone began to ring. It was the local doctor she had hired. After speaking with him for what felt like forever the weight of not knowing who her real father was lifted. In an instant she smiled a melancholy smile. She finally had her answer.
The contracts were being signed. It wouldn't go public for another month and Adrian feared the results. It was only by pure luck that he was still alive today. The beeper his son had given him had saved the day in the end. His friend Masa had really pulled through. As he readjusted himself in the chair he looked over to the Merfolk that had nearly toppled his empire. The man known as Fujita offered a light smile and a nod as he sat in Adrian's office. He was a hard man to read. He was on par with Adrian in all truth. Yet he liked the challenge. The contract was the total destruction of any Trident technology. It was a steep bargain but after all of these years of planning it would finally pay off.
In the corner where the heads of security kept a watch on the meeting Adrian met Riley's eyes. She had nearly lost her mobility in her legs due to the gunshot wound but the bullet had missed the spine. Sometimes she walked with a limp but it was hardly noticeable. Then there was the other head of security, Masa. The man was as stone as usual. When he noticed his boss looking toward him he gave a light nod and nothing more.
"You understand this will undo eras of secrecy and concealment?" Fujita remarked aloofly. It had taken extreme measures to get where Adrian was now with the Nobility. He had personally uprooted several high ranked politicians through any means necessary in this war of cloak and daggers. With that said there were four more assassination attempts since then but with Riley and Masa Adrian was able to hold off every one.
"I assure you, Olympus Corp will work in earnest to make sure that any prejudice or fear will be kept to a minimum, Mr. Fujita. Our Merfolk integration program will take time as do all things." It was Ritsuko's final dream, her legacy. She had always wanted a world where Merfolk and Man could live side by side. After leaving her and losing his only son Adrian thought long and hard on what he could do. This was the answer. He wanted his wife's dream that no merfolk should ever be feared. After his ordeal he had learned that only through change could this be achieved. It would take years, decade's maybe but he was confident that this would work. Perhaps it was just his high spirits talking but it was his choice, his dream…Ritsuko's dream and his way to atone. The meeting dragged on for another hour or so. Merfolk Nobility turned out to be very tough negotiators. When the talks had finally ended for the day Adrian joined his joint heads of security. They gave him the rundown of how they would make it to his penthouse, what sort of detail he would have today, the usual. Once they were done he offered to stop by and pick them up coffee. The drive was near silent until the very end.
"Do you think wherever he is at he'll be happy with this?" Adrian asked Masa quietly. The afro haired man remained silent for a while sipping from his mocha espresso.
"Fujishiro was always a stubborn man even to the end but I'd like to think that he would." Was Masa's answer as Adrian wistfully smiled. Wherever you are son, I hope that her dream, our dream will come true, our dream that you'll one day be happy. Adrian mused to himself before returning to his idle chatter with Riley and Masa.
The bus ride had been too long. Mawari was cramping everywhere and a small pool of sweat had started to gather at her brow. Even in short shorts and a tank tee this seaside weather was killer. She had only just returned to Japan a week ago ever since she had been busy. She had plans to visit Nagasumi and San, she tried contacting Sarutobi but his phone was either off or busy. So she went to visit her father. Afterword she went to visit mom. Now she was on a bus for a destination for the Seto inland sea. She had never been there yet had always wanted to go.
Mawari had blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She was still a petite girl but had grown over the course of several years. She was also very fit, working out every day. After graduating high school she followed in her father's footsteps and became a fine police officer. As of right now she was still on vacation. It sounded like a nice place. The heat however was something to be desired. It was practically like walking on the sun. The AC on the bus had given out half way through and her window would only open by a thin crack. The other passengers, locals from the look of it were perfectly at home in this intense heat. Mawari didn't know how much longer she could endure this heat. It continued on like this for nearly five more minutes until the bus had come to a complete stop. The little village of Seto was very quaint at a first glance. There were shops here and there. A few open air market stands and a taiyaki vendor. She made her purchase and had some small talk with the owner. It was mostly town gossip and the like. What she was really looking for was directions to a small hillside hut that overlooked the sea. After showing the vendor the hand drawn map he easily pointed her in the direction she needed to go. The old man warned her there wasn't much there anymore but she didn't pay it any mind. Before Mawari took off he called.
"Almost forgot, did you hear the news from Tokyo? Some up and coming model nearly committed suicide! He went to put the gun down but shot himself in the gut. Bullet passed through clean." Mawari shook her head. She didn't keep up with that sort of thing at all. She knew Sarutobi was trying his hand at that but that was it. She thanked him again and was on her way. The trek took her nearly forty five minutes. The air grew richer with every step and smelled of the ocean. Flowers of all kinds bloomed on the grassy hills and grew over the stone stairs. It was just as Mawari imagined but better. She looked again to Sora's handwritten directions and letter. From her calculations she was almost there and with the last little bit of climbing she had made it. Before her was one of the most beautiful sights she had ever seen. There was a field of pure green grass that gently swayed in the wind and an old run down cabin. It hadn't been used in some time and had become overgrown with vines and daffodils. Beyond that was a vast expanse of field that continued on until a ledge that overlooked the sea. Mawari hurriedly made her way to the tip of the point. Once there she spotted a handmade cross that watched over the azure sea. A single garland of white roses snuggly wrapped around it. She offered the bouquet at the foot of the marker and sat down near the edge to look out at the sea. As she did she pulled out the letter Sora had written for her so many years ago and read it once again.
I've never been good with words and writing was never my strong suit so I'll keep it short, simple and the like. I'm sorry I couldn't spend more time with you. Fact is kid, I think…I think I did the one thing we promised not to do. I have a special place in my heart for you. One I had thought I wouldn't really care to have ever. You made me laugh and smile, made me have the warm fuzzies and whatnot. It was good knowing you, having you in that briefest amount of time as a wife. We may not have been officially married but in my heart I think we were. It hurts knowing that when you read this I'll most likely be dead. I just didn't want it to pass without me saying it kid, I loved you. I knew I shouldn't have but I ended falling for a girl who loved Bunta Willis as much as I did, a girl that lived life as fiercely as she fought. With this letter I drew out a map to my old childhood home. If you're ever in Seto and if you want to see my home you can. There you'll find the old hut where I was raised. You'll also find my mother's burial marker. If there was ever anyone I wanted to introduce you too it would be her. She would have liked you…well she wouldn't have cause you were a brat and I was fully grown man but beside the point. Anyways I've run out of patience thinking of words and my hand is cramping like a bitch, so with this I say…Live, live and try your hardest to make the horrible things just a little less horrible
Sora "Shark" Fujishiro, the crow who will forever chase the butterfly
I still think you cheat at video games!
Mawari read the letter a few more times before pocketing it. She sat at the edge of the cliff listening to the gentle crash of the waves, the cry of the distant gulls. She took in the salty sea air and laid in the soft grass. Her fingers twirled around the cool earth as she stared at the afternoon sky. Soon the sun began to set ushering the twilight. She didn't know when she had fallen asleep but was awoken by a light nearby tapping. When she went to see what it was there was a raven perched on the tip of the cross picking at the wood. Once it noticed her it took to the air, dropping a daffodil in her lap. She placed it in her ear and made her way back to the bus station. If she was going to make it before the final bus left she would have to hurry. In a near jog down the many rows of stone stairs she failed to see the person around the corner. She slammed full on into them. The man was carrying an umbrella. He was scruffy with light blonde hair and silvery blue eyes. When their eyes met time seemingly froze. A light spark of recognition in both parties eyes, all the while a raven continually cawing in the distance.
A/N: Well boys and girls it has been a bumpy ride to finish line but here we are, a simple one shot that slowly evolved into this story. I had started this nearly three years ago and i feel very achieved in this milestone! as this is the first multi chapter fan fiction i have finished! Thank you for sticking with me on this long journey, it was a fun one! As always boys and girls, reviewing is good for your colon! or maybe not...depending on how healthy your colon is :D I look forward to my future stories with all of my fans, thank you all for supporting me, without your encourgement i don't know if i could have done it, See you next story time kids, uncle Green has some well deserved netflix time! BUH BYEE!