Can you see me now
March 16th, 2014
“Come on, Fanny, say Ai.” The young boy is holding the baby’s tiny little fist. “Say Ai.” He repeats.
Fanny, Madeline, Land, aged 6 months seemed more interested in eating her older brother’s hand for lunch than talking.
“Don’t be shy,” Ai leaned towards the baby’s face and whispers in a mock serious tone. “I heard you on the phone with the other members of the Secret Talking Babies Society when you thought Mom left you alone for a nap.”
“Oh, so you heard that did you?” Came a tiny voice that was his mother’s in baby form. “Take that! And that!”
Ai and Fanny chuckle when he has her little fist popping him on the nose. The baby snatched her hands back and began smacking at the air in Ai’s direction along with kicking her chubby legs as if to back him away from her. She then snatched her pacifier to shove into her mouth.
“Aaaw!” Ai swooned. “She’s killing me with the smiling around that binky.” Chuckling, he brushed her dusty brown waves from her forehead. “But then she follows it up with the grit out stare and furrowed brow combo.”
“She gets that from your father, his mom told me he was a gritter too.” Quinn scooped the baby from her bouncy seat up into her arms.
She really can’t believe it. Really! She and Reeve have wanted their own child since they’d gotten married, but fate told them that they were unable to. They’ve always been happy, and very in love with their children and adoption in general. More families should be doing it even if they can have their own children. But there’s always someone out there who needs that unused love and care.
But Fanny... what can’t be said about the little bundle of darling? She’s all tiny and pinch-nosed, with bright cornflower blue eyes that look at everything. Her coos are the world to the family, and her crying is thankfully minimal due to her favorite big brother in the world, always making her laugh by puffing up his cheeks, and making monkey sounds while bouncing up and down beside her. It works every time.
But on nights when she cries, Reeve is awake with her and down in the kitchen just singing away while she drinks a bottle, or gets a change, and they watch Noggin until she’s back fast asleep.
And with the birth of Fanny, there grew a stillness, a sort of unspoken understanding that things were going to change and be better. Fanny shouldn’t grow up in mourning, she deserves to live in a happy environment. So the conversation, whether out loud or in their heads, of Yakusoku were strictly off-limits. He must stay in their prayers, and his little sister will know him through their happy memories, but he cannot be spoken of before she’s old enough to know.
Day by day, week by week, month by month, things got better. They laughed, they spoke without the pause that would have been Yakusoku saying something about his day, or where one of them would be casually conversing right before getting ready to include the missing teen in with them. Things just got better. The feeling seemed to be going around because Ai had even mentioned seeing his brother’s friends behaving normally without pause.
They said “Hi” to him when they saw each other around the city, he even spoke with them over donuts. They’re going to spend the summer at Clark’s family’s villa in Miami, though the conversation was light and good-natured, Ai continuously cast Ludwig Ballantyne dirty looks. He wanted to skin him, or maybe punch him in the gut- if he could be a lot less drastic. How could he just sit there amongst his friends pretending that he wasn’t responsible for Yakusoku’s disappearance? It’s cruel and ignorant and he’d be joking if he thought he’d be forgiven by him- EVER!
Through half of the conversation with his brother’s odd pile of friends, Ai wondered how cozy and well Ludwig’s mental health would be if his friends found out about his sick feelings for Yakusoku? How they’d react if they knew that this new guy came along and drove his brother into the waiting arms of some stalker, condemning him to a miserable nightmare which he may not wake or even survive. He could bet that smile wouldn’t have been there. Those fun plans of swimming pools and game rooms, tennis court, and whatnot at Clark’s villa would all be shot to hell. He could guess the male would be locked up in his bedroom, having a pity-party while defiling his brother in his head.
It was situations like that one that made Ai wish that he were older, and not just 13 years and still a bit scrawny. Maybe he could work out at the gym... although he isn’t sure they allow minors in there. He’ll have to look into that. Either way, once he finds out what it is he could say that’ll be effective enough to give Ludwig a good scare, he’ll confront him. And then he’ll at least know, on his brother’s behalf, that the person responsible isn’t living comfortably or anything. That he’s suffering just as much as he is. Maybe there is a way. He may not be in his brother’s grade level, but he knows people who are.
“Ai?” His mother’s voice brought him back from the darkness sinking him beneath it’s encompassing surface. “Where’d you go, Love?” She asked when he blinked and smiled at her.
He sucked in a breath but smiled and shook his head. “Mm. Nowhere, Mom. I was just thinking that Fanny is gonna be so adorable, I’m gonna have to mess a couple guys up for looking at her.”
Laughing, Quinn pats the boy on the head. “You’re such a thoughtful boy, Ai. You don’t worry about your sister, she’s gonna be tough as nails just like her grandmother- just like me.”
He looks at the tiny little human princess in his mother’s loving arms, and he suddenly grew very scared. Even if Fanny is tough, she- nor anyone else- is invisible from trouble.
“I can’t believe how long your hair has gotten,” Maria says while toweling it dry for him.
Yakusoku closed his eyes from the beating assault of fluffy blue curls and curves as the towel moves around his head. Maria wanted to go out to dinner and a movie, but rather than hide himself with a hood or a hat, she just told him he should dye his hair. He could care less about doing it, it wasn’t the first time he’s ever dyed it and it wouldn’t be the last.
“It takes forever for me to grow mine, it’s been shoulder length since I was ten.”
“You make it sound so long ago.” He commented while spitting out bits of the towel that smacked into his mouth leaving behind a laundered dusty taste.
“When you’ve finally found your happiness anything before then seems far away.” Ceasing her hair drying pummel, Maria cocks her head to look at him before planting a quick kiss on his lips.
He had to admit that things have gotten better. He no longer was treated as a slave but rather a lover, though he could do without the girl’s sexual appetite frankly, but he supposed it was better than having her beating on him and chaining him by the throat in that cold and dark kennel like before. And it was certainly better than being advanced upon by the lecherous orderly Dan. He still has no clue what day it is when he’s with her, but now and then someone on television drops a date his way. The last one he’d heard was February 22nd.
But with the weather changing outside- and yes, he gets to roam outside- he could guestimate that it’s sometime in March now. He could guess her reason for keeping him in the dark is to ensure that he’s still got that bit of fear left in him of her, no matter how comfortable they become as a couple, every master is afraid of the day when their dog will turn and bite them. And using the loss of time is his number one fear. It stems from a dream he’d had long ago about being abducted by aliens.
And those times when he physically and mentally felt fear, he chalked into the cluster of ‘other-days’ as he liked to refer them as. Days where Maria would beat him awake, or return from the kitchen seeking only to simply retrieve a cup of water, but she’d return just screaming and coming at him with anger and waving fist that, with her abilities backing it, felt like a truck was slamming into him. He’d hide away in the bedroom closet, like a child hiding from a drunken parent on a rant; confused at where the mood swing had come from, and hurt over not being able to stop it.
He honestly doesn’t know where the girl’s mood swings come from. Could be distrust, she has every right not to- just as he doesn’t trust her. And he honestly wasn’t sure if he ever could. Although, the worst of it all is the fact that he’s gotten comfortable. He used to believe he’d be found, or that he himself would get away. But now... now he’s just sort of settled with the reality of this being his life. His child, or at least his reason not to just flee without a plan, Tsukiko. After Lucian, he can’t put anyone else in danger because of his attempts at freedom.
Other areas of his new dilemma are that he’s becoming comfortable with not using his voice to speak, and instead, he uses his gift. There are times when he and Maria would be watching television- there’s a new season of Top Chef going- and they would talk like friends with a bond strong enough to outwardly look like they don’t need words when actually they’re speaking with their minds.
Or he’ll be at the table and elevate the salt shaker to him if it's sitting on the counter out of reach. It hurt sometimes... using it; and he still isn’t a master like Maria or a genius at it like Mamoru but he’s doing it. There are times when he’ll try bringing things over to him and they’d drop midway because he’d feel a headache coming on, or a vein in his eye would just throb, stopping his concentration. The nose bleeds could go on for ages.
Mamoru has been strangely silent, causing him to think that maybe he was just panicked hallucinations brought on by the strange new horrors in his life. That or the male has become so disappointed in him that he’d just quit at being his somewhat guardian. Just as well, he doesn’t need to have him telling him stuff that he already is well aware of anyway. He does kind of miss male company, though. With Lucian dead, he’s all alone.
That was a frightening little tale. He was so obedient that she took him outside, told him to remove his clothes and just stay there until she came to get him. Out in that tundra during one of the nastiest blizzards of the winter season... He, of course, froze to death. Yakusoku didn’t even wanna think about what he must have looked like after the snow thawed. He’s just glad that it wasn’t him.
Lucian’s death went unnoticed by the world, but not orderly Dan’s. It seems one of the female attendants went down to the laundry room and found the accumulating stink of his body that he- or Mamoru rather- shoved into a large ventilation duct in the back of the room. It was all over the news. He and Maria had a good laugh about that one. But he later wound up in the bathroom vomiting over the realization that he’d murdered someone... and enjoyed it. He’s not like Maria, he doesn’t enjoy hurting people.
‘Tell that to all those girls at school I’d practically raped.’ He thought that day after the news report. ‘To my parents when I just acted like an ass because I was hurting over Enid and everyone. And Ai, who I teased with help from my friends... and Ludwig.’
He hurt and insulted him when they’d first met. He called him a fag more times than he could count, and yet the guy remained his friend, and never once got him back for any punch that came his way. He swore that once he got away from Maria and back home, he would make it up to the guy. But he thought all of that last year. It’s March now. He isn’t going anywhere. He’s even begun taking online classes under the name of Koji Saitama. Maria joined him under the name Veronica Rippa. They had some fun over the winter with academic races while doing their assignments. He won of course, but she’s no slouch either.
Christmas was certainly something; he felt like a little kid when they first discover that stuffed animals can move under the name of Pet. Maria, of all things she could have- and should have- gotten him for Christmas, bought Yakusoku a cat- well, a kitten to be more precise. A silverpoint Tonkinese.
“I know how much you like helping animals, but you love cats most of all.” She knew this fact to be correct. “But this one is really special.”
“Why?” He held tightly to the little ball of white fluff with silver paws, ears, tail, and a little diamond between its eyes. And those winter gray eyes... they remind him of Gev’s.
“This little guy is one of the children from the first stray cat you’ve ever fed.”
And there she made his skin crawl. There she made him remember that he has to continue devising to get back home. Maria isn’t stable, she’s dangerous. But how long can he bide his time before he can either make his move or be killed by one of her many spontaneous outbursts of hatred towards him?
After the pummeling Maria lowered the towel from his head, Looking into the mirror at his reflection, she suddenly burst into a fit of giggles against the back of his head.
“Whaat?” He’s blinded by the damp hair covering his face. “You’d better not be laughing at me, you bitch.”
He said it kiddingly, but he got smacked in the ear regardless. “Watch it.”
“I was kidding anyway.” The captive teen assured rubbing away the sting. He’s gonna look like an amateur boxer that was wailed on by a freakin’ boxing Amadeus by the end of this. He’ll soon have cauliflower ears.
“Well, regardless, that isn’t how you talk to a lady.” Grabbing a brush from the vanity table, she runs it through his newly browned hair.
“Why were you laughing anyway?” He had to ask, to remove tension and change the subject. It’s human conditioning to believe the world is laughing at you whenever you’re not in on it.
“You just look so different with long hair.” She kissed him on the ear she’d smacked. “Look at this, I can make a ponytail.” His hair is held in a ponytail by her left hand, while her other hand combed strands into the pile. “Do you wanna wear it in a pony while we go shopping?”
“Uuhh.” Even he’s laughing at his reflection.
He really does look pretty stupid. How could it have grown this much? Well, there were those unkempt months of being a ragged goth. But had it really gotten away on him enough for it to be down to his armpits?!
‘That’s frightened captivity for ya.’ He laughed when Maria suggested old school samurai ponytail or knot. “I think I’ll wear it down in a braid for right now.” Yanking back the fallen strands from his eyes when Maria dropped his hair and tousled it about his head. ‘I’m turning into Mamoru.’ He thinks while his hair in spun into a braid.
“Atsuko’s gonna flip. She’ll love doing your hair... little bitch seems more comfortable around you than me.” Moving around him so that she can sit on top of the vanity’s dresser, Maria crossed her arms. “You’re not doing anything scandalous with our seven-year-old daughter, are you?”
And he couldn’t tell if she were serious or kidding. She couldn’t really be serious?! “Gross. What are you saying?”
“Sometimes men like a little pu-..”
“Shut the fuck up!” Mamoru snapped.
Good thing he did, because it distracted Yakusoku enough to keep him from slugging the bitch. How dare she so much as entertain the idea that he would even look at Tsukiko! It’s definitely time to do some counter-strategizing. He has to get them or at least Tsukiko, out of this house and away from Maria before her jealous fit has her killing an innocent little girl.