A cold wind
The teen cocked a brow hearing his name from a voice that’s obviously never used it much, otherwise, he’d of recognized it right away. But when turning, he spots the real reason why he doesn’t recognize the voice right away- it’s Ai, and his voice is changing right now.
“Hey Ai, what’s up?” Turning, so that he’s facing the boy instead of looking over his shoulder, he walks the short distance over to him. “Are you ok?”
“Why? Why did it have to be Yakusoku?”
“I don’t know why...” He shakes his head. “Some people are just sick, and they think looking allows them to touch.”
“That’s not what I meant!” He was trying not to show his anger; nostrils flared, teeth clenched, he knew his emotions were pointless to try to quell. “You... you dirty pervert!”
Okay, so being tough isn’t his strong suit- look how long it’s taken him to confront Ludwig at all! He’d sat with this anger, allowing it to fester since that summer he’d found out. But no more... it’s nearly been two years and his brother is still gone. Yet he, Ludwig, walks around like some great friend, who’s deeply upset over his missing friend.
“I’m a per-... Ai, what’s gotten into you?”
“I know what you did... I know you drove my brother away, and that’s why he’s missing!”
“I...” He honestly didn’t know what to say.
Ai is only saying to him what the voice in the back of his head continues to scream at him, but the question is why?
“Look, I don’t know what you’ve heard... or who’s been telling you things but, your brother and I didn’t fight.”
“I heard you! You told me!” He takes a step forward. “I was at the mall last year, in the bathroom- yeah, it’s all making sense now.” Ai snaps when seeing the shocked look on Ludwig’s face. “You and Gev were talking about how you have feelings for Yakusoku... and how you kissed him- it’s why he ran off isn’t it?!”
“No. I don’t know...” He said with a waver but remembered what Gev told him. “No!”
Ludwig was sure it was a ‘no’, at least before. Gev was so convincing when he’d told him in the car that Yakusoku probably just wanted to go home. But now, he’s not so sure. Who would know Yakusoku’s mind better than his own brother?
“I think it’s, yes!” The young boy trembled with fear of possibly being beaten up, and from being so angry he can’t even see straight. “Why would you kiss him? What went through your head that made you think that was alright?”
“I don’t know... it was just a really weird out of body moment.” He quieted when a few students went by; judging by the uniforms they’re from a private school. “I didn’t plan on kissing him, and I didn’t plan on even liking him in that way. It just sort of happened, and I’m sorry if that upsets you, but Yakusoku didn’t leave because of me.” He trailed off because even he sounded unsure of it at this point. “What happened could have taken place whether I’d met your brother or not. The person who took him planned it, stalked him. You heard the police reports, you saw the evidence.”
Damn them for talking so freely in the bathroom that day. What was this a soap opera? Just having taboo conversations in random places over and over until you’re finally caught?
“I feel really horrible if I was the cause for him leaving my house, and even worse because he disappeared... but I’ve been trying everything I can think of in order to find him.”
“It doesn’t make what you did right... and when my brother comes back” He glared, his black eyes like slits on a knife’s edge. “You stay away from him.”
“That’s for Yakusoku to decide.”
“I can guarantee that my brother won’t wanna see you.” He expelled some his anger through a breath. “I don’t even wanna see you now.” Stomping his foot, he ground out. “If my brother had never met you, he might still be here!”
“That’s not true!” But his clenched fist betrayed otherwise. “Yakusoku was being stalked for months by some lunatic named-”
“Maria! I know! But she left, and the police said it wasn’t her... it wouldn’t even be possible for her to have done it anyway. She’s just a stupid girl...”
“Who, if she’s all that crazy, could have hired someone to snatch him. There’s a lot you don’t know Ai, there’s a lot no one knows! Because nothing could be proven.” He silenced when pedestrians passing by glanced at the pair because they’re raising their voices. “Can we go somewhere a little more private to talk about this?”
“There’s a lot that you don’t know, Ludwig. And I’ve said all I have to say... but you’d better remember what I said.” Ai approached Ludwig, and once he’s directly before him he snips under his breath. “Or I’ll ruin you in school... and expose you to all your friends. Gev might be the type of freak to not care, but I’m sure the other’s won’t take it too well. And whether they like Yakusoku or not, an openly gay student in high school being the reason he was abducted... you do the math.”
And with that said he stomped off. Ludwig watched after him, a concerned frown on his lips. Ai wouldn’t really ruin his school life... How can he? It’s impossible. But he can tell Clark and Nono, and they’ll tell people, and whether he’s gay or not...
Things just went from bad to odd, and uncomfortable.
“I can’t believe how well you drive.” Yakusoku compliments the girl; Maria is currently parallel parking the car in front of the diner.
The same place he’d ran to when he’d run away. His hair may be brown, and drastically longer but that doesn’t alter his face. Surely the woman who works inside will remember him, and how he needed help that day. She can call the police, and there won’t be a thing that Maria can do about it. Damned wishful thinking.
“Thanks. It’s not a big deal, though.”
“Are you kidding? I had my license for a whole month and I struggled with just about everything when it came to stopping and parking.”
Maria only shrugged, indifferent to his issues.
“Can we get fried chicken?” Asks the young girl in the backseat.
“If they have it. How ’bout chicken salad sandwiches if they don’t?” Maria looked over her shoulder to the girl. “It’s really good, they put apples and raisins in it.”
That didn’t sound good to Yakusoku, who’d scrunched his nose up in rejection. Through the rearview, Yakusoku looks at the young girl. She’s changed towards the situation as well. Instead of being frightened, and reclusive... with him there, she’s just a normal little girl. She eats and swings her legs beneath the chair at the kitchen table, she plays toys with him, or host tea parties with him and Maria, asks to watch videos- typical kid stuff.
But once in a while, she would wake up screaming from a nightmare. Maria can’t hear her tiny barely audible voice crying out, but Yakusoku- who chose not to sleep in the company of the psychotic girl if he can help it- does. He’d go to her and ask what’s wrong, and she’d tell him about her latest fear. He would comfort her by saying he has an idea. But no one comforted him from feeling watched through the little glass window in the wall that can be looked into from the hallway whenever he did it.
He has his share of nightmares: Lucian returning all zombie-like and hungry, gnawing greedily on his innards, Lucian blaming him for his death- Maria flat-out told him that because of Lucian saying nothing of the fact that he had escaped, he’d sealed his own death sentence. Other dreams were of him being at home, but no one acknowledged him. They’d all moved on, his family had replaced him and his friends, they no longer even knew his name.
Yakusoku woke up in so much emotional pain, he had a panic attack in the bathroom. The final dream before he chose simply to never sleep again was grim. He was at home, around his family and his friends- even Chester and the gang were there... and he excused himself from the fun, went into the bathroom and sliced his wrist open. He bled out. His wrist pooled blood all over the floor, draining him a ghostly white, and he lay there waiting to be found... but when he was; even now, Yakusoku felt tears pricking his eyes because when he was found in that dream... everyone, even his mother, and father lit up in the eyes, and sighed... with relief.
Maria slept untroubled beside him, never knowing how many nights he’d wrapped his hands around her throat and just gave it a light squeeze.
“I can’t do it.” He said out loud. “Not until I’m stronger than you... I can’t have you using your gift to drag me back, or kill me.” Leaning down by her ear he whispers. “But I promise you, that when I’m stronger... I’m going to end you.”
“And in the meantime?” Asked Mamoru.
“In the meantime...” He smiled, sweetly, evilly. “We mess with her head. Just as she’s messed with all of ours.”
“Promise, let’s go,” Maria called to him in the real world from by the diner entrance. “I don’t wanna carry all that crap by myself.”
The 3 enter the diner looking much like a boyfriend and girlfriend, bringing along his little sister so they can get something to eat. That’s what it looks like. But what it is is two prisoners getting by, and staying alive.
Yakusoku smiled when he glanced around the room and, despite all the looks he’s getting, he doesn’t hear a single person’s thoughts other than his own. ‘Unsightly bunch.’ He thinks.
“Hi, what can I do for you?” Asks the woman behind the counter.
“We’re going on a picnic; do you have fried chicken and things to go here?”
‘How can she behave so normal, and be such a bitch?’ He gives her a sidelong glare.
Tsukiko tugged Maria’s sleeve, then points to the bathroom. Receiving a nod, she hurried off to the bathroom.
“Wanna see something funny?” Mamoru asks.
‘Will it get me in trouble?’ Replies his charge.
“It miiight.” Sang the alternate.
Smirking, he shakes his head. ‘You know what, go for it.’
Just then the door pushed open, and with it came some of that very refreshing Winter air mingled with the winds of the coming Spring. It whipped around the room like a maiden in a sundress, having a carefree good time in a field of daisies and lilies. And while she danced, her hands and fingertips brushed the papers stuck to the windows of the place.
Some of them left the windows and landed on the floor, some land on the tables of patrons. The flyers, Yakusoku noticed through a glance, have his face on them! Kneeling down, he picks up one that landed at his feet. He recognized the photo too. He and his friends had been ice skating, this was taken right before he’d noticed his angry friend was watching him. What caught his attention was a large branch had fallen from a tree short distance away from the lake; he didn’t know it back then but he had pulled it off... his anger had. He was remembering how his previous friends had dropped him, and how angry and hurt he was about it. He just wanted the memory torn away, and it instead tore the branch from the tree. That’s when Gev called to him and took his picture.
’Missing: Yakusoku ‘Promise’ Land. Age 16. Height 5′7". Weight 120. Asian American. Blue-green eyes. Black hair.′ He blinked looking at his run down. Is this what he looks like on paper. ‘Not anymore... Missing Hakuo Krenn formally known as Yakusoku Land. Age 17-18. Weight hardly. Asian German. Brown eyes. Burnt auburn hair. I’m really fucked.’
The flyer scrunched in his grip. He failed to see the joke.
‘Who could have put these around?’ He wondered.
Looking at Maria, he realized that she was still mulling over their picnic lunch, and being deaf, she didn’t hear the fluttering of papers blowing and rattling against the windowpanes until they’d blown off and swayed to the floor.
“We have four cold drink options, lemonade, root beer, and apple juice- bottled water too.”
“What do you want sweetie?” Maria asked the young girl, who just returned from the bathroom.
“Lemonade,” Maria says to the waitress.
Yakusoku kept his eyes on the mayhem happening in the room, waiting for one of the patrons picking them up to catch his eye. Maria can easily ice this entire room with just one blink of the eyes, so he has to be careful. He can’t have anyone else who helps him killed. Maria told him point-blank that she didn’t appreciate that woman helping him, and that she made sure Miss Rebecca learned her lesson from ever doing it again.
‘Gotta be careful.’ He coached himself.
Locking eyes with an elderly couple, he mouthed- ’Help me. That’s me!’. He even went as far as to point to the flyer in their hand, then at himself. Quickly turning his head when Tsukiko popped him on the arm with her giraffe’s snout; smiling up at him, she linked her arms around his then rest her head against him.
Patting her on the head, he’s glad that Maria was busy checking their order so that he could give the old couple one last pleading look before he stopped trying for help.
“Ready to go?” Maria asked with a big smile.
“Mm.” He intoned with a nod and smile. “Thank you.” He said to the waitress, but when looking at her he put on the same expression he’s wearing in the photo on the flyer.
The woman looked at him with a smile, but slowly that smile faded. Cocking her head, she wags her finger and says. “I know you... don’t I?”
And the room grew very still...