Halo Ten: Azusa:
I didn’t exactly have a normal life, but it was somewhat stable. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I was eleven years old. I was quite moody child back then. Momma said I would run off crying at random times. One teacher said that I bit a boy in class for no reason. I don’t know, I would just act out sometimes and not know why.
I was on medication for a short time when I was eleven or twelve. Momma didn’t really believe that I was bipolar at the time.
“That’s just ridiculous!” she said with a snort. “Who ever heard of a child with bipolar disorder?” My mother was never a fan of doctors. She believed that they made up their diagnoses just to milk more money out of their patients. In fact, it was her older sister, my beloved aunt’s idea to take me to the doctors in the first place.
“What will people think?” she asked. “You don’t want her to end up in foster care, do you?”
“I don’t want my baby turned into a zombie,” Momma complained. “I’ve heard the horror stories of people on medication. Some even become addicted.”
“She’s too young for your natural treatments!” my aunt said. “If you are not careful, you could do more harm than good to her.” In the end, Momma had to take me to the doctor just to shut my aunt up.
To be honest, I actually did well without my medication for about two years. But then, it all came apart with my beloved aunt died in a car accident. Her death hit both Momma and myself hard. My condition grew worse and I practically couldn’t function at school. I didn’t remember a day when I wasn’t crying. My mood swings, screaming, and lashing out earned me the reputation of being a violent girl at my school. I am surprised that my friends, Mai and Chiho, stayed with me. My mom couldn’t handle constantly coming out to the school to talk to my teachers. They suggested that I go back on medication. I even thought that would help me. At that point, I just didn’t want to feel anything anymore. But, Momma wouldn’t hear it.
“I refuse to make you an addicted zombie!” she shouted at me. I couldn’t understand why Momma hated doctors so much. I was just tired of the mood swings, screaming, and tearing up my room. I guess, she got sick of it too.
By the time I was sixteen, Momma finally betrayed me and herself as I expected she would sooner or later. By January, she had me committed to Chou Mori Institution.
-Mikado and Masaomi-
Mikado saw in a corner of his apartment. Satoshi’s death gave him the ability to hear the thoughts of one person. No thanks to Azusa’s death, this unwanted gift had increased, giving him the ability to hear the thoughts of two to three people near him. That trait he could deal with, but…
What ability did Kibuishi-san have to make her want to end her own life so badly?
“Mikado?” the tadpole boy heard over his head. He looked up to see Masaomi giving him a concerned look.
“You okay there, buddy?” the blonde boy asked. Mikado trembled as he looked down at the floor.
“Come on,” his friend said, sighing. “I can’t help you if you won’t talk to me.”
“I don’t think you can help me,” Mikado said in a low voice.
“Oh, don’t be like that,” Masaomi said. “I told you I am not leaving you.” He reached out and took Mikado by his right wrist. A small pulsing wave shot through his body. The tadpole’s eyes widened. His best friend started panting heavily as his pupils dilated.
“Kida… -kun?” Mikado asked. Suddenly, Masaomi rushed forward and kissed him on the lips. The poor tadpole didn’t get time to react. This wasn’t a little kiss either. Masaomi tried to shove his tongue into the tadpole boy’s mouth.
Oh, I just have to have him!
Panicked, Mikado pushed him away as fast as he could. Masaomi sat up with a blank stare on his face.
“Uh… What just happened?” he asked. Mikado stared at him as if the blonde was going to pounce on him and eat him alive.
“Mikado?” Masaomi asked. The tadpole boy ran into his bathroom and locked the door.
“Mikado? Mikado?” his best friend asked, knocking on the door. “What’s going on? What happened? What is the matter?” Inside, Mikado drew his knees to his chest. This reminded him of what he did to Anri during the last experiment.
-One Week Earlier-
Masaomi fought to keep Mikado in his sight at all times. Lucky for him this experiment took place over the weekend. The Friday itself was a headache. Mikado kept either running off, trying to start a random gang war in the city, or yelling out in class. It didn’t help that Junko seemed to be mocking him.
“My, my, my, Chirin-kun,” she said to him during classroom cleaning. “Aren’t you a lively boy today?” Mikado began panting heavily as soon as those words ran through his ears.
Smack her down! Smack her down!
Mikado’s nostrils flared as he slowly began walking closer. He had his hand held open and fanned, slowly being raised. Junko raised her eyebrow.
“And what are you planning to do?” she asked. Mikado’s footsteps grew slower as he came closer. Masaomi ran over and grabbed his best friend.
“Come with me,” he whispered. “Don’t make a scene.” Junko couldn’t help but smirk. She turned and walked away.
“What was that about?” Masaomi asked. Mikado shook his head.
The boys would’ve gotten through the day with no more problems. But then, she came into the frame.
Mikado and Masaomi tried to run home as fast as they could. The blonde kept his eyes on his best friend.
“Don’t talk to anyone. Don’t look at anyone,” he whispered. Mikado looked so pale as he nodded. They just needed to make it through the school gates and make it back to his apartment. Just a few more steps.
“Guys?” they heard behind them. The boys could’ve kept walking and without looking back. The gates were just a few more steps. Just a few more steps.
Mikado just had to turn around.
Anri raced over to catch up to them. When he saw her, he broke into heavy breathing as his pupils dilated.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Masaomi said. “Don’t do anything stupid.”
“Mikado-kun?” Anri asked. Before she knew it, the founder of the Dollars ran towards her before Masaomi could grab a hold of him. Mikado grabbed Anri by her slender waist and forcefully kissed her on the lips. Not just a little one either. The boy looked like he was trying to suck poor Anri’s face off. She couldn’t move as he pinned her against the brick wall. The whole time, Anri froze as she panicked. It didn’t help that Mikado tried to use his tongue as well.
Masaomi stood with his jaw dropped. On a normal day, he would be cheering his best friend on for finally making a move on the girl they both adored. But, this wasn’t Mikado in his normal mind. Plus, Anri didn’t look like she was enjoying the kiss. The blonde-haired boy ran over to his friends.
“That’s enough!” Masaomi shouted. “Let her breathe, man!” It took all of his strength to pry his best friend off of the poor girl. Mikado stood with a blank stare on his face. Anri leaned against the brick wall, panting. The tadpole panicked as he realized what he had done. He looked between his friends. Masaomi had a concerned look on his face while Anri stared at him, wide-eyed.
“Mikado?” the blonde-haired boy asked. The tadpole boy ended up turning around and running away.
That was not how he wanted his first kiss to go.
Mikado touched his own wrist. “You just kissed me.” Masaomi stood outside of the bathroom with a strange look on his face.
“What?” he asked. Mikado gulped and lowered his head.
“You grabbed my wrist, right?” he asked.
“Yeah. What about it?”
“What did you feel when you touched me?”
Masaomi paused and took a moment to remember. “Well… I did feel a warm shock run through my body.” It all slowly began to come back in his head.
“Oh…” the blonde said quietly. “I am so sorry for that, dude.”
Mikado drew his knees to his chest. “Is that how you really felt about me?”
His friend took a step back from the door. “I… I don’t know…” The tadpole closed his eyes.
“Do you remember that girl who jumped in front of the train in Ikebukuro stations last week?” he asked.
“Yeah, what about it?” Masaomi asked.
“She was like me.”
Mikado rubbed his wrist. “I don’t think we should touch for a while.”
“I think I know what Azusa’s power was.”
Despite being a mess with my bipolar depression, I was still loved.
Mom loved me in her unconventional ways. Mai and Chiho stayed beside me even after seeing me at my worst. Even through my storms, I had a true love.
His name was Keizo. I didn’t understand what he saw in a messed-up girl like me. My friends were the ones who pushed me to talk to him in the first place.
“Aw, he might like you back,” Chiho told me after I came home from Chou Mori.
“I’m not too sure that’s a good idea,” I said. She pushed me forward right after the words left my move. Chiho and Mai gave me the V-sign and mouthed “good luck” at me. I turned to the hot looking boy playing on his cell phone on the train. He looked up at me and my heart pounded against my chest.
“Can I help you?” he asked. I shuffled my feet as my face turned bright red.
“Uh… I’m… I’m… Azusa!” I said, bowing. The silence made it that much worse. I prayed that he would say something back.
“Okay…” this beautiful boy said. I stood up, staring at him. I think Mai and Chiho had to pull me away because it was getting awkward. Nevertheless, I managed to win Keizo over and we started to date. Despite mom and I still being awkward around each other, things were going great now that I have rejoined my normal life after Chou Mori closed down.
That was until four months ago.
It started with my mom. I remember the afternoon of my “awakening”. I ended up going home early because I had fallen ill. Mom came by my school to come and pick me up. (Yes, she still didn’t trust doctors or nurses. That distrust grew after she learned about the horror of Chou Mori.)
“Mom, I am fine enough to go back to class,” I said.
“No!” she said. “You are coming with me. I have plenty of herbal juices and treatments that will fix you right up!”
“But, I’m fine,” I said.
“I won’t hear it,” mom said. “We are leaving right now!” She grabbed me by the wrist, but then she paused. I noticed that the pupils in her eyes started to dilate. She began breathing heavily. Mom let go of my wrist.
“Herbs!” she shouted.
“What?” I asked. She turned around and walked away.
“Herbs! Herbs! Herbs!” mom kept saying. I ran after her with a sinking feeling in my gut. I had gotten outside of my school, my phone rang. I froze as I looked down at my bag. Against my better judgement, I pulled out my phone.
“Hello?” I asked.
“Hello, Little Swallow,” an old man said on the other line. My spine froze as I began to have flashbacks about when I was in Chou Mori.
“Kitano… -sen… sei?” I asked. I sank to my knees.
“I called to congratulate you on your awaking,” he said.
“This is only the first step in your journey to become a superior being.”
“What did you do to my mom?”
“Nothing. You woke up her deepest desires.”
“Her desires? What are you talking about?”
“Good luck and grow in your evolution.” Kitano-sensei hung up before I could ask any more questions. His words alone made my stomach drop.
Within three days, mom spent all of our money on her herbs, natural blends, and other health items. She would eat and drink everything herbal. There ended up being barely any food in the house. When I did try to buy things like Cup of Noodle and meat, mom would always throw them out.
“Are you trying to kill me?!” she asked. “So much salt! So much preserves! Modern food is so full of poisons! There are trying to kill us all!” We didn’t have our aunt to reign her in. Things got worse when bills started piling up and our power got cut off. Mom started wasting away and looking pale.
“Mom!” I cried. “You have to stop this! You’re making yourself sick! We’re about to lose our house! We have no food or power! You haven’t been to work in days! Please go back to being normal!” I shook her in vain as I screamed at her. Mom looked up at with a dazed smile on sullen face.
“I just want to be healthy,” she said in a whisper.
“You are not healthy anymore!” I cried. “I’m going to take you to a doctor!” She grabbed with her frail hand.
“No!” she cried. “They’re just going to pump full of drugs and make a mindless zombie!” Her words shook me to the core. I shook her off of me and ran out of the house. Days later, a neighbor found mom dead in the kitchen of malnutrition. I didn’t even learn about it until I saw it on the news.
“Babe, I have something to tell you,” Tetsu admitted at last. Taichi stared at him from the couch.
“What is it?” he asked. The tadpole shifted his eyes back and forth before he held out his right hand. A bright golden flame appeared just about the palm. Taichi’s jaw dropped.
“How are you doing that?” he asked. “Is that some sort of a special trick?”
“No,” Tetsu said. “Do you remember when dad committed me to Chou Mori for being gay?”
“Yes,” his boyfriend said. The tadpole put down his hand and the flame disappeared. He broke down and told his lover everything. It hurt to relive every detail of the experiment still being done to his body and all of the powers that he had. He panted by the time he was finished. Taichi pushed up his silver-framed glasses. Tetsu kept his eyes on him.
Please say something, he thought.
“Are you okay now?” Taichi asked. Tetsu shook his head.
“Not really,” he admitted. “I couldn’t touch you all of that time because I was afraid of burning you to death by accident. I even set a trash can on fire when I first got my powers.” The tadpole boy chuckled to himself before he frowned again.
“I’m just scared that you are going to leave me now because I’m some monster,” he said in a low voice.
“And why would I do that?” his boyfriend asked. Tetsu looked at him with big eyes.
“Huh?” he asked. Taichi rose to his feet.
“You are still you,” he said. “I still love you and we are going to get through this.” The tadpole boy stared, waiting for him to say he was only joking and insult him in some way. But, Taichi didn’t do that. In fact, he walked over to hug his boyfriend.
“Wait!” Tetsu said. “Could you just not hug me again? I don’t know how you will react after what happened to this morning until I fully understand this new power I have.” Taichi took a step back.
“I understand,” he said.
I’ve lost it all because of my awaking. My mom wasted away because she touched me. Mai ate herself to death because she hugged me. Chiho started painting day and night and started doing much of everything else. She too wasted away like my mom. The worst one was Keizo. He got so obsessed with me that he too wasted away like mom and Chiho. I ended up on the streets hoping not harm anyone else. That didn’t work out so well when two of my teachers and eight strangers ended up dying because of me.
Which is why today, I have resolved to end this all before I end up hurting more people. I stood in front of the tracks at Ikebukuro Station. I blinked away the tears from my eyes. Forgive me, mom, Mai, Chiho, and Keizo-kun. I never wanted this. Maybe I will apologize to you in another life.