Warning: This contains content from season 2.
I raise my hand and knock. Only once does my knuckle collide with the door before I lower it, waiting. It's opened by a girl my age, wearing a red jumpsuit and an eyepatch. Unable to help myself, I grin. Everything about her, her outfit, her short spiky haircut, and the gun in her hands suggests she's a classic villain. Neither of us flinches when she points the pistol at my forehead.
"You've lost all your manners, have you?" I comment, tilting my head to the side. "It's nice to meet you, former inspector Mizue Shisui."
She inspects me up and down, her eyes showing no sign of hostility or hospitality "What is your business here?"
"I'm here to talk to Kamui, of course. Are you going to let me in?" Her arm drops to her side and she steps back to let me by. I glance around, intrigued. I'm aware they had to move recently due to the discovery of their old base. Even so, all of the equipment and supplies are set up properly. They settle in quickly, don't they? The space is fairly small, with only one room attached as far as I can see.
"Sit," she commands. I do so, taking a seat in the only chair around; a doctor's office chair. It gives me the impression a man wearing a stethoscope around his neck could come in to check my heartbeat at any moment. It's been a awhile since I've been to a doctor's office. Due to my hue, which has become permanently clouded, I've had to disappear. Of course, I took my birds with me. Hunter had to go, though. I can't very well have a hologram follow me around day and night. Holograms like him have to be tied to a place with boundaries, and they vanish if they try to leave that invisible box.
From the other room, a young man walks in. His hair is dark, his eyes mismatched. You wouldn't notice it unless you really studied him, because the difference in color is only slight. I bow my head in a gesture of respect as he leans against the wall opposite of me. Mizue stays in the doorway that he just came from, watching me carefully for any signs of aggression.
"Kirito Kamui, the ghost haunting the MWPSB. It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Esther Bryant, and I've come to ask a favor from you."
"Is there a benefit I could find in helping you? Could you farther my cause?" he asks, getting to the point. He chooses who he helps, who he clears. He won't offer the service to anyone who just happens to waltz in and ask. I smile sweetly.
"I will not help you, as the favor I am asking is for you to get me out of this country. And as far as I can see, no, there is no clear benefit for you helping me."
"Then why have you come?"
"Have you heard the name Shogo Makashima?" This earns no reaction from Kirito, but from the doorway I hear a gasp. "Ah, you would have, wouldn't you Mizue? I was a companion of his. I've known him since he was a child, and I've even assisted with some of his crimes against Sybil. If you don't believe me, ask me anything about him. I can tell you which criminal cases belonged to him, if you wish. Or if you desire, I can tell you what position he usually slept in or his favorite authors. Take your pick."
"Shogo Makashima was the last huge criminal case the MWPSB took on," she informs Kirito. "He took latent criminals under his wing and encouraged them into becoming active. Division one was in charge of the case. They're the best, Chief's favorite, and yet it took forever to take him down. He couldn't even be captured alive! He ended up being taken down by an enforcer gone rogue."
"And I can tell you why he was so difficult to catch," I tell them casually. I came here without a doubt in my mind that I'd be leaving here with exactly what I came to get. "He was someone classified as criminally asymptomatic. He wasn't like you, Kirito. At least, not quite. Sybil recognized him, but it couldn't read him. His hue was always as white as snow. This along with his natural genius lead to some pretty amazing feats, if I do say so myself." I chuckle, remembering the infinite times he outwitted the police so easily. "Unfortunately, as she said, he was killed by ex enforcer Shinya Kougami. Shot in the skull after an attempt at bioterrorism. Had it been successful, he would've likely completely eradicated the Sybil system."
There's a moment of silence before Kirito addresses me. "When was this?"
"Almost two years ago," Mizue answers for me. I nod in agreement, not bothering to correct her with the exact date.
"And you came to me thinking I could export you away from Japan?"
"I would like to return to America. It's where I lived the first few years of my life. If you could be so kind, I would appreciate if you could give me enough treatment to lower my psycho pass until I'm safely away from this wretched system. Really, that is all I ask. Me, with my pets, across the ocean. I will never interfere with this country again. Unless, one day you come in need of a hacker outside of the country. Then I might comply to assist you. I personally would still like to see Sybil over and done with."
"Why are you so confident I'll help you?"
"Because I'm sure you can relate to my past companion. If he were still alive, it would have been magnificent to see you two work together. Alone, you've both accomplished more than anyone else ever could. I'm sure you would have liked to collaborate, as well. Helping me would be the same as assisting him. I'm what he's left behind."
"What was your relationship with him?" Mizue inquires. I detect a note of suspicion in her voice, despite all the information about him I've given. My smile grows weaker, and my eyes find a spot out in space to star at. I summon a piece of the sadness that I've locked away to the surface to be displayed.
"I love him." I could have said this with a completely straight face at this point. Ever since that day, those words bring nothing but numbness to me. Remembering the scene, recalling the horror, everything else can still bring me pain. But those words have gone beyond that. I can't even feel the emotion behind them anymore. I still feel the same way I always have towards him, but those words no longer describe it. They're lost to me.
"And did he love you?" Mizue's voice has shrunk, and I can tell she believes me. I choke out a small laugh in response.
"I like to think that he did," I admit roughly. "It was always hard to tell what he was thinking."
Kirito pushes from the wall and exits into the other room. Mizue appears to watch him as he does something, but neither of them kicks me out. Even after he's died, Shogo is still my trump card. The boy comes back with a vial of medication and hands it to me, along with a false prescription in case I'm questioned.
"Take two of them before you enter the docks," he directs me. "Continue to take them every night until you've arrived at your destination."
I grasp the bottle gratefully, nodding an affirmation. "Thank you."
"We're back!" I announce. Huntress leaps from my arm and onto an empty stand nearby. I found it odd not having a hawk in the house after living with Hunter my entire time in Japan, so I went out of my way to find a tame hawk people found 'defective'. Huntress won't kill. Actually, it would be more accurate to say she does see live animals as food. Her instincts have been so watered down through selective breeding that she's lost all taste for live meat. She'll only eat meat from store bought packages. Still, I have to take her out daily to fly.
I barely bring my arm up in time to catch the white ball of feathers barreling towards me. "Hello!" Snowball squawks.
"Hey, boy. Where are the others?" I ask, stroking his head. Of course, he doesn't answer. A thud in the kitchen draws my attention, and I find Cranberry ransacking a box of bird treats that I recently bought. Sighing, I pry the box from his claws and store it back in the pantry, scolding the parrot.
I barely remember this kitchen from when I was a child. Since I was so young, I don't have any clear memories of what this house looked like before we moved, only faint impressions of nostalgia. When I discovered this place was unoccupied, I couldn't help myself from buying it. Money isn't an issue. There's the amount I earned from my time as a therapist, and the rest is fake. With most cash computerized, it makes it easier to illegally transfer money into my account. It's just numbers instead of actual paper.
I can't help but wonder how my parents are doing. I pretty much lost contact with them entirely when I was thirteen. I decided it would be better to cut ties with them when I moved in with Shogo, so they didn't have to get involved. However, I'm sure they were contacted after my disappearance from society. What must they think? First, their teenage daughter moves in with a man five years her senior, then they don't hear from her for years, and now she's up and vanished.
There's the possibility that I have a sibling I've never met before. As I recall, Mom and Dad had been considering having another when I left. How old would they be now? Do they even know they have an older sister? I wonder what they would've told them about me.
In the living room, I open the door to Song's cage and allow her to flutter out. Since the other birds are so big, I feel it safer to keep her in her new cage when I'm out. But she's used to flying around freely, so I leave her out often. I plop down on the leather couch, tired. It's hot outside! I may not have to do much when I take Huntress flying, but the heat makes it tiring anyway. I'm tempted to lay down right now and take a nap, but there's one more bird I have to check on before I do that.
Regretfully, I push myself from my seat and trudge up the stairs. Honestly, this house is much bigger than I need. I could've easily survived in a one floor, three room shack, but I felt like I needed to get this one since I've already lived in it once before. Now, there are multiple empty rooms I rarely use. A few have stuff piled in them, but others have nothing. There's just no way for me and a few birds to properly occupy a place of this size. Maybe it'd be easier if there was one other person, but I don't expect that to ever happen. The one person I would have willingly shared this house with is gone.
I slip through the door to my room and approach the wire cage on top of my dresser. Seeing the creature inside, I crack a smile.
"It's time to wake up, Shogo. I'm home." The white dove lifts his head to gaze at me calmly, a gentle cooing floating from his throat. I reach in, lifting him into my hands. "How was your nap? I hope the others didn't bother you. I was thinking about catching some shuteye, myself." I set him atop his cage, leaving the hatch to it open in case he wants to return. Snowball doesn't really get along with Shogo, so Shogo's limited to only my room. I don't think he minds that much, especially since doves aren't big on flying.
I move my stuffed bluebird from his place on my bed, setting him on the floor before climbing on top of the sheets. There's no reason to snuggle under the covers for an afternoon catnap. I'm about to close my eyes when I see the faded book I keep on my bedside table. Sherlock Holmes, the book Shogo read to me the day I accepted him. The day I decided I'd stay with him, no matter the circumstances.
Hugging the aged book to my chest, I curl into a ball and try to ignore the wetness gathering around my eyes. No matter how much time passes, the tears never stop. Today marks the three year anniversary of his death. Three years. I can't believe it's been three years. Three years since I last saw him, last heard his voice. I can still see and hear him vividly, as if we just talked the other day. How long will it be before I begin to forget? When will the memory of him begin to fade from my mind? I don't want to forget him! It was always Shogo's greatest fear, to be forgotten. I can't betray him, I can't forget. But the world is still spinning, and I'm still growing older. In a few years, I'll be as old as he was. Time erases the past, whether you want it to or not. But I can't forget!
I can't...I can't...let myself forget.
Barely containing my sobs, I drift across the divide of reality and fall into the dreams of my memories. There, I relive those precious days I spent at his side. There, everything goes right. Sybil breaks down, we escape unharmed, and we live out the rest of our days in peace. There, I can still feel the remnants of the happiness I had back when I still had all of my heart.
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