The Color of Passion

A Tragic Beginning to a Tragic End

It was the night before Anna’s birthday and the boys were all hyped up. Mikoto came downstairs to join the rest of us as we discussed the plans for our beloved girl’s special day.

“Oh, Mikoto. Has Anna fallen asleep?” Kusanagi asked.

“Yeah.”

“Then King, here.” Tatara said, holding out a rose for him. “Pass on it to Anna tomorrow and don’t forget to say happy birthday.” Mikoto took it with a dazed look on his face.

“Oh? Aren't you being obedient?” Kusanagi said.

“You and Akane will have to keep Anna upstairs until noon tomorrow. We’ll get ready for the party around that time.” Mikoto didn’t respond and I nodded my head. Tatara leaned over the bar and said, “Kusanagi, do you need help with anything else?”

“Ah, if there’s any work left, I’ll do it.” Yata said.

“Really?” Tatara said before grabbing his camera and heading over towards the door. “Then after I finish my errand I will head home.”

“Errand? Is something up?” Kusanagi asked.

“Yeah, you see I prepared a giant cake!”

“…HA?!” Kusanagi exclaimed.

“It wasn’t possible actually…” He looked over at Mikoto. “You know the other day we got to see the ‘candle’ light? I thought it made the entire city look like a cake with candles. It’s not much but I wanted to show it to Anna tomorrow.”

“Ah, I see.” Mikoto said.

“Wait, I don’t understand.” I whispered to the King.

“The lights of the city from high up at night time look like candles on a cake or something…” He explained.

“Oh…”

“Don’t sleep in tomorrow.” Yata said as he swept up.

“Be careful heading home.” Kusanagi said.

“Goodnight Tatara!” I waved at him.

“Yep! See you tomorrow!” He grabbed his coat, smiled and left.

About an hour later my shift ended and we were done cleaning up so everyone headed home except for Kusanagi. I headed upstairs for the night, but before I went into my room to join Anna I decided to head over to Mikoto’s room.

I lightly knocked on the door and he told me to come in from inside. I pushed open the door to reveal him sitting his couch.

“Are you excited for Anna’s birthday tomorrow? Did you get her a present? I got her the cutest pair of red shoes and I’m going to make her the best plate of omelet rice that is sure to make her smile!”

“Hmm? Not really… it’s just another day.”

“Eh?! But it’s Anna’s birthday! She’s one year older she’s…” I couldn’t understand why he had such a bored outlook on things. “Aren’t you happy that she’s becoming more of a woman as each year passes?”

“Why does it matter?” He said as he put out his cigarette.

“I don’t understand you sometimes…” I mumbled under my breath as I started to walk out, but then I remembered something that had been bothering me for a while and no one had given me a straight answer. I stopped and for a moment I got really serious. “Mikoto…”

“Hmm?”

“Do you remember the first day I met you…? Anna and Tatara… they kept saying something about me helping you. I thought maybe you were stressed out or something but… is something wrong?”

“…It doesn’t matter.” He said, looking the other way in a daze.

“Mikoto, Tatara said you were having nightmares… and for some reason my ability to nullify a King’s power seemed like something they were specifically looking for.”

“It’s nothing,” was all he said. I started to get a bit angry with each passing second of him staring off as if everything I was saying wasn’t in any way important.

“Don’t just shrug me off like I’m some annoying fly! If I can help, then please let me!”

He let out a sigh, got up, and walked over towards the door, holding it open for me.

“Goodnight, Akane.”

“No! I’m not leaving until you tell me what’s the matter! I don’t want to be kept in the shadows anymore! I’m as much of apart of Homra as anyone else.”

“This isn’t something a good girl like you should get into.”

I couldn’t take it anymore; I was now overflowing with anger. The adrenaline must have gotten to me, because I did something absolutely crazy.

“Would a good girl do this?!” I grabbed onto him and pulled him down to my level, crashing my lips against his. I could tell he was shocked by my actions, as was I. I pulled away and my faced turned red.

‘I just… I just kissed Mikoto!’

I ran out of there as fast as I could, down the stairs, and without even grabbing my jacket I ran out the door.

“Akane!?” Kusanagi exclaimed.

I ran down the street… I can’t remember for how long. I ran and ran, angry with myself. I kept thinking that he would probably reject me and I would be too embarrassed to be around him afterwards. Which meant that there was a chance that things could change, and I wouldn’t be able to enjoy my time with Homra anymore.

‘Why? Why did I have to fall in love with the King?’

I stopped to catch my breath, leaning against the wall of a nearby building.

‘What will happen now?

Will I lose my clan?

Will he reject me?

Things… can no longer be the same.’

Suddenly my phone began to vibrate. I fished it out of my pocket and looked down to see Yata was calling me. This was a rare occasion so I didn’t hesitate to answer.

“Hello?”

“Akane!” Yata said in a distressed tone.

“Yata?! What’s wrong?” I quickly stood up, ready to run back to the bar.

“It’s Tatara.” His voice cracked. I think he was crying… “Please, please come heal him. He’s been shot!”

It was like reality had shattered around me and I was stuck in a horrible nightmare.

“Yata…?”

“Please! Hurry!” He exclaimed. He told me where to go and I ran. I was on the other side of town, but I didn’t care. I ran as fast as I could. There were moments when I thought I might stop breathing and keel over, but it didn’t matter.

I wish I didn’t run so far away, I wish I didn’t make a scene with Mikoto, I wish I hadn’t been so selfish.

When I made it to the top of building Yata was holding Tatara’s bleeding body in his arms and Kusanagi stood over him with his head held down.

I was too late.

“Tatara!” I screamed as I ran over to him. I got down on my knees and held his face. He was cold… “Tatara, wake up. I’m here Tatara I’ll heal you! You just need to wake up.”

I looked down at the pool of blood around me, my tears beginning to blur my vision. I put my hands over his wound and tried to focus on healing him.

“Akane…” Yata whimpered.

“I can heal him, I can do it! I’ll heal him and everything will be okay. You’ll be okay Tatara.” I said as I tried and tried, but nothing was happening. “Please, please, wake up.”

“…Mikoto. I’m sorry, I have bad news.” Kusanagi said, talking on the phone. “No, don’t move from there.”

“Tatara…” I sobbed. As I put my hands back on his cold face.

“Yes she’s here with me…Please don’t move. We’ll bring Totsuka there.” Kusanagi said before hanging up and grabbing onto me, pulling me away from Tatara.

“No, I can heal him!”

“Akane… it’s too late.” He said. I looked down at Tatara’s motionless body as Yata held onto him and I fought against Kusanagi.

“If I had just run faster…”

“No, there was nothing you could have done. No matter how fast you ran.”

When we got back to Homra I walked upstairs without a word, but I couldn’t open the door to my room. I just sat in the middle of the hallway, covered in Tatara’s blood.

I was too late.

If I was brought to Homra in hopes of helping them… then why… why did I have to be late?

Mikoto walked out of his room and looked down at me. I didn’t pay any attention to him as I stared down at my bloodstained clothes. The image of Tatara’s cold dead expression, somewhat of a smile, kept flashing in my mind.

“I can’t do anything right.” I whispered under my breath. Mikoto sat down beside me, laid his jacket over my shoulders, wrapped his arm around me, and pulled me into him, holding me without saying a word. “I’m sorry.” I whispered as I broke down.

We stayed like that for a long while, but eventually Mikoto picked me up and brought me to his room. He started to leave to go see Tatara’s body when I spoke up.

“I want to come too.”

I didn’t want to be alone.

I stood up, my head held down as I followed him out and into the other guest room where Totsuka laid. I stared down at his body and Mikoto sat down on the bed next to him. He glanced over at his body and reached out for his earring.

“Will you help me?” Mikoto asked me. I stared down at him, pausing for a moment before nodding my head. I grabbed a safety pin from one of the boxes close by and he heated it up to sterilize it. I proceeded to pierce his ear for him and he didn’t seem to feel any pain.

It looked good on him.

I stared down at Tatara; that smile still plastered on his face. Mikoto reached in his pocket for a cigarette and lit it with the lighter I gave him. My eyes widened in surprise. I didn’t think he actually used it.

Kusanagi knocked on the open door.

“Mikoto.” I looked over at him, the scene of him prying me from Tatara’s body flashing before my eyes, over and over. “For the funeral, how should we do it? This guy doesn’t have any family, if we’re going to do it I can—“

“There’s no need.” Mikoto interrupted him.

“…Are you going to burn him?”

“Yes. Blood, bone, not even ash will be left behind. So there is no need to prepare a tomb.”

“I see.”

Mikoto stood up and walked over towards the exit.

“Kusanagi.”

“What is it?”

“… I’m going to return the favor.”

“I won’t say things like ‘it’s okay’ or ‘everything will work out’…”

“It’s alright you don’t need to say either one.”

“It wasn’t half bad… to fight along with you, Totsuka and everyone in Homra. We were like a bunch of young punks playing around… all these times, weren’t bad at all… let’s return the favor.”

I didn’t say anything; I didn’t even try to understand the length of their conversation. I just stared down at Tatara’s lifeless body and cried.

We did it that night; we brought Tatara to the beach in a large wooden white box and we all stood in a half circle as Mikoto burned him.

“No blood, no bone, no ash.” Mikoto said.

When it was over we stayed there for a while, not wanting to leave.

“I’ll definitely make them pay.” Yata growled as he clenched his hand into a fist. I glanced over at him.

Apparently it was the Colorless King who did it. I didn’t know much about the other Kings, but either way I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone would ever kill Tatara. Who could have the heart?

We all began to chant the phrase, “no blood, no bone, no ash.” It was something that we said to show our pride for Homra but at that moment it became something much more. It became a promise, a promise for revenge.

That night I couldn’t sleep; I doubt any of us could. The pain of Tatara’s death was just too much.

“Mikoto…” Anna whispered.

“Hmm? What is Anna?” I said.

“He’s so sad… I should go check on him…” She was so tired though; I couldn’t let her go worry herself more.

“I’ll go check on him for you, jut go to sleep.”

She nodded her head and I let out a sigh. I got up and stumbled down the hall. I stood in front of Mikoto’s door, my throat tight and my tears all run out. I lightly knocked on the door, but there was no response. I thought about just going back to my room, but Anna seemed really distressed, so I quietly peeked inside. He was facing away from me as he lay on top of the covers of his bed. I tiptoed over to his closet, grabbed a blanket and went to put it over him.

I was about to leave, when he suddenly grabbed my hand and pulled me down onto the bed. I was shocked by his sudden actions. He held onto me from behind and hid his face in my back.

“Mikoto?” I whispered.

“Mmmm?”

So he’s awake…

“Do you feel better this way?” I asked him.

“Yeah…”

We stayed like that for a while and when I thought he had finally gone asleep he called out to me.

“Akane…?”

“Yeah?”

He paused for a long time so I turned towards him to see what was the matter and he pulled me into a kiss. My eyes widened in surprise, but I soon relaxed, savoring his touch.

The next day Eric was watching some of the stuff that Tatara had filmed before he died and eventually all of us joined in. You could feel the grief in the air as we heard Tatara’s voice from behind the camera while he recorded all of us in our daily lives.

I looked around, noticing that Mikoto wasn’t with us. I glanced out the window and a glimpse of smoke traveled by. I made my way outside into the cold and ran over to his side, trying to keep up with his pace. He only gave me a glance as he went on towards wherever he was going.

After a long silence he suddenly said, “Are you cold?” I shook my head.

“Are you angry?” I asked him. He looked down at me and paused for a moment before responding.

“…Yes.”

I stopped and held out my hand towards him and he stared back at me.

“Then I’ll stay by your side, until you calm down.”

“That may never happen…” He said.

“Then I suppose you’re stuck with me for a while, huh?” I forced a smile and he looked surprised for a moment before slowly grabbing onto my hand.

“Do you want to go get some coffee?” I asked.

“I’d rather just go to sleep.”

“Okay.”

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