“I swear I was this close to catching the guy!”
Yata said as I tried to focus on healing his wound that he got from one of the
Blues while searching the school.
“Keep still will you? And be quiet for a moment….” I hid under my bangs as I closed my eyes. “I’m still unsure how to use this power…” All I could think about was Tatara, his bleeding body and his sad smile flashing before my eyes as I failed to heal his fatal wound.
“Woah! You did it!” Yata exclaimed. I looked up in confusion and my eyes widened when I saw that the deep cut was now gone, as though it wasn’t even there anymore.
Why? Why couldn’t it have worked when needed?
“… I should get back to Mikoto… before he wakes up.” I said as I held my head down and started towards the stairs.
“Akane…” Kusanagi said. I stopped in my tracks, not bothering to turn around as I waited for him to speak. He let out a sigh. “Never mind.”
I went on without question, trudging up the steep stairs and back into the little dark room. I sat down on the bed next to Mikoto, still fast asleep.
Ever since we went on that long walk to that school I haven’t been able to get something out of my mind.
Does Mikoto feel the same way about me as I do him?
I got up and changed into one of his shirts. “Akane.” He mumbled. I glanced back and he grabbed onto me from behind, pulling me down onto the bed. He snuggled his head in the crook of my neck and began to kiss my warm skin. It felt so good, but I was still distraught. He lifted his head up and pulled me into a kiss.
It’s just as I was afraid of… every time you kiss me I get lonelier.
Mikoto and I were in bed when it happened. I was half asleep and I opened my eyes to see Mikoto standing up surrounded by flames.
“I found you.” He growled. I sat up with alarm and jumped out of bed, grabbing him from behind, causing his flames to cease.
“What is it Mikoto?” I asked.
I saw that his hands were tightly formed into fists at his side, his flames may not have been able to show it at that moment, but it was apparent he was still filled with fury.
“He’s at the high school.”
My eyes widened in surprise. Was he talking about Tatara’s killer? How was he so sure?
He pulled out of my grip, grabbed his coat and started downstairs. I hurriedly grabbed some clothes and followed after him.
Everyone at the bar stared at us in surprise since we rarely left his room these days.
Kusanagi smirked, “Is it time already?”
Mikoto nodded and I watched in confusion.
‘Time for what?’
We gathered allies and headed to the school. Mikoto was sure of where the culprit was and determined for revenge.
It’s not like I wasn’t ready for justice... it’s just… I had a bad feeling.
I stood with Anna as Mikoto led his army to the school, he didn’t seem to want to have his powers under control at the moment so I kept my distance, watching him with worry.
His sword floated above us, damaged and crumbling.
I wonder… is it supposed to look like that?
Mikoto blew off the entrance to the school, smirking from the destruction. All the students ran in fear and Mikoto threw another one of his flames, destroying one of the buildings ahead. Everyone stopped and Kusanagi held up a megaphone.
“Okay everyone please stay calm.” He said. “Didn’t they teach you anything in school? No pushing, no running, and no talking during emergencies. It’s important to obey the three N’s. We’re not here to hassle you. Please stay put and cooperate. This shouldn’t take long.” He set down the megaphone.
“You guys find that kid.” Mikoto said. He started to walk off and I stood there in confusion.
Should I follow him?
I looked down at Anna and she was watching after him as well. She looked up at me with wide eyes and mouthed, “go.” I was surprised by her request, but I did so anyways. I ran up to his side and he glanced down at me. I waited for him to grab my hand or maybe hold me by my waist, like he always did lately but… he kept his hands in his pockets and acted as though I wasn’t even there.
I could hear Kusanagi’s voice surrounding the school as he told the students how this was going to go. I always thought I cared about others no matter who they were, but honestly the fear the students probably held I didn’t even think about. All I cared about right there and then was one person… and he was ignoring me.
At one point he suddenly stopped in his tracks and slightly smirked to himself.
“Munakata…” He mumbled under his breath. I cocked my head to the side in confusion, but Mikoto went on as though nothing was different.
We walked for a while until finally we stopped at the ruins of one of the buildings he had destroyed earlier. He laid on top of a pile of rocks as he stared up at the sky. The sun was setting and the temperature was dropping. I stood over him for a few moments before finally laying beside him.
Hours went by, the sun went down and the stars shined above us. I couldn’t take it anymore.
“Please…” I whispered. “Stop it.” I hid my face in my hands as I shivered from the cold.
“Hmm?” He glanced over at me and I tried to conceal my tears.
“I don’t care if you don’t touch me or talk to me… just please at least acknowledge my existence… please.” My voice cracked and I started to feel like an idiot. He must think I’m so clingy…
“…Sorry.” He wrapped his arms around me. My eyes widened in surprise as I felt his warmth envelope me. He let out a deep, hot breath on my neck and a shiver ran down my spine. “I’m just… so much more calm with you around.”
I was astonished by his sudden change towards me.
Was it possible that Mikoto felt like when it came to Tatara… he wasn’t allowed to be anything but angry?
If I made him calm… or even the slightest bit relieved. Maybe he feels as though that was an insult towards his dead friend.
It broke my heart to think that way.
I grabbed onto him tightly and hid my face in his shoulder, my tears soaking his jacket. I didn’t even notice the cold touch of the snow falling.
“Mikoto…” I whimpered. I took a deep breath as I inhaled his intoxicating scent and I tried to calm myself. “Tatara wouldn’t want you to suffer.” I think this was the first time I said his name since that horrible event… and it hurt more than anything.
There was a long pause.
“…I know.” He said as he stroked my hair.
I have to know… I can’t go on like this anymore.
"Hey, Mikoto… If I wasn't a strain... if I didn’t have the ability to nullify your powers... would you still care about me?"
"What kind of question is that?"
"I'm just... wondering.”
"...We wouldn't have ever met."
"Yeah...” I pulled back so that we were face to face. “But what if we did. What if somehow, some way we met? Would you still make me apart of Homra? Would you still feel the way you do about me? Would you still have kissed me like on that night?"
"I don't know.”
That's when I had convinced myself that my feelings were not mutual. I loved Mikoto a lot more than he loved me, and as long as I had these abilities there was no way to change that.
But that doesn't matter.
“Mikoto I…” I wanted to say it. More than anything I wanted to pour out my feelings to him, but for some reason I just couldn’t.
“…Don’t push yourself, alright?” My heart dropped as I cursed myself for being such an idiot. He just nodded and I laid my head down on his chest as I stared up at the night sky with the cold flakes of snow dancing overhead.
I could hear her quite footsteps as she approached us. I glanced over and watched as Anna made her way to the pile of ruins and started to climb up the rocks. I started to worry; afraid she was going to fall. I began to sit up to go and help her, but Mikoto held onto me tightly and pulled her up by the collar of her dress with ease.
“What are you doing?” He asked her.
“There is snow on you, Mikoto.”
“You can’t have your red not showing.”
He looked over at me and I let out a sigh as I moved off of him and laid back down on the cold rock, careful not to touch him. He looked back up at the sky and he started to glow a brilliant red, the snow melting.
“Your red is the prettiest.” Anna said. She lied down on the other side of him.
“Aren’t you cold?” He asked her.
“It’s warm next to you. It’s the only… warm place.” She closed her eyes and I watched her with sadness.
Mikoto is her everything. Am I… taking him away from her? A future with him?
Mikoto’s warmth began to radiate around me.
I…I’m so selfish.
Despite all the pain everyone was going through I took their King and left them to fend for themselves. Anna, Yata, Kusanagi… everyone in Homra. They were all hurting from Tatara’s death, but I stayed with the King in that dark room, and ran from reality rather than facing it with my friends.
I closed my eyes and welcomed his warmth.
When this is all over I have to apologize.
“You’re living the life.” I heard Kusanagi’s voice from below. “While your men are running around, their King takes a nap with whole time with two beautiful women.”
“That's what it means to be King.” Mikoto said with that bored tone of his.
“No, I think there is a problem with your image of a King. Even one like that wouldn’t take their healer and leave his men without aid. Though I suppose it’s best that she’s with you, seeing as since you two ran off there hasn’t been any new ruins besides this one. It’s not like you have to work with us or anything… So, you’re just waiting?”
“You think he’ll make a move?”
“We humble folks…” Kusanagi said as he sat down on one of the nearby rocks below, “will do our best to catch him before then.” There was a long pause. “When I first met Totsuka…” Both Anna and I opened our eyes from the sound of the name. “I thought the kid wasn’t dealing from a full deck. Despite your menacing demeanor, the kid approached you like you were buddies, boasting he was going to be the vassal of a King. And then, you actually became a real King. I thought you weren’t the type to protect and bring people together. I thought you were like a bomb with a short fuse. But maybe Totsuka saw something different in you.”
Mikoto smirked. “You were more correct than he was.”
“Even so, since becoming a King, you stopped being the short-fused bomb and became a gun that protected what needed to be protected. In the beginning, I never imagined I could have so much fun with the people who gathered around you.”
Mikoto rolled over so he was now facing me.
“Stop you’re giving me the creeps.” He said.
Mikoto and I gazed at each other as Kusanagi talked.
Why is he saying these things as though it would be his last chance?
“Yeah you’re right. I shouldn’t be clinging to the past as I get older.” Kusanagi stood up. “Anna, Akane, come with me.” Anna and I sat up. “Mikoto has some business to take care of.” Anna nodded her head ad I looked back down at Mikoto in confusion. His warmth that surrounded me ceased and he sat up as well. “Someone’s here to see you.” Mikoto jumped off the ruin and I stared down at him. He held his hands out to show that he would catch me. My eyes widened in surprise as I hesitantly swung my legs over the edge and jumped down. My cheeks burned as he held me easily by the waist and lowered me down. He patted the top of my head and began to walk off on a path surrounded by an array of trees. The three of us watched after him as he disappeared into the darkness. “I couldn’t ask for a better King.” Kusanagi said under his breath. I looked over at him.
Stop it… stop acting as though things are coming to an end.
I stared back out onto the dark path as Kusanagi started to lead Anna away.
“Come on Akane, you’re going to catch a cold.”
I’m sorry… but I need to be selfish for just a bit longer.
I ran up the path without a word and he didn’t even try to stop me. I could hear the faint sound of his sigh as he watched after me.
I ran until I could see Mikoto and the Blue King just ahead. I couldn’t believe that they were just sitting there and talking when Mikoto made it obvious he was in no way fond of him. I hid behind the nearby bushes and watched them as they talked.
“Why do you use that lighter of yours despite your abilities?” The Blue King asked as they both smoked a cigarette.
“It’s a keepsake of mine.”
“She gave it to you didn’t she?” Mikoto didn’t respond. There was a long pause before the Blue King decided to change the subject. “I’ll be direct.”
“Relinquish this school peacefully. I can’t overlook the way you are involving innocent high-school students. If you comply now, I can settle this before things get out of hand.”
“That’s a fine idea… is that what you expected me to say?”
“It’s not an Idea, it’s an ultimatum. You’ve gone too far, Suoh. That being the case let me slay Tatara Totsuka’s killer. The man who calls himself the Colorless King.”
“If you’ll consent to that, I’ll execute him in any way you wish.”
“That’s very generous of you.” Mikoto said with a sad smile. “But no thanks.”
“I’m sure you’ve seen the shape your Sword of Damocles is in. The sword is a symbol of a King and manifests the true image of its King’s condition. Your sword will come crashing down soon.” My eyes widened as I realized exactly what he was saying.
Mikoto’s sword… was crumbling. Did that mean he was… dying?
“Oh really?” Mikoto said in that bored tone of his.
“Your Weismann level is at the brink. The added burden of killing a King here will certainly exceed your limit.”
If all this is true… why does the Blue King care?
“You’ll cause a repeat of the Kagutsu Crater Tragedy. You no longer have the right to be King. It’s time to step down, Red King.”
I don’t understand… What is really happening? Why… why am I in the dark?
“I’ve never taken any action as a King.” Mikoto said.
Suddenly The Blue King was pinning Mikoto against the ground and I gasped. I quickly covered my mouth and debated rather or not if I should intervene.
“There are innocent high school students here.” The Blue King said as he gripped tightly on the collar of Mikoto’s shirt. “Your men are here too as well as that strain girl who could very well save you from your destruction. Do you understand?”
“I will settle my own business, while you take care of yours.” Mikoto said in a monotone voice. “Isn’t that all there is?”
The Blue King stood up and let out a sigh. “Barbarian. You’re beyond reason.”
Mikoto stood up as well. “You didn’t think you could actually change my mind, did you? That’s so not your style.”
“Not really… I just came here… to see a friend.”
For the first time Mikoto looked surprised by his words, but he soon concealed it with a smirk, letting the cigarette that hanged from his lips fall to the ground.
“Go.” He said as he turned away and his earring sparkled from the light of the moon.
“Suoh… are you sure you won’t change your mind?”
The Blue King let out a sigh.
“That poor girl…you don’t deserve her.”
“I know.” The Blue King walked off and I let out a shaken breath as I watched Mikoto hold a sad smile with his back to him. “You can come on out now.”
I did as he said, shivering from the cold.
“When did you…?”
“Right away, both of us noticed.”
I suppose you can’t fool a King that easily.
He walked up to me, took off his jacket, and helped me put it on.
“Don’t worry, I don’t get cold.”
“… It’s not that.” I said as I held my head down. “Mikoto… are you going to leave me?”
He answered my question with a simple silence.