No Blood, No Bone, No Ash
“Tatara… why do you think Mikoto thinks of me as a good girl?” I
said as I made my fork dance on my full plate of food.
“Hmm? Cause you’re so cute Akane!” He smiled. I felt the heat rush to my cheeks from the compliment, but I didn’t let myself get distracted.
“But I don’t want him to look at me that way… like I’m this fragile thing he has to protect. I want to be his equal.”
“You know just because you aren’t powerful doesn’t mean you’re not his equal.” Kusanagi intervened. I looked over at him in surprise.
“What do you mean?” I asked him.
“Ever since I can remember Mikoto always did whatever he wanted, never conforming to what others said he should or shouldn’t do. But when he’s with you… it’s like he’ll do anything to make you happy.”
“That’s right, a man’s got to do whatever it takes to make his wife happy.” Tatara added.
“How many times do I have to tell you? WE ARE NOT GETTING MARRIED!!” I screamed at him.
You know there is no such thing as what is right and what is wrong. Us humans created these ideas with the feelings that they gave us. Killing made us feel bad so we said, “This is wrong.” Saving someone made us feel good so we said, “This is right.” But it’s all just ideas and everything that we do is based around these ideas and that’s alright.
But what if you had to make a hard choice where the line of what is good or bad becomes nothing but a blur? Then what? Then we as humans would have to throw away our ideals and trust what we felt, because that’s where it all started… and after all these years that’s the best excuse I could come up with to compensate for what I did.
“I… How am I supposed to choose?” I asked Shiro as he waited for me to make my choice.
“I am sorry, I’m afraid even I would be at loss in your situation.” He said with a sad smile spread across his face. “You know… I really believed that what I did had the potential to bring everyone happiness… however now I am beginning to see that it only brought loneliness. Each King sees himself above others and each King has set himself divergent from one another as I did… on that day… long ago.” He lifted his umbrella over his shoulder and made eye contact with me. You could see in his eyes that he was tired from all the years of grieving up in the sky. “But I honestly think that you are different. In all the mistakes I made you were probably the best… Akane…” He set the sword on the ground, took a few steps forward and held out his hand towards me. “It was so nice to finally meet you.” I hesitantly laid my palm on top of his. He grabbed onto me and pulled me into a hug. My eyes widened in surprise and he whispered in my ear, “I trust you to change this endless cycle and right my wrongs.” This was my chance. If I was going to do it, it would need to be right then, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t focus. All I could think about was Tatara and how disappointed both him and Mikoto would be in me. He took a step back, opened his umbrella, and began to float up into the air.
“Wait!! What about the choice you gave me?” I exclaimed.
“I’m sorry. I was being selfish again. I won’t let you have to make that choice.” He flew off towards the large swords ramming against each other and I felt my heart begin to beat so fast I thought I might fall over.
“Happy New Year Mikoto!” I screamed at the top of my lungs before taking another sip of champagne.
“Ugh, you’re so loud.” He said as he rolled over on the couch, trying to take a nap.
“Come on Mikoto you’re the one that wanted to stay in tonight, at least have a bit of fun with me.” He just grumbled in response. I looked over at Anna who was smiling at my silly dancing. “Come on you guys!” I ran over to the radio and turned up the music. “It’s another year aren’t you excited!? There’s so much ahead of us!”
“That doesn’t mean we have to dance.” Yata said.
“But dancing is the best way to express your happiness!” I exclaimed before grabbing Anna and spinning her around.
“Okay, I think you’ve had a bit too much alcohol.” Kusanagi said, taking away my drink.
“Hey! Just because I’m happy doesn’t mean I’m drunk! It’s our first New Years together you guys. I want to make the best of it! We need to celebrate all our adventures from the year before so that we have something to look forward to next New Years.”
“That’s very odd logic you have there.” Kusanagi said.
“You’re into it right Tatara?” I asked him, holding my hand out as a gesture for him to join our dancing.
“I’ll join you after a get a bit more footage.” He said, holding his camera up.
“Come on Yata.” I grabbed onto him and he turned red from embaressment.
“Oi! I don’t want to dance!” He exclaimed.
“Too bad!” I laughed, spinning him around. “Come here Kamamoto!” I pulled the fat man over to me and danced with him for a bit, until eventually everyone was dancing and celebrating except for Mikoto. I leaned over the King and smiled. “Please Mikoto.”
“No.” He grumbled.
I didn’t bother him after that and the night went on for about an hour, until Anna got too tired and everyone started to head home. I promised Kusanagi I would clean up for him so it ended up just being me downstairs.
I picked up the last of the decorations, turned around and jumped back in surprise when I saw Mikoto standing at the end of the stairs.
“You are very sneaky.” I giggled, still a little tipsy from the champagne.
The King let out a sigh as he walked over and put his cigarette out in the ashtray on the coffee table. I watched him in confusion as he made his way over to the CD player and put on a slow song. I felt my heart begin to beat faster as he held out his hand for me.
“You are never to speak of this.” He grumbled. I nodded my head furiously before putting down the broom and taking his hand.
He wasn’t a very good dancer, but he was warm. I laid my head against his chest and closed my eyes as I took in his scent.
It was a moment to remember forever.
I didn’t realize I was running at first, but once I snapped out of my daze I pushed myself so hard I was afraid I wouldn’t make it.
It was like Tatara all over again.
If I had just run faster…
If I just didn’t kiss Mikoto…
If I had just made my choice…
If I could just run faster…
No matter what… I just can’t seem to be able to run fast enough.
I was at the edge of the clearing and there he was, glowing a bright red, as he was about to set his fate in stone.
“Mikoto!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, the tears streaming down my face.
He rammed his fist straight through Shiro’s chest and there was a bright light. A heavy force threw me back and my body rammed into a tree.
I couldn’t breathe.
When I woke up I felt the light touch of the snow falling on my face and I saw the blurred image of Mikoto not so far in the distance. I pushed myself up, expecting pain from the blow I just took, but instead I was perfectly fine. I walked towards Mikoto and my vision began to become clear as I saw him waiting for me.
“Mikoto…” I said, my voice cracking as my tears started to fall furiously. He nodded his head. I ran up to him full force and tackled him. He held me against him tightly as I took in his scent. “You’re not dead.” I whispered. He took a deep breath and I looked up at him with a smile. “I love you.”
He stared down at me with a loving gaze and he stroked the tears falling down my cheeks away with his thumbs. There was a long silence until I finally noticed that the sword that was once floating high above him was now only inches away, ready to drop at any moment. My eyes widened in surprise and I felt my heart break in two as I realized what was really happening.
“After all of this… after everything we’ve been through…” I tried to control my voice as I felt the lump now lodged in my throat making it hard to speak. “We barely had any time together.”
“It’s not about the amount of time.” He pushed my hair back as he leaned his forehead against mine. “Take care of them alright?” I nodded my head. He leaned in and I tightened my grip on him. “Goodbye.” He mumbled in my ear. He started to let go of me but I wouldn’t have it.
“I can’t…” I whispered. “Mikoto please… won’t you say it? Even if it isn’t true, please just say you love me.”
He paused for a long while before taking a deep breath, “Akane… I—“
Suddenly I was leaning against the tree again, trying to catch my breath, the Blue King leaning over me with a concerned expression.
“Mikoto?” I exclaimed despite my inability to breathe and my aching throat. I tried pushing myself up, but my body was throbbing in pain and moving at all made me want to scream in agony. Munakata grabbed onto me without a word and started to carry me away. I looked back to see a large crater only a few feet away. My eyes widened and I tried to resist against him, but I was too weak. “Mikoto?” I screamed out.
Munakata carried me all the way across the bridge and into the arms of Kusanagi. I couldn’t stop crying, my head pounding and my body aching in pain. As he was passing me over to the Homra member I caught a glimpse of blood dripping from his fingers and onto my skirt. I felt my emotions grow even harder to bear and I gripped tightly onto Kusanagi. I kept whispering between my sobs Mikoto’s name while everyone else stayed silent as the sun started to set.
“There was nothing you could have done, no matter how fast you ran.” Kusanagi mumbled. I stopped for a moment in surprise. Once again I had to hear those words.
“I can’t do this anymore.” I said. Everyone looked over at me in confusion.
“What are you talking about Akane?” Kamamoto said.
“I can’t keep sitting idly by and watching you all die one by one.” I tried to push back the tears just for a little while longer. “Promise me… no one else dies.”
“Akane…” Kusanagi started.
“I swear I will protect Homra no matter what, but I can only do so much. Swear that you will try your hardest from now on, that you will never give up. No one else dies!” I screamed, the tears once again surfacing without any control.
Night fell and the snow started to get heavier, everyone nodded in agreement and Yata broke out into tears. Kamamoto had to hold Anna in his arms to comfort her and I refused to let go of Kusanagi.
As we were staring out onto the island in despair Kamamoto started to chant, “No blood, no bone, no ash.” The last time we exclaimed those words together was… when Tatara died. Soon everyone joined in. I screamed the words through my tears, ignoring the pain in my throat. After awhile all of the red clansmen started to glow a red color. My eyes widened as I looked around at the now red orbs floating in the sky. I reached around my neck and gripped onto the necklace Mikoto gave me as I watched everyone’s red aura’s dance above us. Anna jumped out of Kamamoto’s arms with a smile and held her arms out as she looked up into the sky.
I took in this moment as the last remnants of Mikoto lit up the sky a brilliant red color.
Mikoto told me once in his last few days that before I came to Homra he often questioned himself as a King. He found it to be troublesome and felt like he was hurting others around him. He didn’t want to be King, he never did. And one day when Mikoto came back from a brawl with some gang rats he was especially self-loathing, but Tatara wouldn’t have it. “Your powers aren’t meant for destruction. They exist to protect.” He said. Those words stuck with Mikoto, until the very end.
I don’t think Mikoto died because he was sad or angry or fed up with being a King. I think he left me solely because he wanted to protect us. He was scared that if he didn’t take action that he would lose something even more important than his own life… his friends.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better King.” Kusanagi mumbled underneath his breath. I looked up at him in surprise.
“… Yeah. He really was the best.” I whispered.
When I went to the hospital I found out that I hadn’t done any serious damage to my body besides a fractured pelvis. Kusanagi told me that if it were anyone who wasn’t a King or myself they probably wouldn’t have survived.
I had to stay in the hospital for only a week or so and I spent a lot of that time crying. I was never left alone. Someone always stayed with me, but it was usually Yata. Kusanagi told me of many times while I was sleeping where Kamamoto had to drag Yata home after refusing to leave my side. And after he found out I was pregnant not even Kamamoto could make him budge.
One night I woke up from another nightmare of endless running. Yata grabbed onto my hand for comfort and I soon calmed down. I stared up at the ceiling, the tears unstoppable.
“Akane…” Yata started. I didn’t even glance his way. “I swear you won’t have to go through this alone. All of us in Homra will be there for you and… I’ll be the kid’s father in place of Mikoto.” I didn’t respond.
When I got out of the hospital I had to stay in a wheelchair for the most of my pregnancy. Everyone tried to tend to my needs as best they could, but I didn’t really do much but sit in Mikoto’s room in silence.
Anna would often sit with me, Eric and Fujishima would take me out on walks, Kamamoto would help me up and down the stairs, Yata would make sure I’m eating right and taking my prenatal pills, Kusanagi would take me to my doctors appointments which Yata always attended, and Bando, Chitose, Dewa and Shouhei would try to entertain me. And not a lot changed after I got out of the wheelchair. They all tried so hard and all I did was sit there with a blank expression. I was at rock bottom.
However, when I had my baby things changed. I screamed in pain for hours but a lot of the pain I was feeling was emotional rather than physical. I was having Mikoto’s baby and he wasn’t there to see it.
I sat on that table with Yata squeezing my hand and everyone else in the waiting room. I swear that boy looked 10 times more frightened than me. I just wanted it to be over with, I didn’t even really care about the child…
That is until I saw him for myself. That child had such beautiful red hair…
The next day I had some visitors.
“Akane!” A familiar voice exclaimed. I looked over at the door and there stood Neko and Kuroh with a bouquet of flowers.
“We’re sorry we didn’t come to see you sooner.” Kuroh said as he placed the flowers on the nightstand. Neko leaped into the air and landed on my lap in her cat form. “Neko!”
“It’s fine.” I laughed as I pet her.
“So how have you been?” Kuroh said.
“Oh not so well…” I looked over at Yata who was passed out on one of the chairs. “But I wasn’t alone.”
“Is the baby healthy?” Kuroh asked.
“Yes, and if it wasn’t for Homra I’m afraid that might not have been the case.” I held out my hand for Kuroh and he took it. “You should know that he didn’t want to go. He wanted to stay and make many more memories with you two.” He nodded his head.
“We’re still looking for him…”
“He is the immortal King. He has to have survived.”
I let out a sigh, “Well when you do find him… bring him to me will you? He needs a good slap.” I lightly chuckled.
Kuroh nodded his head in agreement with a slight smile.
“Akane, they said we can take you home now.” Kusanagi interrupted.
“I suppose we should get going.” Kuroh said, as he picked up Neko from my lap and started to walk out. “By the way, what did you name the child?