The Red Queen
It seems that our dear Akane has left you in the dark of what
happened afterwards, so I suppose I will tell you the rest.
A lot happened when Tatara was just a baby, but we made our way. Akane protected us, and we did her.
It’s been many years now and Yata really came through on his promise. Although everyone in Homra is like a father to Tatara, Yata made the made the most effort. He never had any romantic feeling for Akane or anything; I think he just felt as though he had a duty to Mikoto to take care of them.
Every year on Mikoto’s anniversary of death we would sit down and watch all the footage that Totsuka had of Homra and just grieve. And like every year on that morning Akane would set out to Scepter 4 and have tea with the Blue King.
“I’m glad that you are finally over that claim on killing me Nakamura.” The Blue King said.
“Please, call me Akane.” She said as she took a sip of her tea.
“So, when exactly am I going to meet this son of yours?” He asked.
“Oh not for a long time Munakata.” She smiled as she set down her teacup.
“And why is that?”
“He needs to be able to protect himself from your manipulative behavior before facing you.” The Blue King just laughed in response, not wanting to have to get into another quarrel with her over his intentions. “Although I may not say it as often anymore you should know, that if you ever lay your hands on my son I will stab you in the chest just like you did Mikoto.” His eyes widened from her frightening threat, but he soon composed himself with a fake smile and a nod.
“Seeing as you haven’t stormed out angrily yet, I suppose it’s about time I shared with you something that Suoh wanted you to have.” He held out a small tattered piece of paper taped to the lighter she had given Mikoto. Her eyes widened and she started to shake from all the emotions resurfacing. She hesitantly took it from him and started to unfold the note. “Maybe you should wait to read it when you are alone.”
She looked over at him and then back at the note. She nodded her head, jumped up from her seat and started to walk out of Scepter 4 without so much as a goodbye.
She walked all the way to the bridge towards the island where the newly rebuilt Asashinka High School stood. She leaned over the railing and stared out onto the island where it all happened.
"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... 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.”
She looked down at the small piece of paper and started to unfold it.
I was wrong. No matter what I would have loved you, just as I do now.
She felt her tears begin to pour with no control over them, her broken heart finally molding back together.
He really did love her.
She stayed there until sunset and then made her way back to Homra to join us as we watched the tapes. Tatara, only 6 years old at the time, sat on her lap and would light up whenever he saw his father come on screen.
“Tatara won’t you play it for me one more time?” Akane asked from behind the camera, holding out his guitar.
He let out a small chuckle and nodded his head as he took hold of the instrument and sat down at one of the chairs pushed up against the bar.
“How many times are you going to make him play that song, Akane?” Yata asked.
“I swear this is the last time, I just want to get it on camera.” She said. “Come on now, gather around. I want to get everyone in the shot.” They all groaned as she pushed people over by the bar. “Mikoto, please get up for just a moment.” She said as she stood over him lying down on the couch.
He let out a groan before slowly getting up, sliding over to the bar, and collapsing on one of the stools. He lit a cigarette and let out sigh,
Totsuka nodded and began to play. You could see everyone’s slight smile on their faces as they listened to his voice. You could almost feel the overbearing grin Akane had from behind the camera. You could see the way she slightly swayed to the music from the way the camera moved like a cradle and you couldn’t help but sway along with her over joyous self. But the thing that really stood out was probably Mikoto.
He wasn’t looking at Totsuka nor was he staring off into space, he was looking straight at Akane with a look of pure endearment that you could never picture on a King’s face. How she didn’t know how he felt right then and there I will never understand.
Eventually everyone went home. Yata put Tatara to bed, kissed Akane on the forehead, and headed out, leaving only her and I.
She sat and watched the same tape over and over of Tatara singing. I finished up cleaning the bar, walked over to her side, laid my hand on her shoulder and watched with her.
“Kusanagi…” She looked up at me with tears in her eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
“… You lost them both… your oldest friends in less than two weeks.” My eyes widened in astonishment. “You had to be strong, for all of us, but especially me. You never got the chance to be sad.” She suddenly got up and pulled me in a hug. I was hesitant at first, but I quickly returned it.
“Akane…” I let out a sigh and she looked up at me in confusion. I walked over to the bar and grabbed the tape with her name written on it in Totsuka’s handwriting. I held it out to her and she cocked her head to the side. “I found it awhile back when cleaning through Mikoto’s things. I didn’t want to give it to you until you were ready.”
She sat down and stared at the screen with a small smile on her face.
“Play it.” She told me.
I did as she said. I sat down beside her, holding her hand, and she gripped tightly onto it when he appeared.
“What’s that you got there King?” Totsuka asked him from behind the camera, referring to Mikoto’s new lighter.
“Hmm? Oh, it’s a birthday present from Akane.” He grumbled as he lit his cigarette. I glanced over at Akane who gripped onto the lighter in her other hand.
“But it isn’t even your birthday.” Totsuka laughed.
“She got confused.” He slightly laughed and her hand tightened around mine.
“And you still use it even though you don’t really have to.” Totsuka teased.
“So?” Mikoto grumbled.
“Why don't you just ask her out already?” Totsuka exclaimed. Akane’s eyes widened and she leaned in.
“She’s too good for me…”
“What are you talking about?” Totsuka asked.
“A good girl like that shouldn’t be with a guy like me.”
“Mikoto…” Akane whispered under her breath.
“You know she isn’t this pure little thing you can’t have.” Totsuka said. “She’s strong and she cares for you. One day I’ll marry you two and I’ll be saying, I told you so.”
Mikoto let out a sigh, “Whatever.”
The screen went black and the poor girl beside me burst into tears. I rubbed her back and asked her what was the matter and she said,
“We couldn’t have asked for a better King.”
At first I was surprised by her response, but I soon smiled and said,
“Yeah… he really was the best.”
I remember after that she would always have a lit cigarette on her. She never smoked them, she just said she enjoyed the smell.
Not long after Tatara was born and Anna had become the new King the Silver King came by. It had turned out that the immortal King really was immortal. The first thing she did was slap him across the face before pulling him into a hug.
A lot of things were going on at the time, the Green King was a large threat to the clan and no one knew of what dangers the other King’s might bring. Akane grew more and more worried everyday in fear that something might happen to her infant son Tatara.
The Silver King had come with lots of information on the Kings and their intentions. He also informed Akane of the reality of her powers. It had turned out rather than having the ability to nullify a King’s power it was the ability to both temporarily and permanently absorb their power. This came to be a large shock to Akane as she felt her failure to save Mikoto and Tatara overwhelm her once again. Many things would have probably gone differently if she had realized this sooner. However, that’s when the Silver King asked something extremely dangerous of Akane. He wanted her to take on her role as Queen and absorb the powers of all the Kings, destroying the Dresden Slate, and ending the cycle of kings.
After long thought Akane decided to take on this task. She knew of the consequences and the risks, but she was frightened of the chance that her son might be chosen as the next Red King after Anna.
This put a big strain on her since she would be bearing the burden of holding all of their energy within herself. Of course many Kings were against this idea, especially the Reisi Munakata, the last King to be stripped of their powers.
I remember vividly the last thing she said to me 16 years after Tatara was born as she started to cross the bridge to the same island where Mikoto died to meet with the Blue King for a final battle.
“Kusanagi.” She said as she lit a cigarette with Mikoto’s lighter. “I will fight until the end, that’s what this means.” She held up her wrist, which showed her Homra tattoo she got after Mikoto died. “Don’t you worry, I’ll be back in less than a hour. Cook up some omelet rice for me while you wait, will ya? Just like Totsuka used to make." She laughed and her necklace Mikoto gave her all those years ago made a clinking noise. "And make sure neither Tatara or Yata crosses this bridge until I get back. I swear those two are so reckless.” She brushed her hair out of her face to reveal the slight scar across her cheek she had gotten from the day he died.
“Akane…” I said. “You would have made one hell of a King.”
“What are you talking about?” She laughed. “Forget Kings, I’m a Queen!”
And we couldn't have asked for a better one.
No Blood, No Bone, No Ash.
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