The worried brothers
The cool weather this morning was touching their skin gently. The sound of birds chirping on trees along the street welcomed them when they set their feet on the way to the Ogata’s residence. The cherry flower buds began to bloom, adding a cheerful jovial mood this morning.
But that cheerful atmosphere was unable to remove the anxiety that surrounded the heart of the two people walking hand in hand with a bit of a hurry. They just wanted to arrive quickly to their destination, where they could meet with the person, who they had been looking for all night, hoping to see him untouched, and remained alive without any new injuries that would make him more suffered. They wanted to meet him immediately to ask where he was last night and why he wasn’t able to be contacted. Was something bad happened again or did he just spend his time with his friends to celebrate his graduation.
Yuichi was ready to leave the house by the time they arrived.
“His door is locked but I know he’s still sleeping. You can enter his room using the door to the balcony in the living room upstairs.” Yuichi pointed.” It connected to his balcony door. Just, don’t wake him up, okay. This is the first day of him being a graduated so let this day become his reward of it. It’s because I actually didn’t prepare anything for him.” He smiled sheepishly.
Ryu smiled slightly. “Don’t worry. We won’t wake him up. We’ll let him wake up by his own. We’ll just be here so he won’t be alone.”
Yuichi stared at them for a moment. “Did you guys hiding something? I mean, is there something wrong with him? He didn’t involve into something bad, did he?”
“No!” Ryu snapped at him. “Why do you think he involved into something bad. You know him better than anyone else. It’s impossible for him to be involved into something bad.”
“Isn’t it obvious? He came home too late with bruises on his jaws. And maybe he is still hiding other bruises all over his body. It always happened you know, all the time. Maybe he got wounds too. He will only locked his door when he’s hiding something and doesn’t want anybody else finds that secret. And I’m sure that he fought again yesterday.”
Shin grabbed Ryu’s arm when once again he wanted to snap at Yuichi.
“Trust me, he didn’t fight. He stopped fighting since almost a year. So don’t worry.”
Yuichi stared at Shin silently. Something was clicking in his mind. He narrowed his eyes and looked Shin in his eyes. They’re really hiding something. “You’re not even here for a very long time. You didn’t meet him these past years. How can you be so sure that he didn’t fight? And how can you explain me where do those bruises come from?”
“I don’t know. But I can assure you that he didn’t fight. Why don’t you try to look at him closely? Try to observe him. You will know how he got those bruises.” Shin darted his eyes to Yuichi. “You’re always busy with your own life lately. You made your assignment as a tool to run away from him. At least spare your time to give him more attention, and I’m sure you will get all of your answers immediately.”
Yuichi gulped. Shin wasn’t the one who talked much so far he knows but he just did. And he was right. He was always using his assignment to stay long outside their home. And two years ago he even moved out from the house and stayed alone in an apartment near his universities. He needed more space to study and the apartment was near the campus were all his reasons so their parent wouldn’t say no. He was tired seeing Yamato always came home with bruises all over his body every day. He couldn’t stay long near him because he never looked at him and always tried to ignore his presence. He felt rejected by his own little brother. So he decided to move out. And as he expected before, they let him go.
Yuichi sighed heavily. “Okay. I’ll leave then. And I’m going straight to my own apartment after my classes end. So see you.” with that Yuichi left the house.
Shin and Ryu waited until they were assured that Yuichi left, and without words they went upstairs right away. They entered Yamato’s room to find him sleeping soundly. A bottle of sleeping pills that stood proudly on the table beside his bed welcomed them when they moved close to the bed. They observed Yamato carefully. Ryu reached his wrist, tried to check that he was fine, but stunned when he found new contusions on it. They were still red. The trace of blood was still clearly visible. He looked at Shin but got no response. Shin was too busy opening Yamato’s clothes. He was still wearing his uniform which means he was fell asleep right after he got home and didn’t have any intention to get a change. Or, he didn’t have more energy to do it.
Ryu unlocked the door and went out. Few times later he was coming back bringing first aid box.
“We should clean him first. Prepare warm water.” Shin said that with his eyes never averted from Yamato. His hands roaming all over his chest, tried to find any sign of broken ribs. He sighed when he didn’t find one.
“Let’s take care of this part first.” Shin cut him before he could say anything.
Ryu greeted his teeth before stood up and went out once again. Silently he prayed that they won’t see anything bad. But from what Yuichi said last night, it looked like they would face something worse than before.
In the room Shin looked at the sleeping face in front of him. It was so peaceful. He couldn’t find any sign of hurt, anger, or even sadness drew on it. It’s just peace and innocent. The face of a child he longed for years. The face he would never found if the boy was awoke. He gulped and stood up. He went to the wardrobe and took out the pajamas. He was staring at the youngest silently when Ryu came back with a can of warm water in his hand. Without words they cleaned Yamato.
Ryu almost cried when Shin finally took off Yamato’s trousers. There were bruises all over his legs. Some of them were still bleeding. His hand was trembling when he cleaned his thigh.
“If you can’t control yourself, get out.” Shin hissed at him while grabbing the towel from his hand and started to clean Yamato.
“Sorry.” He whispered before dash out the room.
Shin gritted his teeth. The anger within him grew bigger as time passed by. He tried hard to be gentle when he wiped the youngest’ wounds. Why could this happen to him? It’s the only question mingled in his mind.
Few minutes later Ryu came back. He looked calm now. He grabbed the towel back and continued the task. Shin just looked at him silently before reached the first aid box.
The living room was too silent. No one interested to start any conversation. They just sat still on the couch and busy with their own thinking. They tried hard to find a way to save him. It’s impossible to make Yamato confess to them about what had happened and who did it, so they have to find their own way.
After a moment, Ryu took his phone and pushed numbers on it. After waiting someone to pick the phone up from the other line finally he talked.
“Hey, it’s me.”
“Ryu? Wow! Long time no see. Where have you been? How are you doing?”
“Mm, I’m fine. I .., want your help.”
“Wow. As usual. Straight to the point. What is it?”
“Where are you? Are you still in this town?”
“Yes I am. Where do you think I could go? My home’s here, if that little apartment could be called as home. And I’m working here too. What is it? Tell me.”
“I …, need you to tell me if you see someone …, I mean see in see, with your eyes.”
“I got it. Who is it?”
“It’s my cousin.”
“Did he do something? Bad I mean?”
“No, no. He didn’t do anything bad. Just, call me please if you see him around.”
“Sure. But how do I acknowledge him. We never met before.”
“I’ll send you his picture. Please inform me right away when you see him around the town.”
“Okay. I’ll do that. Is this a secret?” Suddenly his voice lowered at the last part.
Ryu sighed. “Hayato, you don’t have to whisper to ask that question. And yes, make it a secret, please.”
“Aaa, sorry. I think it’s better if I ask help from the other. But if you say it’s a secret, then I’ll make it as a secret.”
“You mean they’re here too?”
“Yes Hyuga is working as a mechanic, and Take is a salary man now. He looked great in suit. But I couldn’t reach Tsuci at all. I kind of lost him totally.”
“Oh, okay. You may tell them but keep it secret, okay. Just call me right away when you see him around.”
“Hey, that’s what friends are for.”
Ryu closed his phone and gazed to Shin who was silently typing on his phone. Few times later he looked up and met the younger’s eyes. A silent promise made up. A promise that they would do something, so Yamato would never be hurt more than this. It’s enough now. It’s time to move, or they will lose him for sure.