Everything moved like a slow motion in front of him. His crying mother in front of his father in a family restaurant down town, which he later knew it’s about his custody , the encounter with Reita again, the desperate look of Kuraki and Ren after the turned down of their future job, the fight of his classmates which made them split up into two big groups, again. His brain couldn’t absorb all of the incidents in one time. He’s no longer thinking. His mind stopped working. His body had already taken the charge, moved itself with the help of his instinct.
“Only three days before graduation. If you obey me, I will let you graduate without problem. But if you run away like the last time, just remember that I will never let you go easily.”
“Why?” He asked weakly. He couldn’t move his body anymore. He couldn’t even feel the pain anymore. “I’m … your son …, aren’t I? How … could you … “
“My son? How dare you say that you’re my son! You’re just a pain in the ass. I told you many times to obey me but you never did. You embarrassed me all your life. What do you want to prove? That you’re the strongest person in the world? What will you get by that? Don’t you ever think about me? I am a teacher of an elite school but I have a very disgraceful son.”
Yamato closed his eyes. His heart ripped into pieces.
He smirked. “But now at least you can do something for me~” He then traced his finger along Yamato’s chest before gave him another punch on his stomach. “You’re not deserved to be happy because you broke our family apart, I told you that, didn’t I?”
Forcedly, Yamato coughed. It hurt a lot. Not because of the punch but because of his words. It stung straight to his heart, as reminded him of whom he was, the one who broke the family, the one who didn’t deserve the happiness. He surrendered. He lost his will to fight. The smirked on his father’s face was the last thing he saw before the darkness slowly took over him.
Ichimura desperately punched his phone many times before gave up. “I can’t reach him.”
Ren kept silent. Everything moved out of track lately. They still couldn’t able to convince Honjo, Kamiya, Kuraki, and the half of their classmates to come to the graduation ceremony, and now they lost contact to Yamato.
What the hell is going on? We’re just trying to graduate properly. Don’t we deserve this honor?
“I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid.”
“He won’t” Ren stared at the sunset intently. “He wants to graduate properly. He had already set his future. He won’t do anything that makes his plan falls apart.” He sighed heavily. “He’s different from us, somehow. Sometimes I feel like …, what is he doing in our school? He always said that he’s not good either at studying or sport. But I never saw him that way. He was just lazy. Something inside him told me that he shouldn’t be here loitering around for nothing with us. He has a great father. Though he’s an asshole, but being a teacher of an elite school, he must be great, mustn’t he? There’s no way Yamato that stupid.”
Ichimura closed his eyes. Silently he agreed him. He always rejected to join any sport events in his school because he was sure that he was just lazy. Yamato always said that he wasn’t good at studying but it doesn’t mean that he was stupid. He never remembered that Yamato complained continuously when Yankumi gave them sudden quizzes or when they had to study hard to win their summer vacation. He was just opened the book and start to read silently while the other still complained about why they should do that.
Okay, he actually did, but it was just because everybody did it.
But for him it wasn’t a complaint at all. He was just saying something related to the fact that it’s really impossible for them to win the bet.
He knew exactly that most of us wouldn’t stand too long to stick around with book in our hand. Most of us hated to study. And most of us were too stupid to digest all of the subjects in very short time. He knew that everyone needs a long time to get that clever. He had the experience.
He sighed deeply.
“I saw a bruise in his arm. And I’m really sure that it’s not because of a fight.”
Ren turned to him. “You didn’t hear me? “Ren stunned. “What?”
“It more looked like a grip.”
Ren fell into silent, tried hard to absorb the information he got, and his eyes widen suddenly as the result. “Abusing? Who?”
“I don’t know.” He almost mumbled his words. “I didn’t see it clearly. It was when he was in the rooftop again, after Matsukata spilled the water over him few days ago. I just wanted to check him. And I saw that bruise in his left arm.”
“Are you sure about that? Maybe it’s just a little scratch?”
Ichimure silenced for a while. “Maybe you’re right. Maybe it’s my own imagination.” He smiled sheepishly, tried hard to cover his worried. “Hey, it’s Yamato we’re talking about. He even dared to punch his own father. Who do you think have the courage to abuse him?”
“He’s not that strong, Ichi. You know that.” Ren snapped. He looked at his friend straight to his eyes. ”We know that he is only strong physically but not mentally, which means that he is actually weak. One push he will be down completely and it will take a very long time to cure him. He is that fragile. We figured the real face of him after his parent’s divorce. He looked fine but he was definitely hurt. He tried hard to hide it because once we know that he wounded he won’t be able to face us. His pride will be destroyed and nothing will be left on him. He is that weak.”
Ichimura stunned in his place. He knew that Ren was right. They had figured the real Yamato lately, after the incident which made him spent a night on a jail, and after the incident which almost took Ren’s life. Yamato looked just like a little kitten who tried to look like a tiger. And everybody had realized it but nobody dared to talk. Nobody dared to even discuss about it. They kept silence as nothing happened. They kept silence as they knew nothing. They kept silence as they didn’t realize anything, so he didn’t know that everybody could read him thoroughly right now. Even the densest person in the classroom had noticed the real face of Yamato.
He sighed again. “Sorry. I’m just afraid to admit that he was abused. Maybe it was really only my imagination. Maybe it’s not really bruised. Maybe it’s just a wound he got somewhere, a little scratch, maybe. I don’t know …”
Ren stared at Ichimura without words. Ichimura, the smartest among them so far they knew, suddenly turned down his conclusion. “Do you know where he lives?”
Ichimura turned to him and shook his head. “Even Honjo never goes to his house yet.”
Ren gaped at the answer. He looked away in disbelief. “What is wrong with us? Are we really his friends? Why none of us ever go to his house? Why none of us know where he lives?” Ren wailed and ruffled his hair in disgust.
“He never let us go to his house. Every time we want to crash on, he was always trying to avoid and made us think about other plans, and stupidly we’re just following him obediently.”
“Gee.” Ren hissed and once again ruffled his hair in disgust. “Now I wonder. Do we really know the meaning of friendship” he shook his head desperately.
Ichimura kept silent this time. He was sure agreed with Ren this time. Lately they were always boasting about friendship but now he wondered how they could always brag about it when they actually didn’t really know the meaning of it.
“We can ask Yankumi to look at the school data.”
Ren sighed heavily. “I guess we have no choice, don’t we?”
Ichimura stood up and started to walk followed by Ren. The sky became darker as the night came. They walked silently along the way to their teacher’s house. No talk. They’re drowning into their own thought, imagining things about Yamato, where he could be, why didn’t he answer his phone, why he looked down lately, the bruise they talked, everything came to their mind was about Yamato. It was obvious that the boy had a secret and it seemed that he didn’t want to share them about it.
Ren startled when Ichimura stopped suddenly, made him bumped to his back. He raised his head and followed his eyes to find Yankumi begged to the owner of a store.
“I guess we’ve better not give her more trouble.”
Ren just stared at his teacher silently, agreed with his friend’s decision. They turned around and walked away, with a very troubled feeling inside their heart.
Why problems always came together in one time?