"Hey, don't sweat it! It'll all work out
7th December 11:43 P.M.
His wound throbbed in excruciating pain. It had all happened so fast that he could barely register what exactly had happened, until his body hit the solid concrete ground. He remembered the distinct click of the trigger followed by a deafening bang! Then, he felt it. The bullet pierced his skin in a quick motion. All he could feel was a hot, burning sensation engulf his body, along with his warm blood running down his torso, staining his white button up shirt a deep crimson. His mouth was suddenly filled with an unpleasant metallic taste, the red liquid managing to dribble down from the corner his mouth to his chin. Finally, that split second of peace where he was just blissfully numb had disappeared, and the insufferably tortuous pain took its place.
"Ahh.. Am I going to die here?"
He was so scared. He did not want to die. He had so many things he wanted to do! He needed to make more memories. He needed to go to the shop keeper who repaired his much-loved camera and thank him. He needed to tease Izumo once more, watching his old friend go crazy trying to find the 'scratch' on his much adored bar. He needed to wish his precious Anna a happy birthday, presenting her with a sight she would have loved to see! He needed to see everyone in HOMRA again, loud and boisterous as they were. And most of all, he needed to see his beloved King again!
Despite the sudden trauma he had been through, Tatara found it amazing that he could think clearly, managing to fish out his mobile phone from his pocket. He flipped through his contacts, various names appearing on the brightly lit screen of the device, which was smeared red by his own scarlet blood. He paused at an entry labeled 'KING', feeling the horrendous lump in his throat grow in size and his eyes tear up. With great difficultly, he scrolled past he contact and clicked on the one that read 'Kusanagi-san'.
Words could not express the relief he felt when the bartender picked up the phone.
"Hello? What is it—"
"Kusanagi...san", he panted.
Tatara could feel the pain more than ever; it felt as though there was a heavy weight on his chest, making it difficult for him to breathe. He managed to let out ragged pants as an attempt to ease the pain. The relief that he previously felt began to dissipate and fear took its place.
"Hello? Totsuka? What happened? HEY!"
He could'nt do it. It hurt too much. He felt his body shake with tremors which made him drop his phone in the process. He shook almost violently, before his fit died down, leaving him gently trembling. Whether it was because of the cold wind or his injury, he did not know. All he knew was that he wanted warmth. He felt the warmest when he could use his camera to capture the precious moments which he willed to cherish forever. He felt warm when Anna would tug on his hand lightly, a light blush staining her cheeks whenever she wanted something at the department store. He felt warm when the entire HOMRA would sit around the bar, either watching movies, listening to him play guitar or watching Yata's new skateboarding tricks.
"…! Damn it!", he heard Izumo curse as he was brought back to his senses.
"Kusanagi-san? Did something happen?", a new, familiar voice joined in. Yata, Tatara thought to himself.
"Yata! Come with me, Totsuka is…", Izumo trailed off. At this point, Tatara was amazed that he was still conscious and able to understand the complex situation. It was too hard for him to believe what was happening was real. It did not seem real. It did not seem possible. How could this have happened? He knew he was quite carefree, but he never had he thought that the unique trait of his would lead to his demise.
In all honesty, he should have expected it. He recalled Anna's words to him on the day they met: "If you stay by his side, you won't live very long." He knew. He always knew. When he was by the side of his king, he felt more alive than ever. Being a part of HOMRA, made him feel more alive than he ever believed he would be, anywhere else. Being a part of HOMRA filled his being with a certain tenderness that could not be replaced.
"Totsuka!", Izumo's distraught voice sounded through the speaker of the PDA, pulling Tatara out of his reverie.
"Kusanagi…san", he murmured. It was inevitable. He was going to die. He knew it. And all that was left for him to do was accept it. He was afraid. Oh, absolutely petrified!
"Are you alright?!", his voice rang through Tatara's ears, sounding positively helpless.
"… Can you hear me?", he asked, before continuing,
"… I was happy."
He was indeed. All of the years he lived as his kings vassal were important to him. He lived his life carefree. He explored different things. He saw sights that not many would see. He heard the most outrageous stories that no one would believe, but believed in them anyway. He met and saw all kinds of people. He met special people, who just attracted his attention, just like King. He created memories which he would never forget. His irreplaceable memories as a member of HOMRA, the fun times with King and Kusanagi-san in their school years flashed in his mind. It was fun! Oh how fun it was! He had fun. He had been so happy.
"….Totsuka?", asked Izumo, now terribly confused.
"…Even now.", Tatara continued.
It was true. Even then, as he laid in a puddle of his own blood, tears threatening to fall down his face, reminiscing about his most precious memories, he was happy. Perhaps he feared death and perhaps dying was supposed to be completely tragic, but he was happy. His demise was unavoidable, inescapable and unstoppable. And he accepted that fact, just as much as he cursed it.
"You— What nonsense are you speaking?!", Izumo's furious voice almost made him feel safe. Almost.
"Haha..", Tatara managed to let out a small laugh, before breaking out into a harsh coughing fit. Despite the severity of his current predicament, Tatara could not help but feel nostalgic. It was just like old times. Back when they were younger, Izumo would play the role of mother hen, most of the time reprimanding Tatara for getting either himself or the entire trio -including the King- in some absolutely outrageous or highly troublesome situation.
In the end, they would make it out together, and whether they escaped unscathed or not never really mattered to either of them. Because they all were together, having the most fun they ever would. Oh how he wished they could all go back to the start! When they begun HOMRA. When they took in Anna. When they made comrades! When made memories! But, those days will never come back.
"I don't think… I can wish Anna happy birthday.", Tatara wheezed, taking a desperate gulp of air. Tears began to blur his vision, some of them managing to escape and roll down his pale cheeks. Regardless, he continued,"…King.. will probably get mad." Ah, he noted how chilly it became, the cold beginning to ferociously at his fingers and tear streaked face.
"Hey Totsuka?! Don't speak anymore, we're coming right now!", the Izumo cried frantically, his voice laced with panic and fear. Honestly, hearing his voice at all had been a good enough comfort for Tatara, however it did not help to cease the dreadful acrid feeling that stirred in the pits of his stomach. Then, he felt the tight knot in his stomach stir once more, before come to a halt. He really wasn't going to make it, was he?
"Yeah.. I'm waiting."
His voice came out in a strangled whisper, but much more calm than before, which actually surprised Tatara himself. He heard the phone hang up, and he let the rest of his tears spill freely down his face, gazing dreamily at the now, crimson illuminated skyline.
"Ahh… Even at time like this…. The sky is just as beautiful as ever."
He didn't know how much time had passed. The entire world had seemed to freeze, and slowly he felt his previous pain fade away, his entire being becoming completely numb. His heart, however, ached painfully and was the only reminder to him that he was still alive. He could not feel his legs, and could barely feel the cold which bit into his skin before. He was beginning to feel lightheaded himself.
He could just stare at the sky forever, like this, absolutely humbled and numb. However, despite how amazing he felt at the last moments of his life, he would not hesitate to trade this feeling for the ones he felt when he was back home. Nothing could compare to how he felt when he was with HOMRA.
"Hey! What happened?", Yata almost yelled once he saw his comrades condition, running over to him.
At first, Tatara thought he was deluding himself, but when he saw one of his oldest friends and one of his most beloved fellow clansmen come in his line of sight, crouching over his freezing body, he felt a small wave of happiness overtake him.
"The…Colourless…King" , Tatara managed to croak out. His eyes were growing heavy, the rest of his body continuing to go numb. It was probably to late for him now.
"King?", Yata asked, bewildered –his eyes growing wider- before yelling,"Totsuka-san! Was it another king that did this to you?!"
"That's enough Yata! Don't make him speak!", Izumo harshly scolded him in a low voice. The poor man was shaken. Just how could this happen?
"You'll be alright, Totsuka-san. We sent for a doctor. We'll have you fixed up in no time.", Yata pressed, crouching over his comrades body, using his left hand to cradle his head and the right to put a light pressure on gun shot wound. Yata's reassuring words seemed to be more directed towards himself. This was Totsuka-san! He would be fine! He had to be!
"Hey…", Tatara forced out, using his blood stained left hand to cup his clansmen's cheek, "Don't… sweat it… It'll all work out…" Just then, his hand dropped, limp, leaving a bloodied imprint on Yata's cheek. He knew that in the end, everything would be fine. It would always work out, one way or another. They would get through this. They would survive his death and carry on. Everything would be alright.
"…Sorry…", he whispered, a soft and serene look graced his features. His heavy eyelids dropped until they almost covered his hazel orbs and his head tilted to the right. He let out one last, small and breathless sigh and the light in his eyes dulled, never to be seen again. He was sorry. He had wanted to live. Oh how desperately he wanted to live! He was sorry for being unable to stay any longer. He was sorry he would not get the chance to wish his Anna a happy birthday. He was sorry his clansmen had to see him in the state he was. He was sorry he never got to hear Yatogami-kun's story. He was so sorry! But most of all, he was sorry he did not get to see his king one last time.
"Totsuka-san? Totsuka-san! Don't fall asleep! Don't do this to us! C'mon!", Yata screamed, uncontrollable tears steaming down his face. He clutched Tatara's body close to his own in a death grip, sobs wracking his entire body, whilst Izumo turned his back, unable to bear the sight. He dialed a number on his mobile while leaning down to pick up the abandoned camera from the floor.
"Sorry Mikoto..", Izumo swallowed thickly, his grip on the camera tightening,"…I have bad news".
This is a story full of happiness
Hey, don't sweat it! It'll all work out somehow!