Finally, for who knows how many years, it has come to an end. The days of fear and terror has come to an end—for both humans and ghouls.
Finally, humans were no longer being victimized randomly on streets. Finally, ghouls were given rights. Proper treatment. Respect.
Finally, humans and ghouls could coexist.
Though it seems like a very faraway dream—a dream that is so impossible to achieve—Touka stands, her head up high; confident and at ease. She looks around, her mouth stretched in a very wide smile. Everyone knows she’s a ghoul—and yet she stands, at peace; at ease, in the middle of the crowd. A few of them even greet her, to which she tosses back a smile.
Finally, she is at peace. A lot of people may have lost a lot of their loved ones on the way, but she knew that their sacrifices wouldn’t go to waste. She knows that her fellows would do anything to maintain their now achieved, long-awaited dream. The long-awaited dream the fallen ones have desired and longed as well but didn’t have the chance to experience.
Of course, she lost people on the way as well. It was plausible. Unavoidable. She vowed to cherish the present day for them. Thinking of them well, she knew that their deaths weren’t in vain. Another smile formed on her lips as she immersed herself once more on the current situation, which was very ethereal. She simply just couldn’t believe it.
However, deep inside her heart, though their—her—dreams are seemingly granted, she still longs for something else, or rather, someone—and she’s sure that she knows what she desires the most.
It was years ago that she met him, in the most unusual, unconventional way. Her head drooped; another smile once again, has formed on her face as she thought of the silliness she had at that time. She pushed him around, but she obviously deeply cares for him. She wished she had treated him more properly. She wished that her caring nature was more discernible.
Remembering the feeling of being in his arms, her face flushed. Only God knows how much she desires to be in his arms again—or at least to simply see him again, even from far away. He looked different at that time, but she doesn’t care now—as long as she gets the chance to see him, even if his pulse is frozen, it was enough for her. Now, she wonders where he is currently.
She reminiscences again. She couldn’t forget the day she meets him again—albeit not remembering her. She was relieved to see that he was safe. At first, she was wary if he was really him, but her suspicions were confirmed as she experienced being saved by him—once again—during the great clash that happened years ago. After that, she was glad and melancholic at the same time—glad, because, after the brawl, the peace the ghouls—as well as the humans—were longing was achieved and, melancholic, because, even if the peace was established, she could no longer be with him. She believes that he doesn’t remember much about anything—but with the look he gave her right after the clash, she knew that he knows his past, albeit faintly. She knew that he somehow had an idea of what happened to him, what his past were, who she is, but despite that, he chose to live as the current person he is. The thought of it pierced her heart.
Suddenly, she felt stinging moisture in her eyes. She laughed softy, her hands wiping away her faint tears.
“Silly me, why am I crying? It’s all over now,” she said to herself, softly. “But… it wouldn’t be bad if I would be able to see him at least.” A smile formed on her lips.
Her phone rang. She flinched a little at the ringing as she fumbled with her phone, answering the call. Her bestfriend’s voice materialized from the phone.
“Touka-chan, where are you? You’re going to be late for the homecoming!” it was Yoriko. Hearing her voice, she remembered that she was so relieved and happy that Yoriko accepted her for her she is. That’s alright, Touka-chan! What matters is you’re a good person!
“I’m sorry, Yoriko. I spaced off for a while,” she replied, releasing a chuckle after.
“Ehhh… what are you spacing out for?” Yoriko queried playfully.
“Nothing, I’m just so… glad,” Touka answered after a second of silence.
She sensed Yoriko smiling on the other line. “Well, you’ll even be happier if you come here now, you know!” she exclaimed. “Come on, we’re almost complete here!”
“I know, I know!” Touka laughed. “I’ll just buy something to bring for the event. I can’t wait to see you, Yoriko.”
“Me, too, Touka-chan,” Yoriko happily declared. “I can’t wait to hear about your experiences about being a teacher. Tell me lots, okay? I’ll be waiting! See you!”
“See you, too,” Touka ended the call, her grip tightening around her phone.
She looked around. A lot of things have changed, huh?
Before placing her phone back in her bag, she noticed something missing. It was the keychain she treasured very much—and the only material thing she possibly could ever receive from him. Memories about him came back again.
“Where is it?” she sighed with a little annoyance. It was just hanging from her phone—always—and she never replaced or removed it. She felt a little scared of the thought of losing it permanently.
She looked inside her bag, shifting around the items inside to look for it. She felt troubled as time passed by and the chance of finding it was decreasing. When she found nothing inside, she clicked her tongue, and began to look on the ground in case it fell. Damn it, where did it—
Touka was surprised when she felt someone tugging at her skirt. She looked behind her and her eyes widened in surprise.
Behind her, a spitting image of him appeared. She couldn’t believe her eyes—just now, she was wishing of seeing him—and it was granted, only not in the way she expected.
She turned toward the child, who she thought was about four to six years of age. “Ah… hello.”
She remained frozen on the spot.
The young boy held out his hand, and when he opened his fist, the keychain she was looking for was there. She sighed in relief, carefully taking the item from the boy’s hand. “Thank you very much. I was looking for this,” she smiled at the boy.
The boy returned her smile. “I just found it on the ground a while ago…”
Touka smiled again. She looked around, her heart beating fast, hoping to see him. The young boy in front of her is, no doubt, his child. The kid’s features is so similar to his—his eyes, his posture, his timidness, his smile; not to mention that his jet black hair has a few white streaks which is noticeable only if near him. She looked around more, but to no avail, he wasn’t there. She bent down. “Hello, I’m Touka. May I know your name?”
The boy grinned happily. “My name is Ken. Nice to meet you, Touka onee-san.”
Touka smiled. Ken, huh? “Nice to meet you too. Can I ask? Uhm… where are your parents?” she asked, a little nervous, wondering if the child would answer to some stranger. “Why are you all alone?”
Unexpectedly, the young boy replied in delight. “Papa is at work, so I’m walking by myself.”
She noticed the book in the boy’s hand, and she chuckled a little. He never changed.
“Don’t you have any friends? Why are you alone? Where’s your…” her voice faded. Somehow, she felt… pained. “Where’s your mother?”
The young boy shook his head. “My friends are still sleeping… I guess. Mama is gone, so I have no companions.”
“Your mother is… gone?” her heart tightened.
The boy nodded. “Papa said she went up there—“ he pointed at the clouds “—just a few months ago. I don’t know why,” the boy made a sad look. “Does she… does she hate me? Is that why she went there? I think I wasn’t a good boy… I always make mama cry…”
Touka was saddened. She ruffled the boy’s hair affectionately. “I’m sure your mama loves you very much. It’s just that… there are times that things like this happen. But despite that, you have the right to remain happy. To make her happy, stay kind for your mama, okay? Like, study hard or be a good person.”
The young boy smiled, making Touka’s heart jump. “I will. And onee-san, you know… you kind of look like mama.”
Touka was surprised. “I… do?”
The boy nodded. “Uh-huh. Your hair is longer than mama’s, though. She almost looked like a boy. I even thought mama came back when I saw you,” the boy said. “I was hoping you’re her though… Can you be my mama?”
Touka chuckled. “I don’t… know. But you sure love your mama, huh?”
“Yes, I love Mama,” the boy smiled. “And I love Papa as well. I just hope Papa comes home as soon as possible so I wouldn’t be alone. But that’s okay, because you’re here. And Papa, well, actually, he is different.”
“How so?” Touka asked, clearly interested in their conversation.
“Well, he isn’t a grandpa yet but his hair is already white… with some black. He’s weird, isn’t he? But then again, there’s me. People tell me I’m weird too.”
So he is indeed his child. I couldn’t think of anyone with those features. “But… why? You look okay to me.”
“Well, Papa is a half-ghoul and Mama is a human,” the boy explained. “Papa said I was special. He said that I was a miracle.”
Touka’s eyes widened. So he is a…
“Well, since your papa said you’re special, then isn’t that a good thing? Sometimes, being different… is a good thing, you know.”
The boy smiled. “What about you, onee-chan? Are you special?” he asked.
Touka pursed her lips. She hesitated for a moment to answer. “Well, you see… I’m like your papa, but the difference is, I am full-out ghoul and your papa is only partly ghoul. I am different, but I don’t think I’m special like you since there are others like me.”
The boy smiled wider than before, his excitement is discernible. “Uwooooo… Can I… Can I see your… uhm… what is it called?”
“Kagune? I don’t think it’s okay to show it in public…”
“Uh-huh, that kagu-something. But I think I really want to see it… Can you please show me? Papa said that I have one as well, but I don’t know when it will come.”
Touka laughed softly. “Alright, but just for a while, okay?”
Touka removed her coat, and folded it up. The boy offered to hold it for her, and she handed it to him with care.
“Watch carefully, okay? This will be just in a while.”
The boy nodded.
With ease, Touka’s beautiful wings sprouted from her back—shining, shimmering—as the boy stared at her in awe. She can saw the sparkle from her kagune in the boy’s eyes. The boy was so mesmerized he dropped her coat, and Touka felt so glad and content that she had the chance to show herself—without anyone being scared or having fear of her. She smiled.
“I look weird, right? Ghouls like me have different kinds of these things. My eyes look weird as well…” she explained. “I hope I’m not scaring you.”
“Nuh-uh,” the boy said, grinning. “I’m not afraid of you… Actually, onee-san, you look very pretty… You look so beautiful.”
“Thank you…” Touka smiled, somehow feeling tears welling up in the corner of her eyes.
“I can’t wait to have something like that as well,” the boy said. “Don’t worry about being different, onee-san. Like you said, sometimes, being different is a good thing. I think I believe you. Onee-san, you’re beautiful in a different way, so that means you’re special. Like me.”
Touka’s heart tightened. She almost felt like crying. She felt so happy and sad at the same time. “I’m sorry, but… can I hug you?”
The boy nodded happily. He opened his arms, dropping his book. Touka leaned towards him, and they both felt each other’s warmth. The way the young boy’s fingers wrapped around her neck and shoulders reminded her of him.
And for the first time in years, it was the closest she can get to him. Finally.