Tea Leaves and Red Silk


Match Twenty-Nine: Agony:

At this time, Kiku was allowed to have visitors. During those days, he found himself at ease. The chatter worked to take his mind off of the Woman in Red. Today, Ludwig and Feliciano were his visitors. The German man gave the Japanese man a curious look.

"How have you been doing lately?" he asked. Kiku felt his heart stop in his chest for a second.

"Why do you ask?" he asked.

"You've not been yourself," Feliciano said. "What's the matter?" Kiku lowered his eyes.

"It's difficult for me to say," he said. The Japanese man didn't know if it was a good idea to come out with it or not. Ludwig patted him on the shoulder.

"Take your time if you need to," he said in a low voice.

"Please don't touch me," Kiku murmured. The German man drew back his hand. Kiku pressed his hand to his chest.

"My home is suffering," he said.

"What do you mean?" Feliciano asked. The Japanese man clutched his sheets.

"I can feel the pain of Ikebukuro running through my body," he said.

"What do you mean?" Ludwig asked. Kiku lifted his head.

"The waste land is coming," he said in a choked-up voice. All of the color drained from the German man's face.

"You can't mean…" he said. Kiku slowly nodded his head up and down. Feliciano looked back and forth between the men.

"What are you talking about? What is the Waste Land?" he asked. The Japanese man pressed his lips together.

"I saw her," he whispered. He couldn't get that demonic-angelic smile or her kiss out of his head. Kiku brushed his fingertips to his lips. "She said that Ikebukuro and I are the centerpiece of something glorious about to happen."

"What are you talking about?" Ludwig asked. "Who is this 'she' you are talking about?"

"I don't know," Kiku said. "She wouldn't give me her name."

"What did this woman look like?"

"She had long dark red hair and she wore a dress that matched her hair."

Ludwig tried to match the description up with anyone in their circle of friends. "That doesn't sound like anyone we know."

"We don't know her."

"What did you say?"

Feliciano struggled to keep up with the back and forth between the two men. "What are you guys talking about? You're going too fast." Ludwig turned his head.

"Do you promise to stay calm when Kiku tells you?" he asked.

"What do you mean?" the Italian man asked. Kiku knew this would be too much their naïve friend to handle. Still, keeping it in any longer would further into insanity. The Japanese man looked him into the eye.

"Do you remember when I collapsed in that meeting two years ago?" he asked.

"Yes," Feliciano said. Kiku's hands trembled against his blanket.

"I think I might have brought something really bad upon us all." He held up his hand to stop Feliciano from talking. "Please listen." He put down his hand.

"I cannot say what will happen next. But, Yao and Ju's wedding could be a catalyst to our ruin."

"Show are you saying that we should stop the wedding?" Ludwig asked. The Japanese man shook his head.

"It is too late for that," he said.

"Then… what can we do?" Feliciano asked. Kiku huddled into a ball.

"I don't know…" he murmured. "I don't know…" Her words came back to haunt him once again.

"Something glorious is about to happen and you are the centerpiece along with Ikebukuro."

Kiku knew it would begin as soon the ink on Yao and Ju's wedding certificate dried.

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