Harmony Act IV: Lust

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Scene XI: If It Weren't For You

Kanagawa, Yuugen. Japan. 2005, July

Tsumi had been exploring the infirmary since Hokori’s departure. There was not a lot of things to play with or actually explore. She had only looked through books filled with words and no pictures before she gave up and walked around.

She had been staring at the blood on the floor for the past ten minutes; a stain from Chini’s drunken debut last night. She tapped the crimson pool with the toe of her shoe, idly scraping it across the tiles until the commotion from the hallway brought her eyes to the door. She watched Yujin move and waited, eyes widening to see Himitsu running inside.

Tsumi did not need to ask why he was here; she could see the way his blue eyes were wide and the way his shoulders trembled. When he reached for her sleeve, Tsumi allowed it and was dragged to the back of the room to hunker by Chini’s bed. Tsumi felt an instinct of comfort reach out as she placed her hand atop Himitsu’s head to reassure him. Something had scared him; something was out there.

“You two stay in here, alright? I’ll only be a minute.” Yujin instructed, stepping into the corridor. He closed the door behind him in time to shield the children from the horrid scene and his eyes could only stare.

Hokori was surrounded by a crowd of staff, including Okui and Gekido. In his arms was an unmoving Senbo, covered in blood with part of Hokori’s torn sleeve coiled around his bloodied neck. Everyone was speaking at once, throwing questions into the air which only irritated Hokori – not the best thing in the world.

“Everyone, step back!” Yokubo’s voice cut through; bringing the crowd to silence.

The Chairman’s heels tapped sharply as he approached the scene with Neko and Yoku following behind him. All three paused when they were in view. Yokubo’s face was stiff and he mustered the strength to take a step closer to Hokori. In response, Hokori took a step back.

“What happened?” Yokubo halted his movements, keeping his voice to a volume which promoted his urgency and patience. A difficult type of tone to master.

“I found him like this.” Hokori replied, never looking away from Senbo’s pale face. “In the laboratory.”

“The lab?” Yoku blurted, no consideration for feelings or tension as she shoved her brother aside. “Was anything damaged?”

“Everything was destroyed.”

Yoku cursed under her breath. A dark expression made its home on her face as white teeth chewed on her bottom lip. Yokubo would have comforted his sister if not for the more dire situation just at arms-reach. He looked back to Hokori.

“Did you see who did this?”

It was Gekido’s turn to speak, throwing his arms above his head. “It’s bloody obvious! Senbo did it to himself! Right? He destroyed the lab and then did away with himself! He always was a drama queen, nothing new here. Same as before when he slit his own wrists-”

Even with Senbo in his arms, Hokori was able to lift a leg and kick Gekido square in the chest. The power of the attack was enough to send the man backwards, hitting the floor with enough tension to knock the air out of his lungs.

“You will not speak of him like that again, Mad Dog.” Hokori warned, his voice slow and threatening.

It was enough to make everyone step back to avoid the same fate and half the crowd disbanded, quickly rushing down the halls to leave this business between Yuugen’s Council. It was none of their concern. Hokori breathed easier as the hallway emptied, and he turned to face Yokubo. Their gazes were locked and only Yoku had the guts to speak up before a feud could occur.

“Dotai made it clear that we cannot die unless we were beheaded, or something inhumanly happened. Senbo simply needs medical attention and he will be fine.” She took a step forward, reaching out to accept Senbo into her arms.

Hokori could have laughed. “I shall carry him. Lead the way.”

Yoku’s lip twitched. Nonetheless, she dropped her arms and turned. “Very well. Follow me.” She began down the hall, ensuring her footsteps were loud enough to bounce off the walls as Hokori followed her shadow.

Yokubo sighed, rubbing his forehead with both hands. “Neko, get this mess cleaned up.” He grumbled.

Neko could only nod before rushing to find a mop. As she moved, she hopped over Gekido before the man could catch his breath and sit up. His jaw was clenched when he stared at Okui and Yokubo.

“You know I’m right.”

“You always think you are right.” Okui hummed. His voice may have been teasing, but his eyes were playing on the possibility of what Gekido had said. “Though, it should be considered. Senbo tends to go wayward when he is off his meds.”

“He’s been clean for three years.” Yokubo spoke up. His eyes watched as Neko reappeared and began scrubbing the floor clean. In a matter of minutes, it would be as if this never happened. “…But we should keep an eye on him.”

Gekido scoffed aloud, moving to stand before he disappeared down the corridor. He wanted to say something else; he always did. But he had stopped wasting his breath a long time ago and simply kicked the side of the wall before turning the corner and leaving The Chairman alone with his vice-chairman.

“I believe it is time we talk about this, yes?” Okui ruffled his brown hair, muscles tensing. He looked half-asleep; not even his dress-shirt was done up and exposed his broad shoulders and stomach when he moved. “Come along. I have a meeting with a real estate agent in the morning. The castle down by the sea? I bid an exceptional amount of money on it. Though it shall not be liveable for a few years. Water damage and such.”

Yokubo let out a long sigh, finally noting Yujin standing off to the side. He vaguely wondered just how much the nurse had heard. Probably all of it. He could do nothing but nod respectfully in Yujin’s direction before he turned on his heel to follow Okui down the hallway and discuss the situation that was Senbo Shitto, The Parasite.

Tsumi was sat on the floor with Himitsu beside Chini’s bed. Somewhere along the lines, they had forgotten about the commotion outside and had started playing together, clapping their hands.

“You don’t talk a lot, you know?” Himitsu hummed.

Tsumi offered a small shrug in response and began to quietly clap her own hands together. “I know.”

“Where are you from?” Himitsu urged, shuffling closer to stare at those wide, colourful eyes. “You’re really pretty.”

Tsumi could only furrow her brow. The red in her right eye seemed to flicker, a reaction from such a heartfelt compliment. “No, I’m not.”

Himitsu laughed. “Pretty and shy.”

Tsumi scoffed, dropping her arms. Himitsu moved, reaching for the girl’s wrist to resume their game of clapping before Tsumi could reject him altogether. He only stopped when his palm brushed against something rough and he moved, raising Tsumi’s arm to watch her cardigan sleeve roll down to her elbow. Her whole forearm was scarred.

“Tsumi,” Himitsu’s mouth turned dry. He may have been young, but even he knew what marks like these meant. “Did you do this to yourself?”

“No.” Tsumi deadpanned, raising her other hand expecting a clap. She was hardly fazed and only blinked when Himitsu’s expression turned to horror. “It wasn’t me. Let’s keep playing.”

“Someone did this to you?”


Himitsu slowly released the girl’s wrist. He watched as Tsumi shrugged her arm, allowing her cardigan to fall back down and she raised her hands expectantly. Himitsu slowly raised his own hands and pressed his palm against hers, not as a clap. More like a handhold.

“You can tell me if someone’s hurting you.”

Tsumi blinked. A small silence fell between them and she felt Himitsu’s fingers fit so well against hers. She could not help but look at their joined hands and then turned back to his face. He looked scared. Before Tsumi could form any sentence, the door reopened and Yujin stepped in. Tsumi dismissed Himitsu altogether as she stood to run over to the man and grab his leg; completely oblivious to Yujin’s unease and Himitsu’s concern.

Yujin slowly reached down to hoist the girl into his arms, mumbling a greeting before he sat beside Chini’s bedside. His eyes were distant, and his mind was racing, filling with the Council’s hinted mortality. A secret he should have never overheard.

“So, let me get this straight,” Okui began, throwing his arms in the air as he paced his room. It was as bland as ever, with his adjustable bed tucked into the wall and papers piling up in corners. No décor save for the table Yokubo sat on. “You think that Chikai stole poison from Senbo’s collection, gave it to your son so there would be no heir to the council, then tried to kill Senbo to keep him from making an antidote? You believe this?”

Yokubo raised his elbows to the meet the table surface and groaned, running his fingers through his hair. “I don’t know. I mean, is there any other explanation?”

Okui tutted and sat himself across from The Chairman. He flicked the man’s forehead, commenting about ‘no elbows on the table’ then crossed his arms and leant back. “Of course, there is another explanation. As plain as day, in fact. You just chose not to accept it.”

“I just… I can’t think straight,” Yokubo slapped his thighs with frustration. “My son is in a coma and the only man who can cure him is dead-”

“Not dead.” Okui reminded. “Something as simple as that cannot kill us. Or at least, not for long. We can lose limbs, we can be shot, we can have broken bones and bruises. Hell, we can slip on a banana peel and land on our butts! It still hurts, but it will not kill us.”

“Fine, but even then, who knows what Senbo will be like if, or when he wakes up. What if it’s too late by then?” He stared up into Okui’s all-knowing gaze.

“Listen, you are my best friend, and I can understand exactly what you are going through.” Okui reached out, patting Yokubo’s shoulder. “This one time, my daughter fell off her bicycle and I panicked so much – it lasted only a second, but to see her like that felt like a lifetime of worry. You care about your son and you care about Yuugen, and if I may be so bold, you do a pretty good job of running it; even if you do spend most of your time in your bedroom.”

Yokubo pulled a small smile, reaching for the hand on his shoulder to squeeze. “I just wish I knew what to do about this.”

“I know you are no idiot. You just wish not to see the truth, but I cannot explain it to you any other way. You will have to figure it out for yourself.” Okui pulled a smile. A sad smile. “You and I both know who the real enemy is here.”

Hokori’s eyes were dull as he stared at the man laying beside him.

Yoku had left after tugging her bloodied gloves off and removing her mask and gown. She muttered something about finding Chikai whilst she washed her hands and arms with soapy water; but Hokori was hardly listening. He was too focused watching Senbo’s chest rise and fall, miraculously regaining a heartbeat – quite literally being brought back to life.

The recovery room was quiet after Yoku’s departure and Hokori was able to relax. It was difficult not to cringe at the sight of bandages wrapped around Senbo’s neck and Hokori averted his gaze down to his hand. He reached out, lacing his long fingers around Senbo’s wrist and pulled his arm up to press his cold palm against his forehead. He had kissed the skin once before closing his eyes. All he could do was wait.

“How is he?” Yokubo’s voice drifted through the air after time had passed.

“Alive.” Hokori opened his eyes and rolled his shoulders with an audible click. “That is all that matters.”

“I’m so sorry this happened, Hokori.” Yokubo moved, standing at the foot of Senbo’s bed. “I know how much he means to you.”

“The forms for the students.” Hokori’s hand squeezed Senbo’s and he turned, looking up at The Chairman. He was quick to change the subject. “Who was Tsumi scheduled to?”

“Ugh, Senbo, I think.” Yokubo replied slowly. “Why?”

“If Senbo does not wake up, I want his Coven to join mine. Especially Tsumi, understand?”

“…Consider it done.”

When the silence fell between them, Yokubo moved. He dragged his feet, unable to look away from Senbo’s face. He had never known the man to look so peaceful. Even last time they were here in Yoku's surgery three years ago. Hokori looked just as distraught, if not a little more pissed this time around. Only once Yokubo had reached for the door handle did the silence shatter.

“Chairman,” Hokori spoke up. He never looked over his shoulder, never moved in his chair. His eyes looked to Senbo and no-one else. “Neither Senbo nor Chikai poisoned your son.”

Yokubo kept his own back to the blond as he moved away, uttering a simple reply. “I know.”

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