Harmony Act IV: Lust

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Scene V: Watching You

Kanagawa, Yuugen. Japan. 2005, May


The following day was much calmer than the events prior. The hallways were clear, and the heavy scents of smoke had evaporated, leaving everything in its pristine condition; save for the infirmary spots set up with burnt children.

Yokubo dragged his feet across the tiled floor. As usual, he had willed himself awake at a ridiculous hour. He figured by starting work earlier meant he could repent for spending the night with close company. What could he say? He was only human and had needs!

“Yujin,” The Chairman announced, raising his balled hand to tap his knuckles against the infirmary door. The unpleasant grunt was just the reply Yokubo expected before sliding the door open and slipping inside.

Yujin turned in his swivel chair, raising a brow. “It’s four in the morning.”

“I know.” Yokubo waved a hand in the air, clearly unbothered. He snatched a chair from beneath the window and pulled the curtains back on his son’s bed. He sat down, leg crossing as he examined the teen laying flat on his back. “How is he?”

“He’s fine. Just a heavy sleeper,” Yujin grumbled. He cradled a cup of coffee to his chest and sipped. “The other one, though. She’s a lot more fun.”

“The other one?”

“On of Hokori and Senbo’s.” Yujin mumbled around his mug. He stood and pulled back the curtains, revealing the girl laying on her side. She wore a white dress that reached just below her knees, and silver hair that curled around her shoulders. A grey cardigan hugged her arms and her eyes were wide, staring at the teenager in the bed beside her. “This is Tsumi.”

Yokubo felt his throat swell. He disguised the reaction with a soft smile, turning back to his son. “I met Tsumi when she was a baby. She won’t remember me.”

Yujin dismissed the comment and nudged Tsumi’s leg. “Do you want something to eat?”

Tsumi kneaded the sheets beneath her before she sat up, nodding. Yujin exhaled as he moved out of the room, leaving the door open ajar. It gave Yokubo the chance to turn back to the girl with silver hair. She stared at him, the force of her eyes just enough to make Yokubo shift in his seat.

“You were in the fire, Tsumi?” The Chairman inquired, keeping his voice low. He could feel his chest tighten, his heart racing.

Tsumi blinked. She shrugged her shoulders in response, proceeding to swing her legs back and forth over the edge of her bed. She almost looked smug, as if she knew something no-one else did and no amount of blackmail was going to persuade her to speak. Just like Senbo.

“Do you know what caused the fire, Tsumi?” Yokubo continued. He battled to hold her gaze; a silent staring contest. Tsumi would win.

“No.”

The reply made Yokubo blink. Tsumi smiled. Crossing his arms, The Chairman narrowed his eyes. “Are you sure about that?”

“Yes.”

Yokubo leant forward, as if his posture actually mattered when confronting a kid. He tried to look intimidating; just enough to make Tsumi think she was lying. The build-up was all for nothing as Yujin reappeared, followed by a young boy around the same age as Tsumi. His crystal blue eyes wandered towards The Chairman’s son and Yujin encouraged him inside; missing the tension Yokubo was trying to portray.

“Dotai wanted Himitsu to come and see your kid.” Yujin grunted before walking over to Tsumi.

Himitsu swallowed heavily, rubbing his arm as he stood beside The Chairman’s seat. “….He’s the heir to Yuugen’s Council?”

Yokubo nearly laughed at the lack of faith in Himitsu’s voice. “Yup. One day he’ll take over the Council and you two will be a Match. He’ll share your Name one day, Himitsu.”

Yujin could not help but scoff. “What makes you so sure your son is a Sorcerer? I thought you left him in France before you could tell if he had inherited any Magick ability?” Popping open his lunch box, he handed Tsumi his readymade meal of rice and chicken.

“He’s my son.” Yokubo laughed, patting the side of the bed for good measure. “He will be a Sorcerer.”

“I wonder, does he even know you’re his father?” Yujin grunted, hurriedly wiping Tsumi’s chin before she could spill her food down her dress. She was a messy eater. “The kid probably has no idea why he’s even here.”

Yokubo was ready to retort when he saw Yujin mothering Tsumi. His face turned sad. “Are you comfortable doing that? Feeding the girl, I mean.”

Yujin kept his mouth shut as he tended to Tsumi, hurriedly finding an apron from his PPE cupboard to wrap around her shoulders to save her dress as she continued to eat. He kept his back on Yokubo, obviously annoyed – but The Chairman pressed on.

“I could always get Neko to come and help-”

“No.” Yujin pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. “No. I’ll take care of her.”

“I’ll leave it to you, then.” Yokubo nodded. His frown was apparent, yet he knew better than to press on. His relationship with all his staff – asides certain men and women – was simple; they respected one another, and private affairs should remain private. Never expect too much and be thankful for what you got.

During their conversation, Himitsu had moved from Yokubo and over to Tsumi. He said nothing as she ate, but their eyes were locked. Oddly enough, Tsumi did not seem to care whether she was being watched by the boy and had even smiled when he offered a small wave. Yujin seemed to intervene before the kids could converse.

“Himitsu, you should go with Yokubo. He’ll take you back to your room before-” Yujin peered towards the doorway of his office. Lips pulled back into a grim line and he slumped. “Ah, never mind. She’s here already.”

Yokubo quirked a brow, turning in his seat to look back and find his sister hovering in the threshold. Her violet hair was piled onto her head in a scruffy bun and the suit she wore beneath her lab coat was wrinkled, indicating she had been awake all night and had yet to take her morning slumber before returning to her endless piles of work.

“Himitsu, come along now. No need to ruin your sleeping schedule.” Yoku tutted, no trace of sleepiness evident in her voice. She held out a hand. “Come.”

Himitsu reluctantly pulled himself away from Tsumi’s bed and took Yoku’s hand. He squeezed when he looked back, offering a small wave to the girl eating her rice and chicken. Tsumi was kind enough to return the small gesture this time and Himitsu smiled.

“Good boy.” Yoku praised, running her free hand through his ashy-blond hair. When her violet eyes flickered, she turned to stare at the unconscious teenager laying on the bed beside Yokubo’s chair. “This is him?”

“Yes,” The Chairman sighed. “Your nephew and my son, Chini Cupido. The heir to Yuugen.”

“Good.” Yoku smiled sweetly. “Thank goodness for the academy’s future.”

Yujin, who had stayed silent during the siblings’ conversation, noticed the way Yoku’s smile was forced to show. He stayed silent nonetheless; warily watching Chini’s breathing – as if Yoku’s eyes were enough to make him sleep forever.

“Well then, let us get you back to bed.” Yoku hummed, urging Himitsu out into the hallway. Before she moved, her eyes jumped to Yujin’s knowing face.

“I better get going, too.” Yokubo slapped his thighs loudly, dismissing any feud between Yoku and Yujin. He stood, raising his arms above his head with an audible pop. “I can see you have plenty of work on your hands already. Just, when Chini wakes up…”

“I’ll let you know.” Yujin murmured, helping Tsumi cut up the larger pieces of her food without sparing Yokubo a glance.

“Thank you.”

Tsumi chewed on her food loudly, hands gripping the sides of the lunchbox as she watched The Chairman leave. He throat bobbed as she swallowed and she looked up at Yujin. Deadpan meeting deadpan.

“I don’t like that scientist lady.”

“No? I don’t like her either.” Yujin agreed. The smile on his lips was genuine and had probably been the first time he had smiled in a long time. Scooping the last of the chicken and rice, he raised the spoon. “Okay, one more mouthful. Say ‘ahh.’”

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