Scene IV: Deal? Deal
Kanagawa Hospital. Japan. 2014, February
“What do you mean?” Yujin’s red eyes narrowed. His tone remained strong, despite the lack of sunlight and nutrition he had suffered over the past few weeks.
“I’m going back to France.” Chini repeated. He stared at the floor, unable to meet either Yujin or Tsumi in the eye. He had hoped on waiting for Yujin to recover but could not help spilling the truth after getting the doctor to review Yujin’s condition. “I went to Yoku for the cure and she told me how this was all her plan from the start. She wants Yuugen, she wants to lead it and she sees me and my… father as obstacles.”
Tsumi shifted on her seat, moving her hand from her crossed legs and over to Yujin’s shaking shoulder. She could only drag her thumb across his bony arm; attempting to cool the fury boiling over as Yujin stayed surprisingly patient as Chini spoke. Her own eyes turned to the ground when he continued. It hurt to hear the pain in his voice.
“I have to leave.” Chini breathed slowly. “If I go, she can have whatever she wants when The Chairman dies. I won’t be in the way and you two will no longer be in danger.”
Yujin’s expression had turned dark. If he were not confined to his bed, he would have swung his legs out and stood to slap Chini across the back of his head. “Why would you do that for our sake?!”
Tsumi could not recall a time she had seen Yujin so angry. He was usually an indifferent soul, even if his vocabulary could be a little tough and his tone a little harsh. He rarely went red in the face.
“Chini!” Yujin coughed. “Why would you-”
“Because I love you!” Chini barked, stamping his foot against the ground with enough ferocity to send a pang of pain up his ankle. “Because I love you and Kokutan! You both mean so much to me. I wouldn’t know what to do if you got hurt again. This is all my fault anyways. If it wasn’t for me, Toi would have never had to take me from Yuugen, he would have never been poisoned at Himitsu’s funeral, his hip would never have snapped and-” His barking words dwindled down to nothing but a small choke.
Tsumi moved first. She did what Yujin could not and rose to hug Chini with inexperienced comfort. Embracing never worked well with her; both Chini and Yujin knew this, which was precisely why the former was unable to hold back another pained noise before he accepted the girl’s offer and pulled her close.
Yujin watched the scene with a haze growing across his eyes. No tears fell, however. He was stronger than that. Alas, the thought of losing Chini was frightening. Not because he was The Chairman’s son, nor because he was part of his Match and Name. It was more than that. He felt like home. Without him, Yujin would lose yet another family.
“I don’t want to make your decisions for you.” Yujin spoke up, causing Chini and Tsumi to untangle their embrace to listen. “You’ve made up your mind, and while I’m pretty sure you’ve made a mistake, you seem to know what you’re doing. But you’re not leaving until I can walk again, got it?”
Chini blinked. It was possible Yujin’s recovery could take months and he was determined to argue and suggest an alternative but there was a silent pleasing in those red eyes of his. Something that scared Chini. He had never seen his partner so terrified.
“Fine.” Chini moved to the bedside, reaching to take Yujin’s pale, clammy hand. “Until you can walk. Then I’m gone.”
Kanagawa Hospital. Japan. 2014, April
Since Chini had made his promise, Tsumi had done nothing but stare into Yujin’s eyes and watched as they gradually turned distant with each passing day.
“You look well.” Tsumi spoke. Her tone was blunt as ever, but her eyes were fair as Yujin hobbled out of the Hospital.
Since his session of physiotherapy had started, he had excelled in progress. Nearly two months later and he could walk; so long as he had a cane for support. He was still thin from malnutrition, which would take a while to resolve since he never had a big appetite before was admitted to hospital. Tsumi decided she would take him somewhere nice for dinner later.
“Did you call for a taxi?” Yujin spoke up, dismissing the heartfelt comment.
“Yes. We should get going.”
Yujin’s stiff nod and distant expression made Tsumi wonder if her reply got through to him. It was a building tension even she was struggling with and she moved slowly, allowing a distance to build as she followed the man off the hospital grounds. His first day out of hospital and this was how he spent it. Tsumi could hardly blame him for the bitterness.
The silence remained even after they climbed into the taxi. Tsumi shifted more than once, gripping her knees with both hands while she leant her forehead against the window. Not a single sound came from Yujin as the sights and scenes shifted during their journey, and when the vehicle finally came to a stop, Yujin did not follow Tsumi out.
“Yujin?” Tsumi blinked, hand holding the door open. Her dainty fingers tapped against the window; her face twisting with unease. She inhaled sharply, ducking to see what was keeping him.
Yujin was gripping his cane with a ferocity that could snap the cane in two. It looked as if he were trying to move but could not quite manage the action. He stared ahead, burning holes in the back of the driver’s seat. He blinked once, twice. Blond lashes brushing high cheekbones. Nothing.
“Yujin?” Tsumi spoke again. Softer. “Do you want to stay here?”
“No.” Yujin turned his head at long last. His hair tickled his cheeks and caught against the tufts of his turtleneck. He looked pained as pale lips pursed and he shook his head. “No, I don’t.”
Tsumi watched him move with eyes of a hawk. She was ready to catch him if his hip should fail – much like she had done last month when Merodi had come to visit. He gave his sympathies before delivering a message on behalf of the Headmaster, explaining how Yujin was unable to return to Hanaharu due to his condition. It was enough to make Yujin attempt to chase Merodi out of the room, but he had faltered and would have landed on the hard floor if Tsumi had not been there to support his weight in a flash.
“Let’s go.” Yujin grunted after paying the driver.
Tsumi followed the man along the street and across the road towards the building in the distance. The airport. She had been here not long ago to see Rida off, now she was visiting to see Chini leave. Yujin limped his way through the crowded building, pushing by without a care and the crowd was more than willing to allow a man with a cane pass.
The glossy tiles beneath their feet shone brightly, capturing their reflections as they moved. Glamour and visage were hardly their concern. They needed to hurry, less their chance to say goodbye were taken from them. Yujin swore, scanning the building once they were at their proposed rendezvous. Tsumi mimicked the action until they looked like owls turning their heads to and fro, then Chini appeared.
“Toi, Kokutan. You’ll get dizzy if you keep doing that.”
Yujin moved, limping his way over to Chini and reached out, squeezing his shoulder. “We were worried you were already gone.”
“No.” Chini’s smile was fond and he nodded as Tsumi joined their small circle. “Though, I do have to go pretty soon. I just thought you two would be here quicker.”
“Traffic.” Tsumi deadpanned.
“Ah-” Chini smirked. He would have made a snarky comment if not for the blinking light on the timetable above him. His smile disappeared. “I should get going.”
Yujin’s expression cracked. His fingers spasmed against Chini’s shoulder, but the settled smirk on his lips remained. He knew it would have come to this eventually – Here in Japan, Chini had never been safe. At least in France he would not have to endure the everyday drama of Magick and torment.
“Yeah, well… Bye.” Tsumi mumbled. The lack of tone made Chini laugh and Tsumi frowned.
“This isn’t goodbye.” Chini moved back, sliding his hands into his pockets with a shrug. He had nothing but his signature hoodie and black duffel bag to make the trip. “Just think of it as until next time.”
Yujin swallowed the forming lump in his throat and nodded. He moved forward, mistaking his own strength, and slipped. The cane toppled out of his hand and he gripped onto Chini, lacing his arms around the man’s shoulders to hold him up.
Tsumi blinked at the affection. She had done the same thing to Chini back at the hospital and while she knew she would never be able to master the arts of emotion, it was not totally uncommon for her to give the occasional kiss or hug when it mattered. Yujin, however, never showed any kind of affection at all.
Chini closed his eyes and returned his friend’s embrace. A hand clutched the back of Yujin’s shirt while the other made its way to the back of his head, gripping his blond locks in desperation. The action lasted a brief moment before Chini hesitantly moved back, allowing Tsumi to take Yujin’s weight before he could fall.
“I gotta go, Toi.” He mumbled, rubbing his face with the back of his sleeve. He took one last breath and turned, waving over his shoulder. “It’s been fun.”
Chiba, Japan. 2014, April
Hokori threw open the doors to his office and stepped inside. Yoku followed closely and took the liberty to close the doors behind them before anyone could think of following. She inwardly sighed as she looked upon The God of Chaos’ face while he paced his office.
“How was I to know she was the one?” Hokori began. He reached for the fan upon his desk and began waving it towards his face to cool off. This woman was driving him crazy.
“Oh? Did no-one mention the infamous Muzai Aibori to you?” Yoku clicked her tongue and moved, lacing her long arms around Hokori’s frame as she pressed a cheek to his shoulder blade. Just as she had done to her brother not long ago before she stabbed him in the back. Literally.
Hokori shrugged her off and rounded his desk to create a wide space between them. He continued to fan himself, hiding his expression of pure disgust. “I no longer want you here. Especially when the little one arrives. I want you and your minion gone before this evening.”
Yoku hummed loudly, tapping her chin with a dainty finger. She was hardly offended by his rejection to her affectionate advances. She was only teasing. Even a man like Hokori could not deny the fact she was stunning. But she would never have a good place in his books. Never.
“That minion used to be one of yours.” She mused, reaching forward to place both hands upon Hokori’s desk. She made sure to lean forward enough for her suit to dip for all eyes to see.
“Miryoku was an orphan in the house that I took care of.” Hokori’s eyes never left her face. His teeth clenched behind his fan and he turned, eyes slanted. “After the fire and your medical intervention, he lived and was entrusted to… Well, he was not entrusted to my Coven.”
“It seems not many know the truth of that fire and the two children who died in the midst of ash and flames are still mentioned to this day. Hanzai and Batsu were so close, two in the same. The Parasite claims they died in the fire, yet Hanzai was accused of murdering The Glutton. All very suspicious.” Yoku rolled her eyes and hopped onto Hokori’s desk. “Oh, but of course you would know the truth. No doubt your little pet recalls the accident plain as day, too. I wonder why you decided to keep it a secret from everyone. So naughty of you both. Far more devilish than the things you did to him behind closed doors when no-one was looking-”
Hokori’s hand lurched forward, grabbing Yoku’s throat. He pulled her down against the desk with enough force to shut her up. Yoku gasped, sprawled on her back against the desk with wide eyes as Hokori’s face loomed above. The yellow of his eyes glowed and she could see the small markings located in his left iris where his Name glimmered. Pride.
“What I did was to protect him. You know that, you fucking whore.” Hokori whispered lowly. His hand tightened against Yoku’s throat, not enough to choke the air out of her lungs, but enough to leave bruises. “The man locked in his room is no longer the same man I once knew. He has become something else and what he has done is unacceptable. All I have now is my Coven and I will not let you take them away from me just as you took him from me, understand?”
Yoku nodded slowly. Despite her agreement to follow his words, she could not help but smile the whole time. As if she held a secret, something worthy enough to laugh in The God of Chaos’ face without fear. Hokori had only scoffed, releasing her. He fanned his fury while Yoku moved off of the desk and stood. She dusted down her clothes and stifled a cough before turning on the balls of her feet, shooting a poisonously sweet smile in the man’s direction.
“Such a shame. I suppose I should just return to Yuugen. It has become awfully lonely there since everyone left or, well, died. Not even Chikai keeps me company as much as he used to.” Yoku sighed once more, raising a hand to her forehead with her signature dramatical flair. “I suppose I shall have to break down his door and check on him. It has been a while since I examined his neck, and he would make a wonderful volunteer for my next experiment. I suppose he would like to know his husband is protecting the Aibori girl too, the very child he has been longing to meet. Or are you divorced now? I could never keep up.”
Hokori stiffened. He knew she was trying to provoke him, but the paranoia stirred in his gut all the same. She knew too much. She knew about Hanzai and Batsu. She knew just about every little detail in his personal life and she seemed pretty certain of herself when it came to Muzai Aibori. He closed his eyes, defeated. Yoku was a woman full of evil tricks and monstrous ideas. He could not afford to let her out of his sight.
“Fine.” Hokori whispered. He folded his fan up and slowly set it back down upon his desk. “Do whatever you must. Just leave my Coven alone.”
Yoku swayed, tipping her head to the side. “Is your Coven the only thing you wish to remain untouched in what is to come?”
“No.” Hokori raised his hand to cover his face, dropping himself onto his chair. “I want you to leave Senbo alone. He of all people. Do not touch him, understand?”
“I understand, darling.” Yoku opened the door with a cackle worthy of a Witch of Olde. “I want you to put on the best show you have ever performed. I want you to dance for me, God of Chaos.”