Memory 09 - Rumors
by Midori Kou
Why are you hiding from me?
What secrets are hidden in your heart?
Are they that painful?
How come you can't tell me?
Am I stranger to you?
Do you fear me like everyone else?
You don't have to...
You don't have to be afraid...
Ken contemplated upon his confused thoughts as his eyes' attention was embedded on the unknown mysterious container filled with egg-shell colored medication. His face was terribly tensed by the unstable trepidation that began to plague his soul. A cold numbing feeling crept upon his spine as he let out a deep breath. It was no relaxing matter after he realized that Takeru had been taking such medication during his absence. He was not well informed about the Bearer of Hope. Although he had strong feelings for the athletic popular male, it had occurred to him that he truly never knew the other boy.
Sure, he understood vividly about what Takeru had to endure from others, but was that enough? He knew little about the blond teenager's past, let alone the people he is surrounded by who had made him felt that way in the first place. Then again, Ken's memories of his childhood were all in a blur. Anything that had happened when he was Daisuke and the others were the only things he could possibly remember.
Feeling disturbed, his arm drooped to his side as he felt incredible weak. It was like his body was limp and lifeless by a bubonic disease. To felt this vulnerable... It was not comforting at all. He wanted to know Takeru more, but as a result he came to the conclusion that he never knew him to begin with. Was the pallid angel nothing more than a wandering martyr? This empty shell with no identity whatsoever appeared to him and yet he wanted to be with him. Did he accept a blank slate over those with character?
Sighing, Ken hesitated to continue to head where Takeru lie. He had driven himself to know about him more since yesterday and yet, now it seemed unfulfilling to just end there. The raven haired boy wanted to broaden this journey further than merely understanding the other boy. He wanted more, but what exactly? To be with him, but why? As far as he knew, the Bearer of Kindness needed to be comforted.
Here he was, running to the blond teenage boy so he would help him through another difficult time. He felt like he should hate himself. Should he keep using Takeru as a mean of escaping his troubles once they occur? Was he that pathetic? Why was he going to meet the pallid angel for? To meet this unknown character who he had accepted as a friend from long ago... Why? Why him?
"It's because I like him... I like him very much..." Ken told himself aloud. "Takeru admitted that he cares about me... That's right, he wrote a letter for me..."
Slipping the medication into a slip in his schoolbag, the raven haired boy pulled the coarse paper unconsciously. His eyes trailed upon the words that the other boy wrote carefully. Staring at the characters, he considered that the Bearer of Hope certainly realized he had some sort of feelings for him. "For me... His words... He wrote them himself, so why am I fooling myself to disregard this? I like Takeru and he cares for me."
I completely forgot about his feelings for a moment. He told me in the letter that he did not want to lose this feeling between us. I shouldn't run away from it, but I feel the same way! I want to be with him, anytime I can... That way, I can know him better and wouldn't feel like I'm using him somehow. Takeru-kun is truly kind in heart. I know it for sure! He's not some guy who deliberately wants to hate others. He just feels like he should because they don't understand... Just like how I feel...
Clinching his fists, his head hung over in defeat. If he considered this, then they are not that much different from each as he thought. Although they live completely different lives, the outcome had result the same.
As Ken stepped outside, his amethyst eyes gazed at the endless sky filled with a winter white tone. The sun had yet to appear. As the clouds rolled, it became terribly darker. Suddenly, a droplet of fresh rain fell upon the raven haired boy's face and streamed down his chin. The droplets continued to pour in a rhythmical motion. As his dark, soft hair became drenched and heavy, the Bearer of Kindness let out a deep breath. "The world is cold to us, right Takeru-kun?"
The rain slowly made his black school uniform wet as he stood there idly. Staring at the horizon, he nodded to himself. And so, Ken went towards the direction where his pallid angel lies.
Even though the world is cold, it can be warm again...
Thump... Thump... Thump... The repetition of the dribbling in the gymnasium echoed as the lights immensely illuminated the room. Not another living soul was inside except for the blond teenager who practiced by his lonesome. Alone on the court despite the dreary atmosphere... Forcefully, Takeru raised his arms swiftly and released the coarse basketball from the tips of his fingers. Floating in the air, the auburn orange rubber ball spun and arced by the golden haired boy's strength.
As it fell downwards, it banged onto the rim and ricocheted backed at him. Stepping to the side to dodge the basketball, his ocean blue eyes glared at the ball as it gradually lost its momentum. The bounces soon died out and the coarse orange ball rolled until it hit the bleachers.
Panting out of exhaustion, the Bearer of Hope went to retrieve the ball. He kneeled down and carefully scooped the ball back into his hands. Furious, Takeru gritted his teeth out of disappointment. As a result, his complexion grew ferocious. Dashing down the court out of anger, the blond teenager dribbled the ball. Once he was within the range of the hoop, Takeru gripped the basketball and leaped into the air.
BANG!!! The golden haired boy performed a slam dunk with such outrageous power. The basketball plummeted onto the ground with incredible force that the sound of its decent rang throughout the gymnasium as long as a minute. As he landed onto the wax wooden floor, Takeru fell onto his knees as he gasped for air. His body was completely tense and worn out. He had been practicing for more than two hours and it caused his body to feel limp and numb. He was pushing himself much of the day; he knew that perfectly.
As the blond teenager's attention focused on the dark sky outside, he breathed heavily during his cool down. A feeling of cold metal pierced his neck as the heat within him vanished. Reaching for his necklace, Takeru gazed as the gift that Hikari and Taichi had given him for his birthday. The two different rings lay in his palm, glimmering by the room's lighting.
"What has been up with me today!?" he cried out. "I'm not concentrating on my game. Kuusou!" Punching his fist onto the glossy floor, Takeru lowered his head resentfully. Ever since he had woken up today, his day had become terrible by the second. To begin with, his brother, Yamato had to bring up Miki Akatsu. Why now? He never talked about him before. What drove him to ask such a question? Was it because of yesterday? Or maybe, he had wanted to question him about the issue for some time.
Sighing, the Bearer of Hope shook his head against the idea. Even so, it could be possibility. Has his brother been suffering, knowing what had happen in the past? Did that incident after Miki's suicide made Yamato worried? Did he think he would do it again? Confused, he flopped back onto the hard, chilly floor. His body was spread like he had fallen to the earth and died. He was tired and should have left campus right after school. Still, he was stubborn not to.
Everyone at school was terribly concerned about him. His headaches had occurred more often lately than ever. They didn't know why, but he did. It was the result of taking his anti-depressants for two years. Now, he is suffering from the side effects. Only he knew this though and no one else. As far as they knew, his condition was merely a health problem. But it wasn't his health at first. It was more than that.
"Miki's suicide..." Takeru uttered under his breath. "It was raining that day too..." As he closed his eyes, he allowed his mind to drift as he listened the pattering of the rain. It was soothing and yet it felt painful at the same time.
Suddenly, the metal door of the gymnasium swung open with a storming roar breaking Takeru's train of thought. As he sat up, the blond teenager noticed a thin male figure standing by the doorway. The unknown person walked silently into the gymnasium, looking for someone in particular. The other boy looked at him and smiled gently in response. The golden haired boy's sapphire eyes widen by the mysterious figure's gesture. As Takeru got onto his feet, the other boy approached him. "So this is where you were!"
"Ichijouji-kun..." The Bearer of Hope replied quite surprised by the turn of events. "What are you doing here? It's a long way from Tamachi to Odaiba."
"Yeah, I know. Still, I came to hang out with you."
Noticing that the raven haired boy was incredibly soaked by the rainfall, Takeru wondered what drove him to come on such a day. "You couldn't choose a better day when it's not raining?"
Ken shrugged in return, unable to counter. "Well, it rained once I arrived in Odaiba, so you can't blame me."
Moaning, the blond angel crossed his arms as he raised a brow. "I suppose." Rubbing his forehead, he walked towards his sports bag located on the side of the bleachers. "You better take off your clothes or you'll get sick, Ichijouji-kun."
The Bearer of Kindness twitched by the other boy's suggestion. Sure he was wet and cold and perhaps beginning to feel under the weather, but he didn't need to dress. The room temperature could surely dry his clothes. Blushing, he said, "You don't have to worry. I'm not going to get sick..."
Staring at the dark haired boy, Takeru release a soft sigh as he pulled out a towel. Throwing the soft white towel to Ken, the dark haired boy caught it. Giving an concern look at the Bearer of Kindness, the pallid angel simply stated, "You're going to get sick."
"And this fact is based on?" Ken inquired.
"Me. I have years of experience when it comes to being sick because of rain," Takeru chirped.
"Years of experience?"
"When I was a kid, I played in the rain a lot. As a result, I was always sick a day after. After a while, a person like me should know how to approach this type of situation."
The raven haired boy glared at him oddly, trying to avoid what Takeru was asking him to do. He felt utterly flustered by the idea as the golden haired boy eyed him. His heart was beating hard and rapidly. The pulsing of his blood increased as he felt lost by the other boy's beautiful deep blue eyes. It was such a warm feeling that burn through his soul. This alluring angel made him had many mixed feelings. What should he do?
"Are you embarrassed?" Takeru finally said. Ken shied away his flushed red face from the Bearer of Hope; perhaps he didn't noticed. Wrapping his arms onto his own body, the raven haired boy was quite hesitant to undress before him. Seeing Ken's uneasy complexion, he suggested, "If you feel that way, you can always go to the guys' locker room. You can wear my clothes until yours are dry."
"You don't ne-"
"Ichijouji-kun...," he grumbled.
"Alright, alright...," Ken replied. "Under one condition, though."
Pulling out a plastic, transparent orange container from his schoolbag, the raven haired boy tossed it to the Bearer of Hope. As Takeru analyzed the object in his hands, his eyes widen in shock. Glancing back to Ken, the blond teenager felt completely stiff. As his lips parted, he found himself vulnerable by this boy's presence.
"That's yours, isn't it?"
"That's yours, isn't it?!" The Bearer of Kindness raised his voice unconsciously.
Feeling defeated by the fact that Ken had found his medication, he did not retaliate against his accusation. Even so, the pallid angel was not able to tell the raven haired boy with his own words. Instead, he nodded silently.
Takeru feared how he would react like how his peers look upon him. By doing so, he was pushing everyone away from him. To do that with Ken of all people was unspeakable. The boy meant something to him. He gave him a feeling of being alive. If he was to lose that, he would lose any attachment to human emotions.
"Why didn't you tell me, Takeru-kun?"
"I wouldn't know how you would react... Not even Hikari-chan and Daisuke-kun know that I'm taking anti-depressants."
"Anti-depressants? That's what they are?"
"Yes, that's what I've been taking."
"For how long you've been taking them?"
"About two years..." Takeru forcefully chuckled to ease the intense mood among them. When he glanced at the raven haired boy, the Bearer of Hope noticed that Ken was terribly stunned. "Ichijouji-kun..."
"So you've been lying to us for two years..."
"Perhaps since then..."
"Since then? What happened, Takeru?" Ken abruptly asked. "What happened that cause you to take anti-depressants?"
The raven haired boy's sudden questions were so forceful that it made Takeru felt on the edge. He could understand why he was curious by the fact, but to question him so soon, he could not respond. Perhaps, that's why he did not want to tell his friends about his condition. Perhaps, that's why he told his brother, Yamato to lie to everyone about what had happened to him. To avoid all of this nonsense... Sure, he wanted to tell everyone the truth but he wanted to do it on his own terms. Guess everything had backfired on me... I can't run away anymore...
Sighing, he sat himself on the front bleachers. Lowering his head, he uttered, "Miki Akatsu, that's what happened."
"Miki Akatsu was my best friend from my old school before I came to Odaiba. He and I were the best of friends. He would smile no matter what. When he did poorly, he would just laugh it off, always saying 'I'll try harder next time.' I admired him a lot."
"That sounds much like you, Takeru-kun."
"You could say I was influenced by him. He was like a second brother to me. I still kept in contact with him when I started the fifth grade at Odaiba Elementary School. When I finally entered junior high, Miki transferred to my school during my first year. But when I had class with him, I noticed he changed. I didn't know it at first, but he was quite jumpy. Something disturbed him, but I didn't ask him."
"I felt like it wasn't my place to question other people's personal lives. Perhaps, I respected other people's privacy way too much. I should have asked Miki what was going on much earlier."
"Takeru... Did Miki...?"
"On the day of midterms, I went to his apartment home. No one was home, but the door was opened. When I walked in, I found his parents both dead and Miki holding a knife - all blood-covered and numb. He stared at me with such lifeless eyes and then...He took his own life."
"That's not the worst thing Miki did to me though. The worst thing was that he used my hands to do it."
Ken was lost for words. The raven haired boy was unaware about this boy's dark past. It was because of that incident that caused Takeru to have automaton emotions. Here he was, listening to this pallid angel with his undivided attention and not once the blond teenager shed a tear for the lost of Miki Akatsu. It disturbed him that Takeru narrated this so calmly. How could he? How could he tell him about his best friend with ease? Ken found it difficult to talk about his dead brother, Osamu - even now. So why? Why does Takeru force himself not to feel?
"I'm afraid of everyone..." Takeru's voice echoed in his mind. Those were his exact words he had told him yesterday. "If I were to love someone, I'm afraid that I would get hurt, I suppose..."
That's right... Takeru's afraid of being hurt like how Akatsu hurt him. To go through such a cruel thing... Now I understand.
"Do you hate Akatsu-san?"
"No, not really. I pity him..."
"What?" The Bearer of Kindness noticed a sincere tone in the other boy's voice. It was gentle and delightful in contrast to the subject. How could he look upon death so happily? Unless he wasn't acknowledging his best friend's death, but for his character instead.
"It wasn't his fault. It wasn't his fault at all," Takeru replied as he stared at the ceiling. "When I was in rehabilitation, I was informed about the incident. It turned out that Mr. Akatsu had abused Mrs. Akatsu from time to time. That night, they had a fight and Mr. Akatsu took it out on her. Miki's mother probably died in the process. He probably tried to defend her... Protecting her until her last breath... That's probably what drove him to kill his father. He probably hated his father for what he did... Under the circumstances, I can't find Miki guilty."
To hear this from the pallid angel, he was certainly merciful for Miki Akatsu. Despite the fact the boy had killed his father and forcefully used the blond teenager's hands to commit suicide, he still sees the situation so lightly. Is that really the case though? Does Takeru really feel that way? Is there a part of him that feels incredibly weak in relation to this issue? No, that can't be true, can it?
"You don't seem sad about Akatsu-san's loss."
"At first I was. Now, I don't think I can be. Miki taught me a lot of things and we've been through a lot. To cry from him wouldn't make him happy. I think he hates to cry. That's why he always smiles and laughs."
"Akatsu-san reminds me of my brother, Osamu."
"Your brother who died when you were little, right?"
"Yeah... I used to hate him, until he was really gone. I was certainly depressed about his death, but over the years, I've learned to cope with it and appreciate what he had done for me not to me."
The golden haired boy nodded in response. As he stood up, the Bearer of Hope approached Ken silently. Clearing his throat, Takeru noted, "Now with that aside, you need to hold your end of the bargain."
Ken simply forgot about that with the pallid angel's tale of his past. Sighing, he lowered his head as he tightly gripped the towel the blond teenager had given him. "Point me into the direction of the locker room, please..." The raven haired boy uttered in a monotone voice.
"It's to your right," Takeru said.
"Thank you... And thank you for telling me about your past, Takeru-kun."
The golden haired boy's cheeks had subtly blushed in response by Ken's words. He blinked, clearing this throat once more. "You're welcome, Ken," he beamed as his lips curved. The Bearer of Kindness gestured back and turned his back towards the angel. As he walked away from him, Ken disappeared into the locker room.
The raven haired sat alone in the locker room, idling as his clothes hanged to dry. When he had undressed himself, he forgot to ask Takeru from his locker combination to get his clothes to wear as he waited. To ask him would be a hassle though. Ken didn't want to be a burden for the pallid angel, and so he kept his silence. Wrapping the towel over his shoulders, the Bearer of Kindness could not find warmth with just a mere, cotton fabric around his body. Perhaps he should have asked. It's better than being cold.
As he rose upon his feet, Ken heard the locker room door swung open. The creaking of the metal door was certainly apparent to him. The sounds of footsteps approached him in a percussionist pattern. Looking aside of the lockers, the dark haired boy noticed the blond teenager heading his way. Stunned, he did not know how to react to his appearance.
"You're still here, Ichijouji-kun," Takeru stated the obvious. "Plus, you look like you're freezing cold. Did I tell you that you could wear my clothes?"
"Yeah, you did but you didn't even tell me your locker number, let alone the combination," Ken countered.
Rubbing his temple gently, the golden haired boy certainly recollected that as well. "My bad. Sorry about that," he apologized as he scratched his head.
"Well, I should have asked, huh?"
"I'm here now, so it saves you the trouble," the Bearer of Hope laughed. As he paced towards the end of the locker room, Takeru carefully turned the lock's combination. Twenty to the left, forty-three to the right, sixteen to the left... The lock clicked and the blond teenager opened his gym locker with ease. As he pulled out his school uniform, the golden haired teenager shut the locker door and returned back where Ken was waiting.
As he did, Takeru noticed the raven haired boy was sitting with his knees to his chest. His eyes seemed so dull and weary and his complexion was filled a torturous pain. As he sat beside the Bearer of Kindness, the blond teenager set the clothes aside. "Are you alright?" Takeru wondered.
"Oh, it's nothing."
"Are you sure?"
Ken felt doubtful about how he was to approach his own problems. After hearing Takeru's past directly from him, he did not know if he had the strength to deal with the situation at school. The way his classmates talked about him and acted... It made him furious. Clenching onto the towel tightly, he did not want pull Takeru into this. If only he was more courageous...
"Yeah, I'm sure," he lied.
Noticing how much the other boy was trembling, Takeru could no accept his response. He was troubled; he could certainly see that. Why was he holding his suffering to himself? Why did he bury it deep into his heart although he knew it exists? Had he learned nothing? What was it?
"I don't think you're alright," Takeru commented.
"Ken...," he said in much more serious tone. "Tell me. Did something happen to you today?"
"I'm fine, really."
"How come when you ask me something, I try to tell you while you don't?"
The raven haired boy held his breath. Here he was, with Takeru who was trying his best comfort him and yet he was pushing him away his help. The blond teenager was livelier than the day before. Why he couldn't be? Even after knowing how the Bearer of Hope feels about him, he felt emptiness in his heart. Why is that?
"I don't know why, really... Maybe because I want to protect you from my problems...," Ken uttered softly.
"To protect me...," the pallid angel echoed. "Let me decide whether or not I want to troubled. Look, Ken... I want to protect you from your problems, but hiding them away from me won't help. Hiding them away from anyone won't help. Sometimes you need to tell. After all, we are no different from each other."
Unhooking his necklace off, the blond teenager handed it to Ken to look at. Placing them into the Bearer of Kindness's grasp, Takeru cupped his hands with his own. "See these two rings on the chain...?"
"Although they are different, they are connected." Gazing at the raven haired boy with his sapphire eyes, Takeru caught Ken's attention. The other boy returned the gesture as he glanced back to the two rings.
"Although they are different, they are connected...," the Bearer of Kindness echoed.
"That's what it means to be in love."
Surprised by the pallid angel's concluding words, Ken stared at him as he gave him a gentle smile. The golden haired boy caressed his cheek ever so softly. The tingling warmth from his fingers flowed through the rest of the other boy's body. His hand slowly pulled back his dark, long hair from his face. As he leaned down, their lips melted together, sealing this moment when they had found love.
The soft, white towel upon the Bearer of Kindness fell off his shoulders as the pallid angel drew him closer his body. He wrapped his other arm around his waist lightly and their kiss grew more passionate. His feathery touch was irresistible. The immense feeling of his embrace was his Paradise. His warmth... His comfort... His being... They were all there. Finally, they were together.
I don't care if my classmates create rumors about me and Takeru. No matter what happens to us, we'll go through it together...You and me, Takeru are together...
END OF CHAPTER NINE
WHOOOOOO~!! Takeken hot, steamy make-out ending scene! XD Okay, okay, I'm really hyperactive right now, so don't mind me. Hehehe... Well, as promised, Takeru's past about the antidepressants have been revealed! Anyone surprised? I had to make it a bit traumatizing for Takeru since it would explain why he is unable to differentiate his feelings and emotions. Something like that would screw up anyone's mentality! O.o I'll probably would write a side story about Takeru and Miki after this series is over, which isn't going to happen anytime soon.
Anyhoo, Daisuke and Hikari will appear in the next chapter for you Daikari fans who read this. It's going to be very complicated from hear on out. So that means more angst and problems for a starring couple. XD I'm so cruel! BWHAHAHAHAHAHA~!! **coughs** Read and review, please!