Memory 13 - Drifting Away
by Midori Kou
I can hear them clearly.
Just behind that wall...
I shouldn't have come.
I knew I would just cause trouble.
Maybe I was better off...
If I didn't had feelings for him...
If I didn't know he existed.
Ken curled deeply into bed as the voices outside the room grew louder and louder. Covering his ears, he grinded his teeth, wishing they will cease their verbal fighting. But a wish like that to occur in this tense atmosphere was impossible. After all, this was a touchy subject that Ms. Takaishi had to bring up. Even after Takeru admitted to the raven haired boy about this, he himself did not have this fiery fury about the pallid angel sleeping around. Sure he was hurt, but his soul did not burn the same anger as his mother. Was Takeru's relationship with his mother much worse than his own?
It was possible that may be the case. Ms. Takaishi hadn't always been there for her son as far as he knew or what he was told, for that matter. Even when they were young, it seemed like the Bearer of Hope had very little communication between her since she was working for a private Japanese newspaper publication company. Was it because of her job that he acted happy-go-lucky to cover up his pain? If that's the case, was he acting that way since elementary school? The idea seemed convincing, but Ken didn't want to assume such an idea. He was in no place to.
Suddenly the voices stopped and the silence brewed the atmosphere with melancholy. It certainly drove the raven haired boy to become severely nervous and uncertain of the status between the two. Quickly, Ken pulled out a couple of Takeru's clothes and put them on, for he still didn't know what the pallid angel did with his. As he reached the doorknob, the raven haired boy listened as he heard Ms. Takaishi said, "Is that was you want? To throw away your future?"
Opening a slight crack, the Bearer of Kindness peered outside, viewing the back of Takeru with his fists clenched tightly.
"That's not what I meant, Okaa-san," Takeru stated. His voice sounded hard and struggling. It was like he was holding back. Perhaps he just wanted to scream at the top of his lungs to get his mother's attention for once. Why does he allow himself to endure when he should stop heightening the bars that barricade him? Who is he protecting if he acts that way? At the time, all seemed futile.
"I want a future, my own future. Not yours, not anyone else. I'm tired trying to become like you! I don't want to live your life. I hate it! Got it?" he snapped back unconsciously.
The tone of his voice and the words he used made his mother frustrated. This sudden changing attitude was unlike her usual obedient son. What became of him? When did he decide not to hear her anymore? When did he isolate his thoughts away from hers? When did it all happen? What happened to them?
Unexpectedly, his mother began to weep. Her warm tears flowed down her soft face as she tried to reason with Takeru carefully. No matter what she did, it seemed like her dear son enclosed himself within a barrier that no one could touch. "Do you really hate what I do for you?" she asked in a partial distorted voice. "Do you really desire not to have my life?"
"Okaa-san, I didn't mean--"
His mother really made it difficult for him to admit what he wants. Whatever gets said, she takes it the wrong way and turns it all against him. It's like she wanted to blame him for all the trouble he caused and the problems they had to go through. But it's not his fault... Not entirely. Why can't she see that? Why she can't be that person he needed? Why can't she be there and agree for once? These questions... Will they ever be answered? Takeru just couldn't see a lighter side to this.
"Then stay out of my life," she uttered softly as she wiped her tears. "Don't be a part of it. Just leave... And tell me how hard life is without me there."
"Are you kicking me out?" Takeru asked hesitantly as a cold chill pierced his spine.
"That's exactly what I'm saying." Ms. Takaishi swallowed hard before she repeated herself once again. Telling him this was difficult for her and Takeru could clearly see this in her eyes. "Gather your things and leave here as soon as you can. Don't make me say it again."
Holding his breath, the pallid angel's deep sapphire eyes were shocked. Was she really serious? Was she really going to allow this? It was unlike her to. Then again, his mother must have given up on help him after what he said. Lowering his head, he replied coldly, "Fine then. I'll leave."
"What are you surprised about? You told me to. It doesn't seem like I have a choice in the matter. Besides, it's better this way," he uttered as he gave her the cold shoulder.
With those final words said, the Bearer of Hope drifted away from his mother and headed back into his room. The fallen angel jerked away from the door before Takeru opened it completely. Seeing Ken in his clothes for a moment, he quickly glanced away as his bangs shadowed his ocean blue eyes into darkness. As the blond teenager closed the door behind him, Takeru immediately walked towards the corner of the room. Clenching his chest tightly, the raven haired boy wanted to say something to soothe the other boy. With this thick, tense atmosphere, the words didn't come. He just stood there as Takeru sat on the edge of his bed and stared at the floor aimlessly.
Seeing the pallid angel like this really hurt him. Those saddened eyes and emotionless complexion were all too familiar to him. The same look he had when he fought against Takeru face to face a long time ago. The Takeru that wanted to hurt someone because something made him suffer.
Ken really wants to do something for him, to relieve him somehow. He felt that it wasn't his place to do so. After all, the only reason the conflict occurred because of him being here or so he thought. Believing it was his fault would help Takeru at all. He knew that, but he couldn't help himself from feeling guilty.
Breaking the dead silence, Takeru said, "Ken... You should get going."
The way he said those words was so flat. All the lively energy flowing through the pallid angel seemed to have disappeared all at once. Ken realized that leaving is the last thing that he should right now. Who knows what Takeru would do during his absence?
Shaking his head to object, the Bearer of Kindness replied, "No... I'm staying..."
The fallen angel extended his hands to the other boy as he wrapped his arms over his shoulders tenderly. As the blond haired teenager raised his head to gaze at him, he found himself lost to a gentle kiss. The warm affectionate touch of the other boy made his soul calm and free. Why this ebony dream so powerful to change his mood? It was certainly mysterious to him.
"Ken...?" he heard Takeru uttered as his cerulean eyes met with his.
"Are you trying to cheer me up?" the pallid angel asked suspiciously in a mellow tone.
"Yeah. Is it working?" Ken asked innocently.
"Apparently, you achieved that..."
"It seemed like the only way to calm your mind..." Ken murmured as he released his arms. Sitting himself beside his pallid angel, the raven haired boy leaned against him ever so softly. As he let his fingers grip his sleeve, Takeru grasped his other boy's hand within his own. "So what now...?"
"I really don't know. I have the whole day to figure things out and what to do. I guess I could ask Ni-san if I could crash at his place."
"Are you really going to go through this...? You know, moving out and all?"
"Yeah, I guess I am."
"Are you really serious?"
"You heard my mother, right?"
"But does that really make a difference? Is it really what you want?"
"What I want never occurs to her... anymore..."
"You know, you should really leave. Your mother would get worried."
"But...! I shouldn't leave you like this! What about...!"
Placing his finger over the fallen angel's lips so he would not continue, the blond teenager gazed at him calmly and beamed. Surprised at first, Ken couldn't help but wonder what his opposite was truly feeling deep inside. The raven haired boy gently lowered the other boy's hand and grasped it tenderly within his own. Glancing from their grouped hands and back to him, Takeru paused as his angel replied, "Is that what you want me to do? I would feel horrible if things would turn out right for you."
"Ken... It's nothing you should concern yourself with," Takeru muttered as he looked away forcefully.
"Is it really?" The fallen angel questioned emotionally. "You have no idea about the consequences. What you're about to do will hurt her also. It doesn't matter what she says or do. In the end, she will feel horrible and blame herself... After all, that's how my mother felt when I decided to just disappear. It isn't the greatest feeling to inflict on someone, especially if they're family."
"Do you really expect me to talk my way through? To work things out...? What a joke...Not everyone's life is as perfect as yours, Ichijouji!" he snapped unconsciously.
Suddenly, he felt his opposite's hand smacked against his cheek with such effort. The burning, stingy pain bleed through his skin and nerves as Takeru could feel that horrible sensation. It pulsated in him and wouldn't dissipate anytime soon. Raising his fingers to his cheek, his sapphire eyes widen in response. It was no dream. He could certainly feel the piercing shot terribly.
As he eyed Ken with such frozen eyes, he noticed the dark haired boy's hand trembled. The Bearer of Kindness held his breath as he rose to his feet. He didn't know why what drove him to physically hurt the pallid angel. Those last words... They built a raging fire in his heart that influenced the tense fury of his blow. At the time, he felt like Takeru was like everyone else... Everyone else who prejudged him. Why...? Just because he said something unconsciously? For some sort of reason, he hated the pallid angel for uttering such a thing in his presence.
Takeru was well-aware about the situation. His other hand clenched the end of the bed tightly and he sensed the fallen angel backing away from him. Catching his breath, the Bearer of Hope heard the other boy apologized.
"Takeru... I didn't mean to... It's just that--"
"It's not your fault," the pallid angel interrupted unexpectedly. "You shouldn't be the one apologizing. I was the one who provoked you. I should be the one saying 'I'm sorry'."
"Did you really mean it though?" Ken wondered suspiciously.
"Could you leave... please...?" Takeru asked as he avoided the other boy's question.
"I have some things I should be doing...," he stated as he stood up. "Your clothes are out on the balcony. They should be dry by now."
"But Takeru...!" Ken exclaimed as the pallid angel escorted him out of the room. It was incredible awkward to leave things the way they were and yet the golden haired teenager didn't seemed to mind. Perhaps Takeru did, but wishes not to speak about it anymore. Still, the raven haired Chosen felt troubled by the thought. He wanted to help, but it occurred to him that anything he does suggest doesn't seem to impact the other boy in any way. Is the Bearer of Hope really that stubborn, more than him?
As the pallid angel opened the door for Ken, the Bearer of Kindness forcefully pushed the door back into place, surprising the blond teenager. Takeru gripped the air as set it to his side. The raven haired boy turned around and gazed at his opposite with concern amethyst crystal eyes.
"Is it really okay like this? Is it right for you to run away from your problems? Can't you figure out a way to make amends with your mother? Don't you ever think about all of this?"
The raven haired boy suddenly became silent by the emotionless request of the pallid angel. The Bearer of Hope approached the other boy, causing Ken to back against the door. His hands wandered against the wooden barrier behind him as a surge of nervousness pumped through his system. His heart beat rapidly as Takeru laid his hand under his chin. His violet eyes met his in an immense stare. A longing to touch his tender lips overwhelmed as he felt lost in the blue of the angel. That burning sensation coursed through his veins as he felt the blond teenage boy's fingers gripped tight. The Bearer of Kindness felt his body tremble in fear. It was strange to feeling such a mysterious karma from this angel. He never felt like this in his presence before. He didn't sense this yesterday as well. Who was this person holding his face so hard? Was it really Takeru?
Suddenly Ken felt his lips melted with the other boy's. The golden haired boy kissed him deeply. At the moment, the fallen angel felt as if he was being devoured by this lustful feeling. It was tremendously aggressive, causing the raven haired boy to loss all his senses. Takeru wrapped his arms around him and drew him close to his body firmly. As he did, the Bearer of Hope managed to open the door. The pallid angel took advantage of this moment and released the other boy outside of his room. Realizing this, Ken tried to stop him from closing the door on him. Immediately, the Bearer of Kindness tried to slip his hand within the remaining gap, but he was a few seconds too late. The door shut right before his face, leaving him staring at the plain white paint.
A blank expression glossed over his complexion as he was hesitant to leave the hallway. The sounds of footsteps approached him at a gradual pace. Slowly, he glared in the direction of the soft noise. There, looking back at him was Ms. Takaishi.
"Don't bother him. Let him do whatever he wants."
"Aren't you going to stop him?" Ken immediately asked. She shook her head sadly in response. Shocked, the raven haired boy couldn't believe what type of family relationship he stumbled upon. He went through plenty of incidents that made him realize that there are ways to deal and live. Still, were there issues out there that could never be mended? Is this one of them?
"He doesn't want me to control his life."
"So that's it then? You're just going to give up on him?" Ken complied furiously as his fingers curled into a fist. An intense anger flowed through his heart and soul and he grinded his teeth. He didn't want to be rude but he wanted to say something about this. Taking in a deep breath, the former prodigy continued. "What kind of a parent are you if you're not going to advise him? The only reason he doesn't want to abide to your rules and all is because you keep commanding him around. You suppose to suggest many possibilities for him to choose instead of factoring it down to one thing. You're supposed to be his mother. Don't you ever wonder what he wants to be? Don't you ever wonder what he can accomplish on his own? There are enough social problems here in Japan already. I don't think that you need add to it. Don't you agree?"
"Ken-chan...," Ms. Takaishi uttered under her breath. She was surprised that the shy dark haired boy thoroughly held strongly to this belief, let alone told her directly. He certainly changed since the last time she met him.
"Now if you excuse me...," the Bearer of Kindness remarked as he walked passed her. A sudden awkward silence grew between them after Ken's casual politeness. Strolling towards the direction of the balcony to gather his clothes, the older woman's eyes followed him before he disappeared from her sight.
"What he wants to be...?" she murmured as she stared at her son's bedroom door.
"I want to succeed too, but not under your shadow, Okaa-san."
The haunting voice of her son filled her mind. Was she wrong to drive him towards a dream she wished to live? Shaking her head, she tried to deny it. As she headed to her room, Ken paused as he heard her shut the door behind her. Creeping back into the hallway, the Bearer of Kindness just stared at the door at the end of the hallway. The fallen angel felt a burst of sorrow that chilled his soul. For some sort of reason, he seemed like a reflection of his own life. The way he used to treat his parents... The way he had always isolate himself... They were all too familiar to him that it was frightening. Now that Takeru is leaving, Ken couldn't help wondering if he too decides to just disappear off the face of the earth. Would the blond angel do something so foolish like he did before? What is he planning to accomplish on his own?
As he passed Takeru's room, the raven haired boy heard a knock from his door. Confused, Ken leaned his ear against the barrier between them. "Takeru...?"
There was no response. Glaring blankly at the door, the Bearer of Kindness placed his hand on the smooth panel. The only reply he received was the noises of packing from the other side. Ken walked away sadly as he headed to the bathroom to change his clothes. As he did, Takeru paused for a moment as he felt the fallen angel's presence drifting away. Glancing at the star-engraved orb at his night stand, the golden haired teenager sighed.
Who am I when I'm with you...? Who are you to me? I want to believe that it's love between us... But I could be wrong. This could also be a lie... Another lie in my life... Nothing's seems to be real anymore...
Quietly, Ken stepped out of the bathroom, dressed accordingly in his school uniform. His amethyst eyes wandered the floor and towards Ms. Takaishi's room. It was still closed shut. Turning around, the raven haired boy gazed at the plain, empty white door that leads into the solitude of Takeru's room. There was an open crack in the doorway that caught his eye. As he walked towards his dear angel's sanctuary, his heart pounded in a panic. Quickly, Ken swung the door open and saw the room left in a mess.
The clothes in the linen drawers were tossed and scattered across the floor. Any personal belongings were left behind. It appears that the Bearer of Hope only gathered anything he really needed at the time. A few clothes, money... Anything that he needed to get by under short notice... Ken's eyes searched his room furthermore, realizing Takeru left the present he gave to the pallid angel. His heart plunged into a crevice of darkness and depression.
Heading in the object's direction, the Bearer of Kindness saw a note weighted by the orb. Ken stared at it numbly as his violet eyes grew wide in shock. The characters read: "Don't follow me." It stuck to his mind instantly.
Suddenly, the raven haired boy loss all strength in his legs and collapsed to his knees. His senses were incredibly paralyzed as he uttered to himself, "The real Takeru disappeared... The real one who I wanted to understand... He's gone."
END OF CHAPTER THIRTEEN
Anybody confused about Takeru's character more than I am? O.o I really made his life really complicated. Not only that he witnessed his best friend's death, went through rehab, have been diagnosed with borderline depression, slept around in the past, now he's kicked out and we have no idea where he is. Not even I know where he is! XD Well, I kinda do, but I won't tell until the next chapter. Review please!
[Ken Ichijouji Character Analysis]
Ken's character was difficult to work around. I always noticed he can manage to believe in others and less towards himself. In the anime, Ken noted that he's not like he used to be when it came to school and such. I used these ideas to shape Ken's attributes in this series as carefully as I could. I see Ken as a person struggles to be better as much as he can, but no one ever notices. His classmates see him as a non-changing person. Always perfect. Even though he earns lesser grades, Ken can still manage against them. Towards his classmates, he's always seen as an enemy unlike Takeru. No matter what he does, they always think the worse of him without understanding his life. He has issues of his own to overcome such as a short memory span and an inferiority complex. His views and other people's opinions towards himself are the reasons why Ken contemplated on committing suicide.
Also, Ken is very accepting to any comfort he can get, especially from his own age group. Since he is unable to receive the proper friendship at school, he receives it from Daisuke and Takeru. Daisuke gives him the brotherly-type relationship he lost while Takeru introduces to him deep affection. It's because of this Ken is able to open himself more towards Takeru since he's not entirely close to him as to Daisuke. When Ken begins to question and intrude Takeru's life, he slowly gains a feminine characteristic to learn more about him. By the first half of the series, Ken tries to be with Takeru the more he thinks about him. As a result, he notices the real Takeru. When Takeru left, Ken muttered, "The real Takeru disappeared..." The actions that Takeru did up until now were his own. When he decided to leave, it indicated the loss of Takeru's willpower to allow his true self live amongst others in society and thus Ken's statement.
[Takeru Takaishi Character Analysis]
I purposely made Takeru uncertain about what his feelings mean versus his actions and past to reflect most teenagers of today. I really love writing Takeru as a passionate guy, always hoping and dreaming. Problem is that he had been doing that for so long that he wants to accomplish his dreams as soon as he can. His mother restricts him only to keep him on the right track. This reflects what occurred in his past. (Miki's death, rehab, etc.) Takeru really tries his best to make everyone happy, but forgets about himself entirely.
When he finally realizes he needs to control his life in order live a truthful life, he is unsure how to begin because he is afraid of making mistakes. Ken told him that he should talk about what he feels in one of the previous chapters and thus, he finally tells his mother, which reflects the expectations everyone has towards him that were introduced in the beginning of the series. Takeru agreed to leave only because he wants to run away from these expectations instead of finding a way for others to not burden him with their wishes. It's because of this that he reverted back to closing his heart away and forgets what Ken feels, breaking his promise to listen to him and such.