Post by Yuuto Tachibana on Jan 2, 2015 3:02:01 GMT -5
WAKANA, YUUTA [若菜, 悠太] | TACHIBANA, YUUTO [橘,優斗]
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E V E R Y G O O D B O Y D E S E R V E S F U D G E ...
You know. I'm gonna lay it thick. I hate you. You're a coward. Your hands sweat whenever a girl talks to you and you mumble and stutter whenever you try to make small talk. And yet, you're the one to get the girl. Damn you. Somehow you're also wicked talented. Being 74 and all, you've bit more than you could chew. But, isn't that what a big life is all about? Live up to it. You got the rhythm in your shoes. Be spontaneous. Step outside your comfort zone and do something that may veer on the crazy. It suits you. Your grand-kids will think you're some kind of nutcase. But, your performances? Man, they'll be listening to them again and again -- it's like you're Chopin! Open your heart. Let a girl break it. Smash it up into pieces. Drop that hopeless-good-for-nothing act. You know your long frizzy white hair is totally killer. And those beady red eyes are a K.O. to the face. Did you forget that they look brown from far away? Stellar stuff, dude. It's like you're an entirely different person up close! I wish I was like that!
I know you're still shaking after that day. It's okay. You're getting into the Gotei. And even though you're a pathetic 5'4, you've got a hell of a personality to boot. You're the quiet one in the party, but everyone knows you're there. They might not hear or see you, but damn can they feel your reiatsu roar -- when released, your playing lodges itself in anyone's ear and loops on and on again. There is just no escape from your Liszt, is there? Whatever comes your way, you can take shit and you'll cry about it that night. But the next morning, you're rock solid. So remember that when you feel like a mouse beneath the keys of the piano. Go on an adventure. There's tons to see. It's the journey, not the destination. Keep running till your feet give way. Do you remember who taught you how to read music? EGBDF! Every good boy deserves fudge, haha! Don't forget that you are the piano. No matter how far you are from its keys, you're still playing. Remember Chopin. He felt lonely too, you know. Remember Pollini. Remember that the one that plays the piano like a motherfucker is the one that cried the most at night. Alone. Don't forget Mozart. And don't forget about the girl that caused your insomnia.
And...don't you dare forget that you wrote this.
Your greatest enemy,
MAJOR SCALE ・UPBEAT. LIVELY.
"Sometimes I feel so happy..."
Yuuta's character can be really thought of as notes on a piano. Some sound bright and stately, while others strike as chilling and sad. Both kinds of notes not too far apart, each complementing each other to create a composition that is rich and expresses the full hue of his personality. The "swing" of Yuuta's life express someone deeply in love with mystery and someone who cannot stop running until he darts past the finish line. Yuuta is a dreamer, but a dreamer that takes his dreams very seriously (just who keeps a dream binder?). He relies on this "up-and-above" world as a place to draw inspiration and love. But really, this is all grounded in Yuuta's desperate attempt to discover who he is. Self-validation is key. This comes out in the relationships he builds, the impulse that propels him to give his all in everything that he does, and the patience to see it all come to fruition.
C R E A T I V E | HIGH
"I need to strum the keys of my piano. I need to compose! Gah! My hands need to be doing something!"
For Yuuta, the dream is the sublime. It is where anything and everything occurs both simultaneously. And, similarly, it is the only space where he can dive into moments rarely experienced in his lived reality -- heart-to-heart time with a childhood girlfriend and rallying the praise of his mother. Yuuta believes that whenever he dreams, his world is painted with a new shade of color. Vibrant hues replace the boring monochrome. This is the world he draws his inspiration from and it is music that provides him the paintbrush. The notes on his sheet paper and the sounds spun out by his piano are the tools he employs to churn dreamscape into reality. It is for this reason that Yuuta not only sees the world upside-down and inside-out, but he fundamentally interacts with it differently. What someone may call a block of wood may be Yuuta's building block for the perfect tree-house. What someone may cry over is what Yuuta puts into music on a piano. Or more telling, what one may consider cross-dressing, Yuuta considers a prime opportunity to step inside Academy doors.
A F F E C T I O N A T E | MEDIUM
"I don't know how to be silent when my heart is speaking."
If music is the candle for Yuuta's life, then love is the match that lights it aflame. Yuuta grew up in a household that demanded strict attention to how you held up your head, whether you cut your ribeye with the knife on the right hand, and if you grew up to be the family doctor or a famed musician. While Yuuta's world seemed like a dim closed box with no escape, his meeting with Chloe made his world seem like a colorful dollhouse with expansive rooms and tons of space to roam free. As his feelings grew for Chloe, he found that his world not only burned brighter, but also expanded outward. He found that the more he lived his life with a girl in mind, the brighter his music-playing became. The better food tasted, and the more vivid his dreams became. The warmth of loving someone soothed his heart and rocked his body to sleep at night.
A M B I T I O U S | MEDIUM
"Get out of my way. I can't see."
When Yuuta sets his sights on a goal, he will do whatever it takes to make it a reality. That is just the way he has been -- it's his lane or the highway. Nothing in between. This tunnel vision comes as a shield for Yuuta, rather than a possible hindrance to his character. For all of his spontaneity and need to feel free and roam, his goal-oriented nature keeps him aligned and focused. In fact, it may be just the framework and structure he needs to keep his creative juices flowing freely as they have been. Or rather, it may be what has allowed him to move beyond thorny obstacles and choose routes that may have been risky, but also more rewarding. It is this drive that transformed him from helpless child to accomplished pianist and, more importantly, from Rukon boy to Academy student.
A D A P T A B L E | HIGH
"It takes courage to sail uncharted waters."
Choosing cracked wooden flooring over a fluffy mattress to sleep on is no easy choice. Yuuta had a tough pill to swallow when moving from riches to rags and choosing to run away to live on his own. As such, he needed to find a way to keep body and soul together in an environment where he had little to keep himself warm and not one soul to speak to. Getting used to whatever is put in his way became a part of that process. Rolling with it and making the most of his condition is another part entirely. But living in a tundra for a large part of his upbringing, he gained finesse in the art of adapting. It it easy for Yuuta to quickly switch gears in a difficult situation, and he can reassess a course of action midway should things start to turn south. Creative solutions come easy for him. After all, the meat of the journey lies in its process. The destination is just the whip-cream. Adaptability has transformed Yuuta from sticky glue to wild yo-yo, able to whip between any direction in any moment of time.
P A T I E N T | LOW
Dreams and wishes don't come true overnight. In fact, they might not happen for months. Or, years. And Yuuta understands this well. But he isn't willing to kick back, relax, and wait for his wishes to catch on fire. He will pursue them like a jigsaw puzzle, refusing to put it down until all the pieces click together in harmony. He will study each piece individually, analyze them, and see where they fall in the grand picture. That process takes time and his patient self keeps him from abruptly taking shortcuts that may prevent him from arriving at the final solution.
MINOR SCALE・MELANCHOLY. THE BLUES.
"...and sometimes I feel so sad."
But every bright note must have a somber note counterpart. This is the Blues. For Yuuta, dreaming can mean inspiration. But it also means a departure from reality and responsibility. The flip-side of Yuuta is someone who is careless and spontaneous in all the wrong ways. He has difficulty pinning himself down to one place or idea. Settling down or dealing with hardship can be painful -- losing his temper is not unusual. Even mixing identities is something Yuuta takes comfort in. After all, it is what made Yuuta Yuuto.
P E S S I M I S T I C | HIGH
"I can't connect the dots. They'll never connect!"
Being an inferior element has been a primary struggle for a majority of Yuuta's upbringing. He struggled becoming a pianist. He struggled to hold the attention of his childhood sweetheart. He struggled endlessly to earn the respect and love of his own mother. For Yuuta, all of his efforts ended in vain. Only when he decided to chart a different course did things begin to change in his world. As such, he doesn't have a hopeful outlook when taking up new tasks and goals. He will always consider the "worst-possible-case" scenario, and sometimes will rule out favorable options because of it. It's very easy for Yuuta to feel down because of his highly skeptic nature, which sometimes contradicts the free and spontaneous person that he usually is. Perhaps his pessimistic self are the shackles left behind from a trapped childhood.
C A R E L E S S | MEDIUM
Being a wild, free spirit can't be all good. For one, Yuuta can be clumsy and reckless. It isn't unusual for someone to collide into him when walking down a corridor or sidewalk. Even he sometimes trips himself up on his sandals if his mind wanders too far. But his missteps can bear larger consequences. It is too easy for Yuuta to charge forth into action without much foresight or planning -- he'll just figure it out later. Certainly, this gives him the bold courage to step into situations or battles that others may quickly flee away from. Yuuta would just jump right in the fray. But, his reckless nature is what led him to run away, and in some way, propelled the dagger in his hand into motion to slice up a girl's stomach.
Q U I C K - T E M P E R E D | MEDIUM
"I'm a ticking time-bomb."
Sometimes things don't work out for Yuuta. Sometimes it feels like everything is inside-out, all forces of motion are against him, and nothing clicks together. Some would commit to the catchphrase, "just grit your teeth and keep moving forward!" But for Yuuta, forward motion is not as discrete as he'd like. His pessimistic self often clashes with the creative and spontaneous person that he can be. Where he might see multiple roads to escape an obstacle, his pessimistic side presses him to think of all the consequences that might ensue. Frustration is the only escape. Sometimes it comes out in his piano. Sometimes in rage. And other times, in murder. Family and friends would comment that his personality was like a thin-layer of glass that could easily be shattered with the wrong tap of a finger -- all anger, but no zing. Temper-tantrums might be the counterpart to Yuuta's creative half, another part of him seeking to answer the same questions of where his journey is taking him. But just perhaps through a much more physical avenue.
F I C K L E | HIGH
"On the move for all the wrong reasons."
The beat of Yuuta's life metronome ticks quickly. Prestissimo. There is either girls on his mind, music that needs composing, or something that is just keeping him down. As such, things are in a constant transformation of states for Yuuta and it is unusually hard for him to settle down on one thing. Loyalty is fluid and relationships are malleable bits of rubber-band for Yuuta. If Yuuta's life is seen through the chemist's graduated cylinder, Yuuta is an electron on the move. Part of it is because of the abrupt break in his family ties and the death of his childhood sweetheart, all of which he directly caused. Dedication, commitment, and settling down does not come easy for Yuuta.
D E C E P T I V E | MEDIUM
"You are what you pretend to be."
Masks were an important part of the Wakana household. It was only in bad taste that someone would reveal their truest feelings toward any subject or topic. A high premium was placed on being the "joker" of the family -- someone able to hide behind comedy masks and playing personas that aren't quite you. All of this was for good reason, of course. It's just that nobody in the Wakana household dared to do a waltz with only their rawest feelings in hand -- "what if I make a fool of myself and don't get my profession sponsored?" As a result of this world, Yuuta guises himself behind smiles and shrilly chuckles to mask his "weak" feelings. At times when he is feeling hopeless, he'll lavishly pretend as if he is having the time of his life. Cheap smiles, manufactured laughter. Or more telling, cross-dressing and changing his own identity to avert embarrassment and the possibility of failure. It helps him feel stronger, even if the feeling is fleeting. When he takes fire, it's his mask that suffers the blow. But he knows at the end of the night, the burning pain of being someone he isn't will come to haunt him. He wonders how he could grip a zanpakutou that way, hiding beneath a bed of lies. He fears that one day he won't be able to keep up with the mask he wears and that his own mask will shatter before him, leaving a heap of incompetent futility. Another part of him cowers at the thought of the mask speaking louder than the person wearing it, as if he too will become the manufactured Yuuto Tachibana persona that he crafted up in self-defense.
M Y T W I N F L A M E
Pollini is a short pale girl, barely reaching five feet. Two fluffy, pointy white ears stick out of her head like antennas. They twitch when annoyed, perk up when excited, and "wilt" when feeling down. Just like a cat. She has radiant red eyes that are reminiscent of a stoplight, for when one stares into them, he is entranced by its glossy allure and sheer innocence. Yuuta finds her to be annoying, but he can't help but be reminded of the etude he played for his childhood sweetheart -- Chopin's Etude Op. 10 No. 3. Only to throw it all away. But Pollini's gaze continues to remind him of that childlike spark, the one that drove him to that abandoned recital hall. It is for that reason that she is called "Pollini," inspired by that same etude.
She is quirky and overly clumsy. She tries to cheer up her companion when he feels down, usually by offering him takoyaki or some kind of terrible joke. And strangely enough, it works. She is a master of the violin, which when paired with the piano, makes for a harmonious duo. Her love is grounded in the Classical era, where logic and form reign supreme. It is this push-and-pull between her crave of order and Yuuta's need to feel free that make their compositions unusual in texture, but unique and rich in sound. She prefers happier and livelier tempos, and performs her compositions in the major key.
"Silly! What do you mean, my darker half?"
But every girl has a dark side. Innocence can only last for so long. Pollini reflects Yuuta's short-temper by growing somber and more sullen. When saddened, she will transform into her darker-half, her angel-like eyes and hair darkening to a blackish hue. Her eyes narrow as her eyelashes grow out. Even her ears grow pointier, like an elf's. She seems much more matured than her lighter counterpart. She carries all of Yuuta's heavy thoughts and ill-wills, while her counterpart remains ignorant and refuses to think deeply about anything important. As such, her personality is much more temperamental, and she is subject to crying spells. Curiously, she does not talk much, if at all. If something needs to be said, she'll express it through music.
In fact, she loves music, if not more than her lighter half. But her need for expression gives way to a much more nasal and airy instrument -- the oboe. Improvised routines is her form of expression and pairing the piano with her instrument can also be a flavorful experience. But unlike her other half, she tends to play notes that strike her audiences as more somber and austere. So to prevent confusion between the two, Yuuta dubbed the more bright Pollini as MAJOR, and the melancholic one as MINOR. But most of the time he will refer to them as Pollini.
Major nor Minor has any memory or understanding of the existence of their other half, even when Yuuta tried his hardest to explain.
An intimate recital hall where Yuuta feels his audience is most closely connected with his music. A lone Steinway grand piano towers in the middle where he can play to his heart's content and feel himself sing through the struck strings. It is very reminiscent of the one he discovered in the 32nd Rukongai, minus the cobwebs and the myriad of termites on the ceiling. There is nobody in this hall other than Pollini and himself. It is often loud in the hall as Major or Minor is always playing some kind of tune, usually Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, or some kind of folk-inflected melody. When Yuuta meditates upon Pollini, he does so by performing a piece on the piano. Depending on his execution, he will gain an audience with Pollini, where she will join him in a duo.
The hall will change depending on how he is feeling. Should he feel burdened, unable to communicate, or at the verge of a loss, this recital hall will submerge itself under water. Music will incessantly stop as sound simply cannot travel well under water. He will no longer be able to hear the keys of the piano until he is able to grab a hold of himself. Conversely, when Yuuta feels able and at ease with himself, the keys of the piano will sound sharp and bright. Even piercing like that of a trumpet.
Pollini takes the form of a normal-looking Wakazashi. At first glance, the blade has a red hilt, embroidered with a tessellation of diamonds. It is forged purely from steel, despite the traditional-ornamented cloth that garments the hilt. The wakazashi is the smallest of the "Nihonto" family, and is usually worn as a companion sword. It only measures to be between 30 and 60 cm (12 and 16 in). Its difference in size is not necessarily a disadvantage. This simply gives Yuuta the edge in the speed category, which especially helps if he is aiming for the final kill. There is an engraving of a treble cleff on the blade itself, however it is not visible under normal circumstances. Typically it will emit a powerful glow, usually when Yuuta is releasing or exerting a great deal of spiritual pressure. A red and white striped sageo is wrapped around the edge of the sword for carrying purposes.
Release Phrase: "Dance, Pollini!"
The wind picks up. The sheer amount of energy released causes strong gales that may brush the clouds away and newspapers, trinkets, and other bobbles may be carried away in its wake. In shikai, Pollini takes the form of a bladed whip. When contracted, it seems like an elongated wakazashi without its embroidered hilt. A mere slab of steel. However, when extended, its sharp ridges will snap open to give its sharp, bladed appearance. Each blade is connected by a knot of string, sheathed by steel. Inside each of those knots contain a miniature hammer and another piece of string, which creates the sound of a key being played when the hammer strikes the string. On the surface, each ridge has teeth sharper than a steak-knife, and can easily tear someone's skin open or fracture a ligament into two. Many remark that Pollini's shikai looks like the skeleton of a snake for its sheer daunting appearance.
Yuuta's power is amplified when in shikai. The wind fuels the speed of his whip and propels his movements. He can control the movement of air over his whip, and as such, has absolute control of sound. In effect, he becomes a mesmer -- an illusionist able to distort the perception of space.
The whip's length can expand or detract at will. It can also change direction just as easily with a simple flick of the wrist. Yuuta has full command over his snake-like whip. Depending on how he uses his whip, his shikai will vibrate at a certain frequency, emitting the sound of a key played on a piano. Depending on how hard he swings his whip, it will either roar in gusto, as in forte, or whimper softly, as in piano. When Yuuta increases the length of his whip, multiple hammers will strike the strings inside the blade, creating the sound of multiple keys being played chromatically (the sound of sliding your finger down the piano). This may give his opponent that sensation of falling down a flight of stairs. The rate at which he extends his whip can create melodies that are pleasant to the ear or dissonant sounds worse than fingers scraping the chalkboard.
By creating a ring of blades in the form of a spiral (or in other words, encapsulating his target inside his whip), Pollini can create the impression of being in an entirely different space. By controlling sound, Yuuta can give the impression of waves crashing against the shore or the sound of cars racing down a busy highway. Effectively, his target will lose sight of the blades spiraling around him and think that he truly is standing on a beach with the sand mixing in between his toes. This functions vaguely like a Sentan Hakuja.
The tip of Pollini's whip is razor sharp and can easily impale someone. If Yuuta taps his whip when it is latched onto a target, Pollini will vibrate, creating a sound that rings through its individual hammers until it reaches the end of the whip, which will then create a shock-wave that can destroy anything within the radius of its blast. It functions similar to a slinky and acts akin to standing next to someone shouting into a megaphone.
. . . A N D T H I S I S M Y S T O R Y.
○ SNAPSHOTS ○
1942 Spirit-born into a wealthy Rukon family in the 3rd West District.
1952 Aspired (forced) to become a world-class pianist.
1953 First crush.
1973 Runs away from home to a remote vacated district in the 32nd North.
1980 Commits murder.
1985 Enrolls in the Academy under Chloe's name // Crossdress-for-success
1990 Takes on the pseudonym: Yuuto Tachibana
○ Phase One: West Coast Slide ○
D r i p.
He stared at the bag. Slowly dripping. Hooked up to into his arm. He had some rare disease that prevented him from eating a damn thing. It was a good day when he could hold down a glass of orange juice. But, today was only bits of pea soup in a kiddy cup with water in a shot glass. He looked back to to his IV drip. That damned bag. Screwing up his entire life.
"I want to be a musician!" He said when he was five, while hooked up to all sorts of strange wires. Plugged in like some sort of battery. One slip of the plug and shut down time for him. Just like a machine.
Just like him. Luckily, things were looking good and he had been promoted to only two wires now. One to get his nutrients and the other to get rid of any wastes in his body. They said his urinary tract was shot ever since the surgery on his stomach didn't go as planned. "As planned." He hated those two words. Everything the world uttered to him had to end in "...as planned."
"You can be a musician if everything goes as planned!"
"The doctors said you'll be out in two months if all goes as planned!"
"Your friend is coming over if all goes as planned!"
If. If. If. None of those things happened. Screw it all. Screw the world. He wanted to know what it felt like to compose music. To be able to feel the keys of the piano. To feel the beat of the hammer striking the string. To construct a world like Mozart did. To have notes at your disposal. And then he wanted the smaller things. To cry at night over heartbreak. To know what it meant to have a big life. And never have to run again.
He started humming.
No one wants to live forever
on the west coast slide
A doctor rushed in. "Things aren't looking good, Shinji. We need to rush you to the E.R." His nurse squeezed past him, hooking the boy up to a portable I.V bag. He kept humming. Singing the lyrics to his new favorite band. Work Drugs. West Coast Slide. He wasn't sure why the doctor had such a worried look on his face. Wasn't everything going as planned?
Substitute the curves of your body
for the stories and pain that divide me
The lyrics circled in his head, more and more. Intensifying. He felt himself being carried on a stretcher, but he wasn't sure. He thought he saw ghosts with wicked jack-o-lantern faces pulling him. Laughing at him. Tearing at him apart. He rubbed his eyes to make sure. And in its place were the doctor and nurse mumbling about his blood pressure, cholesterol readings. And then something about his stomach getting hungry and eating his other organs. He did feel hungry. Shouldn't his stomach get a little bite? Just a little one couldn't hurt...
He started feeling dizzy. He thought he was seeing the little black dots again. They looked like stars, except they were black. And didn't sparkle like stars do. And they cluttered his vision so he had to pay attention to them. It was a new sight for him. Changed up his perspective a little. And then he saw his mother tugging at him, trying to tell him everything was going to be O.K. Were things not going as planned?
His hearing was off today. The doctor was trying to tell him something, but all he heard was one long blur of slowed sentences that sounded like nothing but gibberish. Doctor didn't seem to take the lack of a response well, as his face was flushed red. His mother tried motioning to him, but even his eye muscles were malfunctioning today. All he could do was blink. And suddenly, he felt a bunch of tubes and wires being plugged into him. Things pricked his skin, and different needles were jammed into him. And then the sleeping mask went on and everything turned dark. He thought he was falling again.
Must have been a really bad day.
He thought he was racing toward a shoreline. On some kind of boat. He couldn't get a good glimpse of what he was on nor what he was racing toward. But he was charging toward it pretty quickly. There was someone by him. "Mozart said go on an adventure!" The voice commanded. It seemed like a "she" but he couldn't pin it down. He thought he smiled at her but it all felt so involuntary. He turned his attention back to the open seas. The sun was beating down on him and he couldn't see the shoreline anymore. He could feel himself racing toward it, but now he wasn't so sure. Would he ever get there? It all faded into one big blur until all he could see was the glaring sun.
A bright light flashed overhead. Doctor stood by next to it. Seemed like he was dreaming again. "Can you hear me, Shinji?" His voice was clear this time. Why didn't he speak up before? He had to go through all that trouble of plugging in tubes and vessels just so he could hear his doctor speak better? What kind of nonsense was that?
Shinji nodded. His mom was there too. Relieved that everything was okay. Going as planned. Doctor still had a frustrated look on his face. Was his stomach still hungry? He knew he had one of those fancy-long-name diseases that nobody could ever spell. So he didn't bother trying to remember the name. He knew his time was cut short. Even Doctor had a long chat with him about it. Why not cut it sooner? He wondered what his next life would be like...would he be a normal kid? Maybe get into something really scandalous? Who knew? It was time to rest.
* * *
Shinji got a new roommate. A girl. His nurse told him she had some kind of urinary cancer and would be staying at the hospital for quite some time. But Shinji was just interested in what her name was. "Caroline." He was told. Ah. A fitting name for a girl whose infinity wouldn't grow to be nearly as large as everyone else's. Just like him. Already a bond formed and he never even uttered a word to her. He woke up that morning to find her still sleeping. Her blonde hair had concealed her entire face like some kind of mystery. At first, he thought it was one of those hairy dogs that looked like nature's own little mop. But then he realized how flawed his theory was when she turned over to her side, revealing pale shoulders in desperate need of Vitamin D. He seemed surprised at first, but then seemed content that he was no longer the only one running forever. Or, so it seemed.
The nurse reminded him not to get his hopes up. "Her infection forces her to sleep a lot. She'll only be up for maybe four hours in the entire day. At least for now." He sensed another "as planned" clause in her statement. Everything hinged on chance in his world. It was as if God was gambling at the casino, and Shinji was his placed bet. He seemed disgusted at the prospect of that thought. He looked over at his music book. "Beginner's Guide to Music Theory: Learn Music in One Week!" Yeah, right. One week. If that was true, everyone would be Mozart. But that was the closest book in his reach, and he wanted to feel like a musician, so he cracked open the book and started reading. "The music sheet is divided into two clefs.." He started feeling drowsy. "Half notes are subdivisions of whole notes..." It felt like sandbags rested over his eyes. He wondered if he would dream of the race-to-the-shoreline again. Maybe the girl there would have something to say this time. Not like the sleeping beauty here....suddenly, everything faded into darkness.
Someone shook him. "Wake up! Wake up!" The voice called out.
He didn't feel like returning to reality. He didn't want to be told about his terminal condition again. Or about the girl that only stayed up for four hours. "I'm bored! Wake up!" It commanded. It was her. Caroline. She smacked his head with his music theory book. His eyes flashed open and he propelled forward. Like some kind of reflex.
"Am I dying? Is everything going as planned?" He was still out of it. Maybe a tinge of disbelief. She glared into his eyes. Face-to-face. Her nose rubbing next to his. She had never seen a boy up close before. This was a rare opportunity for her to observe something completely foreign to her. Her wide brown eyes flickered with wonder. All the delightful shades of brown could be seen in those wondrous pupils. Like a chocolate bar, but maybe better.
Shinji glanced over at the clock. "5 AM--" He tried shouting, before Caroline covered his mouth with her hand.
"Shh! Do you really want the lame doctors to ruin our fun already? They'll ramble about how we have to conserve the little energy we have!" She tried reasoning with him.
He quickly noticed that the wire to her IV bag was barely reaching over. If she moved just one inch in the wrong direction, she would surely send the device toppling over onto the floor. And what a mess that would be. "S-shouldn't you be sleeping?" Shinji tried whispering this time.
"I sleep all the time because there's nothing better to do!" She replied, her eyes glowing. It seemed as if she had just discovered the secret to life. Shinji flicked the girl's forehead:
"Stop looking at me like that. It's creepy."
* * *
The two of them had decided that 5 AM would be their meeting time. But they also chose that time for that was the hour that most of the hospital's activities were suspended until the morning. The prefect chance to talk up a storm or do something crazy. And also, that was when Caroline would meet her quota of 10 hours of sleep. As such, they named it "Chance Encounters at 5 AM." For an entire three weeks, they had exchanged anecdotes, shared stories of their unfortunate pasts, and thought about all the little things in between. Shinji even went as far as sharing West Coast Slide with her, who seemed to love it just as much as he did. "You wouldn't leave my number in the back of a Lincoln, would you?" She asked once, her eyes droopy. As if he was going to abandon her. He felt a twitch in his hand. He wasn't sure how to reply.
The stars were out that following night. And oh, how they shined! He wasn't sure which shined brighter: the stars or Caroline's glowing radiance. Caroline lifted her hand to the window, pretending to hold one of them in between the corners of her fingers. She seemed down, frustrated that she wouldn't be able to ever reach them. But, maybe the limits of her existence and her small infinity were starting to get to her.
"Let's sneak outside. Let's climb on the roof and watch the stars together." She stated as a matter of fact. Not excited or expecting anything out of it. Just something that needed to be done. But wasn't she crazy? They were hooked up to all sorts of wires and bobbles. How could they possibly sneak outside, nonetheless the roof? "Just for a little while. Come on." She said, tugging on Shinji's sleeve. They wired themselves up to portable IV drips and hoped that the wires and tubes that they unplugged wouldn't come to haunt them in the next thirty minutes. Because for those thirty minutes they would pretend living the life that all the normal kids get to have. A taste of a life that would never be theirs.
They snuck outside, and found some old ladder for "employee-use only" to climb on. Shinji felt his pulse, his temperature. Everything seemed to be okay, but there was something gurgling in his stomach. He dismissed it as gas. Normal things. "Are you feeling okay?" Shinji asked. He wasn't worried about himself. He wanted to make sure his companion would be alright in their expedition to the stars. After all, this seemed like her dying wish. And they were literally dragging their IV drips up the rooftop for it. Shinji climbed up the ladder first, clenching his stomach. Something wasn't feeling right. He pushed forward. He had to. He made it up first, and so did his companion. Caroline was already admiring the dazzling display.
"Shinji! Look! Look! A shooting star!" She shouted, her eyes glowing. A burst of pain shot out of his abdomen. Shinji cringed, holding his hand over the area. Caroline didn't notice, taking his hand and pointing it into the sky. "Shinji! From now on, I want you to look to the sky! There's so much more to see there!" She exclaimed. Her enthusiasm was contagious and helped ease some of the pain the boy felt.
Shinji smiled, and broke into a light chuckle. "You're so silly, Caroline. I'm really glad I met you." He finally said. He was looking for the words inside him. To finally say 'thank you.' She leaped toward Shinji and hugged him close to her heart, squeezing him tightly. He could feel something being punctured inside him, but that didn't matter. He felt something warm inside and it felt good. A fuzzy feeling that made his world bloom with new colors. The lyrics to West Coast Slide popped up in his head again.
He started crying. "Why are you gonna run forever...without love?" He muttered, sobbing.
"Why are you crying?" Caroline wondered, slightly confused.
"I'm dying, Caroline! I'm dying! I shouldn't have left our room!" Shinji screamed, his voice growing louder. Caroline's eyes widened. As if reality had finally hit her.
"What do you mean...." She choked on a response.
"The nurse said if I unhooked myself from those tubes for more than ten minutes..." He couldn't finish his statement, clenching his stomach again. He felt something being swallowed whole inside him. Like he was being eaten alive. He started seeing the fuzzy dots again. His vision cluttered and his hearing was going bad. Caroline hugged him again, burying her head into his shoulder. She didn't want him to see her tears. Her vulnerability. Like those pale white shoulders of hers.
"You can't leave me, Shinji! You can't!" Caroline shouted, racing for the ladder while tugging Shinji along with her. She started again: "Come on! Our room isn't far away...please!" But for some reason, he didn't want to go back. He knew he only had maybe two more years in him. He knew he wouldn't feel any happier as he did tonight. He wanted to know what lied on the other side of the world. He felt his stomach growling. Roaring. He wanted Caroline to get back safely.
She slipped. As she tried climbing down the ladder, her foot got caught on one of the rings as she toppled down and landed on top of her IV drip and bursted the bag. She screamed, panicking. The clutter in Shinji's vision suddenly disappeared and his hearing grew razor sharp. He felt his head throb and a surge of energy rush through his loins. Even the blistering pain of his stomach eating his insides vanished. He leaped down the ladder. He took out the needle from his arm and stuck it into Caroline's. He wasn't sure if this practice was healthiest but he figured both of them were dying anyway. At least it would keep her alive for now. The doctors could deal with the rest. "Stop! You're going to die!" Caroline muttered. But his tears had dried up now. And in its place was a wide smile. He wondered if he was finally glowing. Like how she was.
His illness caught up to him. He felt something warm surging through his body. He knew it wasn't the fuzzy feeling of someone hugging you, but rather the feeling of his organs bursting. His vision quickly became static and he thought he felt himself fall onto the floor. He felt numb again, and his hearing grew distorted. He could still make out Caroline, but he also thought he saw two figures racing from behind her. Had the authorities finally waken up? Another surge of pain raced through his body. He saw more stars, but these weren't the ones in the sky. He knew these were the kind that welcomed him to the next life. He thought of the shoreline and the mysterious advice-giving girl in that scene. Would he finally make it this time?
His thoughts meshed into one blur. He couldn't feel anything but the sensation of losing a battle that was already lost to begin with. And then, he felt the feeling of tumbling down a staircase...falling.
F a l l i n g.
Just like how he did last time.
But this time
straight down life's staircase
timber! there it goes
he wondered where he was going
why would you run forever anyway
neat black sheets
○ Phase Two: Journey into Rukon; Whispering Fragments ○
NOTE: These fragments appear from Yuuta's past as a child of the 3rd West Rukongai and are merely snapshots of moments that flash through his head on a moment-to-moment basis. These do not include his life before entering Soul Society for he has no memory of that period of his life. For all he knows, his life began the moment he was born into Soul Society.
○ CHARDONNAY AND THE SNAPPING RUBBER BAND
The clinking of wine glasses. Bottles of Chardonnay snapped open. Forks twirling around pasta dishes, a spoon in the other to aid the mission. For good manners, of course. On the other side of the table, soup spoons dug through bowls of split pea. Knives cut their way through tender cowboy ribeyes, clouds of au poivre layered on top cascading down the pinkish middle. The intermingling sounds of the utensils was almost like that of an orchestra. Sometimes joining together, others times discordant. All equally important. But why did that matter? Not a single word was uttered by the accompanying guests. The essence of this so-called "orchestra." Six people sat around the dinner table. Father, mother, sister, grandmother, a girl. And beside her, a son with wide-rimmed-glasses. Wrestling with a strand of spaghetti. Completely ignoring his side of string beans. The mother poured more wine into her husband's glass. "Yuuta, if only you could play piano like Chloe." She remarked, smiling coyly at the girl sitting next to her son. Her remark shattered the silence that hung like a charge between her and the entire room. She took a seat at the table, not bothering to make eye contact with him. No response from the boy. The girl poked at him with her shoe, trying to get his attention. Make him feel a little better. Momentary silence. Yuuta wasn't happy with the gesture, still playing with his food.
"Violin! Cello! Piano! What are you good at, Yuuta? You're the new face of the Wakana family, you need to be good at something!" She went on again, taking another jab at her son. Her shrilly voice made him flinch, sending a chill right down his spine. And in the process, his fork slipped into the girl's plate. She tried swallowing her urge to giggle.
"I-I'm trying!" He replied, roaring back. It was as if a rubber band had snapped.
"Anyone can "try." But do you know how many actually achieve?" His mother launched back, scowling as if there was a stench in the air. "And don't you dare raise your voice at me." Before the boy could retrieve his fork, his mother had marched over to where her son was. She roared even louder, pointing her finger right at his plate. "You didn't even touch your vegetables. Pathetic! This isn't a table for charity. Be like Chloe for God's sake and get the hell out of this room!" Her voice was like static. Incoherent. Filled with mixed feelings. He thought he was falling. Who was he kidding? Be like Chloe. Yeah right. Be just like her. He's not even a girl! He looked back at Chloe before he exited the room. That lush, radiant brown hair. Wicked green eyes. That pitiful wide smile. Her legs dangling so docilely beneath the table. Perfect.
"Why don't we just swap places..." He thought.
She's not even a Wakana.
"Checkmate!" She exclaimed, giggling away. "Why would you leave your queen open like that?"
"What aren't you good at?" The boy retorted, frustrated with the loss. "You're everything I'm not...." The girl wasn't sure of what to say. She wasn't good at giving compliments, nor was she good at making people feel better. All she knew was how to play board games and piano, and almost everything in between. "There's a lot of things! You know....like..."
She leaped onto the defeated boy, hugging him tightly. Her puffy brown hair obstructed the boy's view of the chessboard. Yet it felt as if he had crash landed onto Cloud Nine. "I'm a really cold person to hug...my mom always teases me, saying she needs to wear a sweater to hug me. At least you're really warm!" She chuckled while trying her best.
Someone wearing a black shihakusho marched into the room. A shinigami. Chloe quickly relieved Yuuta from her clutch as she raced to stand up and introduce him to Yuuta. "This is my brother! He's really cool and gets to use all kinds of cool spells!" She grabbed her bag and strapped it across her back.
"Yuuta! When we grow up, we're gonna become soul reapers, OK? And we're gonna find our souls together! Haha!" She announced before she dashed outside.
○ ONE, TWO, I LOVE YOU.
Step. Step. Step. The clicking of heels on the glass floor. Twelve floors into the sky. Laughter. Smiles. Gifts being exchanged. Others already dancing away. The girls wore expensive dresses. Embroidered flowers. Diamonds attached to them. Flashy. Sparkly. The boys stuck to traditional suits and ties. Those wanting to be different from the crowd chose the daring white suit or a tacky tuxedo. Music from Chopin, Liszt, and Mendelssohn filled the room. "Classy" music for a classy occasion.
The Wakana Prom Night. Even Yuuta was dressed appropriately tonight. And so was Chloe, all tricked out with a crimson, sakura-embroidered kimono. And that brown hair to complement it with that smile to top it off. It felt like he pushed aside the curtains of his bedroom to discover spring for the first time. Damn that wicked pair of green eyes. So entrancing it even made his own mother turn against him.
"Let's dance, Yuuta!" She exclaimed, grabbing his hand and heading straight for the dance floor. She flashed her wide grin as they raced past couples that acted as a sort of obstacle course for them. Yuuta wasn't sure of how to feel. Thrilled that a girl asked him to dance? Or crestfallen that he'll never be as good as her? Which one should he feel? Perhaps both.
A tune by Chopin kicked up on the speakers. "Do you know how to dance a Mazurka, Yuuta?" She inquired, flicking off a speck of dandruff from the boy's hair. Yuuta shook his head.
She giggled. "Hehe! You click your heel on the second beat...and on the third...You say 'I love you!' Easy right?" Yuuta wasn't sure of what to think. Since when were lyrics apart of the dance routine? Well, she knew just about everything there was to anything. Surely she wasn't pulling his leg this time...
They danced, holding hands. It was a while before Yuuta understood what a second beat meant. But once he did, he danced the part like a machine and on the second beat, he clicked his heel. And on the third...
"I love you!" Yuuta shouted. Chloe burst into laughter. Everyone turned around to see the spur confession. Gasps, murmurs, aww's. Even his mother narrowed her stony gaze on the scene. Chloe whispered into his ear. "Silly! I was kidding about the last part!" But Yuuta felt differently. Something was pounding at his chest. His head felt warm and he thought he was running a fever. And it felt worse when Chloe brought him to her chest to try to make him feel better, swaying with the music. As if she was accepting of his wishes, or if they were continuing the dance. How clever. He could hear her heart beating too, but he wasn't sure if that was just him. And then he wondered what his mother thought. She didn't break them up or call Yuuta to show himself out. He even scanned the entire room to see if she was still watching. Had he done something right for once? And then the thought struck him...
Mom? Am I like Chloe now?
○ CURIOSITY KILLED THE KITTY
Yuuta couldn't sleep. It was the night before Christmas. Two in the morning. A clamor echoed from the living-room. Shouts, murmurs, whispers. Santa? Maybe. He put the cookies out on the counter, but why would the big man in red need to chat when smuggling through the chimney? Mommy definitely wasn't kissing him...
Curiosity got the best of him. He cracked open his door, tiptoeing out of his room. His toes cracked with each ounce of movement. "Shh!" He tried telling himself. Still safe. He found a wall to hide behind. "What's going on?" He murmured to himself. He peaked outside to find Chloe and his mother talking. "What are they doing?" He was startled that the ruckus wasn't his doing for once. He leaned closer to the wall, hugging it even. Clutching the edge so that he could view the whole scene.
"Chloe, I want you to meet someone. A pianist." The voice was unexcited, firm. No doubt was it coming from his mother. No response from Chloe. Yuuta's hands trembled. His teeth began to chatter. It couldn't be. Was she really leaving him? What happened to the promise they made? About being soul-reapers and playing as a piano duet?
"He can play the violin. He performed in two string quartets...won several piano competitions...." Yuuta's eyes widened. He couldn't stand to hear anymore. He hugged his feet to his chest. "...he's rich...the girls love him." He could hardly think. He could feel his throat swelling, a dam building up behind his eyes. "If it's reputation that you're after, you got it honey." The tears began to escape. He tried keeping his turbulent tide of emotions under wraps, but it was all too much too bear. He was ready to snap.
"Do you even like Yuuta, Chloe?" His mother probed further.
No response. The lack of a reply was like a dagger to the heart. He started feeling numb. The dam was breaking. The rubber band ready to burst. The tears rushed by like the rain panning down the windows. Sobbing. He wondered if the clouds cry when it rains. "I'll play the piano! Just give Chloe back to me!" He heard himself saying. But no agency to propel those thoughts into motion. His nose grew stuffy and his throat grew so tight with the onslaught of his tears that he thought he could barely swallow. It wasn't long before they discovered his secret hideout.
"What do you think you're doing? If you have time to cry, then you have time to practice!" His mother declaimed, glaring down at her son. A book of Ravel sheet music rested in her hand.
"Why can't you play it like how it was intended? What will it take, Yuuta?" She started again. Chloe stood beside her, frozen. For a brief moment, Yuuta looked up to Chloe. He wanted to see her radiant countenance once more. That bundle of unexpected joy. Would she charge in and hug him like how she always does best? But, he couldn't even see the green in her eyes anymore. Just a cold, stony gaze that could criticize his every whim. Just like his mother. "Go back to sleep, Yuuta. This isn't your kind of talk." His mother added, laying the Ravel book in front of him. "Sleep or practice. You decide." He felt like he had been kicked out of a cottage that used to be his own private refuge. Where Chloe would drop by for some tea and mock his flaws. While hugging him all the while. Like old friends.
The rubber band snapped. "Die." Yuuta whispered, grabbing the sheet music and taking a stand.
"Just die already! I don't care about either of you! The prom nights, the chess games, none of it matters...all you do is step on me! Just leave me alone!" He roared, hurling the sheet music towards his mother. "I hate you!" His pitch growing louder.
He rushed towards the front door and freed a jacket and a companion scarf from the coat rack. Neither his mother nor his "girlfriend" had dared to utter a word. He unlocked the door and stepped outside. He could feel something cold racing down his cheeks again. Was he still crying or had it gotten colder out? He looked back at Chloe one last time. "Smile for me..." He wished. But she was too far away for him to tell. He knew she wouldn't be rushing into his arms. Or tricking him into love confessions.
"Goodbye." He whispered, his voice retreating back to its softer pitch. He gritted his teeth, buried himself inside his scarf, and rushed toward the nary darkness ahead. Christmas lights paved the way ahead and carolers broke the chilly silence with their hurry-hurry-let's-celebrate-the-season. A mother and daughter giggled and smiled at their performance, clasping hands together and singing along. Yuuta wrapped himself tighter inside his scarf. The mother bent down and poked her daughter's nose. They chuckled. The mother whispered softly,
Merry Christmas, darling.
○ ○ ○
○ Phase Three: I Am The Piano ○
The keys clicked. The hammers swung at varying velocities. Prestissimo. Vivace. L a r g o. Ah, how the metronome ticked! Fortissimo. Pianissimo. How softly it could whisper! And oh, the gusto of its roar! After all, this was the piano forte....the Piano. And there the boy played, his fingers strumming so delicately over the keys of his instrument. Other times, beating down on them. Almost bipolar in nature. Chopin's Etude Op. 10 No. 3. He dubbed it"Pollini." The greatest melody of them all. The composer himself remarked it as being the melody of his homeland...and here the boy with wide-rimmed glasses marched in his same footsteps, recreating the same tune with such careful attention to the score. Not even daring to stray one note higher or lower. Just as it was intended.
He pressed his finger against the black key, while he let his other hand fall to his lap. The final key ended the piece with a somber touch, resonating throughout the empty concert hall vigorously and stately. Just like Chopin would have done it...his only guidance in the desolate world of the 32nd North Rukongai. The "Tundra" District as some had called it. The Tundra had been home to some of the most talented musicians and composers in all of Seireitei. Chopin, Mozart, Haydn...all had been brought back into the repertory by these musicians. Even the nobility had been rumored to sponsor these musicians to put on entertainment for their musings. But, all that had vanished over the course of one month. Where did they go? No one seemed to know. Some said that the "Tundra" district wasn't even much of a tundra to begin with. Others said that it was the place to be during the winter! But alas, it was now a vacated ghost-town with absolutely nobody in sight. The "Tundra" District. Cold in temperature and even colder in personality. The perfect place for the wide-rimmed-glasses-boy to find himself through the instrument he could never play.
What were once sold-out concerts filled to the brim were now infested with rodents and raided by dust and termites. Only one boy dared to enter its haunted chambers -- Yuuta Wakana. A boy who had escaped the shackles of his family to learn how to play the piano.
And there he sat, droplets of sweat rolling down his face as he stared wondrously at the ceiling. Tessellations of squares interwoven with abandoned cobwebs. Small cracks in the roof from sporadic blizzards provided the circulation needed to breathe. And, in the midst of all Yuuta's waffling, he felt....alone. "Why aren't you good at anything, Yuuta?" His mother's shrilly voice creeping into his thoughts. "You weren't brought into this family so that you could find yourself! Pull yourself together!" She would add. He shivered. What was he doing? How was a stupid instrument made of nothing but hammers able to pull him away from the cushioned lifestyle he so loved? Why was he sitting here in this abandoned concert hall thinking about all-he-could-have-had while trying to come to terms with his feeling of isolation and utter despair? What was the point? He slammed his head against an array of keys, making a loud, discordant noise. "I hate my life!" He screamed.
Someone clapped from the front row. A girl. "Bravo! Bravo!" She shouted. What? Who was that? Was he imagining things? Why did someone bother listening to an amateur's performance? The boy raised his head, rushing to wipe off his sweat and tears with the sleeve of his dirtied plaid-shirt. That voice sounded so familiar. Who was she? "A well-off boy running away to try and find himself...now that's impressive." She went on again, chuckling a bit. That chuckle! Who chuckled like that?
The girl leaped off her seat and jumped on stage, admiring the Steinway piano. "Just like the one at home." She claimed, playing a series of chords, some minor and others with no sense of tonality at all. She stopped. "Go on a journey...Do you know who said that?"
"Mozart." The boy replied. He leaped up, stumbling across the room to regain his balance. The girl's countenance was vaguely visible through the sun's reflection escaping between the cracks in the ceiling. Brown, glossy hair. Mysterious green eyes. And a wry smile to boot. God, what a nostalgic face. It couldn't be that girl. She was the whole reason he ran anyway! Yuuta felt frustrated -- her facial features alone didn't give him enough to go on. Pointing his finger at the girl, he announced, "Who are you? What does a girl like you know about music? And why are you here anyway?"
A momentary pause. A slant smile flashed across her face, and vanished as she took a seat at the piano. She adjusted it and cracked her knuckles. And alas...her hands met the piano. Chloe? No way. Softly she began. Libestraum. Growing in intensity. Swaying back and forth on the piano like some kind of carousel. At times roaring in intensity and at other times, retreating softly and quietly. Like a mouse. Love Dream. The music of the Romantics. Frank Liszt. There she went, up and down the piano. Majestically. Without even the score to compare herself to. What was she thinking? Wouldn't she disgrace the music?
Chloe Holloway of the 32nd District. There was no mistaking it. It all made sense now. This was her concert hall. This was her piano. So, why was she playing off her own intuition? That seemed to bother him more than the fact that it was her.
The boy shouted in rage. "You don't even have the score! You're going to ruin the music!" She giggled, turning around to greet him with a playful smile. Perhaps it was her intention...to make Liszt her own.
"We're musicians you know...we don't follow the rules. We figure out what we are and when we think we have an idea, we play it on the piano for everyone to hear." She turned back to the piano, continuing to play again. "Don't you think it's kinda foolish to force yourself to feel what Chopin feels? Haha!" She said, as she elegantly sung through the piano's voice. What was she feeling? This wasn't the Chloe that he knew. Why was she even here? Maybe her being here was just his imagination. Yet he knew it was her. It felt just like her. That dazzling display of perfection. So why was she so off-key?
"Yuuta! I can't believe I finally found you!" The girl interjected, standing up. The music stopped without notice. She didn't even bother finishing the piece. Yet her voice did not seem excited or relieved like the Chloe that he once knew. No-no-no. Rather, it seemed to hinge on frustration and as if she had just completed a grueling, tedious mission. Like she had fulfilled some sort of menial job. Wasn't she playing the piano for old time's sake? Like how she always would? What was this upset? Who was this off-key monster?
"I've toured all across the Rukongai in search of you...your mother has been worried sick! And me? You broke your damn promise!" Her voice cracked as she slapped Yuuta across the face. She drew a hidden blade from beneath her blouse. And it seemed like she was on the verge of tears. But the dagger? What could she possibly be thinking? Would she end his life here? Threaten him maybe? Or worse, did she become a shinigami? No doubt. She loved those guys.
Yuuta wasn't sure how to react, trying to feel the side of his face gone numb. He felt more confused than anything. Her appearance, the sporadic change in mood, her off-key and lack of tonality had completely driven his thoughts into disarray. Disoriented him. Unnerved him. He wasn't sure how to take it. He felt like saying "sorry." But wouldn't that defeat the purpose of him leaving? And why did she care, anyway? She was after her own hide anyway...
"This isn't home, Yuuta! You don't belong here!" She shouted again, reaching for Yuuta and holding him close. She hugged him tightly. "I want you back! Your mother can't stop talking about you!" And soon her embrace turned into a choke-hold, while she waved her small blade close to his face.
"Stop it! You're not after me! You're after my title, you low-class filthy creep!" Yuuta launched back with a guttural roar. It felt like tightly wrapped feelings of resentment, envy, and anguish had been unraveled and lifted up into the air. Like confetti at a birthday party. "I don't belong to that animal house! To HELL with them and especially you!" He screeched, his voice cracking. He bit the girl's finger and didn't stop biting till she released her hold.
"What the hell are you doing?" She yelled, caught off guard. The act disoriented the girl, as the blade slipped from her grasp. Or was it his bold retaliation? No matter. What was once a cute, puffy-cheeked-good-for-nothing boy had become a brute savage ready to kill. Yuuta caught the device with his foot as the girl released her hold. She seemed paralyzed still, a dazed look on her face.
"You're dead to me." Yuuta muttered, his eyes restless and bloodshot. The bomb was ticking. Tick. Tick. He didn't care much for what she had to say anymore. Or what stupid look she wanted to wear. He had been up all night writing the score to his rendition of Chopin's Pollini. Writing it for her as an apology. And now this upset. "I thought I liked you." He said, his head bowed to the ground. And with a swift thrust of her blade in his hand, Yuuta dug it straight through her stomach, hoping it would somehow reach her heart. Just like how her existence had punctured his. He tore up her veins with each twist of his hand as he pushed it deeper and deeper. The numbness he felt in his cheek spread throughout his body. He thought he was tightening a screw. The blood seeped out of her wounds like a faucet, staining his plaid shirt, loafers, and dirtied jeans. Everything from the arms, downward. He was merely aiming to create a minor wound, but instead he created a bloody mess that would not end well.
The girl fell onto Yuuta, wrapping her arms around him defeatingly. She really did love hugging him. "...you've changed, Yuuta." She muttered.
"I"m not a murderer..." Yuuta tried convincing himself. "No! Not now!" He tried reasoning with himself. Unsure of what to do, the boy laid her down on the floor. He pulled off his shirt and tried soaking up the blood with it. Not enough. He raced for his jacket and wrapped it around her tightly -- memories of that Christmas Eve night surged through his head. The jacket wouldn't be enough to save her either. Yuuta wasn't sure what he wanted to do...he just wanted to play piano. With her. His fingers begged to touch the keys once more. "Are you good at anything, Yuuta?" He could hear his mother's voice again. But something told him that those days were over. He was a cold-cut murderer now. He looked down at his stained bloody hands, watching as the blood still seeped past the girl's wayside. But the expression on Chloe's face was calm. Relaxed. Traces of a smile were apparent. Like that one from the dinner table. Wicked green eyes. She raised a hand to the boy and caressed the side of his face. "Tell me...Yuuta. How...do you dance a Mazurka?"
The boy wanted to burst into tears. Traces of them were already apparent. He was only delaying the deluge. "You click your heel on the second, and say 'I love you!' on the third!" He shouted. He wanted the world to hear him. But most of all, he wanted her for himself. Why couldn't he have that? Why did his mother set her up with a boy who could do literally everything and anything? "Why wasn't I good enough for you? Why?" He muttered, sobbing now. She lowered her hand, buried it inside her breast, and retrieved a letter. She left it carefully beside her and closed her eyes. Her time was near. Pulling her strength together once more, she muttered:
"I want you to be a shinigami. I want you to find the soul that you never had. I want you to dance like you mean it. I want you to be...