Chapter 1: Moving In
Dull, yellow eyes flicker back and forth at the environment surrounding them. The stone walls stood over the trembling figure like a bird trapped in its cage with no way to fly. Sometimes, he feels like that bird, unable to be fly because of the cage inside his head. These stone walls were supposed to help him eventually break free from his mental prison.
But why is he still here? It's been years since the incident. He should be free from this cage, right?
His heart tightens when that sickening laughter echoes inside his head. No. No, no, no. Not again. Please, not again. He thought he left It behind. It was supposed to be gone! Why won't It leave him alone?!
Aww... Aren't you lonely without me? Sad, sad little boy. All alone without his pretty little wife.
A growl manages to escape his throat. "Leave her out of this, you sick bastard!"
Does he MiSs HeR? He flinches when the warped tone came back. dOeS lItTlE bOy MiSs HiS pReTtY lItTlE wIfE? Hehehehehehehehehahahahahah... HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!
"Stop it!" He throws his hands over his ears in hopes to block out that horrible laughter. "Leave me alone! I got rid of you years ago! Why can't you just LEAVE ME ALONE?!"
The laughter still continues to echo in his mind and he's unable to do anything about it. He just sits there, rocking back and forth like a child suffering through a nightmare. Funny, that basically describes his entire freaking life. A nightmare that he has no way of escaping.
Suddenly, after what seems like hours, the laughter finally died down. Goldeyes look up in worry; it's never a good sign when that Thing is silent. What could It possibly be planning to make It this quiet-?
He could feel someone's hot breath breathing down his neck.
I'm going to get us a new friend to play with, and I can assure you he will accept my invitation better than you ever will. I wOn'T make the same mistake again.
He whips around to say something only to realize there's nobody behind him. He's alone in his cell, as always.
"OW! Mom! Yuri hit me again!"
"Whatever do you mean, Fusion-kun?"
"MY NAME IS YUGO!"
Yuya Sakaki did his best to not look at the verbal fighting his two brothers are in the middle of - he's had years of practice, after all - and continue his observation of the area from the car's window.
The whole area was like a mixture between a forest and a swamp; the entire soil was wet, making it almost slippery to walk, much less drive through, willow trees nearly blocked the mountain view he saw earlier before the car arrived in the area. The whole place almost felt a little gloomy, especially since a fog just rolled in.
"OW! Yuto!" Yuya temporarily breaks eye contact with the outside world to look over and see Yuto's head over from the front seat, his grey eyes hard as steel as he cracks his knuckles. From the way Yugo and Yuri are rubbing their heads to soothe the small bumps appearing, Yuya could only guess that Yuto lost his temper with the two of them again.
"Will you two pipe it down?" the oldest of the quadruplets growls. "We're only three minutes away from the house, you guys can continue your grudge match there."
The two were silent, which meant that they finally stop arguing for the rest of the car ride. While he honestly didn't mind the two of them arguing - he's used to it, after all -, he actually wanted some silence so he can observe their new home in peace.
Ever since the boys' father, Yusho, got a new job for the theater in town the entire family had to move from their original house so Yusho could travel better. It was a big adjustment for the four boys since everyone they know was now further away but now they were closer to school, so it would be easier for them to walk there.
Yuto had accepted it after a few days. "Things like this happen to everyone, what makes us any different?" he tells Yuya when the two of them had a sleepover. Yugo, however, had cried outright. He kept complaining how he couldn't see Rin as much as he wants to since they would both have to drive miles just to see each other. He finally calmed down after a few weeks since the announcement. The blue-and-yellow-haired boy was still pretty salty about it, though.
The only boy who was indifferent to the whole move was Yuri since he didn't care as long as he had someplace to plant his garden - which this land was able to, despite its appearance, according to Mom. Either way, Yuri honestly had no opinion on the situation.
Yuya, however, had no idea on how to react to it. While he does love the idea of exploring a new place he's going to miss looking outside in the morning to see all of his friends' house standing so close to his old one. The community they lived in was odd since the kids live in an area that's about four hours away from the schools they attend so they have to get up extra early just to get to school by 9:30 AM. Since the Sakaki family earned enough money to buy a house that's close to Yusho's job and the boys' schools they didn't have to worry about waking up at four in the morning just to get ready.
The youngest of the quads wouldn't have entirely mind moving away from his friends - since he can text them and talk to them during school if given the chance - but what made him feel a little pessimistic about moving away from the community was how it's affecting his family.
He noticed it right away when Yusho couldn't stay for family dinner since he was making appointments to schedule the move. Dinner that night was suddenly quiet and no matter what Yuya said to start conversations the mood wasn't the same. Then it came the time when their mother decided to book the moving truck so she had to be away from the house sometime, which meant no cooking sessions for the boys. It finally came to Yuya's brothers, who all said they're busy with their own hobbies whenever he asked them if they could play or have sleepovers.
Yuya won't lie, it made his heart feel a little heavy.
"Boys, look at that! We're here!"
Time to meet their new house.
The house... It wasn't what Yuya was expecting at all.
He figured the house would be new since they have a lot of money now and the agents would at least prepare the house for them a little bit. Apparently, luck wasn't on their side as Yuya stares at the house that reminded him of a horror movie that Yuri suggested to watch a while back.
What stood before the family was a run-down building with walls and supports that needed to be clean and change due to the amount of dirt and vines covering them. The windows were stained by what appears to be thousands of bugs flying into them and dying on impact, leaving behind their fluids to dirty them up. And, even though he's sure his eyes are playing tricks on him, pieces of the roof were missing.
Thankfully, his distaste for the house was shared.
"We're living in that dump?" Yugo grumbles, still pretty salty from moving away before turning to their mother with ticked off eyes. "If this is your attempt for me to get over the fact that I can't see Rin anymore then you're doing a terrible job at it."
"Surprised that you could even see through that deception," Yuri mumbles, his magenta eyes lazily look the house over like he's in the middle of a boring conference meeting. His words made Yugo turn his glare at him.
"What did you say, you bastard?!" Before he could make a step towards him, their mother's voice cuts in.
"Boys! Stop fighting and help your mother with the luggage!"
"Coming, Mom!" the boys shout together as they quickly hurry over to the trunk of their car and got their respective luggage out. After he got his luggage, Yuya walks over to the car door on the left side and opens it. Out came three dogs and three cats, all who were tired being cooped in the car with no way to move around and explore. En, Yuya's dog, looks pretty happy to moving around as he runs around Yuya's legs a couple of times.
His other pets, however, stood absolutely still. Their little eyes staring at their new home warily.
"Come on, guys," he tells them softly, which manages to shake the rest of his pets out of their trance as they follow him and his family to their new house.
"I just don't get it," Yugo rants to his brothers once he's made sure that their mother was too busy with the keys to be paying attention to their conversation. "Our house was nice; plenty of room for all of us and our hobbies and everything was brand new. Why did we have to move to a dump like this?"
"This 'dump' just so happens to be a former orphanage, Yugo," Yuri points out, reminding his younger brother of the little history lesson they got from their mother about the new house. "Poor souls were lost to this horrid place because of their horrid Mistress. They were lucky enough to have one survivor. I think you should show some little respect, Fusion-kun."
"It's not all bad," Yuya cuts in before Yugo could start another fight. "I checked the interior with Mom; there's plenty of room for us to work on our projects. It even has a garage, so you can work on your motorcycle there, Yugo. There's even a room with a balcony in it!"
"A balcony, you say?" Yuri questions with That Smile on his face. "That would be perfect for my plants..."
"Hey! What if I want the balcony room? I'm going to need a room with enough light so I can see what I'm doing with my motorcycle." Yugo said, not liking the look on his brother's face.
"The balcony is going to be on the second floor, Fusion, how are you going to get your motorcycle up all the way up those stairs?" Seeing his brother's red face makes Yuri's smile wider. "Exactly..."
"Aha! Got you, you little rascal!" their mother shouts as they turn their attention to her as she opens the rickety old door. "Welcome to our new home, boys!"
"I call the room with the balcony!"
In a blink of an eye, Yuri was already dashing through the door, nearly knocking their Mom off the stairs from the speed he was going. "Hey, you got a head start!" Yugo quickly rushes after him, also nearly bumping into their mother, who shouts, "Boys! No running up the rickety old stairs!"
Yuto sighs at his brothers' childishness - sometimes, he's glad that he's the oldest so he doesn't have to get boss around by Yuri or Yugo. He was about to follow after them when he notices the smile on his youngest brother's face. Uh-oh, that could only mean one thing.
"There's no room with a balcony, is there?"
Yuya just shrugs. "Maybe there is, maybe there isn't."
Yuto shook his head. "I'm reconsidering calling you the baby in the family."
The two boys made their way over to the front door, Yuya's pets flanking behind them. As soon as they enter the house, Yuto immediately went into the hallway that's right to the front door, saying, "I don't know which room you want, but I'm taking the one on the ground floor."
Yuya smiles, at least Yuto is willing to admit that he's not always that innocent.
"Come on, guys," he tells his pets softly as he makes his way up the stairs, En right behind his heels. His pace slows when he realizes he couldn't hear his other pets behind him. Stopping in the middle of the stars, he calls out to them. "Guys, come on. Mom is going to kill me if you guys aren't inside."
They didn't move.
"Guys," he whistles to them yet they still remain in their positions on the porch.
"Core! Kilo! Watt! Giz! Mo!"
Yuya sighs, he really didn't have time for this. "Alright, fine. You can stay outside, but stay on the front porch!"
That seemed to do it; the cats decided to sit at the front of the door, keeping their distance so they don't actually enter the house, and the dogs decided to explore the porch some more. They trot away so Yuya couldn't see them in his sight.
"At least you're loyal, En," he mumbles to the Corgi. The dog didn't acknowledge his words. All he did was stare at the cats outside with a blank expression in his beady black eyes. The cats took notice of his glance and growl in the Corgi's direction. Whoever this was that took the place of that idiotic dog they're not going to give it the satisfaction of following its dark presence.
"Let's go," Yuya continues his trail up the stairs, En following him after a few moment of staring dully at the cats.
The feline friends gave each other looks; their owner was hopelessly naive.
Yuya's new room was actually at the end of the hallway on right, parallel to Yuri's new room - which just so happens to be the end of the hallway on the left. Even from this distance, Yuya could still hear the scuffling from that other room. He shook his head - leave it to Yugo and Yuri to fight over every little thing. Yuya opens his door with a turn of his key and steps in.
His room probably could have been in a better condition; the wallpaper was fading and ripped in a few places to reveal the old, pale wood that's keeping the whole place from collapsing. Dust gathered around the furniture, giving them a grey hue that clashes with the brown coloring underneath. Yuya didn't even dare jump on his fluffy looking bed in fear of getting assaulted by exploding dust.
At least the balcony gave this room a little light with the glass doors letting the sun in to give the room a little warm atmosphere.
What? He likes to pull pranks on his brothers. It's a good thing that he's the baby of the family because no one would never suspect the youngest quadruplet to be an evil mastermind when he wanted to be.
"This place isn't so bad, right En?" Yuya comments as he sets his suitcases down and strolls to the doors with a slight skip in his steps. The doors open with ease and gust of fresh air enter the room.
Yuya smiles as he closes his eyes in content. He'll never admit it out loud to Yugo but their old home never had fresh air like this with all the cars driving by. Maybe there are perks of living in the outback.
The red-and-green-haired boy blinks his eyes open, looking a bit startled. What's that noise?
Realizing that the sound is coming from behind him, Yuya looks over his shoulder and was met by an odd sight; his dog, En, was walking into a closet door and repeating the process again whenever his head made contact with the old wood. The Corgi had a blank look in his eyes, something that Yuya noticed as he walks over.
"En, what are you doing?"
"En stop that. You're going to hurt yourself if you keep doing that."
Yuya sighs; the road trip was catching up with him and now he's too tired to deal with this. So, he put his hand on the closet with his palm facing the dog, which ended up with En running into his hand, giving the boy the chance to stir his dog away from the closet. As soon as the dog was not facing the old door the fog in his eyes cleared away.
It was like a few seconds ago didn't happen.
"Weird dog," Yuya comments as he watches the Corgi trot out of the room like he owns the place - which almost reminded him of Yuri. He shrugs and was about to go get his suitcase when he notices something off about the closet door.
Was it always open?
Tilting his head to the side a bit, Yuya opens the door a little wider, wondering how it got loose in the first place. This place is old, he thinks to himself, looking at the old clothes that were hung up. Maybe the locks broke when En kept slamming his head against the door.
That sounds reasonable enough to him. Yuya was about to close the door when he notices something at the bottom of those dusty clothes.
Immediately, his red eyes shine brightly.
Yuto, who just appeared in the doorway to check on his little brother, jumps at the loud volume his brother's voice went up to. "Did I miss something?"
"Yuto!" Yuya whips around with the biggest smile plaster on his face with something wrap tightly around something. "Isn't this the cutest thing you've ever seen?"
The lavender-black-haired was about to ask what it was when Yuya stretch out his arms to show the object he has in his hands. The moment his grey eyes lay on the thing, Yuto pales on sight. Not another one!
In Yuya's arms was a doll and it was the most horrifying doll Yuto had ever laid eyes on. The thing almost reminded him of those classic aliens with its grey skin but its mishappen head looks like one of those bags they used for a scarecrow's head. Not that he thought about it, the doll actually is a scarecrow, with the straw hat on top of its head and the black trench coat it's wearing.
And who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to give that doll buttons for eyes?! He still has nightmares about that Coraline movie Yuri forced them all to watch when they were nine. God, and that smile... Again, who in their right mind think its okay to stitch a smile on that thing's face, especially that wide?
But, for some sick, twisted reason, Yuya thought the thing was cute so he decided to humor his brother - this wasn't the first time Yuya found a creepy doll and wanted it. "Y-Yep! L-Looks cute, bro!"
Dear God, why did he had to stutter so bad? Thankfully, Yuya didn't notice as he brought the doll back into his arms and cuddles it, completely unaware of the look of relief on Yuto's face.
"Hey, Bro! Where did you say you wanted your guitar-? WHAT THE HELL IS THAT THING?!" Yugo was never one for pleasantries, especially when it's something that goes against his world bubble. So, when he walked up to Yuto and took notice of the doll in Yuya's arms, he didn't bother to spare his younger brother's feelings.
"It's my new doll, Yugo!" Yuya exclaims not caring about the harsh tone or the horrified look in his brother's eyes. "Don't you like it?"
"I'll like it better if I see that thing at the bottom of Hell!" Yugo shouts, pointing a finger at the doll.
The smile on Yuya's face faded. "Onii-chan..."
"Anyway, I only came up here because Mom is making me put all our personal items into our room because I should punch Yuri or something. So, where do you want-"
Yugo trails off when he took a good look at his younger brother's room, practically the glass door that leads to the balcony.
"Wait a minute... I thought you said there was one room with a balcony in it?!"
Yuya gulps when he realizes he's been caught. "W-Well, I never said there was one-"
"YOU LITTLE-! NOOGIE TIME!"
"AH! ONII-CHAN!" Yuto could only shake his head in amusement when Yugo began to chase Yuya in circles around the room, the former threatening to give the later a noogie for the trick he pulled. The doll that Yuya was previously holding has now been disregarded to the floor but it somehow manages to sit upright and stare off into his direction. Yuto shudders when he accidentally meets the thing's glaze.
Footsteps appear on his left and Yuto turns to see Yuri walking up to him. "I was summoned by the sound of Fusion-kun being ridiculed, what happened?"
Yuto just points to the events inside the room; Yugo had finally caught Yuya and is giving the boy the noogie of his life as Yuya desperately tries to claw his way out.
"Wait, are you telling me Yuya pulled a prank on him?" Yuto's only response was a nod, which makes Yuri look at the scene before them with an impressed look. "You know, maybe I should have him help me with some of the poisonous paints after all."
"If I see Yuya even a centimeter to those plants, half of your garden is going to get burned up." Yuto threatens.
Yuri slowly turns his head to meet his brother's glare, his pupils dilating. "Is that a threat, brother dear?"
"It's a promise, Yuri."
Shrugging, Yuri turns his attention back to the scruffle before him. "I will admit though, it is sad that Fusion-kun got duped by our own younger brother."
"It's not Fusion, it's Yugo! And who are you calling stupid?! NOOGIE TIME!"
Yuri's eyes widen in terror. "I guess that's my cue to leave!" With that, he bolts out of the doorway.
"Oh, no you don't, you cabbage!"
That was how Yuto and Yuya spent the hour trying to hold Yugo back from punching Yuri. The doll, which had been carelessly thrown to the ground from Yugo's last "noogie" moment, stares off into the direction the brothers had gone off. Its perfectly stitched mouth falls into a frown; more obstacles that are in the way of Its goal.
Good thing It wasn't planning on making the same mistake twice.
Chapter 2: Morning Surprises
I promised myself I finished this chapter before the week was over and what do I do?
...I finished the chapter before the week was over...
I'm so surprised by the amount of support I got in the first chapter. Thank you all so much and I hope you guys enjoy this chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After hours of watching their mother scold Yugo about punching Yuri, Yuya and Yuto decided to help her cool off by dropping off the rest of the suitcases from the car instead of her. Their mother just gave them quick kisses on the cheeks before happily skipping away to her new kitchen, like the woman who scared poor Yugo to death didn't even exist moments ago.
"I'm finally starting to see where Yuri gets his personality from," Yuto comments as they make their back to the house from the car, two luggage lounge underneath both of their arms. "You think sharing a womb with him for nearly ten months and living with him for fourteen years would give us time to learn all his secrets by now."
Yuya laughs. "Well, we still have no idea if our theory about Yuri being a serial killer is true or not, so I don't think we're getting closer to finding out any of his secrets yet."
Yuto shudders. He, Yuya, and Yugo all made a theory that Yuri secretly kills people in his spare time when he's not tending to his garden a couple of years ago. The theory came to surface when a certain number of students began to disappear without a trace a couple of years ago and they were all people that Yuri had a problem with. So far, all they had for evidence is that Yuri likes to keep poisonous plants in his garden and they saw a video of Yuri as a baby trying to strangle their father by his tie from their mother's archives of them as babies.
"That theory is the reason why I don't want you or Yugo to go anywhere near his poisonous plants," he mumbles, drawing a laugh from Yuya. "I'm serious, Yuya, for all we know, Yuri could be a serial killer."
"Come on, Nii-sama, you and I both know I'm not even on Yuri's hit list." Yuya just continues to chuckle.
Yuto sighs. "Yeah, you're the lucky one."
They passed by Yuya's pets who refused to step into the house. Their actions force Yuya to tie his dogs to a pipe drain connected to the house to prevent them from running off and getting run over by a passing car. The cats, however, decided not to wander off and remain rather close to the dogs. Yuya didn't complain, as long as they didn't wander off it's fine with him.
"Hey, you find out what's with those guys and the house?" Yuto asks, his eyes trailing on the cold stare of Core.
"No clue," Yuya shrugs. "En doesn't seem to have a problem with it but I can't understand what's their deal. I mean, as long as they don't wander off, I'm fine with it."
Yuto keeps his eye on Core for a moments before shrugging and placing his luggage down near the front of the back door. "Well, those were the last bags. I'm turning in for the night."
"Already?" Yuya looks at his brother's retreating form in confusion. "But tomorrow's Saturday."
"Yeah, but we got up early just to avoid traffic but that didn't really work, so we got here at five o' clock, and Mom was busy yelling at Yugo for nearly three hours. I'm going to bed just so I can catch up on some sleep." Yuto comments as he continues his way to his new bedroom.
"Kay, night Nii-sama..."
Once Yuto's out of sight, Yuya places his luggage down and sorts them through to find out which of these belongings belong to who. When he nearly cuts his finger from a pair of sharp hedge clippers, he knew that this was Yuri's gardening tools. Leave it to Yuri to convince everyone he's a serial killer, Yuy thinks to himself as he closes the luggage.
"-mean you can't come home today?"
Yuya's ears perk up when he heard his mother's voice talking a bit too loudly. Curious, Yuya walks towards the sound and stops at the doorway of the kitchen to see his mother talking on the phone with somebody. By the look on her face, whatever that person said left her confused and concerned.
"What?! That's ridiculous! They can't force you to-!" She was cut off by the person suddenly speaking. Hearing this made her sign. "Well, I can't argue with that. Show business can be pretty demanding." Silence. "Fine, I'll tell them. But they're not going to like it, especially Yuya..."
"What won't I like, Kaasan?"
His voice suddenly appearing out of thin air must have startled her since she nearly drops her phone to the ground before she brings it back up to her ear to say, "I'll call you back," ending the call there.
"Yuya, don't sneak up on your mother on that or you'll give her a heart attack!" Yoko shouts like a little baby as Yuya makes his way over to her.
"Aren't you kinda young to be getting a heart attack?" Yuya points out with a laugh. "So, who were you talking to on the phone?"
Yoko looks at her shoes uncomfortable. "That was your father..."
"Tousan?" Immediately, Yuya's eyes brighten. "Is he coming home today?"
The look on Yoko's face, however, made Yuya drop his smile. "Kaasan?"
"He just called to inform me that he's going to be at the theaters for a couple of weeks to settle in his new position and, hopefully, get a head start on his new project," Yoko explains, which only disheartens Yuya further. "He wanted to come home sooner since he knew you and your brothers miss him since this whole move but show business can be pretty demanding."
"He's not coming home?" Yuya's voice was barely above a whisper.
"Oh, baby," Yoko brought Yuya's face into her hands when she saw a few tears in his eyes. "I know this difficult; moving to a whole new place where you won't be able to see your friends as much as you want to and the fact your father's not here during all of this. But I promise things will get better. Just think, in a couple of weeks, you'll get to see your father again."
"Yeah," Yuya sniffs, berating himself for crying so easily. "I guess so..."
"That's a good boy," she pats his cheeks. "Why don't you go to bed? Your brothers are already asleep and I can already imagine you're already tired from all that driving and getting our luggage out of the car."
"Okay, night Kaasan..." Yuya whispers as he begins to make his way up the stairs.
His new bed was softer than he would imagine it; his body nearly dips into mattress the moment he lands on it. Still, though, it was very comfortable as Yuya pulled the sheets back and snuggled into the blankets. En followed his movements by jumping onto the bed and curling up by his feet.
"Good night, En," he whispers softly to the Corgi before turning to the doll he found today in its sitting up position right beside his head. "Good night, Mr. Buttons..."
The doll, now dubbed as Mr. Buttons, didn't say any anything and Yuya didn't expect him too. He turns to his side away from the doll and slips into a relaxing state of sleep.
After making sure that the boy is too deep into his sleep, Mr. Button's head slowly turns to face the sleeping boy. The smile on Its face somehow growing wider.
This was going to be a fun night.
The first thing Yuya was aware of when he woke up from his first night at his new home was the light pressure on his right cheek. Tilting his head slightly to see what was on him, his red eyes caught sight of two black buttons staring back at him.
"Mr. Buttons?" bringing his arm up, Yuya grabs the doll and lifts it away from his face to get a better look at it. "When did you get on my face?" He was met by silence. "Well, don't do it again, alright? You're going to give me a heart attack by doing- GAH!"
Yuya went to sit up to properly scold his new doll but was immediately attacked by a mysterious pain in his neck. At first, he thought he might have pulled a muscle from the position he was in but then he realized that his muscles were relaxed so it couldn't have a sore neck. Feeling the side of his neck with his two fingers, Yuya winces slightly when he felt a stab of pain in a certain area.
"Weird," he mumbles to himself, thinking he might have accidentally banged against something and now his neck is just sore from the aftermath. "Guess now I know the reason why Yuto always tells Yugo to be mindful of his sleeping positions..."
A small bark to his left catches his attention away from his neck, his eyes meeting En's concern black ones. "Oh, sorry, En. Must have scared you when I yelled like that, didn't I?"
The only response he got from the dog was him crawling into his lap and licking his sore spot, which makes Yuya wince slightly from the contact in that area.
"Okay, down you," he tells the dog as he picks the Corgi up and placing him down the ground before picking himself out of the bed. He takes a glance at the balcony doors shining a little light in the room. "Guess it's morning, huh? Everyone's probably already down in the kitchen waiting for us."
En yaps before following Yuya out of the bedroom.
The kitchen wasn't that far from the stairwell. It was actually at the end of the hallway if you went straight from the front door, ignoring the living room on the left and doors that lead to another hallway on the right. The kitchen was actually the biggest part of the house; the main reason why his mother decided to buy this place. It was big enough to hold a table for eleven people, which was good for an orphanage.
When Yuya walked into the kitchen he was greeted by the sight of his mother running through the kitchen to prepare the food and his brothers at the table, eating away at their scrambled eggs - Yugo's just chomping his food down like a dog while Yuto and Yuri are eating their food more gracefully.
"Ohayou!" Yuya greets them when he walks up to the table.
"Ohayou!" His family greeted back automatically.
"You slept in later than Yugo, Yuya," Yoko comments as she finishes putting scrambled eggs on a plate for the youngest. "For a moment, I thought I had to charge in there and wake you up my- OH MY GOD! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOUR NECK?!"
Her outburst scared the wits out of everyone in the room. Yuya's brothers whipped their heads towards him when they realized what their mother just said and their eyes grow comically wide - Yuri even dropped his fork in pure shock.
"My neck?" Yuya tilts his head to the side. "It's fine, I just banged it on something."
"What did you bang it with? A pole?" Yuto questions sarcastically. His harsh tone made Yuya blink in confusion.
"Bro, did you even look in the mirror when you woke up this morning?!" Yugo demands, the look on his face was usually something that Yuya would see when his brother would watch a horror movie.
"What are you talking about, Onii-chan? It can't be that bad-" Yuya's voice trails off when his mother pulls up a pan with a reflective surface, showing him his reflection.
On the side of his right neck was a bruise that he could have only gotten in a fight. The bruise was a mixture of yellow and purple that looked disgusting to look at. It nearly covered the whole side of his neck and when Yuya put his finger on it he winces at the familiar pain striking him once again.
"Don't touch it!" Yoko scolds him when she sees him wince. "I don't know how you got that bruise but let's put some ice on it right away if it hurts to touch."
"Okay..." Yuya mumbles, letting his mother lead him out of the kitchen and into the living room.
Once those two were gone, Yuri turns his attention to Yugo with a deadly serious look in his eyes. "I hope that bruise doesn't have anything to do with you choking him yesterday."
"Hey, I didn't choke him! I just had him in a headlock." Yugo quickly defends himself before he narrows his eyes. "And how do we know if that bruise wasn't caused by one of your plants?"
"Are you framing my garden?"
Yuto sighs, knowing this isn't going to end well. "Better start running, Yugo."
Yuya's face twisted into a grimace when Yoko puts the bag of ice on his neck, the pressure and cold from the bag didn't sit well with the bruise but he bit his lips to hold back a yelp. At least he's laying down on the couch since he didn't think he would be comfortable standing up when the ice made contact.
"There," Yoko says after giving him the ice. "Just leave it on for a few days. If it doesn't get any better, we'll go to the doctor and check it out."
The mention of the word "doctor" brought a frown to Yuya's lips. "Kaasan, you know how I and the others feel about a hospital..."
Yoko's face falls when she hears that tone and gently rubs his head. "Oh, baby, I didn't mean like that. It'll just be a checkup, nothing like before."
Hearing this made Yuya relax, though he didn't say anything. Yoko looked like she wanted to say something else when the doorbell rings.
"I'll get it!" They heard Yuri called and his footsteps ran past them from the hallway. The door opens and a loud shout resonates across the house.
"HAPPY HOT-BLOODED SURPRISE-!"
Yoko and Yuya look in the direction of the front door in interest, wondering who it could've been that would make Yuri slam the door so harshly. They heard Yuri's footsteps now going up the stairs, him shouting: "It's for you!"
Shaking her head, Yoko stands up from her position besides Yuya and heads to the front door, Yuya following behind while keeping the bag of ice on his neck.
When Yoko opened the door, a flash of indigo charged past them and up the stairs. A voice could be heard grumbling. "What kind of insensitive jerk thinks it's okay to just slam a door in a person's face? Wait until I get my hands on him-!"
Yuya blinks at the form going through the second floor to find Yuri. A low groan from the front door made Yuya turn his attention to it and was surprised to see Shuzo Hiragi, a family friend, rubbing his aching nose with his children standing behind him worriedly.
"Dad, I think you should know by now that Yuri hates it when you surprise him like that," Shun, the oldest child by seventeen years and Yuto's best friend, comments with a deadpan expression.
"I'll get you some ice, Shuzo," Yoko offers, which the old man gladly took and follow her into the kitchen, Shun not so far behind. This leaves Yuya alone with the remaining three of the Hiragi children.
That was until Ruri, the girl with the long, dark purple hair, stepped forward. "Yuya, do you know where Yuto is?"
"Oh," he points to the doors left of him that leads to the hallway. "Past those doors are a hallway. You just search the doors on your left and you'll find Yuto in his room."
"Arigato!" She thanks him and then makes a dash to the hallway. A few seconds later, Yugo's head pops out from the kitchen doorway, wondering what all the fuss was about. His blue eyes widen when he catches sight of the girl with aqua green hair.
Rin yelps when Yugo suddenly launches himself at her, squealing from the bear hug he's giving her. "Y-Yugo!"
"Come on! You should check out this awesome garage I found last night!" Before she could protest, Yugo was already dragging her down the hallway Ruri just gone through. Thus, leaving Yuya alone with the final Hiragi child and his own best friend, Yuzu.
Yuzu eyes him holding the ice bag to his neck. "Did you already hurt yourself on your first day of living in this creepy place?"
Yuya chuckles. "Would you believe I actually got this bruise while I was sleeping?"
"With you, anything's possible."
Before Yuya could retort, a small yap came from their feet. They look down to see En, staring happily up at Yuzu with his tongue out. Yuzu smiles and kneels down to pet him. Her smile quickly turns into a frown when she notices the lack of other pets in the house. "Hey, where are the other guys?"
"They're outside, they didn't want to go in the house for some reason. I can go get them if you want." Yuya offers.
"If they were outside in this cold weather for the whole night, I would say check on them immediately." Yuzu orders with a deadly serious look in her blue eyes.
Yuya gulps and bolts out of the front door. She always knew that's the one look she uses to scare me , he thinks to himself as he walks across the mucky ground to the side of the house. He's slightly glad that he's wearing slippers because he didn't want to get his feet all dirty. Who's idea was it to build this orphanage in a swamp anyway?
"Core? Kilo? Watt?" Yuya calls out as he makes his way to the last place he saw his other pets. "Giz? Mo? Can you guys come-"
He stops dead cold at the scene before him. His ice bag slips from his fingers and falls to the soft ground in a sickening splat .
The scream pierced through the air surrounding the house. It nearly scared Yuzu out of her wits and it forced En to run up the stairs, whimpering. Seconds later, Yuzu realized who screamed.
"Yuya?!" Her voice mixed with the other residents inside the house, all having to hear the scream as well. Yuzu was the first one to run out the front door to find the source of the scream, followed by the adults and Shun. Yuto, Ruri, Yugo, and Rin weren't that far behind them. Serena and Yuri were the last ones to run out since they were on the second floor.
"Yuya?" Yuzu turns a corner to see Yuya on the ground, backing away from something. His skin was pale and she could see that his limbs were shaking uncontrollably, nearly causing him to fall flat on his back a few times. His pupils had shrunken to the size of dots and his red eyes dull from fear.
Yuzu stops, allowing Yoko to run past her and bring her trembling son into her arms. "Yuya! Yuya, baby, what's wrong? What's the matter?"
Yuya was a mess; all that came out of his lips were a jumble of whimpers that no one could make sense of. What on earth did he see? Yuzu questions herself before she looks at the direction Yuya's looking at. She pales on sight.
"Oh my God!"
Her outburst caught everyone's, but Yuya, attention. They stare at her like she's grown a second head but Yuzu just points in the direction she and Yuya are both looking at. Eyes follow the finger and the sight they see causes mix reactions; Yoko, Ruri, and Rin both gasp in horror while everyone just stares with mouths open in horror.
Lying before them were the bodies of Core, Kilo, Watt, Giz, and Mo, all slump over the dirty color grass. Muck nearly covered their coats, showing that they at least put up a struggle during their final moments. Each of their necks was bent at an odd angle, their lifeless eyes locked on Yuya's trembling form.
I am very sorry to all the animal lovers out there.
Chapter 3: Daily Bruising
I must be getting on a role. I started this chapter two days ago and I finish it on the day of my birthday. I'm actually a little impressed with myself.
By the way, I forgot to ask this in the last chapter, what do you guys think of the name "Mr. Buttons" for the doll?
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yoko brought Yuya into the house after that. As soon as he passed through the front door, Yuya made a scramble up the stairs, calling for En in his broken voice. The blonde woman could only stare up at the stairs with sad eyes before she went back outside to help Shuzo burry the bodies.
Yuya didn't go outside to see his pets get put into boxes and be buried underground with crosses made out of branches and rope coming out. No one had the heart to make him go out, either.
"How's Yuya doing?" Ruri asks Yuto as they walk around the house. A few hours have passed and it was now the afternoon. Yugo and Rin decided to take a ride on Yugo's motorcycle to clear their heads on the whole incident while Yuri and Serena were busy tending to Yuri's garden to do the same. Yoko and Shuzo had just called Yusho to explain what happened and Shun decided to take Yuzu to the car to talk to her about it.
Yuto sighs. "One thing's for sure; Yuya's not letting go of En anytime soon." The older quadruplet had gone up a while ago to check on his younger brother only to see the red-and-green-haired boy on his bed, holding the Corgi tightly in his arms as he buries his face into the dog's coat, sobbing softly. The black-and-lavender-haired boy just sighed sadly and closed the door to give him some privacy.
This makes Ruri frown as they walk back into the house. "What do you think happened to them?"
"Honestly, probably some nutcase," Yuto shrugs. "Mom says this place used to be a sanctuary for crazy people, so I wouldn't be surprised if a couple of lunatics passed through here."
Ruri scrunches her eyebrows in confusion. "I thought this place was an orphanage that was run by a woman who had schizophrenia?"
"Like I said, crazy people."
The dark-purple-haired shook her head at her friend's attempt at joking at a time like this. Her slight annoyance, however, disappeared when she noticed something on top of the dresser near the staircase. Her skin pales on sight.
"Y-Yuto, w-what's that?" Yuto raises an eyebrow at her stuttering before he follows her eyes and pales when he sees the source of her nerves.
"How did that thing get down here?!" Mr. Buttons, the creepy doll who most of the Sakakis have a problem with, was standing up against the wall while using the dresser as its personal chair. Its midnight, button eyes were staring straight into theirs, almost as if it was staring into their souls. The two friends each gave their own shudders.
"That's supposed to be Yuya's new doll," Yuto mutters as the youngest of Hiragi quadruplets latches onto his arm, their eyes never leaving the doll's. "He found it in his room and thinks it's cute. We've been stuck with it for a day and it's still creeping me out."
"I know what you mean," she whispers like she doesn't want the doll to hear her.
Yuto shook his head and swiftly grabs Mr. Buttons from its perch and storms up the stairs, Ruri following close behind. There were times were Yuto could handle Yuya's obsession with dolls but if they look creepy and do some supernatural things then he's drawing the line.
"Yuya!" he calls into the hallway that leads to his brother's room. "Yuya, how many times do I have to tell you? Don't leave your creepy-looking dolls lying around-" Yuto stops in mid-sentence when opens the door to Yuya's rooms only to find the younger quadruplet not on his bed or anywhere in his room, for the matter.
"Where's Yuya?" Ruri questions as she peeks over Yuto's shoulder.
"No idea," Yuto shook his head before yelling out. "Yuya? Bro! Where are you?"
Yelping in shock when Yuya's voice seemly came out of nowhere, Yuto and Ruri turn their heads to see Yuya poking his head out from one of the doorways a few doors down from his room. His red eyes were wide and his cheeks had a few tear stains from all the crying but all in all, Yuya looks remarkably better.
"What the-? Yuya?" Yuto walks over to where Yuya is, eyeing the background of the room he's at. "What are you doing in that closet?"
Yuya sneaks a glance towards the hanging clothes before turning back to his brother. "You didn't know? There's this secret little room with a TV if go through all these clothes. I've been watching some of our old tapes on it."
Yuto cringed. "You're not watching our birth video, are you?" To this day, the brothers will never know why their mother decided it was a good idea to give birth to quadruplets naturally and videotape it for them to watch in the future.
Thankfully, Yuya shudders and shook his head. "No way! I'm just watching the aftermath of that! You know, that part where Kaasan put us all in those sweaters so she and Tousan can tell us apart."
A thin layer of redness appeared on Yuto's cheeks. Of course, he remembers that part of the video but did he had to mention it in front of Ruri?!
"You guys wore sweaters?" No, Yuya, do not say what I think you're going to say. Do not say what I think you're going to say!
"Wanna see it?" Somebody, please, just kill him now.
"Sure!" Like that, Ruri was following behind Yuya as they crawl through the thick clothes to see the other room, leaving Yuto alone in the hallway to deal with the embarrassment. As much as he loves his brother, Yuya can be a pain just as Yugo and Yuri when they fight.
"Aww! You guys look so cute!" Upon hearing Ruri's squealing voice through the clothes Yuto quickly crawled in after them.
He was honestly surprised that there was a small room passed all of these thick clothes. Yuya and Ruri sat on their legs in front of an old TV that's perfect for videotapes. On the screen showed the Sakaki quadruplets as babies, sitting together on a couch, Yuya and Yuri sleeping peacefully while Yugo was restlessly kicking his legs. They all wore yellow sweaters that each had a number that showed which quadruplet was born in order.
"When was this?" Ruri asks Yuya, her eyes still glue to the screen.
"A couple of days after we were born," Yuya answers with a shrug, completely obvious to his brother's red face behind him. "Kaasan told us she and Tousan had trouble remembering which of us was which since we didn't like to open our eyes a lot so she made us those sweaters. What did your Dad do to tell you and your sisters apart?"
Ruri sighs. "He gave us diapers with our names on them. The others still hold it as a grudge against him when they found out."
Before Yuya could continue the conversation, Yuto suddenly springs forward presses the fast button on the recorder to skip the part of him doing something embarrassing as a baby. "Yuto!"
"Anyway, Ruri, aren't you guys supposed to be heading home soon?" Yuto asks like he didn't completely barge in on their conversation. "I mean, it's nearly a four-hour drive from here to your house."
Ruri, however, wasn't amused by his behavior as she places her hands on her hips. "Come on, Yuto. There's nothing to be ashamed about watching yourself as a baby. You wouldn't believe the stories my Dad would tell me and my sisters about us when we were babies."
"Hey, can I help that my Mom likes to record-" Yuto releases his finger from the button to talk to Ruri when the video begins to play a certain scene from the boys' lives.
"Mama! Mama!" Hearing the high-pitched voice of three-year-old Yugo from the video caught their attention. Yuto and Yuya's eyes widen once they realize which scene this was. "Yuya's bleeding!"
"What?!" The screen then shows Yuya sitting on the sidewalk, a hand over his nose with Yuto and Yuri crowding him. "What happened?"
"I don't know!" the screen quickly shifts to Yugo's worried face. "We were just playing ball and now Yuya's bleeding!"
"Calm down, Yugo, I'll go check on Yuya."
"Was that the day...?" Ruri trails off, unable to finish her sentence as she takes a glance at the tomato-haired boy.
"Yeah," Yuto sighs as he turns the TV off. "That's the day we found out..."
This left an uncomfortable amongst the three of them. For a second, they thought they were going to be stuck in that position forever but it was broken by a crash coming from Yuri's room at the end of the other hall.
"Get off of me, you barbarian!"
"Not until you take what you said back, Franken Eyebrows!"
Eyes widening when they realize their siblings were fighting with each other - again, they might add -, they immediately ran out of the closet in a tumbling mess towards Yuri's room.
"Yuri, what the heck are you doing to Serena?!"
"Serena, get off of him!"
"Nii-san, no! Put down the machete!"
After wresting Yuri and Serena away from each other, the Hiragis decided it was time to go home and bid the Sakakis a goodbye. A while after they were gone, Yoko had gone and made dinner, something that the boys were eagerly waiting for. Yuya and Yugo had sparkles in their eyes when they smell the aroma, there was even a bit of drool coming out of Yugo's mouth.
Yuri shudders when he sees it. "Am I glad I'm older than you, Fusion-kun."
Yugo blinks and gives Yuri a glare, his mood ruin. "Hey!"
"Dinner time, boys!" Yoko announces as she hands them each of their own plates of pot roast. The boys happily dig in, Yugo's previous happy mood returning as he munches on the meat.
The family blink a couple of times at the sound; it was like something just flew straight into the side of the house.
"Did you guys hear that?" Yuya asks his brothers, who quickly nod their heads.
Yoko stood up from her chair to look out the window from the side where the noise came from. She gasps when something catches her eyes on the grass.
"Yuya, whatever you do, do not look out this window."
Yuya raises an eyebrow at this. "How come?" However, he was ignored when his mother ushers his brothers over and they crowd around the window. Whatever they were seeing outside must have been terrible if it was enough to make Yuri pale.
"What is with today?"
"Are you guys sure you don't want me to see it?" Yuya questions as he got up to look out the window. "I mean, how bad can it be-?"
In the midst of their shock, the other members of the Sakaki family couldn't stop Yuya from looking out the window. The moment Yuya catches sight of the thing on the ground his heart drops.
In the middle of the grass, a pigeon lay there, its wings twitching like it's in the middle of a spasm. Its neck was at an odd angle as the bird's muscles contract. For a brief moment, Yuya got a flashback when he found his pets lying dead on the ground with their necks snapped this morning.
What was going on with the animals in the area?
Thankfully, the rest of the day went by pretty smooth despite all the incidents. Yoko decided the bird must have been sick and flew into their house when it probably couldn't see anymore and ended up breaking its neck. That was the best explanation she could give to Yuya and he gladly took it. It was way better than finding out the Pet Killer took another victim.
When he woke up the next morning he never felt so relieved to wake up and find En in his face.
"Hey, boy," he murmurs softly as he rubs the Corgi's neck. "How are you doing?"
The Corgi gives him a yap before jumping off the bed. Yuya giggles and was about to follow after him when he notices a sharp pain in his lower right leg that makes him wince. Confused, Yuya lifts his pajama bottoms to take look and what he saw made his eyes widen.
"Are you kidding me?!"
"Kaasan, I think I'm going to take you up on your offer about going to the doctors," Yuya mentions once he's in the doorway to the kitchen, where the rest of his family is eating, as he leans against the wall while rubbing his right leg.
Yoko looks over at him in interest. "What? But I thought you didn't like going to the doctors?" Her eyes widen when she sees the bruise on his neck. "Is that bruise on your neck still bothering you?"
"Not exactly," before anyone could ask him what he meant by that, Yuya rolls up his right pajama leg. "It's actually this..."
"What the-!" On his lower right leg, a bruise form like the size of a baseball. It was the same type of bruise Yuya had on his neck; his pale skin in that area turned into a horrible, sickly purple and yellow color that look painful to touch.
"Gee, bro, what do you keep banging into?" Yugo mumbles as Yoko quickly hurries over to the boy.
"Does it hurt if I touch it?" Yoko's fingers hardly brush the bruise yet Yuya couldn't stop the wine from coming, something that she notices right away. "That's it, we're going to the doctors. Get ready, Yuya, I'll call them while you're doing that."
With a mumble of an agreement, Yuya limps out of the doorway, wincing whenever the bruise in his leg acts up. It drew a concerned look from Yuto.
"Mom, you don't think it's..." Yuto trailed off, unable to finish his sentence.
"No, it's not, Yuto," Yoko quickly tells him to dispell the worry. "Yuya's last checkup was a month ago and they all told me that he's still clear."
This made Yugo sigh in relief but Yuto and Yuri still exchange looks with each other before returning to their meal.
It's not actually leukemia again, is it? Yoko quickly shook her head to get her mind out of those thoughts. What am I saying? I just told them that Yuya's fine. It's probably just something simple. But then, where exactly did those bruises come from?
Guess the only way to find out is going to the doctors.
To all of those who are wondering why Yuri has a machete, just think of his version of Yuzu's fan.
Chapter 4: What's in the Cellar?
Thank you, snow days!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Yoko took Yuya to the doctors once breakfast was over. This left the rest of the Sakaki brothers alone to themselves. Yuri didn't say anything to his two brothers, he just got up from the table and walk out. Last time they saw him he was busy arranging the boxes they haven't unpacked yet. Knowing better than to question their possibly homicidal brother, the boys left the house and began to walk around the house.
"Hey, bro," Yugo speaks up after a while, his tone somewhat timid, something that Yuto hasn't heard in a long time. "You don't really think his leukemia is back, do you?"
Yuto sighs. This was never an easy topic for them all. "We can only wait and see, Yugo..."
The blonde-and-blue-haired boy didn't like the sound of that.
When the boys were only three Yuya was diagnosed with cancer after he had a rapid bleeding nose that wouldn't stop bleeding no matter what. Yuya had to live in the hospital for most of his childhood to receive treatment, meaning he had to be homeschooled while his brothers attended public schools. At the time, the three boys didn't understand why their brother couldn't join them at school but they did their best to make sure that he wasn't alone in the hospital.
It took visiting Yuya daily for them to realize that their younger brother could actually die. They've seen him go through the side effects of chemotherapy and they had arguments with their parents and the doctors on how all of this was supposed to help him when all they saw was their brother deteriorating as the days go on. They hated seeing Yuya bald with his skin so pale.
Thankfully, when the boys were seven, the doctors had told the family that Yuya's leukemia had gone away. However, he still needs to visit the doctors monthly to keep an eye out. But that information alone was enough to bring smiles to the Sakaki family's faces.
But if Yuya's leukemia comes back then the boys have no idea what they will do.
Their thoughts on the subject were quickly derailed when they heard something bang into the house behind them. Startled, the boys turn around only to see a pigeon lying on the ground, twitching with its neck out of place.
"Damn, that's the second time this happened today," Yugo mumbles, his blue eyes showing hints of disgust and horror of just seeing the pigeon lying there. Yuto sighs.
"I'll go get the box," Yugo nods as the oldest walks back into the house.
What Yuto didn't expect to hear when he walked through the house was the sound of metal hitting against wood. Knowing that there's only one thing in this house that could make that kind of noise and its owner is scarier than it.
"Yuri!" Yuto marches to the source of the noise, which is the cupboard underneath the stairs. He walks through the door to see Yuri hacking the wall on the right with his machete. If weren't for the fact that Yuto knew that their mother would kill them if they damaged this house then he would have noticed something pass the holes Yuri created.
"Yuri, what the hell are you doing?!" The oldest demands, gripping his brother's wrist to prevent him from chopping any more wood. "Do you have any idea what Mom would do to us if we dismantle this place?!"
Yuri scoffs and shakes free of his grip. "I would have an idea... But I doubt a sealed wall that blocks off some staircase would be something that can make Mom freak out about."
"Sealed wall? What-?" Yuri just points to the holes he's already made and Yuto, being curious, takes a step closer to peer into the hole. Truth to his brother's words, he did see something pass the wooden wall before him. An old, black wood staircase that goes down to somewhere that Yuto couldn't see because of the blanket of darkness inside that room.
"I didn't know we had a cellar..." Yuto mumbles, his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
'Neither did I, until one of my coins from my allowance fell and slipped through the wood. As you can see," Yuri shakes his machete a little. "I was only trying to get it back."
Yuto shook his head at his brother. "You have very odd methods of getting something back, Yuri."
Before Yuri could make a comment on that, Yugo suddenly walks in. "Hey, bro, you said you were gonna get-" He stops when he sees Yuri with his machete and nearly demolished wall with cuts that could've been done by only one weapon. "Uh... Did I miss something?"
"We just found out we have a cellar after Yuri nearly chopped off the entire wall," Yuto said in a deadpan tone.
"We have a cellar?" Yugo walks over and peers into the holes, his eyes widening. "Hey, whadda ya know?"
"Can you two please move aside? I would like to get my allowance back," without another word, Yuto and Yugi quickly step back since everyone knew it was a bad idea to get between Yuri and his personal items, especially if he has his machete in his hands. After a few more hacks, the wall gave away, revealing the ominous staircase that leads to a black abyss.
"Yeah, I'm not going down there," Yugo mutters, taking a few steps back. Yuri sighs before taking a flashlight from a shelf and turning it on.
"This is why we have flashlights, Fusion," this earns him an angry growl from his brother but Yuri pays him no mind as he descends down the stairs. Yuto sighs before he grabs his own flashlight and follows Yuri down into the cellar, Yugo not so far behind him since he's equally curious about what's down there.
The first thing that Yuto sees is a shelf leaning against a wall, filled with these strange books and jars with something odd inside them; frogs, eyeballs, and he's pretty sure that one looks like a tongue. The dusty, grey ground they're standing on top had a few cobwebs lying around, showing how long this place has gone without being tended to.
"Aha! Found it!" Both boys jump at Yuri's loud voice breaking the silence as the second oldest picks something up from the ground. "Let this be a lesson, dear brothers; always value the money you get."
Yuto and Yugo lean over Yuri's shoulders to see how money he had lost only to find something very disappointing.
"You nearly destroyed the house just to get 500 yen?!"
Yuri narrows his eyes at Yuto's exclamation. "Pardon me for caring about my college fundings, dear brother."
Yuto shook his head and was about to say something else but Yugo beat him to the punch. "Uh, guys? What's that over there?"
Confused, Yuto and Yuri both shine their flashlights over to where Yugo's looking, which is past the staircase that brought them here. What they saw near a crumbling wall was a stone altar, large enough for a person to lay down if they wanted to. At the corners of the altar were old, black chains possibly used to hold a person down on the altar. What really made it frightening was the dried blood that stained the altar.
"What the hell..." Yuto mutters as they all took a few steps closer to the altar.
"Didn't Mom said that the lady who used to run the orphanage was the one responsible for the deaths of those children twenty years ago?" Yugo mutters, his voice quivering slightly.
"Yeah," Yuto nods, feeling slightly nauseated by the sight of the blood. "Apparently, according to the police, she would have this place where she would lock the children in and torture them to the point they actually committed suicide."
"It's always the cellar in these horror movie-type situations," Yuri shakes his head. "Now all we need is the ghost of one of those children to haunt this place and we will be officially living in one of those scary urban legends."
"The woman had that mental disorder, right?" Yugo asks, ignoring Yuri's comment. "Schizophrenia? I read it in the police files that it's their excuse for why she tortured those children because she thought she was following some sort weird ritual."
Yuto shook his head. "She was crazy, Yugo. Let's just be glad that she's locked away in a place where she won't bother anyone ever again."
All three of the boys jumped when they heard something bump against the wooden stairs they had just used. Whipping around, they shine their flashlight at the stairs only to find everything is in order. But that sound made it like something just slammed into the stairs hard enough to break them.
"Oh, ha, ha. Very funny, Yuri," Yugo mumbles, his voice stuttering to give away his nerves. "Find a new area in this creepy place and decide to scare us, this is one of the oldest tricks in your book, bro."
"Fusion, trust me if this was one of my tricks then why would my own hand be shaking?" Yugo blinks and takes a look at the hand Yuri's using to hold his flashlight only to realize, in horror, that his brother's hand was, indeed, shaking. Yuri rarely shows emotions like fear and when he does his hand would tremble to show his nerves.
This was definitely not one of Yuri's pranks.
"Let's just go back upstairs and not talk about it until Mom gets home." Yuto orders and the boys didn't have to be told twice as they all scramble their way up the stairs. Yuto slammed the door behind them once they were all out. There was no way they're going back down there anytime soon.
"We're home!" Yoko yells out as she opens the front door so she and Yuya could walk through. The boy had an ice pack on his leg but it looks like he's walking better now.
"I'm in the living room!" Yuto calls from his place on the couch before turning his attention back to the movie in front of him.
Yuya pokes his head through the doorway to see what his brother was watching. His red eyes immediately sparkle. "Oh man, it's Shrek! Move, Yuto!" The oldest quadruplets yelps when Yuya suddenly flops next to him on the couch, keeping his eyes glued to the screen at all times.
"So, how did the visit to the doctors to go?" Yuto asks after making sure that Yuya's attention was fully on the screen so his mother could see the worry in his eyes.
Fortunately, Yoko smiles gently. "Well, thankfully, it's not Yuya's leukemia again," hearing this made Yuto let out a sigh of relief. "The doctors said it's some form of iron deficiency that Yuya got when stopped eating the diet they gave him when he was under treatment." Yoko's eyes then turned into an accused stare at Yuya. "Now that I think about it, you have been eating a lot of junk food since they gave you the green flag, Yuya."
"Mom, give me a break," Yuya complains, his eyes never leaving the TV screen. "You try going for four years without eating ice cream and cookies."
"That doesn't give you- Never mind," she mumbles, realizing that her son is not even paying attention to her. "Just take those pills your doctors prescribed for you and try to eat more food that has iron in it."
"Sure, Mom," Yuto shook his at his brother's sole focus on the movie. Shrek was the only movie that could make Yuya block out the entire world just so he could watch it. It was funny to see but it gave the boys great opportunities to distract Yuya so they can discuss things with their parents without their younger brother worrying.
Speaking of which...
"Hey, Mom," Yuto speaks up before Yoko could walk away. "Can I talk to you for a moment?"
"Well, sure, Yuto," she walks a bit closer so she can hear him over the sounds of Donkey screaming. "What is it?"
"Do you remember that torture room in the police files when we decided to move into this place?"
Yoko's eyes widen and she quickly takes a glance at Yuya to make sure he's still distracted. "What about it?"
"Well..." Yuto's eyes shift uncomfortably. "We found it; me, Yugo, and Yuri. It's a cellar that's been sealed up inside that cupboard under the stairs."
His mother's face was emotionless, something that always gives Yuto bad vibes. He could never read her face when she does that and it's terrifying because you can never know what she's going to do afterward. Luckily, all she said was, "Stay there," and walked out of the living room.
Yuto could only assume she's going to the cupboard to check out the cellar so he turns his attention to the scene where Donkey is trying to (unsuccessfully) break up with the Dragon.
Then he heard his mother's voice screech throughout the house.
"Yuri! What did I tell you about using your machete on the house?!"
I grew up watching Shrek, okay?
Chapter 5: Back to School
Happy ZarcRay Week to all those ARC V fans!
Today was Monday, which meant it was time for the Sakaki boys to go back to school since their move. Now that they live so close to the school, the boys don't have to wake up extra early in the morning to take the four-hour drive to school. The school is now only a fifteen-minute walk from their house, which gives them time to wake up a little late and enjoy some of their free time before they leave for school.
Besides, they like their mother's cooking better than the breakfast the school would set up for them.
"Yuya!" Yoko calls from the kitchen, where the other boys are in their uniforms and happily enjoying their pancake sandwiches. "Are you done yet? Your food is getting cold!"
"Coming, Mom!" Yuya's voice echoes from upstairs before they could hear his footsteps going down the stairs before the youngest quadruplet appears in the doorway, his mouth watering when he sees the breakfast on the table. In a blink of an eye, Yuya takes his seat next to Yuri and devours his breakfast in a matter of seconds.
"Looks like somebody's hungry," Yuto comments as he watches the scene with amused eyes. "What did they feed you at the hospital yesterday?"
"Nothing!" Yuya's reply came from his stuff mouth.
"Well, I guess that explains it," Yuri mumbles to himself.
Yoko smiles to herself; it's so nice to see her boys mingle with each other, especially after this whole move and these weird things going on. Speaking of which... "By the way, Yuya, how are those pills been treating you?"
Yuya freezes in mid-bite when his mother finishes that sentence. Yuri notices this right away and he narrows his eyes. "Yuya... Did any more of those bruises appeared this morning?"
Now he's got the attention of everyone else. With everyone staring at him, Yuya knew he had to come clean. He sighs as he unbuttons his shirt. "It's really not that bad..." He moves his shirt aside to show them another bruise that's similar to the ones of his neck and leg, only it was bigger and covered most of his right aortic area.
"'Not that bad?!'" Yugo looked outraged. "It looks like they've gotten worse!"
"Yugo, please," Yoko scolds him before turning to Yuya. "Just remember to take your pills at lunch, maybe then they'll start to work."
"Yeah..." Yuya didn't continue on with that sentence so he uses finishing his breakfast as an excuse to avoid the topic.
Yoko looks at the clock over the oven. "Well, it's 8:15 now, you boys better start heading to school if you don't want to be late."
"Okay, Mom," the boys said in unison, something that made Yoko shudder. She's dealt with it for fourteen years yet she can't help but feel jittery when her boys talk together at the same time.
"Man, I haven't felt this energized going to school since forever!" Yugo joyfully pronounces as he happily skips ahead of Yuto and Yuri, who both are walking side by side with each other while Yuya lags behind the two. They had already walked out of the swampy area and found their way into the city. Their school is now only a few blocks away.
"That's because we finally got a good night's rest, Fusion-kun," Yuri pops in, once again out to destroy Yugo's cheerful mood. "And here I thought you were angry about this whole move since it kept you away from your precious Rin."
That did it. Yugo's skipping came to a stop, forcing the other boys to stop as well since they didn't want to bump into each other. Yugo whipped around to give his brother a glare.
"My name's not Fusion, Yuri! It's Yugo! We've been over this like a million times!"
"A million is not enough," Yuri mumbles.
"Besides," Yugo continues, ignoring Yuri's previous comment. "Don't you start lecturing me about Rin when you obviously miss visiting Serena!"
"Yes, I supposed that's true." Yuri nods as he rubs his chin.
"You actually agree with Yugo on something?" Yuto asks as he and the rest of them look at Yuri like he's just grown a second head.
"Well, he's right," Yuri shrugs like it's nothing. "I do miss visiting Serena whenever I want to... So I can keep proving to her that I'm the dominant one in our relationship!"
And there it is. Yuya chuckles nervously. "Um, Nii-san? You do realize how you worded that, right?"
"Of course I do, my dear little brother."
"But you and Serena aren't in a relationship..."
"I'm well aware of that."
The three boys shook their heads. Leave it to Yuri to confuse them with his messed up mind. Yuya was about to walk to his brothers when a foot suddenly came out of nowhere in front of his feet, causing him to lose his balance and fall face-first into the cement. His yelp caught the attention of his brothers.
"I thought performers were supposed to be light on their feet," a snarky voice speaks up, making the three Sakaki boys growl once they recognize it. "But then again, you were always a sick little boy, Sakaki."
Shingo Sawatari was a boy in the quadruplets' class and Yuya's biggest bully since he first started public schooling. Since everyone knew the famous performer, Yusho Sakaki, everyone also knew that one of his sons had cancer growing up, despite the family's best efforts to keep the matter private. Everyone at school thought Yuya was like walking time bomb, possibly waiting to infect them with his cancer.
Yuya didn't get a lot of friends during his first years at the school. Shingo, driven by jealousy at the boys' father being more successful than his own, became Yuya's main bully. Even though he was like other kids, believing Yuya's leukemia to be contagious, Shingo always uses Yuya's sickness to harass him whenever his brothers weren't around.
"H-Hi, Sawatari-san..." Yuya's voice, strained from the pain of falling into cement, greets his bully.
"Sawatari..." Yugo growls while Yuto began to clench his fists. It was bad enough that people thought Yuya was a freak because of his cancer but being bullied by people like Sawatari obviously doesn't help. Meanwhile, Yuri was reaching for something inside his own bag.
"I heard you boys moved last Friday," Sawatari shrugs like he just didn't trip the boys' vulnerable brother. "So I thought I give you boys a visit and see what's it like to live the life of actually getting a good night's sleep."
"Sawatari, if this is about us moving-!" Yuto begins but stops himself when Sawatari suddenly slips Yuya's bag from his shoulders when the boy tried to lift himself up.
"Hey, now, I'm just making sure you guys are still a part of the community," with that, Sawatari dumps all the contents of Yuya's bag into the sidewalk before dropping the bag itself. "Good luck getting to school on time trying to pick all of that up."
"Sawatari!" Yugo was now growling like a predator waiting to kill its prey. He was about to take a step forward when...
"Sawatari-kun..." a voice drawls out the bully's name by singing it for a bit, making Sawatari shiver once he realizes who that voice belongs to. He turns his attention to Yuri, who has his machete out and ready to kill somebody.
"H-Hey!" Sawatari stutters out, losing his confidence as he points a trembling finger at the second oldest. "T-The school said you weren't allowed to bring that thing on school grounds!"
"Yes, I supposed that's true," Yuri nods, that sick smile still plastered on his face. "But then again, we're not on school grounds, are we?"
Sawatari just grumbles to himself before he broke into a run. Yuri smiles when he sees the coward running for his life. "That's exactly what I thought."
Yuto narrows his eyes at Yuri's machete as Yugo helps Yuya gather his stuff. "Do you really carry that thing around in your bag at school when you know you're going to get expelled if the staff saw you with it again?"
Yuri shrugs. "They're too afraid to look through my bag. And as long as I don't cause a scene, they won't have a reason to look."
The oldest shook his head and was about to say something when Yugo's scream broke through the air.
"Yuya, what the hell is this thing doing in your school bag?!" Curious, the two older quadruplets look over to where Yuya and Yugo are. Their eyes widen when they see a familiar doll in Yugo's hand, who is currently trying to keep the thing as far away from him as possible.
"Weird, I don't know how he got in there," Yuya mumbles himself, the only one who doesn't seem freaked out by the doll's appearance.
"Don't know how- This is your bag, Yuya!" Yugo points out, shaking the doll for emphasis. "We all agreed that we put all of our stuff in our own bags and I am sure as hell that I haven't gone near your bag!"
"Can't you just go back to the house and put that doll back?" Yuri asks in a deadpan tone, his cat-like eyes narrowing dangerously at the doll like it's the very plague itself.
"It's fifteen minutes to our house, Yuri, and Yuya's going to be late if he does that." Yuto points out. "Just put that thing back in the bag and don't bring out."
Without another word, Yugo stuffed Mr. Buttons into Yuya's bag and hands it back to his brother. The boys then begin their track to school once again. Yuya looks down at his bag, wondering exactly how Mr. Buttons got into his bag without him noticing. Oh well, he shrugs to himself and continues on with his walk.
Their first-period class was Health, a class that always filled the boys with dread. It wasn't a bad class - it was the only class the boys all got an A on -, some of the topics even got them interested in the class. The only thing that fills them with dread about this class was their teacher.
No one knows his real name since he prefers to be called the Doktor; an old man with sunken eyes and cheekbones, his dark bags were hidden underneath his large, comical eyes and he wore his long gray hair loose. The man reminded the quadruplets of the Joker from Batman with that creepy smile of his. For some reason, he always targets the Sakaki quadruplets with these disturbing questions.
"Oh, Sakaki-kun," the Doktor began, his face super close to Yugo's. "Do you know the gas the Nazis used to kill off millions of people within their gas chambers?"
"U-Um..." Yugo looked at his brothers out of the corners of his eyes for help. "T-The Zyklon B?"
"Correct!" The boys flinched when the Doktor pulled back so sudden. They gave each other incredulous looks as the Doktor continues on with the lesson. The man makes Yuri look like a sane person.
"The one good thing about this class is that we all get A's in it," Yugo mumbles as the four of them make their way into their seats at the table they share, the Hiragi siblings sitting right next to them at their own table, dark bags underneath their eyes showing that they must have slept late last night.
"At least you guys got a good night's sleep before coming here," Serena grumbles, her mood sour from getting up so early. "The rest of us are going to have to deal with the insomnia after-effects."
"Maybe that will teach you four a lesson for staying up late at night to play Depth ." Yuri shrugs, which earns him glares from all four of the girls."
" Depth is actually a really fun game to play once it's dark enough," Rin argues. "You boys would have enjoyed it too if you guys got your computers hooked up by now."
"Hey, it's not our fault the truck driver was too lazy to bring the rest of our stuff." Yugo points out.
Before they could continue with their conversation Yuya's good friend, Gongenzaka, walks through the door, looking like he just ran a marathon on the way here.
"Hey, Gongenzaka," Yuya greets the giant as he makes his way over to his seat, which just so happens to be behind a scowling Sawatari.
"Morning, Yuya-kun," Gongenzaka greets with a yawn as he sits down. "The man, Gongenzaka, is happy that you and your brothers are finally free from this horrible schedule."
"Yeah, aren't they so lucky," Sawatari growls but one look from Yuri kept him from saying anything else.
The bell rings and the rest of the class came strolling, all looking tired like the rest of them. Not long after the students came in, the bane of everyone's existence came through the door with that creepy smile on his face and his strange briefcase in his hands.
"Good morning, class!"
"Good morning, Doktor-sensei," everyone greets him with a deadpan tone.
"Bright and chipper as always, I see," the Doktor continues cheerfully, despite knowing that everyone's mood is far from chipper with him in the room. "Now, before we begin our topic, we have some interesting news in this class. The Sakaki boys-"
The boys flinch when the Doktor mentions them. This can't be any good.
"It's come to my attention that you boys moved recently to the abandoned orphanage that's in the swamp, correct?" The Doktor leans in close from his seat. Even though he wasn't close to their faces the boys still lean back.
"Y-Yeah, we moved there," Yuto decides to answer for all of them.
"Are you four well aware that twelve children committed suicide twenty years ago in that place?"
The boys gave each other looks at the corner of their eyes before Yuto answers again. "Y-Yes, we're well aware of what happened when we decided to move there."
"Excellent!" The Doktor pulls back, making them all flinch. "Then all of you are aware what our topic is going to be today; suicide."
Everyone shifts their eyes around, uncomfortable at the thought of discussing that subject despite their tired minds. However, the Sakaki boys just sigh internally in relief when the Doktor directed his attention away from them. Sometimes they think the guy just had it out for them.
Chapter 6: Akaba Files: The Interview
YaToGoRi has just finished this awesome artwork on Mr. Buttons! Check it out!
Sorry if you guys get any doll-related nightmares.
When he was younger, Reiji Akaba had like to believe himself capable of anything. He was the youngest person in the city to earn a scholarship to college at the age of eleven. He always won the science fairs back in his old schools. He even has an IQ of 133. With that level of IQ, Reiji believed that he was well-prepared for the world and whatever it was going to throw at him.
But he was wrong; he could never be prepared for what the world threw at him. He learned that lesson the hard way three years ago.
Still, he still tried his best to be cautious. And over the blood-curdling scream from the woman tied to the chair, he gripped the parchment that's supposed to protect him from the supernatural forces of this ceremony as he prays to whatever deity that's out there to protect the only sister he has left.
"O spiritus mali," his sister chants, her eyes closed as she kneels in front of the screaming woman, her hand on her stomach as the person who started this ceremony does his best to keep the unhinged woman in a headlock in order to prevent her flailing head from hitting the back of the chair. "quae in ultimum vitae tempus huiusmodi processum animae viventis. Ut spiritus lucem, ut non-Vos permitted step retro et ad hoc Veni in animam viventem in lucem. Si non-audierit Verba mea et non-permittee hoc turpe sit causa dici quod tuum est. Alta stare ac pugnare retro cum omnibus vobis. Audi me: Hachiko!"
The woman gave out another scream, her voice mixing with her own trembling one with another darker, deeper, and terrified one. This was one of the hardest parts of the ceremony; getting the person to come back after the summoning.
In order for the ceremony to be completed, they needed to get past the first and second stage to continue on to the final stage. The first stage was getting the spirit within to reveal themselves, which was the easy part. The second stage, however, was a whole different story. For the second stage, the person needs to give them permission to expel the spirit from within them but it has to be the host themselves or it won't work.
There are times where the host can appear in the second stage in a matter of seconds. If not, then they would have to bring in a family member or a close friend to try and bring the host back to their senses. If the host doesn't come back at all, then there's no reason to continue on with this ceremony anymore.
Reiji wonders which outcome it's going to be for this woman. He grips the parchment tighter.
Suddenly, the woman whips her head down until her chin was touching her chest, sobs escape her throat as she gasps for air.
"H-Help me..." she whispers, her voice now sounding like a scared young woman, which she was. "P-Please, h-help-!"
With that, his sister opens her eyes and she took a few steps back, allowing the person who was holding the woman in the headlock to place his hand on the woman's abdomen, muttering the ancient language his sister was only speaking moments ago. No matter how many times she had done this, Reiji will always feel relieved whenever the second part of the ceremony had passed.
A gag from the woman brought his attention back to what's currently happening. The man now had one hand on the woman's middle and another hand on her collarbone, still muttering the ancient language over the woman's dry heaves. After a few more retches something came out the woman's mouth; green slime.
Reiji did his best to keep his disgust hidden. He really should be used to this by now.
"We were lucky today," Reiji turns to see his sister standing next to him, her eyes locked on the man who's comforting the sobbing woman. "The spirit was only a hundred years old, just a beginner's level. Hachiko-san's will was able to overpower the spirit's easily."
That was good, Reiji supposed. Better than the last one.
It was finally the end of the day. No matter how many times he's been through this Reiji will always be glad that the day has finally ended. He didn't have to worry about losing another sister to one of these things again.
"Did you get the information you needed for your studies, Nii-sama?" Pulled out of his thoughts by his said sister's voice, Reiji turns to see Reira packing her things in her small bag, her eyes focused on her little task.
"Yes, Reira," he says as he adjusts his coat. "I've seen enough to write my essay. Thank you for allowing me to witness the exorcism once again."
Reira nods as she closes her bag. "Think nothing of it, Nii-sama, you are family, after all."
Reiji didn't say anything to that but he did hold his hand out for Reira to take, which she did. The two were about to walk out the doors when a voice stopped them.
"Pardon me, Akaba Reira," the two siblings turn to see Edo Phoenix, the man in charge of the last exorcism, standing next to a man in a suit. "I know that your community hours are up, but this man is Sato-sama; he's a Manesologist and he wishes to have an interview with you."
Reiji was about to say that his sister wasn't looking for an interview when she took a step forward. "I wouldn't mind answering a few questions."
That was how Reiji found himself leaning against a doorway, watching the scene intently as Reira talks to this Sato in this small room. The only things inside were the wooden chairs they're sitting on and the recorder Sato has.
"So, Akaba," Sato begins. "What made you become an exorcist at such a young age?"
Reiji stiffens, he wonders how his sister is going to answer that.
"Around three years ago, my brother-in-law requested an exorcism from this very church," Reira begins, surprising Reiji at how open she was. "The church refused, saying that he was only pretending as an excuse to not do it since the last Priest in charge only cared about the money. I wanted to become an exorcist so those who are possessed could get the help they need that was denied to my brother."
"Your brother-in-law... He was admitted to a medical facility, correct?"
"Yes, he was."
"How did you know he was possessed? What if he was just sick?"
"He was possessed, spirits have a unique way of latching themselves onto their hosts. What latched onto my brother was a being so malevolent that you could practically see it over his shoulder."
"What exactly did possessed your brother, Akaba?"
Reiji could see her fists tightening. "That being is nothing but a monster who doesn't deserve the right to even have its name mention."
"I'm sure it isn't so bad-"
"She gave you your answer," Reiji interrupts him sharply, making Sato jump from his harsh tone. "Move onto the next question."
Sato sweatdrops at his expression but complies. "How exactly do the exorcisms here work?"
"There are three stages. The first stage is getting the spirit to reveal themselves-"
Reiji sighs. He didn't like talking about that horrible creature either.
Chapter 7: Classroom Outburst
Things pick up in this chapter. ;)
A frown takes place on Yuya's face when he sees another bruise has formed on his left shoulder. It was morning and, despite his inner desires to fall back to sleep, Yuya was about to change out of his pajamas when he noticed the bruise when he took off his shirt. It wasn't big like the last one but definitely noticeable if he wore a tank top. Those pills were supposed to stop these bruises from happening but two days had gone by and still no change.
He feels like it's his leukemia all over again. And his tired brain isn't helping his mood.
A yap from his right catches his attention. He turns his head to see En on the floor next to him, worry shining in his beady black eyes. Yuya gives him a small smile as he kneels down and pets the Corgi on the head.
"I'm okay, En. Really." A part of himself knew that was a lie; there was this pounding pressure behind his eyes. It was last night when he, his brothers, and Hiiragi sisters were playing Depth - the moving truck finally came to their house while they were at school - that Yuya noticed a small ache behind his eyes. Believing himself to be tired, Yuya turned in for the night over Yugo's girly screams whenever he gets attack by a shark.
He woke up only to find out that it's still there and steadily growing.
As Yuya puts on his uniform, he notices Mr. Buttons sitting up on his dresser. His eyes narrow when he remembers yesterday. "I hope you don't find another way to my bag today, Mr. Buttons."
No reply. All that Mr. Buttons did was give him that usual smile on its face. It was good enough for Yuya as he grabs his bag and heads downstairs.
He was surprised to see his brothers huddle up in the doorway, listening in what appears to be their mother having a conversation with someone on the phone. And from the sounds of it, it appears to be a very heated conversation.
"What's going-?" Yuya was quickly shushed by his brothers. Seeing that he's not going to get an answer from them he decides to join in with the huddling right behind Yuto.
"-look here, Minami-sama," he hears her rant into the phone, frustrating lacing her voice. "My husband is still not back yet and I need to take care of my boys." A pause. "I told you, I still have a month left for my vacation days, so I can come back when my husband gets home." Yoko's eyebrows furrow at what she hears from the other end. "Excuse me?! Never called my sons nuisances in front of me again!"
With that, she slams the phone back into its holder. She takes a few deep breaths to calm herself.
"You know, you can always quit that job if your boss can't take a hint, right?" Yuri speaks up after a moment, giving away their position.
Yoko whips around to face her sons. "Boys! How long have you been standing there?"
"Long enough to know that your creepy boss is going at it," Yugo comments. "I can't believe I'm saying this but Yuri's right; why don't you just quit? There's plenty of other restaurants you can work at in the city."
Of course, the boys knew about their mom's boss. Since they were five they have seen the looks that man has given their mother whenever their father brings them over for a visit. It was the kind of looks Yusho would give her, only they were more wrong. Yuri, Yuto, and Yugo didn't like him the moment he gave Yuya a dirty look when he saw the boy's cap that hides his bald spots. Yuya didn't like how uncomfortable the man made his mother feel.
When they got older, their thoughts on the man became darker.
"You four are more like your father than you could ever know," Yoko shakes her head at their protectiveness. "He tells me plenty of times to quit my job because he doesn't like the way Minami looks at me."
"Can you blame him? The guy is like forty years older than you." Yuto points out.
Yoko once again shook her head. "You boys... Anyway, you two should be getting to school. I packed both your lunches and your breakfasts, so you four can eat before class starts, alright?"
The boys share a look with each other as their mother walks away. They really need to find better ways of convincing her to quit that job.
"Of course, the Doktor would give us a pop quiz on the second day we come back to school," Yuto mumbles as he and his brothers take their seats at their table. The Hiiragi sisters were already sitting down, bags still present underneath their eyes.
"You guys didn't turn in after we signed off?" Yugo questions as the boys begin to take out their breakfast.
"We told you guys that game was addicting," Serena yawns in mid-sentence.
Yuya shakes his head; the one thing those girls have in common was their mad love for video games. He lifts the plastic bag that's holding his breakfast when he notices something at the bottom of his school bag. He couldn't help but groan internally once he realized what it was. Seriously?!
Mr. Buttons was resting against his books. The same position Yuya put him in his bag yesterday. His headache still pounding behind his eyes, Yuya didn't have time to deal with this so he just ignores the doll in his bag and begins to munch on his breakfast.
It didn't like that.
Sawatari was bored. Why did that dumb old man have to give them a pop quiz now out of all days? He got extra homework from his Biology teacher for 'slacking off', apparently, and he stayed up late last night just to finish it. He was already tired and this stupid pop quiz isn't helping his mood. So, he could do the only thing that makes him feel better.
Messing with the youngest Sakaki.
It was mid-way through the period and everyone still hasn't finished the quiz yet. From Sawatari's angle, Yuya looked like he was bothered by something with the way he hunched over and how tensed his shoulders were. It was the perfect opportunity to mess with him. A while ago, Sawatari saw Yuya look annoyed at something in his bag. Maybe it was something embarrassing from his mother.
That would be perfect.
After making sure no one was watching, Sawatari slowly stretched his foot over to Yuya's bag, silently glad that he sits right behind the Sakaki quadruplets. After getting his foot underneath a strap, he slowly drags it over, not wanting to get the boy's attention until he sees what's in the bag.
Once the bag was right underneath him, Sawatari picks it up and unzips it. He peeks inside and what he sees brings a maniacal gleam to his eyes. Dear God, this was so good.
"Oh my God," Sawatari laughs loud enough to catch everyone's attention, making them all forget about the quiz for a moment to stare at the laughing rich boy. Yuya's eyes widen when he realizes what's in Sawatari's hand. "I knew you were a baby, Sakaki, but this is too much!"
He had Mr. Buttons in his hand, making the doll do some sort of silly dance in his hand. Once it's been established that the creepy looking doll came from Yuya Sakaki's bag a few of the students in the classroom laughed, even the Doktor looked a bit interested in that doll. Gongenzaka was busy cracking his knuckles, the Hiiragi sisters were glaring at the rich boy, and the rest of the Sakaki boys looked ready to murder him on the spot.
Yuya, meanwhile, was staring at the doll in Sawatari's hand. His headache was bothering throughout the whole test, he could barely answer any questions when the pain took away almost all of his focus. But that felt like breeze compared to now. Now, his headache was pounding behind his eyes with full force. He could hear his peers' laughter in the background, adding onto the pain, pushing him further to the edge.
Sawatari's laughter suddenly stood out from the pounding pain. Sawatari Shingo... He always harassed him ever since he started public school. No matter how many times he tries to be polite, Sawatari doesn't stop. He just doesn't stop .
He's going to make him stop.
Yuya abruptly stands up from his seat. "Give him back."
Sawatari blinks in surprise. Weird, since when did Sakaki's voice get so raspy?
"Sakaki-kun, please return to your seat," the Doktor's voice speaks up, finally.
However, Yuya pays him no mind and grabs Mr. Buttons with both hands. "I said give him back."
"Gee, what's wrong, Sakaki?" Sawatari's confidence returns as he gives him a sly smile his grip still tight on the weird looking doll. "Don't want everyone to know that you carry around a-"
"I said GIVE HIM BACK TO ME!" Yuya's voice rose into high-pitch as he begins a tug-a-war with Sawatari for the doll. The rich boy, however, keeps a firm grip on the doll, confused by the boy's sudden harsh tugging. Yuya's yelling made everyone in the room stand up to see the scene.
"GIVE HIM BACK TO ME!"
Everyone gasps when Yuya Sakaki, the school's well-known pacifist, reels a hand back and smacks Sawatari right across the face. Those who are close to him couldn't believe what they had just witness right before the eyes. Sawatari was in a state of shock when he felt a taste of iron coming to his mouth, making him forget to let go of the doll.
This didn't sit well with Yuya.
"I SAID GIVE HIM BACK!"
Another chorus of gasps came around the room when Yuya slaps Sawatari again. This time, Sawatari yelps in surprise, blood flying from his mouth and onto the floor. He still didn't let go of the doll.
"I SAID GIVE HIM BACK TO ME!"
Yuya's hand reel back, this time forming into a fist.
That was the last straw.
"Yuya!" Yuto sprung forward and quickly wraps his arms around Yuya's waist to pull him back and restrain him. Yuri and Yugo were quick to follow by grabbing onto Yuya's flailing arms and locked them into place. "Yuya, stop it!"
Yuya didn't stop. He kept jerking his head around, screaming at the top of his lungs. It got to the point where Gongenzaka had to step in and help.
"Yuya-kun, stop this mad-!" But he didn't even get a chance to restrain the tomato-haired boy when his right arm suddenly broke free from Yuri's hold and smacks his tall friend to the ground, unconscious.
"Yuya!" His brothers couldn't believe that the wild, frenzy person they were holding back was actually their little brother. "Yuya, snap out of it!"
Yuya still kept screaming.
Chapter 8: When Doktors Fly
Yes, you read the title correctly.
When Yoko got a call from the Principal's office she expected it was Yugo getting into another fight or Yuri somehow making another student 'disappear' again - she should really consider getting that boy back into therapy - but she could never imagine that Yuya was the one being called about. Dropping everything she was previously doing, Yoko put on her cloak and ran all the way to the school, her mind reeling at what she heard on the phone.
Yuya causing a fight? For a moment, she wanted to tell that person who called her was crazy but when she heard that her boys were at the Principal's office waiting for her, she knew that she needed to come in to straighten things out.
Yoko arrived in the main office to see her four boys sitting down on the chairs that are right next to the Principal's door, three of them looking nervous about being here while Yuya kept his head down, low enough for his chin to touch his chest. His bangs cover his eyes from her view.
"Boys!" she cries once she reaches them, dropping to her knees in front of them so she can meet their eyes. "Are you four alright? What's this about a fight I'm hearing about?"
"Mom..." Yuto trails off, his eyes glancing at the emotionless Yuya he has an arm around. "Yuya... He..."
"He just went crazy," Yugo decides to speak instead. "That Sawatari guy took something from him and he lost it. Last I heard, that guy was going to the hospital for a broken jaw."
"He even knocked out Gongenzaka," Yuri pipes up.
"What?!" Yoko turns to her youngest son, her eyes stern and her tone hardening. "Yuya Sakaki, did you started a fight with somebody just because he took something from you?"
Yuya didn't reply.
"Yuya, look at your mother when she's talking to you."
"He's been like this since he's calmed down," Yuto mentions. "He wouldn't talk to anyone."
Before Yoko could say anything, the door opens and the Principal can be seen from the gap. "The Sakaki family?"
"That's us," Yoko says, prompting the boys to stand up. Yuto had to bring his arm underneath Yuya's armpit to help the boy just to stand.
The principal points a figure at Yuya. "Not him. He's staying out here."
They were surprised but it didn't stop Yuto from gently guiding Yuya back down to the chair. The boy kept his head down the whole time. "We'll be back, Yuya," Yuto tells him as they all walk into the office, the door shutting once they were all in.
"I supposed you all know why you're here," the principal begins as they all took their seats in front of his desks.
"Well, it's definitely not about Fusion, that's for sure," Yuri comments, earning him a glare from Yugo.
"Mrs. Sakaki," the principal ignores the possible agreement between the two and decides to address Yoko. "You know I never had Yuya in my office before, I also never heard a single bad thing about him from his teachers. He's a good kid. So, has there anything been going on in your family that could be causing this violent behavior?"
Yoko shakes her head. "None that I could really think of. Most of his pets have died recently and he's been taking pills for some iron deficiency he's picked up a few days ago."
"Where's Mr. Sakaki, if I could ask?"
"He's still at his new job," Yoko explains.
"What about you, boys?" The principal turns his attention the brothers. "Did you four get into any sort of fights?"
"What? No!" Yuto looked at the man like he had grown a second head. "I mean, we rough house a few times but it never got serious!"
"Yeah, that's right!" Yugo exclaims with Yuri nodding his head in agreement.
The principal nods in reply. "It's also come to my attention that you all moved recently. How are the three of you adjusting?"
"Well, considering we're living in a horror attraction that's infamous for its numerous suicide sightings, I say we're adjusting pretty well." Yuri was given multiple glares from his family members for his blunt answer. He just shrugs in response to them. It was true, was it not?
The principal stares at Yuri with wide eyes before he realizes who he's talking to and blinks to get his senses back in order. "And... How has Yuya been adjusting?"
The family shot each other unsure looks. "We... We actually never really talked to him about the move..." Yoko admits, though her voice showed her hesitance on saying it.
It seems like it was enough for the principal as he clears his throat. "I see. Mrs. Sakaki, I think I understand what's happening with Yuya. You all moved into this new place and I don't think Yuya knows how to handle it properly, especially since his father isn't home and his pets have died recently. He's probably under a lot of stress right now and I think the best thing for him is to talk about his feelings about the situation."
Yoko nods, that seems reasonable. "Okay..."
"However, since he did start the fight and Sawatari had to go to the hospital because of it, I'm afraid I will have to suspend Yuya for a week." The principal explains.
Yoko once again nods, she sort of expected that.
Before the family could get up and leave, Yugo decides to ask something. "Hey, wait... What happened to Yuya's doll? The creepy one with the button eyes?"
"O-Oh, that," just mentioning it seems to cause the principal to pale. "Well, since it caused such a violent reaction from Yuya we decided to leave it here at the school so he can spend some time away from it. I hope none of you mind-"
"Hey, take it for all I care!" Yugo shrugs, his sentiments shared with his brothers. They want some time away from that creepy thing too.
As he waited outside the office, Yuya could feel his irritation growing. Why was he even here? Shouldn't Sawatari be the one here since he always harassed him? He only did what was necessary to get the message across to that punk. Then again, why is he so surprised? Of course, the rich boy would somehow use his father's money to get him out of trouble.
He always does that.
Nobody ever stops him.
"Excuse me," Yuya curls in on himself when he hears an unfamiliar voice. "I'm one of the nurses from the school and I read the note from your doctors about your iron deficiency. I'm just here to inform you that it's time to take your pills."
God, why was she talking? It's bad enough that his headache is still present and pounding behind his eyes so intensely that he fills like his eyes are about to pop out of their sockets. Can't he just get a break from all of this?"
"Um, can you hear me? I just-"
Yuya didn't give her time to finish that sentence as he whips out his bottle of pills from his bag, unscrews the cap, and downs his pills in one go. He didn't even look at the number of pills he put in his hand, he just wants her to stop talking .
He could hear her make a few noises out of confusion, which only irritates his head further. Luckily she decides it was better to just move on as he hears her footsteps moving away from him. Good, he doesn't want to deal with this any of this crap.
Speak of the devil, a door opens with a loud squeak that makes Yuya curl in further. God, why?!
"Congratulations, little brother, you just earned your first suspension." Yuri's sarcastic voice somehow manages to pierce through the haziness of his headache, calming him down a bit.
"Well, Yuya?" Hearing his mother's patronizing tone only brought his headache back, full force. "Are you going to say something?"
God, it hurts . Why...? Why? Why?! He can't take it anymore. Yuya grabs his bag and marches out of the Main Office, ignoring the roaring protests of his family.
Even as he marches down the hall he couldn't escape the pain. More voices enter his head, adding to his headache. It was a free period, which meant some of the students were roaming the halls, idly chatting to themselves. They did not know the pain they were bringing him.
Suddenly, in the midst of all the haziness, a few voices stood out. He could hear their snide voices in his head, taunting him. Humiliating him. The comments adding more weight to the pain.
"-there he is-"
"-know what he did to-?"
"-family is full of freaks-"
"-think he got suspended?-"
"-don't want him throwing another tantrum-"
He couldn't take it. It hurts !
"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU LOOKING AT?!" Yuya whips around to face the students, his voice cracking and his red eyes wide to make him look like a mad person. His outburst caused the students who were whispering about him yelped and ran away as far as they could from him. All the other students who weren't talking about him in the hall stopped their conversations and turn their attention to the panting Yuya, which gave him some relief from his terrible headache.
"Yuya!" Said boy flinches when he hears his mother's voice yelling at him, forcing him to continue his fast-pace walking. "Yuya Sakaki, get back here!"
He didn't stop. This went on for quite a bit until the Sakaki family all got outside. Yuya was marching down the sidewalk until Yoko finally caught up to him. She grabbed his arm to prevent him from going any further.
"Yuya, I don't know where this new behavior is coming from but that doesn't give you the right to-!"
"Get off of me!" Yoko didn't even have time to finish her lecture when Yuya suddenly grabs the arm she's using to hold him with his free hand and pushes her off. Shocked by the amount of aggression her son was showing, Yoko lets him remove her grip and watches with a jaw-dropped expression as he continues to stomp off to the direction of their house.
Her other sons caught up with her, their eyes wide due to what they just witness, as they all locked on Yuya's retreating form. What was happening to him?
The Doktor happily hums to himself as he grades that beautiful pop quiz he gave today. Oh, so many X's, this is what happens when children don't study when they're at home. They could never know when they're going to get tested and their chances of college are going to go down the drain.
Speaking of quizzes, the Doktor drags his thoughts to over what happened previously in the day. That Sakaki Yuya, the boy who he had previously believed to be the dove out of the quadruplets, lost his temper at that Sawatari boy and lost his mind like a dog that has rabies. Never before had he seen such a reaction from the boy - he sort of expected it from that Yugo boy due to his violent temper.
"You sure caused such a reaction from Yuya-chan," the Doktor mumbles to the doll sitting on his desk, right next to the papers he had just corrected. "Maybe once that boy gets back from his suspension I can finally get a chance to run my experiments with you as my little helper."
The doll didn't say anything. Not like he expected it to.
The Sakaki family was always a topic of interest for him. It's not every day you see a mother willing give birth to quadruplets and have them all survive the whole procedure. He wanted to find the Sakaki family and run little experiments on them but since Yusho was famous and certain laws prevented him from doing so. In the end, he decided to observe as their teacher and observe them from there.
What a marvelous idea that has turned out to be.
The Doktor looks up from his paperwork with a raised eyebrow. Odd, wasn't that door open a second ago?
He gets up from his chair and walks over to the door. To his surprise, the door was locked.
"Hello?" He knocks on the window, hoping that a janitor was near. It was five o'clock and already dark so most of the school was empty except for the janitors. "Can someone please open this door? It appears I have locked myself in."
Nothing. Nobody came by in response to his shouting.
Frowning in annoyance, the Doktor knocks on the window once again. "Excuse me, but I am in quite the predicament-"
He stops himself when he feels a hot, burning sensation in his eyes. It was so bad that it makes him hiss in pain. Suddenly, something warm and heavy, that are definitely not tears, trails down his cheeks. He wipes his eyes in an attempt to calm the pain but when he looks down at his hand he gasps in horror.
Blood. There was blood on his hand. His eyes were bleeding.
How was this-?
A chuckle broke through the air, making the Doktor freeze. It sounded like a child, only something overlapped it. Something dark, something sinister.
Slowly, his form trembling, the Doktor turns around and sees the doll staring right at him.
Only it wasn't a doll anymore.
The thing gives him a long, crooked smile before it raises its bony hand.
The last thing the Doktor was aware of was flying through the air and his body smashing through glass.
Yuya spent most of his time locked inside his room when they arrived home. Yoko and his brothers had tried numerous times to get him to come out but nothing ever works. They only know that he's okay when he often leaves his pill bottle outside the door whenever they come by, showing them that he has been taking his medication. However, it kind of disturbed the Sakaki brothers at the small number of pills inside that bottle the last time they checked it.
It was the morning after Yuya got suspended that the Sakaki family got a call from the school. Apparently, the school is going to be closed for a couple of weeks due to the Doktor, supposedly, committing suicide by jumping out of the window in his third-floor classroom. There was even a note on his desk and his shoes were placed near the window he jumped out of.
The three Sakaki brothers didn't know what to think of it. While their Health teacher did freak them out from time to time, they still thought that was one of the most horrible ways for his life to end. But they didn't dwell on it for long. Now that the school was closed it gives them plenty of time to find out what was wrong with Yuya.
The next day after they got the announcement, the boys finally got Yuya out of his room - though he was still unresponsive when they talk to him - and decided to bring him out to town. Along the way, they ran into the Hiigari siblings and ended up hanging out together at Burger World.
The whole time Yuya continues to remain unresponsive to everyone as he gorges down his third hamburger. They all tried to include him in a few conversations but no such luck. It was then that one of them decides to not beat around the bush anymore.
"Alright, Yuya-kun," Shun speaks up after sipping his soda, catching everyone, but Yuya's, attention. "You've been acting weird. From what I heard from my sisters; you attacked Sawatari, sent the guy to the hospital, you knocked out Gongenzaka, and now you're like an emotionless puppet. You're almost acting like Yuri!"
"I'm going to pretend that I did not just take offense to that comment," Yuri mumbles from his place next to Yuya on the boy's left. Yuto was on the right while Yugo sat next to his older brother, the first one that's able to move out from their side of the table.
"What Shun actually means is we're all worried about you, Yuya," Ruri, the peacemaker of her own short-tempered family, quickly elaborates. "We don't know what's going on but if something is bothering you, you know you can always talk to us, right?"
"I'm fine..." Yuya mumbles. It was the first words he's said for the past couple of days, but it was an improvement!
"Yuya, come on," Yuto speaks up with a shake of his head. "Don't you realize that you actually sent Sawatari to the-?"
"Hey, Nii-sama, do you think the school will let Mr. Buttons go since they're closed now?" Yuya, completely disregarding his brother's question, asks, his eyes still on his half-eaten burger.
His question makes his brothers groan in annoyance. Why out of all the questions Yuya could've asked them it had to be that?
"Uh, Mr. Buttons?" Serena asks, sharing a confused look with her sisters and older brother. Only Ruri knows who Mr. Buttons is and she pales at the thought of it.
"It's this new doll Yuya found at our house," Yuri quickly explains, making the faces of the Hiiragi siblings to fall - they know of Yuya's habit of picking up creepy dolls. "He's grown attached to it, as you've seen what he did to Sawatari."
"Yuya, look," Yuto begins, his tone sounding exhausted. "I don't know if the school is going to let you go get your stuff back since you're still suspended-"
"Move! Move!" The glass door of the restaurant is suddenly pulled from its hinges, causing it to fly across the floor as a large, bulking man wearing a ski-mask came charging into the restaurant with a hammer in his hand. Realizing that this man's a robber, Shun threw his arms around all of them, quickly forcing them all to duck their heads until their foreheads practically touch the cool surface of their table.
"Hey, hey, hey! Who the hell think-?!" The person behind the cash register didn't have time to finish his sentence when the Robber pushes him to the ground with a mighty shove, causing a high-pitched yelp to escape the cashier's throat.
The Robber then uses his hammer to smash the register open, coins flew around the counter, some hitting a few of their heads. Once he got what seems to be a large amount of money, the Robber quickly makes his way from the counter he was behind, nearly knocking over the petrified cashier when he tried to get up.
"Hey, he's getting away!" Someone in restaurant shouts as the Robber paces through the entrance.
"Oh, hell no, he's not!" Yugo growls as he gets up from his seat and runs after the Robber outside, screaming like a barbarian.
"Yugo?!" His sudden action surprised everyone, it even got Yuya to snap out of his drowsy-like state. They all stare at the entrance the door, wondering if Yugo finally snapped.
Everyone in the restaurant waited in silence, wondering what the outcome is going to be for the boy who just went after a criminal.
Suddenly, they could all hear Yugo screaming again.
Only it was a blood-curdling scream.
"Call my mom!" Running through the entrance was Yugo with a terrified look in his eyes, his hand gripping the money that was stolen tightly. The Robber was right on his heels. The poor boy didn't even make it three more steps in when the hulk-like man tackled him to the ground.
"Think it's alright to steal from me, don't ya?" The robber growls as he raises his hammer, ready to smash it against Yugo's head.
That's where Yuya drew the line.
"Get the hell off of him!" Before anybody could react, Yuya grabs the robber by the shoulder and pushes him off his brother. There, Yuya began to punch the man in the face. Repeatedly. Over and over again. Even as red began to appear on his fist and on the man's face, Yuya still didn't stop.
But the moment they saw red his brothers quickly did something.
"Yuya, that's enough!" Immediately, Yuto and Yuri wrap their arms around their raging brother, pulling him back from the half-dead man. Like before with Sawatari, Yuya was acting like a wild animal; throwing his head back before jerking it left and right, screaming his lungs out, twisting his arms just to get lose from his binds.
His violent struggles got to the point where Shun had to step in. Like Gongenzaka before him, Shun ended up getting smacked across the face that actually knocks him off his feet.
"Nii-san!" His sisters quickly run over to him to make sure he's okay while Yuto and Yuri continue to try and hold Yuya back. After going through his 'life-flashing-before-his-eyes' phase, Yugo turns his head to see Yuya going on a rampage again.
"Yuya!" he quickly gets to his feet and helps the rest of his brothers in holding Yuya back from the Robber. "Bro, chill! I'm fine!"
Hearing Yugo's voice somehow got through Yuya's rage-filled mind. He stops struggling and took deep breaths to calm himself down. Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see the people in the restaurant with looks that were a mixture of fear and awe. Unable to handle all the stares, Yuya grabs his stuff and heads out of the entrance.
Yuzu growls. "Oh, no you don't!" She quickly follows after him.
Knowing where this was going, Yugo gives the stolen money back to the petrified cashier. "Keep any awards!" he tells him as he and the rest of them hurry out of the restaurant.
"Sakaki Yuya!" They found Yuzu chasing after Yuya on the sidewalk that leads to the boys' house. "Sakaki Yuya, you come back here and tell me what's going on! Do you just realize you could have killed him?!"
Yuya didn't respond. This makes Yuzu growl and takes out her paper fan. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!"
When he didn't, Yuzu picks up the pace until she was right behind him, the paper fan raised in the air as if she's ready to strike him with it.
Yuya turns around and whips it out of her hands before it could make contact with his head. With a deadpan look in his eyes, Yuya snaps the fan's handle into two. Yuzu flinches at the noise.
He wordlessly hands the pieces of her fan back to her. Once they were in her arms, Yuzu's eyes fill up with tears. "M-My fan..." Yuya didn't pay her any mind as he continues his path to the house. The others catch up with the broken girl as she trembles at the sight of her signature item.
Yuto whistles at the sight. "Oh man, sorry Yuzu," he turns his attention to the retreating Yuya. "Look, we can't stay long; Mom told us we could bring Yuya outside after what happened as long as we're near him. If she sees him go home alone, we're all going to get in trouble."
"We'll call you guys later," Yugo tells them as the rest of the boys quickly follow after their younger brother.
"Bye guys," Ruri waves at them before turning back to her sister.
"I told you to go buy a new one when you had the chance," Serena mumbles with a roll of her eyes.
"Yuya!" the boys had barely caught up to the tomato-haired boy as he wrenches their front door clean open. "Yuya, come on, talk to us!"
"You know we're just as stubborn as you are, Yuya, and we won't stop until we get an answer," Yuri points out.
Yuya either didn't hear him or just choose to ignore him. It didn't stop him from marching up the stairs that lead to his room. Seeing that they weren't getting through to him, the boys decided to let out their frustration by sighing in unison.
"Well, he's going back to not talking again," Yugo shakes his head annoyance. "And just when we thought we made enough progress."
"It is your own fault for going after that criminal, Fusion," Yuri mumbles, causing Yugo give him a death glare.
"Hey, do you really think I was just going to stand around and let that guy get away with it?!" He exclaims.
"I'm just saying, you knew he was holding a weapon and-"
Normally, Yuto would have intervened by now because this was not the time to be fighting over this. However, the older quadruplet found his attention caught on something else. Something that made the boy rigid and turned his skin pale.
"-if that guy stole something from Yuya, you would have chased after him with that weird machete of yours-"
"G-Guys," Yuto finally decides to speak up, using his voice as soon as he found it despite the slight stuttering. This catches their attention enough to get the two to stop fighting. "H-How the hell did that thing get there?"
The two of them look in the direction Yuto was looking at and found their own faces paling as well. "W-What the-?!"
Sitting on top of the drawer with its back up against the wall near the stairs was Mr. Buttons, giving the three boys a smile as if it were welcoming them back home.
Anyone like the ICarly reference I put in this chapter?
Chapter 10: The Boss Pays a Visit
Hey, remember how I mentioned Yoko had a creepy boss a few chapters ago?
To say that Yoko was angry when she heard what Yugo did at Burger World was an understatement. She flat out won a screaming match if Yugo had decided to scream back at her, which he didn't because he was too terrified of her to do so. In the end, Yoko ended up grounding Yugo from riding his motorcycle. He was still allowed to work on it, but he had to help her out in the kitchen to do so. Yuto and Yuri didn't stay around for that since they were also terrified of their mother's wrath.
But this gives the two a chance to do something about Mr. Buttons.
There was no way that the school would just send that doll home after the staff gave them strict instructions that they were going to keep it away from Yuya. The very idea of the doll somehow coming back home on its own completely terrified them.
They have to get rid of this doll before Yuya finds it.
Yuto and Yuri first tried to get rid of the doll by tying it to a rock and sinking it in the swamp waters nearby.
"If I somehow end up in Davy Jones Locker, I hope I never find that thing down there," Yuri mumbles as they watch the rock sink into the rocks below. Yuto could only nod in agreement.
It was only an hour later that they found the doll again. This time, on their living room couch. Poor Yugo had a heart attack when he saw it.
Yuri then suggested to hide it somewhere in the house.
"It obviously doesn't want to leave here," he points out when he and Yuto are pondering other ways to get rid of the accursed thing. "We'll just hide it in a place where Yuya can't find it."
Yuto had agreed. After all, they couldn't destroy it, as Yugo kindly demonstrated when he tried to burn the thing when he saw it on the couch. He didn't even want to know how Yugo managed to burn that thing indoors and not start an actual fire.
The only problem they had was no clue on where to hide it since Yuya knows every room in this house.
Except for the cellar.
Yugo gave them looks of bewilderment when they suggested the idea to him. He didn't want to go near the place after what happened last time but he did agree that it was a good place to hide the doll. "Creepy things belong together, after all," he tells them before going back to do the dishes.
So, they had their plan. Even though shivers went down their spines the moment their feet touch the cellar floor, the plan seems to be going well. Yuri had brought his machete for reasons Yuto didn't know until his younger brother began to hack into the wall that's over the weird alter.
"What are you doing?" he demands, making Yuri stop in mid-hack.
"Putting that thing in a hole where nobody will ever find it," was his answer before he continues hacking away.
Yuto shakes his head. "Yuri, you got off easy the last time you used your machete in this house, I don't think Mom's going to let you-"
"Oh, look at that, a secret passageway!"
"... I stand corrected..."
Yuri gives him a smile before grabbing the doll and tossing it into the hole. After making sure it was still there, the two boys quickly head back upstairs before something else could happen in the cellar.
They waited for a few hours. When it became dark out and still no sight of the doll upstairs it finally brought the boys a peace of mind. Who knew that a saying from Yugo could actually work? They haven't seen the doll since they left it downstairs in that creepy cellar. Maybe now they won't have to deal with any more creepy stuff and now focus on Yuya.
If only they didn't jinx it.
Yuya was irritated. He's been like that ever since what happened in school a few days ago. He didn't know how it happened; normally he would usually get embarrassed if Sawatari did something to bully him but that day was different. He actually lashed out at him. Memories of him hitting Sawatari were very foggy but he knows that he dislocated his jaw from what his brothers told him.
Then, after that, he was still angry. He kept wanting to lash out at someone and that ended up being a group of students and his own mother. Looking back on it, he was just glad that he didn't do anything to her like what he did to Sawatari and Gongenzaka. But he still didn't understand why just listening to his mother's voice would provoke him.
After that, everything became a blur. The only thing he could remember clearly after the incident at school was his brothers asking him if he wanted to go to Burger World with them and he had agreed. But after that, he couldn't remember anything until he saw Yugo about to get his head smashed by a robber.
He just lost it at that point. Nobody tries to hurt one of his brothers and gets away with. He remembers attacking the robbery but not bothering to pay attention to the amount of damage he was causing until he heard Yugo's voice.
Yuya had no idea how he got home once he calmed down.
Now, the day after Burger World, Yuya was still angry. He thought going outside so he can get some fresh air would help him feel better but it didn't work. Not all. So, here he was, sitting down on the front porch. His head in his right hand as it rests against his knees. Meanwhile, his other hand rests on the wooden surface, often scratching it with his nails whenever he felt a pique bubble pop in his head. He didn't even care if he got blisters from that, he just wants something to keep his mind off of things, like this sharp stomach ache that's been plaguing him since this morning.
Why is he so angry?
In the corner of his eyes, Yuya saw a car pull up at the front of the house. At first, he didn't recognize it before he looks at the license plate. His dulling red-eyes narrow dangerously. Out of all people who could visit them it had to be him.
The man who came out of the car was tall and muscular, reminding Yuya of the wrestler, the Undertaker. He wore a nicely tailored suit that almost looks polished. His fancy outfit was a complete contrast to his balding head. The moment his dark eyes caught sight of the youngest Sakaki his face turns into a grimace. "Oh, it's you..."
Mr. Minami, his mother's boss at the restaurant she works and a creepy one at that.
"What are you doing here, Minami-san?" Yuya demands, not bothering to be polite since he's already in a cranky mood.
The man huffs at this. "For your information, sonny, I'm here on official business with your mother. She hasn't been to work in a long time and the two of us need to have a discussion on this."
"That's not why you're here..."
Minami's eyes narrow. "Will you kindly move out of the way, Sakaki-chan?"
"You know she's married,"
"I'm well aware of that."
"But here you are,"
The man growls. "Sakaki-chan, please move out of the way."
Yuya quickly stands up, his dull eyes staring intently into the man's dark ones. "She doesn't want to see you."
"I think I would rather hear that from her," Minami takes a step closer, causing the muscle in Yuya's right cheek to bulged before settling back on his bones like nothing happened.
"Go away before I call the cops," Yuya's voice rose in a higher pitch that wasn't like his own. It makes Minami falter a bit when he heard it but shook his head regardless of it.
"Boy, don't make me do something I'm gonna-"
He stops in mid-threat when he feels a burning sensation in his mouth. His roots are suddenly filled with this firey pain that makes him yelp from the way it filled his mouth. He shoots his hand up to his mouth to find the source of this pain only to find something breaking loose from his gums. His eyes widen when he hears something landing on top of the wooden staircase below him.
Trembling, Minami looks down and could only scream in horror, causing more things to drop from his mouth.
Bloody teeth plaster around the area near his feet. It only took a second for him to realize that what's dripping down the corner of lips wasn't saliva.
Screaming in horror, Minami makes a mad dash to his car. Tires screeching, Yuya watches on darkly as the Mustang drives away from the house. He was glad that the man isn't going to visit them again anytime soon.
Suddenly, the pain in his stomach explodes and his whole world turned white.
Yoko was brought out of washing the dishes when she hears somebody screaming from outside. Remembering that Yuya previously went out just to get some fresh air instantly caused her mind to worry. Abandoning what she was doing, Yoko quickly hurries over to the front door and throws it open.
"What the hell is going on-?!"
She stops herself short when she sees Yuya on the grass, his limbs twitching and the rest of his whole body convulsing against the muddy surface. The whites of his eyes could be seen against his flickering eyelids despite the way he kept hitting his head against the ground beneath him.
"Yuya?!" thinking quickly, Yoko runs over to his side and puts her arms underneath his head to prevent him from hitting his head again. "Baby, what's wrong?!"
No response from her convulsing son. All she got where these small mumbles that she could barely make out. When Yuya's limbs didn't calm down, Yoko immediately panic.
"Boys!" She screams at the top of the lungs, hoping that it could be loud enough to catch their attention. "Boys, get your phones!"
Her second sentence wasn't needed when her three boys came barreling out the front door, their eyes wide with fear from their mother's screaming. Never before had they ever heard her scream so blood-curdling.
"Mom, what's going-?!" Yuto didn't have time to finish when Yugo's eyes landed on the convulsing Yuya.
"Oh my God!" His cry caught at the attention of his brothers, who look at their little brother with horror dawning on their faces. But they didn't have to time to dwell on it for long when Yoko's voice broke them out of it.
"Call 110!" They instantly went to their pockets in search of their phones only to realize in crimpling trepidation that they all have left their phones back in their rooms.
Seeing that they weren't going to help, Yoko instantly got to work. "Turn him on his side, loosen any tight clothing, cushion his head, and don't hold him down! I'll go call the hospital!" Not being needed to be told twice, the boys quickly taking her place as she runs back inside to find the phone.
"Yuya!" Yuto cries after Yuri had placed his sweater underneath the boy's trembling head and Yugo turned the boy onto his side. "Yuya, talk to us! What's wrong?!"
Nothing. The only thing they got from Yuya were small retches that escape the small opening of his lips. Soon those retches became louder to the point that the boys were really worried that he was actually was going to vomit.
And he did. But what came out of his mouth wasn't the contents of his stomach.
It was hay.
Chapter 11: Akaba Files: The Visit
SPRING BREAK! That means more chapters coming out soon!
"You picked a bad day to come and visit," the nurse tells the two as they walk through the darkened hallway, ignoring the cries from the inmates they just passed by. "He relapsed last week; he kept trying to bang the door down, screaming some nonsense about "It's coming back" and stuff like that. We had to put him in a straight jacket, so don't act so surprised when you see him restrained."
Her nonchalant attitude bothered the two siblings. They brought him into this place in hopes that he could recover from the incident three years ago but it looks like he's not getting any better. It didn't help their nerves with this woman since she didn't know half of what their brother went through. Still, they didn't say anything as the nurse opens the door that leads to his room.
"Like always, you have five minutes with him. Enjoy it," with that, she walks away. The air felt easier to breathe now that stranger was gone.
"Go to him, Reira," Reiji tells her softly. "You were always better at helping him whenever he had a relapse than I ever could."
Reira nods and steps into the room. She was used to the darkness that covered the entire room, showing off the windowless room that's been built by dark concrete. The only furniture in the room was the old bed with ruffled sheets that look like they've been kicked away to the corner. There was no sign of her brother.
"Onii-chan?" Reira calls softly into the cell, her eyes shifting around to find some sort of movement in the dark. "Onii-chan, are you there?"
"R-Reira?" a stuttering voice asks in a corner of the darkness on her left. She looks over and sees a person's figure trembling with their knees drawn to their chest. A few pathetic whimpers manage to escape their lips. Thanks to the light provided by the open the door, Reira could see who this person was.
"Zarc!" sighing with relief, she slowly walks over to the man, trying not to make any loud noises to startle him. She kneels down in front of the older man once she reaches him. "How's my Onii-chan doing?"
"Reira..." Zarc sobs. Now that she's closer to him, Reira could see how badly he had relapsed; his whole form was trembling, his white hair that normally stood up was now sticking downwards due to the amount of sweat he's emitting, his golden eyes are wide and one of them twitches ever so slightly, and the arms that are bound by the straightjacket could be seen sticking out through the white fabric.
"Onii-chan," Reira slowly brought Zarc into a hug with the utmost care in order to keep him calm, allowing the grown man to sob into her shoulder. "Don't worry, Onii-chan. You won, remember? You beat that Thing and It's not ever going to bother you again."
Those words were meant to calm him, to remind him that there was nothing to worry about. However, he words only cause him to stiffen, his sobs going silent. It makes her tilt her head in confusion.
"I-It's not gone," she hears him mumble into her ear. "I-It's still there, i-in that house..."
"Zarc, you know It can't-"
"It's not after me!" Reira jumps when Zarc's voice rose in volume as he wrenches himself from her arms to look at her in the eyes. "There's someone else in that house! It wants them like the way It wanted me! I-It's going to drag someone down to the fire... I-It's-!"
"Onii-chan, you're hyperventilating again," Reira tells him softly, causing the man to stop his talking to try and take a few deep breaths. "Now start over; what do you mean that Thing is after somebody else? You know that place's been shut down for twenty years."
Her words did nothing to calm him down. He just kept shaking his head back and forth while mumbling something through his lips that Reira couldn't make out of.
"Told you he relapsed badly," Reira nearly jumps out of her skin when she hears the nurse's voice behind her. "Anyway, your five minutes are up. Say goodbye to your brother."
Reira spares one last glance at her trembling brother before she kisses him on the check and follows the nurse out of the room
"Excuse me, Sensei," Reira begins once the nurse begins to lock the door. "But do you know any relating news regarding the Jisatsu Orphanage?"
The nurse snorts. "I thought you two didn't like to talk about it considering what it did to your brother-in-law," ignoring the blank looks from the two siblings, she continues. "Yes, I did actually hear something about it. That famous performer, Sakaki Yusho, moved in that place with his entire family so he can be closer to his job."
This makes the two siblings stiffen. Oh no...
"Have any of the Sakakis mention anything weird going on in their home?" Reiji quickly asks her, panic stitched in his voice.
The nurse gives him a weird look before continuing. "Not really, no. But I have heard that Yusho was going to the hospital today because his youngest son was admitted there a couple of hours ago. I wouldn't worry too much on that, though; that kid was always the one that got sick, anyway."
As the nurse leads them out of the facility, Reira and Reiji couldn't help but give each nervous glances. That was how it started with Zarc.
Chapter 12: Daddy Comes Home
I felt like I should have finished this back on Tuesday. *sighs*
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The boys hated hospitals. Yoko couldn't blame the three since hospitals always brought up bad memories for them when Yuya was brought in for chemotherapy back in the day. She could still hear their screams during those days, begging them to find some other way to treat Yuya for his cancer so they don't have to watch him go through the side effects. Her relationship with them always gets a bit rocky at hospitals and it's still the same now as they wait in the waiting room while Yuya gets an endoscopy to remove all the pills he swallowed.
"It's an overdose of the supplements he took," a doctor explains to them after Yuya was carted into the emergency room. "We're going to have to remove the pills from his stomach and put him on breathing support afterward."
Yoko could only nod with tears running down her face. She didn't need to look behind her to know that her boys had cold looks in their eyes.
They really hate hospitals.
She was used to the silence she would receive from the three. It was their way of showing how angry they were with her. With so many people in the waiting room, Yoko prefers the silent treatment instead of having a shouting match with them, despite how uncomfortable the silence makes her feel.
"Mrs. Sakaki?" Yoko looks up to see the doctor from before calling her from the doorway.
"How is he?" She demands once she reaches him, the boys not so far behind her.
"He's fine; the endoscopy was a success," hearing this made them all sigh in relief, but the doctor wasn't done. "However, since he swallowed a significant amount of pills than what he was supposed to take, I would like to schedule an MRI in case there's any damage to his liver."
"Okay," Yoko didn't hesitate. Years of dealing with Yuya's cancer has told her to not past up an opportunity of checking to make sure Yuya's completely healthy.
"Your boys can stay outside the room, so they don't have to see him on the breathing support yet."
That was how the three of them found themselves sitting down on chairs as they wait outside the MRI room. A few times they could see the light inside that room flicker from under the door but they didn't bother to pay attention to it. All they could think about is how they're back to where everything began. The place where they found out the one thing that caused them all pain for years to come.
"I hate hospitals," Yugo mumbles after a while.
"The feeling is mutual, Fusion," Yuri comments with a deadpan look in his eyes. "Trust me, you're not the only one who hates being here."
Yuto didn't bother to speak his own cents on the situation. He didn't need to because his brothers know how he is when he gets silent.
"Hey," a garbled voice from their left speaks up. They look to see Sawatari with a bag in his hand and these funny looking braces on his teeth. "How's it going?"
The boys remain silent, causing Sawatari to sigh.
"The silent treatment, huh?" the rich boy shakes his head. "I guess I deserved that. Anyway, I heard Yuya was here a while ago so I decided to ask my dad if I could give him this." He sticks his arm out to give Yuto the bag. "I wasn't sure what to get him, but he likes anything cute. Right?"
Yuto reaches into the bag and pulls out a brown teddy bear with a big red heart on its stomach. The boys shot a look at Sawatari, something that makes him flinch. Dear God, why do twins, triplets, and quadruplets do that?!
"Is there a camera in this thing?" Yuto's cold voice broke the silence.
Sawatari gives him a look like he's grown two heads just like a hydra. "What kind of a lunatic do you guys take me for? I know I torment your brother a lot but I wouldn't do that!" He tells them the best he could in spite of the devices in his mouth that's holding his jaw together.
Not taking any chances, Yugo whips the stuffed animal out of Yuto's hands and gives it to Yuri's awaiting hand. "Butcher it," was all the second youngest said.
With that said, Yuri reaches into his sweater and pulls his machete seemly out of nowhere. Its appearance makes Sawatari flinch but it quickly morphs into a frown when he sees Yuri cutting the bear's stomach open, right where the heart was placed.
"It's clean," Yuri tells them and they relax their shoulders at that.
Sawatari shakes his head. "Man, I keep forgetting how overprotective you guys are..."
His comment earns him a new set of glares. "What do you want, Sawatari?" Yuto demands in a sharp tone.
"Straight to business, huh?" Sawatari notes. "Look, I know I'm the last person you want to see here out of all places but I just came by to call a truce between you guys and Yuya."
"We've beaten you up plenty of times and you finally decide to call a truce when Yuya suddenly breaks your jaw?" Yugo points out with suspicion in his blue eyes. "Sorry if we don't trust you, but-"
"We don't trust you," the three of them finished together, freaking Sawatari out. Goddammit, why?!
"Look," he says once he regains his composure. "There's a reason why I decided to pick on Yuya and not the rest of you; the kid's got no backbone, he wouldn't throw a punch back just to prove he's on top of the food chain."
The boys weren't amused by this. "Your point?" Yuri questions.
"I'm saying, the guy who broke my jaw that day in school wasn't Yuya," with that, Sawatari begins to walk away from them, not before turning his head back a little. "Whatever's going on with him, I hope you guys figure it out."
He walks away from the three of them, leaving the boys alone with time to think for themselves.
It was only a few minutes later that Yoko came out of the room, her cheeks stained with dried tears. This makes them stand up from their seats.
"How is he?" Yuto asks once she's fully out and brought herself together.
"They just finished the MRI," she tells them with a small sniff. "There was some trouble with the electricity in that room so they're moving Yuya to a new room where we can wait for the MRI results."
That was good but it did little to dwell the fear in their stomachs. Yugo scrunches up his eyebrows together when he thought back to the words in his mother's sentence.
"Wait, what happened with the electricity?" He asks.
Yoko shakes her head. "I don't know, some sort of blackout? The machine kept flickering on and off when they put Yuya in it."
The boys share a look. Right before Sawatari came by they did notice the lights flickering underneath the door a while back. But at the time, they were so wrapped up in their thoughts that they didn't bother to pay attention until now. What was up with that?
Seconds later, the doctor from before came and told them that Yuya's room was prepared. They followed him to a small area in the hospital, where the lighting was low to try and mimic the comfortable feeling of one's own bedroom. There was a window but any light it could give to the room was blocked by these dark color drapes. The only other door to this room was on the far right, almost near a corner, possibly leading to a bathroom.
Yuya's bed was placed right up next to the wall in the middle of the room. The bed had small wheels that replaced some parts of the legs, showing how they moved Yuya into this room despite all the machines he's hooked up to. The hospital had put him in pajamas to make him comfortable and a comforter was over his motionless body. An oxygen mask that's connected to this weird looking machine was placed over Yuya's mouth as the boy slept on.
This brought back painful memories of the times where Yuya had to stay in the hospital as he suffers through the chemotherapy side effects and how the rest of the boys would stay by his side to comfort him. The memory brought unshed tears to each of the boys' eyes as they kneel down in front of the bed so they were closer to Yuya.
A knock on the entrance door caught Yoko's attention while the boys still kept their eyes on Yuya. She walks up to the door and opens it, not expecting to find the thing that's on the other side.
Hearing their mother's quiet voice murmuring their father's name makes the boys lift their heads up to see their father in the doorway, his clothes messed up and breathing heavily like he ran all the way from his workplace to the hospital.
"I came as soon as I heard," he quickly tells her as he pulls Yoko to a hug, which she quickly returns.
"What about your boss?" Yoko asks once they let go of each other.
"To heck with him," Yusho shakes his head, being mindful of his language with his sons in the room. "I'm not going to let some workaholic director keep me home while one of my sons is having a seizure!"
Yoko quirks her lips at that. She can understand that feeling.
Yusho then turns to face the bed and his eyes soften when he sees that hard stares the three boys are giving him and Yuya's pale, lifeless body slumped against the pillows.
"How are you boys doing?" he asks as he slowly kneels in front of them. Immediately, they scoot away from him, their identical eyes still in their hard positions.
"Where in hell's name were you?" Yuri growls underneath his breath, his eyes glowing with hidden rage at his own father.
Yusho didn't say anything. He learned throughout the years of Yuya's chemotherapy treatments that when the boys were mad at him then he shouldn't try to justify his actions. It would only make them madder than they already are.
Another knock on the door brought their attention away from the tense situation in the room. The door opens to reveal the doctor from before, holding what appears to be a folder in his hands.
"The results are here," he announces, which quickly sets the family into motion. Wordlessly, Yoko takes the folder from him with a small murmur of 'thanks" and opens the folder to reveal a few pictures. Once she was done with one she would give it to Yusho to look over and he would do the same to the boys.
"Thankfully, there are no scars on the liver and there's no permanent damage anywhere," the doctor explains as they all pass down the photos. "And you don't have to worry about any tumors showing up on the picture; his leukemia didn't come back."
That points their minds into a somewhat peaceful state.
"However," the doctor continues, "It doesn't change the fact that the reason your son got a seizure was that he was overdosing on the iron supplements we gave him. Do you two know the reason why he might have done this?"
Yoko shakes her head. "Well, he's been having some behavior problems lately..." While their parents talk with the doctor, it gave the three brothers a moment to look at all the pictures they were given and observe them just in case the doctors missed anything. One picture caught their attention and what they saw made them scrunch their eyebrows up.
"What the hell is this?" Yugo mumbles underneath his breath but it was loud enough for the adults to hear it.
"What is it, Yugo?" Yusho asks, noticing the incredulous looks on their faces.
Yuto, who was the one holding the picture in his hands, turns the photo over, revealing that it's an x-ray of Yuya's midsection, and points to something on it. "Do you guys know why that hand is there?"
Baffled, Yusho and Yoko lean down and squint their eyes at the scan. At first, they didn't see anything wrong with it until they notice something on Yuya's chest. Near the place where Yuya's heart was what looked to be a hand. They thought it was Yuya's for a moment before they realized that both of Yuya's hands were right by his side. Not to mention the fact the hand looks too long and skinny to belong to Yuya's and how the fingers look to be uneven.
"Ah, looks like another one of those glitches," they hear the doctor comment from behind and they turn their attention to him as he readjusts his glasses. "They happen from time to time; things would happen to the MRI machine where it shows these weird pictures and makes it look like something is photobombing the scans. There was one time we have this picture of a cat during an ultrasound."
The doctor laughs at the memory, which makes Yusho and Yoko feel a little better and it slowly brought a smile to their faces. However, no smiles appeared on the boys' faces as Yuto turns the photo back over and they continue to look at the hand. They didn't know why but some part of them feels like this wasn't some sort of glitch.
What kind of glitch shows such a detailed hand anyway?
Yuya continues to sleep peacefully on his bed.
Finally, time to get to the chapter I've been dying to write. *laughs evilly*
Chapter 13: The Man on the Balcony
Oh, look at that guys. Lucky number 13!
It was only a day later that Yuya was discharged from the hospital. "Everything seems normal," the doctor tells Yusho and Yoko while their sons slept together on the same bed - they were worried about Yugo falling off since the only way he could fit was to sleep over the bodies of Yuya, Yuto, and Yuri but decided to leave it at that. "I really think that you don't have to worry about him since we got all the pills out of his system and I think it's safe to bring him home. However, since it seems like he did intentionally try to overdose himself I would like to keep an eye on him and don't let him take his own medication by himself."
The two nod their heads at that. They woke up the three oldest siblings and brought all of them home a few hours later.
Yuya didn't wake up once during the whole ride.
They had no choice but to put him in his bedroom and let him rest on his bed. Yusho had tried to make a conversation with his three boys but they never answer him. Like he didn't exist to them.
Which wasn't the first time, to be honest.
They all planned on staying home to watch over Yuya but then they received a phone call from the Hiiragi family. A very heated phone call.
"Yuzu, Rin, please calm down," Yoko tries to talk over the crying girls' screams over the phone. "Yuya's fine, he's just sleeping right now."
Her attempts to reassure the girls proved to be invalid as Serena joins in on the screaming match and now Yoko has to deal with three angry girls. The only thing she could hope for is that Ruri stays true to her calming nature.
The rest of her family watch the exchange from the couch, all wincing whenever they hear the girls' screams growing louder over the phone. The boys felt bad for their mother since it was their fault that they didn't tell the girls what was happening in the last second. Yugo shot a text to Rin about staying over the hospital and that sent things off from there.
"Alright, alright," Yoko manages to speak over the screams. "How about we come over and talk things over? We can't bring Yuya over because he's still sleeping and I know you girls can't leave the house because I know you're fixing your doorframes today."
Finally, there was silence from the phone. This makes the boys sigh in relief.
Yoko lets out a breath when she finally ends the call. She has no idea where those girls get that attitude from; their mother was more like Ruri than anything. She turns back to the rest family. "Well, it looks like we're making an unexpected visit to Shuzo's home because some people forgot to tell their friends what was going on."
Yuto and Yugo gulp, knowing that she's talking about them. Yuri just looks on with an uninterested look in his eyes.
"What about Yuya? You know the doctors said we're not supposed to leave him alone," Yusho points out.
Yuri decides to speak up at the moment. "Well, I don't really care if the girls scream at me or not so I can stay here."
This earns him glares from his brothers. "If you don't care then why are you suggesting that you yourself should stay home?" Yuto interrogates.
Once again, Yuri just shrugs. "Because I'm the only one who knows how to use the washing machine out of the three of us." Hearing this makes the two fall back with shouts of annoyance.
That was how Yuri found himself waving his family goodbye from the porch as they pull out from the driveway to start off their long journey to their old neighborhood. Leaving him alone to tend to Yuya and the washing machine. While he did enjoy some time to himself, Yuri didn't like to waste it on worrying about his brother and going through a washing machine that doesn't have a drying machine next to it.
Yet, Yuri still waited by the washing machine for it to signal that all the clothes are done so he can take them out and find a way to dry them off without the drying machine. Really, what was up with the moving company in this town? To pass the time, Yuri decides to look around the garage that Fusion spends so much time in.
This place is a dump, Yuri decides after a brief look around. Dust covered some of the surfaces and he could see a couple of cobwebs in corners. Fusion's motorcycle was parked nearby but he didn't even want to get started on that thing. He's still amazed that their mother actually got Fusion his own motorcycle. He supposed that's what happens when your mother is a former gang member that rode around on motorcycles.
He looks over to the shelves above the washing machine. There wasn't anything of much importance, just products for the washing machine and a photo-
Yuri freezes when he recognizes the picture. Who the hell put kept that photo?
The picture shows a young Yuri, possibly around five-years-old, staring blanking at the camera in front of him with a pot in his hands. Inside the pot was a large red hibiscus flower that nearly overlapped its container. A bright blue ribbon with #1 stitched to it was placed in the blue pot. The young boy was standing in what appeared to be a school hallway.
Yuri could feel his nails digging into his skin. He remembers when that photo was taken; in kindergarten, the teacher thought it would be a fun project to have kids plant their own flowers and see which one planted the best. Yuto's flower couldn't bloom on time and all that Fusion had was just a pot full of dirt. Yuri was the only one in the class who managed to take care of fully bloomed flower, he even got first place as a result.
When school was over, their mother decided to drive them to the hospital to visit Yuya, giving Yuri the chance to bring his hibiscus.
"Do ya have to carry that around," little Yugo grumbles from his car seat next to Yuri's on the right. Yuto was on the left and Yuya's empty car seat was next to Yugo's on his right. "I don't wanna look at your stupid flower."
"Now, Yugo, be nice," Yoko chides him from the wheel. "Yuri worked very hard on that flower, you should respect that. Besides, he wants to show your brother the nice flower while he's staying at the hospital. Don't you think Yuya will like that?"
Yugo grumbles. "Yeah, I guess so..."
"You're just mad that Yuri got first place instead of you," Yuto points out, making Yugo's face turn red.
"Who asked you?!"
Yuri just remains silent through the exchange, his eyes busy studying the flower's color. The red looks bright enough, the whites in the center haven't darkened yet, and the leaves are still a vibrant green. Yes, he thinks Yuya will enjoy the colors this flower has provided.
They reached the hospital's main entrance in a matter of minutes. The first thing they saw was their father waiting for them, rubbing his neck as he shifts his eyes around uncomfortably.
"I know that look," Yoko says once she sees him. "Alright, what happened?"
Yusho sighs. "Yuya tried to run away again."
"What?!" Their mother's loud voice brought the boys out of their own little worlds, forcing them to pay attention to their startled mother.
While they didn't know much about it the time, there were moments where Yuya would want to escape the hospital after going through treatment. Their parents told them it was another side effect of the treatment he would go through but it was rare to come. The boys never actually saw what that side effect did to Yuya since their parents always forced them out of the room when it happens.
Yet, despite their warnings, Yuri couldn't help but feel curious about what happens to Yuya when that side effect kicks in. So, after managing to escape his brothers from the waiting room and hide underneath a cart that's next to Yuya's room, Yuri waits. He could hear his mother ranting to Yuya about trying to sneak off but that was it. He couldn't hear anything else.
He waited for a few more seconds until the door finally opens. His parents walk through it with dejected looks on their faces as they head to the waiting room. Seeing his chance, Yuri crawls out from underneath the cart and walks into the dim room.
There was Yuya, snuggled up in his large bed with a huge comforter on top of him. His pale, dry skin was pressed against the pillow, making the poor boy look sicker than he already was. For what he could see, Yuya's eyes were open but they made no move to acknowledge his brother in the room. Yuri took this as a chance to walk right up next to the bed.
"Mom and Dad are upset at you, you know," was the first thing Yuri said to him. "They keep telling you not to sneak out but you keep doing it anyway. Why do you do it?"
Yuya didn't say anything but Yuri did see his nailless hands grip the comforter tightly until his hands were curled into fists. At least he got a reaction from him.
"You know you're sick and the only reason why you're even in this hospital is so you can get better," Yuri continues on. "I really don't see the point of trying to escape if they're just trying to help you-"
"I was just trying to see you guys at school," Yuya's voice cut him off.
Yuri was surprised; Yuya was always the shy and polite one out of the four of them and he never raised his voice at anyone. Hearing his youngest brother snapping at someone was a lot for his five-year-old mine to handle.
Still, Yuri kept going. "Why do you want to go to school? The place teaches us things that we already know, the teacher doesn't know what she's doing half the time, they give rewards for nothing, it's so boring-"
"Well, yeah, for you!" Yuri flinches when Yuya raises his voice once again, this time sitting up and his tired, annoyed eyes meeting his startled ones. "You're so used to these useless rewards and stupid teachers because you and the others get to go there every day. I can't go there because I'm stuck here! I can't have friends, I can't have teachers lecturing me, I can't even attend any festivals your school offers! Did you ever stop to think what it was like for me to miss out on all the stuff that makes you guys normal?!"
Yuri was speechless. Years of annoying Yugo had always help Yuri find a way to make a witty comeback on those who would explode at him. However, when it was Yuya, Yuri had no words to say back.
His lack of response brought tears to Yuya's eyes before he lays back down, his back facing away from him. "Just go away, Yuri..."
It was the use of his first name that brought Yuri out of the room in a blank dazed. He kept that look when he went into the waiting room, where his mother found and scolded him for walking off on his own. The only time he moved was when Yugo handed him his hibiscus flower.
And it was to smash the pot onto the marble white floor.
Yuri had never grown a hibiscus after that day. While now Yuri knew that the side effect was just a bad mood swing for Yuya and he didn't mean anything by it; he didn't even remember that incident. But Yuri remembers it. He remembers it very well.
He would always burn a hibiscus flower with a match if someone ever gave it to him.
A soft noise from the washing machine signaling him that it's done brought Yuri out of memory lane. He shuts the machine off, takes out the wet clothes and puts them in the basket before heading out. Not before slamming that photo down hard enough that glass broke.
Whoever put that photo up he was going to have a very firm "talk" to them.
Their mother had decided since they didn't have their drying machine then they would have to hang them out to dry like in the olden days. There were two trees out in the back of the house and Yoko tied a rope in between them so they could hang their clothes out. Knowing this, Yuri takes the back door to outside.
When he stepped outside Yuri knew something was wrong.
It was windy. When the rest of his family left there was no breeze and there was definitely not a single cloud in the sky the last time he was out here. Now, though, there was this sharp wind blowing into his eyes, making Yuri squint as he glances upon the dark clouds. Still, though, he kept walking to the tree.
It only seems to cause the wind to pick up speed.
Yuri could feel himself growling in annoyance as he tries to hang the clothes on the rope but the wind only caused them to slip from time to time. Out of all times for a storm to appear... Still, he wasn't Fusion so he did his best to not let his anger get the best of him. He managed to get the first eight on the rope without it flying off but when he reached the ninth one it was a different story.
"Are you kidding me?!" Yuri couldn't help but let out when he sees the long white sheet flying across the backyard. There was no way he was going to chase after it like some dog. That was Fusion's job!
Then, Yuri noticed something odd about the sheet. For something that's being blown by this crazy wind, it didn't flail around like he expected it to. In fact, it looks like it was gliding. Growing up with father as a performer, Yuri could compare the sheet to the floating crystal ball trick; the crystal ball has a sheet placed over it and it floats around like a baseball with a mind of its own. Only, there was no ball underneath it. So how was that thing flying on its own?
Yuri kept his eyes trained on that sheet as it floats up to the house, heading towards one of the balconies. Once it was over a railing, the sheet fell like a pile of bricks.
But what appeared when the sheets fell froze Yuri when he saw it.
Yuri didn't exactly know how to describe it. At first, he thought it was Yuya due to the humanoid shape but he looked closer and realized that this was definitely not Yuya. The person was too tall and too skinny to be his baby brother. From this distance, Yuri could see that this person was wearing a black trench coat. He tried squinting his eyes to take a look at the person's face but found out that he couldn't due to the straw hat they were wearing.
Before Yuri could say anything, the person turned and walked into the room that was connected to the balcony.
Wasn't that Yuya's-?
Yuri felt panic race through his mind as he ran back to the house, machete in hand. "Yuya?!"
Yuya slept peacefully in his bed, his head propped up against the pillows that were arranged for him. A blanket was put over him yet Yuya's arms still manage to bring themselves to his sides as he lay on his back. Despite all the trouble, Yuya looked to be at peace. The image contrast the appearance of the boy's bruises marking his body. Yet, despite it all, Yuya continued to sleep in content.
But that changed when something slithered into the room.
Even in his deep conscious state, a frown appeared on Yuya's face when he felt the temperature of his room drop suddenly. Still, he made no further to wake himself up.
Vines that are pale like dried up grapes slither across the floor, almost like a snake hunting for its prey. It slowly slithers up the bed, ripping itself apart when it reaches the top. One vine wrapped itself around one of Yuya's wrist and another did the same to the other one. Upon contact, sizzling bruises - which look like his previous ones - begin to appear on the skin in that area. Yet, Yuya remained undisturbed to these new developments.
But that change when another vine suddenly wrapped itself tightly around his neck, cutting off his airway.
Yuya's eyes pop open as he desperately tries to bring the oxygen back into his lungs. He attempted to bring his hands up to the thing that's blocking him from breathing only to realize that his arms were pinned at his sides but something that has strength Yuya could never even imagine.
He was trapped.
Stuck on his bed, pinned helplessly to it as his vision begins to darken.
Where was Mama? Papa?
Where were his Anikis?
Something caught his attention from his fading view. He couldn't exactly make it out but he could see the color gray. And a smile... Something was smiling at him as he chokes to death. Those black eyes didn't even show a hint of-
He knows those eyes.
Yuya didn't have time to think further as something cold drips down his throat.
Yuri didn't think as he bound up the stairs, machete tightly clutched in his hands. His feet pounded against the old material, not caring if he left cracks or not. The only thing he could focus was getting to Yuya. He had to get to Yuya.
He quickly runs down the corridor, his free hand already gripping the doorknob before he could make a complete stop. Yuri tries to turn the knob open only to realize with dumfounding horror that the knob was stuck.
The door was locked and Yuya was all alone in his room with that thing.
With rage he didn't even know he could possess, Yuri drew back and swung his machete at the door. It left a crack in it but it wasn't enough. He swung at it again.
"Yuya, open up this Goddamn door before I break it down!"
Yuri grit his teeth together and drew his arms back once again and swung.
The door opens and an extremely startled Yuya barely managed to get out of the way in time as the machete struck the floor near his foot.
"Yuri, what the heck?! You could've hit me with that!"
Snapping out of his bloodlust, Yuri looks up to see Yuya, who looks like the past few days have never happened, staring at him like he just killed somebody. Then again, his machete was dangerously close to his foot so Yuri shouldn't be so surprised by that face.
Thoughts turning back to the man on the balcony, Yuri whips his head to the room, looking for any signs of the intruder.
The whole room was deprived of any evidence that someone was in here. The only thing that was in here was a frowning Yuya, who has his hands on his hips in a scolding stance. "Well? Are you going to explain yourself?"
Shaking his head, Yuri strolls into the room, despite Yuya's protest and begins his search with the machete in hand. He checked under the bed, in the closet, behind the dressers, and he even went to the balcony and checked over the railings.
There was nobody in sight.
"Can you please tell me what's going on?" Yuya's voice cuts through his thoughts as his younger brother strolls up to his side. "You don't just suddenly try to hack a person's door down, nearly butcher their feet when they open their door and go searching through their room without an explanation-!"
Yuya stops when Yuri suddenly whips around, grabs his shoulders, and looks him dead in the eyes.
"Was there someone in the room with you before I came here?" His younger brother blinks at the tone Yuri was using.
"What do you mean? There was nobody in here but me," Yuri shook his head, despite his brother's answer.
"There was a person, right here on this balcony," Yuri points to the ground they were standing on. "I saw him from the trees, he walked right into your room. How could you have not noticed him?!" He shook his brother back and forth from the absurdness of it all. He refused to believe that nothing had happened and he's just losing his mind from all of this worrying.
A few seconds later, Yuya slowly reaches up and gently removes Yuri's trembling hands from his shoulder. "Yuri, I think you might need to lay down for a while..."
"Wha...?" Yuri didn't have time to protest when Yuya's already pushing him out of the room. "What do you mean I need to lie down? You were the one who had a seizure a couple days ago!"
"I'm fine. You're the one that's running around saying that there's a man hiding in my room," Yuya points out as he gently shoves Yuri out the door. "Trust me, Yuri, I woke up and I felt fine. Why don't you go lie down on the couch? I'll come down and wake you up when the others come back."
Yuri didn't have time to respond when Yuya already has shut the door to his face, leaving the second oldest behind with a dumbfounded expression on his face.
Did Yuya just address him by his first name?
The moment they got home after a very long heated talk with the Hiiragi girls, Yugo could tell something was off right when he went through the front door and saw Yuya standing over Yuri, who was sleeping on the couch.
"Bro?" upon hearing his brother's voice, Yuya jerks his attention to him, swiftly hiding something behind his back. "What's going on?"
"Yugo, I didn't hear you guys come in!" Yugo narrows his eyes a little at the thing Yuya's hiding.
"Yeah, we just got in a couple minutes ago," he gestures to his arm. "So, what do you got behind your back?"
Yuya wrinkles his eyebrows together. "What do you mean? There's nothing behind me."
"Nothing behind-? Then why do you have your hand-?" Yugo stops his interrogation when Yuya pulls the hand he was hiding from behind his back to reveal his empty hand. "Huh?"
Yugo didn't have time to say anything further when Yoko walks in and notices Yuya immediately. She quickly hurries over to him, gushing how he shouldn't be out of bed, especially after having a seizure. The second youngest watches as their mother forces the young boy up the stairs and into his bedroom.
He didn't know if it was just his nerves over the past few days but the image of Yuya standing over a sleeping Yuri was unsettling. Something was off about Yuya, especially since he was sure he something gleaming in the sunlight before Yuya hid it.
He turns his attention to Yuri on the couch before his face falls. "Only you can sleep on the weekends you lazy cat."
The day flew by faster than Yugo expected. Mom told them that Yuya wouldn't be coming down for breakfast since he told her that his stomach wasn't feeling so good. Of course, considering Yuya's medical history, nobody questioned it. Yoko did try to bring food up to him at one point but it didn't work as well as she hoped it would.
A few hours later, after dinner was done and everybody went to bed, Yugo found himself in the garage working on his motorcycle. Thankfully, the school was still closed due to the Doktor's suicide so it gives him the perfect opportunity to work on it. Though, his mother did tell him to not spend the entire night working.
It was only a few minutes later that Yugo felt his phone vibrating on the phone next to him. He took a quick glance at the caller's ID: Rin.
"Hey, Rinrin!" Yugo greets once he answers it.
"Somehow, I just knew you would stay up this late," Rin's deadpan voice came from the phone.
Yugo's face fell. "If you're here to just insult me-"
"Nevermind," Rin quickly cuts. "I just called to check in on Yuya; Yuzu and Ruri couldn't go to sleep so Serena's talking to them now. We're all really worried about him."
Hearing this makes Yugo sigh. To think he and his brothers were the only ones that were concerned. "He woke up a while ago, in perfect condition. Which is weird, considering he just went through a seizure."
"He woke up?" Rin asks. "What did he say?"
"That he was fine," Yugo pauses, thinking about to that part of the day and decides to voice his concern. "Hey, Rin? Have any of your sisters talked to you but they don't feel like the sisters you grew up with?"
Rin was silent for a moment. "... Did something happened to Yuya that you didn't mention yet?"
He sighs once again. Maybe it was best he comes clean now. "When we got home today, I noticed Yuya standing over Yuri when he was sleeping and he had something in his hand. I couldn't see it but I know he was holding something. He hid it behind his back when he saw me and when he brought his hand out seconds later there was nothing there. And the way he talked to me, it was like I was talking to a complete stranger. He didn't even call me 'Onii-Chan'!"
"So, what do you think is going on?"
"I honestly don't know," he confesses. "I was hoping if you had any ideas."
He waited for a while, his heart thumping in his chest when he didn't hear her response. Finally, he heard a sigh from the other end.
"Yugo, you know I'm a practical person; I tell things like I see it. If you were being an idiot, I would tell you. With the situation with Yuya," she sighs again. "Yugo, I've been watching horror movies lately with my sisters before you called at the hospital. One of those movies were about a possession and an exorcism. And, I'm probably going to sound crazy here, but you sound exactly like the possessed victim's family member. They couldn't recognize the person either. I don't know if I'm just overlooking things because I know how sick Yuya can get, but maybe, and I'm just throwing this out here, Yuya is probably-"
Yugo nearly jumps out of his skin, his phone almost dropping from his hands but he manages to regain his grip so it doesn't fall to the floor. His eyes whip in the direction he heard that metal falling to the floor. It sounded like it was coming from the kitchen.
"Yugo, what the hell was that?!" Once again, Yugo could almost feel himself jumping out of his skin when Rin's shrill voice enters his ears,
"I think there's something in the kitchen," he whispers to her and he could hear her inhaling sharply.
"Wake your family up and call the cops, right away," she tells him in an upfront tone.
"But what if's not even a person? Maybe it's an animal?"
"Yugo, you've watched enough horror movies due to Yuri's influence to know that checking out strange noises is a bad idea!"
"Hey, none of those people had scissors with them," Yugo points out as he grabs a pair of scissors from the toolbox that was nearby.
"Scissors are going to do nothing against a gun fight!" the boy shrinks back when Rin's voice raises an octave.
"Okay, how about this? You go call one of my parent's phones - they sleep next to their phones so they'll hear it if it's an emergency - and tell them what's happening while I'll go see what's in the kitchen with the scissors in my hand. How's that?"
Rin was silent before she huffed. "I'm not going to help arrange your funeral if you get killed, Yugo." With that, she ended her call.
"Thanks for caring," he mumbles before placing his phone back in his pocket and stood up with the scissors in hand.
He really hopes this doesn't turn out to be a horror movie situation.
Yugo exited the garage and now he can hear the ruckus clearer. It sounded like taps of class cups against the old wood here and Yugo could've sworn he could hear someone mumbling. He was surprised that Yuto or his parents didn't wake up from the noise since he's standing in the same hallway that's housing their bedrooms. Still, he pressed on until he came to the open doors of this hallway that leads to the main hallway.
He turns his head to the right and saw a blue glow from the kitchen.
Somebody was raiding their fridge.
Yugo gripped the scissors in his hand tighter. Nobody tries to steal his mother's food and gets away with it!
Making sure to not make a sound, Yugo slowly tip-toes over to the entrance of the kitchen, where the taps and the mumbling grow louder. He didn't know who this person was, but once he get's a good look at them then they're going to be in big trouble when the cops get here.
Yugo pokes his head into the kitchen once he reaches the entrance of the kitchen. Just like he expected, the fridge was ripped open wide and all that noise he's been hearing is someone eating everything from it. That greedy, son of a-! Yugo slowly tiptoes over the table on the far right since the whole furniture practically blocked the intruder from his view. Just one quick glance and he's high tailing out of here!
He turns the corner and stops when he sees who's kneeling in front of the fridge, stuffing themselves to the point it shouldn't be possible.
Yuya's body froze when he heard his name being called but he didn't turn around. He just sat there, stiff as a statue with raw meat in his mouth. He didn't even look at the flabbergasted Yugo.
Yugo whips his head to the sound of the doors to the kitchen, which were previously wide open, slam shut. Taking a quick at Yuya for a moment, Yugo hurries over to the doors and grabs the handles and yank them.
They didn't budge.
Eyes widening in disbelief, Yugo yanks on them once again but they stood still like a solid rock. He couldn't get them open even if he tried.
Yugo freezes. That was Yuya's voice but... It didn't sound like him. He didn't know how to describe it but, to him, it was like Yuya's voice had gone a pitch that's similar to a child's but it drops to the category of a serial killer that Yugo had only seen in movies. That chuckle basically said that the owner is a mastermind and Yugo was in serious trouble.
Slowly, while trembling with fear he didn't know he could possess, Yugo turns his head in the direction where he heard that disturbing noise. It came from the fridge. Of course, it came from the fridge, he and Yuya were the only people in this room. He slowly took a few steps towards the place where he saw Yuya, too afraid to go any closer.
Another chuckle echoes across the room, making Yugo flinch. Goddamit, why did he let Yuri talk him into watching horror movies?! Still, he kept moving forward until he was on the spot again and turn to look in the direction of the fridge.
Yuya wasn't there. Scraps of ripped bags and food with bite marks covering them lay on the floor as the shelves from the fridge had fallen. But there was still no sight of his younger brother.
Yugo hesitantly took a step closer. "Yuya? Bro? What's going on?"
The response was another sickening chuckle.
This prompts him to take a few more steps. "Bro, I swear, if this is some sort of sick prank, I'm gonna-!"
"AAGGGHH!" Hot, blinding, pain shot through Yugo as the three glass cups from the table were suddenly pushed off of the flat surface and onto the floor, where they shattered at his bare feet. Bits of broken glass chip and bite into his feet when he tries to walk forward but only to step into more glass. It got to the point he had to lean against the table to steady himself as he breaths through the pain.
Another chuckle enters his ears. This time, however, he could hear where this chuckle's coming from. On his left.
Yugo slowly turns his head in that direction, dreading what he could see. Once he sees Yuya's head over the table's surface, a wide grin that looks too big to belong on his face stretch his cheeks far apart. His skin had gone pale and his pupils shrunk. There was no light in his eyes.
He didn't even think it was Yuya at first if he didn't see his brother's hair.
"Y-Yuya..." Yugo murmurs through the pain, wincing whenever his feet step into more glass as he slowly makes his way around the table, Yuya's unrecognizable eyes following. "W-Wha... W-What are you doing?"
Another chuckle escapes the boy. "You really haven't figured it out yet?"
That was definitely not Yuya's voice. No way that his shy brother would ever sound so maniacal.
"Y-Yuya..." Yugo tries again but he only got a chuckle in reply as Yuya's head disappears from his spot. This prompt Yugo to move faster, despite the protest from his feet when he did so. He makes it to the other side only to find nothing there.
Yugo froze. Where did he go? He took a few steps forward, his eyes scanning the room for-
Once again, the glass cups that were neatly placed on the table were pushed off and broke apart at his feet. More pain enters his nerves and Yugo nearly stumbles over if he didn't catch himself with the table. Dear God, everything hurts!
The chuckle was back and on his left ear once again. He looks over and sees Yuya's head again, this time on the other side.
Yugo grits his teeth. "W-Who are you? I-I know you're not Yuya... H-He would never do something like this!" he shouts.
The grin fades into a small smirk. "I guess you're right. He cares too much about you to do it. Which is odd, considering everything you put him through."
"Everything I-" Yugo shook his head. "What the hell are you talking about?!"
Yuya didn't say anything as he slips head back under the table, no longer in Yugo's line of sight.
"Hey, I'm talking to you!" Yugo limps his way around once again, no longer caring about the shards in his feet. Whoever this sick, son of a bitch was, they're going to regret messing with his-!
Something hard slams into the back of his head, the force making him fall to the ground with his stomach on the floor. His vision blurs, he looks up slowly and realizes that he's seeing three of everything. He couldn't tell if there should be more glass shards than there should've been.
"Don't try to take this personal, Yugo-Chan," the imposter Yuya's voice enters his ear, making Yugo attempt to lift himself to his knees. "It's just me doing my job, and I kinda need to get on my bosses' good graces again after I failed the last job."
Yugo had no idea what that meant but he didn't care. He finally brought himself to his knees and was about to say something when-
That was his mother's voice. Soon, he heard knocks coming from the door. Frantic, pounding knocks.
"Yugo, what's going on?!" That was his father's voice.
"Rin called and said you could be in trouble!" Yuto's.
"Open up this damned thing before I break it down, Fusion!" Definitely Yuri.
Yugo could feel himself be a little relieved. His family was outside the door. He could hear them banging to get in. Once they're in, he didn't have to be alone with this imposter-
A scream from above broke him out of his thoughts. Yugo whip his head over his shoulder to see Yuya descending down on him, something in his hand that's gleaming in the darkness.
Yugo had prepared himself for the worst.
He didn't prepare for a hug and something sobbing onto his shoulder.
"Yuya...?" quickly, Yugo grabs the boy by his shoulders and pull him back until they were face-to-face. "Yuya, is that you?"
He got another sob, prompting him to take a closer look at his brother. His skin had gone back to normal, the light had returned to his eyes, and his pupils return to their normal size. Large tears fell from his eyes and cascade down his cheeks, his expression showing emotions that Yugo could barely see but he did manage to catch the emotions like sadness, fear, and regret.
Yuya once again pulls him into another hug, Yugo could faintly hear something colliding on the floor when he did so but he kept his attention on Yuya when he began to cry.
"G-Gomen-" Yuya stops to sniff. "Gomenasai, Onii-Chan!"
Now Yugo was convinced that this was his brother. He wraps his arms around him. "Hey, it's okay, bro. You didn't do anything bad."
Yugo felt Yuya's head shake against his shoulder. "N-No... I did do something bad! I hurt you... And I almost stabbed you and Nii-san!"
The boy's eyes widen. Wait, what?
Remembering he heard something drop to the floor when Yuya hugged him, Yugo shifts his eyes in the direction he heard the thing drop and saw a kitchen knife on the floor amongst the broken shards.
That was what he saw in Yuya's hand earlier this morning.
The doors to the kitchen slam open.
"What in the world?!" Yoko gasps as she and the others look at the scene before them with wide eyes.
Yugo slowly turns his head to meet their eyes. "What kept you guys so long?"
I just watch Avengers: Infinity Wars today. If anybody in this fandom watched it, can I get an Internet hug?
Chapter 15: Search for the Doll
In honor of the amazing response I got for the last chapter, I'm giving you all an extra long one!
Yuto didn't know what to expect when his father woke him up and said that Rin called them about an intruder inside their house. But when Yusho told him that Yugo could possibly be in danger, Yuto lept off the bed and barreled down the hallway to the kitchen doors. He really didn't like the sound of that scream from behind the doors.
But then they pop open once he and Yuri slam their bodies against it.
Yuto took a quick glance and found both Yugo and Yuya on the floor, both hugging while Yuya sobs on Yugo's shoulder and Yuto can see blood staining the boy's feet underneath the pile of broken glass. Yugo slowly turns his head over to them, his expression dull. "What kept you guys so long?" He asked in a monotone.
He didn't know why but that sentence sent shivers down his spine.
When they couldn't get anything from both boys, Yoko and Yusho decide to take Yuya back to his bedroom while Yuri tended to Yugo in the living room. Yuto watched as his parents led the sobbing boy up the stairs, saying things that make Yuto feel a little worried.
"Lock my room, please," Yuya begs them through his sobs. "I-I don't want to hurt anyone. Please, don't let me hurt them!"
His parents had tried to reassure him that he would never do something like that but Yuya kept crying. Yuto had watched the scene until they disappeared from the corner, prompting him to head into the living room and check on Yugo.
Yugo sat on the couch, his feet propped up thanks to the table as Yuri kneels in front of him, plucking the glass pieces out with tweezers and putting them in a nearby bowl. Although he winces whenever Yuri plucked a glass from his foot, Yugo kept staring ahead of him. Not really looking at anything. It was almost disturbing.
"Only you could get so many pieces of glass stuck in your foot, Fusion," Yuri mumbles as he pulls the last piece out and begins to dab a bandage with rubbing alcohol.
Yugo didn't reply to the mispronunciation of his name, so this was very serious.
"Alright," Yuto begins once he sits down next to Yugo. "Are you finally going to tell us what happened with you and Yuya in the kitchen? Because Yuya is still a mess over what happened so he wasn't willing to share anything. Care to give out any hints?"
"... That wasn't Yuya..." Yugo mutters his first words since they found him in the kitchen.
"What?" sharing confused looks, Yuto and Yuri look at their brother. "What do you mean that wasn't Yuya?"
"I mean, it wasn't at first," Yugo continues, his normal voice slowly returning. "He- It- Whatever it was, that was the one who attacked me. But then Yuya came back and he was so fucking scared and he didn't know what was going on and how am I suppose to react to that-?!"
"Yugo, slow down," Yuto spoke up once he sees his brother panicking. "You're not making any sense, here."
Yugo then meets his eyes. "Yuto, twelve kids died in this house, right?"
"Yeah..." Yuto said it slowly.
"Are suicides consider violent deaths?"
Yuri's looks at him in annoyance. "Oh, are you serious, Fusion?!"
"What?" Yuto turns to him. "What is it?"
"He thinks that Yuya's strange behavior is being caused by ghosts, specifically those suicide victims inside this house," Yuri explains before adding. "And before you ask, I've watched enough horror movies to know that ghosts only come around after a violent death."
"Really, Yugo?" Unimpressed by this, Yuto turns to look at the frantic boy with bored eyes. "Out of all things that you had to theorize about Yuya, you think ghosts are behind this?"
"I'm serious!" the two boys jump at the loud tone Yugo's now using. "Before I found Yuya in the kitchen, I was talking to Rin and she watching horror movies with her sisters too! You really need to stop corrupting Serena with your influences, by the way," he looks at Yuri when he says this, who just shrugs in reply.
"I can't help her desire to be ahead of me," Yuri's comment went unnoticed as Yugo continues.
"Guys, you know Rin as well as I do. If we were doing something stupid she would tell us that! Do you guys know what she said when I told her about Yuya's behavior earlier today?"
"That she thinks ghosts is causing all of this?" Yuto asks with a deadpan tone.
"That Yuya's possessed!" hearing those only made the two boys groan. "Come on! We've all been around each other since we were born to know when the other is acting weird. Tell me you guys noticed Yuya was acting off, even for him-OW!" Yugo winces when Yuri places the alcohol-tainted bandages around his foot. "That hurt, you bastard!"
"Oh, look at that, he's finally back to normal," Yuri snipes with a smirk on his face while Yugo glares in his direction.
Yuto sighs at their antics. "Alright, fine, I did notice that Yuya didn't address me as 'Nii-Sama' like he usually does but that doesn't prove he's possessed. Yuri, back me up here."
Yuri had gone silent after his little incident with Yugo. The whole time, Yuri scrunch his eyebrows together like he's thinking hard about something. Which each passing second, Yuri's face slowly turns into a worried look.
And Yuri is hardly worried about anything.
"Yuri?" Yuto asks again when he didn't get a response.
"Actually, I did happen to notice something rather odd earlier this morning," Yuri begins. "I saw a man on Yuya's balcony while I was drying out of the laundry..."
"What?!" the revelation brought out loud responses from the two boys. "Why didn't you say so earlier?!" Yugo demands.
"I thought I was losing it from all the stress that I go these past few days," Yuri admits with a small shrug. "But looking back on it, I was sure I saw a man on that balcony."
"Do you remember what he looks like? Maybe that can help," Yuto points out. The idea that some stranger was in the same room with his little brother instantly sent shivers down his spine. He hates to think what could happen in that scenario.
"Well, I was on the ground, so I couldn't exactly see his face," hearing this makes the two sigh in annoyance. "However, I did happen to notice his odd attire. He wore a black trench coat and a straw hat, which I don't think would normally fit in this weather-
Yuto stopped listening right after Yuri said his description. A black trench coat and a straw hat? For some bizarre reason, the image looked familiar. He just didn't imagine them on a tall person, almost one something smaller-
His heart stops when he realizes who Yuri saw on the balcony.
"G-Guys," Yuto begins, his voice trembling with each word. "W-Who do we know that's small and wears a black trench coat and a straw hat?"
Yuri and Yugo look at him with confused eyes before looks of pure horror dawn on their faces when they realize who exactly Yuto was talking about.
"We never did check to see if that doll was still in the cellar, did we?" Yugo asks.
No reply there.
Morning came quickly. The three boys quickly got up from their beds and put on their clothes right away so they can meet each other on the staircase. There, they see a note attached to the front of the door.
Dad's bosses called earlier this morning, the note says, clearly in their Mom's curvy handwriting. We're heading over for a few hours to set things straight with them that some private things are happening and your father needs to be home to help with it.
"The one time I'm glad Mom and Dad's bosses decides to butt in," Yugo comments after reading the note. The other two nod in agreement. As of right now, they have no idea how their parents would react if they told them that Yuya's being possessed by that new creepy doll of his. Besides, they need to make sure of the doll's location before telling their parents about what they really think is happening.
They all walk over to the door to the cellar, which Yuri opens and they are immediately greeted with dust in their faces. Coughing it out of their lungs, the boys look in and see that hole in the wall is still as dark as ever. Not mention a little chilly. And they were hundred percent sure there were no windows the last time they were down there.
"So, who wants to go in?" Yuri asks after a long silence.
Yuto and Yugo look at each other. "Not it!" Yugo shouts.
"Not it!" Yuto raises his hand.
"You're it!" Yugo points to a baffled Yuri, who was darting his head back and forth between the two when they first started to shout.
"Excuse me?!" he demands once he realizes what's happening.
"Hey, it's two against one!" Yugo points out while Yuto shrugs in response.
Yuri sighs before going down the stairs. "Always doing that... Never let me or Yuya have the chance... Baka..." they could hear him muttering as he makes his descent before reaching the ground and turning to the right. They watch as he walks away from their view, only wondering what Yuri could see in that hole.
"Did you find it?" Yugo calls down when they haven't heard from Yuri in a few seconds. Just eerie silence from below. Yugo was about to call out again when a frantic Yuri runs up to the bottom of the stairs.
"The doll's gone!" Yuto and Yugo's eyes widen.
"It's not in the hole?!" Yuto cries out.
'What part of 'the doll's gone' did you not understand?!" Yuri demands. "It wasn't in the hole that I made for it, it's completely gone!"
"You think it's still in the house?" Yugo asks, his tone filled with worry as he darts his eyes around the hallway.
"If it is, then we gotta find it!" Yuto barks. "Yugo, you check this floor, I'll check the second floor. Yuri, you stay down there and see if it's hiding behind any shelves."
Yuri's eyes widen. "Pardon me, but I didn't say I would be down here for another-!"
"Too late!" With that, the two boys were already heading to their destinations, leaving Yuri staring at an empty doorway. He slumps, why could he never win at Not It?
Yuto tore through the rooms in the second room in search of the doll; he looked through Yuri's room - while being mindful of his brother's poisonous plants -, the empty rooms that they weren't currently using, and even that little room Yuya discovered behind the closet. Yet, no matter where he looked, the doll was nowhere in sight.
And judging by the lack of responses from his brothers, they didn't have much luck either.
Which left only one room on the second floor that Yuto didn't look through yet; Yuya's room.
After hearing what Yugo and Yuri said about the strange occurrences and Yuya, Yuto could feel himself getting a little worried as he slowly edges towards his brother's room. He wasn't a big believer in the supernatural, mostly because he never saw anything close to it until he met that creepy doll. Yuto really didn't know what to expect if what happened to Yugo and Yuri would happen to him as well if he enters Yuya's room.
But his brother was on the line. Nothing was worth more than that.
So, mustering up all of his courage, Yuto turns the doorknob and slowly opens the door until it was wide enough for him to stick his head through.
He looks in and sees his brother sleeping in his bed, the blankets nearly covering his entire body. Normally, this wouldn't bother Yuto since he's used to watching his brother sleep in a bed while he was at the hospital but something was wrong with this picture. It was too cold. And he knows Yuya was never a big fan of the cold.
Slipping his way through the door, Yuto begins his search.
He checks the closet, the balcony, he even checks under Yuya's bed. But nothing. No sign of that freaking thing. The whole time, Yuto tip-toed through the room in hopes to not wake his brother in fear of what happened to Yugo. But, looking at his face while he slept, Yuto almost believe that it wouldn't happen. Dried tear trails stain his rounded cheeks and Yuto could faintly hear him whimpering behind his trembling lips.
He thought about last night, how Yuya was such a wreck when they found him.
Does Yuya even know what's happening to him?
Shaking his head, Yuto walks over to the vanity and kneels down. There was nothing under there. Sighing in annoyance, Yuto stands up, wondering where the doll could. He barely caught his reflection in the mirror in front of him.
"Looking for something?'
Yuto jumps when he hears a voice speaking up from behind. That sounded like Yuya, yet... He looks in the mirror to the place where he knows Yuya was sleeping only to find his brother sitting up, a grotesque grin on his face...
...And his eyes were pure black.
Heart pounding in his chest, Yuto whips around to face the grinning Yuya, only to find his eyes semi-normal; his crimson red eyes were there, but they lost their usual light and his pupils were way too small.
Yuto is beginning to feel the fear that Yugo must have felt last night.
"U-Um," Yuto stutters. What could he even say? "I-I'm just looking for that doll you found a while ago?"
Yuya cocks his head slightly, his grin falling from his face. "Doll?"
"Y-Yeah!" Maybe if he kept up the act, he could find a way to escape the room before this thing in Yuya's body could do something. "Y-You know, the thing with the black trench and the straw hat? It also had these little button eyes, remember that?"
Yuya remained silent, which caused Yuto sweat slightly. He didn't like the way this thing was looking at him like it was observing his every action. And the worst part, it was using his brother's face to do it.
A smirk planted on Yuya's face. "I think you know exactly where it is, Yuto-chan..."
Oh God, it already knows.
He sighs. "Alright, what the hell are you?" Yuto was done playing games with this doll. "I know you're the one that attacked Yugo last night, and I also know that you killed almost every one of Yuya's pets, made Yuya punch Sawatari, and gave him all of those bruises."
"Finally making the connections, are you?" Yuya asks as he slowly stands up. "You're way smarter than the rest of your brothers, that's for sure."
Yuto opens his mouth to make a retort when voices from the hallway caught his attention.
"Yuto!" Yugo's terrified voice calls out.
"Yuto, for Pete's sake, you better not be in that room!" And he knows that angry tone from anywhere.
"Guys!" Deciding that this would be a good time to run, Yuto immediately sprints over to the door. But before he could reach the knob, the door slams shut. This makes Yuto run into it face-first, something that he didn't enjoy.
"What the-?" Yuto backs up with a hand to his nose, his eyes wide at the door in front of him. When did that close?!
"Hehehehehe..." shivers went down Yuto's spine when he hears Yuya chuckle like that. "You may be smarter, but you're just as funny as the rest!"
Growling, Yuto whips around to face the giggling Yuya. "What the hell was that for?!"
"Oh? You didn't like my little prank?" He asks in false innocent tone.
"I doubt anything that you do is a prank, so stop playing games and tell me what's going on!" Yuto demands.
Yuya cocks his heads slightly as if he's unsure of telling him what's going on. That look makes Yuto curl his fingers into fists. If it weren't for the fact that it was still Yuya-!
"I guess since you all won't be around for much longer, I think one of you deserves to know," Yuya shrugs like they're talking about the weather. Something that didn't sit well for Yuto. "Basically, the whole gist of this is just me doing my job."
"And what kind of job is that?" Yuto took a few steps forward, seeing that he now got the thing talking and he could finally get his answers.
But what was said next left him completely speechless. "I think the incident that happened in this orphanage twenty-years-ago will tell you what I do for a living."
A cold sweat dripped down Yuto's forehead. Oh, God, it... It was the who-
"You were the thing that woman was obsessed over," Yuto begins with a faint whisper, something that makes Yuya grin. "Y-You... You made her torture all of those kids... You made them all commit suicide!"
"Like I said, it's just a job," Yuya shrugs carelessly.
Yuto breathes, he needs to calm down and get some more answers. He cannot lose control of his emotions right now. "S-So, if you really did cause all of those suicides, are you going to do the same to Yuya?"
It didn't answer that. It didn't need to. Why else would it be doing all of this? It makes something that sounds very similar to a sob escape Yuto's throat while fresh tears begin to form in his eyes. When he heard about what happened to those kids he was horrified. All of them were so young when their deaths happened. To imagine that happen to Yuya-
"Why?" he breathes out. "Why him? Why did you pick him? Why didn't you pick any of us?" Why didn't you pick me? That one went unheard but Yuto knew that thing could probably guess what he was thinking.
With the grin still in place, the thing continues. "Well, I have to admit, it wasn't an easy choice. I haven't seen kids in this place for a long time so I didn't know which one I could have fun with first. I mean, Yugo-chan would've been interesting, since he's always getting himself into trouble; that part where he chased after that robber killed me, by the way. Yuri-chan, oh... Yuri-chan would've been so much fun to push towards the edge. He's already messed up and his attitude is right up my alley.
"And you, Yuto-chan," it turns Yuya's head in his direction, his grin wider than ever. "You thought you were so high and mighty because you were the oldest and thought you could handle anything. I could only imagine the ways I would break down that facade one by one..."
Yuto grits his teeth, trying to keep himself together. Don't lose control, don't lose control, don't lose control...
"Then I noticed something similar about the three of you," it continues on. "All of your misery is linked together because of your little brother. I got curious and dived in for some information. So, leukemia, huh? You know, there's always a 60 to 70% chance of survival rate for that type of cancer at that age. Yuya-chan was very lucky."
Yuto dared himself not to talk.
"But that wasn't the only thing that I found out. Did you know what it was like for your brother? When he would undergo treatment?"
He gulps before answering. "L-Look, pal, those days were horrible for all of us. You have no idea what it was like to watch him-"
"Tsk, tsk, tsk," Yuto stops when Yuya suddenly waves his finger at him. "That wasn't my question, Yuto-chan; I asked what it was like for him to undergo surgery while you three lead a normal life?"
"W-Wha... What?" Yuto couldn't believe what he was hearing. What the hell did that mean?
"Wow, you can't even answer that, can you?" Yuya laughs when he sees Yuto's expression. "Oh man, this is even sadder! You guys were born from the same womb, basically grew up together, and yet you three didn't know you were causing Yuya-chan so much pain over the years!" He dissolved into a fit of laughter, something that makes Yuto's face curl into a snarl.
"What the hell are you talking about?!" he demands loudly.
"Oh?" Yuya stops laughing to look up at Yuto with a quirked eyebrow. "You didn't notice how you would hurt him by being the ones that got a chance to start school like the rest of kids when he didn't? How he missed out on everything you guys experienced when you were in your first years of elementary school? Or how you all grew up with your friends while he was just another person that randomly showed up at one point?"
Yuto could feel his breathing getting quicker the more that thing continues to talk. He wanted to believe that what it was saying wasn't true but a part of him knew it. Even as a child, Yuto could sometimes see the longing look Yuya would have on his face when the three of them would leave the hospital to go to school. But he thought his eyes were just playing tricks on him at the time.
"And even when he was finally free to live out his life, you and everyone else still treated him differently since everyone knew that Yuya was the kid who got cancer since he just randomly shows in school one day. Oh, and let's not forget the time before you all moved here. You all felt like your parents weren't listening to you again like when Yuya was in the hospital for treatment so you locked yourselves in. But, in reality, what you really did was make your little brother feel like his family was falling apart all over again and it got the point where you basically handed him to-!"
Yuto didn't let him continue at that point. All he saw at that point was red so he forced Yuya to a wall with his arm, slamming him into the surface and kept him in place with his arm under his chin while he has a fist out and ready. He could barely register a cracking noise in the background since he was too busy staring at the possessed Yuya's dumbfounded dull eyes with his own rage-filled ones.
"Get out of him!" he roars, pushing him up further. "Get out of him right now or I'll make you!"
As he breathes to slowly calm himself down, Yuya still continues to look at him with a dumbfounded expression like he couldn't actually believe that Yuto just did what he did. Well, he better believe it. How else was it expecting him to react?
Yuto watches it slowly raises its hand, making him tense since he thought it was going to try and do something. However, it instead went to the back of its head, slightly sliding its fingers underneath. When he pulls back, Yuto could see something red staining its finger.
His heart stops when he realizes that red stuff is blood.
"Wow," Yuya begins with a hint of awe while Yuto begins to hyperventilate. "I thought it was cruel what you guys did to Yuya emotionally, but what you just did-"
Yuto didn't listen to him when he looked beyond Yuya's head and his own blood freezes.
He didn't push Yuya's body against the wall... He pushed him against the mirror...
Yuto let his grip go and falls to his knees in front of his possessed brother, sobbing into his hands as tears freely fall down his face. He hurt his little brother. He hurt Yuya out of everyone he could've hurt. The one brother who he promised to always protect when he saw him lying down on his hospital bed, moaning from the side effects of the chemotherapy. He fucking promise...
"Hey, don't worry about it, Yuto-chan," he hears that horrible thing attempting to soothe him in Yuya's voice. "You won't have to worry about this anymore once I'm done with you."
It... It was going to kill him, wasn't it? Kill him by using his brother's body.
"I'm sorry, Yuya..."
That pained scream startled Yuto out of his thoughts. He whips his head up to see Yuya holding a knife above his head in a position to strike him with but Yuya's arms appear to be shaking from some sort of invisible force that's trying to force his fingers apart. His eyes were crushed together while small groans escape his pressed lips. What was going on?
"P-Please," Yuto's eyes widen when he hears that strained but familiar voice passes through those lips. "D-Don't make me hurt him!"
"Yuya?!" his brother didn't say anything as he falls to his knees in front of him. "Yuya is that you?!"
Panting, one of Yuya's eyes open with a slight twitch, revealing a shiny crimson orb that's full of pain, fear, and tears. "N-Ni-sama..."
"Yuya!" wrenching the knife out of his brother's hands and tossing it away that's hopefully far enough away for him to grab, Yuto pulls the trembling boy into a hug, allowing Yuya to sob onto his shoulder. "It's going to be alright, Yuya. I promise I won't let this thing hurt you!"
His response was another sob on his shoulder, making Yuto tighten his grip on him. He slowly rocked him back and forth, a slight reminder of all the times he would comfort Yuya after throwing up from the chemotherapy. Only, this situation is far worse for Yuya mentally.
"I-I'm sorry, N-Nii-sama..." Yuya spoke after a while, his body still tense but no longer trembling. "I... I never blamed you guys... Please, know..."
Yuto didn't get a chance to hear the rest of Yuya's sentence when his body suddenly slumps against his. Startled, Yuto brought Yuya's face away from his shoulder only to find his eyes closed, soft puffs of breath leaving his lips.
He was asleep.
"Fusion, get your hand outta my face!"
Jumping from the loud noises, Yuto turns his head to see the door open with Yugo and Yuri sprawled across the floor, Yuri's machete in one hand while holding a strange looking book in the other. "Guys?"
They look up and pop their eyes open when they see Yuto on the floor, holding an unconscious Yuya in his arms. "Yuto!" they immediately run over to the two, kneeling down once they got there. "W-What the hell happened?" Yugo demands. "The door was locked from the outside and we couldn't hear anything."
"Y-You were right, Yugo," Yuto mumbles, turning his attention back to Yuya. "H-He really was possessed... A-And that thing almost killed me too... B-But, Yuya stopped it..."
The two shared a look before sighing. Yuri then pulls up the book he was holding. "Well, you weren't the only one who made a revelation today."
Yuto looks up and sees the title of the book: Tales of the Shinigami.
Chapter 16: Calling for Help
"It's called a Shinigami," Yuri begins once they're all in the living room, Yuya included as they laid him on the couch with a blanket on top of him and an ice pack underneath his head. "They're called the Gods of Death; apparently it's their job to guide a person to death. One of those ways is... Suicide, which explains the multiple suicides in this place twenty-years-ago."
Yuto nods, half-listening while taking a few glances at the sleeping Yuya. His mind was still reeling over what happened in the room; did Yuya really felt like that for years? Feeling different than the rest of them because he had to go through treatment? He tries not to shudder in front of his brothers because he knows it's not the time but to imagine Yuya keeping that to himself all of these years...
"Man, that is one ugly son of a bitch," Yuto shook himself out of his thoughts when he heard Yugo's comment and looks at the page Yuri opened. He grimaces at the sight and couldn't help but agree with his brother. The thing that's been drawn from old ink has this long, gangly appearance that almost makes it look like a skeleton. That creepy smile on its face didn't help matters, either.
"Moving on," Yuto had never felt so happy for Yuri skipping something on him. "Judging by these notes that are scrambled all over the place, I can only guess that we finally know which creature that woman was obsessed over."
"Yeah, no kidding," Yuto cringes when he reads a note. "Uh, I don't think we're all old enough to be reading any of this."
"Definitely not a religion I would want to take part of," Yugo comments after moving his eyes away from that particular note. Yuri nods and moves away from that page.
"Does it say anything about how to stop it?" Yuto asks after getting over the image the note provided in his head.
Yuri nods and flips to another page. "Despite what they're called, Shinigamis are still just spirits who apparently have jobs from the King of Hell, himself. So, if my knowledge of horror movies doesn't fail me now, a simple exorcism should get rid of it."
"An exorcism?" Yugo draws back with an unimpressed look on his face. "Did our lives just seriously become a William Friedkin flick?"
"There's a church in town," Yuto says, ignoring Yugo's comment. "We can go to the officials there and they can perform it there."
"While I do agree it's the best course of action, Yuto," Yuri begins as he closes the book. "May I remind you that every exorcism is decided by adults? Considering we're all still four years away from adulthood, how are we going to convince-?"
The front door opens, cutting Yuri off.
"Remind me again why did you decide to work for those people?" Yoko asks as they walk through the door.
Yusho shrugs while closing. "They may be jerks but they do help get my ideas to life."
Yoko shakes her head before stepping into the living. "Hey, boys, we're back-" she stops herself when she notices Yuya on the couch while the rest of them sat on the floor near him. "Um... What's going on?"
The three share a look before turning back to their mother. "We have a lot to talk about...."
Possession?" Yusho asks once the two adults sat on the couch, Yuya now resting on his mother's lap as she keeps the ice bag under his head. "That seems like a far stretched theory, boys. Are you a hundred percent sure about this?"
"A hundred percent?" Yugo repeats like his father just said pineapple goes well on pizza. "Dad, Yuya attacked me last night! He pushed glass off the table and now I can barely walk without my feet getting hurt!" To prove his point, Yugo lifts his bandaged feet. His parents wince at the sight and become relieved when he puts them back down.
"And I saw a man on Yuya's balcony," Yuri adds in. "And right when I barged into Yuya's room, the man was gone and Yuya began to act rather peculiar."
"Look, Mom, Dad," Yuto begins. "We know all of this sounds crazy - believe me, we were all freaked out when it happened to us - but you gotta believe us. There's something inside of Yuya and we need to get it out fast."
Their parents turn their heads to give each other looks before turning their eyes to Yuya, who continues to sleep with a slight twitch in his cheeks. The brothers wait anxiously, hoping that this time their parents will listen to them. While they have had ups and downs in the past and all of them are not religious they can't help but notice the strange occurrences that have been going on in this house and how they're all connected to Yuya.
Finally, Yoko looks up to meet their eyes. "Boys, you know stuff like this is-"
"Mom, he tried to kill us!" Yuto didn't mean to blurt that out but his parents' skepticism and what happened earlier finally caught up to him. Once he realizes what he just said he tried to take it back but the looks on his parents' faces told him it was too late. So, with no other choice, Yuto continues. "He tried to kill all of us; he nearly stabbed Yugo when he was in the kitchen last night."
They turn their heads to their second youngest and Yugo could only nod with a haunted look in his blue eyes.
"And Yuri when we came home from visiting the girls, Yugo saw Yuya holding a knife above Yuri's head when he was sleeping."
"Well, I can't exactly confirm this since I was asleep but because I know Fusion would never think of that scenario as a prank, I'm going to have to take his word for it." Yuri nods as well.
"And me, right before you came home," Yuto sighs, flashbacks of that incident replaying in his mind. "Mom, Dad, you know us. You know that despite all of us differences, we love each other. So, you would also know that the three of us would never even think of the idea of Yuya trying to hurt us if it didn't already happen..."
The two remain silent, their heads slowly processing the information that's been giving them. The boys wait patiently for their response, although, Yuto rubs his fist absentmindedly to show how his anxiety.
Yushou stood up. "I'm calling Shuzo and have him and the kids come over."
"What?!" Out of all the things they were expecting, it was certainly not that.
"Uh, didn't you hear what we just said?" Yuri demands while Yushou walks over to the phone. "We need an exorcist, not another one of your childhood friend's crazy antics!"
"And we're going to that exorcist straight away," Yoko tries to reassure him. "But before we can go we need to make sure you three are safe. You said it yourselves; Yuya nearly tried to kill you all. We're just calling Shuzo and the others over so this spirit doesn't try anything funny while we're gone."
The boys gave each other uneasy looks. While they know the Hiiragi children were a force to reckon with, they wouldn't say the same thing for their father.
"Father Phoenix!" Reiji shouts as he and Reira follow the Priest to his car. "Look, I know we've been bothering you these past few days about the Jisatsu Orphanage but can't me and Reira just-?"
"No," Edo says firmly as he opens his trunk and puts his bag inside. "We've been over this a dozen times; you two are not going over to the Jisatsu Orphanage and that's final!"
"But Father Phoenix," Reira steps forward with her usual calm demeanor. "You know that thing that lives inside that house is completely malevolent. You saw what it did to Zarc and our sister, Ray!"
Edo sighs as he closes the trunk and turns to face them with earnest eyes. "I know, I know what happened to Zarc and Ray and that thought still haunts me to this day knowing I could've done something but didn't. And I know it doesn't seem like it now but whatever incident you believe that's involved with that orphanage and I would listen to you two in a heartbeat."
"But?" Reiji draws out.
"But you two also know that ever since Mr. Roget was arrested for the money scam he pulled a couple years ago, the police in this city have been keeping a close eye on the church's activities, especially regarding any supernatural cases. If they found out I sent you guys to a supposedly haunted area in their eyes without the owners' permission, you could be arrested right on the spot."
The siblings became silent after that. Apparently, Roget is still causing them trouble even if he's arrested. Reira looked back and everything that happened to Zarc and Ray was his fault because he was a coward with his own selfish gain. If he was never put in charge of the church in the first place, then maybe Ray would still be alive and Zarc wouldn't be in that horrible place.
"But what if something happens to them like what happened to Zarc?" Reiji asks.
"If they come by with a problem, I'll let you guys go there. But seeing as they're not here right-"
"Excuse us?" a soft voice cuts Edo off and the three turn to see Yusho and Yoko Sakaki right there, with nervous looks in their eyes. "We couldn't help but overhear your conversation and it appears you're right. We do have a problem in our new home," Yusho revealed.
"It's our fourth child, Yuya," Yoko begins as they all sat in the lobby, a cup of coffee in her hands. "Ever since we arrived, he's been getting these strange bruises that would show up all over his body; one for each day. Then his behavior changed so abruptly... He was always such a sweet boy and so shy meeting somebody new. Now he gets so angry that he actually punched somebody when he would never even hurt a single fly."
"At one point, he overdosed on his medication and the doctors believe he was doing it consciously and I just couldn't believe it," Yusho shakes his head as he recounts the memory. "Then our other children said that Yuya tried to attack them, kill them even. At that point, we just knew that wasn't our little boy anymore and we needed to get help."
"Did your son get close to an object while he was there?" Reira asks, doing her best to keep face emotionless as images appeared in her mind.
"Actually, yes," Yoko admits, though hesitantly. "He found this doll in his room and it often creeps his brothers out but I was never bothered with until Yuya fought somebody to get it back."
Reira stiffens when she hears the word 'doll'. "Did it have a straw hat?"
"Y-Yes..." Yoko nods.
"And it wore a trench coat?"
"And did it have button eyes?"
"Yes! H-How do you know any of this?" Yoko demands in slight hysteria.
Reira sighs. Sooner or later, she's going have to come out with this again. But she never thought it would be to the people who are experiencing the same problems.
She looks up and meets the worried parents' eyes. "Your boys are right; your son, Yuya, is possessed by a Shinigami. And what it's going to do is going to drag your son to Hell."
She knew she was panicking them and causing more stress to their already awful situation but all she could think about was Zarc. Zarc, the kind man that Ray brought home where they can give each other the happily ever after they both deserved before it was suddenly ripped away from that awful-
"You have to forgive, Reira, Mr. and Mrs. Sakaki," Edo speaks up when he notices their panic expressions. "She and her family, unfortunately, had a terrible encounter with the doll that matched your description and I'm afraid she still hasn't recovered from it yet. But, on the subject at hand, are you sure that what's happening to your son is supernatural?"
"Our other boys seem to think so," Yoko says once she's over her horror. "They're quadruplets so they spent all of their lives together. You should've seen the looks on their faces when they told us that Yuya almost killed them. They were so terrified, not only for their own lives but for Yuya. They practically begged us to come over and ask for your help."
She looks up to meet Edo's eyes with her own tear-filled ones. "Please, if there's anything you can do to help him, do it! I can't stand to imagine something walking around while wearing his face like a mask!"
Edo sighs as he rubs his nose. "While I understand that you're both worried for your son, I'm going to need some evidence that your son is indeed possessed before I can perform an exorcism," at the sight of the parents' deflated expressions, he quickly continues. "However, I am willing to send Reira and her brother, Reiji, over to find some evidence and report back to me if they found enough."
Smiles pour onto the two adults' faces as their bodies finally relax, which had been tense since they first arrived here. "Arigato!"
Reira suddenly stood up from her chair, catching the attention of everyone. She didn't meet anyone's eyes until she was in front of the Sakaki couple. The two parents look at her pale blues that hold more knowledge than a person her age should've known.
"Father Phoenix is right," she begins, her voice barely above a whisper. "I'm still recovering to what happened to my sister and her husband but I promise you both this; I will do everything in my power to save your son."
I won't fail him like I failed Zarc, she adds in her thoughts.
Chapter 17: Coming Back To Where It All Started
Spent four days, non-stop working at this. I hope you all enjoy it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"When I said that Yuya could possibly be possessed I was just throwing that out there," Rin begins with a shake of her head. "I didn't really think I was right and it was just Serena's big obsession with topping Yuri messing with my head. Next thing I know, we get a call from your parents saying that Yuya is actually possessed and now we're here to keep an eye on you guys in case Yuya tries to kill you. This is
how I want to spend my school vacation."
The Hiiragi family had arrived only hours ago after a long drive. It was now close to sunset and they were all still waiting for Yusho and Yoko to come back with help. They were all stationed in the living room where Yuya's body was currently present on the couch. Speaking of the boy, he had woken up the moment the Hiiragi family step through the doors. Everyone flinched when he sat up on the couch but all he did was stare blankly at something in front of him. To keep him occupied, Yuto had turned Shrek on the TV but so far Yuya hasn't been paying any attention to what's happening around him.
"Hey, this isn't fun for us either, Rin. Look at what he did to my feet!" to prove his point, Yugo held up one his bandaged feet in Rin's face. They were all stationed near the entrance of the living room, a few of them brought weapons in case Yuya tries something; Yuzu brought her newly-restored fan, Rin with a socket wrench in her hands, Yugo with the scissors he used that night in the kitchen, Yuri with his iconic machete, and Ruri with a broom that she found.
Rin grimaces and shoves his foot away. "That was sarcasm, Yugo!"
"A term that you still have yet to understand," Yuri adds in with a smirk that didn't match his normal ones. To make the situation even more bothersome for the Hiiragi siblings, Yugo didn't even explode at his brother and, instead, just gave him a small glare before turning his eyes back to Yuya.
Shuzo decided to break the awkward silence by stepping into the living room. "Alright, everyone, let's calm down for a bit," the Sakaki boys' eyes widen when they see the older man walking right behind the couch so he was behind the limp Yuya. "I'm sure we're all just blowing this out of proportion. I bet once Yusho and Yoko arrive with the doctor then things will get better soon."
"Uh, what word did our parents say to describe the help they were going to get?" Yuto whispers to Shun, who is currently looking at his father like he just lost his head.
"They said, exorcists, if that makes you feel any better," Shun shakes his head. "But you know our dad with supernatural stuff; he tends to avoid it. He thought you guys were joking when they told us that Yuya was possessed."
"And what about you? What did you think when they called?"
Shun was quiet for a moment, making Yuto look at him in interest. Suddenly, his gray eyes meet the older boy's solemn yellow ones. "I know you guys for a long time and I know none of you would never dare joke about Yuya killing any of you."
Yuto smiles at that; at least more than one person in this house that believes them.
"Hey, look at that, Yuya," Yuto turns his attention back to Shuzo, who has a hand on Yuya's shoulder pointing at something on the TV. "It's that scene you always laugh at! When those men shoot an arrow at the donkey!"
Yuto looks over to the TV to see that the scene where Princess Fiona kicks Robin Hood in the head and one of his Merry Men shoots an arrow at her in response. She dodges it in time but it ends up going straight for Donkey, who immediately jumps into Shrek's arms to avoid it. Normally that would make Yuya break into a fit of laughter due to how the camera shot that scene but Yuya didn't even give a twitch of a smile when that happened.
Seeing this makes Shuzo scratch his head. "Gee, you must be sicker than I thought. You love that scene..."
No reply from Yuya.
Ringing from the doorbell made everyone jump out of their skins. With their attention solely focused on Yuya, they didn't check to see if anyone was going to come by. "I'll get it..." Ruri volunteers and before anybody could stop her, she's already heading over to the door that's twice her size and opening it.
She sighs when she sees who's exactly on the other side. "Oji-sama, Oba-sama!" There were also two other people that she didn't recognize and were carrying some strange devices. Believing these to be the people that the Sakaki family sent for help, Ruri lowers the broom slightly.
"Yuto! Guys! Your parents are back!" Everyone, minus Yuya, looks over in her direction when they heard that. The Sakaki brothers immediately run over to the front door and upon seeing the sight of their parents they quickly went in for a hug.
"Oh, are you three okay?" Yoko gushes as she rubs her fingers through Yugo's hair.
"That thing didn't try to do anything while we were gone, did it?" Yusho asks once they all separate.
"Other than ruining Yuya's love for Shrek, it hasn't done anything else," Yuri states. "And, I can't believe I'm saying this, but your idea actually worked; that thing didn't come after us as long as we weren't alone."
"That's good," Yoko then turns to the two strangers on the porch. "Boys, these two are Akaba Reiji and Reira. They work for the Church in town and said they could help us."
"Abaka Reiji?" Yuto narrows his eyes at the older boy with the red scarf around his neck. "Weren't you that Child Prodigy who won several rewards and didn't believe in the supernatural?"
"Yes, that's correct," Reiji nods. "I didn't believe in the supernatural like you said, but a certain incident that happened to my family a few years ago has changed my views on the subject."
Yuto raises an eyebrow at him but decides to let it drop. Meanwhile, Yugo was looking at the young girl wearing a black hoodie dress with the hood over her head nervously. He could see her almost-dead blue eyes peeking out from underneath the darkness of the hoodie. The boy did his best not to shiver.
"Uh... I didn't know children could become exorcists now," Yugo mumbles, his attention still on the young girl.
"I'm not here to exorcise anyone," God, even her voice sounds weird- Wait, what?!
"Excuse me, I'm afraid I didn't hear that correctly, but you said that you weren't going to exorcise the spirit that's been tormenting our brother," Yuri, who heard her sentence along with a flabbergasted Yuto, slowly says as he looks at the girl with dangerously narrowed eyes.
"You three must the brothers who witness your other brother's possession," Reira comments with little reaction to Yuri's tone. "Allow me to say that when your parents came to the Church to tell of your experiences I believed them wholeheartedly. However, the person who is actually in charge of and performs exorcisms needs physical evidence to actually give your brother the help he needs. Certain laws prevent him from starting an exorcism right away, I'm just here to provide him with that evidence."
Her words brought little comfort for the boys. They were hoping to get this thing out of there brother as soon as possible. However, if this was the only way to get their brother the help he needs then they're willing to wait. Despite how unhappy it makes them.
"Is he-?" Reira didn't even need to finish her question since the boys already knew who she's talking about and move a bit to let her through.
"He's in the living room," Yuto tells her.
"First room on your left," Yuri adds in.
Reira nods before she steps into the house. Immediately, she notices a chilling breeze the moment her foot touch the floor. Despite the passive look on her face, the chill was so agonizingly familiar that she almost stumble from the sheer force of it. Quickly composing herself, Reira continues her small walk to the living room and stops when she sees some more people.
"Mr and Miss Akaba, these are family friends of ours, the Hiiragi's," Yoko introduces the other people, who bow in respect in reply.
"I didn't know doctors come in all sizes now," Shuzo mumbles as Reira takes a few more steps into the living room, allowing her to see Yuya on the couch.
Her heart stops when she gazes upon the older boy. As a toddler, Reira had often seen things that others would give her strange looks when they couldn't see it. For a long time, she believed them and thought that the strange creatures who would fly in front of her face were just hallucinations. But that changed the day she noticed a dark shadow hovering over her brother-in-law's back.
That was the same shadow she saw on Yuya. But before, the shadow was just hovering over her brother's shoulders like a floating puppet. To Yuya, it was different. It had Its arms wrapped around the boy's shoulders. The smoky, black tendrils of the thing's fingers knit through his body like stitches. It hasn't noticed her yet and she couldn't help be glad.
She didn't want to imagine what It would do if It recognizes her.
"What is it?" Reira nearly jumps out of her skin before she turns and meets everyone's concern stares.
She shakes her head. Now wasn't the time to panic.
"Nii-sama, will you please set up the cameras near him?" Reiji nods in understanding as he walks over to the couch and places that camera he's been holding a couple of feet away from the boy.
"Uh, what's the camera for?" Yugo couldn't help but ask.
"These cameras have sensors in them," Reiji replies as he adjusts it. "They're supposed to react to dramatic changes in the weather, like say that this room becomes colder than it already is. The sensors will trigger the camera to snap a picture of the area."
Yugo shares a look with his brothers, wondering how that's going to help, but doesn't say anything.
Reira pulls out a smaller camera and looks at the other occupants in the room. "Who here knows how to hold a camera?"
Yoko steps forward and Reira hands it to her. "Whatever happens, do not turn this camera off," were the girl's only words to the older woman, who nods and presses a button. The red light flashes on.
Reira slowly walks over and until she's in front of the boy. "Yuya?" she kneels down in front of him. "Sakaki Yuya?"
He didn't respond.
"My name is Akaba Reira, your family sent for me in hopes of helping you. Do you think you can talk?"
Something happened when she introduced herself. The shadow shifted, Its tendrils slowly sinking in further. Yuya seems to notice this as his teeth clenched together tightly. Out of the corner of her eye, Reira could see his left-hand spasming on top of the fabric.
"Yuya?" this time, he looks up at her, his eyes showing no emotion but she could see how locked his mouth look. "Yuya, I need you to answer my question; can you talk?"
He was silent for a moment. Then he shook his head slowly. It looked like it took a lot out of him to even do that.
"Alright," some part of her expected that, so she reaches into her pocket and pulls out what appears to be a little Buddha made out of jade. "Yuya, I need you to hold this for me. Okay?"
Yuya's eyes dart to the charm but he makes no move to grab it. Instead, his twitching hand grips the sofa underneath him until his hands curl into a tight fist. Reria sighs before she takes that hand - though it did put up a bit of a struggle - and places the charm in its grip. The reaction came faster than she expected.
He drops the charm the moment he got his hand back. The jade item bouncing once it reaches the soft surface.
Reira picks the charm back up and puts in Yuya's hand once again.
This time, Yuya just tosses it to the other end of the couch. His hand now spasming out within every second. Reira ignores this and just reaches over to get the charm. With slight hesitation now, Reira slowly brought the charm into his hand once more and waits for the reaction.
Yuya just flat-out throws it away.
"OUCH!" Yugo cries out when the charm sails right into his forehead. "Son of a bitch! Why is it always me?!"
Everyone, minus Yuya, winces in slight sympathy when they see the jade charm make contact with that boy - who is currently mopping around with a hand to his sore spot. Reira sighs before pulling out an old book.
"I'm going to read you some text from my church, is that okay?" Yuya didn't respond to that, giving Reira the sign that she can continue. She opens the book, flips through a few pages, stops and skims it over. With a deep breath, she spoke in a loud and clear voice.
"Kan Ji Zai Bo Za Tsu Gyo Jin Han Ya Ha Ra Mi Ta Ji Sho Ken Go On Kai Ku-"
Yugo shakes his head at the sight before him. How was any of this supposed to help Yuya? He was about to open his mouth to say something when he catches it out of the corner of his eyes. The screen of the TV flickering. Startled, he taps his brothers' shoulders and points in the direction of the TV.
Eyes widening when they see the screen flickering randomly the boys quickly tap their mother's shoulder to get her attention. She looks over at them in curiosity before eyes catch the TV. She quickly turns the camera over to the flickering box, the screen becoming more static the longer it goes on.
Reira blinks when the camera goes off. She looks over to the object only to find it in its normal place as it was before. The only thing that indicated its flash was the looks from everyone else. Yoko, who has now turn the camera back to them, gives her a nod that what she saw was true.
She quickly turns back to the book in her hand. "Yaku Bu Nyo Ze-"
Reira freezes when the camera goes off again. "Sha-"
FLASH! FLASH! FLASH!
The camera kept going off repeatedly. The flashes began to make everyone squint due to the fast amount of time it keeps going off. It got to the point Reiji had to step forward and shut the camera off.
All became silent.
Reira yelps when the book is suddenly flown right out of her hands and onto a nearby wall. The noise made all the kids yelp and those who were holding weapons point their respective items at the place where the book landed. They all kept their eyes on that area, not daring to look away from it in case something else happens.
It was because of that they didn't see Ruri's hair go up, strand by strand. The only one who finally noticed was Yuzu, who looked over to her sisters to find some sort of reassurance when she notices her sister's hair getting pulled up by nothing in sight.
"Uh... Ruri?" The girl in question looks over with questioning eyes. She didn't even notice that part of her hair.
"What is it, Yuzu?" Before she could say anything, Ruri yelps when her hair is suddenly yanked on. Lifting her off her feet, the invisible force throws Ruri into a wall with a mighty pull on her hair. The broom she was holding was completely disregarded on the ground after she makes contact with the wall.
"Ruri!" at once, Yuto, Shun, and Shuzo quickly ran over to the trembling girl, her hands over her aching head as she whips her eyes around to find the one who yanked on her hair. "Ruri, are you okay?" Yuto asks.
Ruri opens her mouth to reply but it instead comes out as a scream when her hair gets pulled on once again, dragging her away from the three. Shun quickly grab onto her foot in hopes that it will help. However, Shun only found himself getting dragged along as Ruri's head collides into another wall.
When Ruri got dragged this time, Yuto and Shuzo were prepared and wrapped their arms around her to keep her from moving anywhere. However, they were not expecting the thing that's tugging her hair to pull so harshly, making the poor girl scream in agonizing pain. The two did their best to get the thing to let go of her by grabbing the lock of hair that's being pulled but the act did a little effect.
"Yugo! The scissors!" Yugo, who was currently holding a trembling Rin against his chest, blinks when Yuto shouts at him. Finally, the wires connect in his head while his eyes light up in realization. He quickly hurries to Ruri and snips the piece that's being pulled off in a blink of an eye.
Ruri's body falls down the moment that lock of hair was detached from her. She bursts into a fit of tears as she buries herself in Yuto's chest. The boy could only pat her back as her brother and father rub her shoulders in hopes to calm her down.
"Did you get any of that?" Reira asks Yoko, who looks on through the camera's screen with eyes full of horror.
"Yes," she breathes out. "I got it all..."
Reira then turns her attention to everyone else in the room. To the brother, that's holding the attacked girl against him while her brother and father did their best to help. To the girl's sisters, who look at their sister with relieved but fearful tears dripping down their eyes. To the other brothers and their father, watching the scene with concerned looks while the image of what happened still playing in their heads. To her own brother, who wasn't looking at the others but instead at-
She turns her gaze back to Yuya and she gasps.
His skin had gain gray-hue that could be mistaken as a sign of paleness if it wasn't examined closely enough. His eyes lost their light and his pupils have shrunk. A thin, sickening smirk was implanted on his face. The shadow was now staring at her as well.
"We need to get Yuya out of this house. Now ."
Just throwing this out here: how would you guys feel if I did a multi-fic where the Yuboys have sisters?
Chapter 18: Akaba Files: Zarc and Ray
As you guys can see the length of this chapter, it took me quite a while to write it. But I still hope you guys will enjoy it!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"There's a nearby motel for your family to stay in," Reiji tells Yusho as the brothers holding an unconscious Yuya - thanks to the courtesy of Yuzu when she finally snapped out of her shock and whacked Yuya on the head with her fan for what happened to Ruri - walk past them and brought Yuya into their mother's van. "It's a little out of the city, but I think it's far enough away so that thing can't do any more damage like this."
"Thank you," Yusho shakes the younger boy's hand. "I can't thank you and your sister enough for this."
"It's fine," Reiji shakes his head. "We'll give what we found to our Priest and we will come back with an answer as soon as we get it."
Yusho nods before going over to the van, making sure that he's near them in case something happens to them. Meanwhile, Reiji turns his attention back to the house, where he could see Reira standing in the hallway near the front entrance. He walks up the stairs, nearly avoiding the Hiiragi girls as they came rushing out of the house, Ruri with an ice bag to her head.
He stops when he's right behind Reira, who didn't move when she feels his presence behind her.
"Do you remember this hallway, Nii-sama?" Reira asks, her back still facing him. "When I ran through here, you followed me. You tried to pull me back when Zarc pulled a knife to my face?"
Reiji sighs, images of his brother-in-law standing a few feet away from where Reira is currently standing flash through his head, scars covered his entire body; some old and some were new as blood dripped down like teardrops. That mad glint in his golden eyes overshadowed the tears that flow down his graying skin. The knife shined eerily in the dark with its direction pointed at his sister, the man's wide, Joker-like smile reflected the knife's shine.
It was that image that gave him the wakeup-call.
"Excuse me?" Reiji turns to see the mother - Sakaki Yoko, he remembers - walking up to them with a concerned look in her green eyes. "Is everything alright?"
"Yes, of course," Reiji nods quickly. "My sister is just having nostalgia from what happened to our family a few years ago."
Yoko nods in understanding but then her eyes shift, possibly wanting to say something but wasn't sure if she should. "You both said," she begins with a slight stutter. "That you encountered a creature similar to the one that's tormenting my son, and I was wondering, how did that happen to you?"
Reiji was about to open his mouth, to tell her that she keep her thoughts out of other people's business when Reira spoke up.
"Do you remember the suicides of the twelve children in this orphanage twenty years ago?" Yoko blinks in surprise.
"Y-Yes, it was all over the news at that time... What does that have anything to do with this?"
This time, Reira looks over her shoulder to meet the older woman's eyes. "And did you that there was only one survivor that night? When the authorities finally found out what that woman was doing to all of the children?"
"Yes, I was so horrified when they showed pictures of him in the aftermath."
Reira turns around fully. Her voice monotone, "That was our brother-in-law, Zarc Hōkisuru, now known as Zarc Akaba."
Yoko's eyes widen as she covers her mouth with both of her hands. "I... I... I had no idea. I'm so sorry, how is he now?"
A bitter laugh escapes Reira's throat. "Oh, he was fine after he met my sister. Before, he was such a wreck; he couldn't hold conversations, never look at people in the eye, and he was always trembling. He didn't know what to do with his life and everything about him was a complete mess."
"Oh my..." Yoko looks back up to meet the young girl's tormented eyes. "So, was your sister able to help him after meeting him?"
"Oh, not right away," Reira shook her head. "In fact, my sister used to hate him. I always remember my sister coming home from that small bakery shop she used to work, complaining about a co-worker who would always hold up the lines to the cash register, never getting any of the customer's orders correct, and bumping into her when they walk in the same path. There wasn't a single day that I didn't hear her complaining about him.
"But then, something changed one day. My sister came home one day with this lost expression in her eyes. I asked her what was wrong and she eventually told me that the co-worker she always complained about was the survivor of the Jisatsu Orphanage and all of his weird behavior was caused by his PTSD. She felt bad for how she treated him but she didn't know how to apologize to him. I just suggested that she should just talk to him and see where things would go from there. Next thing I knew, they're hanging out together if Ray's not busy taking care of me. A few months later, the two started to date. And right when they were twenty they got married!"
Reira just keeps shaking her head back and forth, a bittersweet smile on her face as the memories flood her. She could never forget the smiles those two would give each other; real, pure smiles that broke through their hard lives. Ray when she was struggling with her father's legacy as a businessman while dealing with her broken family when her father got remarried. Zarc when he had to go through a traumatizing experience and believing he could never find any source of comfort after what happened to him. Those two brought out the best of each other and just thinking about those days leave tears in her eyes.
Yoko stares at the young girl, shocked by the all of this information. She looks over to Reiji to see his reaction only to find the younger boy holding his glasses away from his eyes as he rubs them. Even with his emotionless expression, she could still see how tormented he was by these memories.
She almost hated herself for continuing. "So, what went wrong?"
Reira meets her eyes and Yoko could feel her breath sharpening when she sees the haunted look in her eyes.
"The Shinigami never left him..." she simply replies.
Reira always liked visiting Ray and Zarc's home. It was different from the huge mansion that Reira had to familiarized herself with due to its never-ending hallways. With her sister and new brother's home, she could the room she wants anywhere. Like right after hours of jumping on that trampoline in their backyard, Reira would go back to the room that they prepared for her with no problem and go back to her coloring.
It was so much better than the mansion. Here, everything was warm, fun, and Zarc showed her much more affection than Reiji ever did. She still didn't understand why Reiji refuses to acknowledge Ray's existence; it wasn't her fault that she was born first and that Daddy loved her more. She never asked for any of that.
Still, Reira couldn't bring herself think about Reiji further as she continues to doodle away. This time, she was drawing what Zarc and Ray's child would look like if they decided to have one. She has overheard them talking about it a few times since they were already married for five years but they were still unsure, Zarc especially. Still, if they ever do, Reira could always imagine what her niece or nephew might look like.
As Reira was about to get a red crayon for the child's hair, a noise from the kitchen made her freeze.
Huh, that sounds like one of the plates. Wonder why that would drop.
"Zarc?" Reira stands up and walks out of the room to where she heard the noise when she heard her sister's voice echo throughout the house. '"Zarc, is everything alright?"
She arrived in the kitchen a little after Ray did. They found Zarc standing a few feet from the entrance, his whole body rigid and broken pieces of the plate he dropped near his feet. Reira could faintly hear his breathing coming out short and fast. That was strange, the only time that happens is when Zarc gets a panic attack and he hasn't had one in months.
But looking at Ray's expression it seems to be the case. She slowly approaches her husband in order to avoid making loud noises. "Zarc, it's me," she whispers softly. "Is it alright for me to touch you?"
The reaction was immediate; Zarc quickly ran into her arms, his whole body trembling as his breathing became briskly. Reira watched as Ray gently rubs his tense shoulders, never actually holding him since Ray told her that restraining him when he's like this was bad. She allowed him to grip her clothing tightly while his words came out in a garbled mess.
"Not possible... Found me... Shouldn't be here..." is what she manages to hear. Ray looks at her husband with confusion in her eyes.
"Zarc, what found you?" He didn't reply but, instead, pointed a trembling finger at what his eyes were locked on this entire time. Reira follows that finger to the kitchen counter and that's when she saw it.
Not the doll that was sitting up with a straw hat on its head. No, she was looking at the large, shadowy figure that was holding the doll in place. Now, normally, this wouldn't have bothered her because she would assume that it was only her imagination. But she had seen this shadow before, right when Ray first introduced Zarc to her family.
It was then she noticed how cold the room had gotten.
"What the-? Reira, is that one of your dolls?" the young girl quickly shakes her head; no way would she ever keep something that creeps her out like that. "Well, whoever brought it in here I'm going to teach them a lesson for giving my husband a panic attack. Can you get that thing out of here? I don't care what you do with it, just keep it far away from Zarc."
Reira nods and quickly takes the creepy-looking doll off the counter. She holds it close to her chest so Zarc didn't have to look at it as she ran out of the house, looking for a way to dispose of this thing. She found her answer in the form of a sewer grate. It had a hole big enough on the sidewalk to toss the doll in. And that's what she exactly did.
The young girl watches as the doll falls into the darkness of the sewer. She only heads back to the house when she heard the water splashing from the impact.
Reira walks up to the house to find Ray waiting for her on the porch. "So, where did you throw it?" she asks with a hint of amusement in her voice.
"In the sewers," Reira says simply, making Ray chuckle a bit.
"You know, this is usually the part where I would tell you to respect someone else's property and return it to them. But, considering the crap they put Zarc through by leaving that thing there, I'm just going to say that I'm proud of you for getting rid of it."
Reira smiles at sister's comment before her eyes shift over to the staircase behind her. "How's Onii-chan?"
Ray's smile fades from her face as she takes a deep breath from her nose. "Well, he started to calm down after you took the doll out of the house. I just managed to get him to sleep in the bedroom a couple of minutes ago. So, I think he's doing okay for now."
Reira nods. "Why do you think that doll set him off?"
Ray just shrugs. "Probably reminded him of one of his foster siblings who used to carry around a doll that looked similar to the one we found. I don't know."
"Are you going to ask him about it?" Ray shakes her head. "Why not?"
"Reira, I really don't know how much I'm supposed to tell you when you're only nine-years-old but I'll do my best to explain it," she sighs.
"I don't know exactly what happened to Zarc when the police found him in that building seventeen years ago, all I know is that he suffered from multiple injuries and his mind hasn't been okay. Zarc doesn't like to talk about what happened and I respect that. I never asked him to tell me what happened because I know how he reacts to it. So, I'm hoping you do the same."
Reira quickly nods her head. She knows how jumpy Zarc tends to get on little things. Then again, she supposed that's what happens when living in a house with the type of woman Ray had described her.
"Anyway, it's late," Ray begins as she stands up and allows Reira through the door. "Zarc and I were going to bake some brownies before your bedtime but considering what happened today, I think we're going to save the brownies for tomorrow."
Brownies? "Why can't I have them now?" Reira whines.
This draws a laugh from Ray. "Hey, I may not be living under Dad's roof anymore but I know better than to disobey him when it comes to midnight snacks!"
Reira was awoken by the sound of something dropping downstairs. Strange, did Zarc drop something again? Memories of what happened earlier made her worry, she hopes that Ray's with him. But, just in case, she pulls out the IPad from underneath her pillow and taps the screen. Light from the device fills her dark room but she ignores it as she presses the app that shows her the screens from the video cameras inside the house.
She doesn't know if Ray and Zarc are aware of Father installing security cameras inside their house after their honeymoon. "They're a little out of civilization," was their father's excuse. But Reira had seen the camera in their bedroom and felt like it was only best to remove it to give the two their privacy. She still kept the other cameras in, though, in case of burglars.
And it appears to be the case, though the robber isn't doing a very good job at sneaking around. The noises downstairs prove that. She decides to look in the kitchen where she believes the noise came from. Sure enough, there are broken pieces of a plate on the ground. But where was the-?
Reira's eyes widen when a plate that was previously on the counter suddenly flying off the surface, shattering once it landed on the ground. It looked like somebody had tossed the plate like a frisbee for a dog but what unsettled her was the lack of someone being there to toss it. Nobody was in sight, meaning that nobody could've done it yet somehow, the plate was still knocked off the counter.
She quickly presses the recording button on the app, her eyes watching the screen intently. There was still a few more plates left on that counter, maybe she can try to catch it this time around-
CRACK! CRACK! CRACK!
Three more plates went flying off their spots and breaking once they hit the floor. And she got it all on tape.
"What the hell is going on?"
Reira quickly stood up from her bed with the IPad in hand when she heard her sister's voice. She peeks out from the doorway to see Ray going down the stairs, baseball bat gripped tightly in her hands.
At least she was prepared.
The young girl follows her sister downstairs to the kitchen, where she finds Ray looking at the scene in front of her with disbelief in her eyes. Broken pieces of the plates lay on the ground, scattered across the room. She scans the room for any sign of intruders but found nothing. Not even a single footprint.
"Onee-chan?" Ray yelps and the bat nearly flies out of her hands. She fumbles with it for a few seconds before she regains her grip and whips around with the bat ready. The older woman blinks when she realizes it was only her little sister before realizing she nearly swung a bat at her. She quickly lowers it.
"Reira? What are you doing up?" Reira blinks before she holds up the IPad.
"I heard noises down here and I used this to check," she presses the play button and shows her sister the video she recorded.
Ray's eyes grow the size of saucers when she sees the plates being tossed to the ground by practically nothing. She opens her mouth to say something before closing it and narrowing her eyes in suspicion when she realizes something.
"Reira, how do you get that footage?" Reira tenses when she realizes what she just gave away.
"Um, Father may have installed security cameras in your house when you and Zarc were on your honeymoon," at Ray's reddening face, Reira quickly elaborates. "But not one in your bedroom! I mean, there was one in your bedroom but I got rid of it before you guys got back-!"
She stops when the look of rage still didn't leave Ray's face. "I'm not happy Father's situation at all, am I?"
"No," Ray deadpans.
The two girls whip their heads up in the direction of upstairs when Zarc's terrified voice rang through the house. It took Reira a second to realize that Zarc must not have heard the noises from downstairs which was why he wasn't with Ray since he wouldn't let her go after a burglar alone. And considering his panic attack earlier today, Reira didn't want to imagine what could be happening to him now.
"Stay down here," Ray orders her before scrambling up the stairs. "Zarc? ZARC!"
Reira watches her sister leave the first floor and waited at her spot anxiously. Was there actually somebody in the house that the cameras didn't pick up and they're doing something horrible to Zarc right now. She knows his tendency to panic due to his PTSD and being in this type of stressful situation after just coming out of one attack.
Maybe she can be backup support if Ray manages to chase the criminal down the stairs. She could go grab a weapon and whack the person on the head before they could escape. She's not going to use a knife, though. Out of the options. Plus, she's pretty sure that Ray would kill her if she ran around with a knife.
So, probably one of the wooden spoons in the kitchen. That's as hard as the baseball bat Ray keeps around. She turns around to step into a kitchen-
Only to stop when she sees a knife floating in mid-air in front of her.
No, it was not floating. Something was holding it.
It was that shadow figure she saw holding the creepy looking doll a while ago. It was there, pointing a knife at her.
She only realized now that the room was cold.
She blinks and the knife is suddenly flying towards her.
"AH!" Reira ducks out of instinct. She could hear the knife stabbing into the wall through her rapid breathing. Was this how Zarc feels whenever he goes through a panic attack? This crippling panic that runs through your veins, making you sweat while your chest tightens from the panic. Now she felt even worse for her brother.
"Reira?!" she looks up to see Ray and Zarc running down the stairs in a hurry, probably in response to her scream earlier. The older Akaba kneels down and places her hands on Reira's shaking shoulders while her concerned violet eyes meet her frantic blue eyes. "What happened? I just got Zarc out of the room and the next thing I hear is you-!"
She stops when she notices the knife a little above her sister's head. "What the hell-!"
"O-Onee-chan!" Reria grabs Ray's shoulders once she gathers her bearings, making the older woman look down at her. "I saw it! It came back! I thought I threw it away with the doll in the sewers but I was wrong and it back and I don't know what to do-!"
"Whoa, Reira, slow down!" Ray cuts in before Reira could continue rant on. "Are you talking about the doll? I know you're panicking from getting a knife so close to your head but how could a doll even hold a-?"
Reira stares at her. She... She didn't believe her. Her own sister didn't believe her.
It took her a second for Reira to realize that the shadow thing she saw earlier was one of the things that she can see but others can't. Ray couldn't see it...
But Zarc probably could. He must have. Or, at least, understand there was something not right with that doll. After all, it's possibly connected to his past since his PTSD was triggered by it.
She turns her attention to her brother-in-law and got herself out of her sister's grip so she can approach him. "Onii-chan, you know what I'm talking about, right? You recognize the doll, you know that there's something wrong with-!"
She stops when she got a real close look at Zarc. In the midst of her panic, Reira didn't see how pale Zarc got, how small his pupils became, or this black liquid that appears to be previously been dripping down his lips but is now dried up at this point. It disturbed her how those stains reminded her of veins but they didn't match the growing trepidation she felt when she saw that shadowy figure standing right behind him.
It was just like before when she first met Zarc, that thing hovering over his shoulder.
"Z-Zarc...?" she whispers his name with a slight stutter.
Zarc didn't reply. He just stares at her with his dull eyes.
"Zarc, do you have any idea what she's talking about?" Ray decides to add in her own question. But like before, Zarc didn't answer. Instead, he kneels down in front of the trembling girl, his gaze never leaving hers.
Reira gulps. What was he-?
His large hand suddenly clamps on her shoulder and Reira's vision suddenly goes black.
When she opened her eyes, Reira was expecting to see Zarc's dead eyes or Ray shaking her awake from that mini blackout. She did not expect to see what appears to be a small space with concrete floors, a wooden ceiling, and shelves of books and bizarre things that she's sure Ray would never allow her to see.
A blood-curdling scream cuts her off before she could finish her sentence. She flinches, the scream was right in her ear. But wait... If she could hear it so close, wouldn't that mean-?
She slowly turns around with trepidation shaking her entire form. She didn't know what to expect when she fully turned around but it wasn't a creepy looking altar with a woman dressed in a lot of black standing over it. Reira had wondered why she was screaming when it looked like nothing was wrong before she noticed Zarc laying down on top of the altar.
Well, at first, she didn't think it was Zarc. If it weren't for the hair, she would never imagine the child that's laying down the cold stone, sobbing his heart out as his chest spasms with each breath he took while his eyes produced so many tears they're creating a small puddle around his limp hair. Reira could see his sweat dripping out of his pours while his little arms pull against the chains that are holding him in place.
And- Oh, God... The woman took a few steps back, allowing her a better view of the young Zarc. The boy was barechested and his only source of clothing was this green nagabakama that's drench with his sweat. Reira stares at his small chest only to discover multiple fresh cuts covering that part of his body, dripping with dark blood. Reira turns her attention to the woman only to find out, with horror, that she had a knife in her that's covered in fresh blood.
How could she do such a horrible thing? Zarc could've been about eight years old.
"Shhh...." the woman hushes the sobbing boy, like what she just did was simply pulling out a rotten tooth from a child and trying to comfort them in the aftermath. "Now, Zarc, take deep breaths."
"IT HURTS!" Reira flinches when Zarc's broken voice came out at max volume. '"IT HURTS SO MUCH! STOP, SENSEI!"
Even with the twisting child in front of her, the woman did nothing but let out a cruel smile on her pale face. "Oh, Zarc, it will be over soon. There's just a couple of things that need to be done and I promise you won't ever feel a thing again."
Oh, Reira didn't like the sound of that.
She kept her eyes on the woman as she walks over to a table before returning her gaze back to the whimpering boy. If this what Zarc had to go through when he was in the orphanage then she couldn't blame him for having panic attacks. She looks around the room, trying to find a way to get Zarc out of this situation when she notices something on a shelf.
Her heart stops. That doll was sitting there, watching this whole thing happening.
"Open your mouth, Zarc," Reira turns back to see the woman holding a piece of cloth near Zarc's mouth, the boy in question shakes his head rapidly while keeping his lips pressed together. "Zarc-chan, if you want all of this to be over, you just need to open your mouth."
Don't do it, Reira begs in her mind. But with the way Zarc looked so hopeful, he let his innocent mind listen to the false security and allow his mouth to open. The woman then ties the cloth around his face, securing it in a position that would allow Zarc to bite into it if he wanted too. Reira and Zarc both watch the woman going over to the table and picking something up.
It was an iron poker. A humming noise came from the orange glow that was on top of the sharp bit.
Oh God, was she-?
"Try not to struggle so much, Zarc," the woman says when Zarc begins to thrash at the sight of poker, his limbs pulling against the chains but they did not budge. "You will only make it worse for yourself if you keep doing that."
Then she stuck the poker into one of his cuts on his chest.
Reira had enough.
"Stop!" she rushes forward and tries to wrench the woman's arm away from him. But, to her surprise and horror, her own arm just phase through the woman's body.
This... This was Zarc's actual memory, isn't it?
She looks over to see Zarc's face and she couldn't help but gag. The boy couldn't scream due to the cloth in his mouth but his expression did it for her. His eyes bulged from their spots in his skull, looking like they're about to pop out of their sockets. Reira was pretty sure that even with the cloth Zarc probably couldn't scream due to the amount of pain he's in.
Reira stiffens when she hears something landing on the ground nearby. She looks to the other side of the altar to find something that makes her scream and stumble back a few steps.
It was the doll. But, at the same time, it wasn't. It still had that grey skin and is wearing the black trench coat and straw hat but it was no longer a small thing made out of fabric. Now, it was tall enough that it was forced to hunch its back so it could avoid hitting the ceiling with twig arms and legs. A wide, grotesque smile was on its wrinkly old while a dark gleam appears in its black eyes as it watches Zarc get torture like this.
Reira wanted to gag at the sight of it. This was that shadow creature she was earlier, only its presence has now amplified to the point Reira felt a bit dizzy just looking at it.
Then, it slowly leans down until it was right in front of Zarc's sweaty face. What was it doing?
It suddenly took the cloth out of Zarc's with its long and skinny fingers, allowing Zarc to scream.
Only for it to turn into a gurgling noise when the thing opens its mouth and black bile came pouring out, right into Zarc's mouth.
"Reira! Reira, snap out of it!"
Reira blinks and she sees Ray's concern purple eyes staring into her own. Zarc was no longer in front of her but instead standing off to the side, not looking at any of them. Which was good because if what she saw was true, then those black stains near his mouth were nothing but bad news.
"Reira, can you tell me what's going on?" Ray demands. "I pull Zarc away from you and you wouldn't respond. It was like you were sleeping with your eyes open!"
"Onee-chan," Reira grips her sister's arms tightly, catching the older woman's attention. "I know what happened to Zarc when he was at the orphanage."
Ray blinks. "What are you-?"
"His caretaker," Reira continues, not allowing Ray to stop her. "She tortured him, tortured him so much until he couldn't take it anymore. She tortured him to the point it allowed that thing in."
"... Allow what in?" Ray asks slowly, her eyes narrowing in confusion.
"The doll, it allowed the doll in. That doll must have possessed him or something!"
Ray blinks again and was about to her open her mouth when an eerie chuckle rang through the room. The two girls stiffen.
"Wow, she's a lot smarter than you are," Zarc's voice spoke up, but, at the same time, it wasn't Zarc with the way he spoke so confidently. "I would like to think that Zarc got himself a smart and beautiful woman after all these years but I'm starting to think he just fell in love with your looks."
The two slowly turns around and their eyes land on Zarc, who is currently facing them with a malicious grin on his face while he plays with a knife in his hands.
Wasn't that the same knife that got stuck on the wall?
"Zarc," Ray begins slowly as she holds up her baseball bat, Reira shifting until she was right behind her. "What are you doing with that?"
"But hey, since we're already here, I guess I'm happy to finally meet you," he looks over to meet Ray's frightened purple eyes with his dark yellow ones while he takes a few steps forward, forcing the two take steps back in response. "I'm so glad that I'm talking to the Ray Akaba that won Zarc's heart, despite all those insults you use to give him."
"You take another step closer and I'm going to bash your brains in!" Ray screams in a pitch that Reira never heard her voice go to before.
Zarc looks a bit surprised by that sentence before a laugh escapes his mouth. A cold, cruel laugh that sent shivers down Reria's spine as he takes a few more steps. "Wow...You really expect me to believe that you're going to hit your husband with a-?"
She didn't let him finish that sentence as she swung the bat at him, knocking the knife out of his hands while he yelps and cradles his wounded hand.
"You bitch-!" she swung again, successfully hitting him on the head. Zarc's body fell to the ground like a pile of bricks.
The room lapsed in silence for a moment before Ray spoke up.
"So, what was that you were saying about Zarc living in a William Friedkin movie?"
By the way, guys, I have this new ARC V story planning to come out. It's called "Alexithymia", so keep an eye out!
Chapter 19: Akaba Files: An Akaba's Shi
Finally got this one done! Enjoy the sadness!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
"Possession, you say?" the head Priest of the only church in town asks with a slight twitch of his eyebrow. "Well, I hope you girls have sufficient proof of that because this is a very serious case, not only for the Church but also for your friend there." He gestures over to Zarc, who is currently laying down on a bench, his whole body twitching and spasming every now and then. The only things that were holding him in place were Reira hanging onto his legs and the Priest's assignment was holding onto one of his arms and had a Buddha made of jade placed on the tormented man's forehead.
"He's my husband," Ray corrects while slightly narrowing of her eyes. Reira was worried that her sister was going to have a shouting match with the Priest considering the nine-year-old could tell Ray didn't like this man on first sight. Neither did Reira since she could tell that something was not right about this man.
"Another reason to be more careful, Akaba-chan," Head Priest, Jean-Michel Roget, waves his finger at her, something that's definitely annoying Ray. "Now, will you be so helpful as to show me these evidence of your husband being possessed?"
"Reira?" the girl looks over at her brother-in-law in concern before she slowly lets go of his legs. His feet start to stomp on the bench but that was it. Thinking it was now safe, Reira heads over to where her sister is with the IPad in hand.
"This is what happened in our house hours ago," Reira explains as she presses the play button, showing him the time when the plates flew off the counter by themselves. The young girl watches the man's expression, trying to get a sense of what's going on in his head. But the Priest kept his blank look on his face to deprive the girl of any information.
"And here's the part where he attacks us," Reira then shows him the other video she managed to record. She could see Ray avoiding looking at the part where she hits Zarc on the head - the idea of harming her husband to stop someone else was still bothering her. She quickly rewinds the video and stops when Zarc was beginning to walk towards them.
"You can see this dark shadow hovering over his shoulder," she points to the said shadow on the screen. "I saw the same shadow yesterday when I got rid of the doll that was causing his PTSD."
"Now, before you say anything," Ray suddenly cuts in. "This is not photoshopped and the shadow is not a projection. Projections can't be shown on camera, anyway."
Priest Roget nods before he slowly walks over to where Zarc lay, his attention on his apprentice. "What do you think, Novice Phoenix?"
That was a weird name to give to your apprentice.
"I've never seen anything like it, Father Roget," Edo begins, grunting slightly when Zarc's nails begin to bite into his skin from his grip on the hand that's holding the Buddha. "I know that are some mental illnesses that can cause body spasms and incoherent speech but he's holding such aggravation towards the charm. Has he ever had any problems with religious items before?"
"No," Ray shakes her head. "He's never actually been a religious person before. He doesn't hate it or anything, he just has his own ideas."
Edo nods before turning back to Roget. "Father Roget, I think what these girls are saying is true. May I request that we perform an exorcism as soon as-"
He stops when Roget begins to a laugh. A cruel, sickening laugh that sends a tingle down Reira's spine.
"Oh, my dear Novice," Roget shakes his head after calming down. "Don't tell me you believe these Akaba folks? I mean, honestly, you couldn't come up with something better?"
Ray narrows her eyes dangerously. "Excuse me?"
"If this is some idea for a prank, it's a very poor one," Roget continues like he wasn't provoking a very angry she-demon behind his back. "Now, will you please tell your husband to stop acting like that."
"You slimy, son of a-!" Ray took a few steps with a fist raised in the air before Reira quickly grabbed her skirt to prevent her from going further.
"But what about the shadow?" the young girl asks, her tone desperate. "We already told you, if it was a projection then it wouldn't show up on screen!"
"Oh, please," Roget scoffs. "I know that your father, Akaba Leo, is well-known for his advancement in technology in holograms. How are we supposed to know that you didn't use that technology to make that shadow?"
The girls wanted to make further arguments but the backlash of the man's inconsiderate comments and attitude left them completely shock. Their silence made Roget nod in his head in satisfaction.
"I think we're done here. Come along, Novice," the Priest walks out of the room, completely obvious to the heated glare that Ray was giving to burn holes in his back.
After taking a couple of deep breathes, Ray turns her attention to Edo, who is looking at his Master's direction with complete shock on his face. "You believe us, right? He needs an exorcism!"
Edo looks back down at Zarc, who is currently glaring at him with dark eyes, before turning back to Ray. "I have no doubt that you believe what you're seeing is true, but I'm afraid that Father Roget's word is law in here. If he believes that an exorcism isn't required then I'm sorry to say that your husband isn't in need of an exorcism in this church."
"But can't you give him an exorcism yourself outside of this church?" Reira steps in. "I mean if you're a part of this-"
"If I perform an exorcism without Father Roget's permission then it will be considered illegal!" Edo points out, silencing the girls for the final time.
He sighs before turning his remorseful blue eyes at them. "I'm really sorry about all of this..."
With that, he brings Ray's hand on Zarc's forehead where the jade is placed and let go. The two watch as he walks to where his Master left, dragging their hope with him.
The girls managed to get Zarc back home, despite his struggles against them. Thankfully, the jade that Edo left them with did tremendous help in keeping him subdued from lashing out at them. The moment they step through the front door, Ray picked the baseball bat up from its previous spot and swung it at Zarc.
Zarc fell to the ground.
"Isn't that going to hurt him?" Reira asks after the moment of silence when Zarc fell.
"I think Zarc wouldn't mind if I whack somebody that's using his body without permission," was Ray's simple answer.
The two brought Zarc back into the bedroom before heading back to the living room, wondering what their next step could be.
"We can always go to that other church in the next town," Reira suggests after a moment of silence.
Ray shakes her head. "The next town is two hours away, the only way we can get there is to drive and I don't trust driving with someone in the car who can move plates without even touching them."
"Then maybe we can take a bus! I'm sure it won't do anything drastic if we were in a public place."
Ray opens her mouth, whether to argue with her or not, another voice speaks.
"Or that said someone can stop you from going anywhere and we can all just stay right here!"
The girls scream and whip their heads over the couch to see Zarc standing there, a grin plaster on his greying face and his eyes glow with malice in them.
"How did you wake up so fast?!" Ray demands as she and Reira jump off the couch while she keeps the baseball bat in hand. Reira quickly hid behind her sister.
"Advantages of not being human," was his simple reply before his gaze falls on Reira, who tenses when her eyes lock with his. "Sorry, kid, but the adults are talking."
He gestures his head as if he's telling her to move off to the side. But Reira didn't move in fear of leaving her sister with this demon under Zarc's skin. She didn't realize that he wasn't asking her when she found herself flying through the air and hitting the wall with her head.
"Reira!" she hears his sister yelling in concern but her head hurts and everything was blurry. She slowly dragged her arms underneath her body and lifted herself up. It took a great effort for her to do so since her arms were shaking but she managed to get on her knees.
She looks up to see her sister backed up against the wall, pointing the baseball bat at the approaching Zarc, who has a knife in his hands. Eyes widening, Reira tries to bring herself to her feet but she falls from the weight. She could only watch in despair as death walks closer to her sister.
"Z-Zarc," she hears Ray's voice tremble, something that has never happened before. "Zarc, please, it's me... It's Ray... I-I don't know if you can hear me, wherever you are. B-But if you can, please listen to what I have to say. I am so sorry for all the terrible things I used to say to you when we were working at the bakery. I know, I apologized before but I still feel guilty about it to this day. But now I feel even worse about saying all of those things.
"B-Because I had no idea what you went through on a daily basis when you were in that awful place. You never like talking about it and I just left it alone. But now, I feel like I shouldn't have. Maybe, if we talked about it a little bit, I could understand a little and stopped this thing before it got worse but-" she sniffs. "I'm sorry that all of this happened to you, I'm sorry you were stuck with that awful caretaker, I'm so sorry that you're still stuck with this horrible thing inside you!
"Please, please, come back to me. I promise I will find a way to get rid of this horrible thing and we'll leave this whole thing behind us once and for all. Just fight it, Zarc, please. I love you and I want you back..."
Reira had no idea if what her sister was saying was getting through to Zarc, the only thing she could see is the back of his head so that makes it difficult. However, Reira did notice the knife was shaking in his hands.
She and Ray yelp when he brought the knife up in a blink of an eye. It still shook, however, and Ray slowly opens her eyes when she didn't feel the sharp blade pierce her skin. Her eyes widen when she noticed something.
"Z-Zarc?" now Reira's own eyes widen. Did she get through to him?
A small sob escapes someone's throat. It didn't come from Ray, it came from Zarc.
Her vision cleared up a bit and now she finally noticed how tensed his shoulders were and how his fingers look to be trying to prying themselves open so he can let the knife. Seeing his struggle, Ray slowly brought her hand up and gently pried his fingers from the knife, allowing it to fall into her hands. She quickly throws it to the other side of the room, opposite of Reira's position, so Zarc couldn't reach it.
"R-Ray?" Reira's heart broke when she heard the scared tone in his voice, it sounded like the flashback she saw him in.
"I'm here," Ray whispers, her hands now holding his face by his cheeks so he could look at her in the eyes. "I'm right here, Zarc. You're going to be okay-"
Zarc sobs and shakes his head. "No, I'm not! I'm sorry I didn't tell you before because I thought It was gone after I met you but I was so wrong and now It's back and It's going to kill you-!"
"Zarc, you don't know that," Ray argues gently. That makes him snap his head back up.
"Yes, I do!" Ray yelps when Zarc's changed completely, something that wasn't human. Seeing the fear in her eyes, Zarc calms down once he realizes what just happened and he immediately starts sobbing again.
"Zarc-" Ray didn't get a chance to finish her sentence when her husband is suddenly flung from her grip, his body thrown across the room until he landed on the back of the couch. His body fell like a rock to the floor.
"Zarc!" Reira sees her sister run over to Zarc, making sure he was alright. A chill suddenly spread through the air, causing Reira's body to stiffen when she recognizes it. Oh no...
She slowly turns her head to the right and couldn't help but scream.
The thing she saw in Zarc's flashback, the one who had the appearance of the creepy doll, was standing right behind her sister with a sickening grin on It's
"Ray, behind you!" Her sister's head had snapped up to her when she heard her screaming but she quickly looked over her shoulder and lets out her own scream as well. She swings the baseball bat in that thing's direction in a protective stance.
"Who the hell are you?!"
Oh, Ray-chan, Ray's eyes widen in terror, it was the same voice that came out of Zarc's mouth only seconds ago. I think you should know by now who I am.
"S-Stay the fuck away from me!" She shouts when the thing takes a step closer, swinging the bat in warning. This time, Reira finds the strength to stand on her legs and finds herself charging at the monster that's been tormenting them.
She found herself flung to a wall and stayed there. She couldn't move at all.
"Y-You leave them alone!" Zarc tries to get up but an invisible force slams him back on the ground, drawing a cry from him.
I said the adults are talking, Zarc's limbs suddenly jolt, his whole body arches upward. He screams from the pain.
Ray's face turns into a snarl. "You leave him alone!" She runs towards the monster, baseball bat ready. She swings at It-
Only for It to catch it when the bat was so close to the face.
Ray's eyes widen. "W-What?!"
I think it's time I finally give you my wedding present.
It brought a long skinny figure up to Ray's head. Her eyes go wide with what could only be described as pure dread. She lets go of the baseball bat and turns to run the opposite the direction.
Only to run right into the monster, using Its other hand It wasn't using before to grab her arm. Ray yelps when she feels what felt like zero-degree dry ice block bite into her skin the moment that thing made contact with her. In spite of the pain, Ray grits her teeth together and with a ferocious snarl, she begins to hit the thing's chest as hard as she could.
It was futile, she knew that. But her fight or flight instincts were kicking in. And they were telling her to fight.
"Let me go!" she yells with each pound. "I said let me go, you-!"
Her words were silenced when the thing places Its finger on top of her forehead.
Reira could describe it like a gunshot just rang through the air. Ray's body immediately freezes upon the contact with her eyes widened to the size of saucers. A few words came out of Ray's mouth but they were all slurred and incoherent. Reira looked closer and could see that her sister's pupils were dilated.
Then the thing disappeared in a blink of an eye, the force holding both Zarc and Reira was gone as well, allowing the two to move freely.
Ray's body dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. She didn't move at all, not even a twitch in her fingers.
"Ray!" the two scrambled over to where she laid, Zarc taking her body into his arms while tears drip down his face. "Ray, wake up!"
No response from her.
"I'll call an ambulance!" Reira informs him as she scrambles to find a phone.
She could only pray that her sister would alright.
Her sister was not alright. No. Very far from it.
A few hours ago the doctors gave them the worst news they have ever heard. The two went into Ray's room to see the damage themselves.
Ray didn't recognize Reria at all. She didn't even remember the young girl was her sister.
She remembers Zarc and that he was her husband, which was a good sign. At least it wasn't all bad.
Who was she kidding? This is all bad.
The two found themselves in the waiting room, Reira was sitting on one of the chairs while Zarc paced back and forth in front of her. He was running his hands through his hair as he took deep breathes, probably trying to calm himself down and not get into a panic attack. She could already see he's getting a little sweaty.
Reira didn't know what to do if Zarc did go into a panic attack. It was usually Ray who knew what to do when that happens. But there was no way Ray could help now. And Reira doubts she could do anything with the way she kept rubbing her hands together to keep her own self from panicking.
The front doors of the hospital slide open and what came running through was the rest of the Akaba family; a disheveled Leo who looked like he just ran through a marathon, a stoned-faced Himika with a hint of concern in her emotionless green eyes, and a disinterested Reiji being dragged by their mother.
And it just got worse.
"Where is she?!" Leo demands once he spots the two. "Where's my precious Ray?!"
Reira opens her mouth to say something when the doctor from before walks up to them.
"Are you the rest of the Akaba family?" the three nod while Leo walks up to him with a frantic look in his eyes.
"Where's my daughter?!" the poor man yelps when the distressed father shoves his face into his own.
"W-Well," the doctor begins with a slight stutter as he adjusts his glasses. "I-I'm not sure if your son-in-law and your other daughter have told you yet, but it's not exactly the type of news you would want to hear."
"Just tell us what happened to her," Himika, the only person who seems sane yet still genuinely cares enough to ask, demands.
The doctor nods, a grave look on his face. "Mr. and Mrs. Akaba, there is no best way to explain this; Ray Akaba has a tumor in her brain."
Silence came from the three of them, much like how she and Zarc did when they were told the news. A few seconds later, Leo whips towards the shaken Zarc and grabs him by his collar.
"You! Did you know about this?!" he shakes the hyperventilating man back and forth. "Why didn't you bring her to the hospital sooner?!"
"Father, stop!" Reira cries as she wraps her arms around his legs in hopes of pulling him off. "Onii-chan is going to go into a panic attack if you keep doing that!"
"I don't care! My daughter is dying and he didn't do a thing to stop it!" Oh no, now Zarc's crying. That's never a good sign.
"Sir, please refrain from causing a ruckus or I will be forced to remove you from the premises," the doctor speaks up in a stern tone when he sees how uncomfortable Zarc was. "Besides, Mr. Akaba, when your son-in-law brought your daughter in her tumor was already in the early stages. But after only a few hours, her tumor has grown a significant rate. It's now in Stage 4 and I'm afraid that she doesn't have much time left."
Reira could feel her heart stopping at that last sentence. She knew that a tumor was dangerous was, especially if it had plenty of time to develop.
Was Ray going to die?
"C-Can we see her?" That was Zarc's voice. His voice still stutter and Reira could tell he's inches away from a panic attack but he seems to be holding himself together for all of their sakes.
The doctor nods and leads them to the room where Zarc and Reira last saw Ray. Her body was propped up against pillows to make her comfortable in spite of the machines that were hooked up to her. Her skin was pale with sweat glistening on it while her hands trembled. The once beautiful violet purple eyes have lost their shine and are revolving around wildly.
The sight draws a small noise in Reira's throat and sob from Zarc's.
"Ray," everyone jumps when Leo suddenly barges into the room, Ray's head snaps in his directions and her eyes gain a wary look. "Ray, my beautiful girl, are you-?"
"Who the fuck are you?!" Leo flinches back when Ray screams at him.
"R-Ray?" He tries reaching for her but Ray just punches his arm out of the way.
She fails her arms around wildly like she was a cornered animal, her voice going into a near-hysterical tone. "Stranger! Stranger! HELP! Zarc, help!" Immediately, Zarc and the doctor run into the room. The doctor escorting a grief-stricken Leo out of the room while Zarc stayed behind to keep Ray from hitting herself.
But the moment her eyes caught Zarc, Ray's personality did a one-eighty; she was now giggling and sighing softly as she slowly caresses his arm.
"Zarc..." she brought her head up and gave him a slow kiss on the cheek. Zarc tilts his head to the side, escaping the cold feeling of her lips on his skin.
She blinks in confusion when he pulls away. "Zarc? What are you doing?"
He shakes his head, tears slowly dripping down his eyes. Reira was glad that the doctor had escorted the other three out of the room to explain Ray's memory loss because she didn't think it would be appropriate to have them watch this.
"I-I'm so sorry, Ray," Zarc sniffs as Ray's fingers gently whip away his tears. "You're like this because..."
Ray gives him a smile like he just told her a funny joke, something that made his sniffing worse. "What are you talking about, babe?"
"You're dying, Ray!" Zarc shouts, unable to hold in all of his turmoil anymore. "You're dying and it's all my fault and-!"
Ray silences him with a small kiss.
"Oh, Zarc," she begins as she pulls away, her voice gradually getting softer, something that Reira didn't notice until later. "You have no idea how strong you are... My strong man..."
Zarc didn't know what to say to that. Why was she saying any of this? Has the tumor that monster put in was making her lose her mind as well? His eyes begin to shine with worry when he felt Ray's body slowly getting heavier, forcing him to lay her down back on the bed before holding onto her hand. "R-Ray?"
"I love you, Zarc," she looks out of breath when she says that, closing her eyes as if she was too tired to go on. "More than you-"
The monitor flat-lined. Ray's hand slipped out from Zarc's grasps and lay on the side of bed limp.
Reira couldn't move. Ray... Ray... Ray was dead.
And she didn't have a chance to say goodbye.
"Ray!" Leo had heard the monitor flat-linning and rushing over to his daughter's lifeless body with Himika right on his heels. Zarc lets them through, his steps slow and almost sluggish as he almost stumbles back. Reira couldn't tell what his eyes look like now but she could tell they were still locked on Ray's body. Faintly, she could hear sharp and quick gasps. She knows that he's starting to have trouble breathing but her feet stood locked on where she stood, her young mind still processing over the fact of her sister was now dead to help her brother-in-law through this.
She turned her attention back to her parents. Her father was hunching over the bed with Ray's body cradled in his arms, his form shaking as sobs his escape from his throat while large tears leak out from his squeezed-shut eyes and are dripping on top of his dead daughter. Mother stood behind him, rubbing soft-circling motions on his back. Her tears were more repressed but she did dab her eyes with a handkerchief whenever she sniffed.
Footsteps stop near her, prompting Reira to turn her head to see her brother, Reiji, standing next to her in the doorway. She half-expected him to show some little sorrow for his sister's death, despite all the hardships they had together in life.
But no, there was no hint of sadness in his eyes. In fact, he almost looked a little relieved.
He felt relieved that their older sister was dead?
Zarc's pained scream broke her out of her thoughts and whip her head back in his direction. His head was jerked back like somebody was pulling his hair and his tear-filled eyes look like they're about to pop out of their eye sockets from the agonizing pain. His cry gained the attention of the doctor, who quickly goes over to him and rests a hand on his tensed shoulder.
"Young man, are you alright-?"
Zarc jerked himself out the man's grip and stumbled out of the room, pushing past Reiji and Reira as he runs down the hall. Reira didn't know where he was going but it was in the direction of the hospital's exit.
"Zarc!" Reira found her legs moving and running after her brother-in-law. "Zarc, wait!"
Something tells her that she's about to lose another sibling today if she leaves Zarc alone.
Decided to make these flashbacks a three-parter.
You can yell at me in the comments...
Also, my new story "Alexithymia" is out now. So check it out if you want too!
By the way, "Shi" means "Death" in Japanese.
Chapter 20: Akaba Files: The Aftermath
So, a lot of things happened.
First of all, I'm happy to say that school has been officially out for me since the 25th of June! Hooray! Finals were kind of getting in the way of writing (especially since I didn't have a Chromebook anymore to write when I'm at school) but now those and school are done, it hopefully means more time for me to get chapters done!
That is until my family and I go away for vacation. Then there might not be a lot of time for writing.
Second things, did anyone else read the Scale 35 of the ARC V Manga? My heart died when I read it! *Sniffs* All of my Yu-brotherly headcanons were coming true page after page and I can't take it! AH! I'm so scared for the next scale!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Reira didn't know how she was able to keep up with a grown man like Zarc when he's running down a street where there are fewer cars. She could only guess it could be from an adrenaline rush that she must have had after seeing Zarc running off following Ray's death. Her heart pounded in her chest as she did her best to keep up with him.
The adrenaline rush made her aware of things she didn't notice before; how bright the streetlights were that made her eyes squint, the loud noises of the traffic a few yards away from the area they were running in, and how clear that shadow was as it floats in front of Zarc as he keeps running.
The shadow was in front of Zarc, not behind him like before. Was Zarc following that thing?
Dread filled Reira's heart as she wills herself to run faster. That thing had killed her sister right in front of Zarc's eyes and now it was planning on doing something to him. She's seen enough of Zarc's past to know that monster has been her brother-in-law's tormentor for years and has been trying to break him ever since.
It might have just done that when Ray died because of it.
"Onii-chan!" she tries to call out to him. "Onii-chan, wait!"
Not even a glance.
It came to a point where the two had run past all the street lights and were now in the more rural part of the area. Reira could tell by the amount of shrubbery in her way and the ground she was running on felt softer underneath her shoes. There were in the swamp part of the land. She tried to think; why would It lead him here?
Her eyes widen in horror. This was where the orphanage was...
It was bringing him back there.
"Onii-chan, wait!" she yells. "Onii-chan, don't listen to- AH!"
Reira didn't see the root in front of her so her foot got caught in it, causing her to trip over. She falls face-first to the muddy ground, slightly thankful for the mud since it softened her landing. She had no doubt her clothes are now stained with the mud - her mother was going to kill her if she survives another encounter with Zarc's demon.
Speaking of Zarc, he was still running!
"Onii-chan!" Reira whips her head up only to discover with a growing horror that Zarc was out of sight.
And she had no idea where they were.
The first thing that she did was get back on her feet, though she did stumble a bit from the sudden shift in her balance. She quickly got herself together and scans at her surroundings. A chill went down her spine when she realizes that she couldn't see Zarc anywhere in sight and she didn't know which direction she had gone in.
"Onii-chan?!" Reira calls outs into the endless darkness. "Onii-chan, where are you?!"
No answer, something that Reira wasn't really expecting deep down. She knew that Zarc wasn't alright after seeing Ray die right before his eyes like that and that horrible thing used that situation to Its advantage.
She willed herself to calm down before she could start running through the shrubbery again. Panicking isn't going to help Zarc, she knew that which is why she should probably start to think things over. Well, she hopes that she has time to think things through. She shakes her head as she makes her way through the thick flora.
She starts to list what she already knows; the orphanage was somewhere near here and that terrible thing is probably planning on killing Zarc there. Those don't exactly help her on figuring out how to save Zarc from it. Her mind goes back to the time where Ray was able to get through to him right when he was about to kill her by talking to him. She had no idea if that would work with her - despite the close relationship they have, Reira knew that she didn't match Ray's level.
Besides, what could she even talk to him about? Ray had something to say that affected both of them but what did Reira have? She's just someone who's close to him because they both love one person. What could she say to-?
Reira stops when she feels something that didn't feel like a rock, grass, or even mud underneath her shoe. She lifts her foot to see what she'd step on. Her eyes widen.
Oh, that thing did not just make him drop that!
She bends down and picks the object, turning it over as she examines it for any cracks. To her relief, there was no damage to it. She sighs as she cradles the item close to her chest.
Her eyes then harden; that thing went too far by making Zarc drop this and It was going to regret it. Because now she has something to talk about with Zarc.
She continues forward, walking straight due to the footprints she found near the fallen object. Now that she has a lead, maybe she can find the orphanage.
And there it was. Only a few yards away from the bushes she just pushed past. A chill went down her spine when she sees it covered in the shadows of the night. But that blue light coming from one of the windows on the ground floor didn't make things better for her when she thought a little light would be useful.
Taking a deep breath to gather herself together, Reira rushes forward to the orphanage.
But stops when a large hand suddenly clamps onto her shoulder.
Yelping, Reira swings around with a fist that wasn't holding the item sailing towards the source of the hand when another hand blocks it. Seeing this, Reira quickly starts to kick at her assaulter.
"Reira, Reira! Stop! It's me, Reiji!"
Her eyes widen when she heard that name. Looking up, Reira was able to make out Reiji's glasses reflecting the light from the house despite the near-total darkness.
No... Reira felts her breathing picking up as she slowly shook her head. No, no, no, no! Why was he here out of all people?!
"W-What are you doing here?" Something was rising inside her throat and Reira could feel her hand that's gripping the item trembling from the sight of him.
"Mother told me to come after you and Zarc when you both ran out of the hospital," he explains before his eyes narrow at her. "Reira, what were you thinking?! Running out in the middle of the dark is dangerous at this sort of time!"
Was... Was he concern about her? Thinking back on the look in his eyes when discovering Ray had died only filled Reira with contempt for her brother as she slowly tries to back away from his grip.
"Y-You're lecturing me," her voice trembles in a soft tone. "Y-You think it's alright to pretend that you care about me after I saw how you reacted to Ray?!"
Reiji's face turns into a look of bewildered by her proclamation. "Reira, what are you-?" she didn't let him finish that sentence as she wrenches herself free from his grip, allowing her to run towards the orphanage. "Reira!"
She could hear his footsteps following behind her as she makes her way up to the porch. At the moment, she didn't care about Reiji's presence since she had more important matters to care about; she'll deal with her brother later. She opens the door to the dreaded place and was met with a burst of cold wind to her dirty face.
It was the same type of cold whenever she felt that demon nearby.
"Reira, will you just stop and talk about-?!" she heard Reiji's voice right behind her but she shook her head and strolls right into the orphanage. Ahead of her, she could see the blue light in what appears to be a kitchen and she found herself moving towards with pure determination running through her veins.
She's going to prove to this thing that she wasn't afraid of it. That she wasn't a scared little girl that cries herself to sleep when something bad happens. She won't just stand around and let Zarc get taken by this-
A knife suddenly appears in her vision, making her freeze in her tracks as a chill went down her spine.
The knife was only a couple of inches away from her face. If she didn't see it sooner then she would have walked right into it.
"Reira!" Reiji's scared scream broke her out of her intense focus on the instrument of death as her eyes slowly trail up the arm that's holding it, her heart stopping when she sees the fresh cuts on his arms that are oozing blood from them. She looks up and sees Zarc's graying face, his dulling eyes staring at her with an amused expression.
"Came running all the way here to save him, huh?" the not-Zarc-voice spoke up, a malicious grin appearing on his face as he takes a step forward, forcing Reira to take a step back. "And right when he was about to kill himself, too. But, now that you're here, I wonder if I can convince him further if he sees his own hand stab your eye out."
"Zarc," Reira did her best to sound strong. "It's me, Reira, and I need you to listen to me."
Zarc laughs. "Wow, are you really going to try that now? You do realize that his wife just died, right? And by the very thing that's been following him around his entire life. He brought me right to her and he's tormented by that, so much that he wanted to kill himself. But seeing you two here he's practically begging me to leave you alone.'
"Zarc, listen to me," she repeats as she sticks a closed fist out. "I need you to answer me this; did you drop this on purpose?"
She opens her fist to reveal the item she had been carrying around; a ring.
The ring itself didn't look all that special; it was just a plain white band made out of ceramics. But Reira knew the ring's importance to Zarc, despite the bland appearance. Zarc's eyes widen when they land upon the ring and the reaction was immediate. Tears began to well up in those devasted golden orbs as his pupils return to normal size.
"O-Oh my God..." Reira felt relief when she heard Zarc's real voice come back. Seeing that, Reira took a step closer but Zarc stumbles back when she got closer. The knife slipped from his hand clattered on the ground as Zarc pushed his back against the wall, throat-killing sobs escaped his throat as he tries to put as much distance between him and Reira as possible.
"Reira, I think we should-" Reira continues to ignore her brother's words as she gets closer to Zarc, who tries to push himself further away.
"Zarc?" the man flinches. "Zarc, I just want you to answer my question. Did you drop your ring on purpose or not?"
He stills, the only noises that were coming out of his mouth were his suppressed whimpers while his pupils look like they didn't know which size to stay on. Finally, he shook his head. "N-No..."
Reira expected that and she felt better hearing it from him. She sighs as she brought the ring closer, making him flinch.
"Zarc, I think it's about time you end all of this," her words made Zarc whip his head towards her with eyes that believe she was crazy. "I know... I know you've been having difficulties with it for years- Oh, what am I saying? Those aren't the right words I need to say..."
Why couldn't she be more like Ray? Her sister knew exactly what needed to be said to help Zarc and what was Reira doing? Probably making this worse by saying all the wrong things. She thought that bringing up the ring could help start things off but all she did was get Zarc back but she didn't know what to do beyond that. Why did she think-?
Zarc's stuttering voice brought her attention back to him. She could see his hand gripping his bloody shirt tightly until his fist was white, his chest rising and lowering with each breath he took, his pupils still change their size within every second but it still looks like Zarc.
Reira came to the realization that Zarc was waiting for her to speak. Knowing that monster, it would've done something to her by now if she didn't do anything but Zarc is holding it back so Reira could finish what she wanted to say.
It was that realization that gave her the courage to continue.
"Onii-chan, I know you're devastated about what happened to Ray," mentioning her sister's name caused Zarc to flinch violently, "and that you feel like it's your fault. But it's not, alright? It's that thing's fault. You never asked for it to come after you, like how you never ask for that awful lady to torture you," she takes a deep breath. "But all of this needs to stop, Onii-chan. It has gone too far; It killed Ray and made you throw away the engagement ring Ray gave you. You need to get that monster out."
Reira watches his expression throughout the one-sided conversation; she knows that he's listening with the way his head was struggling to stay in place but with each word she spoke she could see how his eyes slowly lose their shine like she had just told him an impossible task.
He shakes his head. "I-It won't leave, R-Reira," he gasps out helplessly, wincing when something stabs into him his chest. "I-It never will-"
"It left you alone for years, Onii-chan," Reira quickly points. "Right after you met my sister, It left you alone for years because I know that you didn't want her to know about It when you two started to get to know each other so you pushed It down deep enough so It wouldn't bother you. But you've been pushing it down for so long that you got tired and it found a way to get through, that's why we saw the doll in the kitchen a while back. And if you were able to push It down then, maybe you can put It out of you."
"I-It won't work, R-Reira," Zarc sobs, still shaking his head back and forth. "I-I've tried before, b-but It's just too strong..."
Now Reira was shaking her own head at him as she takes a few steps closer, making Zarc flinch.
"Do you remember the last words Ray said to you?" hearing this makes Zarc's eyes widen while new fresh tears began to form. "She said that she loves you even when she was losing her mind and dying. She believes that you're a strong person and after seeing what you had to go through all these years I don't doubt what she said. Please, Onii-chan, fight It."
She grabs onto his hand before he could even notice and slips the ring back onto his finger. She lets go and takes a few steps back to watch in case something happens.
Zarc was staring hard at the ring on his finger, his pupils dilating with every second. His breathing came out harsh and ragged like something was blocking the air from coming out. Reira had blink only for a second to see the light fully gone from his eyes while a ferocious snarl appears from his slips as he grips the ring like he's going to rip it off.
But then, a second went by and nothing happened. Zarc's eyes widen when he realizes this before a compressed whimper escape his lips. His whole body trembling, he manages to get his hand that's threatening to toss the ring down to his side while he grips the other until it forms into a tight fist.
"G-Get out of me," she hears him growls under his breath. "I-I said get out! I hate you! Leave me alone!"
His body was suddenly flung from the wall he was leaning against into the wall across from him with such force that it made Reira scream in fear of him breaking his back. She rushes forward but gets pulled back when Reiji wraps his arms around her. "Let me go!" she shrieks as she pounds her little fists against his arms.
"Reira, I don't know what's going on but I don't think it's a good idea to go near him!" she could hear the fear in his voice but Reira didn't care at the moment. She looks over to where Zarc was and found her heart nearly stopping when she sees her brother-in-law on the ground, his limbs contorted in a twisted way that shouldn't be possible, his back arched in a way that shouldn't be humanly possible. His mouth was open wide enough to let his blood-curdling screams out.
"Onii-chan!" Reira's voice rises into a high-pitch cry as she tries to move forward but Reiji keeps his grip on her tight.
Zarc's body drops to the ground with a heavy thud, his chest rising and falling with each hoarse breath he took. Those breaths turn into small growls as Zarc's hands found the ground underneath him and use with what little strength he has left to turn himself over and go onto his knees.
"G-Get out!" he pounds a fist to the ground. "I-I don't want you anymore... L-Leave me alone!"
He became silent, save for the occasional whimpers, which makes Reira think that the monster was talking to him from within his head. In a way, Reira was almost glad that she didn't hear that thing's horrible voice once again but now she won't know to say to counteract Its words.
"Shut up!" thankfully, it sounds like Zarc has it for now. "Don't talk about her! Get out! GET OUT!"
He starts pounding his fist into a stomach, like some form of self-Heimlich. Reira actually found herself cringing at the noise he makes whenever his fist makes contact. What was he doing?
He freezes at one point, his eyes staring off into the distance at something she could not see. She tries to squint her eyes to catch anything that she might miss but what happened next completely caught her off-guard.
Zarc stuck two fingers into his mouth and a retching noise comes out of his throat.
"W-What is he doing?!" for once, Reira found herself agreeing with Reiji. Yet, despite her disgust, Reira found herself unable to look away as Zarc continues to try and make himself vomit, each retching she heard makes her wince.
She finally understood when she saw the bit of black bile coming out of his mouth and dripping onto the floor. Flashes of the time she saw Zarc's memories when he was still in the orphanage came into her mind and found the worry leaving her system.
More of that black bile came pouring out of his mouth like water from a faucet that's turned on. It disturbed Reira how much of it was leaving him, that stuff was probably covering at least a feet from where it originally splattered. She could see Zarc's body trembling from the gags wracking him from head to toe as his body did its best to expel this awful black liquid from it.
It felt like an hour before the black bile finally stopped pouring from his mouth. Once it did, Zarc's body fell on his right side, completely limp and unresponsive as it lays there, his right hand slightly sticking to the black bile next to it.
"Onii-chan!" finally getting lose of Reiji's grip, Reira runs over to where her brother-in-law lay. Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see the black liquid slowly seeping through the wood, disappearing into some lower floor below them. But Reira didn't care about that as she kneels in front of Zarc, pushing his heavy body onto his back.
She shakes him. "Onii-chan! Onii-chan!"
Fear of losing another family member today, she whips her head up to the dumfounded Reiji, standing there like an idiot. "Don't justs stand there, call the hospital!"
It took a second for Reiji to process what she was saying before he took his phone out of his pocket.
"We took him to the hospital after that," Reira continues, her eyes downcasted and her voice low. "Physically, he was fine; the cuts were easily treated. But mentally he wasn't the same; we sometimes see him scratching himself to the point he would break his skin, biting his lips until they start to bleed, and bang his head against any surface whenever he can. Losing Ray destroyed him and... We just didn't know how to help anymore. He just lost touch with reality. So, we admitted him to a nearby mental facility and it was good - despite the fact that they need to get rid of that one nurse-, the Shinigami didn't show up once. We thought it was all over.
"That was before the Shinigami visited Zarc a while ago, saying that It found another person to play with and then we heard that you and your family moved in," she looks up to meet the shocked mother with emotionless eyes. "The Shinigami never left this house when Zarc finally expelled it from his body, It was waiting for a new victim to come."
She didn't tell Yoko about the months of therapy she and Reiji had to go through to get their relationship back together; Reiji finally realizing that Father's obsessive love for Ray wasn't his older sister's fault and Reira to let go of her resentment. That was something between the two of them.
"Oh my God," Yoko whispers, horrified at what she just heard. This thing that's inside her youngest boy could kill people without a single thought just because It wants Its victims to commit suicide? She thought about the times when the rest of boys told her that Yuya had tried to kill them and she came to a dreadful realization; It was planning on having Yuya kill his own brothers, the people he loves and has been through a lot together, to have him commit suicide.
If Yoko had any contempt in her heart it would surely be directed at that awful creature.
"But don't worry," Yoko looks up to meet Reira's reassuring eyes. "Once we show the evidence to Father Phoenix, I'm sure he will have an exorcism perform straight away. I promise you, Sakaki-san, that you won't lose any of your boys."
Tears began to appear in her green eyes as she smiles at them with an enormous amount of gratitude. "Thank you..."
"Come on, En," Yugo exclaims to the Corgi as he tries to get the dog into the car. "We're not going to be staying here for a while, up and at'em."
En shook his head frantically, his beady black eyes staring nervously at the car's interior. The dog's reaction makes Yugo sigh in exhaustion.
"He's probably noticing the Shinigami's presence in Yuya now," Yuri pipes after he and Yuto watch Yugo struggle to get the dog in the car. "Animals do have higher senses than us when it comes to the supernatural."
"Would've been nice for En to notice the Shinigami sooner," Yugo mutters bitterly as he tries to stomp his foot on the ground to scare the dog in. Sadly, it didn't work as En continues to whimper and shake.
Seeing his son struggling, Yusho decides to step in by taking the Corgi in his arms. "Maybe it's best that he rides with Shuzo if he doesn't want to go in."
The boys nod as they watch their father head over to the Hiiragis before they turn their attention to their sleeping brother in the back. Years of being together have made the boys aware of each of them look when they're asleep. Seeing their brother now almost convinced the three that he wasn't possessed by some homicidal yokai.
"It's kind of hard to believe that this is actually happening," Yugo mumbles after a while.
"Agree," Yuri nods. "Though I still have yet to understand why the Shinigami targeted Yuya out of the four of us. I would have thought that Fusion would've been an easy candidate."
"Hey!" Yuri shoots him a smirk before turning his back to Yuya.
"In all seriousness, though, why did the Shinigami targeted Yuya? I understand that Yuya can vulnerable when it's about his cancer or when other people bully him but he always manages to stay strong through it all."
Yuto finds himself freezing when Yuri said that. He didn't mention what happened between him and the Shinigami to his brothers, did he?
"Guys," he begins, catching his brothers' attention. "There's something that I forgot to mention when I was in Yuya's room with that thing..."
To those who read the manga and are wondering why I'm scared for the next scale, who else thinks that G.O.D. is going to tempt Yuya by using his brothers and we're going to get some real brotherly angst?
Chapter 21: Phoenix's Answer
Has anyone watched the Ouran Highschool Host Club live-action Drama show? Because I watched it while I was working on this chapter and... XD The twins are played by the twins who voiced Yuto and Yugo and I'm watching the moments when they're on and...
XD I've spent a few minutes either dying of laughing or cringing because I couldn't help but imagine the Hitachiin twins as Yuto and Yugo. Ah... Why do you do this to me, imagination? Why? Convincing me that cannibalistic monsters and a ghost demon with a dent in his head were hunting me in my room at night wasn't enough for you?
Anyway, enough about my crazy imagination. Back to the story!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Sometimes Reira had wished Roget was still at the Church whenever they get a real exorcism case. She would have loved to watch the expression on his face when he sees the hardcore evidence right there in front of him. After all, Edo's expression when they show him the pictures the camera took is making her wonder how that horrid man would react.
But when they got to the video where the Hiiragi girl was being thrown around by her hair, all thoughts on Roget left her mind.
When the video ended, Edo took off his glasses to rub his eyes, his breathing coming out deeply through his nose. His reaction makes the two Akaba siblings look at him in interest.
"Father Phoenix?" Reiji asks the moment Edo puts his reading glasses back on and looks at one of the pictures with an unreadable look in his eyes.
"You know this complicated since the family is not religious and they're not members of this church," hearing that nearly made the two groan. "I'm only pointing this out because you know how suspicious the police gets when we do an exorcism case, especially to people who are not part of this church."
"Edo, you know this is the same creature that killed Ray and tormented Zarc, you know what It can do," Reira points out as Edo begins to sort through the pictures.
"I'm aware, Reira," Edo says as he stops at the picture where he could see the shadow figure curling around the Sakaki boy. "I just never thought I would see It in action..."
"Father Phoenix," Reiji speaks after a moment. "Sakaki Yuya does not have a lot of time left, I implore you to make your decision now."
Edo continues to look through the photos as the Akaba siblings silently wait for his response. Sighing, he looks up at them. "Call his parents and tell them to bring Yuya here, I'll have a room prepare for him while you do that."
Two rare smiles appear on their faces as they nod their heads at him.
"Are you sure it's a good idea to leave the kids alone?" Shuzo asks the couple as they go through the grocery store, Yoko putting in some fruits inside her basket.
"As long as our boys aren't alone, then I think they will be fine," Yoko assures him. "And your children are far more resilient than you realize, Shuzo."
"Where do those temper attitudes come from, by the way," Yusho speaks up. "I know you and your wife were the most considerate people we know, despite your own outbursts from time to time, but to see most of your kids having tempers that could match Yugo's is quite concerning."
Shuzo sighs. "I think it's a recessive gene that my wife forgot to mention before she passed away. I'm just grateful that Ruri has her calmness out of all the kids."
The Sakaki couple laughs at their friend's expression but that laughter is cut short when the phone in Yoko's bag starts to ring.
"Hello?" Yoko asks once she gets her phone out of the bag and answers it.
"Mrs. Sakaki?" the woman's eyes widen when she hears a familiar voice.
"Reira?" this catches the men's attention as they turn to look. "I didn't expect you to call so soon, how did it go with that Priest?"
"Very well, actually," Yoko let out a breath she didn't even know she was holding in when she heard that. "He just gave the approval for Yuya's exorcism."
"Really?" she quickly mouths to the men what Reira just said, instant relief showing on their faces when they understood. "That's great! What time should we bring Yuya to the church?"
"As soon as you can, we're already setting up a room for him so I think it's best to get him here now." Yoko nods before she gestures to Shuzo to call Shun.
"Thank you so much, Reira, I don't know what we would do without you or Reiji."
"Don't start officially thanking us yet, Mrs. Sakaki," Reira speaks out. "The exorcism is where things start to get complicated..."
It was only minutes ago that their parents left to buy some food and yet the children still couldn't help but feel anxious. They all huddled together near one of the beds inside the room where they had lay Yuya, who is currently sleeping on his side with the covers over him, his fingers slightly gripping the sheets underneath him. Ruri, still shaken at what happened hours ago, was hiding behind Serena and Shun while Yuzu and Rin still had their weapons out and ready in case.
Meanwhile, the rest of the Sakaki boys were sitting on bed their younger brother is sleeping in. The Hiiragi siblings could faintly see the dried tear marks on Yugo and Yuri's cheeks and how red their eyes were. Thinking back, they did see Yugo yelling at Yuto about something while Yuri just stood off to the side, silent fuming but they couldn't make it out due to the car doors being shut. They wonder what had gone on between the three.
"How long has he been sleeping like this?" Yuto's voice broke the silence that had gone on for a while.
Serena looks at the watch on her wrist. "About a few hours since we left that creepy place."
"Geez, Yuzu, did you really had to hit him that hard?" Yugo questions the pink-haired girl, who blushes furiously.
"Hey, after what that thing did to Ruri, did you really expect me not to do anything?" she questions. "Besides, it's not my fault that thing decided to use Yuya as a shield."
"Shouldn't we more concern about the fact that it hasn't done anything yet since there's a threat of it being exorcised?" Shun speaks up, his cold yellow eyes never leaving Yuya's fidgetting form. "I mean, I know I'm not an expert on this like Yuri is but if I was a demon and I found out I was about to be exorcised, I think I would do anything I can to avoid that."
"Maybe Yuzu whacked it so hard that it's still in shock at how hard a human can hit," Yuri pipes up with a blank look in his eyes -what else was new?
"Very funny, plant boy," Serena sighs at his quip.
Shun's eyes widen when he feels his phone vibrates in his pocket. Upon seeing his father's name on the screen, Shun quickly presses the answer button. "Yeah, Dad?"
The rest of the teenagers look over at him with looks of interests from the girls and anxious eyes from the boys as they listen to the one-sided conversation.
"Yeah, we're in the same room with Yuya," Shun continues, listening to what his father has to say. "We all need to step outside? Why?" there was silence before the older boy sighs. "Alright, I'll tell them. Dad says we need to go outside so Yuya can't hear us."
"Why?" Serena asks, shooting incredulous looks with her sisters. They know their father tends to make crazy requests but at a time like this?
"I don't know, but he sounds pretty serious," Shun shrugs. "Better go out and see what he wants."
Though they were reluctant to leave their brother alone, the Sakaki boys found themselves following the Hiiragi siblings out of the motel room into the cool outside air. Yuto had shut the door so there wasn't a chance for Yuya to wake up and listen in on what's going on.
"I'm putting it on speaker," Shun informs them before pressing the button. "Alright, Dad, we're all out here. What was so important that you didn't want Yuya to wake up and hear?"
"That creepy kid from the Church called," Shuzo's voice come through the phone. "She says that Yuya's exorcism has just been approved!"
Hearing that was like lifting a two hundred pound dumbbell from the Sakaki boys' shoulders as they, along with Hiiragi siblings, found themselves laughing with relief. Out of all the things they have heard over these past few weeks, that has to be one of the best news they have heard.
"That's great," Yuto speaks up so Shuzo could hear. "So, what do we do now?"
"Get Yuya ready because your parents and I are coming back right now," Shuzo informs them. "The kid says the sooner we do this the better it would be for your brother. We'll see you, kids, soon!"
"Bye!" the children chorused together before Shun ended the called.
"I think I can finally breathe easier now," Ruri comments as she places a hand over her heart. This draws a few laughs from her siblings and friends as Yuto open the door.
Whatever light-hearted feelings they had quickly flown out the window when they step right into the room and saw the bed where Yuya laid empty with the covers thrown to the side. Yuya was nowhere in sight.
"What the hell?!" Shun demands, going further into the room to look for any signs of red-and-green hair.
"W-Where did he go?!" Rin stutters, pointing her socket wrench in multiple directions of the room.
"He couldn't have gotten far, these windows are bolted shut," Shun points out after attempting to open the windows himself. "He's probably still in the room. Find him but stay in groups, he could be anywhere."
The younger children nod before they split off; Yuri and Serena checking underneath the other bed while Yuzu and Shun did the same to the bed Yuya was previously. Yugo and Rin decide to check the window drapes in case he was hiding in them. Meanwhile, Yuto and Ruri head over to the closed bathroom.
"You don't really think he could've gotten out of the room, do you?" Ruri asks once they're at the door.
Yuto shrugs. "I never thought things like demons could exist but here we are. I wouldn't be surprised if he somehow teleports in Yuya's body-"
The eldest of the Sakaki brothers did not expect to feel the cool blade of a knife near his throat when he opened the door to the bathroom. He could faintly hear the sound of Ruri shrinking and everyone else coming over but he couldn't help but find himself focusing solely on the pure black orbs that have replaced Yuya's warm red ones.
So it wasn't a trick of the light that time.
"You know," Yuya speaks up, his tone sounding bored while he shakes his head. "If you guys really didn't want me to leave the bed, you could've just pinned me down and listen to your old man on the phone. Maybe that way you wouldn't be in this situation right now."
He blinks and those horrible black eyes are replaced with dull red ones with very small pupils.
Honestly, Yuto couldn't pick which one was worst since he couldn't see his brother in any of those eyes.
"You bastard," he hears Shun growl. The next thing Yuto knew, the blade was off his neck and he sees Shun and Yuya struggling for control of the knife. "You think it's fun to mess with people's lives?! Wait till the exorcist deals with-!"
Shun didn't even get a chance to finish when Yuya knees him in the stomach, knocking the wind out of him. "I forgot you four took the same self-defense classes-!" he manages to bring out before Yuya knocks his head against the doorframe, effectively knocking him out.
"Nii-san!" the girls quickly rush over to where their brother had fallen. The boys were about to follow too when the knife was suddenly in their path, forcing them to back up.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you guys," Yuya laughs, an eerie sound that makes Yuto form a fist. "It would be a pretty bad idea to go on a walk with a stab wound to the chest. All that blood to clean up and how slow that person would be. They might not even make it all the way to the destination."
"What the hell are you talking about?" Yugo snarls, he and Yuri standing close to Yuto as they all eyed the knife warily.
Yuya flashes them a smirk that looks so very wrong on his face. "Why, for our walk home, big brother! Sure, it might take a while since you guys decided to pick the motel that's a little while off but I think we can get there before Mama and Papa get here!"
"And why do you think we go anywhere with you?" Yuto adds in his own two cents.
A small chuckle escapes Yuya's throat. "Well, if you don't, then I guess you'll have to say goodbye to your baby brother."
The next thing they knew, Yuya was holding the knife to his own throat and was about to slide it across his skin.
Hearing the cries made Yuya stopped before the knife could really touch his skin. He looks over at the three with that horrible smirk on his face like he knew they would protest if he did that. It filled Yuto with a sickening feeling when he realized that thing was playing with their brother's life so it could mess with them.
"Do we understand each other now?" Yuya waves the knife around by using his three fingers with excellent precision. "If you guys don't walk with me back to the house before Mama and Papa get here then you're going have to explain to them why you're brother is on the floor with his neck slit!"
"I thought you wanted your victims to kill themselves on their own," Yuri speaks up, his normal deadpan was trembling. "What purpose would you have if you kill Yuya, yourself? Isn't that just going against your job description?"
"Wow, you make a good point, Yuri! But you all forgot the very little reason on why I picked Yuya instead either of you; all of your misery is connected to him. I can imagine you all would be devasted by his death, giving me the chance to take over one of you guys! But, if the two of you still won't listen, I'll just kill that brother and move on to the next one. You guys heard of the water cycle, right?"
He then turns his head to the girls, who shrink back when they see that horrible smirk on his face. "But if the last brother doesn't want to kill himself, then I'll just move onto the girls and start that process over. The point is, Sakaki, is that I can't die so I can wait for my new victims as much as I want but you humans always have so little time."
Yuto could feel his own disgust rising up his throat with each word that comes out of his brother's mouth. All of this was a game to this monster. It thinks that they're pawns it can manipulate but throw away once It can't find any use of them anymore. Part of Yuto wished he could punch it in its face but he knew that would also mean hurting Yuya as well.
Yuya... He didn't even want to imagine the boy's feelings if he's listening to all of this.
He sighs, he knows his brothers are going to hate him for saying this but what choice do they have? "We'll go back to the house with you..."
"What?!" of course, this brought cries out of his brothers and the girls but Yuya just laughs in excitement as this.
"Great! Shall we get going?"
Yuto could make out the incredulous looks his brothers were giving but he gives them one look that they recognized immediately and they deflated.
They didn't want to lose Yuya either.
The four make their ways over to the door, Yuya still pointing the knife at them. The girls couldn't help but watch helplessly as they see the monster hiding in one of their friend's skin is basically leading all of their friends to their deaths. The thought makes one of the girls tighten her hand into a fist while gritting her teeth.
Then she couldn't take it anymore when three out of the four were already out of the room.
"You bastard, if you think we're just gonna let you-!" Serena stops when Yuya puts the knife to his neck, drawing gasps from the other girls. Seeing the boy's terrified faces was what made Serena back away. She knew that the boys would never forgive her if she was the reason that thing sticks a knife into Yuya's throat.
Yuya smiles disturbingly at this before turning back to the boys. "Shall we?"
They glare at him but said nothing as he closes the door, the girls losing sight of them once it shuts all the way.
The tension was so thick that they didn't even think a knife could cut through it.
The only time they moved was to assist Shun when a groan escapes his lips.
So close and yet, so far...
Happy Fourth of July to my fellow Americans who are reading this!
Chapter 22: Back To The House
Huge shout outs to Eiidachan and fairytail1230 for their amazing artwork on my ARC V fanfic, "Alexithymia"! You guys are the best, seriously! I almost didn't want to work on this chapter and just work on Alexithymia full time. But, we are reaching the climax of this story soon. Wait a little more, my Alexithymia fans ;)
If anyone is curious to see their artwork, I'll leave links to their DeviantArt for you guys to see their art. Check it out, guys, it's amazing.
Onto the story!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The moment they saw the adults' cars coming up to the motel, the Hiiragi girls immediately ran over to the car doors before they could open. Words flew out of their mouths faster than the speed of light.
"Dad! The boys are gone!"
"We're so sorry, Oji-san and Oba-san!"
"Yuya woke up and that thing took control-!"
"It's taking them back to the house!"
The adults were trying to calm the girls down before they could hyperventilate. "Okay, everyone settles down," Yusho tells them with a hand gesture. "Now explain to us slowly what happened while we were gone."
"Shun?!" the girls didn't even get a chance to say anything when their father screamed as soon as he saw Shun, who had an ice bag to his head. "What on Earth happened to your head?!"
"Your mistake of not letting me get into the same self-defense class with Yuto and his brothers," was Shun's blunt reply, making Shuzo look at him with a flabbergasted expression.
"Um," Yoko hums, looking into the motel room and noticing they were missing four people. "Where are the boys?"
RING! RING! RING!
Reira and Reiji were waiting at the entrance of the Chruch for the Sakaki family to arrive. They weren't expecting a phone call right now since Edo had declined any calls from other churches in order to prepare for Yuya's exorcism. To hear the phone ringing right now confused them. Reiji walks over to it and answers.
"Reiji! The Shinigami is taking the boys back to the house!"
"Sakaki-sama?" Reiji did not expect to hear from Yusho Sakaki soon and especially not to hear such urgency in his voice. It took him a second to realize what the man just said and his eyes widen. "Wait, what happened to the boys?!"
"The Shinigami made the boys walk out of the motel, the girls and Shun said they're heading back to the house!"
Reira, who managed to hear the conversation, takes a sharp breath. "That's exactly what it did to Zarc..."
"Okay, Yusho," Reiji begins once he gathers himself together. "Get to the house; try to cut the Shinigami off because if It gets there before you all do then It will kill them. Reira and I will be coming as well in case you need help restraining it."
"Thank you, Reiji," the sixteen-year-old could hear the relieved tone in the older man's voice before they both hung up.
Yugo grumbles when he stumbles on another tree root that he couldn't see thanks to this stupid fog that suddenly showed up while they were walking. At this point, Yugo would have started complaining loudly about this whole situation but with that demon hiding underneath his baby brother's skin and the way he was holding that knife Yugo had to hold himself together in saying something that probably could kill Yuya.
So, he settled with shooting the demon a glare from over his shoulder. He didn't realize how much it hurt to see this thing use his brother like he was a puppet when it flashes a smirk in response.
"The weather seems interesting today," Yuri speaks up after minutes of walking in silence. "The sky was clear earlier but it ended up becoming foggy tonight, I'm assuming this was your doing?"
He got a chuckle in response. It chilled Yugo how that voice can bounce off areas and resonate in his ear. Flashbacks of that time in the kitchen didn't help his mood.
"Why are going back to the house, anyway?" Yuto demands as he stops walking and turns to face the demon. Yugo and Yuri stop as well when they see Yuya has also stopped and not doing anything in response to Yuto's sudden halt. "If you wanted to kill the four of us so badly then why didn't you do it back at the motel? Wouldn't it be easier if you did that?"
"He's a demon, Yuto," Yuri says while narrowing his eyes at the imposter before them. "From all the movies I watched, a demon always needs a door to get into our world. Considering how old the house is, I can only assume the building was built on cursed grounds and that's your ticket to our world. Am I correct?"
The smirk stays while he looks on, almost impressed. "You learned all of that from watching a couple of movies?"
"Most movies are based off a lot of things, I figured it's best to know all the things I'm possibly going to deal with later on in my life."
This draws another disturbing chuckle from him. "You humans keep surprising me every day. You three are actually the most entertaining ones I have met in all my time here. I'm actually almost sorry that I have to kill you three to get to your brother but a job's a job. Let's keep going before someone finds us."
"One more question," Yuto announces as he got in the demon's way when it started to walk forward again. "One more question and we'll go to the house without any more complaints. You owe it to us to answer since you're going to kill us, anyway."
The demon raises an eyebrow but remains silently, anyway. Yugo looks over at his older brother, curious about his question as well.
"Is Yuya still in there?" Yuto asks and Yugo could feel his heart dropping into his stomach. "And don't lie about him being gone; he stopped you from killing us plenty of times before so we know he's still there. Does he know what you're doing right now? That's all I wanted to ask."
Yugo looks over at the demon and was surprised to see that the smirk was gone from Yuya's face. There was this small frown in place, instead, and he could see his left eye twitching slightly. Yugo looks down at the hand that's holding the knife and he could see how tight the grip on it has become.
"He's been screaming at me ever since he woke up," the demon says finally in an emotionless tone, different from its childlike psychopathic voice. "You got your answers now let's keep moving."
Though they were reluctant to do so, the boys continue to walk forward. Yugo's mind began to run wild at what the demon had said; Yuya was still awake in there and he could probably see everything that's going on. He didn't even want to imagine what that could be like for Yuya, to watch everything going on through your own eyes but you can't do anything about it. Being the back seat driver to something that's supposed to belong to only you must be horrible.
Yugo clenched his hand. He almost wished that Yuto didn't ask such a question.
When the fog cleared up and the house was in view, Yugo could feel his heart getting heavier and heavier with each step he took. That thing was going to kill them once they get inside and it was probably going to make Yuya watch his own hands end his brothers' lives. Even after all the pain, he still loves them enough to pretend that his own feelings didn't matter and prevent their demises early on.
Yugo was done being ignorant to his brother's suffering.
The moment they entered the house and the demon turned its back towards them to close the door, Yugo took the chance to jump him. He wraps his arms around him and pins his arms to his sides so he couldn't use the knife. Yuya lets out a startled yelp by the sudden attack but immediately begins to growl and tries to shake him off.
"Y-Yugo?!" Yuto and Yuri both shouted in shock when they see their brother do something so drastic like that.
"Don't just stand there! Grab the knife-!" Yugo was cut off when Yuya stomps his foot with his own, making the blue-and-blonde boy yelp and release the possessed boy on instinct. With his arms now free, Yuya brings the knife up to Yugo's neck. It wasn't close enough to break the skin but it was enough to make Yugo freeze instantly in fear of it actually drawing blood.
"You're really testing my patience here," Yugo gulps when Yuya's voice changes into something completely inhuman for a split second there.
"Yugo!" Yuri shouts as he and Yuto attempted to step forward but stopped when Yuya turns his head to glare at them, almost daring them to take another step forward.
"Yuya, don't let this thing do this," Yuto says in a calming voice, yet Yugo could still hear the tremble in it. "You stopped it before and we know you can stop it now. Get it to drop the knife..."
This draws another eerie chuckle - since Yugo was practically right next to him now, that chuckle became something on a whole new level of scary for him - from his throat. "You know, that actually sounds a little familiar to me. Shame the last person who tried that ended up getting a tumor in their brain."
Yugo almost wanted to ask what it meant by that but quickly remembers that he wasn't in any position to say something so he kept silent.
Yuri grits his teeth at the demon while Yuto shook his head sadly. "Yuya," the older boys murmurs as a few tears gather in his usually stoic gray eyes. "I'm so sorry that I let this happened to you. I... I... I should've noticed the signs sooner, we all should've noticed sooner that you were unhappy at the fact that you didn't get the childhood the three of us had."
Something had changed; Yugo could tell with the way the knife felt on his neck now. Before, the handling was in control and could probably slice his neck at any point if he wanted too. Now, however, it was like that sense of control was just suddenly gone. Yugo could feel the knife trembling against the air around his skin as if it was trying to move away from him but is struggling to do so and with the lack of control, any wrong move could lead to his death.
Curious about what was happening, Yugo looks back over to Yuya and was surprised to see his face twitching so violently every few seconds and there was this scared look in his eyes as he switches his gaze between him and Yuri as he gritted his teeth. Why did he look so scared of him and Yuri?
"They already know," Yuto tells him like he could read his possessed brother's gaze like an open book. "I told them what that demon told me a while ago before we got to the motel."
Now Yugo realized what that scared look was for; Yuya was afraid of Yuto telling the rest of the brothers about his hidden feelings. It brought more weight to Yugo's heart at how strongly Yuya wanted to hide all of his hurt feelings. They were quadruplets, shouldn't they be open with each other?
"Why didn't you tell us?" Yugo couldn't help but asks, despite the knife still dangerously hovering against his neck. "That you felt different? Why did you think it was okay to hide the fact that you were hurting and expect us to dismiss it?"
Yuya tensed, his eyes slammed shut as his whole body trembles. For a moment, Yugo could've sworn he saw the light return to Yuya's eyes before they closed.
"I knew, deep down," Yugo looks over to Yuri when he spoke up, his voice low as he gazes blankly at his shoes. "When we were five, that time I won first place with my hibiscus flower. You probably don't remember it since you were going through a side effect at that time but I remember what you said very clearly; you hated that you missed out on what we thought as useless but made us normal in your eyes."
Yuri stops to let out a bitter laugh before continuing. "I destroyed that flower that day. It just reminded me of the fact I was only adding more to your misery by showing you that flower. So, I burned every hibiscus flower that was given to me, so I could prove what you said was wrong. That you actually didn't think that deep down and it was just the side effect talking."
He lets another laugh.
"Out of all the things you could've proven me wrong on, Yuya, this had to be the worst one."
Now suddenly Yuya was sniffing. Yugo turns to see tears trailing down his graying cheeks. The knife was slowly moving further away from his neck, allowing Yugo to correct his posture.
"I..." each of the boys' attention was now on their trembling brother the minute that familiar tone of his voice came back. "I-I never wanted you guys to know... T-That I felt jealous of you... W-When I was at the hospital, I-I used to think about all the things I missed out on and that you guys get to have... F-For a moment, I-I actually hated you guys for a bit... Y-You got to live the life I never thought I could experience all because I was the only one who got cancer...
"B-But when I started to go to school, w-when Sawatari started to bully me, I-I realized everything wasn't what I thought it was... Y-You guys didn't get the wonderful life I thought you did... A-And, w-when I realized that I-I began to hate myself for hating you guys... I-I was so unfair to you and I thought that it would've been better if you three didn't know how I felt... I-I... I never wanted you guys to find out like this!"
Yuya broke into a sobbing fit; he buries his tear-stained face into his free hand and leans forward slightly. Now the knife was at a reasonable distance away from his neck, Yugo took the chance to slowly pry the knife away from Yuya. Yuya didn't even put up a struggle as the knife was slipped away from him. Once he fully got a grip on it, Yugo slides it into the living room, away from any grabbing distance.
Once the knife was gone, Yugo brought Yuya into a hug, allowing the boy to sob into his shoulder. Yugo felt the arms of Yuto and Yuri wrap around him and Yuya. They three tighten their arms, doing their best to give Yuya as much love as he needed.
How did they miss their brother suffering right before their eyes?
They knew the answer but they were too afraid to think about it.
"Yuya," Yuto begins as they ended the hug, pulling back to look at Yuya, who begins to breathe deeply while putting his hands to his head. "We're going to get you help, okay? How long do you think you can fight off the Shinigami?"
"N-Not...l-long..." Yuya manages out as the grip on his own hair tightens to the point his knuckles were turning white.
"Okay, okay," Yuto says softly in hopes to soothe him. "Just fight it until we get to the church, alright? We'll help you walk out of the door if you need it..."
Yuya was able to nod and allow Yugo and Yuto to hold onto his arms while Yuri heads over to the door to open it. Both Yuto and Yugo did their best to guide Yuya over to the open door but it proved difficult when Yuya could barely walk two steps in before stopping to lean over and moan. It scared Yugo how tensed Yuya would become whenever he did that; it genuinely looked like it hurt a lot.
Thankfully, they were only inches away from the door so the sooner they get out of here the-
Yuya's arms suddenly shot out of their grips and latch onto both sides of the doorframe. The action causes startled cries to come out of three and Yuri, who was looking outside to see if somebody was coming, whips around to see the situation in front of him.
"Yuya, what the hell are you doing?!" Yugo demands as the trembling boy looks back and forth between his two arms with fear in his red eyes.
"I-I don't know! I'm not doing this!" the boy tries to move forward only to realize in horror that his arms were locked in place. "I-I can't move them!"
"Son of a-!" Yugo begins when he realizes what's going on.
"It can't force you to stay that place if we all try to pull you out," Yuto tells him. "Try to fight off the control it has on your arms while we try to get you through the doorway, okay?"
Yuya nods through his whimpering while Yuto and Yugo put their hands against his shoulders while Yuri grabs onto his nightrobe to pull. "One, two, three!"
Yuto and Yugo both push against Yuya's shoulders while Yuri began to pull by using his grip on the nightrobe. They barely managed to move Yuya a centimeter through the doorframe when the boy's body locks while his mouth lets out this blood-curdling scream they have ever heard from him.
"Yuto, this is hurting him!" Yugo yells when Yuya couldn't stop screaming the more they try to get him through the front door. Realizing this, the brothers immediately let him go.
They did not expect Yuya to suddenly fly from the door frame and land on the floor a few feet away from them like he was flung by invisible strings. The boys all shriek when it happened but quickly turned their concern eyes over to Yuya when they saw him moving to his knees slowly.
"Yuya?!" The boy was able to lift his head up to meet their gazes and the boys bit back the shivers they got when they see the absolute fear in Yuya's eyes.
"Onii-chan-!" Yuya yelps when he was suddenly dragged across the floor by the invisible strings once again but this time he was being dragged towards them. Each of their eyes' widen as they stuck their hands out to grab him but his body suddenly makes a U-turn into the living room.
The boys could only watch in horror as their brother was thrown into the table, the furniture breaking upon contact. The three quickly hurry over to their hurt brother, who was trying to sit up while rubbing his aching head.
"Yuya, are you okay?!" Yugo frantically asks as he drops onto his knees in front of his dazed brother.
"Guys..." they hear Yuya mumble, his long bangs hiding his eyes from their view. Only Yuri seemed to notice the different tone in Yuya's voice so he slowly reached for something close to him. "You really... Should've thrown the knife outside!"
Before Yugo could react, the knife was back on his throat and he was staring into those horrible dull eyes again. That bastard had dragged Yuya back to where he had thrown the knife!
Yuri had grabbed a broken leg from the crushed table when he saw the knife and used it to hit Yuya over the head. The possessed boy lets out a startled yelp as he falls onto his back, the knife leaving Yugo's throat. His actions, however, didn't go unpunished.
"Yuri!" Yuto and Yugo both yell and glared at the boy, who gives them a shrug.
"Hey, I saved your life, didn't I?" Yuri points out as he drops the leg. The conversation was cut short when they heard a growl from Yuya. They look back down to see Yuya looking up at them with this horrifying rage in his dull eyes that actually sent shivers down their spines.
"Run?" Yugo squeaks out the suggestion.
Don't you guys just love a good cliffhanger?
The first thing the boys did when Yuya was about to get back on his feet was run to the front door. They weren't those idiot characters in a horror genre situation where they think it was a good idea to run up the stairs to escape the killer - even Yugo knew that! - and besides, their exit was already open.
Or, it was, until the front door slams shut right before them. The three ended up running into each other since the door had shut so sudden.
"What the-?!" after gathering his bearings from getting mushed by his younger brothers, Yuto quickly tries to turn the knob only to realize that it wouldn't move. "Are you fucking kidding me?! It's locked!"
"What do ya mean-?!" Yugo was cut off when he heard someone shouting and loud footsteps coming up to them from behind. The third Sakai barely had time to see the possessed Yuya running up to them with the knife in his hands before he and his brothers jump out of the way.
This actually makes Yuya end up running into the door, head-first into with his hands to his sides - which made the boys feel a little relive since they didn't want Yuya to accidentally stab himself. Seeing that Yuya was slightly dazed from that, Yuri took this a chance to grab a fistful of his hair, reel his head back, and slam Yuya's head against the door.
Yuya's body fell to the floor in an instant, like he was a bag of potatoes.
"YURI, REALLY?!" Yuto and Yugo both shout angrily at their brother. Since when was Yuri not hesitant in harming Yuya?! In the midst of their anger, they did not see Yuya slowly pushing himself up.
"Yes, really, because I'm the only one who's keeping the four of us alive at the moment!" for the first time since they arrive at this house, Yuri was slowly losing his controlled facade and found himself panicking a little. They didn't have time to talk further when they once again hear Yuya growling near them.
So, following his instincts, Yugo grabs his two brothers and shoves them all through the door that leads to the cellar. Yugo had no idea why he thought it was a good idea to come to the cellar out of all places but all he could think about was somehow putting something between them and their possessed brother, which just so happens to the door to the cellar that he was able to shut in time when Yuya was about to run at them again.
"T-The cellar?! Are you serious, Fusion?!" Yuri yells in a terrified voice that Yugo had never heard from him before.
"Hey, it's not like we went upstairs or anything," Yugo retorts, keeping his grip on the doorknob when he felt Yuya screaming from the other side, trying to get the door to open.
"THIS IS JUST AS BAD, YUGO!"
"I PANICKED, OKAY?!"
"Guys, will you both calm down?!" Yuto speaks up after the two were glaring at each other, his own hands shaking as he paces in front of them. "This isn't really the time to be arguing!"
Yugo and Yuri both kept their glares on each other for a moment before Yugo yelps when he feels the door opening a bit. He could barely make out a graying Yuya face looking at them with such amount of fury that didn't belong to him before Yugo was able to pull the door back into place. "Uh, a little help here?"
Yuto and Yuri both immediately begin to search for something to block the door while Yugo did his best to keep it closed until then.
"Um... Funny little thing we forgot to mention earlier, Yuya," Yugo speaks up with a nervous laugh through all of Yuya's screaming. "We actually have a cellar! Sorry we didn't tell you sooner but that weird doll of yours kept popping out of nowhere and you started to get a little obsessed with it so we thought-"
Yugo forces himself to cut off when he hears a scream that's full of different baritones to make it sound disoriented.
"Okay! You don't want to talk. That's fine! You didn't have to scream!"
"Got it!" Yuto runs up behind him with rope in his hands. "Tie it around the knob!" Yugo didn't hesitate as he took one end of the rope and tied it to the doorknob. He looks over to see Yuto tying the other end at one of the shelves that are weld into the wall, no way for it to move even at the ferocity of Yuya's fury outside.
Yugo allows himself to let go of the knob and take a few steps back, watching how the door would rattle and how loud Yuya's screams kept getting louder when the door couldn't open. He couldn't but flinch when the banging from the other side got louder with Yuya's screams. He shares a glance with his two brothers, who join him near the door.
"How long do you think that'll hold him?"
"Well... That rope is pretty thick so, hopefully by the time Mom and Dad come here?" Yuto guesses with a small shrug from his shoulder.
That wasn't good enough for Yugo. "I'm going into the cellar..."
Yugo ignores the startled noises from his brothers as he makes his way down the stairs. Flinching from another bang on the door, the two quickly follow him. They found him on the other side of the altar, right where Yuri created that hole for the doll. They could see he was kneeling down since only his head and shoulders were visible.
"You're not seriously hiding behind that thing, are you?" Yuri questions with his hands on his hips.
"Hey, this is the only place in here that we can hide in. Sides, I think we've been gone long enough for Mom and Dad to be here at any second. I'm just going to stay behind here for extra protection, just in case..."
Yuto sighs. "Well, at least we have the only entrance blocked off and we didn't go upstairs or anything..."
Now Yuri is the one sighing. "Move over, Fusion..."
That was how the three found themselves hiding behind the altar; Yugo on the far left, Yuri right underneath the hole he made, and Yuto on far right. They all stood there silently, listening to the sounds of Yuya's screams and the banging on the door above.
Suddenly, the banging and the screams stopped.
Yuto raises an eyebrow. "He's gone quiet..."
"Yeah," Yugo eye's widen when he thought of something. "Wait, Yuri! Do you still have your machete with you?!"
Yuri quirks an eyebrow at him before unzipping his sweater pulling the right side back to reveal the machete inside the hidden pocket. "Really, Fusion, if you think I would actually let that thing take my machete then you don't know me very well. Why would you even think that demon would dare try and steal my machete?"
"Hey, I'm just making sure," Yugo retorts as he and the others stood up. "We know that thing can't use a knife to hack down the door like Jack Nicholson but if he used something like your machete then we'll be in a whole lot of trouble," he then blinks when something else pops into his mind. "Wait, we don't have an ax, do we?"
His sentence makes his brothers sigh in annoyance. "Honestly, Fusion," Yuri shakes his head. "I'm really starting to regret letting you guys watch horror movies with me. I mean, it was fun watching you guys scream and hide underneath the blanket but seeing how annoyingly paranoid you've become, I-"
Yuri was cut off by a loud gag escaping his throat when two gray hands, one of them holding a knife, suddenly pop out from the hole he was standing in front of and wrapped themselves around his neck in a chokehold.
The moment they pulled up to the house and saw the lights on from the windows, Yusho and Yoko instantly felt their hearts dropping into their stomachs as their thoughts turned for the worst. They couldn't have been late, right? It wasn't too late to save all of their boys and they were just panicking over nothing because those lights don't mean anything.
It still didn't stop them from flinging themselves out of their vehicle and up the stairs like they were the Roadrunner from Looney Tunes. Yoko was the first one to make it to the door and try to turn the knob. Her eyes widen when she realized it was locked.
"Boys!" she calls into the house as Yusho is at her side in an instant. "Boys, it's Kaa-san and Tou-san! Let us in!"
"Boys!" now it's Yusho's turn to scream as he pounds his fist into the door. "Boys, if you can hear us then open the door!"
Growling, Yusho backs up a bit. "Stand back, honey," the woman looks at her husband in surprise but did what he asks. She watches him run into the door like a football player trying to tackle the other player down. The door rattles from the sudden force ramming into it but it still stood in its place. Yusho grumbles before ramming into it once again.
Like before, it rattles but still nothing.
"Yusho!" Yoko turns to see Shuzo, Shun, Reira, and Reiji running up to the porch while the sisters stood by the vehicles, their eyes shining with worry.
"Fellas, help me break this door down!" Yusho tells the males present, making Yoko guide Reira back a few steps so they can move to the front door.
"One, two, three!"
The four slam their bodies into the door. It rattles but not enough.
The slam into it once again. Yoko could faintly see a bit of light coming through the small gap they were able to make.
"One, two, three!"
A slam the door sprung open. Immediately, the Sakaki couple ran into the house, followed by the other people on the porch.
"Yuto?!" Yoko calls into the house once they're in the entrance hall. "Yuri?! Yugo?! Where are you boys?!"
"Yuya, stop it!" Everyone's heads whipped around when they hear Yuto's voice.
"You're killing him, Yuya!" Now that was Yugo's voice, followed by loud screams that didn't even sound human.
Reira turns her head to the door underneath the staircase and her eyes widen when she got the location of the voices and the screaming. "They're behind that door!" she quickly tells the older people in the house.
Yusho and Yoko instantly ran over to the cellar's door and try to turn the knob. "Are you kidding me, this one too?!" Yoko grumbles when she realizes the doorknob wouldn't move.
Now they were so close to the door, they could faintly hear Yuto and Yugo's shouting and the inhumane scream better. It brought chills down their spines when they realized that they haven't heard Yuri's voice at all.
It made the two of them slam their bodies against the door. Only a few of those slams broke through, the door springing open to reveal a cold wind that's been trapped in there for a long time.
But that didn't stop the couple from running through the door and down the stairs, where the screams and shouts grew louder.
The moment their feet touched the dusty floor, Yusho and Yoko felt their jaws dropping as their eyes land on a scene that they wish they would never have to see in their entire lives.
All four of their children were there, standing near that horrible altar were all those children were probably tortured on, in positions that they never thought were possible. A gray-skinned Yuya had Yuri in a chokehold with his left arm, a knife raised in the air with his right. Now they understood why Yuri wasn't the one shouting because he was the one that Yuya was trying to kill, it unsettled them how their normally composed boy could look so helpless as he desperately tries to claw his brother's arm off his neck while his skin turns blue and bits of saliva drip from his pale lips.
The only things that were probably saving Yuri from a kick death by the knife were Yuto, who had his arms wrapped around the arm Yuya was using to hold the knife, and Yugo, who was doing his best to get the arm that had Yuri in a chokehold off. They could hear the two shouting for Yuya to let go of Yuri but all the possessed boy did is scream in frustration since he couldn't get the knife closer to Yuri and at the two that were trying to stop him.
The parents couldn't stand to see their children like this.
"Boys!" Yuto and Yugo both look up in surprise to see their parents running up to them, followed by Shuzo, Shun, Reiji, and Reira running down the stairs.
"Mom! Dad!" the two allow their parents to get closer, Yusho helping Yuto by trying to pry the knife out of Yuya's hand while Yoko joins Yugo in trying to pull Yuya's arm off Yuri's neck.
Their interference causes Yuya to scream louder and flail his limbs about, but it did nothing when Shuzo and Shun came in and grabbed onto his arms, preventing him from moving. All Yuya could do was scream in pure hatred as Yusho was able to get the knife out of grip and Yoko and Yugo freeing Yuri by getting his arm off, causing the boy to cough loudly as all the air returns to his lungs.
"Get him to the car!" Reiji tells the adults and Shun as they lift up the squirming Yuya, who was still screaming loudly in their ears while Yuto and Yugo helps a still coughing Yuri up the stairs. "We need to take him to the Church, now!"
Not needed to be told twice, the four slowly brought Yuya over to the stairs, though it proved to be difficult since Yuya was furiously kicking his feet to slow them down. He stopped when Reiji grabbed onto his legs, leaving the boy to do nothing but scream profanities at them, some in languages that they couldn't understand. Reira followed behind them up the stairs, eyeing the squirming Yuya warily.
They were able to the make it up the stairs despite Yuya's best efforts to get out of their grip. Reira looks over to see the brothers walking through the doorway into the awaiting arms the Hiiragi sisters, some of them crying when they see the boys before they all quickly went down the porch.
Reira quickly maneuvers herself around the adults and teenagers, narrowly avoiding one of Yuya's flailing arms to make it through the doorway. She quickly turns back to see the five doing their best to carry Yuya over to the door. They were only a few inches away when Yuto's voice yells from outside.
"Wait, stop!" Reira turns to see him, Yugo, and Yuri - who was still rubbing his throat - look up at them with fear in their eyes. "The demon won't let Yuya out of the house; it'll hurt him if you try to do that!"
Startled, Reira turns back to look at Yuya, who was breathing deeply while his dull eyes glare hatefully at her. "Bring him outside, slowly..." she tells the people holding Yuya in a soft whisper. They all shared a look with each other before doing what she says.
They barely made a centimeter past the doorway when Yuya's arms suddenly wrench themselves free of his parents, Shuzo, and Shun's grips to hang onto the doorframes. His harsh breathing quickly became pained moans, proving Yuto's words correct.
"That's why it took Zarc to the house before," Reira mumbles as she watches Yuya's body shake uncomfortably. "This is where its powers are its peak, it's like it bound Yuya to this house, no matter how many times we try to pull him out we'll end up hurting him!"
Yuya's blood-curdling scream broke Reira out of her thoughts. No one had time to react when Yuya was suddenly sling-shotted from the doorway and onto the ground a few feet away from them. Seconds later, invisible strings begin to pull Yuya back towards the cellar. Reira could never forget the image of Yuya desperately clawing at the floor to stop himself, his screams of terror echoing in her ears.
"Help me! Kaa-san! TOU-SAN!"
Reira blinks and Yuya's through the door to the cellar.
"Yuya!" His parents instantly follow him to the lower level, Shuzo, and Reiji following quickly. Reira could hear footsteps coming up the porch behind her.
"What's going on?!" Her eyes widen when she recognizes the voice and immediately whips around to see the brothers running towards the doorway.
"Don't go in the house!" Reira quickly warns them, making the brothers stop right in their tracks. "It can't let Yuya leave the house and if you three run after him then it will have you all trapped. Just go wait in the car, you'll be safer there and I promise that the boy who will be walking out of this doorway will be your brother."
"You heard the little lady, get back in the car!" Shun orders the three, leading them back down the steps despite their protests.
Seeing that Shun was making sure the boys were safe, Reira makes her way down to the cellar to see what was going on.
She did not expect to see Yuya pinning his own father down on the ground, his gray hands wrapped tightly around his throat while his mother, Shuzo, and her brother try to pry him off.
"Yuya, this is crazy!" Shuzo yells over Yuya's growling. "This is your father, for God's sake! Don't tell me your willing to let this thing-!"
Shuzo didn't have time to finish his plead when Yuya turns his head and bits down onto the older man's arm, hard.
The poor man lets out the most painful scream his lungs could allow him as he instantly lets go of Yuya. Still, the boy refused to open his mouth. He kept his teeth clamped on the man's skin, bitting harder and harder, he didn't even stop when he began to taste the coppery flavor of blood.
He only freed the man's arm from his bite when his whole world went dark. He lets go in surprise and tosses his head around to find any sort of light. The feeling of something dry and itchy rubbing against his cheek made Yuya realized that someone had thrown a potato sack over his head.
He lets go of Yusho in favor of trying to rip the potato sack from his head. However, letting go of Yusho allows Yoko and Reiji to get a proper grip on his arms, locking them in place. Yuya screams and trashes his head around to get the sack off his head but it proves to be futile as Yoko and Reiji were able to get him off the coughing Yusho.
"Put him over there!" Reira points to the altar they were all standing in front of. "It'll be easier to keep him from going anywhere if we tie him up there."
Although it was a bit of struggle for two people to get the kicking and screaming Yuya over to the altar, much less get him to lay on the cold stone It was with Reira's help by latching the chains onto his flailing legs that Yoko and Reiji were able to get the chains on his arms. The three took a few steps back to see the possessed boy, twisting his limbs to get himself free from the chains while his horrifying screams were muffled by the sack over his head.
"Call Father Phoenix," Reira orders, her tone sounding urgent as her worried eyes met her brother's. "The Shinigami won't let him leave this house so we can't take him to the Church, call him so we can perform the exorcism here!"
Reiji immediately takes out his phone but when he opens the screen. "There's no signal in here..."
Everyone whips around to face him with shocked looks in their eyes but when he turns the phone's screen over to them their hearts drop; bold white letters read the words "No Signal".
Yoko takes out her own phone and was met with the same results. "Mine too..."
Reira sighs as she runs her hands through her hair. "Okay..." she begins to pace around while sparing glances at the spasming Yuya. "Okay, okay... Then, I'll do it."
That catches everyone's attention. "What?!" Reiji asks.
"I'll do it," she repeats as she lowers her hands from her head. "I can perform the exorcism. I've done it plenty of times before!"
"Yes, but only up to the second stage!" Reiji counters. "Reira, you know exorcisms are dangerous, both for you and Yuya. I know you can bring the demon to reveal itself and you can say the chant to help the victim, but expelling the demon itself requires a lot of energy form you and Yuya. We can just drive over to the Church and get Father Phoenix over-"
"Yuya doesn't have that much time, Reiji!" the older boy jumps when his sister explodes at him. "Look at him!"
He does look and instant flashbacks of the time where he saw Zarc laying on the ground, his limbs twitching uncontrollably as he did his best to fight off the foreign entity that didn't belong in his body. Reiji blinks and now Zarc was replaced with Yuya but he could still see how those two were similar; they were both trying to be rid of their bodies' invader.
"Reiji," he looks back down to see his sister looking up at him with pleading eyes. "Please, we can give Yuya the help he needs right now or he can end up like Zarc. Please, Reiji..."
Reiji looks back at Yuya, who's still twitching while hagged gasps escape his throat. The youngest Sakaki almost looks like he's suffering from a mini seizure. The older boy didn't even want to imagine how his face must look underneath that sack.
Finally, he sighs. "I'll go get your bag from the car."
Everyone jumps when Yuya suddenly lets out a disorient scream.
Exorcism time! Mwahahaha!
Chapter 24: Let The Exorcism Begin
So, I had an eventful last week; I went to Mount Washington (which was both awesome and terrifying because I have an irrational fear of heights) and I went to see Aladdin on Broadway (amazing show, Michael James Scott was awesome as the Genie). I felt like I should've have finished this chapter last week but that's life. At least I managed to finish this before July was over. And we're going back to August, the month where school year is about to restart... WAAHH!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
When Shun went down to the cellar to tell the others that the boys and girls are safe in the cars, he notices a few things that make him stop in his tracks. One of them was Yuya chained to this creepy stone bed with a bag made for carrying potatoes over his head, twisting his limbs in unnatural ways to get themselves free from the rusty old chains. The other thing he noticed was those Akaba siblings standing nearby with Yuya's parents with them, pulling out what appears to glass bottles of water from this duffel bag.
But the first thing he noticed was his father standing as far away as he could be from Yuya, holding a rag over his arm and he could faintly see blood on it.
"Dad, are you okay?!" Shun immediately runs over the moments he saw the blood on the rag.
"Son, make a note," Shuzo begins, staring warily at the thrashing Yuya ahead of him. "Yugo is not the quadruplet that's deadly with his mouth, Yuya is."
Shun feels like he shouldn't press more on that topic and instead turns his attention over to the Sakaki couple. "What's going on?"
"Since we can't get Yuya to leave the house and we have no way of contacting the Priest, we're doing the exorcism here," Yusho answers as Reira hands Yoko what appears to be a wind bell from her bag. "Apparently, Reira has done plenty of exorcisms before so she's at least qualified for it."
"Wait, she's doing the exorcism?" Shun looks at him with an incredulous look. "Isn't she like two years younger than Yuya?"
Yusho sighs at this. "Shun, at this point I think we're going have to go with what we got. I mean, look at him," Shun does and he could feel his heart stop when he hears the pained noises and breaths coming out of his mouth. "I can't stand seeing him like this anymore, and I know the boys wouldn't want him to continue suffering when he can get the help he needs right now."
Shun stays silent for a moment, listening to Yuya's painful moans before meeting the older man's eyes. "So, what do we have to do?"
"Wait until I give you instructions," the two men jump when Reira spoke up, a glass bottle of water in her hands. "Exorcisms are very dangerous and the type of demon we're currently facing is only to increase that danger. Yoko-san," she turns to the woman holding the wind bell. "When I tell you to, you need to ring that bell as loudly as you can."
"Why?" Yoko asks, glancing at the bell in her hands.
"A chime from a glass bell can ward off evil spirits," Reiji is the one who answers as he steps forward with parchments in his hand. "To demons, nothing irritates them more than hearing these bells."
"Remember, wait until I give the word and then you ring the bells," Reira tells her before turning to Yusho. "And Sakaki-san, you and Reiji are gonna have to do something for me I know you, yourself, will have trouble with.'
"What is it?"
"Please, wait until I tell you what to do..."
Yusho wanted to say something but a strangled yelp from Yuya silenced him. The sooner they get that thing out of him the better.
"I'm going to start with a simple chant," Reira begins, her eyes locked the trembling Yuya. "It's to ensure that the exorcism has begun and we can't stop it unless I say so. You might want to step back, demons tend to get pretty agitated when the exorcism begins."
Reiji did so immediately but there was some confusion from the other people inside the cellar. Seconds later they did what they were told.
That was when Reira began to chant.
It was almost surreal, listening to Reira chant in this almost forgotten language. It was definitely not Japanese and certainly not English. With how clear Reira was able to speak in such a difficult language they were almost convinced that the language must be native somewhere in the world. They could hear how powerful each syllable came out of her mouth.
The demon could hear that power in her voice too, and it did not like it one bit.
Yuya, who was previously stiff as a board, began to thrash against the chains holding his limbs in place. Guttural growls could be heard from behind the sack covering his head, which gradually began to grow louder the longer Reira continues to chant. It was only seconds after Yuya's growling became louder the people in the cellar noticed the floor trembling underneath their feet.
Yet, Reira still continued on with the chant. Even when glasses from the shelves began to fall due to the shaking and glass shards began to fly across the ground the moment it shattered, Reira didn't let that stop her.
The moment she was done chanting Yuya lets out the most bone-chilling scream that his parents have ever heard from him.
Yuto could feel his patience running thin. It was only a while ago that Shun had forced the teenagers into the Hiiragi family van and ran off to check things at the house. While the others were in the back seats, tending to Yuri since the boy's neck was still bothering him, Yuto was in the front seat that gave him the perfect view of the front door of the house.
The older quadruplet expected for another car to parked nearby, the priest that was supposed to do Yuya's exorcism, but it has almost been an hour and there was no new car in sight. What was going on in that house?
"This priest should've been here by now," he comments to the others after a while.
"Maybe he hit traffic?" Ruri suggests after giving Yuri an icepack for his neck.
"I know that Church is supposed on the opposite end of the city where this house is, but the traffic in the city is nothing compared to the housing district," Yuto points out as he makes his way back to the others, giving En a soft pat on his head when he started to get fussy on Yuzu's lap. "I just don't like the fact that we don't know what's going on in there."
"I'm sure they're doing everything they can, Yuto," Ruri tries to calm him.
"If not, then I'm going have to take matters into my own hands," at the others' dumbfounded looks, Yuri quickly elaborates. "That Shinigami has been attacking me when I least suspect it while it gives Yuto and Fusion-kun a warning before trying to kill them. So, on top of trying to kill us and possessing my little brother, I want some payback for trying to sneak attack me."
His response makes most of the occupants in the car sigh in annoyance. Typical Yuri.
Everyone's heads shot up when the sounds of a bird's wings flapping rather loudly past the van. Normally, a bird flying by the van was something that everyone was used to since it was normal for birds to fly into moving vehicles. However, this van wasn't moving. And by the volume of those wing flaps, it was almost like the bird was trying to get inside the van.
Why would it do that?
Sneaking glances at each other, both Serena and Yuto head over to the window at the front of the car while the others stayed behind, huddling up together. En could already sense their distress and began to squirm in Yuzu's arms, which makes the girl hold onto him tighter, but not enough to suffocate him.
Serena was the first one to reach the window and look at their surroundings. Yuto quickly joins her.
Even though the area was already covered in darkness from the night sky, the van's lights were still on so they can see what's in front of them.
So far, there wasn't a single moving thing outside.
"Damn, bird," Serena growls as she leans back. "Scaring the hell out of us like-"
The front seat window from the left gets broken apart when something flies into it. Bits of glass flew at them, one even managed to nick her cheek. But the two didn't bother to care since they were too busy screaming along with the rest of their siblings when they see a pigeon stick its head through the hole it made, the broken glass digging into its neck did nothing to stop it from flapping its wings to get further into the car.
But it wasn't the gruesome scene that made them screamed. No. It was the bird's pure black eyes.
"Sakaki-san, Nii-san," Reira begins once Yuya stops screaming. "I need you two to his head down and open his mouth while I make him drink the holy water."
Reiji nods but her order caught Yusho off guard.
"What? What do you mean I have to hold him down?"
"We're at the first stage of the exorcism; getting the demon to reveal itself," Reira elaborates. "The reason why I brought the wind bells out was to gain the demon's attention. If that wasn't enough to reveal itself, then the holy water will a tipping point. You are aware of what holy water does to demons, correct?"
Yusho nods. He often takes a peek at the horror movies the boys would watch on their Horror Movie Night.
"Then you should know that this stage will only hurt the demon and not your son. Don't worry, although all demons are different, this part of the exorcism doesn't last long."
Again, Yusho could only nod as he and Reiji walk over to where Yuya lay. It hurt to look at his son like this; trembling against the stone holding him up while harsh whimpers escape his lips. He was glad the sack over his head was blocking his view of Yuya's face because he could only imagine the agony his eyes would show.
"Yoko-san, please the ring the bells."
Yoko did so without hesitation. A joyful resonance seems to fill the cold air of the cellar with each chime, making Yusho lose his tense posture for a bit.
Yuya's reaction was different from his; with each chime that came from the bell, Yuya's body would flinch so violently like he was having a spasm. What's worse is these horrible coughing noises that make Yusho's heart split into two. It was probably sore from all the screaming he did and he could hear how strained each hagged cough was.
Yusho was shaken out of his thoughts when Reiji nudges his shoulder, signaling that it was their turn.
Yusho could only dread it as he watches Reiji puts his hands on both sides of Yuya's head to keep it in place. With the thought of Yuya wanting this to be over as much as he does, Yusho brings his hands up to the sack and lift it high enough so he could see his son's graying lips.
"Papa!" Yusho blinks in shock; that didn't sound like the changing tone or the multiple voices of the demon. It actually sounded like his son's voice, full of desperation and fear.
"Yuya?" He could see the boy nod his head slightly before opening his mouth again.
"Papa, please help me! S-She's going to hurt me! Make her stop!"
At once, Yusho's eyes harden. "Nice try," he snarls at Yuya, who leans back slightly in shock at his tone. "You almost played me for a foul, but I know my son well enough that he wants you gone so you won't bring any harm to his brothers. I find it very hard to believe that Yuya would want to keep a blood-thirsty killer inside his body when he could get it out right now."
Realizing that it was caught, Yuya's lips turn into a snarl as he opens his mouth to growl at him. However, this gave Yusho the chance to hold Yuya's jaw open, drawing a startled cry from the boy.
"And by the way," Yusho continues while Yuya tries to bite onto the fingers holding his mouth open. "Yuya does not call me 'Papa'!"
He didn't see Reira walk up next to him but he did see the bottle containing the holy water hover Yuya's mouth. He watches as Reira pours the holy water down Yuya's throat, noting how Yuya's body jerked when the water instantly touches him. It was only seconds later that Yuya began to scream, which turned into a choking noise due to the water going down his throat. Faintly, Yusho could hear sizzling noises over Yuya's screaming and see traces of smoke coming out of his throat.
"It burns!" Yuya spits out through the water in his mouth. "IT BURNS!"
It was the change in his voice that Yusho stopped himself from letting go.
"I SAID IT BURNS!"
No one prepared for the chain holding Yuya's left arm to suddenly break, allowing Yuya to reach up and grab Reira by her throat. The girl lets out a startled scream as the bottle drops from her hand in favor of grabbing onto the gray hand that's currently squeezing the air out of her.
"Reira!" Yusho and Reiji quickly let got of Yuya in order to grab his arm but were shocked to see it staying there, it was like trying to move a boulder. Reiji quickly turns to the other people in the cellar, who are looking on with terror in their eyes. "Get the handcuffs! They're in the bag!"
Shun immediately goes over to the bag in search of said handcuffs. Thankfully, he was able to find two of them with ease and hurries over to the altar. Reiji takes one and, with the help of Shun and Yusho, they slowly managed to pry Yuya's fingers lose enough for Reiji to handcuff the chain holding Yuya's arm to the screw loop the rest of the chain was attached too. For safety, Reiji uses the other handcuff on his other wrist, allowing the chain holding that arm to feel some relief.
"Are you alright, Reira?!" Yusho asks while Reira coughs to regain her lost oxygen.
"I-I'm fine..." she manages to gasp out before breaking into another coughing fit.
Reiji grits his teeth as he listens to his sister's coughs before turning his attention over to the shaking boy. "Is this all a game to you?" he barks. "Taking away our sister and putting Zarc in a mental hospital wasn't enough for you, but you decide to torment another family the same way you did to us yet you have the audacity to pretend that you don't know us while you try to Reira's life away just now!"
Yuya's body stills at this, giving Reiji a moment to catch his breath. He could feel the stares of everyone in the room on him but he had to get that out after all these years. For so long, he had gotten angry at the wrong people and it always backfired on him. Now he finally has a chance to get angry at the right person and he wasn't about to look at a gift horse in the mouth.
"You're Akaba Reiji, right?" everyone stiffens when they still heard Yuya's voice, only now it sounded deadpan and tired. Reiji didn't say anything in response, knowing that the demon was trying to tempt him. But that didn't stop Yuya from continuing. "I've heard so much about you; you're the son of that business owner. He mentioned you three years ago... Funny, before that, he used to talk about his older daughter all the time, not once did he mentioned you or your little sister. I bet you were so happy when your sister died so your father can finally notice you."
Yuya didn't even flinch when Reji's hand hit the altar to the left side of his head, barely a few inches from his own head while the older Abaka glares hatefully at him.
"You think it's been easy for me these past three years, well what about you? I can't imagine how your bosses must've reacted when they found out one of your victims was able to force you out!"
He walks away to the other end of the cellar, he just wanted to get as far away from the demon as he possibly can or he might do something he might regret to Yuya. He just can't stand thinking about that demon and when he thinks about that demons he thinks about Ray, whenever she would give him a sad look in her eyes that he would always ignore-
"dOn'T wAlK aWaY fRoM mE, aKaBa ReIjI!"
Jars from the shelf next to him immediately fly off and hit the ground near his feet, the glasses shattering upon impact. Reiji jumps but doesn't move out of the way. He's suddenly grateful for his decision on wearing sneakers instead of flip-flops.
He looks up to meet the other two people in the back to assure them that he was fine but he realized that they were looking past him with jaw-dropped expressions. Confused, he turns around and catches sight of what they're staring at.
Oh, now he understands Hiiragi-san's exaggerated jaw-dropped expression.
Yuya's skin had gone completely gray, no hints of his light-colored could be seen. He was like an undead corpse. But what really stood out to Reiji was the black veins that could be seen from underneath that horrible gray skin.
It was then Reiji realized, with his stomach twisting, why Yuya's veins were like that.
"There it is..." he heard his sister mumble and Reiji couldn't agree more.
Now that this chapter is done, I can finally move onto that Hanako chapter I've been dying to make!
Chapter 25: No Choice
Blame Angels of Death and Detroit: Become Human for the lack of updates last week. Thankfully, I managed to finish this before midnight. GAH! I still can't believe I have to go back to school on Wednesday. Hopefully, I can finish the new chapter for Alexithymia by then.
Reira and Reiji could feel the others' fear inside the room. They couldn't blame them since they remember the first time they saw a demon reveal itself in a human; they practically jumped at how fast the human's physical appearance changed. Nothing terrified them more than seeing the demon, only inches away from revealing its true form but is stopped by the one layer of human skin. Normally, they were used to these physical changes by now but seeing the demon hiding right underneath Yuya's skin instantly reminded them of Zarc when he was in this house, how he practically looked unrecognizable to them.
They could only imagine how the others feel when they gaze upon the boy they know their whole lives yet they still can't see him.
"Okay," Reira rubs her hands together in anticipation. "Okay, now we're on the second stage."
"What's the second stage?" Shun asks, snapping out of his shock from Yuya's drastic physical change.
"It's the stage that's genuinely the hardest part of this exorcism," Reira answers. "In this stage, I have to get Yuya's permission to get the Shinigami out of him. I don't know what you all know about exorcisms but this one is completely different from the traditional priest vs. the demon type. In this exorcism, it takes in what the host wants. What that basically means since a demonic possession violates not only the host's body but also their free will; it takes everything from the host without giving them a choice. So, in this stage, it gives the host a choice if they want to be rid of the demon."
"So? How exactly does that make this stage difficult?" Yusho questions, not seeing anything wrong with it.
Reira shakes her head. Of course, they wouldn't understand. "What makes this difficult is because it's always a gamble to get the host up to the surface. The demon would do absolutely anything to keep the host suppressed so they won't give us permission to expel their invader. Sometimes, if the demon is low leveled enough, the host can take back control in about seconds. But if it's a high leveled one like the Shinigami, then it really does become a gamble if the host is able to break through the surface or not."
"What happens if Yuya doesn't take back control?"
Reira couldn't find herself the will to answer Yoko's question. Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see Reiji shifting uncomfortably. He didn't have the heart to answer her either.
"Let's just focus on the task at hand," she says instead as she makes her way back over to Yuya, who slowly stiffens the closer she got. "I'm going to ask for Yuya's permission and if it goes well, then this exorcism should be a breeze from there. If not... Mr. and Mrs. Sakaki, I will request for your help if I need it."
The husband and wife duo look at each other in confusion before taking a few steps back to allow her some room. Reira thanks them before she stops right next to Yuya.
"You're not going to tell them what happens?" Yuya questions the moment she was right next to him. "You and your brother both called me a coward yet you refuse to tell them what's going to happen to their son if you fail. I keep forgetting how humans can be such hypocrites-"
"Don't you have angry bosses you need to speak to?" Reira cuts him off before he could go any further and places her hand on his stomach. Yuya's breath immediately hitches at this but it slowly turns into a growl as he turns his head in her direction. Probably glaring at her from underneath the sack.
She shakes her head at him before starting a new chant.
Everyone watches with wary eyes as Reira chants; they remember Yuya's reaction last time to a chant and were prepared in case he loses it again. However, he didn't thrash or scream this time. He was just quiet and the only movement he made was the rise and fall of his chest from each breath he took.
It was a complete contrast to what happened earlier and that chilled them.
"Audi me: Yuya," Reira finishes before opening her eyes to stare at the possessed boy laying in front of her.
So far, nothing happened. It was just an eerie silence from the boy.
Until he spoke up.
"Hey..." he murmurs, his voice sounding normal and a bit confused. "You're that girl from before, right? The one who came into the house earlier today... You're kinda young, aren't you? Don't you know it's dangerous for you to be doing something like this? You could get hurt-"
Unamused, Reira picked up another bottle of holy water and splashed it all over him. The reaction was instant as Yuya screams in a warped voice while sizzling smoke could be seen around him.
"I suspected that," Reira mumbles to herself as she puts the now empty bottle away. "Sakaki Yuya, if you can hear me, you're doing fine. We just need your permission to end all of this. But it has to be you. Okay? You need to say that you want this to end so it can be over."
Yuya lets out this disturbing chuckle. "You really think you talking is going to work? That I didn't learn my lesson last time? You're nothing to him, Reira-chan, you're just a stranger that his parents picked up in hopes you could help him! He doesn't know you-"
"You're right, I don't know him," Reira cuts him off, completely unaffected by the demon's words. "And he doesn't know me. But there are plenty of people in this room that he does know and they can get you out of him just like how I got you out of Zarc."
Yuya growls but doesn't say anything in response. Seeing this, Reira turns to Yusho and Yoko and beckons them over.
"Mr. and Mrs. Sakaki, I need you two to talk to your son. Reach out to him so he can find the will he needs to break free," her words brought her startled looks from the Sakaki couple.
"Why do you want us to talk to him?" Yoko asks, keeping her eyes on Yuya.
"Sometimes during the second stage, if the host doesn't come up to the surface by themselves, we usually have family members or people they're very close to come in and try to speak to the host," Reira explains. "You two aren't going to hurt him by doing this, I promise, you just need to talk to him."
The couple gave each other one last concern looks before they stood near their possessed son. Yuya growls like a ferocious animal when he felt their presences get close to him but couldn't do anything about it thanks to the restraints. So, he just bares his teeth together and waits for one of them to say something.
It was Yoko who spoke up first. "Yuya?" she slowly reaches a hand to him. "Yuya, baby, it's Kaasan..."
She quickly drew her hand back when Yuya tries to bite her fingers like a bear trap. She looks down at Yuya, astonishment shining in her green eyes. Yuya just snarls in reply; there was no trace of her son anywhere.
"Son," this time Yusho is the one who speaks up, stepping closer while being mindful of his distance. "I know you can still hear us and I know how much you want this end. Just say the words and this can all be over."
"You two think anything you say is going to help?!" the demon finally snaps, still struggling against the restraints. "You two are just as guilty of your son's torment as the others! You both knew that you were at risk of giving your child cancer because the delinquent's grandfather had the same thing yet you still decided to have children and Yuya became the unlucky one! You two are the reason why his relationship with his brothers is complicated!"
His words made the couple fall into a stun silence. They just stare at their writhing son with looks that couldn't describe the shock they currently feel.
All these years, they thought that had ruined their relationship with three of their boys. But now they're told they are also the reason that the four's relationship has also become strained due to Yuya's cancer. That left an icy feeling inside them that refuse to go away, even when they see their possessed son struggling against the chains they could still feel that icy grip of guilt in their hearts.
"Please don't take that to heart," Reira speaks over Yuya's growls. "It's just saying that to throw you off. I'm sure Yuya doesn't blame you two for what happened between all of you and it's just the Shinigami making it worse than it is."
Somehow the couple doubts that.
"Oh, Yuya," this time, Yoko didn't hesitate to put her hands on either side of Yuya's cheeks, making the boy shake his head in response. "We're so sorry that happened to you, but you have to understand that we didn't know how likely it would be for you and your brothers to get cancer. We didn't even know we were going to have quadruplets, remember? We thought we were gonna have one baby."
Her words cause Yuya's head to still and judging the way his breath hitched told her that she got his attention.
"And by the time we found out, you four were already fully termed so there was nothing we could do to change that. So, we decided to take the risk and deal with the aftermath. We figured that if you showed signs of cancer, we could get it treated the best way possible. Of course, your brothers didn't like the idea of not being with you all the time but we were willing to take all of their hate if it meant you four could still be in each others' lives for a little longer. But..."
She trails off, thinking back to the demon's words earlier. She didn't even realize she had tears in her eyes until she noticed them trailing down her cheeks. While she sniffs to get better control of herself, she did not hear the small noise that came out Yuya's throat when she did that. He had heard her sniffing.
"We didn't know those treatments were also affecting your relationship with each other," Yusho speaks up while Yoko tries to bring herself back together. "We were willing to take any hate you or your brothers would give us but we never thought..." now he's the one stopping to keep himself from falling apart. "Gomenasai, Yuya..."
"NO!" everyone jumps when Yuya suddenly shouts out loud like that, but then they immediately pay attention to it; his voice sounded different from the tones the demon would use. "No, no, no! Please don't blame yourselves, it's all my fault! I shouldn't have been so selfish... I-I shouldn't have believed that they had it easier than me... I-I should've-"
"Yuya, if you open that mouth again to blame yourself then you better not say anything, young man," Yuya cut his ramblings short by the tone his mother was using. "Listen to me; it is not your fault. Alright? None of this is your fault."
The response she got was a small whimper that managed to escape Yuya's trembling gray lips. She could feel his cheeks vibrating from underneath her fingertips, she almost draws her hand back when she feels something unnatural poke from underneath her son's skin. However, she still kept her hands firmly on him. He needed to know that she was right here.
"Yuya," Reira speaks up, gaining the attention of Yuya as he turns his head in the direction he heard her voice. "I don't know how much time you were awake during all of this but all you need to know is that you're almost done but we need your permission to complete this exorcism. Do you understand?"
Yuya began to shake his head as Reira spoke. She was right, he didn't know what was going on. All he could remember was vague images of his hands strangling his father while screaming himself hoarse for the demon to let go of him. Next thing he knew, he was swallowed by a wave filled with nothing but pitch black and pain. Every time he tried to swim back to the surface - to hear, to see, to feel anything beyond the agonizing pain he was in - a wave bigger than the last would crash over him, pulling him back down, deeper into the darkness.
It was so horrible. He had thought he knew loneliness before but he was wrong. So very wrong.
But now he could finally hear and feel what's going on around him and that brought him immense relief, even though he could still feel the pain in the back of his mind. That relief alone was able to make him forget about the pain.
But listening to Reira talk was bringing the pain back full force.
This... This was supposed to be an exorcism, right? That ceremonial thing where the priest is supposed to banish the demon from the possessed person. He's watched enough of Yuri's horror movies to know what exorcism are.
Then why was this person saying that he has the one to end this? Shouldn't she be the one that has to end this because she was the one who started the exorcism? Why did he have to do anything?!
He tried to open his mouth to express these thoughts but his throat suddenly closed up. Eyes widen, Yuya tries to make any form of conversation despite the tightness he's currently feeling. But all the words he managed to get out were chocked. "B-But... Y-You..."
"I know, I know it's hard," the young girl's voice speaks up through the haze in his mind. "But we just need you to say that you want the demon gone and that'll be it."
... Was that true? He just needs to say that he wants the demon gone and that's it? He can finally be alone in his head again and he won't have to worry about his brothers coming near twenty-four/seven. He just has to give them the word and this will be over.
But when he opens his mouth to say something, his throat locks itself tighter than before. When he thought he had trouble speaking before, this time he could barely make a sound. What came out of his mouth instead were these awful gagging noises that would make himself cringe if he could.
Then the pain came back and nothing stopped him from letting out a scream.
Everything became a haze. While he hasn't been pulled back down to the darkness yet, the pain kept crashing over him like the waves before it. He could barely make out the words from the people around.
"-isn't working, Reira!"
He just couldn't take this anymore. This pain, the fear, and the humiliation the demon makes him go through. He just wants it to stop. To just go away and never come back.
But it's not going to stop, though. Not until he's dead by his own hands and the only way the demon knew how to break him was using his brothers against him.
The idea of losing his brothers to this demon instantly brought the fear back. Maybe that fear was the reason how he could hear Shun's words so clearly.
"What if we brought his brothers here?"
That made him forget the pain long enough to cry. "NO! Don't bring them here! Please!"
The pain came back and Yuya could do nothing but lay there, groaning in pain while the fear in the back of his mind continued to make itself present. Please, someone, tell Shun off for that crazy idea. His brothers can't be anywhere near him or the demon will kill them.
He could faintly hear the others conversing, but the pain made it difficult for him to make it out.
That's when he heard it.
The sound of footsteps leaving the area told him what their decision was. Yuya lets out a heart-wrenching sob at this.
Chapter 26: A Knock at the Door
So, been a while, has it?
Okay, before you guys get mad at me, here's the breakdown on the reasons why I haven't uploaded; school, lack of computer access, school work, and birthday gift art. If you guys want the full details, go look at Chapter 5 of my "Alexithymia: Illustrations". It gives you the whole breakdown of what's been happening.
But hey, I got you guys a long chapter! At least, I think it's long. It currently felt long to me.
Enjoy it, you guys!
Shun quickly ran up the stairs to the first floor when the others gave him the okay to get Yuya's brothers. While he knew that he was potentially endangering Yuto and his brothers, he couldn't handle listening to Yuya's screams anymore. He didn't want to imagine the pain Yuya must be going through but hearing him moan and scream like that drove him over the edge. A part of him was glad that he noticed that Yuya always hesitate to kill his brothers even when he wasn't in control no matter what, giving him an idea to end all of this quicker.
When he got to the first floor he did not expect to hear his sisters and friends screaming like there was a murderer chasing them outside. Adrenaline pumping through his veins, Shun practically rushes out of the front door faster than the eye could blink. The moment he stepped through the door, Shun noticed erratic movement from the vehicle, indicating that they were trying to move away from something in the van. As Shun got closer, he could hear their screams and En's frantic barking clearer and see everyone's terrified faces as they try to get away from this large black mass that's trying to reach them.
"Guys!" he quickly yanks the left front door the moment he was right next to the van. Immediately, Yuzu, Ruri, En, and Yuri - with his machete in hand - came pouring out of the van in a pile of screams and frantic limb movement. Meanwhile, he could see Yuto, Serena, Yugo, and Rin all holding up a very large blanket against something that's trying to launch itself at them. Upon hearing the hysterical shrieking, Shun realized it must be a rabid pigeon.
"Get it out here!" Yuri shouts to the others inside the car, gripping his machete tightly.
"Kind of hard to do that when there's a beak trying to peck our eyes out!" Serena retorts after a beak almost did try to peck her eyes from the other side of the blanket. Thankfully, the other four were able to make it out of the car with the blanket wrapped around the rabid pigeon to keep it from going anywhere. To make sure it won't slip out from the blanket, the four set the blanket down on the ground and pressed their bodies on the edges, leaving the pigeon with no room to move out of its trap.
"Kill it! Kill it, Yuri!" Rin shrieks, wincing slightly when she feels the pigeon managing to peck her fingers through the blanket. Not being needed to be told twice, Yuri reels his machete back before bringing it down on top of the moving lump.
A sickening crunch echoed across the area, a dark spot began to spread on the unmoving lump where Yuri had struck. Sighing in relief, Yuri removes his machete from it. His eyes, however, showed annoyance when they land on the red splatter all over his tool. "Well, there goes the chance of getting my first clean kill. By the way, once this is all over, you two can tell Yuya that your theory about me being a serial killer has been proven to be false."
Yuto and Yugo, who were both breathing deeply from the whole exchange, freeze the moment Yuri finished his sentence. The color in their cheeks instantly drained away as their eyes go wide with terror. They slowly turn their attention to their brother, their mouths literally dropped to the floor.
"You knew about that?!" Yuto questions in a whispery voice.
Yuri roles his eyes at his brothers' reactions before replying. "Next time you and Yuya want to discuss a theory that you don't want me to know about then don't talk about it underneath my balcony, Yuto."
Yuto shifts his eyes off to the side, feeling the heat returning to his cheeks while Yugo throws him a glare. That theory was supposed to be the three's secret until their deaths!
"What are you doing here, Nii-san?" Ruri asks Shun once they all calmed down and notice the oldest Hiiragi with them. "Is everything alright back in there?"
"It's fine, Ruri. I just need Yuto and his brothers to come back to the house," the three brothers didn't even have time to comment on his request when Shun suddenly grabs Yuto's arm and begins to drag him back to the house. Startled, Yuri and Yugo quickly follow after them. Once they put En back into the safety of the boys' family van, they weren't so far behind the boys.
"Hold on, Shun!" Yuto demands as he wrenches himself free once they're on the porch. "What's going on there? We've been waiting for this exorcist for a while!"
"Actually, Reira's the one performing the exorcism," Shun informs them before quickly elaborating when he saw that the three brothers look ready to explode. "She's actually performed exorcisms before so she knows what she's doing. But we couldn't get the priest who was supposed to do the exorcism originally here because that demon got rid of our phones' signals."
Well, that actually explains a few things for them. The boys could feel their breathing ease out but then another thought struck them.
"If Reira is still currently performing the exorcism, then why are you bringing us to the house when we were specifically told not to go in?" Yuri questions while his eyes narrow in suspicion.
"Are you even Shun?!" Yugo suddenly shouts, cutting Shun off as he points an accusing finger at the older boy.
Shun narrows his eyes in annoyance. "Yugo, when you and your brothers were five you decided to do a dare-"
Yugo's eyes widen when he realizes what he was going to say and quickly retracted his statement. "It's him! That's Shun!"
"Anyway," Shun shakes his head. "I'm bringing you guys back to the house because apparently, we need Yuya's permission to finish this exorcism."
"Permission? That's not how exorcisms work, Shun," Yuri comments.
"Apparently, this one does. We were able to get Yuya back but we can't get his permission. So, I thought that maybe it was best to bring you three down there. Seeing you three might be enough to get him to fight long enough for Reira to get his permission."
"But I thought they were supposed to stay outside because the demon is trying to kill them all," Rin questions.
'We have Yuya chained and cuffed in the basement, I don't think he's going anywhere."
He watches as the boys shoot each other uneasy before taking a glance over his shoulder. Shun knew that they were looking at the door that leads to the cellar, wondering what was happening to Yuya down there. He could recognize those worried looks from anywhere when Yuya was not with the three and he would have to deal with the boys and their brother complex.
If only this was one of those irrational moments.
"I get it's probably going to be hard, going in there to see him like this," Shun begins, managing to catch their attention. "But Yuya needs you three right now, I don't know what's been going with you four lately but you need to put that behind you and be there for your brother now."
He could see the gears working in their brains as they thought about his words. Finally, the three look up at him with determination in their eyes.
"Take us to him," Yuto says and Shun smiles in response.
He leads them down the stairs, going down first just in case something happens. Thankfully, nothing decided to jump-scare him on the way down, so he counts that as a bonus.
But when he heard Yuya's groans once his feet land on the dusty floor of the cellar, he finally understands the other reason why everyone was so hesitant about letting the brothers come down here. He could barely look at the sight before him as well.
Yusho and Yoko were at Yuya's side, he could see Reira there too. Yoko had her hands on either side of Yuya's cheeks, who was currently trying to shake her off with every moan that escaped his lips, while Yusho slowly ran his fingers through his son's messy hair. When he got closer, he could see Reira had a hand on Yuya's stomach, muttering that weird ancient language underneath her breath.
A part of Shun would like to think that chant was easing Yuya's suffering for a moment.
"Oh my God..." he hears Serena mumble from behind him. He turns to see the others huddling together on the stairs, too afraid to get any closer. Shun force himself to look at the Sakaki brothers, watching their devasted expressions while Yuya continues to groan and squirm on top of the stone altar that's probably not very comfortable. Even Yuri looks disturbed by the scene in front of him with the way his hand is shaking.
Reira looks up when she hears Serena and her eyes land on the others that are on the stairs. "You actually brought them here?!" her words caught everyone's attention as they turn to gaze at the newcomers. Yuya, however, froze when Reira spoke. His whole body locking up in place and the only sign of movement from him was the twitch of his fingers.
"You said it was alright for me to bring here!" Shun argues as Reira walks up to him.
"Only because I thought it would give you time to think about how much this is a bad idea! You do realize this is exactly what the demon wants, right?!"
"It's inside Yuya's body, who we have chained and cuff to that freaking altar! I don't think he's going to murder them any time soon."
Before the two could argue any further on this, Reiji clears his throat to catch their attention. "It's good that you three are here," he tells the brothers. "We've been trying to keep Yuya's conscious up on top but he's never staying high enough for us to get his permission. But, base on what you've told us about your encounters with him, your presences might give us an advantage."
"I have never heard of an exorcism that requires the host's permission to get the demon out of them," Yuri comments.
"You'd be surprised how much movies don't show you," Reiji points out.
Yuto spares a glance at Yuya before quickly looking back to Reiji. "So, what do you want us to do?"
"Anything. You four are brothers and it's clear that Yuya cares about you three a lot to give you enough time to escape him. Just do whatever you can to keep Yuya in control long enough for us to get his permission."
The three boys look at each other, unsure of what to think about this change of events. But hearing the noises that were coming out of Yuya's mouth made them step off the stairs and slowly head over to the altar where their brother lay. Yoko and Yusho move out of the way to give the boys room to stand near Yuya.
When the boys got close enough, they felt their hearts break when Yuya tries to turn his body as far as the restrains could allow him to. His head wasn't even facing them and instead, trying to bury itself into the stone cold altar so he doesn't have to look at them. What's worse is that sack of potatoes over his eyes, preventing him from being able to see them yet he still found the need to turn away from them.
Was he that terrified?
"Yuya?" it was Yuto who spoke up first, reaching a trembling hand towards his brother's head. "Yuya, it's-"
Yuto had never felt so glad to have fast reflexes until Yuya's head suddenly turns and sharp teeth try to snap at fingers. He was able to move them out of the way in time, the teeth barely missing his skin by centimeters. He quickly checks his hand over, sighing in relief when he found nothing out of place.
But the animalistic growls coming from his brother's mouth quickly took that relief away. He looks back at Yuya found himself nearly jumping at how much he couldn't recognize his brother in front of him. No longer was Yuya's skin that natural tone that made him glow in the sunlight. The tone had lost itself to a sickening gray color that made those awful black veins stick out. The top part of his clothes was drenched in something that he didn't even know - he hopes that's just sweat. Yuya's body was so tense like he's ready to jump up and attack somebody. This was different compared to Yuya's usual tenseness where he would curl in on himself to make him smaller.
It scared Yuto that he couldn't see his brother at all. A part of him even wonders if they were lying when they said they barely got him back through all of this.
"Hey, Yuri, what are you-?" Yuto looks back when Yugo spoke up and found Yuri kneeling in front of the altar where Yuya lied, his expression completely blank as he gently grips Yuya's hand despite the awkward angle.
Immediately, Yuya's fingers sink themselves onto Yuri's hand. Once could see that Yuya was gripping a little too tight for Yuri's hand, Yuto was pretty sure that he was leaving cuts in Yuri's skin through his fingers. But if Yuri was in any pain from it, he gave no indication of the sort. He just kneels there with a blank face as Yuya squeezes the life out of his hand.
It finally dawned on Yuto what Yuri was doing. He was honestly surprised that he didn't see it sooner. Then again, it would be a risky move since this thing does want to kill them and standing so close to it wasn't exactly ideal.
But this was also Yuya's life on the line. Whatever risk they have to take, it would be worth it to see their little brother again.
Yuto takes a deep breath to mentally prepare himself for this in case anything bad happens before placing the hand that was almost bitten off on top of Yuya's head.
It was only seconds later when Yuya starts to scream like a rabid animal and trashing his head around to get the hand off him. Thankfully, Yuto was able to hold Yuya's head somewhat in place while gently rubbing small circles with his fingers. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Yugo hesitantly put a hand on Yuya's shoulder.
Yuya's screams felt like they wouldn't go away. Yuto practically had to close his eyes at one point in hopes that it could block them out.
Then those awful screams turned into these heartwrenching sobs. His eyes flew open to see Yuya no longer thrashing around but instead arching his back off the surface he was laying on. God, he knew Yuya was flexible but this was disturbing.
Thankfully, that didn't last very long as Yuya's body falls back down on the altar, breathing heavily through his mouth. The three wait anxiously for something to happen, unable to handle not knowing what was going with Yuya.
Yuya's head then slowly turns to their direction and the boys stiffen when he does that. Even though the sack over his head prevented them from being able to see his eyes they still felt chills go down their spines.
"N-Ni-sama...?" his words came out slow and drawn out, barely heard above a whisper. It sounded like it took a lot of willpower to just even get those words out.
But the boys heard it and one could not describe the relieved looks on the boys' faces.
"Hey, Yuya," Yuto couldn't help but greet, laughing softly at all of this.
"We were wondering when you were gonna come back, bro," Yugo spoke up, his tone portraying a false sense of humor. Yuya's head turns to the direction he heard Yugo's voice.
"What are you talking about, Fusion?" Yuri asks, moving slightly to adjust his position, still keeping his now purple hand in Yuya's tight grip. "Wasn't it obvious that Yuya was here from the very beginning?"
"N-Nii-san..." Yuya sniffs and Yuto could faintly see a couple of wets spots forming in the sack. It didn't take a genius to know where that was coming from. "G-Gomenasai... G-Gomenasai..."
"Oh, come on, bro," Yugo starts with a slight nudge to Yuya's shoulder. "Quit blaming yourself for all of this, we know that you didn't want this to happen. Learn to love yourself for once, will ya?"
Yuya didn't say anything in response, not like Yuto expected him to; he was probably still in shock by what's happening. Yuto knew that he would be too if all of this was happening to him. He quickly shakes his head, remembering what they were supposed to do here.
"Yuya," he begins, catching his brother's attention. "We know you're tired and you want this to stop, and it will stop. You just gotta tell Reira that yourself."
Yuya opens his mouth and Yuto expects him to say something. What came out of his mouth was way worse then he expect; they weren't even words, just a choked gasp like something was lodged in his throat and he's trying to get it out. That noise broke Yuto's heart into multiple pieces but he still didn't remove his hand from his brother's hair. He just kept rubbing small circles on top of his head.
He didn't even have to look to know that Yugo didn't let of Yuya's shoulder and Yuri still kept his hand in Yuya's grip, despite how purple it was turning.
"I... I-I... C-Can't...." they hear him gasp out. "I-It hurts..."
"We know," Yuto says softly, still rubbing his brother's head. "We know it hurts..."
"Just take your time, bro," Yugo tells him, gently gripping his shoulder. "We know you won't let this thing hurt us, take all the time you need to say you want this to be over."
"I actually preferred if you say it sooner because I would like to get the feeling back in my hand," Yuri comments, eyeing his nearly crushed hand.
They heard Yuya's breath hitching and watch as his body tenses, possibly trying to fight off the demon inside his body. A part of them wanted to say something during this but they knew that deep down it won't do much. In the end, it has to be Yuya that wants to stop this. All that the three can do is let him know that they're there.
"I..." Yuya breathes. "I-I... I... I... I-I..."
Yuto puts a slight amount of pressure on Yuya's head, not enough to hurt him but to let him know that he's there. He's there this time.
Everyone in the room immediately looks up when Yuya's words changed. A part of them hoped it was what they thought it was but they kept quiet, just in case things take a different turn.
"I-I...w-want... t-t... t-this... t-this... t-t... t-t...!"
Yuto begins to rub Yuya's head again, trying to give him as much comfort he was able to give his brother in this type of situation. Gods, Yuto didn't know how much longer he can stand listening to Yuya's strained voice trying to force itself to speak. A part of him wonder how much did those movies downplayed a real-life possession, it was torture to see his brother fight for something that should belong to him in the first place.
"...t-t... t-to... t-to... t-t...!"
Everyone had kept their focus on Yuya the entire time, blocking everything out until they were sure that Yuya was able to break through. Hearing the door at the top of the stairs knocked on completely startled them all, even caused a few of the sisters to scream in surprise when it happened.
"Hello?" a deep sounding voice calls from the door, making everyone shoot confused glances at each other since none of them recognize the voice. "Uh, this is the police. We've heard calls of screaming going on this area we were told to check it out. Is everything alright down there?"
It was like a pin drop could be heard from miles away. Everyone's confused looks slowly turn into pale faces of dread. In the back of their minds, they wonder why a civilian was so far out in this area to have heard Yuya's screams but that didn't stick long because there was a police here.
"Hello?" there's another knock. "I know there's somebody down there."
Everyone didn't know what to do. How were they supposed to explain to a police officer that there was an exorcism going on and that he needed to leave? None of the scenarios that are playing out in their head could lead to anything good but yet they knew they had to do something or else that officer's going to charge through that door and see Yuya tied up on the altar.
"Open this door right now I will be forced to break this door down!"
Thinking quickly, Yoko hurries up the stairs and opens the door before the officer could do anything. "I'm so sorry!" she says with a fake laugh, displaying her nervousness but she still kept the act going. "My sons and their friends were having a horror movie night inside the cellar and were screaming up a storm. My husband and I were just about to tell them to knock it off when you came around, sorry for any inconvenience!"
The officer - who appears to be a man in his late twenties with a standard police uniform - blinks his bright blue eyes at her in confusion.
"I-I know it seems weird to have a horror movie night even though Halloween has already passed but-"
"Are you sure that was a scream from a horror movie?" the officers cuts her off before she could continue. "Because what the caller told me was-"
Yuri, who was busy wrestling to get his nearly dead hand out of Yuya's tight grip, quickly frees himself and hurries up the stairs until he was right next to his mother.
"You must be talking about my younger brother!" Yuri elaborates, his tone and posture more composed than his mother's. "He usually gets so scared by the movies I picked, the caller must've heard his girly screams. Yugo was always the big crybaby of the family."
"I heard that, you bastard!" Yugo calls from where he and everyone else had gathered at the bottom of the stairs. Reira and Reiji stood a couple of inches away, hoping they were out of sight. Father Phoenix had not informed the police about them visiting the Sakaki family and didn't want to cause any more trouble.
"I-I see..." the officer murmurs, adjusting the cap on his head. "Well, thank you for showing me how gullible you all are. "
The man's bright blue eyes were instantly devoured by a pool of blackness as he flashes the two a chilling smirk.
It only took a second for Yuri to realize what this man was.
It took another second for Yuri to grab his machete and swing it at the man's head.
"YURI! Why would you-?!" Yoko cut herself off when she noticed that what was coming out of the wound that Yuri had inflicted on the man wasn't blood but a pitch black liquid. The smirk stayed on the man's face as his whole body turns into that black liquid. The machete, which had stuck to the man's head when Yuri had swung it, clatters to the ground as the black liquid seeps through the floorboards.
"...Just for the record, I knew that he wasn't human. Do not think about sending me back to that cheap therapist!" Yuri snaps at his mother, who quickly nods her head. She's never going to scold Yuri for using that machete again.
"What the hell...?" Serena mumbles from her place with the others, all of them able to see the "man's" demise. "How the hell did that thing do that when we have Yuya tied-?!"
She had turned her head in the direction of the altar to prove her point but what she saw made her stop dead cold as the color fade from her cheeks. Everyone turned their heads when they heard Serena stop herself in mid-sentence to see what she was looking at before finding themselves freezing as well.
Yuya was sitting at the altar, the chains that were holding were broken as he fiddles with the handcuffs that were on his limbs and the sack that was over his head. Dull, red eyes look up at them when he felt their eyes on him. A smirk that was similar to the man upstairs appeared on his horrible gray face.
"You know, it was fun making you guys think that you had me tied up and making Yuya think that he almost got me out," he comments as he puts the things in his hand on top of the altar before standing up. "But all fun needs to come to an end, I'm afraid."
"Y-You could've gotten out at any time?" Yuzu stutters as she and her sisters take a few steps back while Yuto and Yugo slowly make their way up the stairs.
"Yep!" he says it in such a cheerful way that completely contrasts to this stressful situation. He even bounces on his feet just to mock them.
He suddenly clasps his hands together. "Now!" his eyes land on Reiji, the smirk falling as a deadly frown takes its place. "What was that about me not doing my job, Reiji-chan?"
His eyes flash black for a moment before returning back to the dull red orbs.
That was when he suddenly lunged at them.
Chapter 27: Hiding in the Closet
Look at that! I managed to upload this on the most perfect day; Halloween!
Slowly returning to my old schedule. If all goes well, then expect at least three more chapters before this story officially ends. Thank you all to those who still stuck with me through this story!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The moment they saw Yuya coming at them, Shun and Reiji quickly launch themselves forward. Yuya's hands had barely missed Yuto and Yugo by a couple inches before the two older boys were able to move the possessed boy away from them. Yelping, the two siblings quickly run up the stairs where Yuri was still them to run from the door frame, everyone urging them up first right before the sisters began to follow them.
But before the sisters could reach the three boys, the door to the cellar slammed shut. This effectively caused the Hiiragi sisters to run into each other, all of them yelling at the other in annoyance for getting in the way. It was then they noticed the closed door in front of them and Yugo's frantic knocks from the other side.
"Hey, what's going on in there?!" the blue-blonde-haired boy cried out.
"We don't know, the door just slammed in our faces!" Rin yells loud enough so the boys could hear her over Yuya's inhuman screams.
Before the group could say anything, Reira comes barreling up the stairs. "Boys, you need to get out of here," she tells them. "Now that Yuya's loose he's going to kill you three and this house is where the Demon's powers at its peak! Run!"
Not being needed to be told twice, the boys instantly making a break for the front door. To their horror, the door slams shut by itself and they could see the locks setting themselves in place.
"Are you kidding me?!" Yugo demands as he slams his foot in annoyance.
"Try the windows!" Yuto orders them and they all quickly head over to the nearest window.
"Snap out of it, Yuya!" Shun yells in Yuya's face, trying to avoid the boy's hands clawing at his face. "I know you were doing it a moment ago, do it-!" he was cut by a groan escaping his lips when Yuya suddenly knees him in the stomach. "Are you kidding me, how I did I fell for that again-?!" Yuya didn't even give a chance to finish as he throws the stunned Shun into Reiji, effectively knocking them both back and into the adults that were stepping forward to help.
"Yuya!" Ruri screams, making the boy turn his gaze upon the girls on the stairs. They flinch when they see those unfamiliar eyes land on them, Serena moving forward so she can match the glare Yuya was giving them.
"You're lucky I'm more pissed off at your little exorcists," he tells them before he picks up a knife - where the hell did that even come from?! - off the ground before he turns to the altar. More specifically, that hole that was in the wall near the altar.
Before anybody could stop him, Yuya runs towards the hole, using the altar as leverage to dive into the smalle opening.
"Yuya!" Yoko was the first to make it to her feet and rush over to the hole. "Yuya, come back!"
She could only watch in despair as her son's form crawls through what appears to be a secret passage, her words falling deaf to his ears. Gritting her teeth, Yoko tries to shove herself through the hole only to realize that she couldn't fit. She could barely get her arm through it, let alone her whole head.
"We need to go after him, that demon knows this house better than any of us so it'll probably find the boys faster!" Reira tells them all frantically.
"Let me through!" Shun moves forward, Yoko allowing him to take her place.
Back upstairs, the boys were busy trying to get the windows that were nearby to open only to discover that they were all locked. Grunting in frustration, Yuto tries going over to the doors that lead to the hallways of his and Yugo's bedrooms. This time, Yuto didn't even bother to hold back his exasperated scream when he found out that this door was locked as well.
"The kitchen," Yuri tells him and the three immediately run over to the kitchen where they knew the backdoor would be.
While Yuto and Yuri work on trying to get the door to open, Yugo took the time to look for any other possible exits if the door won't budge. Eventually, his eyes land on something in the corner of the kitchen. He slowly walks over to it, hoping that it wasn't one of those jumpscares from the movies while keeping his ears on his brothers' mutterings to each other as they try to get the door to open.
The floor, which was made entirely out of wood, was ripped open in the corner, probably somebody trying to get rid of it by using their own bare hands. When he got closer Yugo could see what was underneath those floorboards was not dirt, like he expected, but this hole that appears to be deep.
He kneels down in front of the floor, muttering, "How the hell did this get here?", before leaning closer to see anything through the darkness.
A gray hand suddenly shot out from the darkness, gripping Yugo's arm in a tight grip that made it impossible to escape.
"FOUND YOU, YUGO-CHAN!"
Yugo screams. Okay, now he can see how Yuya got into the cellar without going through the door!
"Get off of him!" Yuri was suddenly right next to him as he slams the butt of his machete onto the hand that was gripping his arm. There was a yelp before the hand let go and sank right back into the darkness. Yugo could faintly make out a familiar whimper.
"Seriously, Yuri?!" Yugo shouts once he realizes who those whimpers were coming from.
Yuri shook his head. "Oh, shut up, Yugo," he then grabs his brother and quickly drags him away from the hole, Yuto following not so far after he couldn't get the door open.
"We have to hide," Yuto tells them once they're in the hallway and right next to the stirs that lead up to the second floor. "Maybe Mom, Dad, and the others can get out the same way he did but right now we need to hide!"
"And where shall we hide, brother dear? Because last time I check, all of the doors on the first floor are locked!" Yuri says, frustration and fear evidently heard in his tone.
Yugo's eyes quickly scan the area before settling on the stairs. "We can go upstairs!" he bristles when Yuri gives him one of his famous death glares. "Don't look at me like that, you bastard! I don't see you coming up with any ideas!"
"Just go!" Yuto pushes them up the stairs before they could argue about it any further. "I know a place where we can hide up there!"
It was official.
Yuri-chan was going to be the first to die out of the three.
That boy has constantly been hitting him on the head over and over again to the point that he just can't take it anymore. Honestly, there hasn't been a child that got on his nerves more than Yuri-chan and he's not even a child he's currently inhabiting. So, yes, Yuri will be the first of the Sakaki quadruplets.
Yuya's screams have only gotten louder at that point.
Oh, how he can't wait to shut him up when he sinks a knife into one of his brothers' throat.
He slowly pulls him up from the secret passage, head still throbbing from the blow, making his vision spin. Still, he managed to make it up to the kitchen, despite his loss of balance and began to walk towards the hallway he believes the boys went down.
"Oh, Yuto-chan," he calls out, gripping the knife tightly in his hand. "Yuri-chan, Yugo-chan, come out wherever you are! I promise I will give you all a quick, painless death if you come out right now."
It was a lie and he was sure that the boys knew that as well. But still, it was so much fun to smell the fear coming off them. He scans the area, trying to decipher where the boys could've gone when he heard it.
Footsteps that were up on the second floor.
He smirks a little while shaking his head. "Really, you three? After all that talk about not going up there from Yuri?" he slowly makes his way up the stairs, making sure that his footsteps were loud enough for them to hear. "But I guess I'm up for a little experiment; how much what a horror movie says about real life."
No reply. Perfect.
He looks at the two hallways on opposite sides once he reaches the second floor. All the doors were locked. It was clever, but not clever enough.
"So, it's going to be like that, huh?" he says with a shake of his head. "You all do know that you're only prolonging your deaths, right? This is just more fun for me."
He walks down the left hallway, stopping once he reaches the final door that was at the end before turning to face the other direction. If memory serves, this was Yuri's room.
"Last chance to come out," he calls out.
He smirks before bring his foot up and slamming it into the door. The door easily flies open and he takes a peek inside.
It did look like something that would belong to Yuri; plants were everywhere, even on the balcony. It did seem like a logical choice to hide here because of the bushes and the poisonous plants as a defense mechanism.
But Yuri would never let Yuya near his poisonous plants, no matter how much he talks about asking Yuya to help him with them. So this place rules out.
He walks over to the next door and kicks it, flying open just as easily as the first one. He peeks inside.
"Why don't," he begins, making sure his voice was loud as he slowly makes his way to the next door. "We play a little game? I know Yuri likes these types of games, it'll be fun. You guys have heard of Marco Polo, right?"
No response from any of the rooms.
"It's really easy; when I say "Marco," you say "polo"... Sounds simple enough. Marco!"
He kicks the door open and looks inside.
Once again, nothing.
Now, he was getting annoyed. There were three more doors left and he wasn't getting anywhere close into finding them. It didn't help that Yuya was screaming again and doing everything in his power to stop his limbs from moving. It's not working, obviously, but it left an increasing ache in his limbs from it all.
So, he did what he could do to get his frustrations out, forming his free hand into a fist and slamming it into the next door.
He expected it to fly open like all the other doors so he wasn't prepared for it to just stand in place right there.
The reason finally dawned on him as a smirk grows on his face.
The boys jump when they heard a loud noise bang against the door they were hiding behind. Thankfully, they were able to not make any noises from those jumps and kept their hands pressed up against their mouths so no noise could be made. It still didn't stop their bodies from tensing in fear, though.
"Oh?" they flinch when they hear that sickening voice through the door. "Is this where you're hiding? Or did you just lock this door to throw me off and you're hiding in one of the other doors?"
They didn't answer him. They haven't answered him the whole time when he started to talk and they weren't planning to now.
"Well, I guess I'll have to figure this myself, I don't I?" he continues on like they actually answered him. "In the meantime, why don't you three talk with Yuya while I think to myself. Sounds fair?"
They blink and stare at each other in confusion, wonder what the hell was he talking-
There was a whimper from behind the door, following by a very familiar voice. "G-Guys...? I-Is that you?"
It sounded like Yuya. Oh, Gods, it sounded just like their brother.
"P-Please...help me... I-It hurts! Aah... P-Please...make it stop... H-Help..."
This was just torture for them. It sounded exactly like Yuya and he sounds so scared that they wanted to wretch that door open and comfort him. Luckily, they were able to hold themselves in place as the demon continued to cry out to them in Yuya's voice.
Finally, silence rang through the air.
"You know, you're bad brothers if that was really Yuya, right? I think you're just proving my point that you're the cause of his pain once again."
Yugo could feel himself getting annoyed by the demon's taunts and quickly retorts. "Why don't you rot in Hell, you bastard?!"
His two brothers frantically put their free hands over his mouth but by then, it was too late. Yugo seems to realize this as well as his blue eyes flash in horror at what he had just done.
"Oh, arigato, Yugo-chan," they hear the Demon laugh from the other side. "I knew you wouldn't let me down!"
The boys flinch when they hear something collide with the door on the other side, shaking it a bit from the impact. Then it happened again. And again.
"Move!" Yuto quietly urges his brothers to one side of the closet before pushing himself into the other, bring his legs up so the clothes could hide him from view. He could only hope that his brothers were doing the same.
Out of all the rooms on the second floor, the closet with the secret room that Yuya found a while back was the only place that Yuto could think of. Thanks to so many clothes in the way, the Demon would have to move them aside to even get through, only covering the three in more clothes. If his plan goes correctly, the Shinigami would head straight into the secret room with the TV, giving them a chance to get away.
Yuto didn't have time to think about it anymore as the door to the closet bursts open. He did his best to hold a flinch when he could feel the door slamming into the wall he was pressing himself into a couple of inches away from him. Seconds later, Yuto could feel the clothes in front of him slowly begin to push themselves against his face, making a little harder to breathe.
But he knew that the Shinigami fell for the bait when he heard someone's hands hitting the ground so they could crawl through the thick clothes. Now their's chance!
He swiftly moves the clothes in front of him away and he could see Yuri and Yugo doing the same as well on the opposite side. "Go," he mouths to them, gesturing to the open door that was their exit out of here.
His brothers didn't even hesitate in making a break for the door. If it weren't for the situation at hand, Yuto would've been a little surprise to see Yugo and Yuri rushing towards something at the same and not push the other out of way.
Once he's sure that they're out in the hallway, Yuto got out of his hiding spot and began to crawl towards the open door.
He had barely made it through the door when he felt a cold hand grab his ankle.
"Found you, Yuto-chan!"
Now! Time to traumatize some little kids. For those who are curious, I'm the Babadook for Halloween this year! I scared a lot of people at my school's yearly Haunted Hallway. :)
Chapter 28: Come Back To Us
THE DARK ONE HAS RETURNED! I am really sorry for taking so long on this chapter but Kingdom Hearts III released a trailer about Frozen as I was writing this and it released an idea that was locked away in my brain years ago. However! I have decided since this story is close to being done, I would take a break from the Kingdom Hearts/Frozen story I'm doing and finish this one! Because there's really like two chapters after this one and I'm done.
Anyway, I hope you guys enjoy this chapter and it was worth the wait!
Yuto did the only thing he could do when he felt the cold hand dragging him back into the closet; he kicked with his free leg and screamed for his brothers. "Yuri! Yugo!"
He could hear them shouting his name in response but by then he's already through the clothes and into the secret room. The hand let go but he didn't have time to crawl away when he was forced to lay on his back. He looks up in time to see the twisted version of his little brother holding the knife up in the air, ready to bring it down on him.
Thankfully, his reflexes were faster than the Shinigami. He quickly brought his foot up and kicked him straight in the stomach. A strangled gasp escapes Yuya's throat as he drops the knife in favor of cradling his injured stomach. Seeing his chance, Yuto quickly kicked the knife away from him and used his brother's stunned state to flip them over. Now he's the one on top while his possessed brother is the one pinned to the ground.
It took a second for his brother to realize what was happening before he began to buck against Yuto's hold on his wrists, snarling like a wild animal trying to break loose of his chains. Yuto can only be grateful that he was always physically stronger than Yuya because with the way Yuya was trying to get free was truly frightening. It didn't help that he got a clear view of the eyes that didn't belong to his brother; those dull, twisted red eyes that showed nothing but insanity and rage.
He couldn't see Yuya at all.
"Yuto!" said boy looks up to see Yuri and Yugo pushing the clothes aside so they can reach him. Once they see the screaming Yuya pinned to the ground, they quickly helped Yuto by grabbing onto Yuya's arms, giving Yuto the chance to hold Yuya down by his shoulders.
"Yuya!" it was Yugo who started screaming first, getting his face as close as he could without letting his grip go. "Yuya, fight it! This won't end unless you say that you want it to be over. Come on, bro, you've been fighting it before and you won all of those times!"
It didn't look like his words were getting through at all as Yuya just kept screaming and kicking his legs on the ground in some desperate attempt to get up. Yuya wouldn't even look at any of them as he continued with his frenzy.
"Get a hold of yourself, Yuya!" Yuri screamed but when he was met with another animalistic snarl, he just screamed in frustration from it all. Not that Yuto could blame him, they were all stressed from the situation and are currently trying to hold down a killer inside their brother's body.
"Yuya," Yuto tries, slowly moving his hands from Yuya's shoulders to cup his cheeks so the boy's twitching eyes could meet his desperate gray ones. "I know you're in a lot of pain right now, we all know... But please, say that you want this to stop because that's the only way it can. Take all the time you need, we won't let anything happen while you do that."
For a moment, the boys thought they had gotten through to their brother when they notice that Yuya stopped struggling against them and how he was breathing heavily. He had closed his eyes but the boys thought it might've been out of exhaustion.
How wrong were they when Yuya's eyes snapped open a couple of seconds later, darkness devouring his red eyes as he starts snarling and fighting against their grip with more vigor than before.
"This isn't working!" Yugo shouts over the growls, he and Yuri trying their best to keep Yuya's flailing arms still.
"If anyone has any ideas, I will be open to hearing them at this point, no matter how idiotic it could be!" Yuri adds in.
Yuto didn't answer back and instead tried to look around the room, his brain racking through ideas on what they could do. While they were stronger than him, they couldn't hold Yuya down forever. His eyes scanned every inch of the room; from the old clothes that were hanging right in front of them, to the old walls that are covered in cobwebs, the small TV right behind him-
His eyes lock on the TV. Memories of the time where he first saw it flash through his mind, an idea slowly forming in his head.
It was definitely one of those ideas that would be idiotic but what choice did he have right now?
"I have an idea," he informs his two brothers. "Hold him down while I get everything ready, okay?"
It took a few seconds for the two to process what he just said. "What-?!" but Yuto had already left them alone with Yuya - who began to struggle more now that the weight on his torso was gone.
Yuto worked as fast as he could, Yuya's screams bouncing off the walls of this small room was deafening. It prompted him to look over the tapes he found next to the TV faster while also not missing the one that he needs.
Finally, he found it.
He didn't think twice to shove it into the video cassette.
Just when he did that, he heard two screams from behind him.
He whips around to see Yuya on top of Yugo and Yuri, his hands gripping their throats tightly.
"How the hell is Yuya skinner than us?!" Serena grumbles to herself, unable to get her shoulders through the small opening that was their only way out of the cellar.
So far, everyone, except Reira, had tried to fit through the hole that Yuya had gone down. However, everyone who attempted to could barely get their upper bodies in without getting stuck.
"Let me through!" Reira pushes herself forward once Serena had given up on trying to fit through. With the help of Rin and Ruri, she was able to make through with no problem. She landed with a huff before turning back to the others.
"Reira, be careful!" Reiji warns his sister as she begins to make her way down the secret path.
"I'll be fine! It's the boys we should be worried about!" Reira tells him before she breaks into a run.
"Yuya, don't!" Yuto cries, running over to where his brothers are. He lopped his arms around Yuya's shoulders, using his strength to pry him off Yugo and Yuri. But it proved to be futile as Yuya stood still like a rock.
It didn't help that his brothers' faces were turning blue.
Noise from the TV caught his attention. He then remembers his plan from earlier and could only beg to any high form in the universe that this would work.
"Yuya, look!" he quickly put both hands on either side of his brother's head, forcing him to look up at the TV. "Look at the screen! Just look at it!"
He held his breath when he felt Yuya stilled the moment his eyes met the screen. Out of the corner of his eye, he could still see Yuri and Yugo being pinned down by their necks. A part of him wanted to let go of Yuya to get those grey hands off of them but he feared that Yuya would look away if he did that so he just held on and listen to the voices from TV as he keeps his grip on Yuya.
"...think they're going to react?"
"We'll just have to wait and see..."
Yuya suddenly jerks in his grip and he could hear Yuri and Yugo coughing, indicating that Yuya must have let them go at that point. He quickly tightened his grip when he felt Yuya trying to twist his head away.
"Look at the screen, Yuya," he orders, his mouth close to the boy's ear so he's sure that he's listening. "Just keep your eyes on it!"
He could faintly see Yugo and Yuri sitting up and helping him hold Yuya place by holding onto his arms
The scene continues to play out and Yuto dares himself to look at it.
It showed their mom's hand opening a door to a room. A room that was painfully familiar to Yuto. Even with the old camera, he could still see the dull paint on the walls that surrounded him and his brothers as they wait for Yuya's next treatment. There were chairs placed near a bed but the four of them decided to just lie down on the bed together. He could see himself holding the IPad in his hand, scrolling through shows for them to watch.
They all had a frown on their faces. That's how it was in those days.
their mother's voice caught their younger selves' attention from the IPad. They slowly turn their heads towards her, their eyes dulled as they were every day.
Still, their mother continued on with the same cheerful tone.
"The school just sent in your report cards, take a look at your grades."
Yuto could remember how annoyed he was when their mother did that. It was a well-known rule between the brothers that they don't mention anything regarding school due to the fact it reminds them how isolated Yuya's life was from their own. He or Yugo had almost shouted at her when Yuri spoke up.
"Why are there four papers?"
he indicated to the papers in their mother's hand that was now being shown on-screen. Yuto saw his younger self perk up, curious about the extra piece of paper. God, has it really been that long?
their mother had ignored Yuri's question and just handed the three their report cards. She then gave Yuya that extra sheet of paper and Yuto told himself to watch the scene.
Yuya's young face looked at the paper in his trembling hands - an after effect from the day's chemotherapy - with a small frown forming on his lips as he read it. Then, slowly, his facial expression changed from confusion to comprehension and finally to the point he started to sob, tears trailed down his pale cheeks.
"Yuya, what's wrong?!"
his younger voice exclaims the moment he heard Yuya sob. But Yuya couldn't form any sentences and instead chose to bury his face in his hands.
He didn't need to look at the video to remember that he picked up the paper to read what he said. His mouth had dropped and he quickly showed it to Yuri and Yugo when they began to comfort Yuya.
It was Yuya's acceptance letter to their school.
"The doctor's just talked to us a few weeks ago," Yoko begins, her voice now revealing her tearful joy. "They said that after this chemotherapy, we wouldn't have to worry about Yuya's leukemia anymore. S-So, we applied Yuya to your school and they just sent this letter today. You're going to school, Yuya!"
"No more hospitals?"
Yugo questioned, his voice laced with hope.
"No more hospitals!"
That did it; the boys immediately pulled each other into a group hug, all of them crying. Even the blank-faced Yuri had tears running down his cheeks. Their parents had joined in later, showering them in kisses.
The TV turned off. Their mother had probably turned the camera off at that point but Yuto would like to think it was enough. What else could explain the tears trailing down his cheeks?
He looked down to Yuya, who was looking at the black screen of the TV, feeling the boy trembled underneath his hands. He couldn't see his brother's eyes, so he had no idea what to expect.
"Do you remember that day?" Yuto asks, his mouth right next to Yuya's ear so he was sure he was listening. "Yuya, do remember that day?"
Yuya reacted in a way that they didn't expect him to; his body slumped backward, right into Yuto's chest. The boys immediately readjusted their grip on him, Yuto now holding him by wrapping his arms around his shoulders. This gave him the chance to finally look at his eyes.
The black eyes were gone, thankfully, but the small pupils and the lack of light were still there. But what gave him hope was the small whimpers escaping his lips.
"It was the day the doctor told us that your leukemia was gone, remember?" Yuto whispers softly, keeping his grip tight.
"We were all happy that day, weren't we?" Yugo questions, his eyes staring off into space as he thinks about what he just saw.
"Our little brother finally going to school with us," Yuri remarks with a slight twitch in his lips. "I suspect we were the first siblings in town to actually want their brother to be in the same school as them and not fear embarrassment from it."
Yuto could still hear Yuya breathing hard and the rise and fall of his back against his chest confirmed it. It honestly scared him how he couldn't tell what was going in Yuya's head, not knowing who was coming up on top and if the person in control was safe or not.
His questions were finally answered with the next words that came out of Yuya's mouth.
"I-I was happy too..." he manages to get out, his whole body trembling. "T-That I could finally go to school, t-that I could finally be normal and not be stuck in the hospital for the rest of my life... I-I didn't even think about what it meant to you guys. B-But then after Sawatari began to pick on me, a-after I realized being normal wasn't a paradise, I-I finally understood that you all were suffering just as much as I was but I was too selfish to realize it.
"G-Gomenasai..." he sniffs. "I'm so sorry for being jealous when you were suffering like me. I-I just-!"
He sniffs again.
"N-No matter what I try to think, I still can't help but hate myself for thinking those horrible thoughts about you three!"
This time, a choked gasp was heard.
He broke down into a fit of sobs after that, tears that managed to escape his closed eyes drip down his greying cheeks. At once, the three of them brought their brother into a hug. They still kept in mind that their brother was still possessed so while they had their arms wrapped around him, they made sure Yuya's arms were pinned to his sides just in case.
But it still didn't change the need to comfort their younger brother.
"It's alright, Yuya," Yuto whispers into his brother's hair.
"We don't hate you for thinking like that," Yugo said. "Besides, those years were pretty fucked up, right?"
Yuya manages to get a sound out to acknowledge his brother's words. "I still hate myself for thinking like that, though..."
"And that's something we're going to talk about later," Yuri said, his tone surprising level compared to his brothers. "But right now, I think we have another matter at hand to worry about."
Oh, right. For a second there, they almost forgot that the four of them weren't exactly alone here. Yuya suddenly stiffening and a groan escaping his hiccuping mouth basically confirms it.
The three boys tightened their grip on their brother at once. Just as they did that, Yuya's breathing became quick and heavy. Yuto told himself to remain calm and keep on grip on Yuya as he feels Yuya's back hit his chest through every breath he takes. Gradually, those quick breaths began to turn into a deep, feral growl.
The boys' grips still remain on their brother even when he began to thrash around. Thankfully, it didn't last long and the three could feel Yuya's body slumping forwards, dry sobs leaving his throat.
"I hate this," they heard him gasped between breaths. "I hate this, I hate this, I hate this..."
"We know," Yuto whispers softly as he rubs Yuya's head in hopes to comfort him. "We know..."
"I-I just... I just want all of this to stop... I just want all of this to be over..."
Yuto didn't realize it until a few seconds later and when he did he turned his head to Yugo in hopes he heard correctly. He was met with equally wide eyes of Yugo, proving that he also heard the same thing. The two whip their heads towards Yuri, wanting to hear a third opinion from him.
But to their surprise, they weren't met with equally shocked eyes of their brother. Instead, they just see Yuri smiling softly at the crying Yuya - an expression that was so rare to see on his face.
"Can you say that again, Yuya?" he asked. Yuto almost couldn't believe what he was hearing. Why in the hell was he asking that?
"I said I want this to stop!" Yuya screamed, frustration evident in his voice. Honestly, Yuto couldn't blame him for getting mad. That had to be the stupidest question that Yuri has ever asked, and it was usually Yugo's job to do that!
Yuto looked back at Yuri, nearly demanding to know what he was doing when he noticed that Yuri wasn't looking at Yuya anymore but rather, at the large wall of clothing that blocked their view of the closet door. Why was he-?
"I think that should be enough, don't you think so, Abaka-chan?" Yuri asked.
Everything froze at that moment.
Slowly, Yuto shifts his eyes around, scanning the rack of clothing until he saw the young girl. She was small enough to walk her way to the secret room, unlike the rest of them, who had to crawl. The young girl had pushed away two jackets just so she can see the three of them holding their possessed brother down on his knees.
Reira gives Yuya, who has stopped crying ever since Yuri spoke up, a small but relieved smile. "Thank you, Yuya," she whispers before she took a step forward.
the three jumped in surprise when Yuya suddenly jerks from their arms before trying to crawl away.
"No! NO! nO! No! NO!"
But just as he did that, three boys immediately regained their grip on him before he could get any further. This left him writhing around in their arms, like a worm that was cut in half. Yuto was honestly surprised since even though he looks so desperate to get away, he wasn't putting up much of a fight to do it.
"Once the host is able to grant their permission of being free to the exorcist, the demon has no choice but to comply," Reira explains as if she had just read his mind. She shoots the writhing demon an almost sinister smile that nearly matches Yuri's. "He's like a mouse in a mousetrap at this point."
"DaMn YoU, aKaBa!"
the demon roared, still making these fruitless attempts to get as far away as he could from the young girl.
"DaMn YoU tO hElL!"
"And that's fine with me," Reira shot back as she kneels in front of him. "And when I get there, I'll be sure to check in on you to see how your bosses reacted when they found out you were
and unable to do your job for the rest of your miserable immortal life."
Yuto took a glance down at Yuya's face and was surprised to see those wide, black eyes that took over his brother's red ones filled with such fear. Looking back, for every encounter he's had with this demon all he could remember was how confident it was. It played with them like it was playing a sick game of tag with a knife in Yuya's hand and that horrible grin that twisted his brother's face. Sure, when things didn't go its way, it would get angry. It acted like a feral animal that was cornered and not afraid to slash anything in its path. But not afraid. There was never any fear in its eyes.
Until now. And Yuto couldn't help but feel a small amount of smugness when he realizes the tables have turned.
He watches as Reira place both of her hands on top of Yuya's back and begin to chant some ancient language under her breath, watch how Yuya's body immediately locks into place when she does this, how the blackness in Yuya's gradually fade with every second that passes.
This has to work. It has to.
Then negative thoughts began to fill his head; what if the demon somehow interrupted the exorcism once again? It did it before almost perfectly, what's to stop it from doing it again? What if he and the others aren't actually holding it down and it's just tricking them again? Maybe it's not actually-!
Yuto's whirling thoughts were cut off by a Yuya's gagging.
Sure, Yuya gagged before. Whenever he was fighting the demon he would gag like his body was forcibly trying to get something out. But after three to five gags, they would usually die down.
But at the fifth gag, Yuya didn't stop. More gags began to escape his brother's throat before he could fully process it. Before he knew it, Yuya began to dry heave.
Eyes widening in realization, Yuto quickly moves to turn Yuya over until he was laying on his stomach. He could vaguely make out Yugo's panicked shouts and Yuri's cursing as he slams his hand onto Yuya's back, trying to force whatever's stuck in his throat to come out.
Then Yuya vomited on the floor.
Yuto didn't know what he expected. Of course, the moment he started gagging, Yuto expected Yuya was bound to throw up from all of that - or throw up what was left in his stomach, at least. God, how long has it been since Yuya's actually eaten? The point was, Yuto was expecting to see bile of some sorts to come out of Yuya's throat.
Not this black tar that came pouring out of Yuya's mouth like a waterfall. Yuto couldn't help a cry of disgust escaping his own throat before he scrambled away from the puddle that was forming. Yugo and Yuri did the same, the former almost shoving the latter to the ground in his attempt to get away. The three stood back, watching the scene of Yuya spilling this foul substance from his body with disgust and horror.
It seemed to be going on forever. Yuto didn't know if he should continue to stand back and watch or just go over there and do something to help.
Before he could make a decision the black bile finally stopped. Yuto couldn't help a tiny gasp when he saw how much Yuya had vomited. It nearly reached the back wall, which was only three feet away from Yuya's position. As for his brother, he laid there in the same position his older brothers put him in; on his stomach while pushing himself up by his elbows so his head was leveled from the ground. Then, a second later, Yuya rolls over onto his side. Completely unconscious.
That did it for the three of them.
"Yuya!" the three cried out as they rushed over to their fallen brother, no longer caring about the black puddle that was probably now staining their clothes as they kneeled down, Yuto putting his hand on Yuya's shoulder and began to shake him.
"Yuya, wake up!" he pleaded.
"Come on, bro!" Yugo shouted, just as desperate as Yuto is.
"Goddamit, Yuya," Yuri hisses underneath his breath. "The three of us just went through hell to get you back and then you go and do this? Y-You-! You little-! Open your eyes, dammit!"
Even with Yuto shaking his shoulder and Yugo and Yuri's constant shouting, nothing seemed to be arising Yuya from his deep. Eyes filling with tears, Yuto whips his head over to Reira, who stood back motionlessly, her eyes never leaving the black puddle. "Reira, what happened?! Y-You... You said he'll be alright! Why isn't he-?!"
Yuto was cut off by a gasp. Not from Yugo nor Yuri. But from-
He turned his head back to Yuya, who has his eyes wide open and sucking in air through his mouth. For a moment, the three boys didn't know what to do as their younger brother laid there on the ground, panting. In the tiny corner of their minds, a hint of uncertainty made itself known.
They couldn't but check. Check for any signs. So many times, they would see their brother through the horror that was the demon before he was dragged back down. They just had to check to see if Yuya was going to stay in the surface for good this time.
Then they saw it; the pale skin that was no longer a sickly gray nor the appearance of the black veins underneath it, completely free of all the bruises that were gained ever since Yuya stepped foot into this house. Not to mention his eyes, his beautiful, bright red eyes.
This was Yuya.
They finally got him back.
Tears welled up in Yugo's eyes before he moved forward with his arms out. "Yuya-!"
Yuya's eyes snapped to them as if he was realizing they were there the whole time. In a split second later, his eyes grew wider than they already were out of pure, utter fear.
"GET AWAY FROM ME!" Yuya screamed as his leg sprung up and hit Yugo straight in the stomach. The poor boy fell back with a yell, not expecting the sudden the attack.
"AUGH! Why is it always me?!" Yugo cried while Yuya pushes himself up until his elbows supported him. He scrambled away from Yuri and Yuto, both were preoccupied with Yugo to notice their brother until his back hit a wall.
"Please, please, please!" the three could only look in pure confusion as Yuya kept shaking his head back and forth, his body curled up against the wall with hands gripping his hair to the point they turned white. "Get away from me! Run before it makes me kill you guys!"
At first, the three didn't know what to say. Then it finally hit them a few seconds later as their brains finally processed Yuya's words.
Yuto was the first one to move closer, despite Yuya's violent flinch when did, and spoke. "Yuya, it's alright. I promise you're not gonna hurt anyone."
Yuya still shook his head. "Please... Go..."
"Yuya," Yuto begins, keep his voice calm and low in case Yuya was about to dive into a panic attack. "Do you know where you are right now? Do you know what just happened?"
This stills Yuya from his frantic shaking. Yuto could still hear him breathing deeply but it calmed down from that frantic breathing earlier. He could only hope that Yuya was processing his words since his hands were still gripping his hair so it was obstructing his view of his eyes so he didn't know if he was acknowledged or not.
"I... I-I chased you guys up here, d-didn't I?" Yuto hears him muttering, almost as if he wasn't all there. "I-It made me run after you guys with a knife... I-It got you, N-Nii-sama... I-It... I-It almost-!"
"And then you fought it, remember?" Yuto reminds him, keeping his voice gentle in spite of the huge relief he felt when he heard the familiar words of 'Nii-sama'. "You fought it long enough for Reira to finish the exorcism. Do you remember that?"
Yuya's breathing got quieter. "B-But... Does this have to be a trick, r-right? I... I-It can't be gone, it's hiding somewhere... It wants to play with me before-"
It was Yugo who spoke up after recovering from the kick to the stomach. "Bro, come on. You're fine, we saw that thing leave you," his eyes shift to the black puddle on the floor, a look of disgust forming on his face. "Not to mention it's all over the floor..."
"Yuya," Yuri begins, his voice surprisingly soft. "I want to look at the three of us; if you feel any urges that make you want to kill, tell us and we'll leave right away."
Yuri was met with silence from Yuya for a couple of seconds. At the moment, Yuto thought Yuya didn't hear Yuri at all until he slowly uncurled his fingers from his hair and lowered his arms.
Once again Yuto saw those beautiful red eyes that were with him his whole life. The pupils had shrunken - probably from the fear he was feeling - but it was still Yuya.
A smile graced his face. A real, genuine smile. Something, to his understanding, that didn't happen in a long time. "Hey, Yuya."
Yuya just sat there, silently. Like he didn't know what to make of anything in front of him. His eyes darted around, eyeing each of his brothers carefully. Finally, his eyes landed on the black puddle on the floor.
That was when the tears fall.
Yuto was completely caught off-guard and he could tell Yugo and Yuri were the same. "Y-Yuya-?!"
Yuya suddenly lunges forward and pulls the three into a bone-crushing hug.
"Gomenasai!" he cried, his voice breaking as sobs escaped past his blubbering words. "G-Gomenasai...! Nii-sama, Nii-san, Onii-chan..."
That did it. Tears fell from Yuto's eyes before he could stop them - but it's not like he cared at this point - as he immediately returns it. Something that was probably a sob was building up in his throat but he was able to hold it back before he brought his arms around Yuya's trembling body.
Yugo, on the other hand, didn't hold back. Tears fell like rainfall from eyes as Yugo throws his arms around the two, sobbing just as loudly as Yuya.
Yuri, while Yuto couldn't hear anything from him, wrapped his arms around them more calmly than Yugo's outburst moments ago. However, it was when he felt Yuri shaking that he knew the boy was crying as well.
The four of them were back together again. Nothing in the world could give him anything else.
Yuto turns his head towards Reira, who stood a few feet away with her eyes shifting from the boys to the puddle on the floor, and spoke with trembling lips, "Thank you so much..."
He was met with a small smile in return before eyes fell back to the puddle. Out of curiosity, Yuto shifted his eyes down to the puddle.
It was a split second later that Yuto saw the puddle sizzle up like water on a hot stove before it completely evaporated into the air.
"Okay, ready? Three, two, one... CHARGE!"
At once, Shuzo and his son both charge towards the door, hoping the force from their bodies would be enough to slam the door open. They've been at this ever since Reira was able to escape from that small hole in the wall but like all of their attempts before, nothing had changed. The door stood still as if a brick wall was behind it and nothing was going to break it down.
It still didn't stop father and son from continuing with their attempts. Must be a family trait, Reiji figured.
"One more time," Shun growls after rubbing his shoulder from the last attempt.
"Okay... Ready?" at his son's nod, Shuzo began to count once more. "Three, two, one... CHARGE!"
The two ran to the door once more. Honestly, Reiji expected the same results where the door wouldn't budge and they have to start all over again. He was not ready for the door to suddenly burst open the moment the two made contact.
It didn’t even look like they were expecting either since the two ended up tumbling to the ground the instant the door gave away. This causes the Hiiragi girls to yell out for the two before they hurry over to help.
However, no one was faster at going up the stairs than the Sakaki couple.
“Boys!” the cry came from Yoko as the two exited through the doorway.
“Yuto! Yugo! Yuri! Where are you?!” Yusho cried out into the house. Reiji followed behind them, his concern for Reira overtaking his senses. It’s been so long since he’s heard anything upstairs and the unknown didn’t help his nerves. He can only hope that Reira had found the boys and was exorcising the demon right at this moment.
He had to remind himself not to think about seeing Reira lying dead on the floor like how Ray laid dead on the hospital bed three years ago.
Reiji had just exited through the doorway when he nearly ran into Yusho Sakaki’s back. He wondered why he and his wife stopped when they were so desperate to get up here in the first place when he noticed them looking up at the staircase.
He looked up and his eyes widen.
There were the boys. All four of them together, three of them supporting one who he last saw as a giggling maniac as they slowly walked down the stairs. Each step was hesitant and slow with a few glances towards the youngest Sakaki, who appeared to be not fully there as his eyes were staring off into the distance.
Behind them was Reira, not looking any worse since he’s last seen her. He almost didn’t notice the sigh of relief he gave out since his gaze was so focused on his little sister.
“Boys!” Yoko screams, her voice full of the same amount relief he felt when he saw Reira before she broke into a run up the stairs. Her scream caught the attention of her sons, who all snapped their heads up to see their mother running towards them with tears in her eyes.
“Kaa-san!” the younger Sakaki cried. He wrenched himself free from his brothers’ grips to fall into his mother’s arms, his sobs heard through her shoulder and vice versa. After overcoming his own shock, Yusho began to move towards the other three, who met him halfway.
“Boys, I-” He was cut off by three pairs of arms suddenly hugging him.
“Just shut up,” said a boy. Which one, Reiji didn’t know but it still didn’t stop Yusho from wrapping his large arms around the three.
And just like that, the entire Sakaki fell into a sobbing fest on top of the stairs. All of them were on their knees, their arms out as if they were trying to hug all the others at once. And despite how tight they were all holding each other, Reiji could still hear the sobs of relief coming from the pile.
Reiji could vaguely make out the figures of the Hiiragi family out of the corner of his eyes but they didn’t move any further than they already have. Possibly out of respect for the Sakaki family to have their little reunion.
Sounds of something scratching at the door brought his attention away from the touching moment. And just like that, his fear blew up again. Why were there scratches come from that door? What if it didn’t get sent back to Hell like they all thought it would and now it’s back and-
All of his worries were washed away when he heard the sound of a dog barking that came after the scratches.
“En?” the green-haired Hiiragi girl walks over to the door and opens it to find the Corgi dog the Sakaki family have on the other side. Before anyone could think, the Corgi ran past her legs and towards the Sakaki pile, jumping right into Yuya’s awaiting arms.
“En!” the boy cried, more tears of joy falling down his cheeks as the Corgi licks him affectionately. “You’re alright!”
“How the hell did he get out of the car?” the second youngest Sakaki boy asked, the mixture of curiosity and disbelief in his tone and face actually brought laughter from everyone in this house. It even made him chuckle as he thought of the unthinkable on how a dog like that could escape a locked vehicle.
He didn’t notice Reira had made her way to his side until he felt her arms around his torso.
“It’s over, Nii-sama,” he hears her through his shirt, her voice trembling and he was certain he was feeling something wet on his shirt. “It’s actually over…”
Reiji didn’t know what he could say right at this moment. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and decided this was the best way to celebrate the moment.
It finally hit him what Reira was trying to say to him a moment later. The Shinigami was gone. It was in a place where it can’t reach their world anymore. Zarc no longer had to deal with it torturing him every second. It can’t take any more victims inside this house.
It was actually over.
Chapter 29: A New Visitor
Of course, my original laptop decides to break when I'm in the middle of writing and going through the whole college process. Just another thing I need to add on my whole life-changing shift!
So, thanks to having free time in my school at the moment when I write this, I finally finished up the chapter and now I'm able to post it! Wow, there's only one chapter left after this one. We all came along in this. I still can't believe I'm almost done.
Anyway, for those who were worried about Zarc, here's this chapter.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Reira had to stop for a moment to take a deep breath. Her companion, who was walking with her down the hall, noticed her hesitation. “Are you okay?” he asked.
After getting to know him through his whole recovery process, Reira still couldn’t believe how much of a kind person he was. While he had low self-esteem, his concern for others greatly surpassed any doubts he had of himself that he would do anything he can to help even when he didn’t think he was capable of small situations like this. He was just a nice person.
And it scared her because it reminded her of Zarc.
“I’m fine,” she tells him before she walks forward to catch up with the nurse who was leading them. The nurse Reira was used to seeing every day was fired from her job due to poor performance so she was replaced by someone else. This was something Reira was glad about; Zarc didn’t need that kind of negativity in this place.
This nurse, so far, seems way nicer; she was willing to give out information on Zarc’s status with no problem, she shows concern for her brother’s well-being, and she seemed perfectly fine with Reira’s new companion after Reira explained the situation.
“Here we are,” the nurse said once they reached the door. “We’ve managed to get to a point where he doesn’t need the straitjacket anymore but it’s been difficult to get him to eat. Not to mention there’s a possibility he’s been avoiding sleep for the past few nights.”
That pretty much sums up a normal day for Zarc.
“So, how do you want to do this?” the nurse then turns her attention to Reira. “Do you both want to go in or-?”
“I’ll go in first,” Reira cuts in. “Just to inform him that someone new is coming to see him. Then he can go in and talk to Zarc. Um, how long are we allowed to talk?”
“Oh, you can take as much time as you need. But I must warn you, though, his checkup with the doctors will be in an hour or so, just keep that in mind when you’re talking.” The nurse tells them and just like that, Reira likes her way better than the previous nurse.
“Arigato,” she and her companion bow in thanks and the nurse only smiles in reply before she unlocks the door and walks away, leaving the two alone.
“I’ll go tell him what’s been going and you can go see him after,” Reira informs her companion, who nods before she took a step into the room.
Once again, Reira was greeted with the darkness of the room. No windows, only a bed for furniture, and Zarc’s form being slightly visible in the light that managed to peek through by leaving the door open.
“Onii-chan?” Reira took a step forward. Zarc was sitting on his bed with his knees tucked underneath his chin and his arms wrapped around them. His eyes stare off into the distance, blank and unmoving at the sound of Reira’s voice.
Reira tries once again. “Onii-chan?”
This got a reaction; a small flicker of gold eyes looking in her direction before they return to the open air in front of them. That gave her the permission she needed to walk over until she was standing right next to him. A small part of her wanted to sit on the bed with him but decided it was best to give him his space when she tells him the news.
“How have you been, Onii-chan?” she asked but Zarc gave her no response.
“Right…” she sighs. “I don’t know how to say this after everything because just the thought of it sounds wonderful but now that I am here and I see you like this…”
Again, she sighs. “I’ll just say it; the Shinigami is gone, Zarc. Your warning helped and we were able to exorcise it from the family it was tormenting. It’s trapped in Hell where it can’t get out, it’s never gonna bother you again, Zarc…”
Silence. In all honesty, Reira expected a reaction. Maybe something like denial, confusion, maybe even relief from hearing those sentences.
But hearing only silence from her brother-in-law was frightening. It was the sentences that could’ve changed their entire lives and yet he wasn’t reacting at all.
“Zarc?” she hesitantly pokes him in the shoulder. “D-Did you hear what I just said?”
It was different from the frantic tone he had when she last visited, the one that was full of the desperate plea to not let the Shinigami take another victim. The one that didn’t want another him running around. Reira could tell just how different it was by how broken it sounded.
The broken tone was something she expected when planned to visit him last time before she found out he relapsed.
“Are you going to say something about it?” Reira continued with her questioning.
“...What’s the point?” he shrugged his shoulders slightly. “Anything I say wouldn’t even matter; Ray’s still gone and the Shinigami got what it wanted from me in the end… Besides, I know this is only a trick…”
She blinks out of shock. “What?”
“It’s just playing with me… It’s happened before, it’ll go away for some time before it comes back and everything starts all over again. It’s just another trick, Zarc… Don’t listen-”
“Onee-chan, stop it!” Reira cut him before he could continue. “It’s not a trick, it’s the truth! The Shinigami is gone, you’re finally free!”
But her words did nothing. Zarc just continued with his muttering while burying his head into his knees. She barely got what she wanted to say out and she had already lost him.
Reira was able to stand listening to him mutter to himself for a few more seconds before a sigh of defeat escapes her throat.
“Even hearing it from me, you still don’t believe anything in front of you. Because you’re used to seeing me, right? I was there with you when the Shinigami came back for you so it knows who I am to you. It can probably take my shape so it can trick you into thinking it’s gone, right?”
Zarc didn’t say anything but he didn’t have to. They both know she hit the nail on the head.
“I understand,” Reira begins to make her way over to the door. “It’s hard to trust anything you see or hear after what you've been through. I’m not mad or anything, I understand.”
Zarc still didn’t say anything just as she reaches the door.
“Which is why someone else is going to tell you what’s been happening. Someone who understands what you’ve been through.”
Not even bothering to look back at Zarc’s reaction, Reira opens the door to find her companion standing outside right outside.
“You can go talk to him now, Yuya,” the youngest Sakaki nods his head before she moves aside to allow the boy to walk through.
Zarc didn’t know what the image of Reira was talking about. Someone who knew what he went through? That was impossible. Anyone who knew what it was like to have that monster in their head was long dead, It made sure of that.
It has to be a trick. No way someone was -
Someone had entered the room right after Reira left. Zarc slowly lifted his head to get a better view of this person. He had to be sure if this was just another illusion and that way he could prepare himself for whatever torture session the demon planned for him.
But it wasn’t someone Zarc recognized.
Zarc didn’t think he knows this person at all.
The person who stepped in was on the young side. Possibly in his early teens. The boy had messy red-and-green hair with goggles strapped to them. His ruby red eyes were in his direction but Zarc could see them shift ever so slightly as if he’s expecting something else to pop out. Another tell for his nerves was how his fingers would subconsciously rub something he was holding in his right hand.
Zarc almost couldn’t believe his eyes. His first logical conclusion was this boy was another illusion. But then he dropped it because he didn’t recognize the kid and the demon would only torture him with people he knew. Then, if the boy was here and if what Reira said was true then -
“Uh… Hi?” Zarc jerks up when he hears the boy’s voice, another thing that he didn’t recognize, just in time to see him jump. “Ah! Sorry if I startled you or anything!”
Zarc didn’t know how to respond to him. The only people he’s talked to in three years were either Reira or the staff here and they were all warped by the demon’s twisted nature. Now he’s faced with someone that the demon hasn’t shown him before and probably understood the torture he went through because of that monster and he didn’t know what to do.
“I guess I should probably introduce myself, right?” the boy continues, thankfully saving Zarc from being the one to continue the conversation. The boy bows. “I’m Sakaki Yuya, it’s nice to meet you, Zarc-san.”
Sakaki… The name sounded familiar but it didn’t strike a chord within him as the others did. This wasn’t a trick, was it?
“Do you mind if I-?” the boy gestured to the bed and Zarc gave his permission with a small nod. Sakaki sat down on the bed, thankfully keeping his distance. “Thanks. Sorry, I was nervous coming here and I thought I would collapse if I stood up any longer.”
Well, at least one of them knew how to handle their nerves.
“So, I guess you’ve already talked to Reira-san about…” Sakaki trailed off, his tone becoming even more nervous than it already was.
“About It?” Zarc asked despite the very thought of speaking about It out loud sent shivers throughout his entire body.
“Well, yeah,” Sakaki nods his head before his face falls slightly. “But you don’t believe her, do you?”
Zarc didn’t even bother answering that.
“Yeah, can't blame ya since I didn’t believe it either and I was the one who was exorcised,” Sakaki lets out a humorless laugh before falling silent.
“I get it, though…”
Zarc tilts his head slightly.
“It was scary to know how easy it was for that thing to latched onto you and you don’t even realize it. I-I…” Sakaki stops to take a deep breath. “I can still remember all the pain It inflicted on me before it took over and how I became so obsessed with it that I wake up in a place you don’t remember being in and I found out I lost so many days because of that. But then, I guess that stuff doesn’t even compare when It finally takes you over, huh?”
Again, Zarc didn’t say anything.
“I-I’m not going to go any further on that because you already know what it was like. What I’m trying to say is that I get the constant paranoia of It coming back and just...ruining everything all over again. It took me a long time to convince myself that It was not coming back but I got there. And the reason why I got there was having people there to remind me that I am loved and it was over. And Zarc-san, you have people like that; Reira-san and Reiji-san. They can help and believe me when I say it's worth it.
"That's all I wanted to say," Sakaki takes a deep breath as if it would rid him of all his nerves. Suddenly, the boy holds up his right hand, the hand that was gripping something that Zarc couldn't see since he got here. "Reira-san wanted to give this to you a while ago. At first, she couldn't give it back to you since you were being treated at the hospital. But when you didn't get better and she had no choice but to send you here, she was afraid of giving you this in case it makes things worse. Somehow, I don't think that's going to be the case."
With that, Sakaki opens his hand to reveal the object that laid within.
Zarc could feel his throat closing up when his eyes see the white ring Ray had given to him when she proposed.
It was there. It was right there. When he woke up in the hospital, the doctors told him they had to remove it to get his vitals and he hasn't seen it since. But now it was right there in front of him on top of a boy's hand.
Zarc almost didn't realize he had reached his hand towards it until the Sakaki boy put it into his hand. "I hope you get better, Zarc-san. And when you do, you're welcome to hang out with me and my brothers if you want to."
Just like that, the boy had already got up and walked out of the room. Zarc was left alone in the darkness once again.
No, he looks down at the ring in his hand, he wasn't alone at the moment.
Everything Sakaki said sounded too good to be true. The demon, gone? How many times has he wished It would just go away and leave him alone? Too many to count. It became so long that he was used to the demon, even though he wanted it gone. Hearing that It would never bother him again was too good to be true.
But he's looking at the ring in his hand and there's no voice in his head. No taunt, no screams, no visions of a dead Ray in front of him. Just him, the ring, and the tears trailing down his cheeks.
It... It was over, wasn't it?
He can't hear anything. Nothing's there.
It's all over, right?
Zarc couldn't hold it in anymore as he puts his face into his hands and sobs. Everything that was building up inside him came out through these loud, throat-soring sobs tore something in his chest with every escape. He could vaguely make out the noises of his doctors coming in and asking him what was wrong. But he didn't care.
He was free. And he can finally be happy again.
One more chapter, guys. One more chapter...