Actions

Work Header

Born from Ashes

Chapter Text

~*~

'Cause I've been shaking

I've been bending backwards till I'm broke

Watching all these dreams go up in smoke

~*~

 

“I’m sorry to inform you Hinata-sama but your son is not a late bloomer. He’s just human

 

Dr.Iyasu calmly spoke these words to Yume Hinata as she sat nervously in the chair across from his desk. Hearing the news that her son was human shattered any hope left in her heart, scattering the little pieces into the wind. She turned her gaze to where the boy in question was sitting in one of the bright red chairs, cradling his little sister Natsu while attempting to finish a puzzle of two elephants on the small table with his free hand. Shoyo, who had just turned eight, was cooing at the infant and blowing gently on her ears that were just starting to shed the puppy fuzz. His own ears were small and round and very human. Yume looked back towards the doctor, curly red rabbit ears -usually perked straight up- were pressed behind her head in agitation.

 

“I-I don’t understand! My husband and I are both Nova!” Her words came out harsh with confusion as to how this could happen to her family. Maybe if it were a long time ago would a diagnosis like “ human ” be acceptable but not now; now, it was as good as receiving a death sentence. Yume could feel cold sweat beginning to form on the back of her neck, steadily travelling down her back to her cottontail.

 

The good doctor flicked one of his white feline ears, already expecting the bafflement “Are either of you first generation?”

 

“I am, yes, but-”

 

“Research has proven that first generation Nova still have a chance of conceiving a human child if both parents have the recessive genes necessary for it to happen.” The good doctor pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose, searching through the mess of papers on his desk to find the correct one before launching into ways to help her son while Shoyo sat oblivious to the side.

 

--&--

 

The return home was anything but pleasant. Her two children were dozing in the back seat and in the passenger lay a manila folder that the doctor had kindly given her, filled with various pamphlets and papers of raising a human child in a Nova household. Her ears twitched anxiously just remembering everything he had said to her, some information being useful and other bits unnecessary or rude. 

 

“You’re lucky that your second child is a Nova or I would have had to report you to the NHIP.”

 

She gripped the steering wheel tightly as a more pressing question entered her mind. What would her husband say? He had been disappointed and angry when Yume gave birth to a son with human features, no sign of the praeda or canis features they both possessed. While Akio wasn’t the most patient of people, he never treated Shoyo with anything but mild disdain. This appointment was supposed to change that, to be one of happiness . Yume could see their house now, pulling the van into the driveway and gathering up the folder in one arm with her purse. Akio was quick to emerge from the front door, dressed in a fitting black suit which indicated he most likely got a call to come into work.

 

“Natsu, Shoyo, time to get up. We’re home.” She gently shook the two children awake, Shoyo sleepily taking his sister out of her car seat.

 

Yume swallowed her fear, getting out of the car to meet her husband halfway. All it took was the look on her face and one glance at the folder in her hand to tell him all he needed to know. His face immediately dropped from the light smile it had to one of outrage and hatred. Shoyo was just getting out of the car, balancing Natsu in his arms when he was startled by his father backhanding Yume so hard that she stumbled to the ground, holding a hand to her cheek.

 

“You stupid lotuma .” The words dripped venom once he spoke them, snatching the keys from her hand and getting into the van and leaving.

 

Yume had seen him content, dejected, frustrated and even embarrassed but never had she seen him with such furious disgust in his amber eyes. Not once had he laid a hand on her. Tears welled up in her eyes, threatening to fall to the asphalt but a small hand grabbed her own, squeezing , and made her turn her head to the side, brown eyes meeting amber. They were brighter, kinder, than Akio’s. No, crying was out of the question at the moment. Despite the stinging of her cheek, she took Natsu from Shoyo and gripped his hand -almost a little too tight- and made their way inside.

 

--&--

 

Shoyo was ten years old. 

 

He had just gotten home from school, bouncing around excitedly to tell his mom about the seventy-two he got on his last quiz when he bumped into the table where his father’s coffee was. The mug wobbled precariously for a moment before toppling over, lukewarm liquid running down the front of Akio’s once white button-up. Shoyo fell to the floor so fast it took him a minute to register what had happened but when he did, he began sobbing uncontrollably.

 

“There was no reason to hit him, Akio!” The praeda shouted at him.

 

“Shut up! The brat shouldn't have been acting like an idiot to begin with. It’s because of him that I’m going to be late!”

 

Akio was already prone to having a temper but ever since he got a new job at some banking company, it had gotten to the point where he argued with his wife almost every night and snapped at his son for any little thing, from leaving his toys out to talking too much to being too loud.

 

“That still isn’t a reason to hurt him! Just hurry up and go to work!”

 

The canis in him didn’t appreciate it when a lowly bunny fought back with him. A prey Nova like herself should be submissive to him without complaint. He would bare his fangs and let his eyes flash red, tail bristiling, but that didn’t work. His attempt to menace her into submission was also useless. Her ears would quiver with the instinct to flatten and give in yet she would meet his gaze steadily and refuse to back down. With a huff of irritation, Akio stomped upstairs to change before work, growling deeply the whole way. Shoyo had settled down into a sniffling ball, hand holding his bright red cheek. 

 

After that particular incident, Shoyo was wary of his father who now found a twisted sense of enjoyment from hurting his son.

 

His mom did what she could to protect him but then it would end up with her taking the physical attacks. Natsu ,being so little, was none the wiser in her playpen. It was around the peak of summer that Shoyo began to have odd behavior. His usual energy level dropped significantly and his bright eyes had begun to dull along with his personality for no apparent reason. He stopped eating his meals instead choosing to go to bed early because he was tired. Yume took him to the doctor after two weeks of the changes but they just said it was probably an early hormone shift of some sort or his body reacting badly to the extreme heat of summer. 

 

She didn’t believe them and tried asking Shoyo if kids were bullying him at school or his father had hit him too hard. His response had been a soft ‘no’ and leaving to his room to sleep more. By the fourth week, he began to have violent mood swings that she had never seen before. Shoyo would be relaxed one moment and the next throwing things and screaming at anyone nearby. This caused the already strained relationship with Akio to become bitter . It resulted with Shoyo bearing a fat lip, bruised ribs and a black eye by the end of the week. Yume had reacted violently herself towards Akio but between the two of them, a rabbit was no match for a dog.

 

A month had passed and one morning, Shoyo just wouldn’t come out of his room. Yume had knocked on his door, asking if he was hungry but no response. She had pleaded with him to just eat a slice of toast or some rice but still she heard nothing. 

 

Maybe he fell asleep, she thought to herself, leaving to make some onigiri for herself and feed Natsu before returning back upstairs and knocking again. This time Shoyo swung the door open with so much vigor it startled his mother backwards. She looked down at him, wide eyed, with what looked to be very dark dirt in his hair and covering his hands, a bright smile plastered to his face.

 

“Mama, look! I made a castle out of dirt!”

 

Yume was even more bewildered by the statement, looking over her son and into his room where, lo and behold, a pile of dirt formed into what could be a castle lay scattered around the floor. There was no logical explanation of where the stuff had come from other than Shoyo probably shoving piles of it into his backpack when they went to the park and hiding it for later use. Rather than reprimand him for the action, she just breathed a sigh of relief at having her happy son back and the strange month was forgotten.

 

--&--

 

Home life was one thing but school was an entirely different story. Shoyo could clearly remember the day his mother brought him to Yukigaoka Primary, holding his hand with her own trembling one and meeting with the principal. His face was one of barely concealed annoyance, lion tail whipping behind him, when she explained Shoyo’s “situation” and handed him the official doctor’s note. The few friends he had made were immediately disgusted after the teacher publicly announced how the other kids needed to treat him kinder , not play as roughly with him and to be more aware of his situation. Calling his human status a situation made everything harder to adjust with.

 

Why was it a situation ? Calling it a condition was saying it lightly since it was a permanent fact he would have to live with. He would never be as athletically gifted as an avim or canis. He would never be as intelligent and beautiful as a felis or syren. He would never even understand the way his family sees the world and how he saw it. It was like living on one side of an invisible line and everyone else lived on the other side, blissfully unaware of the line Shoyo would never be able to cross.

 

His avim and canis classmates were particularly cruel towards him, knowing that he couldn’t defend himself from their bullying; the “accidental” shoving, scratches from not being fast enough, the snarls directed his way. Gym was the worst; teams were split up based on species with avim, canis and felis playing soccer or volleyball while leaving the praeda and syren to play tennis or softball. Shoyo was always left with the latter where neither species wanted him on their teams, leaving him on the sidelines to cry. 

 

He didn’t think things could get any worse but it was during his sixth year in primary school that everything got so much worse. 

 

One of his classmates, a hawk avim by the name of Matsuda Sadahige, had never liked him for whatever reason. 

 

“My ma said that humans belong in a Gloria ! Why aren’t you in one, huh?” Matsuda was quick to raise his hand to ask the question when the teacher had first explained everything to the class.

 

The teacher had awkwardly explained that not every human goes to a Gloria. Later in the day, Shoyo was shoved to the ground by Matsuda and his entourage of several other avim. It was amusing to pick on the “weak human” of their class and made it their goal to somehow make Shoyo’s day more miserable than it already was. Sometimes it was just nasty words said within his hearing range and other times they would trap him in their circle with their wings, roughing him up just enough to be painful but not enough for teachers to notice. It never got really bad. Shoyo had to spend primary school learning to avoid Matsuda and his groupies, swiftly hiding around school and constantly changing up his route home.

 

By junior high, it was a tiresome habit for Shoyo. Show up to school, deal with the passive-aggressive comments of teachers, eat his lunch in the bathroom, possibly get tripped in the hallway, go to class and take one of the many routes back home. Some days went smoother than others and other days he would arrive home with some new bruises to make up for the slowly fading ones. If he arrived at school the next day with more damage, nobody was any the wiser. School was just another battlefield away from home.

 

Thursday was a gym day and as per usual, Shoyo was relegated to the praeda/syren group for gym. He sulked among his peers, teeth biting into the worn and bloody nail beds on his fingers. It was hard for him to not jump in place, attempting to keep his energy contained and not make a fool of himself. The Praeda were polite enough to him, attempting to engage in mild conversation but the syren just turned their noses up the other way, sunlight glinting off their shimmery scales. It was a volleyball and softball day. Shoyo had always been athletic; he liked to play outside and participate in games that required movement, a means of releasing his high energy. 

 

Volleyball was his favorite activity. The feeling of jumping high into the air -as if he were flying- and feeling his palm connect with the ball, watching it smash done on the other side of a net was exhilarating and gave him a small sense of empowerment in a life where he lacked any power. His bright eyes stared longingly at the other students playing his favorite sport, a Felis setting the ball to a Canis that spiked the ball and successfully scored a point for the team. Shoyo wanted to play so bad, just one game wouldn’t hurt. Would it? He trotted over to Mr. Yukihira, clearing his throat to get his attention.

 

The mid-thirties man looked down at the boy, his eyebrow raised in question.

 

“Um, could I play a game of volleyball with the others?” Shoyo gripped the hem of his white gym shirt tightly, trembling slightly from nervousness.

 

“Hinata-kun, I don’t think you’re strong enough to play with the others so you are better off-”

 

“Just one game! I promise I’m strong enough to play!” Shoyo could see the doubt of his teacher, just like so many of the other adults in his life.

 

“Your parents and the administration would not-”

 

One . Game.” He begged with the man “I won’t ask ever again if I get hurt!”

 

Yukihira looked at the boy doubtfully. Hinata Shoyo was small for a twelve year old, smaller for human standards, and weaker than the larger avim and canis students but his eyes, they were on fire , pleading with him to let the boy play. With a long sigh, he gestured for the boy to go play on the mostly felis side. Hinata lit up, thanking him profusefully, then running over to the others. The felis looked shocked, a few had puffed up their tails in shock and bared their teeth at the boy but most begrudgingly let him in on the game, positioning him as libero due to his small size.

 

The game started well enough with both teams playing as they had been and though Shoyo disliked the libero position, he played the best he could despite the unwillingness of his peers of having him on the team. Matsuda was on the other team, glaring daggers when Shoyo clumsily received a spike. A human had no right to be playing with them! The match finished, 1-2, with Shoyo’s team winning. 

 

“Wow! You’re so fast, Hinata-san!” A felis girl commented.

 

“Yeah, yeah, you just zoomed everywhere!” Another felis spoke up, fist pumping into the air excitedly.

 

Shoyo flushed under all the attention, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly on their way back to the classroom. He took his time changing out of his gym clothes, pulling on a white sweater. The weather was starting to get colder so his mother insisted that he start wearing layers. Maybe he could borrow her mittens as well and ask for some money to buy a thicker pair of socks. He unconsciously winced when he moved to put his gakuran on, the motion reminded him of the purple bruises on his side where his father had kicked him a few days earlier. 

 

Shoyo was so deep in thought that he didn’t notice that most of his classmates had left the room and was startled out of thinking when someone grabbed his arm, spinning him around and slamming his back into the wall.

 

“Not so fast today are you, Hinata ?” Matsuda spoke mockingly at him, squeezing tightly on Shoyo’s arm.

 

The redhead stares up at the bully, wide eyed in fear. He had been so careful to not be caught by his tormentors and if he was, it was normally public spaces that had adults rushing in to stop the violence before it could get out of hand. Primary school Shoyo wasn’t too different from present day Shoyo; he had barely grown in height and his body could be considered scrawny. Matsuda, on the other hand, had hit an early growth spurt, standing easily a head above Shoyo. His brown hair had been long at some point but it was now cut with the sides and back shaved short. The down feathers of his wings were mostly gone now, revealing dark shiny feathers speckled tawny and white. 

 

His goons were nothing to sneeze at, both standing slightly shorter than Matsuda and their own wings in different stages of molting. Shoyo tugged at his captured arm but Matsuda just slammed him against the wall again.

 

“You see, we haven’t gotten to talk in so long so look how lucky that we managed to catch you today” His friends snicker behind him like the loyal dogs they are “So how about we test something, hm?”

 

Shoyo feels a hand grab the collar of his sweater, dragging him to one side of the classroom. Someone pushes open a window, kicking a chair out of the way before he finds himself being held halfway out of the window. It takes every fiber in his body not to scream bloody murder, biting his lower lip harshly until he can taste copper. He doesn’t dare look away from Matsuda, knowing that he would see the two story drop to the ground below. His hands unconsciously reach up, grabbing at the avim’s wrists. 

 

“I-I-I’m sorry, Sadahige-kun b-but-” Shoyo was cut off with a swift punch to his stomach, gasping and coughing in pain.

 

“Shut up or I might just drop you.” Matsuda loosens his grip just a bit but it has Shoyo pulling at him, blood running cold and nervous sweat beginning to break out on his neck. The bully smirks at the redhead’s panic.

 

“See, you’re a fucking eyescore. Humans like you don’t belong with us nova. You’re weak ” Matsuda hit him again “You’re a waste of space ” A punch this time “You shouldn’t have been born”

 

The words hit Shoyo like bullets, fast and painful. They were words he had been hearing all his life, from his teachers to his classmates to strangers on the street to his own father. The insults piled on top of one another repeatedly, reminding him daily all that he was worth, all the things everyone saw him as. It made his heart heavy with doubt, disgust and shame. Shoyo was pulled from his self doubt when Matsuda shook him hard.

 

“You know, my mom told me something really cool. Wanna hear?” Shoyo gave a gulp, hands clawing desperately to gain purchase. “My kind used to do this test to see if their kids came into their heritage late. Just like birds, they take their kids up to the highest point possible-”

 

One of Matsuda’s goons came up to his side, eyes wide and looking a bit frantic “Dude, won’t this kill him?”

 

“Ye-yeah, I d-don’t want to go to jail or something for this.” The other friend piped up nervously.

 

Matsuda sneered at them, pausing in his story “Nah. He’s just gonna get really hurt.”

 

Shoyo felt the tears welling in his eyes, heart beating faster and faster. There was a ringing beginning to sound in his ears, echoing through his head. He was in danger. Something deep inside of him spoke. His skin was hot; it was on fire , searing him, burning him from the inside out. Matsuda gave a wide grin, pulling Hinata close so they were nearly nose-to-nose. His pupils turned to slits, full of hatred .

 

“And they would let them fall .”

 

----

 

----

 

----

 

Why was Matsuda getting further away?

 

----

 

----

 

The ground . The ground was getting closer.



----

 

Who’s screaming ?

 

--&--

 

Consciousness slowly returned to Shoyo but it wasn’t the world he was used to. Everything was hazy, colors interspersed with one another and no distinct shapes. He winced, eyes squeezing shut at the brightness of it. Goddess , his head hurt something awful! His hand came up to touch the side of his head, finding something wrapped around it tightly. 

 

Smells like chemicals he thought vaguely.

 

“......sustained serious…….trauma” A voice spoke nearby. Maybe next to him? Far away? He couldn’t tell.

 

“....how long…...permanent?” The second voice, he recognized. A woman. Worry. His mother. 

 

“...to wait...week” Shoyo only furrowed his brows in thought, trying to figure out who the other voice belonged to but all the thinking was making him tired and sleep seemed like an amazing idea so he let his eyelids drift close, darkness consuming his concious

 

----

 

“And they let them fall” Who’s voice said that?

 

----

 

When Shoyo woke again, the world was much clearer. He stared at the white ceiling for a moment then glanced to the side, seeing his mother sleeping in a chair next to his bed. Her hand rested on the head of Natsu who was also asleep. His father was nowhere in sight, a sigh of relief escaped him which morphed into a groan at the dull pain he felt. The noise was enough to startle his mom awake, ears perked up stiffly and eyes wide. One look at her son made her burst into tears, carefully reaching over to hug him like the most fragile glass sculpture in existence. 

 

“Shoyo, my sweet sweet boy! I’m so glad you’re awake!” She hiccuped in between her words, trying to stifle her crying but failing.

 

“.......What...what happened?” His tongue felt heavy like someone stuffed his mouth full of cotton.

 

The last thing he remembered was Matsuda, saying something, but when he tried to think of afterwards a sharp pain shot through his head, a bolt of lighting right in his brain. His hands shot up to his head, squeezing in an attempt to make it stop. His mother fretted beside him, calling someone into the room. Once the pain subsided, Shoyo looked up blearily at a man in a white lab coat. Thick oval glasses slid down his nose slightly before he pushed them back up. The white feline ears and tail reminded him that it was Dr. Iyasu, the one who had sealed his fate.

 

“It’s good to see you awake. How are you feeling?” His tone is clipped and neutral, the same way it was when Shoyo was eight years old.

 

The boy glowered at the medical professional “Tired. Hurting.” His own response was clipped.

 

Dr. Iyasu doesn’t respond immediately, choosing to pull up a stool at the foot of the bed and sitting upon it. He picked up the clipboard at the end of the bed, looking at it grimly and pushing his glasses up again.

 

“Hinata-kun, I don’t think I can put this lightly but you received a Traumatic Brain Injury after having fallen two floors out of your classroom window. You were very lucky a few students were walking by at the time and were able to call for help.” He flipped the paper up “You have been unconscious for two days while we monitored your brain.” Two days?!

 

Shoyo gripped the white hospital blanket tightly, eyes looking down at his bandaged hands. They suddenly became the most interesting thing in the room as the doctor continued on.

 

“You had to have surgery to stop the bleeding in your brain and to repair the skull fractures you received. Your shoulder was dislocated, several ribs cracked or broken and pelvis fractured as well. You will most likely be in the hospital for a few months but you’re young so recovery should be no problem.” The doctor seemed to want to say more but Yume gave him a look Shoyo didn’t understand so he set the clipboard down, waiting on Shoyo to respond.

 

The redhead was numb, physically and mentally, he felt nothing. They thought he fell? Had nobody seen him being held out of a window by Matsuda? He had been so careful for years and yet here he was in a hospital bed, broken in so many places. The numbness became pain, pain from his injuries, pain in his head, pain from the words, pain in his heart. 

 

He could have died.  

 

The realization brought Shoyo back to the present, taking deep shaky breaths and hands shaking with the new fact. Just like his mother, tears started to stream down his pale face and whimpers of pain from the tightness in his chest. Yume pulled him close, letting him cry into her blouse and rubbing soothing circles on his back. 

 

He couldn’t understand why everyone hated him so much for something he couldn’t control. In some way, he knew his mother blamed herself, for bringing him into the world only for the world to abhor him. Shoyo tuned out the rest of Dr. Iyasu’s explanation though it was most likely meant for Yume anyway. He didn’t care to hear it anyway.

 

--&--

 

For the first few days, he mostly slept -waking only for small meals or to use the bathroom- and when he was awake, he had to deal with nurses coming in to constantly check on him. While the surgery had been successful to stop the bleeding and fix his skull, there was still a high chance his brain was damaged in some way after the fall. They were worried about many possibilities such as a speech or balance being affected. His memory had already shown problematic signs. It was completely normal for him to not remember the incident, the nurses assured him, but the issue was in his short-term memory. It was his fourth day in the hospital when Shoyo couldn’t remember the name or face of the nurse who had checked his vitals that morning.

 

He had asked her five times who she was throughout the day which was unusual to say the least.

 

“We don’t fully know how severe the damage to his brain is so it could be several more days before we can tell. Our biggest worry right now is the possibility of seizures. It’s common for someone to have a seizure after a TBI or a few days after.” The nurse spoke gently, changing the IV fluid bag while Shoyo slowly ate his pudding “It’s less likely they will have a seizure after seven days but if they do, it usually turns into epilepsy.”

 

Yume nervously pulled on one of her ears, the fur missing in small patches where she had been stress grooming. Seeing her son look so small and frail in a hospital bed was painful for her to watch. She couldn’t remember the last time she had seen his eyes bright with happiness or watched him talk animatedly about something he loved; she only saw his dull, blank expression nowadays and heard his cries at night from the terrors that haunted him. 

 

She wasn’t stupid, far from it, but she was weak and oh, how desperately she wished to be stupid instead.

 

-

 

Day nine reared its ugly head with the spite and luck of a tsunami; destroying what little hope everybody had, uncaring in its path of destruction. The psychologist yelled for the nurses to help as she kept Shoyo on his side. She could only watch helplessly as his entire body convulsed, arms and legs jerked around, tensing repeatedly, saliva and tears puddling below his face. After talking with him for seven days to get a sense of his mental state, the kindly doctor has thought he would be ready to go home with some materials to help the parents understand what Shoyo would be needing. She had yet to see the father of the young boy which was a little worrying considering the situation.

 

Just when she thought Shoyo would be out of the woods and on his way to recovery. The tonic-clonic seizure lasted no more than two minutes as his body finally relaxed, eyes blinking rapidly to try and gain awareness but it was obvious that he was disoriented to what had just happened. His mother came over when she saw him calm down, stroking his red hair gently and whispering to him. Shoyo hummed in response, beginning to drift off to sleep from the wave of drowsiness that crashed over him. 

 

--&--

 

Akio wished that-that thing had died. Oh, how he truly dreamed and begged and pleaded with whatever higher entity there was that the useless son of his had just died. But, no. The universe was cursing him, mocking him constantly. Just having to see the little human brat every day irked him enough but now he had to watch the brat hobble around the house brokenly and convulsing on the ground.

 

It was fucking disgusting.

 

At the very least, he had Natsu. His sweet and perfect baby girl. In his own house, where he lived with his betrayal of a wife, Natsu gave him the little bit of happiness he deserved. It was just a bonus that when he put his lit cigarette out on Shoyo’s thin neck, listening to him scream, was an enjoyable bonus. Akio tightly gripped the little boy’s wrist behind his back, holding him as he struggled to escape from the pain. It was amusing to Akio, watching the boy wail and cry until eventually the cigarette lost all of its heat.

 

“It’s your fault that I’m still paying hospital bills, you little shit.” The man shoved Shoyo away, letting him collapse to his knees on the ground “ Three months later!”

 

Ah, there it was . Akio grinned sadistically, amber eyes watching the boy whimper in pain. The round burn mark adorned the nape of his neck, small hand trembling as he reached to touch it. There was something fulfilling in marking up the soft innocent skin of his son. It was different from the taste of bile he got when he had to hit Yume, punching his cute wife when she stood between him. He couldn’t blame her for feeling some warped protectiveness over the thing she had birthed; mothers were weird like that.

 

The telltale buzzing of his cellphone brought a grimace to his face, kicking Shoyo out of the way so he could take the call in his office. He looked at the phone and his face visibly paling at who it was. He thought he had more time to deal with this mess.

 

----

 

The following two weeks were a whirlwind of confusion and anxiety. Shoyo was still unable to return to school while managing his new condition and had been keeping up with his schoolwork from home. His mother picked it up everyday without fail and helped him complete it. But it was the fact that his father stopped going to work suddenly. Yume had asked him if something was wrong but he insisted there wasn’t.

 

Yet his phone rang constantly and most of the time it would be left to ring.

 

Yume had asked him once and he had snapped viciously at her, canines tearing on her ear until she squealed loudly. After that, the air in the house was tense, pulled taunt and ready to snap at any moment.

 

“Pack your shit. Now.” Shoyo startled when Akio slammed open the door, glaring down at the boy.

 

“W-w-why do-” He was cut off by a deep snarl, mouth snapping shut with an audible click and did as he was told.

 

Clothes were shoved into the small suitcase haphazardly, fitting in the few toys he had except for the old and worn volleyball he had received for christmas the year before. Shoyo could hear Natsu wailing as he made his way downstairs where another three suitcases were set at the front door. He could barely keep up between having the suitcases shoved into the van and watching the place he called home fade away the further they drove away. Were they going on a vacation?

 

He didn’t dare ask aloud.

 

The longer and farther they drove, Akio seemed to relax more and more, the tension in his hands loosening with each passing moment. Shoyo and his mother took turns occupying Natsu, still too young to understand what was going on. They had been careful to hide the ugliest moments from her curious eyes; Akio had always treasured his baby girl, the one who took after him the most and never wronged him in any way. He was always careful to hide his anger and rage from her.

 

Just as the sky was turning dark, the sun casting everything in a warm orange glow, they could see the tall modern buildings of Sendai; the roads were much busier than the rural roads of Karumai. Yume had been stress grooming the entire journey but now as they edged closer to the city, she relaxed.

 

“A-Akio, honey, can you tell me now why we left the house so suddenly?”

 

He gave no response, glancing at his wife before returning his eyes back to the road.

 

“Please, Akio, talk to me.” She reached her trembling hand to rest on one of her husband’s, jolting him out of whatever trance he was in.

 

His eyes flashed red just like the light that the car came to a stop at. Akio gave a deep exhale, looking at her with a range of emotions. Whatever he wanted to say, it seemed to be a struggle for him to get it out, confusion filtering through his features.

 

“I-We- It’s just-” The light changed green, distracting him from what he wanted to say.

 

Akio stepped on the gas, pulling out into the intersection.

 

Shoyo didn’t have time to warn him of the other car.

 

-----

 

The terrible screech of metal on metal echoed off the high buildings. Sparks flew everywhere as the two vehicles slid across the road. Everything was twisting, bending in ways they shouldn’t bend; the screams ended just as quickly as they started. Two bodies were flung violently from their vehicles, flesh hitting the pavement sickeningly. It was mere minutes for the entire disaster to unfold, a heavy silence overtaking the air.

 

There were no other cars or people to witness the flames reaching towards the starry sky. 

 

~*~

Let beauty come out of ashes

~*~