Kentaro kept running until he had no other choice but stopping, if he didn’t want to collapse. Behind the next corner he finally dropped against the wall and slid down to the ground. He lifted his hands in front of his face looking at the bloodstains on it. For a moment all he could do was thinking about breathing in and out slowly so he wouldn’t start hyperventilating. He hadn’t intended to go that far, knowing of the consequences which might follow from now on, but all he did was protecting himself! The question was if they would see it the same way.
Then he froze as he heard footsteps coming closer. Could they really find him that fast and would they really find him guilty? Kentaro wasn’t willing to find out. He knew that he couldn’t run away for long if they really found him guilty. They were looking like normal humans after all, living together with everyone and all that was known are the stories of people which claim that they have seen what had happened to those which were punished by them. As the steps got closer he finally jumped up dashing towards the other direction. Of course he had run into a dead end, but he didn’t care. The wall in front of him wasn’t that high and he knew his way around the streets perfectly as he lived in the backstreets more than he lived home with a depressive mother and an abusive father.
He jumped on a few boxes standing next to a backdoor of one of the old stone buildings around the small alleys. With the next move he could already reach the top of the wall and just in time before the person following him had reached the corner he had disappeared out of his view as he jumped down the other side. He didn’t want to find out if it was really one of them, for now he needed someone to talk, someone who would believe him that he was not guilty.
“Next time don’t hesitate so much, it doesn’t make it easier for them you know!” Fujigaya said scolding as he stepped inside the house, holding the door open for the boy to follow him.
“As if it would be easy for me!” Taiga growled at his mentor as they came back late at night to their quarter after doing their ‘job’.
“It’s not like you are doing something bad, always remember that. There is always a reason for us to get those missions,” Fujigaya tried to encourage him, but all Taiga did was sitting down on the floor in front of the fire place looking at his hand which he slowly opened and closed again as if it would be something that didn’t belong to his body. Fujigaya sighed before he sat down next to him hitting him on the shoulder lightly to get his attention back. “It’s something you have to learn living with, you got born with those powers and now you have to use them the right way.”
“How do I know I am using them right, when all I get is this feeling that I have to send this person away. I don’t even know what they did and I am not allowed to listen to their story. I go there, touch them and then they are gone. Doesn’t that sound weird to you at all?”
Fujigaya chuckled on the naïve words of the boy, but faced him with a serious face again after it was obvious that Taiga wasn’t in the mood to get laughed at. Sure Fujigaya had more experience than him, that was why he was his mentor, but that doesn’t mean that they had to share the same opinion.
“Taiga, listen. We get born like this. We are the justice of this world. Without us the world would turn into chaos,” Fujigaya explained after even the last teasing expression had vanished from his face.
“Justice? We send people to hell, without knowing them, without listening to them, asking them what had happened! Just because of some unexplainable force we get dragged to those people and before they even realize what is happening-“ Again Taiga looked at his hand, his eyes showing guilt about what he had done just a few moments ago. “He was maybe even younger than I am, what could he have done that I had to kill him?”
“Don't use tht word, we are not humans which kill each other out of no reason. We are sending them away, punishing them for their sins. And you are not allowed to ask them about their crimes and that has good reasons. Taiga you know all the rules and this wasn’t your first mission so why are you so shaken by it today?” Fujigaya asked as he shifted closer to him so that there was just enough space between them to put their hands next to each other. Taiga ignored his stare for now looking into the flames. All he could remember was the terrified look of the boy as he realized who Taiga was, but at that time it was already too late. His hand on the boy’s cheek, that was all. It was all he had to do to end his mission. It didn’t seem like much until you realize that the next second the person in front of you was gone and you have to live with the fact that you have just send them to hell.
Sure when this feeling told them where to go and who to send there it is not an innocent person they have to find, at least that is what the books told them. But as much as he had tried to find out about his own kind he never found the source. Who knew that they would really be guilty, just because of this feeling? Who could ensure that they were guilty enough to get send to hell?
“Taiga, are you still with me?” Fujigaya asked after a moment waving his hand in front of the boy’s face. Taiga closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head to get the pictures out of his head.
“Sorry, I just- Today was really hard for me, I guess that’s all.” He said finally forming a light yet bitter smile. Fujigaya gave him a brief smile in return and ruffled through his hair.
“This is what we do. This is the fate you have when you get born with the powers of a Reaper!” Fujigaya said with a kind of proud voice, because for him being a Reaper wasn’t something bad. He had told Taiga often enough how proud he was to be able to protect the innocent. But that was of course just as long as you wouldn’t question if the others were guilty in the first place. Taiga moved his knees up to his chest so he could rest his chin on them.
Fujigaya had just moved his hand from the ground up to the boy’s shoulder, but before he could put it down the door opened and two, way too loud laughing, boys stepped inside. They had their arms thrown around each others' shoulders as they stepped inside still continuing their conversation which’s topic didn’t seem really clear, but whatever it was didn’t seem as interesting as the two in front of them. They stopped immediately as they saw the two in front of the fire place. One of them whistled while the other one let out a small chuckle.
“Oh no, we should have come a few minutes later then we would have interrupted in a more entertaining moment.” The one that had whistled before let out laughing, gaining a dangerous glare from Fujigaya in return.
“What do you-“ mean Taiga wanted to ask, but as he finally turned towards them he saw how Fujigaya draw away his hand, but of course he had seen it.
“He meant nothing. You know Hokuto is always babbling stupid things and annoys everyone,” Fujigaya said as he got up and glared at the two boys. But Hokuto didn’t seem at all impressed by Fujigaya’s threatening look.
“Hey I’m not that annoying,” Hokuto pouted.
“No you are even worse,” The other boy replied tightening his grip around the other one’s shoulder to pull him even closer.
“What do you mean? You never complained about me being annoying.”
“Maybe because something like ‘would you finally stop talking while we’re having sex’ isn’t something I would normally say like this.” The other boy said in a complete neutral voice ignoring Fujigaya’s raised eyebrow at him while Taiga got up and left for the kitchen obviously not in the mood to have such a conversation after just finishing a mission.
“Then how about you continue NOT telling him, Ryosuke? At least not in front of us,” Another person said as he stepped inside as well.
“But that wouldn’t be fun. See, he already blushed!” Ryosuke let out with a teasing smile on his lips as he pointed at Hokuto whose cheeks had turned slightly red. Ryosuke pulled the latter even closer, giving him a small kiss on his cheek resulting with Hokuto looking apologizing at the others before he shoved an in amusement laughing Ryosuke towards the stairs.
“I still wonder how you can handle those two, Tegoshi.” Fujigaya said as they heard their door close upstairs.
“I’m not handling them, I’m ignoring them. Okay at least everything related to their relationship and you should also concentrate on just being a mentor towards Taiga, not more.” Tegoshi’s voice got darker on the last words and Fujigaya glanced towards the closed kitchen door before he faced Tegoshi with a guilty expression again. He didn’t have to reply anything, Tegoshi had made himself clear before already that Fujigaya had to learn how to reduce his contact to Taiga to be a mentor and not more.
Myuto had been already in a deep sleep when he heard a familiar sound. There was just one person who would dare to sneak on their property and throw small stones at his window, not to forget in the middle of the night. The boy whined and turned around once more, but he knew that when he would come that late that something serious must have happened.
He opened the window and searched for the familiar person down in the backyard.
"Kentaro, could you come a little bit earlier next- is that blood? Oh god, what happened?" His voice changed from annoyed to shocked as he saw his best friend standing there with a blood stained shirt and shaking hands.
"Keep your voice down or do you want your family to wake up?" Kentaro hissed at him and Myuto put a hand over his mouth looking over to the room door, but the house remained silent.
"Come to the backdoor, I will let you in," He whispered and tried to sneak through the corridors without making too much noise. When he reached the attendants’ kitchen he started running towards the door and ripped it open. Kentaro stepped in in silence ignoring his friend's worried look on him.
Myuto let him sit down first and gave him a wet towel to clean himself and a glass of water even though the boy didn't seem willing to drink.
"What happened?" Myuto finally dared to ask after sitting down opposite of the big table. For a moment Kentaro remained silent, but then he let out a shaking breath and looked at his friend with a terrified look in his eyes which made Myuto shiver.
"I killed someone," He let out cold, but even though he fell silent again Myuto didn't dare to say anything. His friend must have had a reason and he knew that. Never would he risked getting followed by a Reaper if there would have been another way.
"I had been already home early today, but it was a mistake to think that it would be okay. My dad was in a really bad mood as he came home and it didn't take long until he started screaming at me again. So before the situation could escalate again I sneaked out. I wandered around for some time not paying much attention to my surroundings until someone stepped in my way. I-, He…everything happened just too fast. He pulled out a knife and came at me without even saying anything. I don’t know if he just wanted to steal money from me, but-“ Kentaro buried his face in his palms for a moment shaking his head as if the images in his head would disappear like that. “I didn’t think about any consequences, I just acted. I defended myself! He tried to kill me...I guess... they can’t find me guilty, can they?” He looked up at his friend with a broken expression and as much as Myuto wanted to tell him that it would be okay, he knew it might not be. Their justice was something they couldn’t understand, it seemed like the Reapers wouldn’t understand it themselves sometimes.
“For now try to calm down, okay!”
“Myuto, how the hell am I supposed to calm down? The moment I step out your house I could be dead already!”
“But maybe they won’t even find you guilty!” Myuto tried to calm him down, but Kentaro had already lost his calm now running up and down the kitchen.
“Oh and let me guess, you have the perfect contacts to a really nice Reaper who will tell you if I’m guilty or not?” Kentaro had started shouting with a shaking voice and Myuto stood up to approach his friend, but as he tried to stop him the latter slashed away his hands.
"Kentaro, calm down! It won't help you to freak out now."
"Then what shall I do? Go outside and get dead scared each time a person steps in my way. I'm going to get killed for a crime which wasn't one. I DON'T WANT TO GO TO HELL!" Kentaro's breathing pace had turned more than unhealthy fast and it was obvious that it was almost impossible to stay sane for him. He was about to scream and break down, but a burning pain on his cheek made him land back to reality. Just seconds later arms wrapped around him. Myuto held on to him tightly not allowing him to struggle.
"Don't say stupid things! You don't even know if they find you guilty! And even if they do I will convince them to not take you away and if they won't listen I will fight them! You didn't do anything, they can't take you away!" Myuto's shaking voice made it hard for Kentaro to reply anything. Sure he would be the one the Reapers would take, but that didn't mean that it wouldn't hurt others as well.
"I'm...sorry. You're right, nothing is decided yet."
"Where are you going?"
Taiga turned around to Tegoshi the moment he had opened the door the cold morning breeze finding its way into the house.
"Just on a small walk," Taiga replied calmly, because it was the truth. There was no need to tell him that he was meeting with someone.
"So early in the morning?" Tegoshi asked with a raised eyebrow, obviously suspicious about the boy's behavior. It wasn't the first time he would meet up with someone without telling anyone. But normally it was Fujigaya who saw him leave this early, but he would never say anything even though he was his mentor.
"I like the cold morning breeze, that's all." Taiga replied with a light smile. Okay now he had lied, but what was he supposed to say? Hey, I'm meeting up with a human which I know for over a year by now and he even knows that I'm a Reaper!? Taiga didn't like it to lie to them, but he wasn't stupid. Telling them directly would mean a harsh punishment and Tegoshi would be the one executing it. Now that they just assumed that he was tracking the rules Fujigaya could try to ignore it, because it was more than obvious that he didn't want Taiga to suffer in any way.
"Then be careful. We have a new mission and the person seems near, so try to stay away from people."
Taiga's heart missed a beat on Tegoshi's words. He had just sent someone away yesterday, why did they have to continue the next day right away?
"Who got the mission?"
Taiga waited for him to continue, because it seemed like there was something else he wanted to say, but wasn't sure how to say it.
"Is something wrong with him?" Taiga asked worried and Tegoshi sighed moving his fingers through his hair.
"I'm not sure. He said it feels weird this time. Kind of unclear."
"Unclear?" Taiga repeated the word in a low voice.
"But it's his mission so he has to deal with it. He is still young so maybe his powers are playing pranks on him," Tegoshi tried to explain, knowing that Taiga would interpret things different and he was obviously not in the mood to discuss Taiga’s doubts about their powers again. "So just watch out when you are out." Tegoshi reminded him again and finally the boy stepped out the house closing the door slowly. The breeze outside was really cold, but it was exactly what he needed right now. Again he had a reason to question their powers and again the others would try to ignore it! But he had to meet with his friend first, if he was lucky he had at least some information about what had happened. He was something like the most well informed kid around the area, so if someone knew something then it was him.
Kentaro couldn’t even sleep for a minute, but knowing that his friend would watch him the whole night, if he wouldn’t calm down he had closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep until his friend finally had fallen asleep himself. Now he was staring at the ceiling for several hours already and even though it was already early morning everyone in the house seemed still at sleep.
They weren’t sleeping in Myuto’s room, but in one of the guest rooms, because if his parents or a servant would find out that Myuto had let his friend stay over they would be both in trouble. Myuto’s family was one of the wealthiest in town and their son's friendship to Kentaro was something they had objected from the beginning, but there was no way Myuto would have let his friend leave in his condition and with the danger awaiting him outside.
Kentaro was thankful to have Myuto by his side that was out of question, but he was well aware of the fact that he couldn’t rescue him, if they would find him guilty. People would just vanish without anyone seeing who sent them away. Reapers were like walking shadows and even though Kentaro was still more than dead scared he knew that he couldn’t hide. He closed his eyes once more, taking a deep breath before sneaking out of the bed. He was wearing Myuto’s clothes even though they were way too big for him and he was more than happy that the boy had put out clothes for the next day as well already. They had burned Kentaro’s clothes in the stove in the evening right away, afraid of anyone discovering the bloodstains. Kentaro got dressed and left the room as quite as possible. He knew his friend would get angry at him for leaving like this (if he would survive long enough for him to get angry), but after his emotional outburst he finally realized that it would harm his friend even more if he tried to protect him and then vanish right in front of his eyes, because who was he kidding there was no way he could run away from their judgement.
The boy shifted from one leg to the other, his hands in his pockets and his face half hidden in his scarf, but as he spotted Taiga he waved at him with a bright smile, running towards him.
“Long time no see!” He said in a teasing voice. Of course he knew that it was difficult for Taiga to meet up with him, because the others were watching him.
“Trust me that time was double as long for me as it was for you,” Taiga teased back pinching the boy’s arm lightly. Taiga felt like a normal boy when he was around him. Normally when they met they were running around town, laughing, playing around and sometimes causing trouble here and there and that was what made it so interesting. As a Reaper, life was full of rules and each inapropiate action would have consequences. Taiga was aware of that, but knowing that at least his mentor tried to protect him, even though he didn’t share his opinion, he felt a little bit safer.
For a while they walked along the small river running at the border of the town talking about all that had happened over the time since they had seen each other the last time, but as they boy talked about the last days he suddenly fell silent.
“What’s wrong?” Taiga asked and the boy turned towards him with a guilty look.
“Nothing. Never mind!” He tried to shrug it off and smiled at him, but before he could start walking again Taiga stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
“You heard about it, right?”
The boy bit his lip facing the ground, but it made Taiga even angrier when he behaved like this.
“Aran, you know exactly that you can talk to me about it, I won’t get angry!” Taiga said in an understanding tone and gave his friend an understanding smile, knowing why he hesitated.
“I wasn’t present at the scene, but I heard that someone vanished again. A boy, if I heard correctly?”
“Yes.” Taiga started walking slowly and Aran followed him, but didn’t dare to ask even though he really wanted to know. “And yes it was me, if you wanted to ask that.”
There it was. Of course Taiga had known what he wanted to know. It wasn’t like he judged him, he had met Taiga for the first time when he sent someone to hell after all. Taiga had still been young at that time and he had been so concentrated on his mission that he forgot about his surroundings. At that time Aran knew that the person Taiga had to send away had done pretty bad things before, but this time he wasn’t so sure about it. There was something he had to make sure of, even though it could maybe make it even worse for Taiga.
“How old was he?”
“Not sure, he was about my age I guess.”
“Did he appear like that or did he just look younger on the first sight?”
“Aran what is it with the weird questions. If you want to know something ask me directly!” Taiga replied this time a little bit angry even though he was obviously worried about the boy’s sudden interest in his last mission.
“I just...I saw something yesterday and just about an hour later I heard about a Reaper or more about you sending someone away and I wondered if it was the person I’ve seen.”
“Even if, why is it so important to you?”
Aran stopped walking again and Taiga turned around to face him. He crossed his arms in front of his chest not in the mood for Aran’s guilty glances.
“Spill it out, Aran!”
“If it is the one I’ve seen I wonder why you had to send him away,” Aran said in a low voice, shifting nervously.
“If he didn’t do anything wrong than it wasn’t him.”
“But he did something, but nothing wrong...I would say.”
“Aran, come to the point would you!” Taiga made a step towards Aran and the boy looked to the ground for a moment searching for the right words.
“He killed someone! But that someone tried to kill him first. I saw them from the old tower next to the pier. He just acted out of self-defense, but I could see that he was more than panicked after he realized what he had done. I followed him, but I wasn’t fast enough to catch up with him.” Aran paused taking a deep breath and as he looked up at Taiga the boy had gotten paler than he normally was.
“Are you telling me that I’ve killed an innocent person?” Taigas asked in disbelieve, but Aran shook his head right away. Normally Taiga never said that he killed someone. For them sending them to hell was something different from the human act of killing someone as Fujigaya had explained to him often enough already. But when it was true that he sent an innocent soul to hell it was the same as killing someone like a cruel human and that was exactly why he doubted their powers the whole time and maybe this time he was finally proven right.
“I doubt you wouldn’t have realized it. I hope at least...He was definitely older than us, but appeared younger at first sight. He was smaller than us-”
“It wasn’t him!” Aran’s information were enough already to make it clear that they were talking about two different people and relief showed on both of their faces immediately.
But it was just seconds later that Taiga’s face showed pure panic and Aran didn’t even had the chance of asking what was going on as he started running towards the town again. If what Aran had said was true and he didn’t doubt a single word knowing that the boy would never tell him something like this if he wouldn’t be one hundred percent sure that the boy was innocent, that would explain what Tegoshi had said in the morning. He had to stop them from sending him away! Maybe with Aran’s help they would be able to make it to the innocent boy before Hokuto carried out his mission, which wasn’t supposed to be one.
Kentaro stopped at the next corner again, pressing his back against the wall with so much force that it hurt. His heart was hammering against his chest and his breathing pace made him feel dizzy. It had been a bad idea after all to sneak out of Myuto's house all alone. He had planned to walk straight home, not that he would be safe there, but he felt completely outlawed on the streets and even though it was early morning there were too many people out already and Kentaro had jumped into the next corner each time he saw someone. Now he really felt like someone who had done the worst crime ever.
After he had calmed down enough again he started walking again. He had his hands in his pockets and with Myuto's big jacket it was easy for him to muffler his face in the collar. He walked passed the fountain of the town's market place which he had to pass on the way to his house which was a little bit more at the outside of the town, near the river. He sped up as he reached the other side of the wide place and almost started running as he finally reached a small alley. But as he rushed around the next corner he ran into someone who came running from the other side and the impact took them both of their feet. Kentaro had landed on top of the stranger and as he looked down at a blond boy which was even younger than him he forgot about his panic for a moment.
"Sorry, are you okay?" Kentaro asked as he got off the boy which rubbed the back of his head as he got up.
"Don't worry all okay and you?" The boy asked with a small smile on his face, even though he seemed in a great hurry.
"Fine I guess," Kentaro replied still staring at the stranger completely fascinated. He couldn't explain it, but even though he had never seen the boy before he had some special kind of aura and Kentaro just couldn't get his eyes off him.
"Taiga, there you are! Don't run so fast!" Aran showed up at a corner approaching his friend, but as Taiga made a step to the side revealing Kentaro to him, Aran stopped walking and took a sharp breath.
"What is it?" Taiga asked confused and Kentaro looked from one to the other completely lost. With the appearance of Aran his panic level had suddenly risen up again.
"Taiga, that's him!" Aran announced pointing at Kentaro and Taiga turned to face the boy again this time with a startled expression. He hadn't really had any kind of mental image of the person he was looking for, but this boy was definitely not what he had expected.
Kentaro's mind needed a moment to catch up, but before any of them could ask him any more questions he swirled around and started running. The blond boy was shouting after him, but he couldn't even hear it clearly with the blood pulsating in his ears as he sped up even more trying not to hyperventilate. There was no way the other boy could have meant something else than what he had did last night. But why was he still alive? If they would really be Reapers finding him guilty he should be dead already, no one had ever fled from a Reaper. All this confused him even more and as he didn't spend enough attention he stumbled about a few planks lying next to a still closed shop. He fell to the ground in full length bruising his hands quite badly as he tried to stop his fall. He remained on the ground for a moment his irregular breathing the only sound he could hear. He crawled over to the next wall resting his back against it and hiding his face between his arms resting on his knees. As he calmed down the sound of his breathing was replaced by sobs. The blood from his hands dropped to the ground slowly while his sobs got louder. He had messed up big time and he had even lost the will to make it home. Why should he go there anyway? It wasn't like his parents could rescue him, there was even the chance that they would get angry at him and didn't believe him. If the other two would catch up with him he would be prepared. He couldn't run away from a punishment he deserved.
“Your really are something like a bad luck charm!” Taiga growled at Aran as they eventually stopped running through the backstreets after they had lost track of the boy. People were also increasing now that the market was about to open and Taiga needed to be back at their house before Tegoshi would get too suspicious.
“Hey it’s not my fault that the boy freaked out right away, but to be honest I can’t blame him. He seems to know that a Reaper could come to take him and-”
“And?” Taiga knew that Aran tried to choose his words carefully, but he always said what was true, even if Taiga didn’t want to hear it.
“Didn’t he have any right to run? You are a Reaper after all,” Aran added in a low voice. Taiga rolled his eyes at him, even though he knew his friend was right.
“Whatever, for now I will go back and see if Hokuto is still there. Normally he shouldn’t try to make a move before nightfall, so the boy should be fine until then.”
“If he doesn’t kill himself before that.”
Taiga looked at him with a murderous glare, but he just shrugged with his shoulders.
“What? You should know yourself the best how terrifying you are to humans.”
Taiga wanted to counter something, but he didn’t know what. Of course he knew. He had seen the looks in the eyes of the people he sent away, he has realized how terrified they were before he sent them away. There was something about the Reapers which just the person they targeted could see. Black wings! They would spread from their back right before they sent them away and no one else could see them, how wasn't that terrifying? That was also a reason why Taiga had conflicted feeling about his abilities and the whole history of their “missions”. But before he could sank into his depression again Aran put his hands on his shoulders to turn him away from him and pushing him with enough force so that Taiga had to make a few steps forward to find his balance again. As he turned around again the boy looked at him with a wide smile. A smile he had shown him from the first time they had met and even though he still couldn’t explain why Aran wasn’t scared at all Taiga was more than happy that he had decided to stay by his side even though Aran knew that he was a Reaper. Finally he had found someone who he could share his worries with, someone who wouldn’t judge him right away.
“Even if you look at me like this I won’t get scared, sorry!” Aran said laughing crossing his arms in front of his chest as Taiga looked at him scolding. But the next moment Taiga finally cracked a smile shutting away this annoying hurt feeling which he tried to suppress each time Aran reminded him of what he was and how his existence was feared by the humans. “And now you should leave or you’ll get into even more trouble than the boy. I will try to find him and talk to him!”
Aran’s smile just went wider before he waved at him and continued searching for the boy by himself while Taiga made sure not to be seen by anyone of his comrades as he made his way back to the house.
With shaking legs Kentaro finally reached his house, even though he wasn’t sure why he had come back in the first place. His father was already out for work and his mother didn’t seem to be home either.
Their house was already old and because it was winter already the inside temperature was similar to the one outside. They had a fire place in the living room and of course his parents’ room was nice as well, but his own room was under the roof and around winter time he had to watch out not to freeze to death up there, but after his father had told him that this was inurement for his body he had given up arguing with him. But now he went up the stairs to his room with slow steps and stopped in the middle of the small room for a moment. He looked around not sure what to do when he heared the entrance door open. He froze and listened for a moment, but there was no voice to be heard and that was the signal for him that it was none of his parents, because his mother would complain right away about some random thing and his father would shout upstairs to see if he was home.
Kentaro’s body moved faster than his mind could catch up. He grabbed the old bag under his bed and threw random clothes into it as fast as possible. He wondered if he would get hurt too badly if he jumped out his window, but he had no other choice. He already heard steps on the stairs, making him panic even more. He had already thrown his bag over his shoulder and opened the window as the door opened behind him, but he was too afraid to look. He was determined to jump, it was just the second floor after all. But the moment he stepped on the windowsill someone grabbed his bag and pulled him away from the window together with it. Kentaro was ready to start screaming, maybe even to beg for his life, but as he finally dared to turn towards the intruder he got a slap on the cheek, again.
“You know, if you planned to run away from the beginning spare me the drama next time, okay?” Myuto hissed at him, his eyes throwing daggers. Kentaro had brought his shaking hand up to his face, but he knew that he had no right to get angry, he had definitely deserved that slap.
“I didn’t intend to run away...until just a few moments ago at least.” Kentaro replied honestly, facing the ground with a guilty expression. He wasn’t even sure what he had hoped would happen after he had left Myuto’s house and then his encounter with the two other boys also worried him.
“Hey, don’t space out!” Myuto said snapping his fingers in front of his face and Kentaro finally looked up at him. “Did something happen on your way here?”
“No- Maybe…I’m not sure.” Kentaro sighed in desperation running his hand through his hair. It wouldn’t take long until he totally lost it and in his state of mind he was not sure if he could go through more encounters like the earlier one by himself again. Even though his mind drifted off to the blond boy he had ran into without him even realizing why.
"Okay how about we first get you out of here and back to my house?" Myuto finally continued as he realized that Kentaro wasn’t really willing to give him more information.
"Myuto, I know that you want to help me, but-
"No but! I'm not trying, I AM helping you, because we are friends and if I can't even do something like this I won't forgive myself!"
Kentaro bit his lip stopping himself from replying anything. The desperate look in his friend's eyes told him that it had been a stupid idea from the beginning to think it would be better to not get him involve into this. As if he would stay away and watch from a safe distance.
"Okay I take your silence as an apology and a yes for us to return to my house." Myuto draw out a small pocket watch and sighed as he saw the time. "Shit, the maids are already there. For now it will be hard to sneak inside."
"Let's go to the usual place then, I feel more secure at places I know," Kentaro suggested and Myuto's look brightened up.
"Great idea, maybe it distracts you a little bit. Then let's go!" Myuto helped Kentaro to repack his bag and left for the door first, but turned to his friend once more.
The boy in question looked up at him with a questioning look and waited for Myuto to say something, but it seemed difficult for the boy to find the right words.
"Don't get me wrong! I really think you are not guilty. You defended yourself and if they sent you away for that they are assholes, but just in case they actually- you know, find you and I can't protect you...I wanted you to know how important our friendship is to me! Without you my life would be really monotone with all the rules in my family." Myuto looked at his friend kind of guilty as if he hadn't intended to even say something discouraging like this, but Kentaro wouldn't get his words wrong.
He let the bag drop on the bed for now and approached him with big steps to throw his arms around him.
"Thank you, for everything!" Kentaro was aware of the danger awaiting him with each step he would make outside and even inside his own house he wouldn't be safe. He felt Myuto's arms closing around his shoulders and the latter rested his chin on his hair.
"Don't thank me, I'm not even sure if I can do anything."
Taiga sneaked inside the house again, but the moment he made the first step on the stairs he heard someone hawking and he cursed before he turned towards the couch chair next to the fire place.
“Good morning, I didn’t think you would be up that early,” Taiga said towards Fujigaya with a fake smile, which vanished right away as he saw his mentor’s angry face.
“Taiga, how often do I have to tell you that I am aware of almost everything you are doing, even when you think I wouldn’t notice?”
“I didn’t do anything, I just took a walk, is that something I have to tell you?” Taiga tried to defend himself, but Fujigaya got up and reached out for the boy’s arm holding up his sleeve so Taiga could take a look at it as well.
“And taking a walk ends with your clothes getting all covered in dirt?” Fujigaya lifted an eyebrow at him and Taiga bit his lip from the inside. He had totally forgotten that after he had collided with the boy his clothes had gotten dirty from the fall.
“I was just clumsy and slipped at the river side.”
“Right…” It was more than obvious that Fujigaya didn’t believe him, but loud voices and fast steps down the stairs interrupted them.
“Oh you are already up as well? Morning!” Ryosuke shouted at them grinning at them with a bright smile.
“Morning. What’s up, you are way too hyper for this time of the day!” Taiga asked with a smile, but as he looked at the stairs again and Hokuto stepped down to them rubbing his temples obviously having a headache he remembered again that there was no time for him to get distracted with random conversations.
“It’s the first time for Hokuto to get a mission! I’m really curious what kind of person he will have to send away!” Ryosuke asked enthusiastic before leaving for the kitchen and Taiga looked after him with an annoyed glance. Ryosuke was even worse than Fujigaya when it came to their traditions. Fujigaya and Tegoshi followed them without questioning them, but Ryosuke seemed to enjoy what he was doing and that annoyed Taiga even more.
“Shit, are you all getting those headaches every time?” Hokuto asked as he let himself drop on the chair where Fujigaya was sitting earlier.
“No normally not, but it’s your first mission, sometimes it is different the first time.” Fujigaya said caring, putting his hand on the boy’s forehead, but smiled at him the next moment. “As soon as your mission is completed it will stop again.”
“Hopefully-“ Hokuto sighed and put his knees up to hug them, waiting for Ryosuke to bring him the breakfast he promised to make him earlier.
“Taisuke?” Taiga tugged on the latter’s sleeve and he turned towards him with a questioning look.
“What is it?” He asked worried seeing Taiga’s serious look.
“What if his headache has nothing to do with him, but with the person he has to send away?”
Fujigaya blinked at him questioning and Taiga moved his hand through his hair with a sigh not sure how to explain his worries without blowing Aran’s and his cover.
“I was just thinking, if it is possible that some missions aren’t clear, you know…”
“There is nothing like a wrong mission and you know that!”
Everyone in the room turned towards the door where Tegoshi had stepped just in. Of course he had to show up at the worst moment again. Fujigaya was the only one who would at least give Taiga’s worries a second thought, but as soon as Tegoshi would interfere it was difficult for Fujigaya as well to take Taiga’s side.
“Taiga, you studied all our traditions, you should know that we don’t get those powers to hurt people like we please, we got them to judge the guilty ones!”
“I know, but what if-“
“No what if! End of discussion!”
Taiga wanted to reply something, but Ryosuke came back into the room handing a tablet with coffee and bread to Hokuto talking about his first mission and encouraging Hokuto without spending the other three any attention. Taiga wasn’t sure if he did it on purpose or not, but Tegoshi just went upstairs without continuing the discussion and Taiga sighed in defeat. If he couldn’t count on his people, he had to find another way to solve this problem and that would be to stuck to Hokuto for the rest of the day, so he sat down next to Hokuto and Ryosuke pretending that he was as interested in this mission as well.
Of course he felt Fujigaya’s eyes on him, never would his mentor buy his fake-interest, but he wouldn’t interfere either at least not as long as he wasn’t sure what Taiga was up to.
“One more game!” Kentaro begged, but Myuto looked at the watch for the 3rd time already.
“Kentaro, I wonder how you can be calm enough to play cards the whole day already.”
“What do you mean with the whole day?” Kentaro asked as he asked the barkeeper for another drink and even though the man had doubted his age from the very beginning he gave him another one as always.
“Kentaro, it is almost getting dark outside and we should really head to my house now or my parents will be back before we reach it! At the moment the maids should be done already and my parents shouldn’t be back, so it is the perfect time to return.” Myuto was more than surprised that his friend has turned so calm since they had entered the bar in which they met when they tried not to be seen together by each of their families. The bar wasn’t big, there were just about a dozen tables and a piano next to a small stage, which was just used on weekends for small performances.
Except for drinking and playing darts or cards with random people there was not much they could do, but it was distraction enough for Kentaro it seemed.
“Don’t you think it is better to head back before it is getting completely dark?” Myuto asked worried, but Kentaro seemed still not willing to go. Was he so afraid to step out on the streets again?
“One more game, okay?” Kentaro begged again putting his hands together while bowing his head a little bit and even though Myuto wasn’t happy about him getting that careless he let him move over to the table at the back again where he started a new card game with three usual guests.
Myuto remained at the bar and as the door opened a cold breeze hit him. As soon as it got dark the temperature would almost fall under zero, so Myuto wondered how the incoming customers weren’t freezing to death, because they were definitely not dressed warm enough for this weather. He also wondered if two of the three people which entered weren’t still too young to come to a place like this, but he wasn't really that much older so he didn’t spend them any more attention as they walked to a random table to sit down.
Impatiently he flipped his pocket watch open all the time, but he was already trying to find a way to get Kentaro inside even with his parents being at home, because they would definitely not make it in time. As he looked over to Kentaro who was happily taking all the money to his side of the table after having good cards Myuto smiled to himself. He wasn’t sure if his theory was right, but he hoped that not just the familiarity of this place, but also the fact that he was at Kentaro’s side made the boy so carefree again.
Again the door opened and two boys came in, but they disappeared into a corner right away and because they forgot to close the door a cool breeze went through the room. The barkeeper was busy so Myuto stood up to close the door, but before he turned back he heard a shattering sound and someone cursing. As he turned around he saw one of the boys which had just entered standing next to a table from which he had obviously just shoved off all the glasses. Three angry men were shouting at him, but the boy didn’t seem to be afraid he provoked them even more and got pushed into another table just seconds later.
The people on that table were the ones which entered before them and they were now shouting and pointing to the back before one of them dashed past Myuto and out the door and another one ran towards the backdoor, while the oldest of them was stopped by the boy, which tried to make him help him against the three man. Somehow the boy’s behavior seemed not natural to Myuto and as he took his eyes off them finally and looked at the table at the back he froze as he saw that Kentaro was gone.
“Shit!” He rushed through the room ignoring the shouting group in the middle of the room and ran towards the backdoor as he couldn’t see his friend anywhere. He dashed out the backdoor, but there was no one to be seen and he let out a desperate curse and some bitter sobs made it hard for him to speak. “No that can’t be true. Please tell me that this is not true!”
He tried to calm down and recall what had just happened. Could someone really have sent him away that fast and especially without someone in the bar noticing? Myuto dashed back in and the first thing he realized was that the people which came in last were all gone. He ran over to the table where Kentaro had played cards before and ask them if they didn’t see where he had gone.
“When they started screaming at each other in the front he stood up wanting to get over to you, but someone stopped him.” One of the man said.
“Who stopped him?” Myuto almost yelled at him, shifting impatiently.
“I didn’t really pay any attention to him, he was about the same age as him. I guessed it was a friend of yours, wasn't he?”
“He came in with the smaller one which started the fight in the front. The one who came here was taller and blond.” Another of the man answered and piece by piece everything made sense to Myuto.
Without even thanking them he dashed out the front door this time, searching for the smaller one of the two boys which had entered last. There were just two possibilities which made sense to him. First that the blond boy was the Reaper, which should send Kentaro away, if that was the case he would be too late already and his friend was long gone that was why he tried to desperately prove that his second thought was right. That the two came to help Kentaro out of whatever reason. That maybe one of the other customers was a Reaper, maybe the one who rushed out the door right away, maybe all three of them. He didn’t care who it was and how much sense all this made at the moment, all he wanted was to make sure that Kentaro was still alive, he had to be!
The boy’s grip on his wrist was tight and they were running for quite a while now, but Kentaro didn’t dare to ask where they were going. He didn’t even dare to turn around or slow down even though his lunges started to hurt through the cold night breeze and to make matters worse it had even started snowing.
How had things ended up being such a mess anyways? He had just ended the last game of their card game and wanted to walk over to Myuto as a boy started a fight with a few men in the front and before Kentaro could even make eye contact with Myuto another boy stopped in front of him and that had been when he remembered who those two were. He had ran into the blonde one standing in front of him earlier that day, but even as he grabbed his arm and dragged him to the backdoor he didn’t even panic, but why? The boy had told him that if he wanted to live he had to trust him, but wasn’t it careless to just follow him so willingly and leave Myuto behind as well? His friend would be totally freaking out by now he was sure of that, but he had to find out what was going on first.
Finally the boy slowed down and pushed Kentaro into an empty building next to the pier. He looked down the road once more before following him inside.
“Okay that was a rescue at the last moment,” The boy said with a small chuckle as they entered something like a dining room with just a small table and four chairs in it. There was a candle stand in the middle of the table and it was already lit making it clear that everything that had just happened wasn’t a coincidence.
“Who are you?” Kentaro finally asked even though this was not really the most important question he wanted to ask, there were like dozens more, but this one was the first one coming in his mind now that he had calmed down a little bit.
“Oh sorry, my name is Taiga. I tried to talk to you this morning already, you remember!?” Taiga sat down at the table and pointed towards the other chair for Kentaro to sit down. Kentaro sat down after a moment of hesitation and buried his face in his hands, but nothing was making sense to him even after he tried to put the pieces together.
“Yes I remember, but why?”
“Because of me, more or less.”
Kentaro flinched as the boy from before appeared in the doorframe behind him, but his bright smile made him relax a little bit again.
“Could you be a little bit more accurate? All of this gives me a headache!” Kentaro sighed and let his back drop against the backrest of the chair. He was too confused and too stressed out to actually panic and somehow he was still fascinated by the aura of the boy which brought him here. Sure with Myuto he had also felt kind of safe, but the difference between those two was that out of some unknown reason Kentaro believed that this boy could actually help him.
“So there is really a Reaper after me?” He finally dared to ask the moment the younger boy sat down at the table as well.
“Unfortunately yes,” The younger one replied looking at him kind of apologizing.
“How come you know about that? Why were you looking for me in the morning?” Kentaro was about to lose his calm now that he finally knew that he was actually found guilty.
“Calm down, we will explain everything. But for now you are safe, so don’t worry!” Taiga explained with a light smile on his lips. “This is Aran, he is a friend of mine and he had seen you yesterday as you-“ Taiga searched for the right words looking at Aran for help.
“I saw that he attacked you. You are not guilty, you just defended yourself!” Aran explained, but Kentaro didn’t seem convinced at all.
“Then why is there a Reaper after me?”
“That’s what we are trying to find out.”
“And how? How come you know that there is a Reaper after me anyways?” There was the question which was hard to answer for them and Aran bit his lip not sure what to reply.
“Let’s say we have our sources, but that is a side issue. Aran, did they leave afterwards?” Taiga asked worried, but Aran nodded to his relief.
“Yes they did. Ryosuke had dashed out the front door and Hokuto had followed after you, but he couldn’t catch up to you anymore and I made sure that Tegoshi needed a moment to follow after them. After a few more minutes they kept searching on the side of the market place so for now we are safe. After all Hokuto wouldn’t be able to sense him as long as he is-“ Taiga kicked Aran under the table making the boy realize right in time that he was about to expose that Taiga's identity.
“Right, I totally forgot to ask. What is your name?” Luckily Kentaro had been not spending full attention anymore the moment a lot of unknown names popped up so that he didn’t realize the weird twist in Aran’s sentence.
As long as another Reaper was around someone who was going to be send to hell another Reaper couldn’t sense his location, but there was an even worse problem about to come up as soon as he would need to leave again, because he couldn't stay away from Tegoshi and the others the whole time, it would be too suspicious, so he would need to make sure that they wouldn't be able to find Kentaro even with him not being around, but that had to wait for later.
“Kentaro,” He finally answered making Taiga spend attention towards him again. “I wasn’t even aware of a Reaper being that close. I can’t believe that they really found me guilty and-“ He jumped up suddenly making the other two flinch.
“Woah, what’s up?” Aran asked kind of scared.
“I was there with a friend. He must think they got me. That they sent me away. I have to search for him!” Kentaro was already about to dash out the room as Taiga stopped him and grabbed him by the wrist.
“You can’t go out there now or they will definitely find you!” Taiga tried to calm him down, but Kentaro shoved him away to Taiga’s surprise.
“If I don’t go and search for him he will definitely think that it is his fault! That he couldn’t protect me!” Again Kentaro tried to turn towards the door, but Taiga grabbed his arm again. This time with so much force that Kentaro let out a whine as he pulled him back. But as he faced him about to scold him he couldn’t bring out any word at all. Taiga looked at him with an intense glare, it wasn’t even like he would be angry with him, it was almost like his eyes would have some calming effect, almost hypnotizing.
“Aran, do you remember his friend?” Taiga asked in a calm voice not letting go of Kentaro who didn’t even try to struggle anymore. Aran tried to remember for a moment before snapping his fingers.
“The tall one at the bar! He dashed out the back door as well after a moment.”
“Is that him?” Taiga asked Kentaro directly now and the boy nodded.
“Would you do me the favor and search for him and bring him here?” Taiga asked of his friend and Aran gave him a lopsided smile before moving over to the door. “Leave it to me. There is no place he could hide from me,” Aran added confident before leaving them alone, promising to be back as soon as possible.
Finally Taiga let go of Kentaro’s arm again and sat down at the table. Kentaro blinked at him a few times before he dared to move. He wasn’t actually afraid of the boy, it was more like he had something dangerous, but also fascinating at the same time and Kentaro couldn’t stay away from him even though something inside of him told him to do so.
“Why do you want to rescue me?” He asked in a low voice stepping next to Taiga’s chair instead of sitting down.
“Because there is something I want to proof,” Taiga answered, again wearing the same light smile as before. “That is why I can’t let you run around and get yourself killed. I won’t let them continue like this! Their judgement had been wrong this time and we have to prove that.”
“And how do we do that?”
“I- don’t know…yet.” Taiga looked up at Kentaro with an apologizing look, but of course Kentaro was aware of the fact that no one could just stop a Reaper with a snap of the fingers.
“Thank you,” Kentaro whispered and Taiga looked at him confused, but as the boy didn’t seem to want to add anything else he smiled and stood up. He stroke over Kentaro’s hair and the touch made him shiver. Again he was totally fascinated by the boy’s eyes as their eyes met, but this time the feeling was even more intense.
“You want to go out to look for your friend, right?” Taiga ask suddenly, making Kentaro back off a little bit as he realized that he had leant forward without wanting to.
“But Aran is looking for him, right? And you said I shouldn’t go outside.”
“That’s not what I was asking. You want to look for him or not?” Taiga asked again with a kind of knowing expression on his face which made Kentaro feel like an open book to him.
“Yes,” Kentaro answered in a low voice while Taiga’s fingers wandered slowly from his hair down to his jaw line which made it hard for Kentaro to concentrate. “I mean I trust Aran, I bet he can find him, but I know him better and I might find him faster and-“ The rest of the sentence died in his throat as Taiga lifted up his chin without any kind of warning and gave him a short kiss on the lips. Short indeed, but intense. So intense that he felt dizzy for a moment and stared at the other boy in complete shock as he made a step backwards stroking with his thumb over his own lips.
“Now we can go and look for him!” Taiga announced in a neutral voice, but even though it was just for the blink of an eye Kentaro saw some change of emotion on his face, but it was gone as soon as it had appeared.
“What?” Kentaro asked while he just kept staring at Taiga as he moved over to the door like nothing would have happened. “You said you wanted to look for him, right? Then let’s go!”
Kentaro just nodded following after him. He could ask him later what this was about, for now finding Myuto was his priority and the explanation for this confusing, but also exciting feeling inside of him had to wait until everything had settled down again.
They were running through the streets for over half an hour already and even though Taiga knew that he had made the right decision he wasn't sure if he could deal with the consequences. Sure he could have tied Kentaro to a chair and waitfor Aran to return with his friend, because he was sure that he would find him even without their help. But something in the boy's eyes had made him weak. But how was he supposed to play innocent in front of the others later? Kissing someone who was about to get send away was hiding his presence (at least for some time) so that the Reaper searching for him couldn't find him. But there were a lot of problems connected to this action. First Hokuto would be a wreck by now, because he can't fulfil his mission and the feeling which tells them to fulfill it would turn kind of painful, so now that he couldn't even find Kentaro he would definitely break down after a while. His absence was the second problem. It wasn't like he wasn't allowed to walk around and come back late, but they were the only Reapers in this town and now that the boy's presence has disappeared who wouldn't suspect t him?
"What are you doing, didn't you say you want to help me searching?" Kentaro shouted at him, stopping before running around the next corner. Taiga just nodded before approaching him, but stopped a few steps away from him, even though he wasn’t sure why he didn't want to get closer. Yes he wanted to help and weren’t they running around town the whole time already to search for him?
"If you just run after me spacing out the whole time, you are not much of a help," Kentaro growled at him annoyed, but Taiga saw another reason behind his behavior. "You saw him in the bar, right? How about you look for him somewhere else, don't worry I make sure not to get seen by anyone." Kentaro didn't even wait for Taiga's answer before he vanished into the next alley. Taiga stretched out his arm and made a few steps forward, but he stopped himself from following him. He had seen the worries for his friend in his eyes, but unfortunately it wasn't that emotion which made him take the risk of searching for him alone. He seemed more than startled by the fact that Taiga had kissed him without any kind of explanation and that was the third consequence he had to deal with. He had risk that he would find out that he was a Reaper through his sudden actions and if he would find out all his efforts would be good for nothing.
"There he is!" Kentaro shouted suddenly and as Taiga followed him around the corner and he saw how Myuto came out a small alley looking around more than panicked. He was all sweaty and breathing hard, so he hadn't given up on finding his friend.
"MYUTO, WE A-" Kentaro's voice was muffled by Taiga's hand and he looked around worried, but no one except for Myuto seemed to have spent them any kind of attention.
"Are you crazy? Just tell me if you want them to find you even faster, I can just take my leave then," Taiga scolded him, but as he took his hand away, Myuto had finally reached them and before Kentaro could say anything he had tackled Taiga to the ground, holding him by the collar.
"Who the hell are you?"
"Myuto, get off him!" Kentaro tried to pull Myuto away from him and he was happy that Taiga didn't seem to get angry at his behavior.
"How can you defend him? Do you know him? How can you be sure that he is not a friend of the Reaper which is after you or even THE Reaper who is after you?"
"Cut it out Myuto, would you?" Now Kentaro rose his voice and finally Myuto let go of the other one standing up and taking a few steps backwards. It didn't happen often that he pissed Kentaro off, so for now he would try to calm down. Kentaro on the other hand was ready to defend Taiga, because he had rescued him, but the moment Myuto had said something about Taiga being a friend of the Reaper, which is after him Taiga's face had changed. Just for the blink of an eye Kentaro thought that there was guilt showing on his face, but now that he had stood up again this emotion was completely gone.
"So what is the deal with him?" Myuto asked impatient pointing at Taiga with an annoyed glare.
"He rescued me," Kentaro said in a surprising aggressive voice as if he would want to convince himself that there was not more to it.
"And that would be out of what reason?" Myuto asked impatient, this time facing Taiga directly.
"Because I think he is not guilty and it isn't fair if they send him away without a reason," Taiga stated in a neutral voice, but Myuto seemed still sceptic.
"Then how come you are the first one I hear of that can rescue someone from a Reaper?"
"Luck maybe?" Taiga replied shrugging his shoulders.
"You're testing YOUR luck at the moment!" Myuto hissed making a step forward again, but Kentaro stepped between them right away.
"Does it really matter how he did it? I'm still alive, isn't that good enough for now?" Kentaro asked almost hurt, but Myuto just flicked his tongue turning away. Of course he was happy that he was still alive, but after he hadn't be able to do anything to safe him, seeing how Kentaro put his trust into a stranger without doubting his reasons, he just couldn't refrain from feeling uneasy about it.
"Okay, then answer one more question," Myuto said determined as he turned back to Taiga. "How did you know who the Reaper is?"
Taiga opened his mouth, but he closed it without an explanation coming out. He bit his lip, obviously searching for a good answer, but Myuto was already getting impatient.
"Why are you out here? Are you crazy?" The rescue of the day was Aran coming running at them with a quite pale face.
"I- he is safe," Taiga replied stuttering, but as Aran wanted to ask what he meant he Taiga pulled him closer on the sleeve and whispered something in his ear which the other two couldn't hear. Aran looked at Taiga quite shocked afterwards and then his look fell on Kentaro, which couldn't really read the expression on the boy's face.
"Okay, fine that is one problem less, but they are still searching for him," Aran finally said after a short moment of silence.
"What, still?" Taiga tried to calm down, at least like this they wouldn't realize that he was still not back and Fujigaya wouldn't mind or at least he would pretend to not mind it.
"Okay Aran bring them to the hideout, don't come out until I'm back. But that might not be before tomorrow morning."
Aran just nodded and waved at Kentaro to follow him, but Myuto grabbed his arm before he could leave.
"What hideout? And why are you not coming with us?" He asked with a piercing look at Taiga, but Kentaro sighed and seperated them before Taiga could even think about an answer.
"Don't you dare to start the questioning again!"
"No but! He saved me and he even helped me to be able to search for you...somehow....I guess-" His voice got low and he gave Taiga a brief look not sure what exactly he had meant that after the kiss he was allowed to go out with him to search for Myuto, but fact was that he had cared for his worries for his friend. That was all that mattered for him right now.
"Can we discuss this at the hideout please?" Aran asked impatient looking around worried.
Myuto let out an annoyed groan, but finally gave and walked over to Aran.
"Are you going to be okay?" Kentaro asked as he passed by Taiga, but the boy just gave him a supporting smile and nodded.
Taiga watched how they left threw a small alley between two of the big warehouse buildings and as they were out of sight his smile finally faded and he turned around and started running.
"What are you doing here?" Ryosuke asked really annoyed as he saw Taiga approaching.
"You didn't come back, so I thought I'll take look if something went wrong," Taiga lied, hoping that Ryosuke would buy it. The older one raised an eyebrow at him, but for now he didn't seem in the mood to find out what Taiga was up to. Because sure normally Taiga wouldn't come to help them, because he hated to do his own missions already so why helping with others?
"Here you are!"
Both boys turned towards Tegoshi who came running towards them.
"Did you find him?" Ryosuke asked kind of hoping, but Tegoshi shook his head.
"And we have a way bigger problem now," He continued, but before he explained it his look finally fell on Taiga. "What are you doing here?"
Taiga wanted to tell him the same lie as Hokuto, but Tegoshi rose his hand before he could answer. "No wait, forget it. We'll talk about it later. Hokuto has lost track completely, he is freaking out we have to bring him home for now."
"What? How? Did the boy kill himself?" Ryosuke asked confused as they already started running back to the place where Hokuto was waiting.
"Then everything would be fine, but his powers demand him to keep searching, but he doesn't know where. He is in a really bad shape."
Hearing that, Taiga felt more than guilty, but he had to remind himself that he was doing the right thing. The boy wasn't meant to get send to hell, he just needed to find a way to get him off their list and that before Hokuto would completely break down under his powers.
As they stopped at a small alley Taiga spotted him right away. He was sitting on the ground his hands covering his ears.
"Hokuto!" Ryosuke shouted out for him and rushed over to him, pulling him into a hug. As Taiga and Tegoshi stepped closer he could see how bitterly the boy was shaking and that definitely not because of the cold.
"Let's go home for now, okay?" Ryosuke said as he helped Hokuto up and put the latter's arm around his shoulder to support him.
"But I have to find him, I can't-" his words died in painful groan as he moved his hand up to his ear again.
"I know that your powers demand you to continue, but let's stop for now. I'll give you something against the pain as soon as we are back. It can't stop it completely, but it will stop the annoying ringing in your ears at least." Tegoshi said and went to Hokuto's other side to support him. Taiga followed them without saying another word. He had felt Tegoshi's eyes on him since the moment he had shown up and he was sure that he wouldn't ignore it just like Ryosuke did, but for now he had to keep up the act no matter what.
"So where did he go?" Kentaro asked kind of annoyed as he arrived back at their hideout with Aran and Myuto.
"Don't ask me, he ie normally just running off like this when he has a plan," Aran tried to explain convincing.
"And why didn't he tell us about that plan then? We could have helped him."
On that Aran escaped a small chuckle, but he shut up as Kentaro's eyes threw daggers at him. It wasn't like he mistrusted the boy, at least not more than Taiga, but he was definitely not in the mood for games.
"What? Do you think I can't do anything by myself?" Kentaro hissed at the boy who was sitting at the other side of the small table.
"Don't get me wrong, I guess you can do a lot by yourself, I saw you killing a person."
"It was self-defense!" Kentaro shouted outraged as he hit with his fist on the table making Aran flinch.
"Yes, yes I know. Sorry, that was not what I meant. Just the fact that you were able to defend yourself makes clear that you know how to handle complicated and dangerous situations. But trust me not even I can help Taiga with his plans most of the time."
"And that is because?" Kentaro didn't want to let the boy off so easily. He knew from the first moment that they were hiding something from him and as long as they wouldn't spill out what, he couldn't trust them. Aran bit his lip obviously not sure what to answer anymore.
"Okay then another question..." he said, but for a moment he hesitated. Could the boy really explain this to him? Did Taiga want him to know? He sighed putting his face in his palms for a moment. "Forget it, never mind."
Aran seemed more than relieved that Kentaro had decided to stop the questionnaire for now as he gave him a small smile before standing up and walking over to a small wooden shelf to take out some bread. He walked back to the table and gave one to Kentaro and one to Myuto who had remained completely silent until now and watched Aran out of a safe distance.
"You must be hungry, right?"
"Dead hungry, thanks." Kentaro took the bread with a smile even though he still had too much to clarify before he could feel safe again.
"I guess Taiga won't come back before tomorrow so you can go to bed anytime if you want. Don't worry I'll be here the whole time."
"What kind of place is this here anyways?" Kentaro asked ignoring Aran's gestures because when he didn't want to do something at the moment than it was sleeping. The fear of not waking up again was way too big. Maybe a normal conversation could distract him long enough until his body would force him to sleep for some while.
Ryosuke brought Hokuto upstairs right away as they entered their house and after rushing towards his room to get some medication for Hokuto, Tegoshi came down to their living room again where Taiga was shifting from one foot to the other impatiently. Fujigaya wasn't around an that made him more than nervous, because he knew that Tegoshi would bombard him with questions the moment everything calmed down.
"Don't you dare to leave! You are not moving one centimeter until I say so!" Tegoshi warned him as he walked through the room to get some water from the kitchen before he walked up once more. Taiga let out a sigh already preparing dozens of different excuses in his head where he had been and why he can't have something to do with Hokuto's failed mission. But unfortunately his excuses didn't make sense at all and as Tegoshi finally came down to the room again Taiga had to try hard to keep straight face.
"How is he?" Taiga asked careful as Tegoshi stopped right in front of him with crossed arms.
"Do you even care?" Tegoshi's question hit Taiga quite hard, because of course he cared and Tegoshi should know that. Sure he didn't trust their traditions, but they were like a family and if it had been possible he would have avoided to make Hokuto suffer like this.
"Where is he?" Tegoshi asked straight forward making it hard for Taiga to keep straight face.
"Don't play dumb Taiga. He can't just vanish like this without the help of a Reaper and to be honest the scene in the bar was really suspicious. I doubt that the boy just ran away on his own. So where is he?" Tegoshi had been concetrated on Kentaro at that time and had been distracted by Aran, so luckily he had really not seen Taiga in the bar or his cover would have been blown completely already.
"I really don't know what you mean. Which bar?" Before Taiga could even try to find some other excuse Tegoshi had grabbed him by the shoulders, shaking him violently.
"Taiga, cut the crap! Do you even know what you have done?"
"I said I have nothing to do with it!"
"Tegoshi let go, you are hurting me." As Tegoshi's grip went more violent Taiga knew that he had to try to get away from him or his guilt would make him reveal everything.
"How dare you complain about pain when you just did something horrible to your comrade?"
"I didn't do anything to him!" Taiga yelled and ripped himself out of his grip finally, but the next moment Tegoshi slapped him with so much force that a red strain remained on his cheek. Compared to what Tegoshi was capable of when he got really pissed this was actually nothing, Taiga knew that the best, but he was still kind of shocked. Taiga lifted his hand to his cheek and he could feel how his eyes filled with tears. Tears of guilt and anger. He had done the right thing, but on the other hand he had done the worst to his family, but he didn't want to give up here.
He flinched as Tegoshi grabbed him by the front of his shirt as he tried to turn away from him.
"You want to tell me now where he is?" Tegoshi asked in a dangerous voice, but Taiga just shook his head as the first tear rolled over his cheek.
"I don't know what you are talking about." He repeated and this time he was prepared as Tegoshi lunged out again, but then the door opened and an outraged scream stopped Tegoshi right before he hit Taiga's cheek again.
"TEGOSHI, ARE YOU GOING CRAZY NOW?" Fujigaya approached them with big steps, pushing Tegoshi away and stepping between them.
"He is at fault that Hokuto can't end his mission. Hokuto suffers because of him!" Tegoshi yelled at him and as Fujigaya turned towards Taiga, the boy thought that even his mentor would stand against him this time, not that he wouldn't have any right to do so.
"I'm going to take care of that, so how about you look after your students?"
"No I'm not letting him off like this!" Tegoshi hissed, but before he could walk passed Fujigaya, the latter had grabbed him by the collar to his obvious surprise.
"I said I will solve this! I'm his mentor and not you!"
Taiga had never seen Fujigaya this angry and even though he was thankful that he made Tegoshi finally stop he knew that his mentor wouldn't just believe him like this either.
Before Taiga could even object Fujigaya had grabbed him by the elbow and dragged him out the living room through the long corridor which connected to their library. He shoved him inside slamming the door shut behind them. For a moment he stayed silent and Taiga shifted uncomfortable waiting for his mentor to yell at him, but it came different than he expected. Fujigaya turned around and hugged him making Taiga freeze for a moment. As he backed off again he put one hand on his cheek looking at him worried.
"Are you okay?" He asked in a caring voice and Taiga needed a moment to reply as he realized that he was worried, because he had been crying as he had come in earlier.
"Yes, don't worry. All good." Taiga lied, feeling guilty even more now that he lied to the only person who would always support him.
"I'm not sure what happened, but trust me I'll make sure that Tegoshi will get payback for this."
"No, it's okay. He is just worried, I can understand him," Taiga defended him, because after all Tegoshi had absolute every right to freak at him like this. Taiga took Fujigaya's hand away from his cheek as he was still stroking carefully over the bruise with a worried look.
"The important thing now is to find out how we can help Hokuto. Is there a way to take the mission off him when he can't fulfill it?" For a moment Taiga thought that his question had been too obvious as Fujigaya blinked at him in confusion.
"Wait so that's what going on? He lost track and Tegoshi thinks that you are at fault for that?"
Taiga bit his lip as he realized that Fujigaya wasn't even aware of what had happened before, but instead of getting angry at Tegoshi again, he turned towards one of the shelves looking at the books for a moment before he finally took one out. Taiga sat down next to him as he sat on the table searching through the book.
"I know about one way for sure, but it wouldn't be a real solution, because it would be just a transfer. But I am not sure in which book the details were written, so let's take a look at this first."
"So there is no way to erase a mission?"
"Maybe there is. Here it is!" Fujigaya slid the book over to Taiga so he could read the page Fujigaya had opened.
After a person has been found guilty the mission has to be fulfilled by the Reaper, which has been chosen to send him away. If another Reaper kisses the guilty one he can hide that person’s presence for some time. However the chosen Reaper will suffer growing pain through the not fulfilled mission until he can send the guilty person to hell. If there is no way to end the given mission and the person gets killed or commits suicide the mission will also be seen as completed and the pain will stop. If the circumstances are different and the guilty one has to remain alive another Reaper can end the mission without killing the person in question. It is a dangerous method and there are almost no reports about it being performed successfully. The Reaper has to prepare to send the guilty one to hell and with a kiss right before he vanishes he can make him stay in this world as an innocent person, which completes the mission. The exact reason behind this procedure are still unknown, but fact is, that if the Reaper can match the timing and he is really prepared to send that person to hell he can save the guilty one.
“If the circumstances are different…” Taiga repeated in a low voice. So there had been other Reapers after all, which had questions there traditions. He couldn’t think of any other reason why they would try to safe a guilty one and even write the method down in a book. He also realized that neither Tegoshi nor Fujigaya had ever given any of them this book for studying. He felt even guiltier lying to his mentor and even receiving help from him, because he thought he just wanted to help Hokuto, what he of course wanted to, but he also wanted to rescue Kentaro.
“The problem is that to use this method you have to transfer the mission first, because after all you couldn't just send him to hell like this without receiving the mission. Let me see if I can find the book where the transfer gets explained!” Fujigaya started as he got up, but Taiga got up as well shaking his head.
“Thank you, but I will go and take a look around the town for now. Maybe I can find him and help Hokuto like this without having to go through some other difficult methods.”
“Taiga, wait!” As Taiga was about to leave the room, Fujigaya grabbed his wrist to stop him. Taiga looked up at him trying to keep a straight face as he thought that he would see doubt in his mentors eyes, but he saw worry instead and the next moment Fujigaya reached out for his cheek stroking over it carefully again.
“Are you really okay?” He asked as he looked at the bruise. Taiga nodded slightly and tried to form a convincing smile.
“Don’t worry, everything is alright. I can’t blame Tegoshi, he is just worried. You would have maybe reacted the same way, if it would have been my mission.”
Fujigaya nodded, knowing that even though he didn’t want to accept it he was right. But for now he let go of him and stepped back with a light smile.
“Be careful and don’t get into trouble! I’ll see if I can find the other book!”
“Thank you!” Taiga said honestly before he left the room. The moment the door shut behind him, he would have liked to sink on his knees screaming desperately, because lying to Tegoshi and the others was one thing, lying to Fujigaya and even getting supported by him was a completely different kind of burden. But for now he had to get back to the others. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to try what he had just read, because the risk of sending Kentaro away by accident was extremely high and he still didn't know about the tranfer method, but for now he had to get back to make sure that the protection wouldn’t wear off and Hokuto would be able to find him again.
“Myuto, don’t you have to go back home?” Kentaro asked worried as it was already so late that Kentaro could see no one walking around in the streets anymore.
“My parents will survive it when their son is rebellious for once and stays away a night without telling them,” Myuto replied still sitting at the table and eyeing Aran with a suspicious look which made Kentaro sigh and step back towards the table.
“Could you stop being so suspicious? It makes me nervous!”
“You should be nervous! There is a Reaper after you and those two boys come out of nowhere to safe you, doesn't that sound weird to you at all?”
The fact that Aran was sitting right next to them, didn’t seem to bother Myuto at all, but even though he understood Myuto’s reasons, he didn’t want to mistrust them after they rescued him, even though he had to admit that he was as well not trusting them completely.
“You are free to go if you don’t want to stay here,” Myuto and Kentaro flinched as Taiga appeared right behind them. Just Aran didn’t seem surprised at all by his sudden appearance.
“What the hell, could you let us know a little bit earlier that you are in the room and not ten centimeters behind us?” Myuto growled at him after he had jumped off his chair out of surprise. “And if you won’t finally tell us what you are planning we might really consider just leaving like this.”
“Do as you please, but be aware what awaits you,” Taiga explained as he turned towards Kentaro who stared back at him in fascination again. Was it because he had shown up out of nowhere, even though they should have heard him approaching in such an old building? Or that is calm aura which surrounded him before seemed to be somehow cracked? Something seemed to trouble the boy and without knowing why Kentaro wanted to know what had made him feel restless. He also hadn't missed the light bruise on his cheek, but he didn't dare to ask about it. “I can’t help you anymore as soon as you decide to walk around outside all by yourself.”
“Oh and that is why?” Myuto asked, but before Taiga could answer, Kentaro stepped in front of him, facing his friend.
“Myuto how about you really go home for now?”
“What?” Myuto’s look turned from angry to totally perplex in mere seconds. He stared at his friend as if he was a stranger. “Kentaro, are you nuts? As if I would leave you alone with those two!”
“Then stop questioning their intentions!”
“How should I? They are still not telling us wh-“
“They saved my life, end of discussion! Aran would you mind accompany him back home?”
“Stop it!” Kentaro hissed at his friend who was out of words on Kentaro’s angry glare. But Kentaro’s look softened again as he saw the hurt look in his friend’s eyes. He took a few steps towards him and took his hand in his. “Please, would you just leave for tonight? I make sure that Aran will inform you tomorrow about what we are doing from now on. But I want to know that you are safe and getting into trouble with your family won’t help anyone. And honestly I am such a mess at the moment that I just want to lock myself in a room alone for a night to finally clear my head. Please just for one night, would you do me the favor and return home?”
Myuto nodded slowly before he took away his hand and moved with slow steps towards the door, followed by Aran who gave a short nod towards Taiga. No one said another word until Taiga and Kentaro were left alone in the building. Kentaro let out a long unsteady breath as if he had forgotten how to breathe for the last minute.
“He could have stayed here,” Taiga started, but Kentaro shook his head. He looked absentminded to the ground not even knowing what had come over him. His worries were real, that was for sure. Myuto’s family was strict and if anyone would get to know about Myuto running around town alone at night and becoming a rebellious teenager, their reputation would get badly affected by that and he wanted to prevent Myuto to get locked up in his house through his fault. On the other hand Kentaro had other reasons to get angry at Myuto, but he couldn’t even explain why. Every time Myuto mistrusted Taiga, Kentaro got angry at him and again he had taken Taiga’s side and had sent his friend away.
Lost in his thoughts Kentaro didn’t realize how Taiga slowly moved towards him until he was standing right in front of him. Kentaro flinched a little bit as Taiga suddenly grabbed his chin carefully to lift his head up. Before he even knew what was going on he could feel the boy’s cold lips on his and to his own surprise he didn’t even question his actions this time, but responded to the kiss right away. It seemed like Taiga tensed on his reaction and so it just took another moment before Taiga backed off again.
“Why are you always doing this?” Kentaro asked, but in no offending way. He really wanted to know, because after all it was the first time that he responded to someone like this and that already after just knowing him for several hours.
“Maybe it’s just my way of comforting you?” Taiga replied and the fact that it was a question instead of an answer made Kentaro smile a little bit. Again the boy’s face showed some insecurity as it showed before after the first kiss as well. And that was what made Kentaro want to know more about him, because he seemed like a really brave and grounded young boy, that it was almost weird to see how his calm face fell when he was close to Kentaro.
“Did something happen at the place you just went to?” Kentaro asked and Taiga obviously needed a moment to understand that he had changed the topic.
“Not really. I got some helpful information, but I still have to figure out how to use them.”
“Is that all that bothers you?”
Again Taiga’s face changed and he looked away with a troubled face before he sat down at the table, burying his face in his palms for a moment. Kentaro followed him and sat down on the chair opposite of him and studied his every move for a while and of course the other one felt the eyes on him.
“You can tell me if you want,” Kentaro offered, but it was obviously hard for the younger one to decide if he actually wanted to.
“I just- I don’t know. Everything is turning upside down at the moment and I am not sure if I do more harm than good.” Taiga paused and looked up at Kentaro questioning, but the older one signaled him that he would patiently listen if he wanted to go on.
“It’s just, that everything got even more complicated than it was already. I feel like I don’t know what the right thing to do is anymore. I am not saying that it was a mistake to rescue you, so please don’t get this wrong! There is just something I need to do, but to be able to do so I would have to make a step which I don’t know is something I will be able to do. If I fail the consequences will be huge. Damn, I don’t make any sense, do I?” Taiga shook his head with a low chuckle, but he lifted his head again as Kentaro reached out for one of his hands to take it in his own. He looked at the boy’s long fingers fascinated and ran over his white skin with his own fingers. Taiga had fallen completely silent, but Kentaro just continued caressing his hand and the next moment he found his own fingers entwined with Taiga’s.
“Maybe we should just call it a day? You seem tired," Kentaro asked with a faint smile.
“Says the one who almost got send to hell today. I should tell you to rest and not the other way around,” Taiga let out with a small chuckle, but Kentaro just nodded.
“Okay then I would say it’s time for both of us to rest.”
As Kentaro wanted to get up he was held back by Taiga who refused to let go of his hand.
“What is it?” Kentaro asked as Taiga looked to the ground for a moment.
“I just fear that I can’t sleep when my thoughts are racing like this. Being alone won’t help me to calm down.”
On that Kentaro escaped a chuckle on which Taiga looked up to him and the next moment Kentaro pulled him up from his chair and squeezed his hand gently. “Who said I would leave you alone tonight?”
Taiga woke up through the sunlight piercing through a gap of the old curtains. It had been the first time in a felt eternity that he had slept this calm and for a moment he thought about just closing his eyes again to sleep a little bit longer. But as he tried to move he realized that something was holding him in place. He looked down to his stomach, finfing arms wrapped around him. As he looked over his shoulder he found Kentaro behind him, still sleeping with his forehead resting at his back.
Taiga closed his eyes again for a few seconds before he opened them wide in shock as he realized what had happened the evening before. Carefully, but fast he took away Kentaro’s arms and to his luck the other one just mumbled something in his sleep before he turned around to protect himself from the sunlight which reached him now that Taiga had stood up. Taiga closed the curtains completely and moved with fast steps to the door. After closing it slowly, he rested with his back against the doorframe, letting out a long sigh. How could he break that easily? He had just come back to make sure that the protection wouldn’t wear off. But again he fell in his own trap. Slowly he moved with his fingers over his own lips, remembering how Kentaro suddenly kissed him back and how he was about to just continue the kiss, even though there was no reason for it.
With slow steps he made his way to the common room, but the angry stare which hit him as he entered the room made him stop right away. Aran was sitting at the table with crossed arms in front of his chest.
“You are already awake?” Taiga asked innocent as he sat down next to him.
“Already? Taiga it’s almost noon!”
They stayed silent for a moment and Taiga twisted his fingers nervously.
“You don’t have anything else to say?” Aran asked, but Taiga looked away instead of answering. The next moment Aran’s hand landed on the table which so much force that it made Taiga flinch.
“What were you thinking?” He asked him more directly this time, but tried to keep his voice down. “Do you know how much I wanted to scream at you the moment I found you two together in the same bed as I came back?”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t intend to- I had a weak moment…”
“A weak moment? Taiga do you even realize how close he was to find out about you?”
“We were just sleeping next to each other. Nothing more happened,” Taiga tried to defend himself, but of course he was aware of what could have happened if he would have given in to more.
“Please promise me you won’t do something reckless! If you want to rescue him you have to make him trust you, but not seduce him. You know the difference! You’re powers can also be used in both ways, but somehow I doubt that you used your powers that way on him.”
“To be honest it came from him, not from me, so no I didn’t do anything. I used them just for the first kiss, because I feared that he wouldn’t give in to it otherwise. But yesterday I didn’t even have to use it.”
“Which makes everything even worse. But anyways,” Aran got up and moved to the window to take a look down to the streets where a lot of people were already making their way to the market. “Myuto said that we have to contact him until sunset or he will come back on his own. Did you find out anything useful? Taiga!” Aran had to raise his voice to make Taiga pay attention to him again and the boy looked up kind of confused.
“Would you concentrate?”
“Yes, sorry. We found a way to break the mission, but it is risky and I honestly don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of it,” Taiga explained and told Aran what he and Fujigaya had found in the book. Aran nodded slowly and of course he had realized how difficult it would be to actually succeed.
“What about the second method Fujigaya was talking about?”
“I will ask him today again. Yesterday I just wanted to get out of there. I was more than afraid that Tegoshi would seriously freak at me again. I even took double of the time to come back here, making sure that no one was following me.”
“Are you sure that you should go back then?” Aran asked worried, but Taiga nodded. He couldn’t stay away the whole time. It wouldn’t take long until everyone would suspect him.
“The only problem is that I can just stay away for some hours or the protection will wear off. I hope that they are already out searching and that I can sneak into the library to search for the other book.”
“Just be careful okay!”
“Careful of what?”
Both turned around to the door where Kentaro had just shown up. He still looked tired and with his hair being a mess, Taiga had to smile at him. It really didn’t seem like he was worried at all. Maybe it was because he felt safe around Taiga or he had accepted the possibility that he could get taken to hell at any time with a wrong move.
“Morning. You want something to eat?” Aran asked instead of replying to his question and luckily Kentaro seemed still too tired to mind as he just nodded and sat down at the table next to Taiga. Aran moved out of the room for a moment to get some food.
“Did you sleep well?” Taiga asked him and the boy nodded with a light smile.
“And you? I was worried you couldn’t sleep as you were gone when I woke up.”
“Don’t worry, I slept better than ever before,” Taiga replied honest on which Kentaro’s smile grew even wider. “That’s also why I have enough energy to gather a few more information.”
“Are you sure it is okay to go alone?” Kentaro asked worried as Taiga rose to his feet. “I can come with you!”
“Thank you, but it is okay.” Taiga replied and leant down to caress Kentaro’s cheek gently. The latter didn’t flinch on the touch and he didn’t resist as Taiga leant down for a short kiss. As he backed off again he looked up at Aran who had just appeared in the doorframe again and shot him a warning glare. The kiss was necessary for the protection, he knew that of course, but the glare was to warn him that this was all it should be used for. So before Kentaro could even reach out for him again, Taiga stepped away. “I’ll be back as fast as possible. Aran, please be careful that you don’t run into them if you decide to go out!”
“Wait, am I allowed to go out as well?” Kentaro asked a little bit confused.
“If you are with Aran than yes. He knows where it is okay for you to go and where not. But don’t stay outside for too long!”
Both of them nodded and Taiga clapped Aran on the shoulder with a brief nod. “Until the market closes! If I won’t be back at that time the protection will slowly vanish, so make sure you get him away as much as possible if that happens,” he whispered so that Kentaro couldn’t hear them.
“Then make sure that you will be back at that time,” Aran said almost scolding and Taiga cracked a small smile on his tone. After all he had his reasons to worry, but Taiga didn’t want to give up this easily. The method they had found was risky and if there was another way to solve their problem, then he wanted to know.
Taiga sneaked into their house and luckily there was no one downstairs waiting for him. He wanted to go for the library directly, but then he heard how someone screamed out upstairs and he froze for a moment. The next thing he heard was something shattering at a wall and that was when he decided to go upstairs before doing his research. With slow steps he went through the corridor with their rooms and he could already see that Hokuto’s door was open.
As he came closer, he could hear how someone was whimpering. He took a deep breath before he entered the room and stopped dead on his tracks as he realized that Hokuto was sitting in the corner of the room with torn clothes. He hid his face on his knees and pulled violently on his hair. The whole room was a mess. The wooden cupboard was lying on the ground, a few cups had been slashed against the wall and the curtains had been ripped off.
On Taiga’s words the latter lifted his head, tears shining in his eyes.
“Make it stop! Please make it stop!” Hokuto whined and Taiga made his way towards him right away. He kneeled down in front of his friend and pulled him against his chest. The boy was shaking bitterly and he couldn’t stop the pained noises escaping him between his sobs. “It hurts so much, please make it stop!”
Taiga closed his arms even tighter around him, not that it would help in any way. After all he knew how to safe his friend from suffering, but just this one time he had to be the egoistic one. If he would give in again, then they would continue using their powers without questioning them. He had to prove to them that they were wrong this time, even though he had to see his friend suffer through it.
“I can bring you something that will help you sleep, then you will have a break from them pain,” Taiga suggested and Hokuto nodded weakly against his shoulder. Taiga got up and rushed downstairs to search through their medication shelf. He wondered why Tegoshi hadn’t given the boy anything in the morning. Maybe the pain hadn’t been that bad as they left, but it had been bad enough to stop Hokuto from searching with them. Was Tegoshi hoping that the pain would somehow help him finding Kentaro, that if he would completely break that he could somehow sense him again? Whatever reason it was, Taiga wouldn’t watch his friend suffer like this and he ran upstairs again as he found the bottle with the sleeping pills.
After making sure that Hokuto was really not in pain anymore after he had fallen asleep he wanted to hurry back to the library, but he stopped at his room for a moment. He entered to change his clothes and was looking around if he would need something else which could be helpful to them as his look fell on the bed where a book was placed. As he took it, he saw that a small piece of paper was slipped in at one page and he opened it to find exactly what he was searching for.
“Fujigaya,” Taiga let out in surprise. So his mentor had searched for the book right away and even though he knew that Taiga was gone for the whole night he had left it for him to find it. Taiga started to read the page which he had just opened and his eyes grew wider with each sentence he read.
As he heard how the door downstairs opened he panicked and hid the book under his bed. He didn’t know if Tegoshi and the others new about this option, but he doubted it, because at least Ryosuke would have already used it to spare Hokuto the pain. Or did Tegoshi stop him, because it wouldn’t really change the result, but hurt Ryosuke instead? For now Taiga didn’t care, because he wasn’t sure if this information wasn’t more dangerous than it was useful.
For a moment he thought about jumping out the window to not get seen by anyone, but there were steps on the stairs already, so if he would get seen while trying to get away like this, he would give away even more that something wasn’t right. So he just stepped out the corridor and as it was Fujigaya who appeared in front of him he had to watch out not to let out a relieved sigh.
“Oh you are back. Is everything okay?” Fujigaya asked him worried and Taiga tried his best to smile as convincing as possible.
“Yes everything is okay, sorry to make you worry. I just needed some time to think,” Taiga felt worse with each time he had to lie to his mentor, but what else could he do.
“You have a good timing though. Tegoshi told me to get you as soon as you are back.”
“Because he wants us to help them searching for the boy.”
“Why? We both don’t even know how he looks like.”
“Don’t ask me what he is thinking. He just told me to meet up with him at the market’s clock in half an hour, with or without you.”
“So you just came back to take a look if I was back?” Taiga got a little bit angry at the way his mentor actually followed Tegoshi’s orders, but after all Tegoshi was the one in charge of the reapers in this city, so they all had to listen to him. That Fujigaya had defended him the evening before was because Tegoshi’s reaction wasn’t appropriate, or at least that was what his mentor thought. Who knew how he would react if he knew the truth.
“I also came to check on Hokuto to be honest. Is he okay?”
“Yes he is sleeping!”
“Good then let’s not disturb him and meet up with the others.”
Taiga followed him reluctantly, because after all, meeting with the others would delay his returning time and he had just a few more hours to renew the protection or Hokuto would be able to find him again. On the other hand, the sleeping pills were really strong, so maybe he wouldn’t wake up before the next morning.
“Was Myuto angry at you?” Kentaro asked after he walked next to Aran for a felt eternity already and the silence wasn’t really helping with the tension which built up through all the people around them. Even though Aran had said he would recognize the reapers right away, Kentaro didn’t like it how carefree Aran walked through the crowd.
“He wasn’t really talking to me when I dropped him off at his house, but his parents were extremely angry as it seems.”
“What? What did they do?” Taiga asked impatiently and as Aran didn’t answer right away, he stepped in front of the boy to make him stop. “What did they do?”
“I was already on my way back, so I just heard them shouting at him and his mother slapped him, but I guess that was everything.”
“You guess? You just left?”
Aran stared at him as if he was an idiot, but what had Kentaro expected. Of course Aran wouldn’t really care what happened to Myuto, because after all they weren’t actually friends. They all didn’t really know each other until now and Aran seemed really suspicious towards them, what seemed really weird to Kentaro, because around Taiga his mood seemed to brighten up a lot. Maybe he really just needed some time to open up to people. For now he could just hope that Myuto was alright. Luckily his parents weren’t known to get violent and he couldn’t really judge his mother for slapping him, she must have been dead worried after all.
“Hey, don’t worry, okay? As soon as Taiga is back, I will inform Myuto about everything we found out and how we will proceed from now on.”
This time Kentaro looked at him in confusion and Aran noticed his look of course and looked at him with a kind of shy expression. “What?”
“Nothing, thank you,” Kentaro replied with a smile and Aran just nodded before he kept moving. “Let’s buy some food and head back to the hideout. I bet they are still searching for you and Taiga will definitely hit me if they get you.”
“He actually can hit someone?” Kentaro asked disbelieving while Aran moved on to one of the market booth to get them some fruits.
“He can actually be really scary. Just wait until you snatch away the last slice of his bread, then he will turn into a furious monster.” Aran turned around to him with an apple in his hand, moving his other hand over it like the claws of an animal, obviously trying to imitate Taiga. Kentaro couldn’t hold back a loud laughter on that and Aran also cracked a smile.
“Then I will definitely not try that,” Kentaro replied as he helped Aran with the bags he just received from the merchant.
“Maybe I should warn you about a few more of his quirks so you are safe,” Aran said still laughing and Kentaro felt really relieved that he seemed to be a really good friend to Taiga. Knowing so much about him made him almost feel jealous, because he himself wanted to know more about him as well.
“…and don’t play with his hands, he really doesn’t like it. He knows how pale his skin is, touching him just reminds him of it and he doesn’t like it.”
Kentaro had listened to everything with a few chuckles, but on that his smile faded.
“Everything alright?” Aran asked as Kentaro stopped absentminded in the middle of the market, so that Aran had to wave with his hand in front of his face to make him pay attention again.
“Oh sorry, yes everything is okay. Let’s get the rest of the things,” Kentaro replied before he gave the other one a small smile before they kept moving. For a moment he felt like he had done something he shouldn't have the evening before, but then a kind of proud smile bloomed on his face. It wasn’t like Kentaro had done something bad, but it was Taiga who hadn’t mind him doing something which he would normally not allow anyone else, not even his best friend. The feeling which took over Kentaro and made his stomach feel completely weird, but in a good way, made him keep smiling like an idiot and he couldn’t wait for Taiga to return later. Whatever it was that kept Kentaro so interested in Taiga, he wanted to explore it more and it seemed like Taiga wouldn’t mind him doing so.
“You want to tell me where you went last night;” Tegoshi asked directly as Taiga stopped next to him and Ryosuke with crossed arms.
“Why would you care?”
“Careful, Taiga! I am not your mentor, but I am in charge of this city!”
Taiga rolled his eyes at him, but Fujigaya pierced him with a look as well. “Fine! I strolled around the city and slept at the belfry,” actually that was a quite believable lie, because Taiga really did so a lot before. He liked the view from there and after his first mission he had stayed up there for almost two days until Fujigaya had finally found him.
“Then I hope you have calmed down enough again to finally help us instead of making everything worse.”
“I make everything worse? I wasn’t the one who left Hokuto back at the house in so much pain that he ripped his room apart.”
On that Ryosuke finally payed attention to them as well and he looked at Taiga in panic.
“Don’t worry, I gave him sleeping pills, he is okay,” Kentaro soothed him and Ryosuke relaxed again, but he looked up at Tegoshi with a hint of anger on his face. So Tegoshi had left him behind like that on purpose after all. Taiga would have loved to freak at him completely by now. After he had freaked at him that badly the evening before, because he blamed him for the disappearance of Kentaro’s presence, he now left his oh so precious pupil behind in such a painful condition, because he thought it would help him eventually?
He knew that Tegoshi was all over tradition and stuff, but this time he would almost go as far as say that he cared more for the outcome of the mission itself than about the reaper which had to fulfill it.
“Anyways,” Fujigaya finally broke the heavy atmosphere and Taiga tried to calm down again. “What are we doing now? How are we supposed to search for him? We don’t know his face!”
“But we do, so we go in groups of two. You will go with Ryosuke and Taiga you will come with me.”
“What? That doesn’t make any sense!” Taiga protested, but Tegoshi gave him a death glare and Taiga zipped it for now. If he tested his luck too much he would end up in their dungeon, again. Their house looked totally normal to everyone, but it actually had a pretty dark and deep dungeon underneath it and with the house being placed on a hillside a little bit away from the main buildings, no one would even suspect something weird about it. Taiga had been really rebellious after his first mission and Tegoshi hadn’t shown any mercy even with Fujigaya begging him to give Taiga just a little bit more time to handle his powers back then.
And the look Tegoshi had just given him was one stage away from him sending him down there again and besides from the fact that Kentaro would definitely be send away if he would end up there again, he also didn’t want to end up there once more. He didn’t like the dark and cold surrounding of it. The silence there had almost driven him insane before and he had start hurting himself so badly that Tegoshi had chained him to the wall in the end until he had finally given up struggling and apologized for his disobedience.
“Let’s go!” Tegoshi ordered as he realized that Taiga had gotten the message. Fujigaya gave Taiga a last worried look, but went towards the other direction with Ryosuke nevertheless. Taiga followed Tegoshi reluctantly over the market place, but he refused to look at him. Instead he looked around hoping that he would be faster than him to spot them if they were really around.
Tegoshi didn’t mind him staying silent and it was definitely for the best, because every wrong word would end in a fight again and all Taiga wanted for now was them to finally head back to the house, because if Tegoshi wanted to search for the whole night the others would get into trouble as soon as Hokuto woke up. For a moment Taiga thought if he should just vanish in one of the side alleys and pretend later that he got separated from Tegoshi while not paying attention. With all the people around it was easy to actually get lost, but on the other hand it would make Tegoshi even more suspicious. Before Taiga could give it another thought someone stopped him quite roughly while grabbing him by the shirt on his shoulder so that he had to stop. He turned around ready to yell at whoever dared to even touch him, but as it was no other than Myuto who was standing in front of him, he swirled around to Tegoshi again. Luckily the latter was already a few steps ahead of him and still didn’t realize that he wasn’t behind him. But that would change any moment now, so he had to be fast.
“What are you doing here?” Taiga asked quickly, but Myuto crossed his arms in front of his chest and raised an eyebrow at him.
“That should be my question, you know! You sent me home like that and told me that Kentaro would be okay, and now I find you strolling over the market without him. Where is he?”
“He is with Aran, he is fine! We will contact you in the evening as promised!”
Taiga wanted to turn away from him again, but Myuto wouldn’t let him off that easily. He grabbed him by the arm to make him turn around again. “Why are you in such a hurry? You said the whole time that you want to help Kentaro. Then tell me what you are doing!”
“Yes Taiga, tell him what you are doing!”
Taiga didn’t even need to turn around to realize that Tegoshi was standing right behind him and he had barely seconds to decide what to do. Myuto’s look didn’t really change as he looked over Taiga’s shoulder at Tegoshi, so he didn’t remember him as it seemed. And luckily it seemed like Tegoshi didn’t remember Myuto either, otherwise he would have already launched himself at him. And even though he knew Kentaro’s face, he didn’t know his name.
Taiga closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He had decided already, hadn’t he? If they got Myuto , then the boy would have to suffer under Tegoshi’s torture if he found out that he knew about Kentaro’s whereabouts. So their chances were bigger when Myuto could tell Aran and Kentaro to run before the protection would wear off.
“Taiga, what is going on?” Tegoshi asked as he wanted to turn him around, but Taiga swirled around on his own just to push Tegoshi with so much force that he stumbled and fell in one of the market booths, giving Taiga the few seconds he needed.
“Run to the hideout, tell them they got me! Tell Aran to get Kentaro as far away as possible!”
“GO, NOW!” Taiga pushed him into the crowd before he dashed towards the other direction the moment Tegoshi was back on his feet and luckily the older one followed him instead of Myuto.
“TAIGA, STOP!” Tegoshi shouted after him outraged, but of course he kept running. He had to buy Myuto as much time as possible. He dashed over the market place and tossed as many things in Tegoshi’s way as possible.
After a few more minutes he had lost sight of him, but that didn’t mean that Tegoshi had lost sight of him as well and he wanted to dash into one of the small alleys at the end of the market when his eyes grew wide in shock as he saw the only person he didn’t want to find here.
Aran and Kentaro were walking towards the same alley, laughing and chatting with each other. If the situation was different, he would actually be quite happy about seeing them getting along so well. But now he had to make sure that they could get away as well and there was just one way to do so.
Kentaro let out a small scream as Taiga jumped at him out of nowhere and Aran stepped back with a surprised yelp. Before any of them could ask anything he grabbed Kentaro by the hair and kissed him. This time the boy struggled, but who wouldn’t struggle if someone attacked with a kiss this rushed. He tried to keep their lips together as long as possible, but he knew that he had no time. As he backed off he could see that Kentaro had already understood that something wasn’t right and Aran looked around panicked as he already guessed that someone was after him.
“Myuto is around as well, he will meet you at the hideout! Aran, take him and run! You will have until tomorrow evening I guess. You have to get him away from the city!”
“Wait, what is going on?” Kentaro tried to get a hold on Taiga, but the latter just gave him an apologizing look before he dashed back towards the market. Aran reacted right away and dragged Kentaro into the next alley. Taiga could hear how Kentaro was screaming his name, but this was all he could do for him. He was doing the right thing and no one could prove him wrong.
Just a few seconds later, he finally stopped as Tegoshi appeared right in front of him. His eyes threw daggers at him and if there wouldn’t be so many people around he would have definitely punched him already.
“This time Fujigaya can’t help you!” Tegoshi hissed at him, but Taiga didn’t reply. From now on he had to stay silent whatever would happen. Taiga didn’t try to get away as he reached out for him. He grabbed him by the wrist and pulled him after him forcefully.
Aran kicked one of the chairs in the common room against the wall with a loud curse.
Myuto had reached the hideout almost at the same time as Aran and Kentaro. Myuto had went to the market after school to get some things for his mother and after he had told them what had happened after he had stopped Taiga, Aran had to watch out not to punch him. After all both of the boys still didn't know that Taiga was a Reaper, even though it was clear that Kentaro was more than confused about Taiga's actions.
"What do we do now? Myuto asked, making clear that he didn't care how much his family would worry. He wasn't going to leave Kentaro alone again.
"I'm going to bring him as far away from the city as I can. If we reach the ocean, he can flee with a ship. They won't cross that far and before they can actually follow you I make sure to come back and get him out of there."
"Out of there? You mean they didn't kill him," Myuto asked confused, while Kentaro's eyes showed hope.
"They are not known to kill...innocent people." Almost he had said one of their own, but both were true. "They are just allowed to send away the ones found guilty. But that doesn't mean they won't torture him." Of course Aran knew about what had happened before. Taiga hadn't really hidden anything from him. After all Aran was the only one he could share his worries with, until now at least.
"I'm going to help you," Kentaro announced, but Aran shook his head right away as he gathered the bags together so they could leave.
"No you won't. I promised him to keep you safe, I'm not going to be the reason that he fails."
"Until tomorrow evening!"
"That's what he said, right? However it works, I'll be safe until tomorrow evening. So let me try to help him and if we fail I will get away as fast as I can."
"Kentaro, that's a stupid idea! They will kill you when they see you," Myuto tried to reason with him, but his eyes were fixed on Aran.
Aran wasn't sure if he should be amazed how much courage the boy had or wonder how he could still believe in Taiga and not get that he is a Reaper as well, even though he should have understand by now that Taiga couldn’t be a normal human.
"He saved my life and I won't run away like a coward now. I will repay him, with or without your help."
Myuto gave up after that and turned away with a sigh, while Aran formed a lopsided smile. He had to admit that the boy was really tough. After all that had happened, he still decided to fight and that after being so afraid in the beginning.
"Okay fine. But be prepared that Taiga will hit you later for that decision. I won't take the blame for this."
"If that's the only condition, I am totally fine with it," Kentaro replied confident and looked at Myuto next, who hid his face in his hands for a moment, shaking his head.
"How come I'm friends with you again?"
"Because you like it to get ripped out of your boring daily routine?" Kentaro asked with a smirk on which Myuto slapped him on the shoulder.
"As long as I can go back to it at least."
"You will. I'm not planning on dying or letting anyone die after being the first one in the city running away from a Reaper."
"Good, because I have no intention to let you vanish like this," Myuto replied and with that everything was said.
"Now we just have to make a plan. A good one," Aran started as he sat down at the table and unfolded a paper and got some ink and a pen to start drawing the surroundings of the Reapers' house as good as he remembered it through Taiga’s explanations.
It had been his only chance to make a change to their cruel tradition, a chance to finally show them that there was a reason to question what they were doing. But he had failed and ended up in the worst situation he could imagine. Taiga had found himself in the dungeons sooner than he thought he would. Even Fujigaya’s begging to first question him normally in the house had been without any success. Tegoshi had completely ignored him as he had dragged Taiga down the stone stairs. He hated the cold down here and even more he hated the silence. He kept his eyes closed and tried to not focus on his surroundings too much. Tegoshi had chained him to the wall right away, making clear that he was more than serious about punishing him. Not that he wouldn’t have any right to do so. Taiga wasn’t denying that he betrayed them in the worst way possible. It wasn’t anger he felt, but disappointment, because they were all too stubborn to even give his words a second thought. But now he couldn’t really make them change their minds anymore, now he could just hope that Aran would get Kentaro as far away as possible.
“Why do you always do things like this?”
Taiga jerked on the sudden sound of Fujigaya’s voice so that he let out a pained yelp as he hurt his wrists on the old and rusty chains. He had successfully shut out his surrounding so that he hadn’t even realized that Fujigaya was standing in front of his cell.
“Sorry I didn’t want to scare you. Are you alright?” Fujigaya looked seriously worried as he unlocked the cell and stepped in front of Taiga.
“Did Tegoshi send you? Sorry to disappoint him, but I am not going to tell either of you anything.”
“Please Taiga. I don’t want to see you suffer like this.”
“Then get me out!”
“You know that I can’t do that!”
“So you don’t believe me?”
“Believe what? I don’t even know what is going on at the moment!” Fujigaya let out a sigh and moved one hand to his own hair. Taiga could see that he looked really stressed and tired. Maybe he had fought with Tegoshi. After all Fujigaya had tried his best to convince him to not get this drastic with Taiga, but Tegoshi had been so outraged after they returned to the house that Taiga could be happy that he left it at this one punishment for now. They had left him here for several hours already and even though the only light came from a small torch which Fujigaya had placed in front of the cell so that Taiga wouldn’t remain in the pitch black dark, he could feel that it was already in the middle of the night.
“I wanted to believe that you tried to help Hokuto to somehow end this mission as you asked me for the books.” Fujigaya pierced him with a stern look, but Taiga didn’t want to look up at him. Of course he knew that his mentor wouldn’t believe him whichever lie he was about to tell him. But there was actually one way through which he could get out of this mess. The question was just, if he wanted to use his advantage in such a cruel way. On the other hand he had nothing to lose anymore. Whatever would happen, if Kentaro got away or if they found him, for his situation it wouldn’t matter. And he wasn’t willing to go back to execute his missions as if nothing had happened.
“Please, I don’t want to go through this again,” Taiga started as he had made up his mind. He lifted his head and looked back at Fujigaya with a scared look and truth was that he didn’t have to play his fear, because it was real. The difference was just that he would normally not show it. “Don’t leave me down here again!”
Fujigaya shook his head slowly, but remained silent. On Taiga’s begging voice he looked away. “I can’t go against Tegoshi’s orders. You knew what would happen if you disobey the rules. I thought you have learned your lessons when we had to keep you down here for the first time.”
“Then let him question me upstairs, I don’t even care if he hurts me, but please don’t leave me down here alone again,” Taiga begged and he didn’t have to wait for the wished reaction as Fujigaya stepped closer to pull Taiga carefully against his chest, making sure that he wouldn’t add pressure to the chains on his wrists. Taiga had started crying and even though he wanted the tears to be just out of fear, they were also out of guilt. “Please, get me out!”
“Please, Taisuke!” The mention of his first name has done the trick and the latter backed off a little bit to look at Taiga again. He put his hands to the younger one’s cheeks to wipe away the tears and Taiga was completely prepared as Fujigaya leant down to kiss him. After all his mentor had been more than an open book about his feelings toward him and even with Tegoshi’s warnings he had tried to approach him several times already. And this was what Taiga had to take advantage of if he wanted to get back to the others. He gave in to the kiss more willingly than he thought he would, but he couldn’t deny that he hadn’t thought about giving in before already. Relationships between a mentor and his student were forbidden and so Fujigaya had been the one who normally stopped before it got too risky. But with Taiga breaking in front of him, he couldn’t just remain at the sideline and wait until Tegoshi would make him talk.
“Please…,” Again Taiga begged him as they finally parted, but Fujigaya shook his head. He stayed close to him, but didn’t try to make another move.
“Won’t you just tell me why you manipulated the mission? If you tell me were the boy is, everything will be over and we can go back to our normal routine.”
“I am not going back!” Taiga hissed, but shut up right away. He hadn’t intended to say it, because his rebellious attitude wouldn’t help him with his plan after all, but he also wouldn’t tell Fujigaya anything. Even though his mentor tried to protect him, he would definitely not try to protect Kentaro when it would mean putting Taiga in danger.
“Taiga, stop doing this to me! I don’t want to see you suffer,” Fujigaya tried again, but this time it was Taiga who shook his head and leant back against the wall as Fujigaya wanted to reach out for him again.
“If you don’t want to help me, then leave!”
“What? You can’t be serious. I know how much you hate it to be down here all by yourself. You just said so yourself.”
Yes he was right, he hated it more than anything else, but when he wouldn’t help him, he had better chances to break free on his own.
“Leave!” Taiga demanded and for a moment Fujigaya didn’t move. As Taiga wanted to shout at him to finally leave him alone, the latter finally moved, but to his surprise he moved forward and reached out for the chains. Taiga tensed immediately, because after all this was not the end of his plan. If he wanted to or not, he had to attack his mentor as soon as his hands were free. It wasn’t like he wished to hurt him, not at all, because after all he was really fond of him as well, it wasn’t just one sided, but at the moment Kentaro was his main priority.
“What do you think you are doing?”
Taiga cursed in silence as Tegoshi suddenly appeared out of nowhere, leaning at the wall next to the cell. Fujigaya stepped back right away, but instead of leaving the cell he remained in front of Taiga as Tegoshi stepped into the cell as well.
Tegoshi walked up to them and stopped right in front of Fujigaya with a threatening stare. “If you ever dare to disobey my orders again, I will make sure to send you both to the council!”
On that threat Taiga and Fujigaya both looked at him in sheer panic. Getting send to the council wasn’t something to take lightly. It was more than rare that a Reaper would come back after a trial there and if Tegoshi was willing to go that far, then Taiga had to make sure that he wouldn’t speak at all or he would definitely drag him there for his disobedience. But if he couldn’t get him to speak, then he couldn’t really find him guilty for anything.
“You can leave for now,” Tegoshi said in a way too calm voice as he stepped to the side, but for a moment Fujigaya didn’t move. He looked over his shoulder at Taiga with an apologizing look before he took a few steps towards the corridor, but as he realized that Tegoshi wasn’t following him, he stopped again.
“Aren’t you coming?”
“You can leave first. I will come back upstairs in a while.”
“I said you can leave,” Tegoshi didn’t raise his voice, he didn’t have to. His look told him everything he needed to know. If he tried to interfere, Tegoshi wouldn’t let it pass that easily again. Even as Taiga’s mentor he couldn’t do anything for him, now that he had brought so much trouble up on himself.
Taiga looked after his mentor with a kind of weird feeling. For a moment he felt more than guilty for dragging him into this mess without any hesitation. What would have happened to him if he really succeeded to flee? Would Tegoshi see him as a traitor and send him to the council? Now that his plan didn’t work out, he luckily didn’t have to find out.
“Don’t space out,” Tegoshi snapped his fingers in front of his face and Taiga automatically pulled back until his back hit the wall again. “You can have it the easy or the hard way! I guess you remember how it was to spend days down here!”
No answer. Even as Tegoshi stepped closer, Taiga didn’t move. He had gone through this before, so he could do it again. If he broke in a few days, it was okay, but Kentaro and Aran needed more time, so he had to stay silent for as long as possible. The next moment Tegoshi grabbed the chain around his left arm and pulled it with a violent jerk to the front so that Taiga had to make a step forward. He gritted his teeth on the sudden pain on his wrist, but looked up with a straight face as he stood right in front of Tegoshi.
“I could torture you the whole night to make you speak,” he started in a cold voice as he moved his hand towards Taiga’s cheek. The boy didn’t flinch on the touch and he didn’t try to look away. He wouldn’t get scared by him, not anymore. He had never really got violent with him as he put him down in the dungeons before. Just the fact that he had to stay in the dark for days, without seeing anyone, without eating or drinking, had made him break back then. But now he was stronger and the problems he had caused weren’t as easily forgiven as before. And this time Fujigaya wouldn’t be able to stop Tegoshi, whatever he was planning. Now that he had official proof that Taiga was somehow involved in Hokuto’s failed mission he would stop at nothing to make him speak.
“Unfortunately Hokuto’s condition will get even worse as soon as he wakes up again and so I figured it would be just fair to make you suffer instead!”
“Instead?” Taiga repeated confused, but Tegoshi just gave him a lopsided smile before he walked up to the front of the cell to get something he had left in front of it before. Taiga’s eyes grew wide as he saw that Tegoshi had brought the book he had hidden in his room.
“I bet Fujigaya gave it to you without knowing that you were involved in the disappearance of the human boy or he just wanted to believe in you, I don’t really care, but thanks to you two I learnt something new as well and you will be the first one I can try my new knowledge on.”
Tegoshi revealed an injection in his other hand and Taiga pulled on the chains with all his might as he let the book drop to the ground and approach him. “You can’t be serious! Don’t come closer!” Taiga was between shouting and begging as he tried desperately to get the chains off, but of course he couldn’t free himself and even if he would try to kick him away, he wouldn’t be able to keep him on distance for long if he couldn’t move away.
He actually tried to kick him as he came into his reach, but Tegoshi just stepped back again. “What? You didn’t want to try it out? Then why did you need the book? And here I thought you wanted to help your comrade!”
“I am not willing to die for him though,” Taiga shouted at him, even though it was not completely the truth. Hokuto and Ryosuke were like his brothers and he actually hated himself for what he was doing to them at the moment, but what Tegoshi tried was a different case. What he had found in the book was dangerous, way too dangerous to just try it out like this.
Before Taiga could try to attack again, Tegoshi had rushed forward and grabbed Taiga by the throat and shoved him against the wall. Taiga wanted to struggle, but he was aware of the injection right next to his neck so he screamed at his body to stay still. Now he could clearly see the blood inside it and he knew of course that it was Hokuto’s. Tegoshi must have drained it while he was still sleeping.
“Are you in talking mood now?” Tegoshi asked impatiently and moved the injection closer as Taiga remained silent. “Last chance!”
“As long as you won’t accept that our tradition need a serious change, I won’t tell you anything!”
“Too bad. Then we have to do it the hard way, at least like this you are forced to end all this yourself.”
Taiga closed his eyes as he already felt the needle stabbing through his skin, but before Tegoshi could inject the blood he got struck down from behind with one of the not lit torches from the corridor. On Tegoshi’s pained yelp Taiga opened his eyes and looked totally confused at Aran’s grinning face.
“Sorry for making you wait!”
“Are you out of your mind?” Taiga yelled at him as he realized that Kentaro and Myuto were behind him. Myuto was looking down the corridor, shifting nervously. While Kentaro rushed forward to get the chains off Taiga’s wrists with the key which he had found in front of the cell. “Aran I told you to get him away, not to bring him into even more danger!”
“I decided myself that I want to come! He had no other choice, but bring me here,” Kentaro interfered as he finally got Taiga free and helped him stand.
“Then the questions goes to you, are you out of your mind?”
“Why? Because I want to help you? It’s because of me that you are here!”
“Yes, but I am also here to protect you!”
“Guys, could we discuss this later? I don’t want any other Reapers coming down here!” Myuto said impatiently and finally they started moving. Aran went out the cell first to get the lit torch on the wall. Taiga had to lean on Kentaro more than he wanted, but even though Reapers didn’t have to eat or drink so much, the dungeons had something that drained him of his energy way faster than it would normally do.
“WATCH OUT!” Aran screamed out for them out of a sudden and Taiga didn’t even have the time to turn around as Kentaro was pushed away from him and he was thrown to the ground, Tegoshi sitting on top of him. Before he could even turn around the injection landed on his neck followed by a sharp pain. Kentaro kicked Tegoshi off him right away, but this time it had been too late and the boys looked at the empty injection in shock.
“You are a disgrace to our race! This will remind you of what you are!” Tegoshi shouted at him as he tried to attack them again, but Aran jumped back into the cell and lunged out with the burning torch this time, so that Tegoshi jumped back.
“Taiga, stand up! Please, stand up,” Kentaro begged him as the boy remained on the ground with one hand on his neck. He groaned in pain as Kentaro lifted him up and dragged him out. Myuto helped them as they rushed down the corridor.
Aran was a little bit confused as Tegoshi didn’t try to stop them. They were just some humans after all and he as a Reaper was way faster and stronger than them. But he just formed a lopsided smile as Aran moved backwards out of the cell and shut it, before he ran after the others.
“Aran, where are you going? The hideout is towards the other direction!” Kentaro shouted at him as the boy led them away from the city.
“We can’t stay there. They will find us easily inside the city.”
“No, they won’t find us easily,” Taiga let out in a weak voice and Aran stopped for a moment, all eyes resting on Taiga. “They can’t track us down anymore.”
“Why is that?” Myuto asked with a hint of anger in his voice. It was obvious that the boy wanted to ask more, but he seemed to wait for a better timing. Now they had to get away as far as possible.
“Hokuto can’t track him anymore.”
“Who is Hokuto?”
“The Reaper which was after Kentaro obviously,” Aran said a little bit annoyed and Myuto just rolled his eyes at him.
“Anyways, let’s find a hideout as far as possible away from the city,” Taiga said and slowly Kentaro, who was still supporting him started moving.
They walked through the outer parts of the city where just a few houses were placed on the side of the road and most of them seemed empty for years already. After almost half an hour Kentaro felt how Taiga’s grip on him tightened and he looked at him worried. He had his eyes barely open and his breaths came out shaking.
“Aran, please can’t we take a break somewhere? I think Taiga can’t walk any longer.”
“We are almost there,” Aran announced and Taiga tried to take some of his weight off Kentaro on the boy’s words.
“I’m fine, don’t worry!” Taiga said as convincing as possible, but soon he stumbled and Kentaro pulled him closer again.
“No reason to play tough though!” Kentaro scolded him, but he could see that there was definitely another reason why Taiga tried to go on distance and the way Myuto stared at him from behind, didn’t really help him relax. But for now they followed Aran in silence and just a few minutes later they moved up a small hillside to find an old building, which had definitely been white a few years ago, but now plants had spread over it almost completely, leaving just a few grey stones shine through.
“I found this place a few years ago, it seems like it was something like a private clinic,” Aran explained as they stepped inside the building. Kentaro shivered a little bit on the weird atmosphere inside. The walls were dirty and broken at some points, but the house itself had definitely been beautiful some time ago. The walls were covered with dark wood and there was a wine red carpet through the whole corridor, giving the building a noble touch.
“I would get mental ill here instead of getting cured from anything,” Myuto said disgusted as they moved to the second floor. Sure the rooms they passed where spacious, with double beds and nicely arranged wooden furniture, but now that everything was already old and fallen apart the whole house had a spooky atmosphere.
Kentaro hurried inside one of the rooms to drop Taiga off the bed and the boy closed his eyes and rested his head on the pillows, the least he minded at the moment was the dust on them.
“Okay we are away from them and you don’t have to concentrate on walking anymore! So now I want explanations!” Myuto said without any kind of hesitation. He crossed his arms in front of his chest and looked from Aran to Taiga. Kentaro sat down on the bed next to Taiga, but didn’t seem to demand answers the same way as Myuto. Carefully Kentaro moved one hand to Taiga’s neck, but the latter flinched on the touch and backed off right away. With an apologizing look Kentaro withdrew his hand again.
“Sorry, I didn’t want to hurt you!”
“No don’t worry, it doesn’t really hurt that much,” Taiga calmed him down, but he seemed almost panicked by now, even though he seemed to feel better instead of worse.
“Hello, I asked something?” Myuto started again. “Then let’s get clearer here! What was in the injection?”
Taiga turned pale on the question, even paler as he already was usually and as he clenched his hands into the sheets on the bed, Kentaro looked up at Aran who seemed as clueless as them this time.
“I can get even more direct if you are refusing to answer! What Tegoshi said before, that you are a disgrace to-“
“Enough!” Kentaro yelled as he rose to his feet. Myuto stared at him startled and even Aran had jumped up on his sudden harsh tone. “We can still discuss this tomorrow!”
“What? Kentaro, he is-“
“Not now, okay? He needs to rest! We all need to! Aran, there are other bedrooms on this floor as well, right? Take Myuto to one of them and find yourself one, I will stay here.”
“No, Kentaro! I am not going to leave you alone with-“
“He is hurt and needs to rest! Everything else can wait until tomorrow and now out!”
He could see how Aran formed a brief smile which disappeared right away as he turned towards Myuto and pushed him towards the door. Myuto was obviously more than angry at Kentaro’s sudden outburst, but luckily he didn’t try to start a fight. The moment Myuto had mentioned what Tegoshi had said earlier Taiga had looked like he would wish for the ground to part and swallow him and Kentaro didn’t want him to feel like the bad guy. The whole time he had tried to protect him, so now it was his time to do the same. It wasn’t like he hadn’t known it before already, he wasn’t that blind. But for him nothing had changed, at least his feelings haven’t.
“Are you sure you shouldn’t talk to him?” Taiga asked worried, but Kentaro shook his head right away as he sat down again.
“Don’t worry, we are really good in quarrels and then forget about it the next day.”
“I still think it would be better if you-“
Taiga couldn’t finish his sentence as Kentaro turned towards him suddenly and shut him up with a kiss. It lasted just for a brief moment and when Kentaro backed off he left Taiga staring at him in confusion.
“What was that for?”
“What were your kisses for all the time?”
Taiga opened his mouth, but there was no answer coming out. He fell back against the pillows, closing his eyes once more and letting out a long sigh. He felt how Kentaro shifted next to him and the mattress felt lighter for a moment before he felt some weight on his legs so that he opened his eyes again, finding Kentaro sitting on top of him with his hands next to his head on the headboard.
“Ehm, didn’t you say I should rest?”
“I am gone right away if you say you need to rest,” Kentaro said and his challenging look made it hard for Taiga to think clear. What had happened over the time he was down in the dungeons? It hadn’t even been two days, but it seemed to have been enough for the other one to somehow change his behavior towards him completely, not that he minded it.
As Taiga didn’t answer Kentaro made a move to get off him again, but he didn’t come far as Taiga grabbed him by the collar to pull him into another kiss. This kiss had nothing to do with his protecting powers anymore, not that he hadn’t just used that as an excuse towards the end anyways. This time the kiss lasted longer and Kentaro dared to lick over the younger one’s lip and Taiga allowed him to deepen it. Taiga’s hands moved around the older one’s neck and up to his hair and when Kentaro let out a pleased moan inside his mouth he couldn’t control a brief satisfied smile. But Kentaro had noticed it and moved one hand under Taiga’s shirt in response, but Taiga refused to let out any sound which could show how aroused he already felt though just one kiss.
Kentaro on the other hand felt challenged through his denying attitude and shifted again so that he could put one of his legs between Taiga’s. The moment he lifted his knee to rub it over Taiga’s crotch the latter bit him on the lower lip instead of giving him the desired moan. Kentaro pulled back with a hiss and licked over his lip as he realized that it was bleeding.
It was obvious that they had to talk about this whole situation later, but it was clear for both that it really had to be done later! They were aware of the fact that Myuto or Aran could check up on them any minute and whatever had changed between them made it impossible to take it slow anyways.
Taiga tried to sit up more, but Kentaro wouldn’t let him and shifted back to pull him down until he was lying under him.
“You are hurt, so you are staying down there,” Kentaro whispered into his ear as he leant down to him, but instead of complaining Taiga reached out for his shirt to pull it up right away. Kentaro let him take it off without complains and sat up while Taiga moved his hands over the boy’s stomach with greedy eyes scanning his every feature. But of course it didn’t take long before he wasn’t satisfied with touching alone and he rocked up his hips against Kentaro’s who couldn’t hide a smirk on the craving eyes which couldn’t wait for him to take it further. And with Kentaro not being patient either, he really had to struggle hard to not rip Taiga’s clothes off in one go to satisfy his needs. His craving for the boy hadn’t come out of nowhere of course, but he had succeeded in running away from it as good as possible until now. But after almost losing Taiga, there was no time for second thoughts. He had decided and there were no words for what he felt. Kentaro didn’t even hesitate to give in or was it Taiga who had finally given in? The boy’s intention hadn’t been clear from the start and he still wasn’t sure what it was that made him so fascinating, because he knew about his identity and he could tell that this wasn’t the reason, but that was also part of the discussion they had to have…later!
Taiga stripped out of his own shirt without waiting for Kentaro to do it so they could speed things up and the way they were moving their hips against each other was a sign that they should take it indeed faster. Kentaro reached out for Taiga’s pants and pulled them down together with his underwear in one go so that Taiga didn’t have to move too much. He hadn’t forgotten that the boy was hurt and taking a look at his exposed body made him stop for a moment. With his pale skin the red marks on wrists were showing even more, but he was relieved to not find any other marks on his body.
As Taiga made a move to sit up Kentaro moved on top of him again and met him for a kiss as the boy was on his elbows already. He needed one hand to stabilize himself, but moved the other one around Taiga’s neck. He moved it over his shoulder to his collarbone slowly, but as he tried to move it around to his back the other one dropped to the mattress again, a few strands of hair falling into his eyes, making it impossible for Kentaro to stay calm. He crushed their lips together once more and slipped his tongue into the younger one’s mouth without even asking for permission. Through his sudden rough kiss he finally got to hear the moan he was waiting for, somewhere down from Taiga’s throat and the only reason he backed off after that was to get out of the rest of his clothes as well.
As he moved back to Taiga the boy was about to spread his legs, but Kentaro pushed his knees down again and sat on his tights instead.
“What are you doing?” Taiga asked a little bit confused, but also with some kind of excitement shining in his eyes.
“Just because you are hurt and shouldn’t move that much doesn’t mean you can’t do the work,” Kentaro replied as he got up on his knees and Taiga’s eyes filled with even more excitement as he reached out for the latter’s hips to help him to find a good position.
“And here I thought you would take full advantage of my weakness,” Taiga admitted and Kentaro let out a chuckle on that.
“Maybe I should have, but let’s say that it works faster like this.”
Taiga raised an eyebrow on that and Kentaro tried to ignore it, but Taiga’s glare on him made him sigh in defeat. “Let’s say I have the feeling you are not as used to it as I am.”
“Yes you are right I am not used to it, but I guessed the same about you. Wait, you and Myuto are just friends, right?”
Kentaro smacked his head on his ridiculous thoughts and Taiga cracked a brief smile before he faced him with a serious look again as Kentaro’s teasing smile fell as well. “Yes we are just friends. And no I have no one else I am in a relationship with, but let’s say I wasn’t asked if I wanted to experience it or not,” Kentaro let out in a low voice and suddenly Taiga felt really stupid for asking. He took one of Kentaro’s hands and caressed the back of it carefully for a moment before he pulled him down and gave him a passionate kiss and Kentaro melted away in it, forgetting all about their conversation for now. They were still kissing as Taiga moved under him and pushed Kentaro’s hips down and the older one lowered his hips carefully until he had taken him in completely. He let out a heavy breath into the kiss somewhere in the middle, but relaxed quite fast again.
For better balance Kentaro tried to get up a little bit again, but Taiga let out an annoyed groan as he backed off and bit him on the jawline as he broke the kiss. The other one let out a chuckle on that before he gave in to another kiss. The next moment though Taiga rocked up his hips making Kentaro turn away his face to take a sharp breath before he looked at the other one with a scolding glare, but Taiga just gave him a lopsided smile as he moved his hands greedily over Kentaro’s back down to his butt to grope it shamelessly while the other one still tried to relax.
“Maybe I should have taken advantage of you after all, who knows if I get the chance to do so when you are back to full strength?”
“Now it’s unfortunately too late to make a drawback,” Taiga replied teasing before he pushed up again resulting with Kentaro letting out a deep moan. But this time he finally responded with his own hip movements.
Not being able to hold back Kentaro reached out to push the sweaty strands of hair from Taiga’s forehead to drop a kiss on it. He moved his lips teasingly towards his ear and then down his neck making the other one shiver. His hand found its way to his stomach at the same time and then up to his chest. As he tried to move it around his back towards his shoulder blade though, Taiga grabbed his hand to stop him and moved it up to his neck instead. Kentaro didn’t complain and continued kissing and biting his way down the latter’s neck.
Taiga could feel how it got too much for him and he rolled his hips up again and Kentaro got the hint and started to move faster. He moved his lips back up to Taiga’s, but they barely touched as they both couldn’t stop from moaning through the way their bodies moved together. Taiga felt how pleasure filled his body until a point where it got almost painful and as Kentaro dropped another short kiss on his lips the feeling seemed to increase and for a moment he felt weird, but tried to shut it out.
“I’m close,” Taiga whispered against his lips and Kentaro just moved more through that and Taiga could do nothing but throw his head back and put his arm over his mouth to not moan too loud so the others wouldn’t hear them.
“Don’t,” Kentaro scolded him and grabbed his arm to pull it away. “I want to see your face when you come.”
Taiga couldn’t even refuse anything at this point anymore. His body was shivering and as he finally looked up at Kentaro again he found the boy touching himself, while he rolled his hips nonstop, driving Taiga crazy. The feeling from before hit him again and he had to clench his hands into the sheets to not pull Kentaro down. He was so close and still he felt this intense need to grab the other one by the hair and pull him down into a kiss, just one kiss!
At that thought his eyes widened in panic as he realized what was going on, but his orgasm hit him the same moment and made everything turn white and a wave of absolute satisfaction hit him.
Kentaro followed just seconds later and moved his hand up to cover his mouth to muffle his own moan before he rested his hands on the side of Taiga’s head, not willing to move away so fast. But he soon realized that Taiga had tensed under him and had closed his eyes with a weird pained expression on his face.
“Are you okay?” He asked worried, but the latter just kept breathing in and out in a slow rhythm. Kentaro moved off him carefully and sat down next to him as he realized that he was shaking and it was definitely not because of his orgasm anymore.
“What is wrong?” Kentaro reached out to touch his cheek, but the moment his fingertips touched his skin Taiga flung his eyes open and grabbed his wrist, pulling him down and the force made Kentaro fell on the mattress and the next moment Taiga was sitting on top of him.
His grip was tight and his eyes dark, which made Kentaro struggle right away, but he couldn’t get away from him. Taiga leant down to him and it was obvious that he tried to kiss him, but something was off. His eyes seemed completely empty and Kentaro succeeded in getting out of his grip and pushed him up again.
“Taiga, stop! What the hell is going on? You are-“ His words died in his throat and his eyes went wide open in shock as he looked over Taiga’s shoulders, black wings getting into his sight. They were spreading wide over his back, but Kentaro couldn’t really explain what was going on, he had never heard anything about black wings. But he had no time to think about it as Taiga tried to pin him down again, but this time Kentaro fought back with all his might and even though he was still confused about what was going on he landed a punch on Taiga’s face and suddenly the boy’s expression seemed to soften again.
“Taiga, please snap out of it!” Kentaro begged and the fear in his voice made Taiga look at him with an expression as if he wasn’t in control of his own doings anymore. He closed his eyes for a moment and gritted his teeth before he looked at Kentaro again.
“What are you seeing?” Taiga asked impatiently, but Kentaro blinked at him in confusion. “KENTARO, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING?” He shouted at him this time, so that the older one flinched.
“Wings, I see black wings on your back,” Kentaro answered, not knowing what else he could mean.
“Damnit!” Taiga crawled back, releasing Kentaro, but it seemed hard for him to remain in control. He was shaking all over as he shifted back. “Get away from me!”
“What? Taiga, please tell me what is going on, maybe I can help!”
“No, stay away!” Taiga warned him and Kentaro remained rooted to the other side of the bed, looking at Taiga in sheer panic, not knowing what he could do to help him.
“ARAN!” Taiga yelled suddenly and after he shouted a third time, they heard fast steps on the hallway. Taiga threw a blanket at Kentaro, who needed a moment to realize that they were both still naked and he covered himself right before Aran slammed the door open, of course followed by Myuto who looked first confused and then angry on the picture in front of him. But when he realized that Taiga seemed in an even worse shape than before and that Kentaro was standing completely next to himself, he knew that it wasn’t the time to scold him.
“What is going on?” Aran asked worried as he rushed over to Taiga, who tried to get up, but couldn’t even stand properly with his body shaking violently. Aran took the other blanket from the bed and threw it over his friend as he helped him up.
“Aran, you said this place was used as a clinic before, right?”
“Please tell me that they have something with which they chained patients down if necessary!”
“What? For what would you need them?”
“Is there anything or not?” Taiga hissed impatiently and his friend nodded hesitantly.
“Yes there are some chains and stuff downstairs, but-“
“Then let’s go!”
“Taiga, tell me what is going on!” Aran demanded and stopped his friend, shaking him on the shoulders.
“Yes I would like to get an explanation as well, you know,” Myuto hissed at him, sitting next to Kentaro who was still looking at Taiga with wide eyes.
“You can still see them, right?” Taiga addressed Kentaro and the boy nodded almost unconsciously.
“What are you seeing, would you get more direct?” Aran shouted at both of them.
“My wings,” Taiga answered in such a hurt voice as if he had just done the worst thing in the whole world. Aran went pale in the matter of seconds, staring at his friend with a disbelieving look.
“That is not possible! How?”
“The injection…I didn’t know when and how it will work, but now we know,” Taiga let out in a weak voice and the next moment he leant forward and held his face in his hands, letting out a pained noise. When he looked up again, his eyes were fixed on Kentaro, but Myuto shifted in front of him right away, sensing the danger. “Aran, please get me out of here!”
Aran didn’t hesitate this time and picked up Taiga’s clothes and dragged him out the room. Taiga’s body tried to resist the grip, but Aran knew that he had to get him away from the boy for now. Without knowing what exactly was going on, he couldn’t let them stay close. Taiga would never forgive himself if he sent him away, because he was forced to do so.
“Kentaro, what was that?” Myuto finally asked as they were left alone. But his friend didn’t answer, he was still staring towards the door, completely absent minded.
“What did he mean by you saw his wings? Which wings?”
This time Kentaro reacted and looked at Myuto as if he had just asked a completely stupid question.
“You couldn’t see them?” Kentaro asked buffed and Myuto shook his head. Nothing was making sense to him at the moment, but even though he really wanted to run after Taiga and help him, he also wanted to keep his distance. Reality had caught up with him in the worst way possible.
“You knew, didn’t you?” He asked Myuto after a moment of silence and his friend nodded slowly.
“You knew as well and not just after what Tegoshi said,” Myuto said and yes Kentaro couldn’t deny that. But over the whole time he didn’t want it to be true, even though he knew that there was no other explanation.
“Why, Kentaro? Why did you go this far, knowing what he was?”
Kentaro clenched his hands into the sheet which covered his body, as his friend looked at him kind of disappointed and he had every right to judge him. He had ignored his friend’s warning, had even fought with him, just to get the harsh reality shoved in his face in the cruelest way possible.
“Because he doesn’t seem to be able to accept the truth either,” Kentaro explained and as he looked up at Myuto again he saw how the latter’s eyes grew wider. The next moment a hand was on his cheek, wiping the tears away which he hadn’t realized he had shared. “He seemed so hurt right from the beginning, unwilling to be what he was supposed to be. I am not stupid, of course I realized that something wasn’t right, but that didn’t change the feeling I had towards him. And after we lost him, I realized that I didn’t care for the truth, I care for him, not for what he is!”
“But he tried to hurt you, he is-“
“It is not his fault,” Kentaro scolded his friend in a more aggressive voice than he wanted and he took one of Myuto’s hands in his own, caressing it lightly. “You are my most precious friend in this world and you will be forever irreplaceable for me, but that is also why I know that you understand my reason. You should know that I wouldn’t just keep acting reckless without a good reason.”
Myuto let out a long sigh as he squeezed Kentaro’s hands. Of course he wanted to support his friend, but seeing how everything turned out worse than he had expected and that after his friend had decided to take a really serious step with Taiga, it hurt him more than he had expected.
“When I told you that you made my life more interesting I didn’t expect you to turn it completely upside down. Maybe everyone was right, you are really the worst trouble maker,” Myuto scolded him in a teasing voice and Kentaro chuckled between a few sobs as he rested against his friend’s chest.
“Thank you so much for following that stupid idiot which turned your life into such a mess,” he let out in a low voice and Myuto just nodded, obviously still not ready to drop this topic completely.
The next moment the door opened again and Aran stepped in with a really weird expression on his face. He closed the door and stepped closer to the bed and Kentaro gasped as he saw the bloody claw like marks on his cheek.
“What happened?” Kentaro asked alarmed, but Aran sat down next to him before he could try to jump up.
“Don’t worry, everything is good…for now. Taiga lost control again as I chained him down.”
“You really put him into chains?” Myuto asked kind of impressed, because he could tell that Taiga was as important to Aran as Kentaro was to him and he wasn’t sure if he could do something cruel like this to his friend.
“He begged me to do it and if he loses control completely than none of us will be able to stop him, he is a Reaper after all.”
There it was! The truth! All of them were aware of it, but Kentaro’s stomach twisted as he heard the truth voiced out like this for the first time. For a moment he thought he would throw up, but his body seemed to be in a too big shock to even bring up the energy for that.
The next moment a furious scream was heard and Kentaro’s eyes went wide open in shock, but when Aran didn’t move and bit his lip. He feared that this wouldn’t be the last scream he would here from now one.
“So what are we supposed to do now? What exactly even happened to him?”
“He tried to give me a brief explanation of what he thinks is going on,” Aran started and tried to recall everything Taiga had told him in a hurry before. “He had searched for a way to get Kentaro off Hokuto’s list and so far he had found two ways, but because the first one was hard to accomplish he searched for another way, but what he found was even more dangerous and before he could even learn about the details himself Tegoshi captured him. The worst part is that Tegoshi found out about the book he had studied and he had used the method on Taiga as a punishment.”
“The injection!” Kentaro let out with a hint of panic in his voice and Aran nodded.
“Hokuto’s blood was in it and when you transfer the blood of one Reaper to another, then the mission will get taken off him and transferred to the other one. But Taiga hadn’t had the time to read about the effects and after he seemed okay at first he thought it didn’t work. Until he…”
“Tried to kill Kentaro?” Myuto ended his sentence for him with a judging look, but Kentaro had no energy left to scold his friend. It wasn’t Taiga’s fault after all. He had tried to safe him, not to hurt him.
“So is there a way to stop it or to return the mission to the original person?” Kentaro asked, but Aran shrugged his shoulders. “I would need to have access to their library and get the book to get to know about the details myself, but that won’t be that easy.”
“Okay so for the moment we are stuck,” Myuto concluded and Kentaro let out a defeated sigh before another outraged scream made his blood froze. Kentaro covered his ears and Myuto turned towards Aran.
“Would you mind giving us a moment?”
Aran just nodded before he got up and told them that he would take a look at Taiga for now and they should take their time to calm down as well.
“But please promise me to not run away, okay? Trust me, you will hurt Taiga even more if you vanish out of reach, then his powers will rip him apart.”
Kentaro just nodded briefly and waited until Aran was out of the room before he finally dared to let the sheets slide from his shoulders and Myuto got up to get his clothes together so that he could finally get dressed again.
Myuto leant with his back at one of the shelfs at the side of the room and waited in silence until his friend was done. When the older one sat down on the bed with a sigh again Myuto flicked his tongue, so that he looked up at him. After Aran had interrupted their conversation Kentaro had hoped that they could drop it, but he knew that he couldn’t run away from the scolding.
“I tried to tell you the whole time that something was off,” Myuto started were they had ended their conversation when Aran had come in. He tried to keep his voice calm, but the accusation was clear.
“Why didn’t you listen to me?” Myuto said this time raising his voice, while Kentaro moved his legs up to his chest and hugged them.
“No, Kentaro! That is not an answer!” Myuto walked over to him and stopped right in front of the bed with his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Since when did you know that he was a Reaper?”
“I-don’t know… I wasn’t sure…”
“Don’t you dare lie to me!” Myuto suddenly yelled at him and Kentaro flinched on his sudden outraged tone. “You just didn’t want to believe it! But why? Out of what reason?”
“I like him…that is why…” Kentaro let out in a hoarse voice and he moved one hand up to his lips, chewing nervously on his thumb. It felt ridiculous to be forced to voice out those feelings, after all he had been more than obvious, or not?
“Oh and you didn’t think about the possibility that he is a master of seduction as a Reaper? That you just like him, because he wants you to like him?”
Kentaro looked up at him with wide eyes, the hurt completely visible now. “You really think I wouldn’t have noticed that? I know that he has his tricks and yes he used them on me at first, but now it is different.”
Myuto escaped a disbelieving chuckle and he started pacing up and down in front of the bed while Kentaro tried to curl up even more, hoping that the ground could just swallow him like this.
“Did he make the first move?”
Myuto rolled his eyes and stopped in front of his friend again. “Today! Was it him who made a move on you first?”
“No, it actually came from me,” Kentaro voiced out carefully and his friend’s look darkened even more.
“I guess that can’t be helped anymore, but I hope you learnt your lesson.”
Kentaro didn’t even answer on that. He sat up straight again and moved his legs to the ground, while his look went from hurt to offended. Myuto raised an eyebrow on his sudden change of attitude, but he didn’t seem to get that it was because he had said something extremely offending.
“Learnt my lesson? Taiga is not the bad guy here! The other Reapers did this to him! He is not hurting me on his free will,” Kentaro let out annoyed, biting the inside of his cheek to keep himself from yelling at his friend.
“Come on, Kentaro. He is a Reaper! He lied to you the whole time, to us! You can’t seriously still defend him? Damnit, why was I so stupid and let you stay alone with him in the same room, even though I was sure about his identity already!”
Kentaro’s mind caught up to his body’s movements when everything was already over. He had jumped up and slapped his friend so hard that his hand was now slightly shaking. Tears of rage and disappointment were showing in his eyes and even when Myuto looked at him in complete shock he wouldn’t apologize.
“You can scold me as much as you want, because yes as a friend I have definitely failed on the whole way until here. I lied to you, I put my trust in someone else and tried to push you away to keep you safe. But I won’t allow you to form such an opinion about him, after you characterized him just because he is a Reaper. You didn’t even once try to understand him, so don’t you dare to make him the bad guy now!”
Myuto took a shuddering breath before he lowered his eyes to the ground and bit his lip to stop it from shaking. Kentaro knew that his words were harsh, but it was because they were friends that he needed Myuto to understand that he was anything but under some kind of spell of Taiga and that the boy had tried his best until now to keep him safe and that he should earn respect for that from Myuto and not doubt and derision.
Myuto was about to turn away from his friend, obviously needing some time for himself, but Kentaro felt that he couldn’t let him go like this. He jumped forward and hugged him from behind, resting his head against his back. “You are not going to leave, right? I need you here with me, you hear me? Nothing will ever stand between us, not even Taiga!” This time Kentaro failed in keeping his voice steady and a sob stopped him from talking for a moment and just when Myuto took one of his hands in his he found the strength to keep talking. “I want you to trust me! And trusting me also includes trusting Taiga. I know it is much to ask for, but please don’t leave me alone.”
A sigh was heard from the other one, but when he looked towards the ceiling it sounded more like a sob suddenly and when he looked down to Kentaro’s hands around his waist again the boy felt how a tear dropped on his hands and his friend’s grip on his hands got tighter.
“Idiot, I can’t leave you alone! As you said, I can scold you as much as I want and I need to scold you a lot, otherwise you will do something stupid again!” Myuto freed himself out of his grip and wiped over his eyes once before he moved over to the door without turning around, but he paused with the doorknob in hand. “You are like a brother to me and family can always relay on each other.”
Kentaro nodded even though he knew that his friend couldn’t see it and the tears finally rolled down his cheeks as Myuto stepped out the room, leaving him alone for now. No he wouldn’t leave. He just needed time on his own. They both did right now.
Kentaro walked back to the bed, but sat down on the ground instead with his back leaning against it. He buried his face in his knees and didn’t even try to hold back the sobs and tears anymore. Once in a while he had the right to break as well before he would stand up stronger than before.
Kentaro woke up as someone shook him lightly on the shoulder and when he opened his eyes he found Aran sitting next to him on the bed. He couldn’t even remember when he had ended up on top of it again and when he had fallen asleep.
“For how long was I asleep?” He asked worried, but Aran calmed him down before he could jump up.
“Just about two hours, don’t worry. When I wanted to check up on you earlier Myuto told me that you needed to rest.
“Is Myuto okay?”
“I told him to rest as well. I was about to wake him up in a bit.”
“Let him sleep some more, he needs to rest as well.”
Aran just nodded. Even though he hadn’t heard their fight, he was definitely aware of the fact that something had happened between them and Kentaro was really thankful to him that he didn’t make him talk about it.
“How is Taiga?”
“Not good at all to be honest,” Aran let out with a sigh. He was in a serious need to rest as well, but somehow Kentaro knew that even if he told him to lie down for a bit he wouldn’t do so. “I was with him until just a few minutes ago, but his powers were too much to handle it seems and he lost consciousness.”
Kentaro needed a moment to react to that, because just the thought of Taiga suffering this much because of him made him feel nauseous again.
“Can I see him?”
“Not sure if that is a good idea. His powers might react even more intense when you are closer. I don’t want to risk seeing him in even more pain.
Kentaro nodded without trying to convince the other one to let him go, because he didn’t want to risk anything either. He just felt the need to talk to Taiga, to tell him that everything was okay and that he was definitely not angry or afraid of him.
“Shall we wake up Myuto?” Aran asked after a few more minutes in silence and Kentaro got up and followed after Aran who was already on his way to the door. They stepped out into the corridor, but then there was a sudden movement on their right and Aran grabbed Kentaro forcefully by the arm and pushed him towards the other side of the corridor with so much force that the boy landed on the ground with a pained yelp.
When Aran screamed out behind him he swirled around with wide eyes and froze on the spot as someone stood in front of the boy holding him by the throat, pressed against the wall with so much force that Aran couldn’t even scream out anymore. The man in front of him was just a few years older than him with long brown hair and his strength told him right away that he couldn’t be human, but he hadn’t seen him before either.
“Where is he?” He growled at Aran who just stared back at him with a hateful glare and tried desperately to loosen the grip around his throat.
“KENTARO!” Myuto came running towards them and helped Kentaro up on his feet, but stayed away from the stranger as well, shoving Kentaro behind him intuitively.
“So you are the one Taiga is protecting,” the other one let out and Myuto stretched his arm out protectively in front of his friend. Of course it was obvious to the other one the way Aran had shoved him to the side before and how Myuto jumped in front of him now.
“Let him go!” Kentaro demanded in a steady voice, but the other one didn’t make a move to do as he said. Instead he suddenly added more force on the boy’s throat and lifted him up against the wall so that his feet didn’t touch the ground anymore. Aran chocked and his body started jerked violently under the other one’s grip and it was obviously that he was about to suffocate the boy in no time if they didn’t do anything.
But before they could think about any strategy there was another scream, down from the basement and Kentaro cursed in silence. The other one didn’t even need to ask any more questions and he let Aran drop to the ground who coughed painfully in the attempt to fill his lunges with air again. Their attacker was already on his way towards Taiga, but Kentaro ran over to Aran first, helping him up.
“Are you okay?”
“We have to stop him!” Aran let out with a hoarse voice and Myuto stepped on his other side to help him up and they started moving after the other one.
“Who is he?” Myuto asked worried and he wasn’t really sure if he wanted to know the answer.
“He is Taiga’s mentor. To be honest it is good that he has found us and not one of the others. Like this we have at least a small chance of this working out without anyone dying.”
“He almost killed you right now if you haven’t noticed,” Myuto scolded him.
They rushed down the stairs, Aran telling them where to go and then they reached an open double door and Kentaro held his breath as they stepped in. Of course Fujigaya had already arrived, but what shocked him was the way Taiga was chained up between two metal poles. His legs were free, but his wrists were bleeding through the force with which he still yanked on the chains.
“Taiga,” Kentaro let out in a shaking voice and Taiga’s look fell on him right away and he let out an outraged scream, trying to free himself with even more force. The wings were still visible to him and even though Myuto was right next to him, grabbing his hand as he realized how bitterly he was suddenly shaking, he couldn’t calm down.
They all looked up at Fujigaya who had turned towards them with a murderous glare and it was Aran who spoke up first, while Kentaro’s look wandered off towards Taiga again.
“Kentaro can see his wings, Tegoshi has succeeded in transferring the mission from Hokuto to him. He told me to chain him down until we find a solution.”
“The only solution is to let him end the mission,” Fujigaya hissed at them and then he moved towards Kentaro without any kind of hesitation. Aran jumped forward, but when he reached out for Fujigaya to stop him the older one pushed him away with so much force that he slammed into the wall with a pained yelp. Myuto dashed forward next, but Fujigaya grabbed him by the hair and slammed him into the ground.
“MYUTO!” Kentaro wanted to help his friend, but he couldn’t even get close to him, because Fujigaya was right in front of him the next moment and grabbed him by the hair dragging him towards Taiga.
“Don’t! Please, don’t,” Aran whimpered while he tried to crawl over towards them and Myuto also tried to get up again, but blood was dripping from his nose and lip and he fell down again not able to remain on his feet with everything spinning around him.
Kentaro slashed around, trying to get away from Fujigaya, but his strength was nothing compared to his and when they reached Taiga the boy had set eyes on Kentaro right away. Fujigaya reached out for the chains and freed one of Taiga’s arms. The latter reached out for Kentaro’s collar and pulled him closer, but Kentaro tried to push him away on his shoulders.
“Come on kid, spare us the drama, okay? You didn’t think you would be able to run forever, did you?” Fujigaya asked him while he stepped away, knowing that Kentaro wouldn’t be able to get out of Taiga’s grip. Taiga was breathing heavily now and his eyes were completely black, staring at him with a murderous glare, but Kentaro didn’t want to give up now. Taiga had come this far to help him, what would happen to him if he realized later that it was him who sent Kentaro away?
“Taiga, please don’t,” Kentaro begged him, but at first there was no reaction and Taiga pulled him closer, obviously trying to kiss him, but with his other hand still trapped it was hard for him to keep Kentaro in place. But instead of trying to run away Kentaro stepped forward and flung his arms around Taiga on which the other one froze.
“What the hell are you doing?” Fujigaya wanted to separate them again, but Myuto was finally back on his feet and tackled him to the ground and Aran also crawled over to them to keep Fujigaya away from them as long as possible.
“Taiga, please snap out of it,” Kentaro begged him again and Taiga tried to yank himself free from the chains again while trying to push Kentaro away with his free hand, but the latter had his hands clenched in the back of his shirt, ignoring how his fingers stroke over the black feathers. Taiga let out another scream and with the next yank he finally broke the chain and threw Kentaro to the ground.
Fujigaya succeeded at the same moment to get the two boys off him and Myuto shouted out for Kentaro as Taiga leant down over his friend, but then there was silence and Taiga stopped moving just inches away from the boy’s face.
“Taiga?” Kentaro asked in a shaking voice and then Taiga blinked and the black color resolved and for a moment he was back to normal, except for the black wings.
“Kentaro, I am so sorry,” Taiga started, but then he winced and stumbled backwards holding his head.
“Taiga, what are you doing?” Fujigaya reached out for him and shook him on his shoulders, but Taiga bent over and let out a gasp, unable to answer. “Why are you resisting?”
Fujigaya grabbed him by the shoulders to prevent him from falling to his knees and Taiga clawed his hands into the fabric of the other one’s shirt to be able to look up at him.
“Taisuke, please don’t let me sent him away. He is not guilty, you know that I am not lying!”
The others fell completely silent while Taiga tried desperately to not lose it again, but it was clear that he couldn’t win the fight for long. But now his mentors face has changed and guilt was showing on it.
“They won’t just let it pass like this.”
“I don’t care! Taisuke, I don’t care what happens afterwards. I don’t want to punish him for something that shouldn’t be considered a crime. Please, Taisuke!” Taiga bent forward again and this time it took Fujigaya a lot of effort to hold the boy up.
“I won’t let them hurt you!”
“After sending him away no one would ever be able to hurt me worse,” his broken voice finally cracked something in Fujigaya and he looked over to Kentaro whose eyes were set on Taiga in sheer panic and worry.
“I hope you know what you are getting yourself into,” Fujigaya let out and Taiga nodded and gave him a brief smile. The boy tried to move his head up, but he didn’t have to move much, because Fujigaya leant down towards him and held his head in place with one hand around his chin while he stabilized him with the other one around his hips. The kiss was short, but intense and the next moment Taiga collapsed into his arms and Fujigaya lifted him up.
“I hope you are really worth the trouble,” Fujigaya addressed Kentaro who was still starring at them in a complete loss, not really understanding what had just happened. But before he could ask anything Fujigaya carried Taiga out of the room, but something told him that he wasn’t going to take him away.
“Aran, what the hell was that about?” Myuto asked confused staring after Fujigaya and Taiga.
“Long story. But in short: Fujigaya is willing to help us and he just used his powers on Taiga to give him a rest.”
Actually that was the part Kentaro wanted to hear, because the kiss had confused him a lot. But something about Fujigaya told him that this kiss wasn’t actually just out of that reason, not that this should be of his concern for now.
“Come on get up,” Aran told them as he moved over to the door and Kentaro got up to help Myuto up.
Fujigaya had brought Taiga into the room where he had been in with Kentaro before and the boys eyed him carefully when they entered. But Kentaro moved up to Taiga nevertheless and sat down next to him which gained him a raised eyebrow from Fujigaya, but he didn’t comment on it.
“Okay boys, we don’t have much time. Hokuto might have lost the mission, but I doubt he and Ryosuke can distract Tegoshi for long,” Fujigaya started on which Aran looked at him in confusion.
“Wait, what? They are helping us?”
“They are helping Taiga, don’t confuse that,” Fujigaya said, reminding him that he also didn’t want to help them, but his student. But if rescuing Kentaro was the only way to do so then he had to somehow make this work.
“How much did Taiga tell you about what he had found out about rescuing the boy?”
“He told me that he had found two methods, but both were risky.”
Fujigaya looked at Myuto and Kentaro next, but both seemed not aware of either method.
“Okay let me get this straight, the easiest way to erase a mission would actually be killing you right here, but unfortunately as a Reaper we can’t just kill a human.”
Kentaro tensed on his words and Myuto made a protective step closer to him, but with Fujigaya explaining right away that he couldn’t do so, this possibility was luckily already out of question.
“The first way Taiga found was making you stay as an innocent person in this world by trying to send you away through a kiss, but stopping right before you pass the border. Like this your guilt would be stuck between the two worlds and you could remain in the human world.”
“But?” Kentaro asked impatient, because of course there was a rub in it, otherwise Taiga would have done it already.
“He thought he wouldn’t be able to do it,” Aran answered instead and Fujigaya nodded.
“I didn’t actually speak directly to him about it, because after all I didn’t know what was going on. But when I finally get to know about his…betrayal, I thought already that he definitely feared that he couldn’t make it.”
“But why? Is it such a hard task?” Kentaro asked worried, his hand moving slowly towards Taiga’s hair, but he halted to see Fujigaya’s reaction, but as he didn’t stop him he stroke carefully over the younger one’s hair.
“It’s a theory, that’s the problem. Someone had definitely succeeded, because otherwise it wouldn’t be written in the book, but he can’t ask someone for advice nor can he practice it. If he fails, everything is over.”
Kentaro’s look darkened on that, because he could understand why he had decided against it.
“And there is actually a second problem. It was written later in that chapter, but even though a Reaper can hide the presence of a guilty one, only the Reaper in charge of the mission can free him from his guilt with the kiss.”
“Means Taiga wouldn’t have been able to do it even if he wanted,” Aran concluded with a gloomy look.
“And the second method?” Myuto asked to everyone’s surprise, but of course the boy wanted to rescue his friend, so if there was a way he wanted to know.
“The second method I discovered in another book, but unfortunately Tegoshi had found it. The problem with this one is that it is not actually a way to rescue the guilty one, but to spare the Reaper which has the mission the pain of not finding him. But in the end it wasn’t even Taiga’s choice anymore if he wanted to use it or not.”
“The injection,” Kentaro let out in a low voice, stroking over the boy’s neck.
“Exactly. The second method allows transferring the mission from one Reaper to another. Normally it doesn’t matter, because if one Reaper can’t find the person, normally none can. But this case was different and Tegoshi took advantage of it. With injecting Hokuto’s blood the mission got transferred to Taiga, that is also why you can see his wings. As the guilty one you can just see the wings of the Reaper who has to send you away.”
Kentaro felt how he slowly got a headache through all the explanations, but putting all the pieces together a small light of hope found its way into his chest.
“But then he can now try and rescue me, right?”
“He can, yes. But you see the state he is in, right? A mission transfer isn’t as easy to handle as if it is your own mission. Taiga’s mind orders him to end this mission as fast as possible, causing him even more pain then Hokuto had to go through.”
“But he didn’t send Kentaro away earlier, even though he touched him,” Myuto said with a kind of confused look.
“And that is actually our only hope…” Fujigaya started and took Taiga’s hand in his, stroking over his fingers with a lost stare, before he sighed and looked up at Kentaro. The boy automatically held his breath, because there was some kind of weird atmosphere between them out of a sudden.
“What hope?” Aran asked impatient and Fujigaya sighed once more before he pointed at Kentaro.
“Taiga’s feelings for him seem stronger than the pain the mission puts on him. Means if he is strong enough, he can win over the order to send him away. Touching Kentaro and not sending him away had almost ripped him apart, I felt that, but he still kept fighting. It hurt me so much seeing him in this state that I would love to take the mission from him and send you away myself.”
His words made Myuto almost jump and he was right next to Kentaro with one step, one hand protectively on his shoulder and a death glare directed towards Fujigaya, who lifted his hands right away.
“No worries. A mission transfer just works once, so I can’t do it. And I also know that if I did it somehow, Taiga wouldn’t forgive me and I wouldn’t be able to live with him hating me.”
That actually made Kentaro relax a little bit again. Now he had the explanation he needed for the feeling he had had earlier when Fujigaya had kissed Taiga. The way he looked at Taiga, how far he was willing to go to help him without hurting him, it all made sense to him now and somehow he felt like he had interfered in something he should have stayed away from. But somehow Fujigaya didn’t seem as if he wanted to interfere in what Taiga and Kentaro had either. Of course he didn’t seem to like it, but he also didn’t have the right to claim Taiga for himself.
“So what are we going to do?” Aran asked and all eyes were on Fujigaya.
“For now we have to wait until he wakes up again. He needs all the strength he can get to take on this challenge. It has to happen without any delay or he will get furious and uncontrollable again.
“Can I stay with him?” Kentaro asked and everyone else exchanged a worried look.
“Not alone, but I guess none of us wants to leave him alone, so we should take shifts and call the others when he wakes up. The other two should take a look around the house, because we have to be careful that no one finds us.” With no one he meant Tegoshi of course, but that was clear.
“Guess Myuto and I take a look around first, then.”
“What? No, I am not leaving Kentaro’s side.” Myuto complained right away on Aran’s words, but Kentaro took his hand in his and squeezed it with a faint smile.
“It’s okay, don’t worry. Maybe you two should also first treat your wounds,” Kentaro said as calm as possible and Myuto couldn’t deny that he really needed at least some water to clean his face, but he still didn’t want to leave Kentaro alone with Fujigaya. “Myuto, please?”
On Kentaro’s begging the boy sighed and nodded. Of course Fujigaya wouldn’t want to leave Taiga’s side right away either, so if they didn’t want to draw lots, Aran and him had to go first.
“We won’t be away for long. And make sure to contact us if he wakes up, I don’t care how, but do it,” Myuto said warningly more towards Fujigaya than Kentaro before he walked over to the door with Aran.
When it closed a heavy silence followed between them with both of them resting their eyes on Taiga, who was luckily breathing in a calm rhythm, no pain visible on his face.
“So I guess Taiga is always the rebellious type?” Kentaro asked to finally break through the wall between them, even though the question sounded weird to himself. Did he really think Fujigaya would want a normal conversation with him? But to his surprise Fujigaya let out a low chuckle and took Taiga’s hand back into his.
“You have no idea how much chaos he has created in just a few years.”
“Somehow I can imagine,” Kentaro replied while still stroking over the boy’s hair.
“You like him, don’t you?”
The direct question startled Kentaro and even though he opened his mouth, no answer came out.
“No worries, it’s more than obvious. Taiga is really obvious about his own feelings as well.”
“But as a Reaper the contact to humans isn’t allowed normally, right?” What was even the meaning of asking such a stupid question? But what else was he supposed to say?
“We have our own world to live in, our own people to love, so yes the rules forbid it. But Taiga doesn’t really care for any rules.”
This point was already more than clear and somehow it made Kentaro feel proud, because he was important enough to Taiga to make him leave all caution behind and risk everything to protect him. But on the other hand it also gave him a harsh sting of guilt.
“But you like him as well, don’t you? You know him way better than I do and you can protect him.”
“Protect him? As you can see I’ve failed in that the whole way. But yes I know him quite well, which also made me realize that I can’t give him what he needs.” Fujigaya’s look darkened and his eyes suddenly got filled with some kind of melancholy. “I tried to protect him the whole time, even though I knew that he was breaking our rules nonstop. I even knew about Aran, but made sure that Tegoshi and the others wouldn’t find out.”
Somehow it didn’t even surprise Kentaro to hear that, because Fujigaya seemed really protective of the boy.
“He isn’t born to be a Reaper, but unfortunately this fate can’t be stopped. But now that he got involved with you more than he should, I doubt that he can go back to his life before.”
“What will happen to him?” Kentaro asked worried, because whatever would happen to him, he wanted Taiga to be safe, even if he failed rescuing him.
“I’m not sure to be honest. Bringing him close to any other Reaper could result in a trial in front of the council and that is something I won’t let happen.”
Kentaro wanted to ask more about the council and all their rules, but maybe it was better to wait until they had solved his problem.
“You should take some rest,” Fujigaya said with a faint smile and for a moment Kentaro hesitated, but then Fujigaya shifted back, signaling him that it was okay to lie down on the bed next to Taiga.
“You don’t have to worry. I treasure Taiga too much to hurt his most beloved person.”
The sting hit right in his chest, because with Fujigaya accepting that Taiga seemed to feel more for him than for his mentor, Fujigaya had officially announced his defeat.
Kentaro nodded with a brief smile before he crawled completely on the bed and lay down next to Taiga. Knowing that Fujigaya was sitting at the end of the bed wasn’t making it easy for him to really rest, but for now he shut his eyes and tried to calm down and sooner than he thought his exhaustion took over him.
“Be ready that he will try to attack you right away,” Fujigaya warned Kentaro when it seemed like Taiga was about to wake up. Aran and Myuto had also come back from their third patrol already, while they had changed with Fujigaya and Kentaro one time. It had surprised both that they had agreed on leaving Taiga alone and even more had it surprised them that Kentaro didn’t mind going out on patrol with Fujigaya. Myuto had first refused to let them go, but he couldn’t deny that he and Aran also needed a break and as a good side effect they had found some time to talk to each other without the conversation ending in a fight. But now that Taiga was about to wake up there was no way any of them would leave again.
“It will be okay,” Kentaro said more to himself than towards Fujigaya. Myuto was protectively standing next to him and they were told to stay next to the door just in case, while Aran and Fujigaya were next to Taiga, ready to hold him down if necessary.
With a groan the boy finally opened his eyes and for a moment he seemed extremely confused about what had happened and how he had ended up in the bed. Then his look fell first on Aran who gave him a supporting smile, and then he turned and looked at Fujigaya whose face was hard to read.
“Taisuke?” Taiga let out as if he couldn’t actually believe that it hadn’t been a dream that he had suddenly showed up and that made him remember what exactly had happened and he sat up in such a rush that both reached out for his arms. Taiga looked at them in confusion before his look darkened. Of course they had to keep an eye on his actions as he wasn’t exactly himself at the moment. When he finally lifted his gaze his eyes locked with Kentaro’s.
“Kentaro…” His voice seemed so broken, his look so apologizing and Kentaro made a step forward right away, but Myuto held him back, shaking his head. Before Taiga could say anything else a sting shot through his head and he closed his eyes with a groan on which Fujigaya tensed.
“Taiga, stay with us! I need you to focus and to listen to me,” Fujigaya told him as he sat right next to him and grabbed him by the shoulders. Aran let go of him, but remained close as well, his look turning more and more worried. “Taiga?”
“Yes I am listening,” Taiga replied while trying to suppress the urge of losing control. He felt how his mind got clouded with the one thought he had to keep out of his mind the most. With all his might he kept staring at Fujigaya, hoping that focusing on his words would make it easier to fight the mission.
“You have read the books, you know how it works! You can end the mission, but you can also rescue Kentaro. This is your choice!”
The sudden pressure wasn’t making the task easier and Taiga shook his head, even though he felt like the biggest coward ever. After all he had rescued Kentaro to help him to survive, right? Now he could do exactly what was necessary to archive that, but what if he failed?
“I don’t want to be responsible if he gets send away. What if I can’t take control? The mission already took over my mind once, how can I guarantee that it won’t happen again?”
“You can’t,” Fujigaya answered without any hesitation. “But you risked everything for that boy and if you give up here Tegoshi will find a way to bring the mission to an end another way.”
Taiga tensed even more on his words, but one side glance towards Kentaro made clear that the boy was aware of the danger, but was also hoping that Taiga could handle the situation.
“Taiga, you can do this,” Aran supported him and squeezed his shoulder, but Taiga was still not convinced. There were still several meters between him and Kentaro, but his body was already longing for him like a wild beast ready to tear an innocent soul apart.
“Taiga?” On Kentaro’s voice Taiga looked up at him right away and this time Myuto didn’t hold him back as he took a step forward, but he remained cautious, ready to jump between them if necessary. Kentaro cracked a small, but still supporting smile which startled Taiga a little bit. “I don’t know much about Reapers and I have no idea what kind of pain you have to endure at the moment, but the fact that you have succeeded in getting back into control before, showed that you are capable of handling those powers. And even if not…” Kentaro paused for a moment and looked to the ground before he looked up with an even brighter smile, which seemed to carry so much trust and still so much insecurity that it almost hurt Taiga. “Even if you not succeed, you tried! You tried for me and that is already more than someone like me can ask for. You stepped up against your own people. You broke rules and borders just to rescue a stupid human like me. That’s already more than enough.”
They both just kept staring for a moment and no one really dared to say something. Fujigaya’s look had darkened a little bit, but after he had another talk with Kentaro on their patrol it was clear to both of them that they were fighting for the same kind of attention from Taiga, but the winner was to be decided by Taiga anyways.
Kentaro dared to make another step and was standing right in front of the bed now. Taiga moved and sat up on his knees and even though Fujigaya shifted out of the way he still kept a grip on the boy’s arm while Myuto and Aran also kept their eyes on both of them.
When Kentaro dared to sit down on the bed Taiga took a deep breath his thoughts racing, his body burning and his eyes fixed on the boy. He opened his mouth to say something, but then he chocked and the sting was back, now evolving to a breaking headache and he grabbed Aran and Fujigaya by the wrists on which both reacted immediately and held him back before he could do any damage. Kentaro also froze, but didn’t move back. Everyone waited for Taiga to get back into control, but this time it took longer. He shut his eyes forcefully again, the headache trying to break him like screaming voices in his head. His mission was clear and unavoidable! That is what they had learned, but now they knew more and if he was strong enough he could bring another turning point to their traditions.
“Kentaro, could you…come closer on your own?” Taiga begged him suddenly, his eyes still forcefully shut so that he couldn’t see Kentaro’s nod, but of course he felt the movement on the bed. His heart was hammering merciless against his chest as if it wanted to escape the torture and when Kentaro suddenly put his hand on Taiga’s knee the latter flinched and leaned backwards, but the backrest didn’t allow him to back off any further.
“Is it working even when it is me kissing him?” Kentaro asked out of a sudden and Fujigaya needed a moment to realize that the question was meant for him. He thought about it a moment before he nodded.
“The kiss itself is the indicator, but there are no rules which say that it would just work if it is indicated from our side.”
Without any hesitation Kentaro cupped Taiga’s face and the boy shut his eyes with even more force on the touch and let out another groan as his mind seemed to cause him even more pain now that he was so close.
“Taiga stay with me, okay?”
Taiga nodded on his words, but didn’t answer. Every distraction could make him break under the pressure now.
“You remember when you were so troubled about choosing my safety over your people and traditions? The evening when you told me that you were troubled, but couldn’t tell me the reason?”
Again Taiga nodded, because of course he remembered and Aran did as well, at least the morning after it. Just Fujigaya and Myuto were clueless, but that wasn’t important at the moment.
“That night I had already figured out that you were a Reaper,” Kentaro admitted and it made them all stare at him. “I didn’t want to believe it. Somehow I tried to convince myself the whole time that there was another explanation, but as much as I thought about it, there wasn’t. The only reason I couldn’t admit it for so long was that you helped me! As a Reaper that is not what you do, so I couldn’t understand you. You were just sleeping next to me that night and all your troubles weren’t visible at that time anymore. You were so peaceful, just like a human and that is when I just didn’t care anymore if my theory was right or not, because it doesn’t matter.”
Kentaro’s words seemed to calm Taiga down as he finally relaxed and Fujigaya and Aran could also loosen their grip on him slightly. He still didn’t dare to open his eyes, but the memory of his first moment of weakness made him calm down. It wasn’t something he regretted and hearing how important it was for Kentaro made him almost smile. Kentaro stroke with his thumb over Taiga’s cheek with a smile which the boy couldn’t see, but he still seemed to relax even more.
“I am not sure how important it was for you, but for me it finally made me realize that Reapers and humans aren’t that different after all. We all feel troubled and angry. And we can also fall in love.” Kentaro shot Fujigaya a short side glance and the latter saw it, but tried to not show any unnecessary reaction. “I love you Taiga and with accepting this I also trust you with my life.”
Admitting all his feelings in front of everyone would have made him feel embarrassed under other circumstances, but now his full attention was on Taiga as he waited for his reaction and finally the boy opened his eyes.
“Say that again,” Taiga let out with such a startled expression that it made Kentaro almost smile.
“I love you,” he replied and Taiga didn’t even had to answer to make clear how important those words were for him. That this was what he needed to stay sane, to find the strength and confidence to stay in control of his powers.
“Oh aren’t you cute?”
His voice came out of nowhere and all of them flinched turning their heads around and Myuto was already jumping towards the door to block it, but the voice was already too close to be actually from outside. A huge impact right in their middle threw everyone except for Taiga from the bed and black fire spread on the bed for a few seconds before it resolved again, revealing Tegoshi.
“What? How?” Fujigaya asked startled as he got back on his feet first, while Myuto helped up Kentaro and dragged him away from the bed. Aran had his eyes fixed on Taiga who was sitting behind Tegoshi on the bed with wide eyes.
“Guess even as a mentor you should study a little bit more about all our powers,” Tegoshi said mockingly before his eyes fell on Kentaro. Myuto looked towards the door, but he wasn’t a fool. There was no way they would be faster than Tegoshi, especially with those powers. They didn’t know how they worked and if he had still other tricks he could use on them, so they all stayed rooted.
“Tegoshi, please listen…”
“No, you listen, Fujigaya! You disobeyed my orders and even succeeded in making my students taking part in your stupid game. Now you all have to bear with the consequences!”
Realizing that Ryosuke and Hokuto had failed in hiding that something was going on he worried for the boys’ safety as well, but he could just hope that since Tegoshi was acting out of duty and not out of insanity that he hadn’t punished his own students for something Fujigaya was at fault for.
“And you,” Tegoshi started as he turned around on the bed, facing Taiga who pressed his back against the backrest. “This is your last chance to prove that you are still with us. Finish the mission and I won’t drag you to the council.”
Taiga looked towards Fujigaya, searching for help, but his mentor’s eyes showed the same disbelieve he was feeling. There was no way Tegoshi would just let things drop like this even if he finished the mission.
“Are you willing to end the mission?”
Of course Taiga could just say yes and try and safe Kentaro on the way, but what would Tegoshi do if he noticed his rescue try? In the end he shook his head and as expected Tegoshi’s face darkened immediately.
“Then I guess I have no choice.”
When Tegoshi pulled out a small bottle filled with powder, Taiga turned to look at Fujigaya, but the latter didn't seem to know what it was or did either. When he opened it Taiga was prepared to get it emptied over him, but to everyone's surprise Tegoshi emptied it to the side and even though Aran tried to avoid it he couldn't. He had closed his eyes and stepped back, but it was already too late and then he let out a whine which slowly turned into a scream when he fell to his knees.
“ARAN!” Taiga wanted to jump up and the others moved as well, but then Tegoshi draw out a knife and pulled Taiga down on the bed again while sitting on top of him. Before anyone could reach Aran he put the knife to Taiga's throat and everyone stopped.
“Tegoshi you are not allowed to kill him,” Fujigaya warned him.
“Trust me I know enough rules to tell you that I am, so if I were you I wouldn't move.”
Fujigaya bit his lip, but stood back for now. Kentaro and Myuto also didn't move. But then Aran was back on his feet, now all eyes on him. He looked up at Tegoshi with empty eyes and Taiga's eyes went wide as he realized what he had done.
“You put him under a spell,” Taiga hissed and Tegoshi just shrugged.
“You are the only Reaper who could complete the mission and we are not allowed to kill without a mission, so I will leave that to someone else.” Tegoshi turned his head towards Aran who was still not moving. Obedient like a puppet he was waiting for an order. “Kill him” Tegoshi said with a movement of his head towards Kentaro.
Aran bowed and started walking towards him right away and picked up a letter knife from a side table on the way.
“Stop it,” Fujigaya interfered and wanted to dash forward, but then there was a pained yelp from Taiga who tried to push Tegoshi's arm away as he had brought the knife down to his throat with so much force that a red line appeared.
“Stay where you are,” Tegoshi warned him and once more he was forced to stay put.
“Kentaro, move!” Myuto yelled at him as he had the doorknob in his hand already, but Aran was faster and lunged out for Kentaro who had barely time to avoid the attack.
“Aran snap out of it, please,” Kentaro begged, but there was no reaction, just another attack. When he backed off he reached the wall, but then Myuto jumped on Aran and brought him down to the floor. They struggled for a moment, but the spell made Aran stronger and he kicked Myuto off him, but once more he tried to stop him as he tried to attack Kentaro.
“Finish this already!” Tegoshi ordered impatiently. This short moment of distraction as he looked over to them was all Fujigaya needed to finally attack. He jumped on the bed just to shove Tegoshi off Taiga and to the ground. They landed on top of each other with Fujigaya trying to get the knife, but of course Tegoshi wouldn't make it that easy.
There was a pained yelp from Myuto as Aran pushed him head first into the cupboard and turned around to attack Kentaro who was trapped in the corner, but once more Myuto succeeded in pulling him away, but it was clear that he wouldn’t be able to win against him.
Ignoring all the fighting in the room and the breaking headache which still tried to rip him apart, Taiga jumped up, his eyes fixed on Kentaro. The circumstances were the worst, but it was his only chance. If he failed than it was at least him who was at fault and not Aran.
The chaos was at his peak as Taiga finally reached Kentaro and then everything happened so fast that no one really understood for a moment what had happened. Kentaro had almost let out a scream as Taiga grabbed him forcefully by the hair and shoved him with his back into the wall. At first he thought it was Tegoshi, but when he realized that it was Taiga he relaxed right away, but then he heard Myuto shouting something at the same moment, but his view was blocked by Taiga. There was a weird movement of Taiga’s body the moment he stopped in front of him, but before he could even try to figure out what had happened Taiga leant forward and gave him the one kiss they both feared so much.
First it seemed like time had frozen, but then there was some kind of heat and then a burning pain. It definitely just lasted for a few seconds as did the kiss, but for Kentaro it felt like a lifetime, filled with despair and pain. He felt like falling, like there was no way someone would be able to catch him or grab his hand to pull him up again. But then time froze again and everything seemed to crumble in itself, like the whole dark world he had been thrown into got turned around and now he was falling towards the other direction, but it didn’t feel that scary anymore. As if lifted up by someone and pulled to the light again his fall stopped in Taiga’s arms, not that he had left his side at any time, just his mind did.
Kentaro took a deep breath as Taiga backed off and if the wall wasn’t behind him he wasn’t sure if he could have remained on his feet. Just for a split second he had thought they would fail that Taiga had lost his own battle, but now he was smiling at him in such a relief that Kentaro couldn’t stop himself from reaching out for him and give him another short kiss.
He wanted to thank him and jump into his arms, but something on Taiga’s face showed him that it wasn’t over. He tried to hide it behind his smile, but Kentaro could still see it.
It was Aran’s shaking voice he heard and that reminded him that the danger still wasn’t over. He finally stepped a little bit to the side to be able to look at everyone, but what he saw made him feel like he had landed in hell after all.
Fujigaya had finally succeeded in getting the knife out of Tegoshi’s hand, but now both were staring towards them, as was Myuto. But nothing could compare to the look Aran had on his face. It was clear that the spell was broken, as was Aran, because he looked like he would never forgive himself even though it wasn’t his choice to attack in the first place. “What did I do…” Aran’s voice broke completely as the first tears streamed down his cheeks and he fell to his knees the same moment Taiga fell to the front and Kentaro caught him on the shoulders, still not completely aware of what had happened. Taiga’s weight on him forced him on his knees and he closed his hands around his back and that was when one hand touched the wet spot on his back. With wide eyes and shaking hands he brought his hand up again and shook his head as he saw the blood running down from it.
With a still confused look he turned to Aran again who was staring at Taiga with such pain showing on his face that he feared he would kill himself with the letter knife he still held in his hands. It was stained with blood and even though it hadn’t been Kentaro, one attack seemed to have broken the spell.
“No, please no…” Kentaro whispered as he sat back and tried to look at Taiga’s face, but the latter still tried to smile at him even though the pain was visible all over his face now.
“What’s that look for? We succeeded, didn’t we?” Taiga replied almost teasing on which Kentaro’s first tears finally fell as well.
“No, we didn’t! As long as we are not both safe this isn’t a success you idiot!” Kentaro shouted at him, shaking him on the shoulders. Before he could say anything else Taiga slid to the side and Kentaro couldn’t hold him, but to his surprise it was Aran who jumped forward and caught him, Taiga’s head now resting on his lap.
“Taiga, I’m… sorry, I’m so sorry…please forgive me…please…” Aran’s voice was shaking so bitterly by now that it was almost impossible to understand him and his tears dropped on Taiga’s face.
Myuto shot Fujigaya a side glance as he slowly got up as well, but luckily Tegoshi remained where he was, obviously shocked by the outcome himself. Slowly Fujigaya dropped down on the other side of Taiga, while Kentaro was sitting opposite him, holding one of Taiga’s hands so tight as if he feared that he could vanish if he let go.
“Aran,” Taiga started and lifted his free hand to the boy’s face even though it seemed to take a lot of strength already. He stroke over his cheek, wiping away the tears before he tried to smile at him. “This is not your fault. It’s thanks to you that I made it until here in the first place. That we all made it here! You are the best friend someone can wish for.”
Aran just shook his head and more tears fell on Taiga’s cheeks. When Taiga looked towards Fujigaya next, Myuto sat down behind Aran and held him on the shoulders to make sure that he wouldn’t faint, because his labile state could have that outcome any moment now. Myuto looked up at Kentaro, but it was clear that there was nothing he could do for him at the very moment.
“I guess I made history as the worst student you ever had,” Taiga joked as he faced his mentor, but a painful cough swallowed his attempt to form a smile and Fujigaya grabbed his hand which he had taken down from Aran’s face.
“You were my only student and yes you just wrote history, but out of way better reasons. I never thought I could be so proud of you.” Even Fujigaya had to try hard to keep his voice steady and no one would blame him if he wouldn’t succeed, after all he knew Taiga the longest and maybe also the best. The love between them was maybe not out of the same reasons, but it was clear that Taiga loved his mentor in his own special way.
Fujigaya dropped a kiss on Taiga’s fingers before the boy turned his head to Kentaro who shook his head right away. He didn’t even want to hear any words. All he wanted was them moving finally. With Tegoshi obviously not wanting to continue this battle they could get away or at least treat Taiga, but no one moved and that made him almost scream in despair.
“This can’t be happening like this, not now, not here. You are a Reaper, right? You are not supposed to be that vulnerable.”
Kentaro’s words made Taiga smile once more, because yes it was actually true. They were so strong and had powers which humans feared so much and here they could die just like them.
“It’s almost funny how we ended up this way around, isn’t it?”
“No, nothing is funny! Taiga, please stop acting as if everything is alright.”
“But for me it is all right, Kentaro. I did what most Reapers considered impossible and the fact that I succeeded proves that you weren’t supposed to go to that place.”
“Without you it doesn’t matter where I am, if you are not with me I can also go to hell.”
“Please don’t say that,” Taiga said while shaking his head, but even that small movement seemed too much already and he closed his eyes while releasing a shaking breath on which Aran’s sobs got louder again and he grabbed Taiga’s shirt on the shoulders with shaking hands while Myuto tried hard to keep it together the same way as Fujigaya. But Kentaro still didn’t want it to be true. While Taiga’s hand in his got colder and his grip weaker he tried desperately to somehow find a way to rescue him.
“Fujigaya, please there must be something, anything…” Kentaro begged, but the older one shook his head and that made Kentaro finally accept the cruel reality. With shaking fingers he brought his free hand to Taiga’s face and stroke over his cheek. Taiga closed his eyes on the touch and Kentaro bit his lip as he tried to keep his voice from breaking before he had even said anything. His breathes came out shuddering already and he also couldn’t stop his tears, so speaking wouldn’t be easy, but he needed to say it at least one more time.
He sat up and leant down towards Taiga who looked at him with a faint smile. This time Kentaro tried to return it, even though his lips were shaking too much to keep it for long.
“Thank you so much. Without you something would have been missing in all our lives,” Kentaro whispered and everyone else agreed in silence. Ignoring everyone’s eyes on them, Kentaro leant down to give Taiga one more kiss and the way Taiga finally dared to respond to it without any kind of hesitation made Kentaro’s despair reach an even higher level. This was supposed to be their start point! They had finally left all the hardship behind and broke through all the boundaries, but fate didn’t seem to allow such a miracle without taking something in return. Slowly Kentaro backed off, looking down at Taiga who had his eyes closed again.
“I love you,” Kentaro said in a steady voice. The peaceful expression on Taiga’s face and the way his skin was way too cold under his touch finally marking the end of his suffering.
Aran escaped a desperate scream on which Myuto pulled him against his chest, not knowing what else he could do at the moment and the boy kept crying in his arms. It would take him the longest to accept the loss and to forgive himself, even though nothing happened on his free will.
Fujigaya stroke a strand of hair out of Taiga’s eyes with a sorrowful expression on his face. This was definitely not the outcome he had thought of as he had decided to help his student breaking their traditions instead of forcing him to stay obedient.
Kentaro seemed to be the calmest of them all, even though a huge storm was rampaging inside of him, but there was no need to let it out now.
Fujigaya moved first and got up, looking at Tegoshi who had watched everything from the other side of the room. His look was hard to interpret, but he didn’t try to voice out any apology when Fujigaya walked up to him.
“Do whatever you want now, I don’t care if you go to the council, but Taiga stays with us.”
Aran flinched in Myuto’s arms on his words and that made Kentaro tense as well. His words meant that they would normally take him back to the place the Reapers originally belong to, but Tegoshi didn’t seem willing anymore to pick another fight to follow their rules.
“Do as you please, but be prepared for the consequences,” Tegoshi warned him before he stepped back and pulled out another bottle, this time with black sand, but Kentaro didn’t miss the kind of guilty look towards Taiga before he threw the sand to the ground and the black flames made him vanish.
Silence followed for a long while, but no one really dared to move away from Taiga. It was Fujigaya who finally took action and lifted Taiga up to place him on the bed.
“What are we doing now?” Kentaro asked carefully.
“We are going to burn him,” Fujigaya replied without any hesitation, but it made Aran gasped on which Myuto and Kentaro shot him a worried look. It was obvious that this wasn’t just a normal ritual as for the humans.
“You can’t do that! It’s what they would have done to him, you know what will happen!”
“What is he talking about?” Myuto asked. Now all eyes on Fujigaya.
“It is actually a mythos, something that is written in our books, but no one can really prove it as wrong or right. The death of a Reaper ends with his body in flames so that his soul finds its way to hell, as an eternal punishment for all the souls he has taken.”
“What? That is ridiculous!” Myuto said disgusted by all their weird traditions and rules. By now he felt more than stupid for doubting Taiga at the beginning, because who wouldn’t try to break free from such madness?
“But why would we do this to him if we don’t know if it is true?” Kentaro asked worried, because presenting Taiga’s soul to hell instead of his own wasn’t something he could live with.
“Don’t tell me you want to search for the bridge? It’s a myth as well,” Aran said with wide eyes.
“What bridge? Come one guys, could you get a little bit more precisely?” Myuto asked impatiently, while Kentaro felt some weird sting of hope as he looked at Fujigaya who had a sudden confident look in his eyes.
“The Avernus, the entrance to hell! If we find it, we might be able to rescue him, but for that his soul has to be separated from his body.”
“But he won’t have a body to come back to anymore if we succeed,” Kentaro concluded worried.
“His soul is strong enough to form a new one if we are able to free it. I know it sounds completely weird, but if the myths are true, then this is our only chance.”
Kentaro stepped closer to the bed and took Taiga’s hand into his. They had gone through a lot together and something told him that their story wasn’t supposed to be over here. He looked up at Myuto first and he didn’t even have to voice out the question before Myuto formed a lopsided smile and nodded. His eyes traveled to Aran next who looked at Taiga with a sorrowful yet hopeful expression before he looked up at Kentaro again and nodded as well. He turned to Fujigaya last who was looking at the three boys with a knowing, almost proud look. Kentaro cracked a confident smile and nodded at everyone.
“What are we waiting for? Let’s go to hell!”
So...yes sorry but this is the official end of this story! Feel free to yell at me for it :P
I might consider writing a sequel, when I have some spare time and if it is wanted!?