Hiko was thankful to finally make it home. He was curious about the conversation between Toshiro and Sadamitsu, but he was grateful that the audition was behind them. He wanted nothing more, then to get out of his clothing and settle in for a relaxing night with Tationy. Other guys were content living the high-life and being famous, he just wanted to be hers. Tationy had disappeared up the stairs and Hiko looked for his father, finding him on the balcony staring at the sun as it set.
Even after he found him, the two just stood silently. Tationy never had the opportunity to know her father as she grew. Hiko did and they just butted heads so much that eventually knowing him seemed impossible. Miroku had not said a single word to her the entire time they were at the audition. What kind of man was he? What kind of father would do that? Eventually the silence was broken, “Tationy was looking a little peaked this morning when you departed. Make certain you tend to her properly. Those with Ishi blood very rarely get sick, but when they do it can be a struggle.”
“Ishi…” Hiko repeated as he stuck his hands in his pocket and stared at the flowers, “She has Ishi blood?”
“I am surprised you did not notice. You, who is of the Yamada, should be able to see the telling lines of ancestral succession.”
Hiko responded, “I never even thought to look.” There was so much expectation and fear when dealing with his father. The words were never easy and lashing out was so much simpler. In an odd way he was happy they had some sort of relationship even though it was far from perfect. He spoke quietly, “Her father did not even speak to her. What type of man would be so callous to his daughter? I want to have a little girl with Tationy. Watch her grow and teach her about life. Under no circumstances can I understand why he would not go to her.”
He knew that the reason Tationy disappeared up the stairs was not really because she wanted to change or shower. It was because she needed a moment to collect herself. She had not had the opportunity to deal with what happened at the audition. He was so angry and he doubted that his own feelings even compared to the pain she was in, “Miroku always had this calculating way about him. With the eyes of the Tylo he could see the future unfold before him and with the blood of the Saitama, he could predict perfectly what path he should take. When he was young he was brash and cocky, but as he got older the burden of foresight hardened him.”
Hiko found his fathers words to be unexpected, “Dad, you know him?”
Definition: Aota – Yearly gathering of the families tied to the ancient clans of Aslann.
His father seemed hesitant at first to respond, “At about six we met at the annual Aota. My father brought me along in search of a sparring partner to continue the tradition of training in the old combat style of Rom Kaga. Coincidentally, the leader of the Tylo was also there for the same reason and with him was his oldest son, Miroku.”
“So, you met before?”
It appeared to Hiko that his father was thinking about something as he responded, “Many times.” There was a long drawn out pause before Tadayoshi added, “I found fighting him to be the most frustrating experience of my young life. Before I could even take any action, he already had a counter. I would get angry and my father would tell me to steal my emotions. I hated him for telling me that, but a Kari man must know restraint. There was one time though that I lost complete control and nearly took Miroku’s head off.”
Hiko was surprised to hear his father’s admission, “What happened?”
“Miroku had been goading me little by little as we fought. He mocked our god. Said he did not understand why Kazuma would create such a weak clan. I knew he was trying to make me angry. I knew it and still when it came time to show restraint I lost control. I could not appreciate the look of shock upon his face because I was in such a blinding rage. My father called me off of him, apologized for my lack of discipline. I hated him so much for belittling me in front of the Tylo.”
All too well, Hiko understood the feeling. He wished he could not sympathize with his fathers plight. Somberly he spoke, “I don’t want to have a son. I don’t want him to feel how you made me feel, how your father made you feel, how his father made him feel.”
Why was his father suddenly so quiet? “When your mother told me she was having a boy I was so happy. I thought about all of the things I was going to teach you. How to cook and clean, build a fort. Sit quietly and enjoy the world. The importance of family and protecting what is yours. I wanted you to play hard and understand that it is okay to make mistakes because we are only human. I thought I would be the one to teach you how to treat that beautiful woman that would capture your heart. How important it was to avoid things like porn and drugs because they taint your spirit. I wanted to teach you how to embrace your emotions while showing restraint. What it means to have courage and how to pick yourself up when you fall. That sometimes it is not enough to just be able to lead, sometimes you have to be able to follow. The most important thing that I wanted to teach you was how to love.” Hiko could hear the emotion in his fathers voice as he said, “Don’t ever think you were not my precious son, simply because I failed you.”
His father’s eyes were fixed on that sunset as the silence overtook them both. Hiko found himself wondering what his father was thinking about. What memory was it that was teasing his mind, “I found you daddy.”
A soft chuckle left the mouth of Tadayoshi, “I see that. Do you want me to hide again?”
“No, mommy will be home soon.” If there was any moment he should have showed restraint, it was in that one. “Don’t be sad daddy,” His little voice said as he leaned down and kissed his father, “We can play more when mommy gets home.”
It was clear as he looked upon his father that his mind was lost in memory. Having Tationy here and this stuff with Miroku was probably bringing up a lot of unwanted emotions; at least it was for him. Hiko tried to think of what to say. He always thought himself a disappointment and yet his fathers words contradicted that in a way. He wanted to understand why he was hearing this now, after all of these years.
Surprisingly his father spoke again, “When your mother left, I thought myself a failure. A Kari man that could not control his household. Anywhere I went, other Kari were looking at me and talking behind my back. I was suppose to replace Tatsuya as the Elder of the Kari and I could not even keep my family together. I cannot put into words the shame. First, Chilè and then Ako; I thought there was something wrong with me. How was I suppose to teach you all those things? How was I suppose to raise you as a man of the Kari? Every day, you would say mommy will be home soon. Could not even tell that she was never coming back because I was too intolerable for her to live with. Eventually, it just eats away at you. It was easier to have you hate me.”
His father did not give him any opportunity to speak as he turned and began to move inside. Hiko wanted to protest his departure, but could not even manage to get the words out. The only thing he was capable of saying was, “Dad.”
Tadayoshi had stopped moving, “Hiko, if you learn nothing else from me, learn to do what makes you happy. Make certain when your time is up that you have no regrets. Now though, is not the time to continue this conversation because we have company.”
Company, what was he talking about? He looked toward the drive and noticed a familiar face standing near the intercom which only compounded the situation.
Hiko had been about to get Tationy, but his father told him to tend to Miroku. Under his breath he grumbled as he allowed the man in and showed him to the living room. He was hoping he would not be left with him for too long because he was not certain how well he would be able to behave himself. The eyes of Tationy’s father were fixed on him. It did not matter which direction Hiko stepped because that gaze followed, “You are different from Yoshi.”
Yoshi? Hiko inwardly chuckled doubting very highly that his father would appreciate being called that. Despite his amusement he was more than a little angry, “Look, I don’t give a fuck what you think you see. You don’t know me and I sure as hell don’t want to know you. Don’t think for a minute you can just waltz into her life after abandoning her to the whims of that woman.” He growled, “I don’t even understand why you are here or in our house. Who the fuck do you think you are?” Why didn’t he offer any excuse or explanation for his behavior? “My father should have taken your head off that day.”
A reaction. Subtle, but it was there. “I am surprised, Yoshi spoke to you about that. Discussing his feelings has never been something he was very good at.” Hiko wanted to tell Miroku not to pretend as though he knew his father, “He was the most predictable Kari I ever faced in combat.”
“Are you trying to make me angry? Keep talking so disrespectfully about him and I promise you I will take your head clean off your shoulders.”
He was not intimidated or fearful. Hiko was not used to people not backing down. Miroku’s posture was unwavering and his eyes always remained fixed securely upon him. What was it he was looking at? It didn’t matter, Hiko could care less what future this guy saw. He controlled his own fate. Turning his back to Miroku he took a breath trying to collect himself, but the words of Miroku brought tension. “Are you that confident in your skills that you can turn your back on me so easily?”
“Don’t threaten me.”
“I was simply asking a question.”
“There are no simple questions asked by the Tylo,” His fathers voice responded as he entered the living room and stopped suddenly. Hiko glanced over his shoulder and noticed how the two men eyed each other. The exchanging of looks was almost as though they were sizing each other up. What was the history between these two? Hiko could easily guess some of it. They trained together, were probably rivals, and at some point Miroku slept with Tationy’s mother. Was it before or after his father was with her? No, it had to be after.
Miroku asked, “How many years has it been, Yoshi?”
“Eighteen,” Tadayoshi responded.
“Hero and I still think you should have joined us.”
What was Miroku talking about? “Don’t pretend we are friends anymore. When we were young we were free and when we were older we were not. You and I outgrew each other long ago. Honestly, you and Hero always had your heads in the clouds. Asking me to give up the Kari and go with you, what an insult. No Kari man would ever think so lowly of his kin to toss them aside so callously especially for something as unforgiving as fame.”
“You always trusted so little in my eyes,” Miroku shrugged his shoulders, “Your life could have been so different had you walked with us and not filled with shame and disappointment.”
Hiko turned and took a step forward, “You piece of shit…”
“Hiko,” Tationy’s voice halted him. He turned to face her the soft expression was almost somber as she said, “Don’t waste your energy on him.”
She stepped into the room and took his hand, leading him toward the sofa. He settled in next to her as his attention drew to her face. Hiko wanted to know why she stopped him. No man was more deserving of a beat down in his opinion. Biting his tongue was difficult, but looking at Tationy helped to calm him significantly. That was not to say he was not still angry. He was always angry. Her eyes closed a moment as she took a breath, “Are you just going to stand there or explain yourself? Anything less than that, you might as well leave.”
Hiko could tell that Tationy was upset even though she was containing it. She was showing considerable composure. Silence though followed her words as Miroku regarded the two of them, “What happened with your mother was just sex. It happened once and …. ”
Tationy interrupted him, “And what? You didn’t know? We have the same eyes and as much as I kept telling myself there was no way you would have left me with that woman, the truth is, you had to have known all along. Why was I not important enough for you?”
It was obvious Miroku was considering his words, “Different actions are necessary to ensure certain outcomes happen. If I stayed, my father would have disowned me. Tequila Monsters would never have become famous. Your mother would have slept around on me, ignored you entirely, and left me to raise you alone. Eventually, I would have turned to the bottle and gambling, lost everything we had and I would have been forced to sell the only thing I had of value; you. Truth is, I would have been to far gone to even care and the monster I would have sold you to would have done terrible things to you.”
“Why did you sleep with her? What did you see that made it so important to have me?”
Miroku bowed his head, “Without your birth, I will never meet the woman I am meant to be with or have the children I am meant to raise. Some things are just necessary.”
Hiko stared at Tationy’s face searching for what she was feeling. She was hiding it so well. Necessary, what an ugly word. Her head tilted slightly as she allowed her eyes to fix upon him. Even though she had a very small smile upon her lips he could see the sadness in her eyes, “Hiko, if it is alright I would like to go upstairs.”
Was she asking his permission? He stared at her uncertain if he should allow her to go alone. It was with great reluctance that he nodded his head, “I will come and check on you shortly.”
“No, that is alright. I will probably just sleep.” She stood and looked to his father, “Goodnight Mr. Kari.” No words were offered to Miroku though as she slipped out of the living room and down the corridor.
His eyes stayed focused on the direction she had wandered as his father spoke, “Still haven’t changed a single bit, have you?”
“She was not looking for a lie.”
Snapping Hiko directed his attention upon Miroku, “Those children that don’t even exist are more important than your daughter who does. Don’t you care she is in pain?”
Miroku set himself down upon the piano bench, “Honestly, at this point in my life I am not capable of understanding her emotions. Even though I have seen how our relationship plays out, the catalyst that changes who I am has yet to be put into play. So, when I look at her I feel empty and unmoved. I see her face and see things about it that remind me of my own. Her eyes are almost exactly like my grandmothers and she has this calming affect like my mother, but yet when I look at her I feel no connection even though I know there is one. This is the burden of being Tylo. Surely even you have noticed that sometimes she shows no hint of emotion when someone might.”
The burden of being Tylo, that is what Miroku called it. He was almost apathetic in behavior; Unmoved with no interest. Sune had described it as a sadness ingrained within them, but that was not what Hiko was seeing in Miroku. He was lifeless. Not sad or happy, not anything. Tationy’s father was just moving through the world bypassing any obstacle that might hinder his goal. Is this what would become of the woman he loved? “Hiko,” His father said his name which drew his attention to him. “Go upstairs and tend to Tationy.”
He wanted to argue, but it was probably for the best so he stood and departed the room without even a word to Miroku.
Hiko could tell when he entered the room that she was not sleeping. He moved toward the bed taking a seat next to her. It was a long day and emotional for both of them. What would be the best thing to say to her? It was not as though he was great at this sort of thing, “Tationy, I….”
“When I was little it was so strange. There was no anger or passion. It was impossible to feel happiness or even sadness. I was a ghost in living form dreaming while I was awake. The world moved around me so quickly and was filled with so many unexpected and amazing things, yet I felt nothing at all. Then, one day while in my grandmothers garden I saw this little boy staring rather intently at me. How odd, I thought it was that this boy with so many bright colors surrounding him could see a shadow like me. I didn’t want to dream after that. The pills make me feel almost normal, but I can’t always see the world the way other Tylo’s do. I understand why my father is the way he is and that is why this is so painful.”
Concern knitted across his face even though he tried desperately to hide it. That first encounter they had not spoken and in the second one they had. That time he thought her odd with how she spoke, moved, and even looked at him. He probably would have called it sadness, just like Sune had. After meeting Miroku, he understood that was not at all what it was. The only way to contain such a power was to sacrifice their ability to care. “Do you want to stop taking them.”
“I won’t be the same girl. What if you don’t want me anymore?”
Hiko reached his hand out to touch her face. Her hair was wet and messy, her eyes so bright and beautiful. He did not want to see that light in them dull. The odd little girl that he asked to play with him always could return, but he would lose the vibrant woman that she became. He didn’t know if it was worth it. To see the past, the present, and the future in all of its glory she would have to give up too much in his opinion. Was it his place to tell her not to stop taking those pills? “I will always want you. Nothing will ever change that. If you need your eyes to see that, then I understand if you want to stop taking those pills.”
“I do not need them to see that,” She whispered. There was a moment where they were simply staring at one another. He wished he could read her mind. Softly she spoke, “Hiko, if you ever need the full strength of my eyes just tell me. Even if I lose my sanity to what I see I will gladly look through all of the future possibilities if it means your success.”
Leaning down he kissed her lips lightly, “No. Others might covet the power of those eyes, but the only thing I value is you. I will succeed. Not with the power those eyes have, but with the love I see in them when you look at me. I am Kari, it is my responsibility to take care of you and I will do that with all of the power in my body.” Hiko knew that men would jump at the chance for her to give them the details of the future of everyone in the world. That was what she was offering. The things she could potentially see off of the medication were endless, but he did not want her to become like Miroku. He was a man incapable of even showing love for his own daughter. It pained Hiko knowing she was hurting.
The majority of the night that was not spent sleeping, Hiko was holding Tationy. He had a feeling that any time there was an encounter with Miroku that the end result would be having her in his arms. He was definitely not complaining, but it worried him the strain it might put on her. At some point he had fallen asleep, but was startled awake when his father told him that he was leaving for work and wanted him and Tationy to stop by the Kari Foundation at some point. In side-note fashion he added that Sadamitsu was there. He had managed to pull himself from her warmth, glancing at the clock only a moment to see that it was just after six in the morning.
He found Sadamitsu on the back balcony, looking out over the fogged covered landscape. “Still in the same clothes, must have been some conversation,” Hiko spoke.
Sadamitsu chuckled, “Toshiro dragged me all over the place. I had to look at contracts, make a couple of appearances, and go over a bunch of shit. When I finally did have a moment to rest, he took me to pack my stuff.”
“How did your dad take it?”
“Let’s just say that the silent contempt I was getting was rather telling. Probably, better this way. He would never understand anyway.” There was a moment of pause, “Sorry, I told your dad not to wake you. I was just going to get my kit and send you a text later.”
“It is alright. I am usually up at this time anyway. Just was a long night.”
“I heard that Miroku stopped by. I take it….”
Hiko halted him from continuing, “Let’s not talk about it.”
Awkwardly Sadamitsu laughed as he said, “Consider this us not talking about it.”
Silence gathered until Hiko changed the topic, “So, you are really taking off then huh?”
“Yeah. It is fucked up how it all happened, but you are going to be seeing my mug on the television soon. I told Toshiro, that I needed to stop here and say thank you. Let you and Tationy know that I appreciate what you both did for me. Probably, won’t get to see you for a while, but I swear I will text.” Hiko wished he had something to say to his friend. Some piece of advice to give him. “Take care of Tationy.”
“That goes without saying.”
He could feel the eyes of his friend upon him, “I always knew that someday all of us would go our separate ways. Just never figured it would be like this. I don’t really have any parting words, but if shit gets too crazy the two of you should just take off and never look back. Some things are just not worth the pain and suffering.”
Hiko hung his head, “Thanks for that, but I am Kari. I will never bury my head in the sand or turn tail and run. It is not my style.”
Sadamitsu smiled, “That is what I like about you. You are the scrappiest guy I know.” There was an awkward silent moment that followed, “Toshiro is waiting for me in the car. I need to get going. Thanks Hiko, for everything and play with Tationy’s boobs for me.” Hiko shook his head knowing he was going to regret not saying something, but all of those things that seemed appropriate where hardly fitting for a guy like Sadamitsu. So, Hiko casually said ‘see you later’.
To Be Continued