It had been the longest day of his life. Well, perhaps that was not entirely true. The longest day came when he lost Tationy the first time. Her death in the past, left him with a hole in his soul while time made him angry and bitter.
At the market, Tationy had simply stopped speaking. The rest of the day was spent in silence. Worse yet, when they arrived back to his place they put the groceries away and went to their own corners. It gave him time to consider he perhaps handled the situation wrong. He could not force her hand like a Kari man would, yet, there he was trying to put his foot down.
Some comfort came to him as he played the keys and considered how he should handle the situation with her. One would think his thoughts would be knee deep in the handling of the war, but it was just war to him. Another day of bloodshed. After a million plus years of life, such things did not move him any longer.
What did, was the disheartened expression upon the face of the girl he loved. At first he only noticed her legs as she wandered down the stairs, but when she turned and came fully into his view he could see her unhappiness. With him? Perhaps. He never stopped playing or took the time to ask even though he knew he should.For a time she stared at him, fiddling with her fingers, her expression never changing. Though he was not about to be the first to approach any conversation, even though he was probably wrong in how he handled her. There was some consideration that he should apologize, but at that point he was still not ready to.
Kuro heard a soft little sound as Tationy found her resolve to speak though hesitantly at first, “I don’t think I was wrong.”
“About what specifically?”
“I asked Morri because there is no one else that can search for Abe. It was not a decision I made lightly. Yes, he is Shima. There are dangers, but…”
“But?” He asked.
“If Abe is gone, then Hisoka can only be reborn in you. Which means they will have to kill you and bring you back so that Hisoka can be reincarnated. It would be the only way for Kazuma to rise to the heavens. Without Hisoka’s power that is not something he will ever be able to do.”
Considering her words he accepted them though added, “After our previous talk about Hisoka, I gathered as much. Even though Kazuma’s dog of war said he was there to keep an eye on you, I suspect it was to gauge my reaction speed. I am the oldest and fastest of the Ishi even if Mikio is the strongest there are few that can survive an attack from me. Kazuma would know this and want to test the mettle of his dog.”
The room was filled with a disjointed melody as Kuro missed the e key. It was not an uncommon thing for him; as a self taught musician he found often that with the piano he would always miss that note when his mind was stressed beyond capacity.
Kuro knew he should tell her that it was not just about the Zenaku and what she asked of him. It was not about the war. His feelings and fears that he might lose her again put an uneasy knot in his stomach that lingered over every conversation they had.
When the bench moved his body became acutely aware of her proximity, “I see you are still missing a note.” There was a moment where her hands rested lightly upon the keys as she joined the melody he was playing; complimenting and accompanying.
“I want you to allow Mikio to handle the Kari Foundation,” He said in a serious tone as silence befell the two. Kuro knew her well enough to know that she was too stubborn to just let things be even if it was the right decision. If it was the right decision. Really he could not say. “Why are you so against this course?”
“Tadayoshi took me into his family. Protected me when the Yamada declared me a blight against their interest. He entrusted me with his heart and his soul. If his pride is dismantled, then I feel as though I have failed him. He gave everything to protect me, even his life to Kazuma. Saving his company, honoring his hard work, and keeping the legacy of his people….not Kazuma’s people…his people alive seems a small price to pay in showing I honor his sacrifice.”
Her words moved him and a small ‘yeah’ response acknowledge that. They both shared the same dangerous martyr complex. Giving all of themselves to clan and family. Still, putting herself in the line of fire when it came to Kazuma was not an option. “Allow Mikio to handle matters with the Kari Foundation,” He responded again with a bit more force.
Tationy noticeably sighed as she stopped playing and quickly began to depart the room, “Talking to you is pointless.”
Kuro tried not to let his anger from her words dictate his reaction as he fallowed suit and forced her to face him. For a moment, they just looked at each other. His hands moving to her hips while his eyes remained fixed upon her darkened expression. “Those eyes of yours are clouded by guilt and regret. I know because mine are as well. The differences between us are few. Allowing your judgment to be dictated by your passion hurts everything you are trying to protect. I cannot make you see this. No one can, but what I can do is make sure you do not bring rubble down upon your head and those of your blood.”
Her hand rested upon his arm as she asked, “Do you think me foolish?”
“I think you have an amazing giving heart, but yes sometimes baby snake you are foolish. Not that I would ever want you to change, but when I put my foot down I would hope that you would respect me enough to know that I am not doing it to be controlling. You and I both sometimes need a voice of reason; in the past, we had been that for each other, let us be that again.”
“Maybe that is not what I want or what I need,” She stated simply.
“Oh,” He chuckled. “Those cute little yellow underwear tell me that.”
“Excuse me? Just because I am wearing something comfortable does not mean I am advertising after all that would be like me saying, look at you with that bare chest just flaunting it around.”
“Have you seen my chest? I work out you know.”
She laughed softly, “I hate you.”
Kuro’s arms tightened around her, “I am sorry for being harsh with you and more importantly that I cannot fix this shit and make it all better. If I could get it all to work out just the way you wanted it to, I would. That is not realistic though; not for you, not for me, not for us, or even the world.
“Only apologize if you hurt me,” She stated.
“No, because as a young girl I was ported through time and lived my life in the body of another; raised and cared for by two men. They instilled within me the value of a backbone, never backing down from a fight, and treasuring those you care about no matter the cost. So, no you didn’t hurt my feelings. You reminded me that I am Ishi and capable of weathering any storm because even when I am feeling like I am the only one fighting, I am never actually alone.”
Kuro leaned in and kissed her lips lightly. Her words had teased his memory of the past and numerous encounters with the young time displaced girl. It was clear that neither of them wanted to be angry with each other. It was a combination of fear and the lack of control that was bogging both of them down. Even though the entire situation was far from perfect, they found a little common ground at that moment.
There was a time when the two of them couldn’t and wouldn’t be divided. There were moments when it seemed as though that time had come and gone a hundred times over. Kuro hoped that was not the case and was willing to fight to make sure it wasn’t, but it was difficult to know where this journey would take them.