Tationy, Rin, and Bak
Bak walked slightly ahead of his father and Tationy. He had begged her to join them and it was clear to him that she did not particularly want to even though she had smiled and said she would be delighted. He had always thought that was an odd word. Certainly, one that people used when they felt forced to do something.
It brought up plenty of questions. Not that he really pondered them for very long as they wandered through the market. Visiting Santa’s shop was truly not as exciting as he thought it would be; the man’s beard was not even real. Not that he could judge the old guy. The only Ishi he had ever seen grow one was his oldest brother Kuro. Still, he did not hold out a lot of hope that he would find out what Tationy had asked for. Just thinking about it brought disappointment to his heart and made the young Ishi sigh.
Bak was never content with silence nor inactivity not to mention dissatisfaction. Patience was not really a virtue he had. Well according to his father he was lacking in a few of them. Still, he realized that his own thoughts were rather loud with the quiet from his father and Tationy.
As he glanced back his mouth opened to ask if they could go skating in the park for a bit because something, anything really was better than stagnation. That was about the point that he caught sight of his fathers face. Never had he seen an expression like that before. It was almost as though Rin was content.
Quickly he looked away, allowing the questions to swirl around until the smell of homemade treats assaulted his nose. He loved America. The sites, the sounds, the smells, it was all amazing and vibrant. It was fairly easy drowning out the millions of questions he always had. Bak was never content with the answers; perhaps that was why he never wanted to ask. Maybe even the reason he wanted to silence that part of his brain. Whatever it was he allowed it to take hold quickly as he ran toward a nearby candy shop and stared in the window.
Even with his nose pressed against the glass he was not oblivious to what was transpiring around him. “The last son of Rin is quite energetic,” Tationy had softly stated.
Bak had to hide his surprise upon his fathers words, “He should have been yours.”
“It is better for all of us if he isn’t. There is no way Kazuma would have turned a blind-eye to his existence had he been mine.”
The young Ishi blinked his eyes a few times as he tried to process their words. Had they? Did his father sleep with Tationy? Confusion overtook him as he stilled his body, his eyes fixed on the fudge displayed in the window, as he pretended he was ignorant to their shared conversation, “I can hear the pain in your voice,” Rin responded.
“Tearra sees all Ishi boys and girls as hers. So, I find it difficult to allow my eyes to rest upon the blood of Rin. Keeping my distance is the only way to divert the eyes of Kazuma away from her heart…away from mine. Probably for the best anyway, I would have spoiled him.”
“Trust me, Bak would not minded.” There was a lull in the conversation. He could feel the eyes of the two of them upon him. Truthfully he was grateful he could not see the expressions upon their faces if their tones were any indication. Only when Rin spoke would the conversation continue, “I wish you would change your mind.”
“Then what? You will still follow her wishes as though I am not even here. Turn away and pretend I am not begging you to make this decision or that decision. How can you expect me to come to you, stand at your side, when you cannot even hear my voice telling you this is not the way.”
“Your way is not what she saw. Stop being stubborn and trust me.”
“I can’t; there is simply too much at stake.”
How quickly his fathers tone changed, “You act as though I do not know that. I have spent far more lifetimes than you have baby snake fighting this war. The disrespect you show me…”
Bak did not like where the conversation was going so he quickly interjected, “Dad can we get some of this fudge….”
His father noticeably sighed as he took several steps toward Bak, “Of course.” Not surprising, Tationy did not follow suit.
“Are you leaving?” He could feel his face contorting into an unhappy expression. His lips pouted, his nose scrunched, his eyes peered. There was no hiding his dissatisfaction with how the evening was turning out.
“I really have to go,” She said softly as she reached out and placed her hand on the top of his head. He could feel her finger ruffle through his bangs as she added, “Don’t be so serious, they say your face will freeze like that.” The way she laughed told Bak that his expression exaggerated further into displeasure. “How cute you are baby snake. Take care of your father for me, alright?”
“Wait, you can’t go. You haven’t told me what you asked Santa for.”
She smiled, the brightest one he had ever seen. The moonlight shined down upon them and there was a cool glow about her skin. Bak felt a heat form throughout his cheeks as she teasingly stated, “I asked for you to believe.”
Bak felt anger bubbling inside of him as he watched her. She had pulled away suddenly, waved quickly, and briskly began to depart. He was certain she was trying to escape before she was stopped. “Why…” There was a bitterness to his tone as he turned sharply to gaze upon his father. “Why don’t you stop her? Command her to stay. Tell her how you feel. Something….”
“She is not mine to command.”
“I don’t understand. She is Tearra and you are Rin. Doesn’t that mean anything?” Bak tried to hide his emotion as he pulled his hat down a bit and looked away from his father.
“In this world there are many different forms of truth. The first comes from those processed by your senses. The second from what you put your faith in. You asked if that means anything. It does, but only if we both believe in the same thing. The truth is Bak, she has spent so much time among the Kari that she no longer believes that Rin and Tearra can come together and until she does, she cannot be commanded nor command.”
His father’s words left him dissatisfied. Maybe he was too young to understand, but he was unable to wrap his mind around the fact that his father could not sway his queen. “She is not mine to command,” were the words spoken. Bak couldn’t explain it, but it felt like there was something hidden in that single sentence that explained why she walked away and why his father did not stop her.
As much as he wanted to ask he bit his tongue. He was certain he would not like the answer even if his father offered him one. Belief; what was there to believe in when even his faith in Tearra and Rin was teetering perilously?