Miki: Fragments (Complete)

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.38 Posted 3rd May 2016)

Post by Gajzla » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:00 pm

Defence

The sound of clean white paper being turned is like a guillotine blade in the warm stillness of our tiny room. I glance up at my grandfather, silhouetted by the white sunlight streaming into the room. He hasn’t said anything - not a single word since we parted with Hisao and my friends.

We’ve been given extra time to work on our - or I should say his - defence for when my trial resumes in the afternoon. Either grandad is fully dedicated to my case, or he knows exactly what I’m going to ask and is avoiding the question like the plague. Cowardice does not suit him.

“What did she mean.” I ask, taking matters into my own hands… hand.

He doesn’t respond immediately, his attention fixed on the paper in front of him. Yet I can tell he’s not reading anything by the way his eyes move, he’s simply delaying the inevitable. Is it guilt causing him to act this way? I’m almost certain he could keep whatever he liked from me without much effort. Hell, he did keep my fathers letters from me without batting an eyelid.

“What did she mean about what?” He replies at last.

“Don’t.”

I wonder how much he reveals when he refuses to meet my gaze.

“Miki, we are halfway through your trial, now is not the time.”

“So there is something to what she said? Because if there’s a time to talk about it, then you admit there is something we need to talk about?” I wonder if I can hire Miss Karasu to make these accusations for me, because I’m sure I’m making next to no sense.

“It was just nonsense to try and throw me.” He rolls his eyes, not entirely convincingly, “I’ve known that woman for years. In fact for a time I was her mentor.”

“You were?” I ask in surprise. I had no idea he ever instructed anyone, but then when have we ever spoken about his job? And miss ravenface didn’t exactly radiate gratitude to an old teacher. In fact the only person in the room she seemed to respect was herself.

“I had hoped she would become a defence lawyer but alas… She chose the path of least resistance. I can’t pretend I’m not disappointed.” He sounds so cold, it’s disturbing.

“Being a prosecutor is easier than defending someone?”

He nods sagely, “Japan has a ninety-eight percent conviction rate, and that isn’t because the police are particularly brilliant at their jobs.”

“But there’s more to it than that isn’t there? Because otherwise you would have just told me,” I say stubbornly. Their relationship is an unexpected revelation, however it doesn’t explain everything. “So what did she even mean? How did you fail dad?”

“It was a long time ago,” he mumbles reluctantly.

“Could you sound any more guilty,” I say, my throat feeling increasingly tight, “Seriously, what the hell did you do?”

“You wouldn’t understand.”

“Try me.”

“Dammit, we have more important things to be talking about.” He deflects, which only causes my anger to bubble over, spilling over me with a silent ferocity.

“What aren’t you telling me?” I yell, drawing his startled face to mine.

I know I should leave this alone, I need him. Desperately. But I just cannot stomach any more lies, especially when I am putting everything on the line to tell the truth.

He doesn’t answer straight away, his purple eyes so like mine darting around in panic. I feel bile rise in my throat as he finally drops his gaze, sinking back into his chair. The creak of leather the only sound in the stillness. “He wasn’t good enough for her, or for you. You have to understand… I was just looking out for my daughter and my grandchild.” His voice has lost all it’s confidence, all it’s authority. He sounds weak.

I feel like I’ve been punched in the chest, my heart seems to pause for breath as his words wash over me. “W… What?” I stutter, unable to make my mouth work correctly.

“I never liked him, from the moment he and Haruka met. He could never give her the life she deserved. So when the accident happened and I had to defend him…” He trails off, resided to his fate and needing no further explanation. “Karasu was present, she understood exactly what I did. She thought I had betrayed my family.”

“That’s because you did betray us,” I snarl. “How dare you! How fucking dare you make that choice for mum? For me? You really think so little of your own daughter?” You really thought your granddaughter would be better without a father?

“No! You have to believe me.” He’s begging now, “I thought your mum would find someone else… How could I have known she would turn to drink? I never meant that to happen to you, or her.”

“That’s why you supported us,” I say with sudden realisation. “It was never about love, it was guilt.”

“Miki! I would have supported you no matter what.”

“Does mum know?” I ask, unsettled by how calm my voice sounds. There’s no use shouting anymore, there's no argument to win, no point to make.

“No, but you can’t tell her.”

I laugh sardonically. “You honestly think you get to tell me what to do anymore? You think you get a say in my life ever again?”

“There’s still the trial.” He replies simply.

“I neither want, nor need you there.”

“Look you have every right to hate me, believe me, I know that. But let me do this last thing for you.” He pauses, “Then, if it’s what you want I will stay out of your life, I… I promise.” I’ve never heard him sound so gruff or so sincere.

Do I want him out of my life? No… No, I don’t want to lose another family member. But at the same time, I can’t see a place for him anymore. I can’t envision a time when I will be able to look at him and feel anything other than disgust, betrayal… hatred? Do I hate him? I can’t be sure, I’ve never hated anyone as far as I know. But, well if this isn’t hatred I don’t know what it is.

And yet, he’s the only person in the entire world who can help me. How absolutely fucking perfect. I don’t want him near me, I don’t want him to see me - not in the way a stroppy teenager thinks about these things, but an absolute inescapable fact. I suppose in it’s simplest terms it boils down to this: Am I willing to let my abhorrence of this man send me to prison?

His phone starts to ring, a blaring tone in the stillness. I expect him to push the cancel button and return us to our sombre silence. But, judging by the look on his face this is a call he wants to take. What does it even matter? Catching his eye I nod, once. A quick yet mournful gesture, like a general sending her troops on a doomed mission. Then without a second glance he accepts the call, leaving the room as quickly as he physically can. Apparently running away also runs in our genes.

I reach for my phone in my jeans pocket, only to realise I’m still in my skirt, blouse and jacket from court. Was that only half an hour ago? I’m losing my damn mind, perhaps I will end up in an asylum rather than a prison. I guess a cell is a cell, at least the one in the madhouse will be nice and padded. I don’t fancy the straightjackets much though - at least I can escape from handcuffs without much difficulty.

Not that I would even be allowed to use my phone in here, even if I had the thing. I don’t suppose I was meant to be left alone either, but I’m completely okay with the violation of that rule. I, unlike my grandfather don’t have the option of running, either metaphorically or literally. So I pull his stack of paperwork towards me and begin to read. The notes turn out to be completely indecipherable, but still I soldier on, hoping some reassurance may materialise before my eyes, or at the very least some answer as to why my guardian would have betrayed me so completely.

I seriously doubt I will find either.

— — —

Who would have thought that the most unbearable thing in a room of headache-inducing florescent lights and back breaking wooden chairs would be my grandfather's eyes burning into the back of my head. On the upside. The fact that there is an upside is fairly remarkable. With all my anger focused on the man behind me I’m finding myself increasingly apathetic to what’s going on in the court around me.

It’s a feeling I’m probably going to regret later.

“Good afternoon everyone.” The head judge is as softly spoken as he was before lunch. “We will continue from this morning, allowing for the defence to present its case. Mr Miura, you have the floor.”

I turn my attention fixedly to my feet, as grandad walks around the table. Striding confidently into the centre of the room. Out of curiosity I flick my gaze up to see how the prosecutor is taking the rather prompt return to the proceedings. As I expected she is sitting comfortably in her seat, her legs crossed and her fingers interlocked on her chest. A look that seems to say: ‘Impress me’.

“Ladies and gentlemen, this morning you heard from the prosecution, you were told my client was guilty of perjury.” He shrugs, as if this is something hardly worth mentioning. “Hardly a revolution, my client admitted as much herself. However what the prosecution has failed to do was prove malice in her actions, indeed as I’m about to demonstrate my client acted as almost anyone would given similar circumstances.”

“Miki,” I stiffen at the sound of my name from his lips. “It would be fair to say the accident in which you were injured was a major turning point in your life, you went through a myriad of changes. Were all of them negative?”

What? Even the normally unreadable judges share confused looks. I begin to nod, but stop, giving myself time to actually think about his question. Was losing my hand a positive experience? Of course not. But getting away from my old high school was, getting away from the bullies and the drink and having to care for my drunk mother was. All of these things combined to make life better - albeit different - Than before the accident.

I shake my head. “No, not everything after the accident was bad…” I trail off, wondering if I’ve given the correct answer.

“Could you be more specific?”

I glance over to Hisao and my friends, who are now settled next to my worried looking parents before answering. “Yamaku, I didn’t really want to go there to begin with. But it’s been- Well it’s been better than my old high school.”

“So you have made friends at Yamaku Academy?” He asks, his face unreadable.

Part of me wants to tell him to stuff his stupid questions, but talking about school seems to have woken some previously undiscovered well of determination within me. Using him as tool to gain my freedom is not an act of forgiveness on my part, so let him build his case. I will answer whatever question he throws my way, then when I walk out of here a free woman I can shut him out of my life completely.

I gesture feebly in the direction of the public gallery, “I have.”

Grandad smiles sadly, before continuing softly, “It is of course impossible to rate one person against another, but would you describe your new friends as being closer than those you had before the accident?”

“I didn’t really have friends before, just people I used to hang around,” I say. “I’m much closer to my friends Yamaku.”

Strictly speaking I’m not sure Ikuno and I have returned to friendship status, or if we’re still fighting, or are on a hiatus or what the hell is happening. But it seems prudent not to mention little things like that.

“Do you have any plans for after you’ve finished with school, Miki?”

“Objection!” Miss Karasu’s voice reverberates off the cream walls before I have a chance to answer. “Your honour, the defence is wasting the court's time with questions that bear no relevance to the case.”

Anger flashes across my grandfather’s face, and he turns away from the prosecution, clearly not wanting her to have the satisfaction of knowing she’s gotten to him. Before, I might have shared in his anger - after all this women is just as against me as she is against him - but now I can’t seem to summon any sympathy for the man as he crosses his arms, waiting silently for the judge to respond.

“Does this line of questioning arrive at something substantive to this case, Mr Miura?” The central justice asks, eyebrows raised.

Gah, why must we share a surname? I know strictly speaking he had it first, but dammit it’s just another reminder that I’m related to him - as if I’m going to be able to forget. Perhaps I should take my dad’s surname, that would be some kind of strange cosmic justice, or vengeance perhaps. But I don’t want to hurt mum’s feelings - it’s her surname as well after all - and I doubt she has any immediate plans to marry, especially amongst all this chaos.

Hah, maybe I should just start looking into becoming a Nakai.

“Yes your honour.” My defender's voice snaps me back to reality, my mind lost in a thicket of surnames and the sobering thought of how I’m going to explain to my mother what my grandfather has done.

“Very well, I will give you the benefit of the doubt.” The judge's gaze narrows as he looks between my grandfather and Miss Karasu, as if suspecting some mischief yet unable to ascertain exactly what it is. With a slow sigh he sits up straighter in his seat, the comfortable leather creaking as he does so. “Miss Miura, I believe the defence was asking after your aspirations for when you finish high school?”

“I want to go to university,” I say, deciding to omit the fact I would probably never pass an entrance exam. “Then become a physical therapist.” I feel my cheeks redden and bow my head. I never like telling people about the job I aspire to, because I’m going to feel like such let down when everything inevitably goes to shit and I end up handing out precariously balanced trays of fast food.

“Thank you your honour,” grandad says, turning back to me with a wide smile. “And these plans for the future, of furthering your education and having your eyes set on a job, were they brought over from your old high school?”

What? Oh… We’re playing the ‘guess the answer I’m looking for’ game again.

“No, I didn’t really see myself having much of a future until I went to Yamaku.” From the exuberant look on granddads face I’ve said the right thing. I almost find myself returning his smile, until the memory of what he’s done wipes the stupid grin from my face. How could I have for even one moment forgotten what this monster has done to my family.

Noticing my reaction grandad withers, looking away. I wonder if anyone else notices this silent exchange, I half expect Miss Karasu to leap to her feet with another objection, but there’s nothing, and my guardian continues to speak, now addressing the crowd before him.

“Ladies and gentlemen you have sitting before you a young women who for the first time in her life has found her place in the world. Who has fresh dreams and aspirations despite being victim to a life-changing accident. Is it really any wonder that this person would fear telling the truth when she had so much to lose? No, I don’t believe it is.”

I wonder if it would help if I pointed out I had more to lose when I told the truth than I did when I lied?

“But wait, I can almost hear my colleagues arguments. All wrongdoers fear the truth of their actions, why is my client any different?” He pauses, as a teacher might when expecting someone to put their hand up and answer. “The answer rests in how my client regained her memories.”

Oh please, no, don’t go there.


I desperately try to catch his eye, willing him to notice and turn away from this dark path. I don’t want my parents to know about this, or for Hisao to realise just how messed up his girlfriend truly is.

“Your honour, I would like to call my witness.”

Well, at least I never told Dr Ueda too much about the dreams. I settle as low as I can go into my seat as the judge grants grandad his wish.

“Miss Komaki, please make your way to the stand.”

I sit bolt upright, my mouth falling open as Ikuno extracts herself from between Hisao and Ryouta. What the hell is going on? Our eyes meet across the tiny fence that until very recently held her back as a spectator. She looks away first, head dropping shyly to the tiles at her feet.

Her petite frame looks positively tiny compared to the dais before her. Nevertheless she stands straight-backed, extruding a confidence that I think only I, her best friend, can tell is not entirely genuine. I suppose coming from a family of powerful people - or at least people who are expected to appear powerful - rubs off on you.

“Please state your name and relationship to the accused,” the judge asks, eyeing Ikuno intently. It takes me a few moments to realise why he’s so interested. He’s trying to work out what’s wrong with her, he must already know she’s a classmate. The bastard. I know nearly every normal person would do what he’s doing, but he’s a judge, he’s supposed to be better than normal people.

I have to fight down a sudden urge to protect my friend from his aged gaze, I manage to get my self destructive instinct back under control as Ikuno answers the question. “My name is Ikuno Komaki, and I’m Miki’s friend, her best friend.”

If I make it out of this I’m going to remind her that saying she’s my best friend in court makes it legally binding.

“Could you tell me how the two of you met?” Grandad asks, the hint of a smile playing around his mouth. How the hell did he arrange this? Or perhaps he didn’t, Ikuno was talking to Dr Ueda before lunch, could she have been talking her way onto the witness stand? The good doctor would have been able to get in contact with grandad as a witness himself. I suppose my guardian might have told me, had I not been - justifiably - ignoring his very existence.

“Well, we sat together in class, and she was my dorm neighbour.” Ikuno begins, not making even the slightest effort to hide how rehearsed this little speech is. “But we didn’t speak until she woke me up at three in the morning, she was screaming her head off.”

“And what was your reaction?”

“I listened out for anyone else checking on her, and when I didn’t hear anything I got out of bed and knocked on her door.”

The only girl brave enough to confront the banshee.

“And my client allowed you into her room?” Granddad asks.

“Yeah, she was all apologetic and stuff, but I could tell she was in pain.”

“Pain?”

I glance over at my parents, who are both looking right back with clear concern. Dammit. There’s a reason I didn’t want them to know about the phantom. Mum already feels guilty enough for her intermittent presence during my recovery, and dad… Well dad has medical problems of his own, he doesn’t need to be worrying about mine. I try for an encouraging smile as my best friend elaborates.

“Miki’s hand, the one she lost... It’s called phantom limb pain. It’s really bad, especially after she has a nightmare. She tries to hide it, even around me… But you can tell she’s in agony.” She finishes apologetically, making an effort not to look at me.

“Miki?” I snap to attention as grandad says my name. “Could you expand on the witness testimony?”

I slide my gaze to the judge before answering, slightly disturbed to find just how alive with curiosity his face is. perturbed I risk a glance at Miss Karasu, pleased to see she looks positively livid at the judges sudden interest in me.

“Err, sure.” I reply, unsure quite where to begin. Grandad nods at me encouragingly. “It’s hard to describe. I can still feel my hand sometimes, but without anything physically there it’s as if my brain can’t fathom the exact shape. I can feel fingers stretching, or shrinking, sometimes they twist together or clamp into a fist. It’s like someone putting your hand through a superheated mangle.”

Strangely I notice the sudden silence as if it were a loud sound, cheeks red I stare intently at my shoes. I didn’t mean to say quite so much. Especially in such detail, but what’s done is done. I just hope my friends don’t think differently about me, I don’t need people to pity me. Even if I end up in jail.

“And there is no treatment for this horrendous pain?” Grandad asks gently.

“No, nothing works. Other than having someone distract me.” I throw Ikuno a grateful glance.

“As I’m sure doctor Ueda will confirm,” my defence adds before turning back to Ikuno. “Miss Komaki, around the time Miss Miura made her statement how often was she subject to these terrible dreams and phantom pains?”

“Almost every night, it was a really bad time for her.” Ikuno seems to be much better at deciphering the answer my grandfather is looking for. They can’t have had that much time to rehearse could they? “It didn’t help that she broke up with her boyfriend around that time as well, like I said, it was a really rough time for Miki,” she finishes sheepishly.

I frown at my best friend before turning my attention to my boyfriend, who shrugs with a small smile. He would probably remind me that this is all for the greater good. After all, would I rather be in jail with my secrets or at university with my soul laid bare? The answer is obvious but still feels remarkably unfair. I suppose things would be different if the argument was over whether or not I had committed perjury, but confessing means this is now about mitigation. And the well-crafted image of a nearly broken girl will work in my favour.

“Thank you Miss Komaki, I have no further questions at this time.” Grandad says gratefully, as all eyes turn to the prosecutor, who is studying Ikuno intently. She seems to have thrown off the mask of the raven in favour of the coldhearted stare of a viper lining up to strike.

“I have no questions for the witness your honour, she was not present for the offence and so can offer no facts to the court. Only what I imagine to be a well rehearsed caricature of the accused’s feelings.” There’s something almost needlessly brutal in Karasu’s cold dismissal of my best friend, as if the petite girl had personally offended her.

Perhaps it wasn’t Ikuno herself who had caused the offence, rather the judge's reaction to her - an interest neither he nor his advisers seemed to extend to either the prosecutor or her witness. Is she worried about losing? I don’t get the impression her vendetta is aimed at me - I’m merely the tool for her revenge. Hell, if it wasn’t my future on the line I would happily side with her against my traitorous grandfather.

With a small nod the judge sends Ikuno back to her seat, before giving the floor to my defender. It isn’t lost on me that this will be the last speech before my fate is decided.

“Ladies and gentlemen before my witness was called I promised you a demonstration that, though my client acted rashly, she did so with no malice. I believe I have done just that. As we have heard my client has suffered a life changing injury that many of us here today could not possibly comprehend. We then went on to discover that my client still suffers from unbearable and untreatable phantom limb pains, is rocked each night by nightmares and yet despite all this is a girl who is pulling her life around, who has dreams and hopes for the future. Does she deserve to be robbed of her aspirations? To be torn away from her friends? All for the sake of a mistake conceived in an environment of fear and pain?” He turns to the judges, his head bowed as if begging. “Absolutely not, whatever crimes Miki has committed, she has atoned for them a thousand times over.”

His conviction startles me, he would beg for me on his knees if it would do any good, I’m sure of it. In a way it’s almost hard to accept he still has any love for me, because I’m trying so hard to convince myself I have none left for him. Damn it. This is my trial, my grandfather is not the person I should be focusing on at the moment.

The judge clears his throat, though his call to attention seems quite unnecessary in a room waiting to hear him speak. “Now that all evidence and testimony has been presented, we will retire to consider our verdict.”

Giving no hint of how they might decide the judges raise from their comfortable chairs, and for the second time today the aged trio shuffle out of the room. I only remember to breathe again as the heavy oak door snaps shut behind the last black robbed official.

“Miki?” Looking around I come face to face with my grandfather, who has lowered himself to my eye level. I look away quickly, choosing to focus on one of the maddening florescent lights rather than him, now that I’m no longer in front of the judges I don’t have to pretend we are on amicable terms.

“They might be awhile,” he continues despite my obvious hostility. “You are allowed to wait in the corridor with your family if you like?”

I nod slowly, getting to my feet unsteadily, legs still numb from the torturous chair. I manage to turn towards my friends and family without looking at the man whose eyes I can feel on my back.

“Miki… I’m so sorry.” He says quietly.

I bite my lip, holding back a reply. Instead I shrug my shoulders, walking away from the one person I thought infallible I catch the gaze of the prosecutor. Bloody hell. Her expression says quite clearly that she’s gotten the win she wanted, the verdict - to her at least - is irrelevant.

I suppose at least one person has found some joy in this fuck up of a day.

— — —

I can’t recall another time in my life when I’ve been surrounded by so many people who love and care about me. My parents flank me on either side of the bench directly opposite the courtroom door, Hisao kneels at my feet my sweaty hand held in his, an action mirrored by Ryouta and Ikuno who stand off to the side.

It feels like time has stopped as we wait in tepid silence. I’m caught between a fantasy that this moment with my family and friends might last forever and a burning desire to be called back into the courtroom, to be given the verdict simply to be done with it. I almost wish we could return to the kind, but ultimately meaningless words of reassurance that everyone bombarded me with. But even words of encouragement have their limits, and ours was reached roughly twenty minutes ago.

“I wonder where your grandfather’s gotten to?” My mother says unexpectedly, looking at me with a perturbed frown.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her of her father’s betrayal. If telling her is even my responsibility, I’ve already witnessed her life torn apart once - I don’t relish seeing it again. “He’s busy, I think,” I reply noncommittally. “Lawyer stuff,” I add as an afterthought.

“Your lucky to have him, you and your father.” She smiles fondly at dad over my shoulder.

“Yeah,” I say, feeling bile rise to the back of my throat.

Hisao looks up at me, his eyebrow cocked. Unlike my parents my boyfriend is able to read me. Giving his hand a squeeze I try for a reassuring smile, which he returns nervously.

“Miura Miki.” A voice announces as the courtroom door opens with a creek. “Court will resume shortly, please return to your seat.”

Deciding this quickly is a good sign right?

I pause just long enough to give each person a tight - perhaps goodbye - hug, before striding towards my fate with my head held high.

— — —

A bead of cold sweat trickles down my back as I watch the judges agonisingly slowly return to their seats. Why we must endure this unnecessary ceremony every time court resumes is beyond me. If they are to old to get back to their chairs in a timely manner then they should be wheeled in and out on them. Biting my bottom lip I want to scream in frustration.

I hold the end of my stump to stop my hand from trembling as I and the rest of the room bow to the judges who have finally arrived in front of their seats. Sitting down I hug my chest, pressing my stump into my armpit in an attempt to ward off the prickling pain.

“Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen,” the head judge says, nodding at the assembled parties. “We have discussed the case, looking at the evidence and testimony presented before us and we have reached a unanimous verdict.” His gaze settles on me; expression unreadable. “Please rise Miss Miura.”

Grandad nods solemnly as I rise shakily to my feet. I have to fight of a sudden insane urge to run as I lift my face to gaze up at the assembled judges. I bet I could reach the carpark before I’m arrested.

“On the charge of perjury as described in article one-six-nine of the penal code we find the defendant guilty.”

My throat suddenly feels very dry, I knew they would find me guilty. How could they not? I confessed. But to hear it echo through the courtroom, is terrifying.

“Sentencing for this case was extremely difficult.” The judge continues, placing his fingertips together thoughtfully. “Clearly the defendant acted in a premeditated manner. She has through her actions wasted the time of police forces in two provinces.”

I turn desperately to Hisao, who I’m shocked to discover is biting down on his index finger, eyes wide. Beside him Ikuno has a hand over her mouth, her face pale.

“However, given the emotional state of the defendant at the time of the offence and the clear remorse she has shown afterwards leads us to conclude that a custodial sentence will not be appropriate in this case.”

“Woo!” The sound of Ryouta’s celebration rings through the stuffy hall, followed by the fleshly slap as he hastily covers his mouth. I almost laugh out loud, only managing to stop myself with my own sweaty palm. Still, I can’t keep the smile from my face, this feeling of relief of all the tension and worry escaping me is more euphoric than winning a thousand sprints.

“Yes, thank you.” The judge says sternly, but I notice the corners of his mouth twitch. “We here by sentence the defendant to pay twenty thousand Yen in fines. Payment of which is to be organised with the clerk of the court before you leave today.”

I nod, the amount of money I was just fined going completely over my head. Who cares? I’m free, I can graduate, I won’t be left behind this time. I can follow Hisao to university! I’m so distracted by images of the future that now lies ahead of me that I nearly jump out of my skin as grandad places an aged hand on my shoulder.

“Miki.” I turn slowly, staring defiantly into his amethyst eyes. “I will handle the fine. You...” He hesitates. “You can leave if you want to.”

“I…” What do I say? Thank you? I don’t feel grateful at the moment, at least, not to him. “I don’t want to see you again.” My voice breaks, and I can no longer hold his gaze.

He drops his head. “I understand, but I promise that from this day onwards I will do everything in my power to earn your forgiveness.”

I shrug. “You're not going to get it.” Gulping I continue. “Do I have to be the one to explain what you’ve done to mum and dad?”

He shakes his head. “No.”

“Then… Thank you and goodbye grandad.”

Before he can say any more I turn, striding away from my past towards my future and the people I want in it.

———

“You know none of this would have happened if you’d just told the truth in the first place.”

“Ryouta!” Ikuno squeals, slapping his arm.

“No, he’s right.” I say, meeting my parents’ gaze as we walk out of the courthouse into the warm indigo sunset. “I’m never going to lie again.”

“That sounds like a lie.” Hisao grins, pulling me a little tighter against his side.

“I’m never going to lie about something so important.” I correct myself.

“What do you want to do now?” Dad asks from behind me. He still needs a walking stick to get around, but he’s recovered remarkably since his stroke and the removal of the tumor which caused it.

“Honestly? I’m starving.”

“Excellent,” Ryouta announces. “Ikuno says she’s paying, in celebration of getting her best friend back.”

“I...” she scowls at her boyfriend before catching my eye and breaking into a smile.

And just like that I know we are friends again. I’m under no illusions that we don’t still have things to work out, but after today - hell after the last few weeks since I confessed - to still have people around me is indescribable.

“Fine, I suppose we all have reasons to celebrate.” She winks.

We do. And reasons to grieve, my parents don’t yet know what has been done to them. But they will, and I don’t know what it’s going to do to them, my mother in particular. And despite my victory today I still haven’t forgotten the crash that changed my life forever, I will carry the weight of how I came to Yamaku until the end of my days.

Going forward I don’t know what’s going to happen. There is so much that could go wrong, but there’s also hope that everything is going to be alright. I’m sprinting towards a goal that I can’t clearly see, but I’m not in this race alone anymore. The path may become rocky, or it may smooth out. Change is unavoidable.

But as someone once told me.

Not all change is bad.

The End.

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Last edited by Gajzla on Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.38 Posted 3rd May 2016)

Post by Gajzla » Sat Jun 25, 2016 12:12 pm

Thank you all so much for reading. Seeing the view count rise along and reading all of your comments has helped keep me going, even if I was a little slow towards the end. :wink:

I cannot overstate my gratitude to Mirage_GSM, who’s proofreading and input were invaluable in creating this story.

I’ll leave you with this amazing picture of one of my favorite chapters (16). Provided by the very very kind, and highly skilled Sharp-O.

Image

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rimvydasm
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Location: Lithuania

Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by rimvydasm » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:27 pm

it was such a good story,i'm glad it's happy ending ( except whole grandfather thing) and at the same time i'm sad it's the end.thank you for writing this story! :)
Lilly master race!

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henry14
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Location: Portugal

Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by henry14 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 2:47 pm

Really liked this story although I didn't follow it at first.

But once I started reading I couldn't stop.

Congrats on finishing it :D

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Gajzla
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Location: England

Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by Gajzla » Sat Jun 25, 2016 4:28 pm

rimvydasm wrote:it was such a good story,i'm glad it's happy ending ( except whole grandfather thing) and at the same time i'm sad it's the end.thank you for writing this story! :)
Thanks! I’m kind of sad about finishing as well, I feel like i’ve lost a faithful old friend I came home from work each night to see. But at the same time there aren’t that many completed Miki stories so i’m happy on that front. :D
henry14 wrote:Really liked this story although I didn't follow it at first.

But once I started reading I couldn't stop.

Congrats on finishing it :D
Thanks! :D

azumeow
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Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2014 1:04 am

Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by azumeow » Sat Jun 25, 2016 10:17 pm

Not every victory is total.

But this is good enough.

Congrats, and thank you. I've enjoyed the ride.
"I don’t want to be here anymore, I know there’s nothing left worth staying for.
Your paradise is something I’ve endured
See I don’t think I can fight this anymore, I’m listening with one foot out the door
And something has to die to be reborn-I don’t want to be here anymore"

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Dash9
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Location: United States

Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by Dash9 » Sat Jun 25, 2016 11:14 pm

So, after rewriting this message several times, I think I'll just keep it short and simple:
Thank you so much for working so hard to share this story with us!

--Dash

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HipsterJoe
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Location: Silicon Valley (The Show)

Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by HipsterJoe » Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:41 pm

NOOOOO! This was the most consistently updated story I kept coming back for : ' (

But in all seriousness, congratulations! It's been a wild, entertaining ride. I love that this was still dropping bombs through the last chapter. Reading the story has been a blast, thank you so much for sharing it with us!

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Oddball
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by Oddball » Fri Jul 08, 2016 4:56 pm

Criminal offenses, a broken home, amnesia, frequent dram sequences... all of these are things I've seen derail more than one story. Any one of them could easily have turned things too melodramatic, but you did a magnificent job weave them together to provide a story that, while often dark, never lost the somewhat optimistic feel it had.

I especially like that no matter how bad Miki's homelife was, she never really seem to dwell on it being bad. It was still obvious than no matter how hard things were, her family still all cared for each other. You did a wonderful job making a fresh and unique take on Miki.

Added props for Ikuno's role. She never gets any face time in these stories.
Not Dead Yet

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Zerebos
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Complete)

Post by Zerebos » Thu Jan 19, 2017 3:05 am

This was quite the emotional rollercoaster that toyed with my emotions and pushed my moral boundaries, that's impressive! I am very sad to see where it ended however :(

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