Akira Pseudo-Route [Complete!]

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 4/23]

Post by carrion_crow » Thu May 02, 2013 1:43 pm

I have been following this from the very beginning but have only recently made an account...DONT STOP!!! This Fic is amazing!!
Akira=Miki>Lily>Emi>Rin>Hanako...........and shizune I guess

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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:26 pm
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 4/23]

Post by Triscuitable » Thu May 02, 2013 4:28 pm

BlackWaltzTheThird wrote:
Triscuitable wrote:Chill out
Says he, immediately after writing in an enlarged, bolded font.
It's called an "attention grabber". Plus, it worked.

Posts: 55
Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 4/23]

Post by carrion_crow » Fri May 03, 2013 1:40 pm

Ok....I have exhausted myself by checking for updates on this route every hour on the hour....STOP WRITING LIKE ITS A DRUG SO I CAN NO LONGER BE ADDICTED TO THIS FIC!! (Im just kidding, keep peddling) :D
Akira=Miki>Lily>Emi>Rin>Hanako...........and shizune I guess

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 4/23]

Post by Thanatos02 » Fri May 03, 2013 11:02 pm

Been editing non-stop since Tuesday, so hopefully this time I can put something out that isn't riddled with tiny errors and contradictions, especially since this is one of the most important points in the story thus far.
Anyway, we've still got one more chapter to go before the end of act 4. I hope everyone who's been keeping up enjoys the read. Comments/criticisms still desired, as they always have been and always will be.

Act 4 - Part 8: Shatter

A plastic ‘wet floor’ sign hits the tile with a dull thud, followed by the squeaky rolling of mop-bucket wheels. The fourth floor lab is now ready for future use – its tables wiped down, its cabinets and drawers restocked, and the floor cleared of any blemishes. Everything is arranged to perfect order.

Despite the amount of work I’ve had to do, today hasn't been a very busy day. Besides post-project evaluations and fact checks for the last major experiment, not a single thing has happened in this building since I got here at five. If the groans of some chemists working overtime are to be believed, nothing happened in the morning before I got here either.

My hand hovers over my pocket after I put the cleaning supplies back into the closet, checking to make sure I’ve still got the object to be delivered -- a black clip-purse that was left in Lilly's room last night. I don't even have to go snooping through its contents to know who it belongs to.

It was an interesting request to say the least, considering the fact that Lilly is now aware of my feelings for her sister. She gave it to me when I saw her for lunch, but it was no surprise that she had nothing to say about the matter -- neither of us seems comfortable enough to bring up my confession, least of all Hanako who shies away at the mere mention of Akira’s name.

Even though last night has become a source of awkward silence, it's still hardly something I can complain about if it gives me another chance to see her. With any luck we’ll get off of work around the same time, since she’s staying late to get things packed and tie up loose ends while I’ve got to put in a few more hours tonight anyway.

Thankfully, Akira isn’t the sort who prefers a big purse. It’s a tight fit, but it fits into my pocket nonetheless. No need to be that one guy who carries around a purse.

Thinking about it now, has it really been an entire week? It was only last Tuesday that I was dancing with Akira at a jazz concert, but somehow it feels like it was yesterday. Time has been flying by so quickly, and I don’t know whether to blame exams for that, or if it’s because I’m helpless to convince her to stay.

However, being Tuesday afternoon, I’m bound to run into Tetsuo as well. When it comes to him, I don’t even know what to think anymore, whether I should be on my toes around him or if I should dissociate myself with him entirely considering the mess with Akira.

Speaking of which, Tetsuo asked me to drop by his office after I was done with the fourth floor. I’m not sure how I could get it any cleaner at this point, so I head to the elevator with reluctance and press the white plastic button, highlighting a ‘3’ on the panel.

What upcoming tasks could there be? There’s talk of some more testing for the anesthetic they worked with, but I don’t recall anything other than that. Contrary to what both of the bosses have told me, the janitor doesn’t seem to play a very vital role compared to the actual scientists -- why should I be necessary for that?

Besides to clean up like usual, of course.

A muted ‘ding’ passes through my ears as the elevator opens, my feet carrying me to Mr. Setou’s office out of habit. Today the door is ajar, as if Tetsuo were welcoming anyone to just come in and do whatever they wanted.

I peek my head around the doorway to see Tetsuo with his feet propped up on the desk, scribbling away on a clipboard. Black suit, black tie, and black combed-back hair – nothing out of the ordinary save the the lethargic expression on his face. His foot taps impatiently against the air, making a barely audible ‘pat’ each time his heel comes into contact with the table.

A few knocks against the door frame serve to alert him of my presence, his amber eyes meeting mine before he gestures for me to enter.

Rather than cut straight to business, however, he grabs his phone off of the desk and flips through it with one hand, taking his feet down and sitting up in his chair. Papers are shuffled and sorted while a few notes are signed in practiced yet lethargic motions, all without taking his eyes away from the glowing screen.

“So, Nakai, how’s it going today?” He asks after a short pause, laying his phone on the desk without shutting it. It looks as though he contemplates working on something else before simply laying back and clasping his hands together in his lap like some kind of a mob boss.

I shrug my shoulders. “It’s been alright. Not much to do today.”

“Yeah, we have days like this all the time. More often than not there’s nothing to do but paperwork, but that’s just the nature of the job. Not everyone gets to build a time machine, you know.” He smirks, his usual demeanor dulled but not erased.

“I’m not complaining.” I state, having to keep adjusting my position in the seat thanks to the large object in my pocket. “Days like this are good, although you still seem kind of stressed out.”

“Thinking about it now, I should have gotten Solus to give you a few pointers for cleaning up when it comes to live specimens.” He remarks, scratching his chin. “Maybe you’ll have time on Thursday. I’ve been mixed up about some things since it’s been so hectic lately.”

He does an internal double take, giving a surprised ‘ah’ before returning with “not around here, of course. Just a lot going on behind the scenes – you’re an employee, so naturally you should know that the previous vice chairman of public relations decided to leave the company last week.”

I haven’t heard a single word about it, but I nod my head just the same. He pauses for a few moments to check his phone again, as if he’s expecting a call and he’s afraid it might somehow go without ringing.

“Well, I don’t mean to sound cocky, but I think I’ve got a pretty good chance at it, since he didn’t name someone to take his place before he left.” He says, flashing an exciting grin for just a moment. “Anyway, things are going much better than expected. At this rate I should be able to move up by next spring.”

Spring, huh? That’s around seven or eight months from now. I don’t know where he gets the idea that Akira would be willing to put up with this for that much longer, even if she were staying here.

“I’m a little in the dark when it comes to procedures for stuff like this.” I admit, pausing to scrape together the right words. “If he just resigned, then shouldn’t they be trying to fill the spot as soon as possible?”

Tetsuo shakes his head. “Well, yes and no. For now, the office is temporarily occupied by someone who may have worked in PR before while they look for someone to fill a permanent spot.”

“It’s all corporate semantics, really, but this is exactly the kind of opportunity I’ve been waiting for.” He adds, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms.

He then proceeds to give me a textbook rundown of how exactly the company works at its highest levels, droning on for what feels like a solid ten minutes and yet somehow sounding totally interested in the subject all the while.

“It’s just a real hassle, especially with this particular position. All that matters is that either the CEO or the shareholders will pick someone to fill the spot, and I’ve gotta put up enough of a fight to make sure that someone is me.”

I try to keep from letting on that I’m not the least bit interested by any of this. “I understand that much, I’m just curious as to how it could take until next year. Shouldn’t it be pretty clear who the next person to move up is going to be after a week or so?”

He lets out a short chuckle. “You’d think so, huh? They’ll keep trading around temporary positions until they finally settle on one person. The issue with settling on one person is that no one up top can ever agree. Some of them want to promote someone in-house, whereas others would rather hire a PR rep who just retired from a different company.”

“It’s a mess sometimes, but it’s how we work.” He says, giving a sluggish shrug. “It’s been nothing but pandemonium for me for the past few months, but I’m finally starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel. If there’s something that needs to get done, then I’m gonna make sure it gets done.”

I just don’t agree with any of this. All he ever seems to focus on are his own ambitions, there’s no room in his head for anything else; or at least if there is, he’s really good at hiding it.

“I think Akira mentioned something like that.” I remark, my hand subconsciously resting on my stuffed pocket. “So you’re really going to go all out for this, huh?”

At the mention of Akira’s name, he glances at his phone one more time before letting out a sigh and slapping it shut. “I have to. I won’t be able to live with myself if I don’t give this everything I’ve got.”

But why does he HAVE to? Is there anything wrong with letting off the gas a bit to pay attention to the fact that his significant other is going through a crisis? Sometimes I wonder if he’s aware of the stress he’s putting her through at all.

“Speaking of which, I’d honestly forgotten you were friends with Akira.” He adds, a glint of curiosity flashing in his eye. “How long have you known her? She doesn’t say a whole lot about you.”

I wonder how exactly I should answer that. There are some things I’m sure I know that he doesn’t, and I can’t exactly let slip that I’ve, uh, confessed to his girlfriend. If anything, I’m a little nervous that he already knows a few things and he’s just testing me for whatever reason.

“About a month. I met her in a suit shop after my first week at Yamaku and somehow we kept meeting over and over again after that.” I explain, trying to keep from revealing too much. “She’s a very interesting person.”

“Huh. I figured you would have gotten to know her through her little sister.” Tetsuo says, only trying to make small talk for some reason or another.

A mixture of fatigue and worry washes over his features as he drifts into thought for a few moments, checking his phone one more time on impulse before sliding it into his shirt pocket. “How often do you talk to her?”

“Not very often, honestly. I’ve had a few conversations with her over the phone every now and then.” I state, deciding to leave out the nights we’ve spend at the jazz club and the times I’ve slept on her couch.

I don’t know where he’s going with this. It’s clear he’s feeling some stress, but I don’t think he’d actually suspect me of doing anything with Akira.

“Hm.” He grunts, glancing over to the computer screen, which has no doubt gone into hibernate since I entered the room. “I hate to sound like I’m prying or nagging here, but does she ever say anything about me? We’ve been talking over some troubles lately, but I always feel like she’s… avoiding something.”

Would that mean he doesn’t know about the summons, then? It’s been a week since I found out, so either she hasn’t found a chance to let him about it, or he hasn’t given her the time of day for such an encounter to even be considered.

“She mentions you from time to time, but she never really says much. Nothing bad, anyway.”

Or, at least, I haven’t actually heard her say anything that I’m at liberty to repeat to his face. That’s not to say she’s never mentioned anything nice about him, but I don’t think he’d enjoy anything truthful I have to say on the matter.

Tetsuo raises one eyebrow in suspicion. “Nothing bad? What do you mean by that?”

Whoops. “Well, I mean…”

I pause for a moment to gather my thoughts, feeling as though I were just dropped into the middle of a minefield coated in eggshells. “She’s never really gone into detail, but I get the impression that she feels like she doesn’t get enough time from you.”

His expressions droops into one of pure annoyance. “Well, of course I haven’t had enough time to spend with her! I’m within arm’s reach of landing a position someone as young as me should never hope to have!”

My face heats up and my teeth grind against each other as he continues. “I’ve talked about this with her more than a few times, don’t worry. I thought she understood, but every time I try to tell her it’ll all turn out just fine, she gets all defensive and gives me that glare.”

I almost open my mouth to force the words ‘maybe you should try taking a hint, dumbass’ out of my throat, but hold back as he keeps going off.

He grumbles in displeasure, obviously peeved from just thinking of anything related to the matter. “I have to work every day from eight in the morning to ten at night, I haven’t gotten a day off since we went to Tokyo, and every time I try to call her she either invites me out to all these places she knows I don’t have the time to go to or doesn’t answer the phone at all!”

“Well maybe you should consider giving her the time of day before she’s gone from both of our lives.” I mutter, feeling my vision go red.

I said it.

In that one breath I betrayed Akira’s trust, made myself out to be a nuisance, drove a stake even further into their crumbling relationship, and caused the man who hired me to become leery with suspicion.

He begins to reach for his phone on impulse before his hand hangs over his pocket, frozen. His eyes stare directly into mine as he contemplates how to even process what I just said.

“And what is that supposed to mean, Mr. Nakai?”

I could either laugh and play it off as an insensitive joke, or I could follow through with it as far as I can.

Either way, I’m already a part of this. I have been ever since I confessed my feelings for Akira. There’s no point in giving up now.

“I heard it from Akira. She and Lilly are being summoned back to Scotland in a few days. She told me about a job offering she got from her own father at the head branch of their family’s company.” I confess, feeling my entire body heat up in anger as I shift in my seat.

Even though his answer is nothing more than a detached “is that so?” I can still see the anger in his eyes. For just a fraction of a second he was sneering at me, one eyebrow twitched, his nostrils flared.

Why is he angry? Shouldn’t the general reaction for something like this be immediate sadness? The crushing feeling of loss? At the very least shouldn’t he be asking why I know about this in the first place?

But no, there’s nothing. He can’t hide his emotions, as indicated by his expression changing into one of focus and hidden fury as he begins tapping away at the keyboard. A stern frown forms on his lips and his brow narrows as he goes back to his work, ignoring my continued existence entirely.

I take that as my cue to leave the room, using all the self-control I can muster to keep from slamming the door behind me.

That’s it. That’s all he gave me. An angry look and a small affirmative before he just went back to work. Does he even care? Did it even faze him?

Or maybe he didn’t even believe me -- I’m just a stupid child playing a cruel, foolhardy joke on his crumbling relationship. Either way, it doesn’t matter; the only thing I can feel is the tension building in my chest as I think of all the things I’ve potentially screwed up for Akira.

It was her right to tell him, and hers alone.


I tap the green send button in the corner of the keypad with my other hand hovering over my still-bulging pocket. “[Hey, I just clocked out. I think from here it’s about a twenty minute walk?]”

My stomach churns as I think about facing Akira after everything that just happened. It’s been a few hours since then, but even still that exchange is burned into my head.

As I slide my phone into my pocket, I wonder just how much of my time I’ve given to this place in the past few weeks. The pay rate isn’t exactly phenomenal, but at this point I should start looking forward to a paycheck. I think I've done enough work to warrant one, anyway.

Maybe even a bonus for having to deal with him.

What am I even going to do with it? I feel like all I have to do at this point is store it away, or maybe even send it back to my parents to help cover medical expenses. College is certainly a possibility at this point too, and every little bit helps…

A subtle vibration breaks me away from thought for a moment. I fish the plastic slab out of my pocket and flip it open, the glowing screen revealing a short message containing “[That’s great, thanks! I’ll be waiting outside.]”

The position of her condominium is somehow embedded in my mind even though I’ve only been there twice. My head blanks as I float through the night crowds, turning each corner and stepping between each group of people like clockwork.

The only thing that continues to occupy my mind is Tetsuo’s reaction, and all it does it incite feelings of anger and confusion – both words that are very good at describing how I’ve felt over this past week. Angry and confused.

Maybe not even this past week. I was angry and confused when I found out about the summons to Inverness. I was angry and confused when I got the letter from Iwanako. I was angry and confused when I when I first learned of Tetsuo’s tie to Akira and the nature of their relationship. I was angry and confused when I went to that suit shop looking for anything that would help me get out of this rut. I was angry and confused when I woke up on the rooftop with a hangover from god knows what.

It’s been months since I got here and even though I’ve made so much progress, I still feel like nothing will change in the end. I’ve taken an enjoyable detour; nothing more than a fork in the road where I’ve come to terms with what the rest of my life will be like.

Looking at it that way, it’s so jarring. Every time I look back on these past few months, it’s jarring. From spending every waking moment in a dull, sterile room to running back and forth between school and the city because I’ve fallen in love with a woman who is just generally out of my league.

If someone had told me when I was young that in ten years I’d be a mixed up highschooler with a heart problem chasing after an already-taken older woman with a full-time job, I wouldn’t have believed them. That's so much of a mouthful that I doubt even they would've been able to say it without laughing -- my innocent brain probably would've found it hilarious, like something out of a bad romance novel.

And yet here I am, walking up to a thirty-story condominium with a clip-purse in hand and being met by a welcoming smile from the woman who lost it.

“Yo.” She says with a wave, a white work-shirt on her torso and a black tie hanging from her collar. As usual, the rest of her body is clad in black, from her pinstriped pants and sleek black shoes to the suit jacket thrown over her idle arm.

The scene is the same as usual. Grey concrete makes up the sidewalk leading along the road and up to the front doors of the building, the bright glow of street lighting mixing with the glowing signs of all the businesses nearby.

I hold out the object of importance out for her, trying to give a feeble smile as she accepts it. “I didn’t go peeking through it or anything, don’t worry.”

She gives an amused ‘hm.’ “Thank you very much. I’m not too worried about that, though -- only thing to see in there is my driver’s license photo, and everyone is better off without having to look at it.”

“What makes you say that?” I ask, trying to enjoy the small talk for as long as I can.

Should I tell her that Tetsuo knows now? No matter how she reacts, I know she’s going to be disappointed. Maybe even angry that I let it slip and ruined something that she’s been stressed out by for weeks.

The purse in her hands opens with a ‘snap’ and she fishes a small card out of one of the few pockets. “This makes me say that.”

On the right side of the white card is an image of Akira, her hair longer and even messier than usual and a pair of dark rings under each eye. She doesn’t look particularly focused on the camera, her listless gaze making it seem like she had already fallen asleep with her eyes closed.

“I take it you weren’t having a good morning.” I remark, unable to keep myself from laughing.

“You have no idea.” She replies, sliding one hand into her pocket with an amused smile. “I went drinking with a few co-workers the night before, and something my little department tries to do is drink the boss under the table.”

I can imagine it now; a bunch of burly salarymen all lying on the ground in a daze while Akira continues to order round after round. The image brings a grin to my face, even with all the anxiety built up in my heart.

It’s all I’ve been able to think about for this past week -- how many times we’ve talked like this. Each time she makes me smile, or cheers me up, or somehow turns my entire day around.

I wonder how many more times I’ll get before it’s all over.

“How often do they win?”

“Hah. My tolerance levels aren’t nearly as high as you’d expect from someone who drinks as much as me.” She answers. Even so, a short pause floats through the air before she glances off in the other direction, a nonchalant look on her face. “I always win.”

“I figured as much.” I comment, causing both of us to laugh.

A glimpse over the other sections of her driver’s license reveals that she’s only had it for four years, and that her birthday is…

“You never told me you had a birthday in a few weeks.”

She raises her brow at my statement, her lips pursed in thought. “Well, yeah. I’ll probably be out of here by then, though.”

It’s been lurking among my thoughts ever since she first told me, and even now the mere mention of her departure causes a moment of pain in my chest. It doesn’t help the nausea I’ve been feeling since my little outburst at work.

“You should text me your address when you get there so I can send you something.” I state, trying to keep my gaze from wavering away from hers despite the fact that my hands are fidgeting.

A half-smile forms on her lips as her eyes gloss over me, her hand held out as I return her driver’s license. “You’d probably have to spend more on shipping than the actual gift.”

“Not like it matters.” I return, shrugging my shoulders. “I’ve got a paycheck coming up and I can’t think of anything else to spend it on, except put it away for later.”

“It’s a good idea to start saving up early.” Akira continues to smile softly as she slips both hands into her pockets. “Besides, why would you go spending your entire paycheck just to send me a birthday present?”

It feels more like a rhetorical question than an actual curiosity. Both of us know the answer and that doing something like that is just me being clingy, but still. “Because I still haven’t given you something to remember me by?”

Even with a depressing statement like that, she’s still able to meet me with a grin. “Believe me, I’d have to try pretty hard to forget a guy like you.”

“Is that so?” I ask with a tilt of my head, knowing that she’s just trying to be nice.

“Yep.” She answers with a confident nod. “I haven’t gotten a confession since I graduated from high school. Can’t say I’ve ever gone drinking with someone as young as you either.”

The latter note is followed by a short “well…” before she shrugs the thought off. “Anyway, don’t you dare think I’m going to go and forget you or anything else here in Japan.”

“I still have to go to Scotland for all of this, though.” She adds, as if reminding both me and herself of that fact to keep from going any further. “But even so, I’m not going to magically forget everything once I’m out of the country. If anything, these past few months have just made it harder to go.”

“Well, I was happy to be here, then.” I reply, still unable to keep the edges of my mouth from curling up despite the melancholy look on her face.

It’s such a cheesy and generic statement, but there really is no other way to describe my feelings right now. If I’d known Akira was going to disappear from the first day, I still would have fallen for her. I still would have hoped for all of those encounters, I still would have spent that night in the city with her, and I still would have done everything else.

“Anyway, it is getting pretty late.” Akira mutters, scratching her head. “I don’t want you to have to stay the night on my couch again because the buses stopped running.”

I resist the urge to say something like ‘but what if I want to sleep on your couch?’ and instead nod my head in agreement. Before I can give my actual statement of ‘yeah, that’s probably for the best’ however, the high-pitched hum of a vehicle engine bores into my ear.

It’s different than all the trucks and cars that have been passing along the road this entire time. It sticks out like a bad itch, only increasing in intensity until it feels as though it’s only a few feet behind me.

My heart pounds against my chest as Akira’s expression changes to one of surprise, causing me to turn around and behold what may have just turned my stomach inside out.

A man on a yellow motorcycle slows to a halt and parks beside the curb, knocking down the kickstand and turning off the engine in one motion. A black business suit covers his body and a yellow helmet with a tinted visor obscures his face.

Even so, we both know who it is. After everything I’ve seen and experienced, I’d have to be a moron not to have been expecting this.

A cold grip takes hold of my chest as if someone had shoved an iron rod into heart as, in a single limber movement, he hops off of the motorcycle and removes his helmet, revealing that head of sleek black hair and those piercing hazel eyes.

“Hey, Akira.”

Her eyes flash with a glint of confusion before she answers with “hey, Tetsuo. What are you doing here?”

Nothing has been said but simple greetings, but I already feel like there’s a bomb ticking down, its clock blacked out and ready to explode at the slightest agitation. I feel like an alien or an unwanted visitor standing here, the mere thought of throwing my greeting into the mix sending disgust through my head.

“Just thought I’d stop by, you know? You didn’t call me like you said you would, so I figured I’d come check on you.” He says before hooking his arm under the helmet and letting it hang at his side. “We don’t get to talk as often as we used to.”

Akira picks up on the mood immediately, her brow narrowing in suspicion. “Yeah, a little talk is nice every now and then. I was actually about to call you once I was done talking to Hisao – how have you been, dear?”

Her pet name practically drips with sarcasm, even if there may be no ill intent behind it. They’ve barely said more than twenty words to each other and it’s already clear that they’re both at the end of their ropes when it comes to all the stress they’ve been dealing with.

“Oh, I’ve been quite alright, sweetie.” Tetsuo returns, his other hand resting in his pants pocket. “Been talking with some higher-ups all day, trying to get my foot in the door with this vacated seat on the board of chairmen.”

“That’s great. How long do you think it’ll be before you move up?” Akira asks, the smile on her lips hardly believable with the look of annoyance in her eyes.

“Hmmm.” He says, scratching his chin theatrically. “Should be by March of next year or so. Vice chairman of Public Relations; doesn’t that sound wonderful?”

Akira’s expression fades more and more into one of frustration, even if she continues to play along with the little game they’ve found themselves in. “That’s great. I’m happy for you, Tetsuo. The salary boost, the company car, and we can’t forget about all that vacation time you’ll have saved up by then.”

“Why thank you, honey.” He says, the same look of feigned pride and happiness on his face. “Think about it, Akira – once I’m at the top, you could quit your job, we’d have all this time to-“

“Tetsuo, stop.” Akira mutters. “I know what you’re doing. There’s no need for stupid games like this, just say what you mean.”

Despite her outburst and Tetsuo’s fading cordiality, he continues as if she hadn’t said anything. “Just think about it -- we could travel the world.”

“Egypt, France, America, Brazil, Germany… Once I’m at the top, we could do anything you wanted.” He adds, a tinge of doubt worming into his voice as he takes a deep breath.

He locks eyes with me for a moment before turning back to Akira, his expression crumbling apart into one of repressed sadness and frustration. “I’d have to cross Scotland off that list, though. Seems like you can get there just fine on your own.”

Just like that, he takes the iron rod and twists it in my chest, causing me to nearly cringe with guilt as the words, dripping with spite, slip from his mouth.

Akira’s lip twitches, if only for a moment. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

And then, at that slightest agitation, everything explodes. “What the fuck do you think it means, Akira?! That you’ve been hiding something like this until a few days before you had to just hop on a plane and flutter away?!”

“Don’t you even start with me, Tetsuo Shuugetsu.” Akira seethes, her brow narrowing in restrained anger. “Don’t you dare try to antagonize me when I’ve been trying to get you out to a place where I could actually tell you for weeks.”

She takes a deep breath to calm herself down before continuing with “I was going to tell you the first chance I could, but every single time I invite you somewhere you blow me off to go to some goddamned corporate dinner or some general boot-licking meeting with an executive eight months past his expiration date.”

“Well excuse me for caring about my job.” He returns, his lips locked into an embittered frown. “I thought you understood what it was like to work in this world, but I guess I was wrong. You had plenty of chances to tell me but no, you’d rather wait until the very end so you could screw me over in the process.”

Plenty of chances to tell him? The only thing I can think of is their trip to Tokyo, but according to Akira that went wrong in enough other ways to warrant keeping it under wraps until later. It seems to me like he’s been hiding a few things as well, and it’s only now that he’s speaking his mind.

Akira doesn’t seem to be buying it in the slightest, however. “Ignoring the fact that what you just said is a load of shit, why do you have to be at the top? You already make more money than most people your age in your current office.”

“You’ve got enough vacation time to take an entire month off – enough time for a REAL vacation, not that crappy one-day thing we tried to squeeze into a weekend.” She argues.

Tetsuo slaps himself on the forehead, practically beginning to tear at his hair as his voice drips with irritation. “And do you know what we’ll be able to do once I make it? Screw spending a few days in Tokyo – I could take you to Paris, Hawaii, Hong Kong; anywhere in the world you wanted to go!”

“I keep telling you this, and you never want to listen, you always miss the point entirely! This isn’t about making myself the corporate king of the world or the biggest boss or even just to be at the top of the totem pole; I’m doing this for you!” He adds in a yell, his voice gradually rising louder and louder until his words echo from across the street.

Akira, on the other hand, forces herself to stay calm and collected, as if outbursts like this were a common occurrence she’s gotten used to. “I don’t care if we’re staying in a run-down hotel in the middle of nowhere so long as we actually do something together. That’s the entire problem -- I keep telling you that, and you’re the one that always misconstrues or dodges around it.”

“We could solve this in one fell swoop and you refuse to do the one thing that would help.” She asserts with crossed arms, her foot tapping against the sidewalk in annoyance.

“Oh, and what’s that?” He retorts, one eyebrow raised in mock curiosity. “Drop all the work I’ve done and let myself be pidgeonholed into a second-rate manager’s position?”

There he goes with that crap again. I don’t even know what to think of all this anymore. Tetsuo clearly believes that he’s doing the right thing beyond any shadow of a doubt and Akira is focused on getting him to see that he’s full of it. Even though my head continues to heat up and I feel like I could explode at any second, all I can do is stand here with nothing to add to their shouting match.

“I was thinking of appreciating the job you have and taking advantage of things while they’re still available instead of acting like a petulant child.” Akira jabs back, a bitter tone sneaking into her voice.

He shakes his head and lets out an exasperated groan. “And now we’re just repeating ourselves. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again -- if I stop now, then I’ll never get where I want to be. I’ll lose all the momentum I’ve built up. Is that what you want for me, Akira? Is that what you want for us?”

“So suddenly it’s ‘us’ huh?” She clamors, her eyes stabbing into Tetsuo with disgust for what she just heard. “Why are you always trying to make me look like the bad guy? I’ve told you that’s not what it is, you know that’s not the case, and there’s no point in continuing this nonsense if you’re just gonna keep stubbornly shooting for a job that tears your life apart in the process.”

“If that’s what it takes, then that’s what I’ll do.” Tetsuo responds in an equally annoyed tone before losing his edge. “I know what you’re going through, Akira. I know what this is doing to us, and it hurts me just as much to know that it’s happened.”


No. That is such a load of crap that it isn’t even funny. He doesn’t have a damned clue. He can’t possibly sit there and claim to understand what she’s going through when he won’t even take an hour out of his schedule to pay attention to his girlfriend until a crisis is on the horizon.

And even worse is the fact that he has the nerve to keep going. “But I can’t stop here. What’s the point of even stopping for you if you’re just going to get on a plane and act like we never happened?”

For the umpteenth time today, I clench my fists in anger as heat rushes to my face, my teeth grinding against each other as millions of words rush through my head at once until I can’t hold it in anymore. “Maybe she wouldn’t have to throw her life away if she had someone here worth sticking around for.”

At my sudden outburst, both Akira and Tetsuo turn towards me, the former filled with surprise and the latter filled with disappointment. None of that matters anymore, though. I’ve held my tongue for far too long – I don’t care if both of them hate my guts for speaking up.

“I’ve seen the way you two act around each other. I’ve seen all the arguing and bickering and I’ve seen the few moments where you two look like you’re actually in a relationship, and none of that matters when you can’t even give her fifteen damned minutes of your t-“

“Nakai, what the hell are you even doing here?” Tetsuo interrupts out of confusion, no doubt only recently becoming aware of my presence. “Why does any of this matter to you?”

“You know what, I find myself asking the same thing all the time.” I respond, everything else in the world dipping in importance as I practically spit each word. “I don’t know. I don’t know why I care about her so much. I don’t know why I’m letting myself getting involved with this.”

I take a deep breath, one hand flying to my chest as my heart-rate hits me like a truck. “But I don’t care about why; the only thing that matters is that it’s gotten to the point where Akira doesn’t even have anything in Japan worth staying for. She’s going to disappear in less than a week and all you care about is whether or not you can keep jumping at promotions like someone’s dangling a carrot in front of you on a stick!”

“That’s what you think?” Tetsuo asks, managing to look more wounded than angered and nearly dropping his motorcycle helmet in the process. “If you think that Akira is anything less than the world to me then I don’t know where or who you’ve been looking at.”

Before I can jump back at him, however, Akira decides to re-enter. “Yeah, that’s what he thinks.”

She glares at me for a moment, looking relieved by my words and yet still angry for everything that’s happened today. “And I agree -- this has gone on long enough, Tetsuo. You rarely answer your phone and whenever you do, we hardly ever talk for more than half an hour. For the love of god you avoid spending time with me without a week of negotiation first!”

“So why can’t you make a compromise?!” I yell, unable to control my voice any longer. “I keep seeing all these things Akira does to try and patch things up, and yet all I’ve ever heard of you doing is adamantly refusing or putting it off entirely!”

“Because all you ever want to do is go out to clubs and bars!” He retaliates, clearly displeased that it’s turned into a two-on-one.

Akira pauses for a moment as Tetsuo goes silent, his mouth clenched shut as he tries to put the right words together. Content that he has nothing to say just yet, Akira adds on “even worse is the fact that you keep telling me about all these things we’ll do someday. It’s been months since you told me about that rock concert you wanted us to go to; what happened to that?”

He opens his mouth to speak, but Akira only persists. “What about the sports car symposium in Osaka? Why haven’t we even tried to go see a movie in the past few months? When are we going to spend the weekend at the summer house again?”

“Because. I’m. Busy.” He seethes as soon as Akira stops talking, his free hand clenched into a fist.

“So what’s the point in continuing, then?” I interject, my hands shaking in fury. “You’re not doing anything for her. Not a damned thing. You have a caring, understanding woman here with a sense of humor and charisma unlike anyone else I’ve ever met, and you’re just ignoring her.”

He opens his mouth to speak, but I don’t give him the opportunity. I don’t care if he’s my boss, I’m fed up with bottling up my thoughts on this entire mess. “You have a woman who keeps on trying to patch things up even though it’s clear to everyone that you’re just a waste of time!”

“Yeah, I get that she should have told you sooner. It was stupid to refuse telling you while you’re at work, but give her a break!” I shout, feeling as though my head could burst at any moment. “She's been torn between crap from her dad, crap from work, and worst of all; crap from you! Aren't you supposed to be there for her?!”

“I’m not going to hear that nonsense from you!” He cuts in, waving his hand around in rejection. ”What the hell do you know? How would you know about the dozens of calls I make to her every week that only get through to an answering machine? How am I supposed to know about all these troubles when Akira doesn’t even tell me how her day at work went most of the time?!”

“That’s a shitty excuse and you know it.” I fume.

I glance over to Akira to see an expression filled with both worry and resolution, her gleaming red eyes centered on me. Her thoughts on all of this are totally unknown to me, but that doesn’t matter. I’m doing this for myself as well as her -- if I didn’t say anything now, then I don’t even know how I could bring myself to wake up tomorrow.

My voice continues entirely on instinct. “You’re full of crap. I’ve seen it. All you do is pose pointless arguments and refuse to give even an inch when it comes to settling anything. Don't you think she deserves better than that?!”

“I’m done listening to you.” He asserts, his tone suddenly becoming detached as he waves me off entirely. “Adults are trying to speak, Nakai. Stay out of it.”

Such an act only rouses the anger of the other person present, however.

“Well if you’re not gonna listen to him, then how about you listen to me?” Akira begins, brushing a few stray locks of hair out of her eyes. “He’s right. You’ve got your head so far up your ass that you don’t even realize what you’re doing.”

“I’m sick and tired of being treated like my own aspirations are worthless compared to yours. All you’ve been doing for the past months is forcing your own nonsensical goals and expecting me to give up my entire life to help you along.” She says, clearly at her bursting point.

She throws her suit jacket at the nearby bench before crossing her arms, trying to keep her composure without screaming or running over to slap the daylights out of him. “When have you ever offered to give something up for us?”

“You wanna know why I didn’t tell you sooner? Because I knew that this was how you were going to act. You aren’t angry that I'm gonna be halfway across the damned world in a few days, you’re angry because you won’t be able to use me as your crutch anymore. What kind of a one-sided relationship do you call this? How does any of this make sense in your head?!” She yells, her voice heavy as if she were on the verge of tears.

“You're right. What is the point?”

And with that, he cracks. The helmet slips from his hands and his fingers go limp. Our fury goes completely silent for those moments where he closes his eyes and contemplates his next move, only the sound of a few passing cars filling the void.

He lets out a long, exhausted sigh, like an over-inflated balloon releasing all of its struggles. “You know what, Akira? You’re right.”

“I need you. More than anything else in the world, I need you here now.” He confesses, his gaze never drifting from Akira’s eyes.

She doesn’t seem convinced, however. Or if she is, then she doesn’t come across as even remotely moved by the point Tetsuo is trying to make.

“We have nothing but disagreements over the littlest things and no matter how hard I try, I just can’t win.” He concedes, his lower lip quivering for just a tiny moment, barely noticeable if he weren’t standing directly under the streetlight. “But you know what? I tried. I tried as hard as I could.”

One hand slides into his pocket and shuffles around for something. “It’s just the damned truth, though. I can’t make you happy anymore, Akira. I can’t do anything for you and we both know that. It’s just the way everything had to turn out.”

“So what do you think we should do?” Akira asks after a long pause, all traces of rage and frustration vacating her features and leaving only a mask of longing and sadness.

In his off-hand pocket, he fishes out a small red box and a silver lighter, glancing down at them with a look of resignation. “What else is there to do?”

“Yeah.” She agrees, letting out an exasperated sigh as she glances at me before meeting his eyes with a deflated gaze. “I just…”

“I really wanted this to work out. You were someone special to me, and I never thought we would have to come to this.” She mutters in a detached tone. “I thought that you knew how to work through these things. Even with my damned father calling me back, we could have done something to keep going.”

He flips the lid of the small box open and raises it to his mouth, plucking a long cigarette from inside. “I wanted to be someone special to you, Akira, I really did, and there’s nothing worse than knowing that I’ve let that all fall apart.”

“But... life isn’t a fairy tale, you know?” He says, his eyes glimmering as if he were choking back tears. “It just didn’t turn out that way. There are some things in this world that just don’t work out, whether we like it or not.”

“Maybe in another life we could have found a way to give it another go without one of us having to sacrifice everything.” He continues, the dull scratching noise of a flint following before the tip of his cigarette begins to glow a faint orange. An idle ‘clink’ cuts through the silence as he shuts the lighter.

His gaze jumps between both myself and Akira as he takes a long drag. “Hah. In the end I wound up being the villain, huh?”

And then, without another word, he picks up his motorcycle helmet and begins walking back to his bike, a dim trail of grey smoke following him as he sets the headgear on the back seat. With one last glance over his shoulder, he gives a bitter wave goodbye to both of us and starts the bike’s engine, taking no time before speeding off into traffic.

It’s almost depressing. In the end, his only flaw was that he was too ambitious and narrow-sighted. I wonder what he thinks about all this -- if he’s some kind of cartoonish bad guy now, rather than simply a neglectful workaholic. Was he just throwing out a spiteful last word or is he truly aware of the pain he’s caused for both Akira and himself?

A strange feeling lingers in the air as he disappears; leaving only Akira and I standing on the sidewalk. The lights around us still glow and cars continue to pass by us on the road as if nothing was any different.

The words “I’m sorry” slip from my tongue before anything else enters my thoughts, a seething guilt eating away at the back of my mind.

Akira waits a few moments to even notice that I said anything as she stares into the distance for a while, her suit jacket still thrown over one arm. Her gaze is filled with a maelstrom of emotion when she finally turns to face me, her lips pursed together in thought.

“Don’t be.” She replies in a vacant tone, a crestfallen expression on her features. “He was gonna find out eventually. This was all bound to happen and I’m not going to blame anyone for that.”

I can’t even bring myself to meet her face, staring down at the ground as she steps within arm’s reach. “It was my fault, Akira. It was your right to tell him, not mine. I shouldn’t have lost my temper and-“

“Don’t even start with that – not yet, anyway.” She interrupts, placing one finger over my lips and shaking her head lightly as her soft, empty voice washes through my ears. “First and foremost, you owe me a drink. We’ll see how I’m feeling after that.”
Last edited by Thanatos02 on Sat Oct 18, 2014 12:16 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by Mut-Who » Fri May 03, 2013 11:42 pm

Heading into the finale of Act 4. Should be interesting to see where the dice land.
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by Sabin » Sat May 04, 2013 12:57 am

I guess it's fitting that my first post be in this thread.

I was quite impressed with this newest chapter, Thana. It had all sorts of potential to crash and burn, what with Hisao jumping the gun on the whole "leaving on a jet plane" thing, but it all seems to have turned out for the best. That whole argument had me on edge and uncomfortable, which is exactly the effect it should have, given the situation. It's nice to see Hisao step up to the plate and just let loose with his feelings on the matter. That said, I can't help but feel sorry for Tetsuo. He really did care about Akira in his own way, and he knows he's screwed up. His choices haven't been the most well thought-out, but his intentions have obviously been in the right place.

All in all, an excellent bit of writing. I look forward to the next installment.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by fluffy_pink » Sat May 04, 2013 1:16 am

This was a very exciting chapter. Everything Sabin said above me mirrors my own thoughts.

This story gets better with every chapter I read, it's now at the point where I'm yelling at the characters out loud.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by komina12345 » Sat May 04, 2013 1:20 am

Why do you leave us at such a cliffhanger man?
Now I know I can't focus on finals
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 4/23]

Post by Triscuitable » Sat May 04, 2013 1:42 am

While I massage my now twisted arm (damned 5AM CrossFit routines), allow me to make BttF references and other notes. Then I'll go back to playing Tomb Raider.
Thanatos02 wrote: Despite the amount of work I’ve had to do, today has not been a very heavy day.
There's that word again, "heavy".
Thanatos02 wrote:“Thinking about it now, I should have gotten Solus to give you a few pointers for cleaning up when it comes to live specimens.”
Had to be him. Someone else might have gotten it wrong.

I started listening to Iron Maiden right here.
Thanatos02 wrote:“Well maybe you should consider giving her the time of day before she’s gone from both of our lives.”
Ruuuuun toooo the hiiiiiiiills
Thanatos02 wrote:A man on a yellow motorcycle slows to a halt and parks beside the curb, knocking down the kickstand and turning off the engine in one motion. A black business suit covers his body and a yellow helmet with a tinted visor obscures his face.
Ruuuuun foooor yoouur liiiiife
Thanatos02 wrote:Even so, we both know who it is. After everything I’ve seen and experienced, I’d have to be a moron not to have been expecting this.
Thanatos02 wrote:“Just think about it -- we could travel the world.”
Wow, this sounded super nefarious.
Thanatos02 wrote:“I keep telling you this, and you never want to listen, you always miss the point entirely! This isn’t about making myself the corporate king of the world or the biggest boss or even just to be at the top of the totem pole; I’m doing this for you!” He adds in a yell, his voice gradually rising louder and louder until his words echo from across the street.
There's gotta be a trope for this somewhere.

Good chapter. Good read. Back to the adventures of Lara Croft and her longbow.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by Sabin » Sat May 04, 2013 1:49 am

Now that you mention it, Trisc, I'm betting that is some sort of trope. Huh.

Blurting out his feelings like that to a woman's boyfriend wasn't Hisao's smartest move. Lucky he didn't experience another wonderful heart explosion.

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by carrion_crow » Sat May 04, 2013 1:55 am

Ah...I can't even explain how on edge i was during that entire argument. I was beginning to think that red box was a proposal ring and that for whatever reason Akira was going to accept. whoooooooh load off my mind...Now, for the next chapter!
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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by Draganada » Sat May 04, 2013 5:54 am

My god, my heart is pounding! I don't even know what to say about what I've just read, but I was on the edge of my seat!
Rika > Lilly > Hanako > Akira > Shizune/Misha > Emi/Rin

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by nemz » Sat May 04, 2013 7:40 am

Great stuff, very dramatic!

one problem jumped out at me though, somewhat ruining a nice moment:
I heard it from Akira. In a few days, she and Lilly are being summoned back to Scotland in a few days.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by YourFavAnon » Sat May 04, 2013 7:42 am

One conflict down, one major one to go. Solid work.
I write things occasionally.

Dumps of my 35+ fics can be found here and here (including some non-KS stuff).

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Re: Akira Pseudo-Route [Updated as of 5/3]

Post by Hoitash » Sat May 04, 2013 10:56 am

You know, that coulda gone a helluva lot worse.

A very gripping read, and my mind can't help but wander to the gutter following Akira's last statement.
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