24iza_run: (ninja)
[personal profile] 24iza_run
Title: The Medium
Rating: G
Characters: Sakurai and Aiba (Ohno's appearance for this chapter)
Disclaimer: Slightly inspired from Fatal Frame. Only the plot is mine!
Summary: 10 years ago Sho was saved from a haunted spirit by the town's Medium, Aiba. The two of them become best-friends-forever and always stick to each other after that until one day Sho was forced to stop from seeing his only friend. What Sho doesn't expect though is to find out that he might lose Aiba in the most saddening way. Now it's all up to him to let The Final Ritual to be performed, or save Aiba and drag their town to its calamity.
Warning: Supernatural stuff and mentioned of human sacrifice.


Childhood Dreams Ending


              7 months has passed after the whole Japan was shaken by the news that obliteration had happened to a small town at the southern area of the land of rising sun. The damage was so awful until it was reported on several television stations that almost everything in there were burnt down into ashes except for a few houses which were located close with the town border. What makes it even more heartbreaking was the fact that the rescue team has announced no survivor was found. Dead bodies can be seen anywhere and the fire took roughly 6 hours to completely be put down by the firefighter. Several people came to give flowers and pray for the victims of the calamity at the border of the town later since the minister had informed the place is closed for visit due to leaking gas. Only a few people know the real reason behind it was because the government wants to prevent commotion from happening if it is widespread that in fact, the town was still performing their old human sacrifice tradition before the calamity took place.

Another thing that still remains unknown from the public knowledge though is the truth there is someone who actually survives the mess. He was found outside the border of the town area which the priests claimed might be the reason why he didn’t get dragged along when the calamity took place. Everything regarding his existence wasn’t reported to the media in order to protect his identity and even his surname and background also were changed to avoid people from tracking him, especially those who once had connection with his family. For the entire 1 month after the calamity, the survivor had to stay in the hospital so the doctors can watch his recovery before he was sent into a secret place to ensure his safety until the situation fully calm down. The government and charity agencies then provided him with a house, full financial support, education, and other necessities until he can live by his own. This indirectly gives him the very rare chance to further his study in medical field like he has been dreaming of and starts his life all over again in Tokyo.

…Or that what everyone thought.

“I’m leaving.”

Heavy silence.

Sho though seems doesn’t expect for any reply himself. Instead he just calmly closes the sink tap and dries his hand on a clean towel. The young man has learnt to do all the house chores by himself after moving into the apartment that the government officially named under him and usually will already off to the university in the morning. He already used to live like that every day and has stopped to expect anything else when return home from his classes.

Soon, only his footsteps resound in there as he enters the living room to get his books. It is all silence in the house. Painful. Torturing. Day by day he can’t longer help from thinking that perhaps, it will be better to die along with the other people in the town during the calamity. Though there are times when the priests, counselor, or agent who responsible for his case will visit to show their support or check on him, at some point he realizes how hopeless it actually is. He admits that he appreciates their effort for helping him to through all this mess, but he already tired with their sympathy. For him, it’s already enough when they explained that what he did wasn’t actually wrong since the old tradition of sacrificing a human has long banned in Japan and he just stopped from making more people to suffer by it. That at least helps much to reduce his guilt for becoming the reason behind hundreds of people’s death including his own parents.

Unfortunately though, that can’t completely erase his darkening regret. No matter what he tried to do he just can’t forgive himself. The guilt that he holds toward the certain someone to this day makes him to despise himself more and more until he slowly lost his life’s sight as well.

It’s Masaki.

“Will you be fine by yourself?”

Sho suddenly asks while reaching for the front door keys. Once receiving no answer from the kitchen, he eventually lifts his gaze and calls out for the guy who is still sitting on the dining chair.

“Masaki?”

Masaki immediately flinches from his own world by the sudden call. Sho at the same time just watches his friend’s clumsiness as the
latter turns to the sink to seek for him before finally realizing about his long presence in their living room. The older one can feel his heart crumble badly when find the usually bright smile his friend has is now dimmed and can’t longer reach his eyes like before.

“Yeah. Be careful on your way.”

There is a long silence when both of them just look at each other for a while – Sho with his worried one while Masaki with his clearly exhausted eyes. Seeing the obvious eye bag his friend has make Sho to chew his lip bitterly before finally moves to take his seat next to Masaki’s. Just looking by how pale the latter is as he tries to hide the pain behind his distant eyes make Sho clenches his hands into tight fist. Every night when he go to check for his friend in his bedroom, he will find him are either crying or hitting his head hard onto the wall if he doesn’t hurriedly come in to stop him. There is not even a single second Masaki will not be haunted by the nightmares where everyone in their town are pulling him down and screaming to suffer with them until it forces Sho to bring his friend to see the psychiatrist once in two weeks before his condition worsen. The former Medium is also always being seen alone, his eyes staring at a somewhere faraway as he mumbles repeatedly how disgusted he feels toward himself. Hearing that of course crush the slightly older guy’s feelings into pieces, what more when realizing that his friend will try really hard to show his cheerful side every time he is around. He feels angry. He feels frustrated. He despised himself for turning such a nice friend into a soulless person like now. There is no doubt anymore that all the mess is his fault.

And it’s because of his fault as well, Masaki has to suffer this much.

“I’m sorry.”

Sho’s trembling voice makes Masaki to look at him questioningly. That however forces Sho to immediately drop his gaze to his lap due to piling up guilt.

“I’m sorry for being selfish. You must be regretting it now for having a terrible person like me as your friend, right?”

Surprise, Masaki opens his eyes wider.

“What are you talking about? Of course I don’t.”

Sho though only shakes his head and closes his eyes tight. His body begins to tremble when a droplet of tears finally makes it way down to his cheek.

“I’m sorry for making you suffer. I’m sorry that you have to live on with this guilt. I’m sorry for being a useless friend. I’m sorry…I’m so sorry for everything. It’s… my fault. Everything…is my entire fault…”

He couldn’t bring himself to look up anymore as he cries out everything he has been trying hard to keep inside. He holds his head and continues to sob over his sins, ignoring Masaki’s grip on his shoulders as the latter starts to shake his body and beg to look at him. The tears are no longer stoppable when Masaki suddenly pulls him into a tight hug, repeating that the one on fault is actually him and that Sho has done nothing wrong at all. The former Medium just shakes his head every time Sho whispers his apologize between his chocked sobs and continue to rub his back to calm the older one down despite being in the edge of breaking down himself. It was a really heartbreaking scene as the two orphans just stay in that position for a while and cry on each other’s shoulder.

Nothing can describe how happy and anxious Sho was when the paramedic said that Masaki still has a slim chance to be saved 6 months ago. From the second they were taken out of the forest until the hospital, there wasn’t a split second Sho will leave his friend’s side as he was afraid that every possible person they meet actually has an urge to kill Masaki as well, especially those priests who were coming with them despite those people’s constant reassurance that they also condemned the ruthless tradition. The teenager can’t be more thankful after watching Masaki recovered from his fifty-fifty chance rate and slowly regaining his consciousness though was still very weak and confused with the whole situation. Things get even better when Masaki eventually recognized him and still can be worried about his bandaged hands and the fact that he temporarily had to use wheelchair to move around despite being in a bad condition himself with a few bone fractures and a blocked vessel in his heart.

For most of their stay in the hospital afterwards, Sho will always make sure to spend his time with Masaki. He will make sure to talk a lot about happy things to distract his friend from their painful memory and tried to be there every time Masaki opened his eyes. His days turned even brighter once seeing his friend finally smiled and was unattached from a lot of wires on his body.  He was pretty sure at that time that they will able to start a new life in Tokyo…until the day when he came into Masaki’s ward and found a few priests already stood next to the latter’s bed. Masaki already looked really pale at that time and refused to give any response to every word that was directed to him until it made Sho to immediately interrupt them. He wanted to chase away the priests for disturbing his friend instead of asking him if there’s any information they need, but everything is already too late. The damage has been done. Less than a second, Masaki all of sudden wailed and pulled his hair. The former Medium trashes himself to everywhere once both memory inside the cave and the realization of what had happened to their town eventually flood into his mind until the doctor came in to sedate him. Sho only can watch helplessly from aside as his friend cried uncontrollably and tried to hurt himself if not because the nurses managed to hold him down on the bed. His feelings were stomped over and over again when heard Masaki sobbed and apologized repeatedly for being born while slowly losing his consciousness.

From that moment, his hope for their brighter future crushes. Every day he has to watch Masaki slowly get swallowed down into the pitch darkness of guilt without a slight chance of recovering. No more bright smile. No more husky laugh. No more energetic vibe. His friend is physically healthy from outside, but mentally dead inside. The drastic change makes him realizes that he didn’t only kill their town that night, but also the most important person in his life by causing the calamity. This cruel truth makes him grit his teeth harder as he clutches on Masaki’s back like his life is depending on it.

“I…only want you…to live freely. I-I want you to be happy and do…anything you like without the burden of what p-people expect from y-you. I-I never want it to turn out like this, I swear. I-I’m sorry…I-I’m so sorry for making you…disappoint.”

He cracks on the last word. No more apologetic word can leave his mouth though when the sniveling Masaki immediately pull away and shake his head hard to oppose it.

“Y-You didn’t d-do any-thing wrong…S-Sho. N-Not at all. If I’m-in your place…I-I’ll do the same thing t-too. I-It just I-I…I-I feel…so angry...with my-self.”

A few minutes pass without any word after that as they try to catch their breath between their sobs. It takes a lot of effort before Masaki finally can bring himself to speak again though still with a little difficulty.

“I-I fail…to protect o-our town. I-I was…the cause o-of their…death. Then, I-I kill your parents t-too. I-I’d…destroyed your…happiness. T-The effort of the previous M-Medium… also ruined b-by me. Th-at’s w-why…I feel a-ashamed… I-I feel s-so angry…with…my-self…”

That honest thought stops Sho from crying at once. For the first time ever after the calamity, Masaki finally let him learn about his true feelings. The former Medium finally shares what has been haunting his mind instead of closing himself in his own wall as usual.
Just then Masaki almost break down again if not because Sho already reaches for his hands and hold it in his, tight. The former Medium grits his teeth hard when feel tears start to make its way down to his face again, but still force himself to speak.

“Y-You’ve said…before that i-it was because of y-your decision o-our town fall t-to its dis-grace but…t-that’s not t-true. I-I…didn’t really try…to stop you from coming…to the cave… I-I know that you will c-come, but I-I didn’t warn you e-earlier. And now…y-you have to lose your m-mom and dad…y-your good life t-there…a-and live with t-the pain as well... M-My fault… E-Everything is my…fault. A-A Medium…shouldn’t live… I-I should have died…t-that night. I-I sh-ouldn’t l-live…”

Feeling the guilt is now too unbearable to withstand, Masaki starts to hit his head with his fist. Sho who just quietly listen to his friend since a while ago frantically reach out again for the latter’s wrists and hold it on his lap strongly. The older one chews his lip bitterly as he watch his friend continue to cry over something that in actual world is never his fault from the first place, proving just how bad the previous priests had influenced him to believe that he is not worth anything than a living sacrifice. Both rage and hatred grow inside him by this thought, but he knows there is no used for it anymore now. Eventually, he swallows down the clump in his throat and speaks.

“Y-You know, when you’re…still in coma…an officer came to see me”

He takes his time to catch some air as he blinks his tears away. Then, he calmly returns Masaki’s wondering stare with a relieved one.

“T-They said…they’d found a huge open grave deep inside the cave. There’s a lot of Sacred Blade in there. They suspected t-that all the sacrificed Mediums were thrown inside…after The Final Ritual was performed on them. B-But that didn’t just end there.”

Masaki remains quiet as he patiently waits for him to continue. Through the tears Sho somehow still manages to show his smile as he suddenly moves one hand to grip his friend on shoulder.

“When they planned to do a burial ceremony for all Mediums in there…they find out that the number of the bodies were actually too many than it’s supposed to. It’s a proof that probably, there’re commoners among it looking from their clothes. I-It seems that since a long time ago…t-there’re commoners who tried to save the Medium too. That rings my memory a-about what the master of ceremony actually meant by ‘rotation of fate’ before.”

Sho can see the expression on Masaki’s face changes into a disbelieve one as what he tries to convey slowly sink into the latter’s mind. The former Medium already lost for words when he suddenly continues.

“From a long time ago there are friends, siblings, lover, and family who died during their attempt to stop The Final Ritual. They failed unfortunately u-unlike us, but at least their will were passed down to generation by generation. W-What I mean here…not everyone think that a Medium is only worth as a living sacrifice just what you thought about yourself, Masaki. They must be…someone important in other person’s life too. And for me, it’s you. You’re my best friend and I can’t bear to lose you without a fight. We’re the best buddies ever, remember?”

For a while, Sho just tries to read what is inside his friend’s mind when the latter drops his gaze to his lap. He knows Masaki must be so confused with the sudden revelation. After all it won’t be easy to change the way he was taught to think after being forced to follow the sick priests’ ideology for this entire time.

But he had it enough. He had it more than enough. They have been struggling with a lot of things -their loss, their current life, their trauma, their pain, and their guilt – and today he can’t longer just watch from aside his friend quietly battling with himself. He feels sick with their never ending guilt. He feels sick…for becoming the reason of his best friend’s misery. He wants to end it. At all cost he wants to stop Masaki from suffering on his own anymore as long as he is still alive. Tears begin to trickle down to his face again by that thought before he covers it by chuckling.

“See? We’ve been together for too long until I’ve got infected with your crybaby-ness already.”

Still grinning, Sho then immediately wipe his face. He let a relieve sigh out as he gets up and ruffle Masaki’s hair playfully. The moment he walks away and wants to reach for the front door however, he suddenly put his step on halt. He takes a deep breath before finally speaks.

“Only…one thing I ask from you, Masaki. Please, live for yourself. Not because of me, the previous Medium, or anything else. Lead…your life like you really want.”

Masaki widens his teary eyes by that. Sho on the other hand just chews his lip before whispering his leaving. His heart feels heavy as he steps out and closes the door softly, leaving Masaki who just staring his disappearance thoughtfully behind. He grips tighter his book as he walks toward the staircase and climbs all way down, ignoring the morning greet he receives on his way. By the time he gets on a bus and settles himself on an empty bus seat, he heaves out a sigh and leans his head on the window next to him.

He knows it is too much to ask. He realizes it won’t take just a blink of eyes for Masaki to move on when in all honesty he also actually still can’t stop from blaming himself yet for causing such a terrible disaster to all the innocent lives in their town. He knows he is a hypocrite for requesting that from his friend, but at the very least, he wants Masaki to live happily. As long as his friend is free from the tormenting guilt of their dark past, there will be nothing else he is going to ask. It doesn’t matter, even if it means he will be the one who carrying their burden from now and on.
XXX

For the entire class, Sho can’t concentrate with what the lecturer is saying in front at all. His mind is in total mess. He knows he is not supposed to waste this very chance to achieve his dream now, but after listening to Masaki’s honest feelings, he somehow suddenly feel waver if he makes a right decision. No, he doesn’t have a second thought for saving Masaki that night. He won’t hesitate when it comes to his friend’s life, but the helplessness for not able to become any kind of support to his friend kills him. He promises to himself that he will take care of Masaki after that terror night, but now he is afraid. How he is going to take care of Masaki when he can’t longer thinking straight? Even he himself is gradually losing his direction after seeing Masaki’s condition is getting worsens day by day. Of course he wants Masaki to live, but the sight of his friend suffering like that makes him hesitant if perhaps, death is much better than living with constant guilt.

The classes for that day already over before he realizes it. He can feel each step he takes toward the exit is growing heavier since he still can’t find the solution for their never ending misery. By the time he is finally outside though, his movement abruptly stops. His eyes wide open once realizing that Masaki is right there in front of him, sitting on one of the wooden bench in the university area while staring with full interest at the different type of university students who are now walking in or out of the building. The second the other one finally notices about his presence there, Sho feels like he get a struck for the second time. His friend is grinning. His friend is waving at him excitedly like he is not the same depressed person this morning. He had never seen Masaki looks that cheerful even after had woken up from his coma. Heck, the latter never even steps outside of their house after leaving his ward months ago.

“Are your classes finished for today?”

Masaki excitedly asks once finally stand face to face with him. Still shocked, Sho though just dumbly nods. When Masaki starts to pull him along to leave the area Sho can feel his confusion is growing even bigger. Before he can bring himself to ask about the sudden drastic change however, Masaki suddenly stops and bow down to the random lecturer they found.

“My friend is a new student here. Please take care of him.”

Sho jolts by that and quickly apologize to the frowning lecturer for his friend’s boldness. Hurriedly, he then pulls his confused friend away who starts to greet any random person they meet in there. Despite Sho’s plead to not acting weirdly in there, Masaki still keeps repeating his friendly attitude. If he doesn’t know better just how airheaded his friend can be sometimes, he will already lost his temper and scold him for being so friendly to the stranger. They’re not living in their town anymore where everyone is nice and trustworthy. Tokyo is full with a lot of people who doesn’t think twice to take advantage of people unlike people in their town who –

Hold on.

In less than a second, Sho already has his eyes snap open really wide. Did Masaki just act like he usually does back then?

“Why are you acting so cold to everyone who is studying in the same university as you?”

Sho’s heart skips a bit when recognizing the familiar furious tone. Masaki’s question doesn’t even sink in his brain as he abruptly stops and turns to his friend in disbelieve instead. The latter is about to greet some random stranger again when he finally can force his voice out.

“W-Why?”

The shock unfortunately can’t make him to ask the coherent question. This makes Masaki to misunderstand it and just frown even
deeper.

“That’s inappropriate you know. They’re your teachers and schoolmates. Of course you have to be a little bit friendlier.”

The tone. No. Even the pout is same.

Totally confused by the drastic change, Sho couldn’t come out with anything at all until a man in a black suit suddenly approaches them and greets them smilingly. Seeing the suspicious man already offering his business card and starts to talk about something related to money, Sho immediately pull his friend away from there, what more when realizing that Masaki already has his full attention on that man. He ignores his friend protests regarding his impoliteness and just keeps on leading them away from there until they reach a train station. Sighing, he then pays for their ticket and turns to his friend with a firm gaze.

“Lesson one, Masaki. Don’t greet any stranger you found on the roadside or anywhere. This is Tokyo. It’s full of people who can cheat your money or take advantage of you. And this applies also for anyone you meet in my university.”
“But you might get more friends if I introduce you to them, right? Isn’t that good?”
“Some people might use my name for their own good. In the university there are clubs, weird events, or program that only required a name for you to join. It will be bad for me if someone else write my name on the application or approval form, right? And I might have to spend a lot of money as well just to pay for the monthly fee.”

Masaki just chews his lip as the older one leads their way to the platform. Sho at the same time can see his friend is pondering with the logic behind his previous statements though sometimes still get distracted by the things that they found there. Judging from the fact that Masaki is a guy with a high curiosity and have never been into a train station before he expects him to be a lot more ‘chaotic’, but what he found instead just a frowning old boy.

“Isn’t that too far? Not everyone is that evil in here, right?”
“Of course not all of them are like that. But we won’t know who is actually a good or bad person easily. Living in this city is not that safe, Masaki. There are times when we can’t be too trusting on other people.”

The sad expression that Masaki has afterwards makes him to feel down as well. It has been a long awaiting moment for them to finally be together in Tokyo, so Sho understands if his friend feels disappointed to find out that not everything there will be as good as what they are going to expect like before. Soon, a train finally stops in front of them. Sho immediately pulls his friend inside once the automatic door open and let Masaki to sit next to him. Both of them are silent during the journey until something finally comes across Sho’s mind.

“How did you find the university?”
“A lawyer came to visit us before. He offers to send me there since it used the same route to his office.”

A lawyer?, Sho thought frowningly. He though doesn’t manage to ask further when Masaki quickly continues.

“W-Well, of course I can’t let him inside so he offered to take me out for a drink. I know that I shouldn’t follow a stranger, but there’s nothing happen to me so…it’s okay, right? A-And he asked for you first when I opened the door. S-So I thought he must be someone…you…know...”

Masaki tries to make his body even smaller by every word, clearly afraid if Sho is going to lose his temper and scold him right there. This pathetic view on the contrary somehow make Sho to chuckle amusedly since it reminds him with their childhood memories when he always lose his patience and scared Masaki off. The thought however doesn’t stay long once he finally remembers about what actually had happened to them and their town. His expression turns to gloomy instantly by those terrible memories before it gets replaced with the images of Masaki’s depressed and tired expression that he just seen until this morning. The realization of his friend’s sudden change finally comes into his mind again by this that forces him to turn to the said guy. However, seeing Masaki is watching the changing scenes outside of the window behind them with full interest makes his voice stuck in his throat. The way the latter’s eyes shine in amusement and sometimes goes ‘ooh’ by whatever he see there completely crush Sho’s courage.

He can’t. He just can’t do it. Despite knowing that Masaki probably has planned this on purpose to leave him with a final good memory together, he just couldn’t ask it and see that broken expression on Masaki’s face again. Instead he just bites his lip and closes his eyes to prevent tears from appearing. For once, at least for once, he needs to see his cheerful friend being his usual self again. He needs them to act like they used to be a long time ago or else he will totally break down. He is really desperate to see them back to their old selves again.

“Sho? Can we go there later?”

Masaki’s curious voice makes him to finally open his eyes again. Glancing at the sweet shop where Masaki is pointing at outside the window, his mouth then immediately curves into a slight smirk.
XXX

It feels like the world is theirs. The two of them keep on visiting from one shop to another especially those which are included in their ‘must do list’. From playing a lot of games in the arcade, visiting Tokyo Tower until eating at least at 3 different ramen stalls, both Sho and Masaki can never stop laughing as they continue to go to every place that grab their interest. There are a lot of times when Masaki will come out with question that what people in the city will consider as stupid, but Sho never get tired of it and just explain anything his friend wants to know. At some points he starts to pity Masaki for never get to leave the town, so he just patiently deal with the latter’s excitement though it sometimes gain weird look from people around them.

The clock is half past 7 when the two of them decide to take a break at a nearby park. Seeing Masaki is enjoying his third strawberry crepe for that day makes Sho can’t help from smiling before taking a look into his wallet. He sighs timidly when realize that he probably needs to withdraw some money later or else they can’t afford to buy a dinner and tickets for a late night movie, but nevertheless still wants to proceed with that idea. After all it has been a while since he and Masaki can hang out leisurely like this. And not to mention that their longtime dream to do a lot of things together in Tokyo finally comes true till the point Sho still can hardly believe if it is really happening. His grin grows wider by that thought until he notices the guilty look on Masaki’s face.

“Did we spend too much? You can always use my money if you want.”

Sho just chuckle and shakes his head instead. He refuses it with thanks when Masaki offers him his already half-eaten crepe as he rests himself comfortably on the bench. Soon, he notices that Masaki is rummaging for something inside his full with sweets plastic bag which he doesn’t pay attention much about the content when paid for it before. The moment Masaki put a packet of strawberry daifuku on his lap though, his eyes immediately open wide due to surprise. His hands turn to cold as he reaches for it, eyes stop at his friend a second later who already beaming with a wide grin.

“You always give me your daifuku before, so this time I bought a lot of it so we can eat as much as we want! The taste isn’t going to be the same with Hika-ji chan’s handmade though, but…I heard from the other customers that it’s the best in this area.”

The sincere looks Masaki give him make Sho’s eyes teary by instant. The older one had try to avoid from talking about their town and Masaki’s ability as much as possible before since he was afraid if it might trigger Masaki’s bad memories back, so he doesn’t expect that the said person himself will raise the topic. Masaki might be airheaded, but he knows that his friend is not that idiot to not get how careful he was every time he says something to him. His hands already trembling as he holds the daifuku tighter like it is the most precious thing he ever receives in his entire life while watching Masaki trying to search for something in his pocket. Later, he frowns when his friend gives a familiar business card before his expression change to surprise once reads the name stated there.

“Ohno-san told me a lot. I think he’s also the same person who told you about the open grave, right?”

Can’t find a voice to speak anymore Sho only nods. The two of them fall into silence after that since Sho is still too overwhelmed by the unexpected turn out while Masaki loses within his own thought. It takes a lot of courage before the former Medium finally asks the question that has been bothering him the most.

“…We can go through this, right?”

Sho’s eyes moisten more by it. Though, it doesn’t take so long as well before a smile brightens his face.

“Of course.”

Masaki smiles along to hear that. Taking a deep breath, he then swallows the clump in his throat as he forces himself to ask.

“We…will move on, right?”

Sho’s voice already cracked when says the simple ‘yes’. There is no further word needed between then when Masaki sees his friend finally break down with tears, clearly glad and relieve. The former Medium on the other hand clamps his lips into a thin line by this, feel angry with himself for not seeing just how much Sho has suffered as well within his own guilt and despair. After meeting the lawyer this morning his eyes finally fully open to realize that in fact, Sho himself actually needs some support as well. He was too absorbed with his bloody sins for failing to complete his responsibility as a Medium until he doesn’t notice that Sho is actually feeling hopeless with the entire mess too, but couldn’t seek for help from anyone unlike him who always can depend on the older one. He feels disgusted with his selfishness. He feels so ashamed to call himself as Sho’s best friend after acting that way. Yet, it also what makes him to promise with himself to try harder and get better for Sho, and one day for his own self.



“What happen? I just met Sho-kun on my way and his eyes looked red just like yours.”

The direct question made Masaki flinched. Thankfully, the lawyer didn’t press the topic further or else he didn’t know what to say since this was his first time seeing this man. Besides, even though this man seemed to know Sho personally, he didn’t think it will be a good idea to share what had happened between Sho and him this morning. That was why for the entire time in the café he just stared nervously at everywhere aside of the man in front him. After all he had never been outside their house before and the fact that he was with someone he didn’t know make him to feel even more scared.

“Masaki-kun, is everything going well at home? Are you still having nightmares?”

Masaki just bit his lip instead of answering. The former Medium continued to rub his sweaty hands on his lap together once looked up and see the lawyer’s eyes on him. Now he regretted it for leaving without informing Sho first. Even if he wanted to leave the café, he couldn’t do it since he didn’t have the address of their house and forgot to bring along Sho’s phone number that he had wrote on a piece of paper earlier just in case. His face turned paler for every passing second until the lawyer suddenly spoke.

“Calm down, Masaki-kun. I won’t hurt you. I’m here to help. We’re in the same boat.”

His reassuring yet slightly sad tone made Masaki confuse. Once looked up and saw the familiar painful expression the lawyer had, it somehow clicked something in the teenager’s head. It didn’t take long before he eventually got what Ohno meant.

“Are you…a Medium too?”

The lawyer unexpectedly chuckled by his question, bitter.

“Was. Any Medium will lose his ability if he left his place of born, right?”

The calm tone Ohno had make Masaki stilled. It never occurred to him before that he will see another Medium in his entire life, what more as successful as this man.

“I was born in a town near Kanagawa prefecture. The night The Final Ritual was supposed to be performed on me, I was told to escape. I was lucky though compared to you since my family and my friends worked together at that time to make me leave safely the town border before midnight.”

Then he stopped. This made Masaki to watch the older one questioningly and frowned once realized that he suddenly lost in his own thought. Masaki was hesitated with the whole situation until the other one finally spoke again.

“It’s ironic when the only one who survived was the one who’s supposed to die on that night.”

The emotionless tone hit Masaki like not like other. No word escaped his mouth anymore as the lawyer’s expression changed into a broken one. Being a Medium himself, Masaki can imagine just how traumatized Ohno will be after losing so many people in one night at that time. They both had cause a very terrible disaster to their hometown and literally kill hundreds of people including their own family. Just thinking about this enough to make Masaki’s hands trembling hard again, his body tensed as the faces of people he knew there appeared before his eyes.

“I envy you.”

The older one’s sudden voice snapped him from his thought. Can’t find any word to return, Masaki just waited for the man to continue instead.

“We both might be lost our path, our dream, our ability, and our beloved hometown that night, but at least…you still have your loyal friend with you.”

Masaki’s eyes open wider due to surprise by that. It though wasn’t for long as he immediately dropped his sad gaze.

“I-I don’t think so though. I only let him down and burden him with my existence. He could be living with much easy life if I died that night.”
“Sho-kun chose you over the town, Masaki-kun. Yes, he probably will have easier life there, but that didn’t make him to think twice to save you, wasn’t he? He won’t stay with you if he really sees you as a burden. It’s you who think that way, Masaki-kun.”

What Ohno just said was so accurate that it made Masaki lost for words. Frustrated, he clenched his hands tightly once remembered Sho’s wish on him before leaving their house this morning. Of course as a friend he wants to lead his life the way he wants so he can make Sho’s wish comes true. He swears he really wants to grant it, but what’s the point if he does that for Sho instead of himself like Sho wanted? This helpless situation made him wanted to hit his head again for being such a failure.

“Don’t get it wrong. I felt the same thing as you after I was saved by the rescue team. I can’t stop blaming and punishing myself for surviving that calamity too. It’s really unfair to be left alive alone while people who were nice to me before had to die in return. It felt like…I ‘murdered’ them.”

Neither of them said anything for a while. The air was tense as Masaki recalled all the pain, the guilt, and the sorrow that had snapped inside him in one strong force once he finally realized what he had done to his town after the priests questioned something about his ability in the ward before. Out of a sudden he can see his hands and body were stained with blood, mountain of dead bodies at the same time surrounded him all around. He can hear screams and shrieks filled every part of his brain without mercy within a second. It was dreading. It was terrifying. He believed he was going to be insane right at that very moment if not because of Sho.

Sho. Sho had never left his side after he woke up. The older one will be there to support him every time he needs it, always. His heart crush badly as he kept on blaming himself for making Sho – the only person who always there for him until now – to live in endless pain after that night as well. Though he really wants his best friend to live happily, he knew how impossible it’s already now. He doesn’t even think he can grant Sho’s wish for him to live freely ever unless…

“…How did you overcome it?”

His whisper-like voice startled Ohno who probably didn’t expect he will ask such as question. He can see a small yet hopeful smile immediately appeared on the lawyer’s face by his response.

“I remind myself every day that I have to continue with my life for them. They sacrificed themselves for me so at least I want to live for them. If I can’t live for myself, than living on behalf of them is enough. That’s the only way to stop me from crying over my sins and avoid myself from committing suicide.”

Sho’s wish came across Masaki’s mind again by this. His chest suddenly feels heavier once realized it wasn’t what Sho wanted from
him. It wasn’t the solution he needed. He almost slumped into his hopeless state again when Ohno continued.


“But year after year, I eventually learn to appreciate my life. I started to see more things positively. It’s difficult at first, but I took my time to find the reason to live for. Then I found my interest on judicial system, so I entered a law university. I get a job as a lawyer later and meet a lot of good people. And just a few years ago as well, I finally get married and have a child. Of course from time to time the scar will start to bleed, but I try to heal it by appreciating what I already have now instead. Looking back won’t bring them to this world.”

The way Ohno’s eyes shone with happiness made Masaki speechless. It was crystal clear that the man is now happy with the things are despite his harsh past. Even the fact that he managed to climb up from his extreme helpless state to live positively like now was impressive enough to his ears. Masaki unfortunately doesn’t think that he can do the same thing. He doesn’t even know how he is supposed to change himself when he doesn’t know from where he needs to start first. Probably noticed that he was pondering himself with a lot of question, the lawyer suddenly asked.

“Think, Masaki-kun. Is there anything that you really want to do before? Do you have anything that you want to make it come true?”

Masaki lifted his gaze mutely by the question. Ohno though seemed understand how confused he was and didn’t demand him to find the answer on the spot.

The younger one didn’t have any idea how long it has passed as he lost in his own thought, still unable to grasp with the several big revelations that he received until this second. His head began to ache when more painful memories rolled before his eyes – torturing, mocking, and stabbing him without mercy until he can feel his sight almost turn to black. He barely can hear the lawyer’s worried voice when a very familiar scenery of wide green field came to his eyes. There were distant laughs, teases, and hopeful voices before a blur image of someone was sitting next to him grew clearer for each passing second. Tears already made its way down to his face before he realized it as a nostalgic memory replayed in his mind, until a strong shake on his shoulder woke him up from his trance. Ohno was already standing beside him when he finally had his composure back, obviously worried and ready to call for a help if he needed it. Indeed. He almost forgot about those dreams.

Those silly dreams that they have talked about like forever since they were still young.



Seeing Sho can’t longer stop from crying, Masaki immediately reaches for the latter’s hand and grip it tight to calm him down. This small kindness makes Sho to return it with double strength before moves to hug the former Medium in his arms. Masaki immediately returns the hug and just nods mutely when Sho says that they must always support each other in no matter what circumstance after this.

In all honesty, the Medium knows that asking for him to forgive himself will be too much. Even to wish for him to live freely is actually too difficult to be done already. But he will try. He will try to do it for Sho. He has to for now or else he will remain at the darkest point of his life forever. Indeed the pain still exists deep inside him, but that is why he has to think about something else first or they won’t able to go anywhere. He needs to get distracted. He needs to give himself a chance first so he can be the one who Sho can rely on when feels down as well like now.

By the time they finally pull apart, Sho already tries hard to breathe between his coughs as Masaki helps to wipe his tears away using his sleeve. The former Medium then can’t help from giggling when see how messy Sho’s appearance is already.

“You’re such a crybaby indeed.”

A hit lands on Masaki’s head almost immediately by that. Instead of getting angry the former Medium keeps on giggling instead while rubbing his head, making Sho to laugh along. The older one then starts to play with his friend’s hair to make them equal, gaining a protest from the victim who tries to escape from it. They don’t even bother with what people are going to say about their look later and just laugh their heart out like idiots, just they used to years ago. It feels like they had return to the time when they were still a little child, all innocent and free from the suffocating expectations that they were forced to live with.

The moment they are finally out to look for a place to have a dinner, their throat already dry and raspy. Bright smile though never leave their face especially Sho who really longs for this merry moment. This realization makes Masaki’s expression turns to gloom by instant as the previous guilt he tries hard to ignore all of a sudden comes back with a strong force. His steps has stopped before he realizes it, though not for long when Sho already reaches for his hand and pull him to walk together with him. The older one’s eyes are a little bit swollen, but the gentleness behind it still obvious as his mouth shapes into a wide grin. His firm holds at the same time enough to imply his silent message until it makes the former Medium’s eyes to become teary.

Indeed. They are both now in this together.  If either of them falls, the other one will always there to catch. And even if both of them fall together one day, they will always can support each other and get up again. Things are going to be difficult, but it doesn’t mean they can’t overcome it. Definitely.

And Sho knows that he doesn’t need to say all these stuff out to make Masaki understand since he already catches the determined nod and smile that the other one gives to him later.

-XXX-

>First of all I'm really, really, really (x100) sorry for the late update. I wasn't satisfied with the outcome so I had to rewrite it all over again and again. Plus, my sister and mother were sick two weeks ago so I have to go back and forth to college and house almost everyday every time there's a gap + hectic assignments and etc + ...all my 5 kittens were dead last week due to disease and I was already dead tired every night to function @_@ But no need to worry. I'm totally fine :)
>
As you just read above, this is the Childhood Dreams Ending where both Sho and Masaki are left alive in return of their death town. So just like I've promised on the last chapter, I'm going to share (briefly) the other two endings of this series. Let me warn you first that it might not be pleasant to read especially since you just read (probably) the good ending of the 3.

Eternal Parting Ending (both die) - Continuation from the end of chapter 2, Sho got carried away with his temper and offended the priests too far until the master of ceremony gave a permission for him to be 'eliminated' for threatening and disturbing them from performing The Final Ritual on Masaki. A commotion happened between Sho and the priests until Masaki had to interrupt but got hurt instead. Sho tried to help his friend but got a vital hit on the back of his head until he fell to the cave floor, bathing on his own blood and unable to move. Masaki was then get thrown to his side and right in front of his eyes - got stabbed to his death. The ending scene had Sho crying and apologizing for failure to protect his friend as his eyes slowly turned to lifeless as well. As the priests started to drag their bodies to the open grave, a teardrop escaped Masaki's eyes before the two of them got thrown together into the dark hole.

Undying Revenge Ending (only Sho survived) - Also continuation from the end of chapter 2, Sho tried to assure the priests to spare his friend's life. Masaki at the same time tried to persuade Sho to leave his fate on the hands of the priests until Sho started to remind them about the dreams that they wanted to reach together. This made Masaki overwhelmed until the priests were panic if Masaki's current unstable emotions state might cause the Final Ritual to fail. The priests tried to harm Sho as a warning what more when Masaki begged to let him spend one more day with Sho like he usually did if not because the master of ceremony
unexpectedly gave his approval for Masaki's final wish instead. However, both the childhood friends' hope were destroyed as soon as it was born when Masaki got 'sacrificed' right when Sho walked away to wait for his friend outside. Sho felt like his world has turned upside down when he had to watch his friend died in vain and was left traumatized behind after the priests thrown Masaki's body into the open grave. The master of the ceremony final words about Masaki's intolerance behaviour sparked Sho's darkest rage as it made him to disappear from the town without a trace on the next day. Several years later, a man in black clothes came to the town during the moonlight festival when people in there were busy to celebrate their blessed land. It was nearing midnight when the man finally left before several explosions and endless tormented screams noised the night as soon as he stepped outside the town border. His face was emotionless as he turned to watch the flames burning high to the dark night later, lips mouthing 'this is for you' as he let the hazardous black magic he has mastered after the past years avenged the lost of his innocent friend's life.

>The third ending was heavy, right? Sho let himself to be swallowed down by darkness for the sake of avenging Masaki's death...though Masaki will definitely won't be happy if it's happen... But as you can see, none of it is actually a really 'perfectly good ending. Even though both Sho and Masaki survived on this real ending, their town got 'sacrificed' in return instead. Please let me know your opinion about the ending on the comment below.

>Last but not least, as usual, Thank You SO much for reading! I appreciate it a lot! It feels nice to be back again ^^ I probably can't post any new fic anytime closer, but I already have a new idea in my mind (and for those who keep asking me, yes, it's OT5). Till then eveyrone! :D

(no subject)

24/8/15 03:05 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] atenea005.livejournal.com
Hi!!

well that was sad and hard for them but I'm happy with this "End" They try; that is the first step, ne; and together they'll!:) thank you for sharing! :D

(no subject)

26/8/15 12:21 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] 24iza-run.livejournal.com
Hi back! ^^

Yup. It might take longer but at least they try. I guess I can't stand sad ending either :)

Thank You SO much for reading dear!

(no subject)

24/8/15 13:22 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] eve-aida.livejournal.com

Even their life turned out to be different from what they expected but at least they have each other. And Ohno presents seem to give strength to Aiba.
I like the ending you wrote than the other 2 suggestions. they are too heavy and too dark.

(no subject)

26/8/15 12:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] 24iza-run.livejournal.com
It takes a lot of strength to even move a step ahead, but they will manage it since they have each other :)
Yeah, I think the same too. I think I'll prefer a good ending after all ^^"
Thank You SO much for reading!

(no subject)

31/8/15 16:02 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] piggywhale.livejournal.com
You were right. There was no real good ending, really. I guess after what had happened, it was difficult to be truly happy afterword, wasn't it? At least they have each other and hopefully they would become happier, truly happy, when some time passes.

About the endings, I may have a different opinion than other people. I am really intrigued by the third one you mentioned - the sadistic, vengeful one. Oh well, it would be heavy and cruel, though. Good thing you picked the true ending. The world is a happier place this way. ;)

I hope things are getting better In your RL. Please take care.

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