Disclaimer: I wish I owned MegaTokyo. Then again, I sort of don't because it seems like such a soul-consuming thing to do. Fred, we salute you.

The Saddest Song
by The Electric Triangle

There's always doubt.

Doubt, Kimiko, like your demons, but doubt isn't even half of it, whispers a voice in her ear, and those voices were scary. Not scary like—like spiders or Rent-A-Zillas (before you get used to them) or children in Halloween costumes, but scary like monsters that sat in the darkness in her childhood, never baring a fang or extending a claw but simply lingering and quickening her heartbeat without ever twitching a phantasmal muscle.

But the doubt disappears when Piro-san presents her with a tentative smile.

Disappears, flees with its tail between its legs, because even the darkest monsters retreat at the sight of that smile, and she knows it's silly but it's true. She'd like to sing it from the rooftops one day.

But for now, she'll settle for singing it in the apartment.

The crooked look Erika gives her makes her giggle.

When Erika and she are idly walking about downtown, she'll stumble upon a fountain with coins scattered at the foot of stale water. She fumbles around in her purse for a coin for a good two minutes before Erika, patient as ever, relents and lends her two coins, and Kimiko tells Erika an old wives' tale about wishes and fountains and silver.

She meets Kimiko's words, rushed and sunny, with stony silence and a look that betrays absolutely nothing.

Erika never said she did believe in such stories, but she never said she didn't.

So Kimiko clutches the coins to her chest and furrows her delicate brows in concentration—and she surrenders the coins.

There is a soft *plink* as she flings them into the water, and a small torrent of chlorinated water, illuminated by a couple of skewed garden lights plastered to the fountain sides—

<"So what did you wish for?"> Erika asks with a rueful almost-smile and sad, sad eyes, and Kimiko wants to laugh or cry.

Or both.

<"It's a secret,"> Kimiko says, and gently tugs at Erika's hair tie.

Erika bats her hand away, remains utterly silent for exactly six heartbeats, and then nods and turns to leave.

Kimiko wishes for the same thing every time: for two coins, she wishes for two people as Tokyo, buzzing with activity and dotted with the soft glow of city lights, stands watch.

Two people.

That's all.

Two. People.

One for her and one for Erika.

And those people, they'd—have to understand, they'd have to because if not then she'll never be happy.

But ever since Piro-san's arrival—as abrupt and startling as the bullet train itself—Erika's been able to keep her coins.





She doesn't tell anyone, but she remembers Piro.

Once upon a time, her fingers, slender and timid and small, gently peeked out from beneath the stretched-out sleeves of her floppy sweater, and gradually intertwined with his—and once upon a time, there lived a hope, twisting pleasantly along her heartstrings, and there was a stinging fear in her soul that lured it away.

The hope twisted some more when his fingers, stunned and hesitant and inexperienced, curled around hers—

—and the fear in her soul, like a beast exposed to flame, recoiled.

In a little anime/gaming store in downtown Tokyo, there lays a shelf overturned in the back where the fluorescent lights are dimmest; the graphic novels were picked up, but Erika dutifully bypasses it in her afternoon cleaning, and wordlessly beckons Yanagisawa to do the same. Erika's emerald eyes are wistful sometimes when she thinks no one is looking.

Kimiko likes to think she's observant, though.

She remembers his smiles at their warmest and coldest, and the way his posture slackened and his eyes grew weary when his inner demons nipped ferociously at his heels. She thinks he was the one who sharpens their claws, and she confided this (and many things) to Erika one dreary midnight after Piro received his second paycheck and he was another step closer to returning to America. She thought aloud that Piro-san even looks them (
those demons like wolves with knifelike fangs) right in the eye, and thinks nothing of it, that what doesn't kill him makes him weaker and she never thought that was true at all.

Erika had given her a look and put her pen down. Erika had given her a look, piercing and analytical and Kimiko knows she herself is being read inside out.

But Erika doesn't judge, never judges.

Erika had calmly displaced herself in Kimiko's world, if only for the briefest of moments, and was courteous enough to utilize the same metaphors:

"You've got 'demons,' too.">

Kimiko's eyes, widened and cinnamon brown, glanced at her, alarmed, feeling horribly like a child whose lie had been uncovered. But Erika, eyes cast out the window distractedly, had slowly picked up her pen and continued speaking with an unclear, probing intensity buried beneath layers of ice:

"You can still be free, Nanasawa.">





<"I think I'm falling in love with you.">

Blond bangs dangle listlessly over a bright red face, and gods, he's drunk and she knows it but with that touch of sobriety remaining in her alcohol-hazed mind she-hopes.

(Sometimes, she thinks that's all she's good for: hoping.)

Briefly, beneath the table, Erika splays two fingers on Kimiko's knee and gives Largo an icy glare (silence, she demands and he obeys quizzically), but Kimiko is wide-eyed and her face is flushed and Largo looks unhappy because he's only one at the table who doesn't speak Japanese. Briefly, his shifty gaze moves to Erika for help, and she promptly ignores him, instead opting to shift gears and curl her fingers around his wrist, signaling to a waitress and dragging the complaining man away from their table as Kimiko breaks out of her stupor for only an instant.

The Beergarden "Hikari no Umi" teems with life and people drowning their sorrows in thinned liquor.

So she laughs. Laughs, laughs, chokes on her beer, splutters and gags and dies a million deaths and nearly falls out of her chair. When her laughter dies, she's bright red from drunkenness and mirth and Piro-san is scarlet with—

The shock hits her next, but it registers when Piro suddenly leaps out of his seat and smashes his fist against the table, effectively silencing a good portion of the outdoors tavern.

<"God dammit, it's not funny!!"> he shouts.

He stands there, using the table as a support, eyes boring into hers and she drops her mug, the liquid clattering in the thick glass confines; her eyes (crushed nutmeg) are wide again and she sees and thinks so clearly now it's hurting. She's only vaguely aware of the sets of eyes fixated on him and her, but only vaguely because he's angry; she feels the irrational impulse to run and nearly obeys it—

—but he beats her to the punch.

His eyes dart wildly from side to side, his hand shakily rising to cover his mouth (as though a simple gesture like that would prevent any further misgivings), and Piro takes two steps backward before turning and sprinting out of the beer garden—

—Erika physically restraining Largo, having seized him by both arms and saying rushed nothings to sate his nerves—

Kimiko cried.


Uhm, yeah. Don't ask what I was on when I wrote this. Because YOU CAN'T HAVE ANY.

Started: October 05, 2004, 7:12:50 PM
Finished: October 06, 2004, 10:03:11 PM

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