The Boy on Page One

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


The Lands can't leave it alone. It's gone too far. They have to see Hakuo.

Chapter 2 (v.1) - Swindlers

Submitted: September 13, 2019

Reads: 21

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 13, 2019

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Quinn Land's eyes squinted at the heading of a news tag in the MSN feed. Closing it, she opened another tab and found the same heading in a Google feed. Then it's true! How dare they! How dare they not say anything about Yakusoku falling into a coma! How dare they keep his family in the dark! Would they have said anything about it at all, even after his recovery?! The media probably wouldn't even have mentioned this much if it weren't for the fact that they found a man dead on top of him, his penis shoved inside the once comatose young man. There's a shocking way to come out of an already horrible situation.

"We're going over there," She says to her husband. Reeve is behind his wife, seated in bed and drinking a cup of coffee while working on papers from the dealership.

Removing his glasses, he looks at his wife with curiosity in his gaze. Looking past her to what it is that has her worked up, he sees her tablet in hand. "What's happening? Where are we going?"

"To Williamsport," She lowers the device to the vanity dresser, that she's standing in front of. "Yakusoku was in a two year coma,"

"Hakuo, honey.. you have to call him…" Her words sank in slower than his need to correct her about the young man, who is trying to live a life no longer as their son. "He what?" Setting his cup down on the bed, wobbles and incident of it spilling it be damned. "How long?"

Quinn felt a bit of satisfaction that she garnered the proper attention the situation called for. "Two years, Reeve, two years…" She sniffled. "And read this, look… look at how they found out he was awake,"

Reeve read it and then he read it again. "Son of a bitch," His finger scrolls the screen up then down as he looked for more on the story. "And they call us unfit, that's not fair when things like this keep happening. How many times has it been now?"

Their former son has been quite famous as a Hot Topic in the world that's begun to really crack down on sex crimes. Even Mario Batali was accused, had later apologized- sort of- and then disappeared off the face of the earth. Bill Cosby, and many other well known celebrities have all been brought to light to be made accountable for their crimes. That's the difference. The media loves the glory of letting people down when a beloved television figure has done something wrong, but for stories about the common man, those like Hakuo and others violated by an equally common human being... The situation is depicted in such a way you're more humiliated to be the victim than the criminal. You're no brave soul for coming forward, you're a poor dear. And the offenders aren't ruined utterly, they're put on parole, locked up for a year- maybe. But never made to apologize.

"Reeve we have to go," Going over to the dresser she rummaged for something to wear for a quick pop-up and retrieve trip. It's early, so they should arrive by visiting hours. She'll have to check up on it in the car, but right now she needs to get ready.

Reeve watched his wife packing a small duffle bag suitcase; he wondered why she would bring so much if she was all that confident they need only show up, and get him?

Down the hall, the news is spreading like an approaching storm. But rather than taking cover, everyone continues to run right into it.

Ai is sure he was seeing things. Hakuo is in the news feed on the Google home screen. It's an old photo. The one they always use when talking about him. He's in the living room of his home, a private expression of confusion captured on his face, now a forever wonder to those who notice and care enough to wonder what the boy was thinking about.

He won't click on it. Ai doesn't care about him. Hakuo is not his brother, he's a stranger who turned his family's life on its ear just by living. Although, he did help to keep his family together, however crudely he'd gone about doing it, he still did it for him.

'Just a skim; just to see what's going on now,' he bargained with himself. What's the harm?

Things have been quiet on the Krenn's end for two whole years. And with Gev having moved away with two guys he's never seen before, he especially lost contact with him. The guy sure is disgustingly gluttonous for love and attention. First Ludwig and his brother, now he's got two new guys to help him move on. Why not just pick a guy and let that be all? The bitter goth really wasn't changing the stereotyping that homosexuals want anyone they can have just to screw around without commitment.

Ai is crossing the hall, he can hear his parents clambering through the door.

"Ai, will you read me this book?" Fanny asked as she exited her bedroom. The four year old is carrying a book in one hand and attached at the nostril with the other, giving it a good picking, while she looks up at her literary salvation.

"In a sec, kiddo, I have to talk to mom and dad."

"About what?"

"Grown up stuff,"

"Oh. But don't be long, I want you to read me this book," She swapped hands so the one up the nose is now holding the item upward for his reach.

"I won't take long," Sure. How long could he be?

He planned just to swing in and tell them 'abso-freaking not" to their plans of going to Williamsport to bother Hakuo and antagonize the Krenn family, because he knows that's exactly something like the headline would have his mother bent on doing. They've been out of their lives for two years now, why dredge all of this 'He's mine! No, he's mine!' shit back up? It's pointless! Hakuo is a Krenn, Yakusoku is as good as dead and gone… Why can't his mother just accept it? He once was empathic. He could understand loss because of that tramp Michelle; losing a child must be 100 times worse. However, the empathy turned on him when the cruelty, and ruin of their family seemed never-ending.

Besides, when Yakusoku was around, he was moping almost all of the time because he was hiding a secret about his and Ludwig, and apparently Gev, being together. He was impossible to live with for a while, not until after he'd accepted them did he become more like his older brother, and even then he was so done with the family it was becoming toxic. Yakusoku just wanted a place of freedom. Had he wanted to simply go away for college would his mother be so adamant about his staying at home? He plans to go away to school, because it's not enough to live in a dorm, he wants nothing to do with being a stone's throw away from this house. He's got a touch of that toxicity himself.

Knocking on the door, he doesn't wait for the permission to enter, he pushed it open and stepped inside closing the door in the face of his sister's curious vision.

"You're not going over there." Period.

Quinn, who just got through zipping up her overnight bag, looks at her son as if he had just stepped into the room and sullied the carpet by dumping over a poorly set bowl of homemade Jell-O. "Excuse me?"

"I mean it, mom… Dad," Yeah, why not throw him in! He looked as though he was rummaging for something clean to wear through a couple days worth of harassment. "Those people are trying their best, and I'm sure they don't need us coming along and making things more unpleasant than they already are. For god's sake, Hakuo woke up from a coma barely a week ago… And you two wanna go and rile him up! Well, no, I won't allow it." He shakes his head.

He looked as though he was about to lock the door and forcefully keep them from unlocking it. He's got grit and conviction giving him strength. They could go ahead and try him. As Gandalf said, "They shall not pass". A couple of overbearing parents are way easier to keep at bay than a dragon. Right?

"Ai, sweet heart, it isn't up to you." Quinn set the bag down on the floor. "We're going. The fact that Yakusoku-..." Her sentence was interrupted by Ai correcting her with Hakuo's name. "Your brother,"

"He stopped being my brother a long time ago… I mean it. This is insane, it's jail-worthy pestering. I'd be surprised if the Krenns don't call the cops the minute they know that you're in the airspace."

"Oh, stop being so dramatic." Sitting on the bed, she crossed her arms and looked at her knees to keep from glaring at her only son. "I only want to make sure that he's alright,"

"I can bet he is,"

"You don't know that,"

Ai threw his hands up in exasperated anger.

Quinn sniffed her tears back. "He could be over there, wondering what the hell he got himself into; wondering when we'll come and get him."

"And then what? You brainwash him back into Yakusoku?" He laughed. "Pray to God that he's done with his homosexual tendencies, since the person who made him a fag is deceased; and that we all will just pick up and carry on like the spoiled past never happened?"

The room quieted.

"Newsflash... Yakusoku was dating Gev, too. At the same time with Ludwig, and Ludwig was with Gev, as well," Ai felt satisfied seeing his mother's jaw clench. Yeah. Like he thought. They're in no all's well mood to be taking Yakusoku back to provide him with a warm loving home they swear the Krenns are failing to offer Hakuo.

Reeve has had enough. "Ai, stop it." He spat. He surely didn't want to hear anymore. It was bad enough that he got spooked by something his son had done to him, but to have to understand that he was in an orgiastic relationship… It's too much. It's too damned much. "Quinn… for now.. why don't we just call over there. Have a check-in with him over the phone, and just feel him out about living arrangements,"

"We're going." She stated firmly. Her strength wasn't there, though. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, and sadness was thickening her throat. "He needs to see us, he needs to know we can be there for him."

"I said no. I'm willing to turn a blind eye on a phone call, but if you leave…" He hates to say it. But what else can he do? "If you leave here, then don't expect me to be here when you get back. I mean it, I'm done with this. I'm really just gonna go."

"Ai," Quinn was about to say something but her son fled the room with the speed of a cartoon hedgehog, slamming the door behind him.

Quinn and Reeve look at the closed door. They can feel it from each other that they're thinking about it as if it were the front door slamming, with no foreseeable knowledge of when it would ever open again. Another son, gone.

Quinn placed her hand over her face and cried into it.

Reeve slid over to his wife, placing his hands upon her shoulders to comfort her. The forgotten coffee cup that was set down on the bed spilled over, leaving a dirty, warm puddle that was seeping its way through the white duvet with the cheery red and pink flowers decorating it. Its darkness spreading out.

"Hand me the phone," Quinn says to her husband. She felt like she was abandoning one son, just to cater to another. But, she can't lose the one she still has in her care. 18 years old. A young man. And she's losing him just as she lost the other.

For Ai, she'll leave the matter with a call… for now.

Ai, who pressed his ear to the door, was surprised and happy when hearing his mother ask for the phone. He hated to do that to her, but he really had no choice. She was asking for it! It's unhealthy the way she seeks out her long gone son. They were in family therapy over this very topic. Graduated. Ha! Someone still seems to need some classes. He pressed it down, that returning feeling of neglect and instead decided that reading to his little sister was the most fulfilling thing in the world.

~ 0 ~ 0 ~

Hakuo watched a little boy putting together a puzzle with ease. He's been working on his own. Needless to say, it's not going along as smoothly. The cheerful little lad told him that he was in a coma recently too, a whole month out cold. He's been recovering from it for the seventh week now, and tomorrow he'll get to go home. Aah, the strength and stamina of a seven year old. But, that seven year old wasn't down for the count two year, so naturally he's not at his best.

'Yeah, naturally, but this is too slow!' He's got six pieces together out of a twenty piece puzzle that an infant could put together. God knows the pieces are big enough. Sometimes he moves at a good pace, other days aren't so good. His speech is still slow. Slow, slow, quick, quick. He sounds like a messed up record being played with.

"Hakuo?"

He turned his head seeing a nurse appear in the doorway, she has a wheelchair with her. He then turned his attention towards a clock, is it eleven already? That's when he usually goes for his physical therapy outside of the room; whereas inside he mainly focused on brain games.

"You have a phone call, would you like to take it?"

Figuring it's someone from his family, or a friend, he nods.

The nurse smiled kindly and entered the room to gather him up into the chair to take him to the telephone out at the nurse's station on that floor. It's both a pleasure and torture to be on the floor where the cafeteria is. You smell all the delicious food, knowing that you can only eat a fraction of it because he's still very much recovering his insides to function properly when it comes to digesting. At least he gets all the smoothies he can stand.

"Pick up the pace, you're not driving your grandpa through New York," he says to the nurse.

The young woman laughed and sped up- just a bit.

"Is it a guy or girl, 'cause then you can slow down accordingly," he then says.

The nurse chuckled. "Someone's in a playful mood. It was female, a woman."

"Oh. It's probably my mom, making sure that I eat and drink as asked of me- even though she's gonna be here in like ten minutes."

Grabbing the phone, he holds the receiver to his ear. The nurse gave him a pat on the back then said quietly. "I'm going to bring your vitamins and lunch, okay? Don't be too long," Then she walked away.

He nods. "Hey, mom,"

"Sweetie, hi," Quinn's voice came over the line. "How did you know?"

Hakuo's happy expression flat lined then he cringed. A hurling sound came from the back of his throat.

"What's the matter? Are you getting sick? What happened to that nurse?" She asks rapid questions upon hearing a strange sound coming over the line.

"I was spitting out the sick taste in my mouth, I thought you were my mother."

"But I am your mother, Ya-"

He set the phone down on the base, hanging it up. Fucking… Did she really call him?! Did Quinn Land really call him?! His anger was so great he felt himself shaking. Now look what she's gone and done, she's got him going through fits! No. He needs to calm down. She's not allowed to shake him. He's been beaten, abducted, raped, starved and the like, but this woman's very existence has him boiling in just a few short sentences.

He placed his hands on the wheels and started away, slowly, slowly away and back to his room.

"Aaw, you could have talked to her a bit longer," the nurse said when returning to the room, spotting Hakuo slowly climbing into bed. She doesn't help him. His therapy is movement, functionality, getting himself back. Only when he's about to run on empty and fall over will she step in.

"If a woman named Quinn Land- hell, if anyone with the last name Land calls for me, don't tell me about it. Don't even take a note. Just hang up the phone like it was a butt-dial or something." Those assholes, the simile fits perfectly. "I hate those people; they stole my life, and then proceeded to ruin it by the end of my stay."

"Oh wow, I'm sorry to hear that."

Wondering what she has to be sorry about, he says. "You're right. TMI on my part, I'm sorry." He looked down at the tray of food.

Aaah, the usual comestibles. Porridge and the weirdly soft crackers. A cup of milk, sometimes it's chocolate even though he asked for strawberry. It seems they don't make strawberry milk in a carton, that, or the hospital is giving him the finger rather than telling him it's not an option.

"No, I just meant… Never mind, enjoy your lunch. Use the call button if you need anyone."

"I know. Thank you." He stirred the corn porridge around and around before lifting a bite to his lips with the spoon, "Right," lowering it back to the bowl the patient placed the vitamins sitting on the napkin beside the bowl within the food then shoved it in and swallowed.

He's really no good with pills through drinkable ingestion. He needs it hidden in something more likely to have a couple little lumps left in it, such as food. He looked across the way to his young companion, the kid is out cold. Looks like television is going to entertain him this meal time.

~ 0 ~ 0 ~

"You're not seriously into this stuff, are you?" Gev set down the book that was left at Hakuo's bedside.

Hakuo nodded. Opening his eyes, he reached for the wanted visitor taking the offered hand. "What's this?" He asked rubbing the silver band.

"A wedding band," Gev tapped the ring with his left index finger.

Grinning sheepishly, he remarks. "That's funny. Is that why you're wearing it on the wrong hand?" He tries to sit up, the strain has him back to a slight stutter. "Y-yyou wanna mm-mock marriage?"

Helping him to sit, he frowns when waved away. "Come on, let me help you,"

"No." Shaking his head, he straightens out once he's upright. "I have to do it for therappp-py."

Gev smiled at the supply of Porky Pig jokes wanting to get out, but he keeps them inside.

"Nice try with the poker face, I kn-..kn. you're making fun." He reaches for a small cup; the pitcher trembles within his grasp, but he poured water with minimal spill. "River already did some, you know Shuhei had a fie.. field trip."

"There you go, so I won't pick on you." He caressed the patient's shoulder. He feels so thin, like a wisp; he's still soft and warm.

Returning to the earlier topic, he asks. "Why are you married?"

"I want to be. I'm in love."

Taking the water down until the cup is emptied, he then asked. "How'd you decide which you'd marry over the other?"

"Oh, that wasn't an issue. Ludwig got an online license; he made us official."

Hakuo just looked at Gev, blinking. He was joking, right? Gev only stared back, because, no, he was not joking.

"Well that was really a dumb thing," he raised his voice. "What about m.. me?"

"What? You want in? It's a little late but,"

"Fff...fuck you." He closed his eyes. 'Why is this day full of bad?' Has he done so much damage to everyone that this is his punishment? He gets to wake up from a long coma to find his world has gone to shit. The Lands are gonna bother him again, his could-be-boyfriend is married! He's missed two more years of his single life to live, and dammit it, he has an itch on his foot and can't reach it! What next? Is Nathen gonna come along, flip him to the floor and then announce that he hates him?

Gev's voice quieted, it became soft, personal, a tone used only for certain people. "When I found out what had happened to you, I just gave up. Fuck my life. What was it worth if you weren't there, too?"

"Seriously?" Hakuo didn't know whether he should feel flattered or insulted. That Gev cared about him that much was amazing, then there's the rub that he'd waited until there was a chance he'd never see him again to care was bullshit. He admitted that he loves Gev, that he didn't need a reply right away. But he got the brush off that Gev would never choose to be only his. A situation that just doesn't suit him.

"Yeah," he rubbed Hakuo's hand gently. "I poured all my energy into working. I worked myself into exhaustion. That's when I realized something, those two, Yakuza and Ludwig, were by my side the entire time. They cared for me, they never stopped." He squeezed Krenn's hand firmly. "And I never stopped caring for them, I stupidly realized that too late. So much had changed that I was beginning to wonder if we were over, but that I was being too stubborn to admit it."

Hakuo knows that loyalty can be a real bitch. It's a double-edged sword. It can give the greatest connections, or leave one in utter blind ridicule as you blindly dog after someone or something that has no use for you. A person, or even love itself can become a serial killer just because of loyalty.

"I went through some serious soul searching while I rested, and yeah, I love them. I love them like I've always loved them. Their faces have changed, but not the person." Kissing Hakuo's fingers, he let go of his hand. "You got laid up because you wanted us together… what kind of dick-move would it be for me to die, or write them off because I was depressed over you?"

Hakuo didn't know what to say. Gev wasn't wrong. It would have been a dick-move. He'd haunt him from the grave until he met his end. And then he'd kick his ass for being stupid, once the Russian was on the other side. The gesture; however, did make him hopeful. Does it mean that Gev can honestly answer his confession of love? Does he love him back? Or is it a lie, brought on from the championing mindset everyone gives to anyone who's suddenly removed from life? He'd never really be sure. So perhaps now isn't the best time to question Gev about it.

"I care about you. But love them... and I almost gave it all up because of an infatuation." Admitted the somber London. "You could have died because of what you did, and I would have spit on your grave by going with you, after all your efforts. That's bullshit."

Hakuo nods.

Gev is glad that he understands what he's trying to say. Even if he has feelings for him. He loves them. And intends to. He married them, after all. He's not serious out of obligation. He's truly serious.

"I still have feelings for you," Hakuo confesses. "I'm awake. I'm going to get stronger." Locking eyes with Gev's cool greys he says with conviction. "I won't stop trying to make you only mine, Gev. You love them, I understand that; but now we're all equals on the playing field."

Gev started to say something, to object. He doesn't see how they're equal, or even that there is a playing field. Hakuo can't seriously think he's gonna drop his vows and jump ship to be with him?

"Hakuo, we're married,"

"I never said it would be easy on me,"

Cupping the back of Hakuo's head, Gev leaned over and kissed his cheek. "You're not supposed to tell the person you're into that you're trying to bust up their relationship. You just do it," sitting back in his chair, he gives him a 'duh' expression. "I'll know what you're doing and resist."

Hakuo smirked. "I had to tell you, I want you to see it coming. So that when you accept me, you'll know it's because I've taken you down to your very last cell and you willingly let me."

The forceful words alone made Gev's jeans tight. How could he be so brazen while being laid up in a ridiculous feather decorated hospital gown? His hair all in a mess and face.. well, his face still looks pretty hot, despite the weathered state.

"I have to go," standing, he leaned over giving the bedridden a kiss to the forehead before he started away. "I'll visit again next weekend."

"Okay. Bye."

He raised his hand for a wave and then walked out.

The young boy, eyes wide with wonder, looked at Hakuo and asked. "Are you gay or something?"

...He's got to get out of the hospital.

January 17th, 2011.

"Kids! Come on down, dinner's here!" Trevor called the three heard-but-not-seen children.

He cringed via face hearing the pounding footsteps hurrying through the upper level of the house. That could only be one person. Trevor was right in the middle of opening boxes when he's latched onto around the neck, then the little lemur scurried his feet up his strong torso where he could hang upside down like a sloth to see inside the pizza boxes. Hakuo does this every time they eat the greasy, delivered delight.

"I'll have," the six year old points to the slice he speaks of. "this one and that one." Lowering himself to the floor he awaits beside the table for his selection to be plated.

It's happened enough times by now that Trevor even knows which slices of savory pie his child wants without having them selected. Hakuo always takes the slice with the most toppings, pairing it with the slice that has the least. It's his belief that no one wants it anyway, so he'd be nice to it. He isn't wrong; why buy pizza with toppings just to have to eat a slice that's practically a plain cheese pizza, due to the cook's light touch on one side? It would have sat and become picked over left overs that eventually someone would cave and eat. As if something was wrong with it. Kind of like how most people reject the hills of loaves of bread. It's a weird human tick. Hakuo doesn't seem to abide by this, because he wants the cheese slice, and he loves the bread ends.

He's a very nice boy.

"There's my girl," Trevor lifts Celes up, hugging her before setting the pigtailed four year old down in a chair. Putting a slice and a half onto a plate for her Trevor called again to his missing son. "Let's see some hustle, Shuhei!"

The nine year old athlete entered the kitchen out of breath. "I'm sorry, I had to do twenty sit ups first." He smiled at the rough tousling of his hair as he sat down at the table. "Where's mom?"

"Showering," replied the boy's father while eating the other half of his daughter's pizza. "We're going to the movies tonight,"

"Are you seeing something scary?" Hakuo asked.

Trevor nodded to the question. "I called Mrs. Bannerman to come over and watch you kids, so be good for her. She's aged, and needs an easy time of it."

The boys agreed to be on their best, Celes was in her own world trying to swallow the vast amount of cheese they put on the food without choking.

"If you see a scary movie, can you tell me about it?" Hakuo asked.

That furrowed his dad's brow. "Why?"

Shrugging his shoulder he says. "I've never seen one; I wanna know how scary it is,"

"Um, we'll see Hak',"

The boy beamed. When your six, that reply is as good as a "yes".

The kids can hear their mother greeting the elderly woman from the hall. She came through the kitchen and said "hello", commented on how big they've gotten since she'd last seen them. The usual banter from the older set. Trevor and Emiko left the house for the evening, and all was well.

…Or was it?

"Hakuo," the sitter called to him. "You know where my house is?"

"Mhm."

"I left some yarn over there, will you go get it for me?"

"Sure. What color? Or is it all the same?"

"The navy one, it's right on top."

Giving her a thumbs up, he heads to the front door and slips on his sneakers. He can run this errand and be back before he's missed. The errand boy tilts his head back, greeting the orange sky with a smile. He loves the evening colors. Orange sky, purple clouds, in the spring he can see the green grass… basically it's like having an extreme close-up of his favorite maniacal clown. Stooping over, he grabs a clump of freezing white snow. Tossing it into the air, he paused his pace long enough to have the frigid accumulation of weather land him smack in the face.

"Bbrrr, now that's brisk, baby," he chuckled.

Now at his destination, Hakuo opened the unlocked door. This is the kind of neighborhood that they live in, as long as someone is home the door is usually unlocked.

"Is someone there?" an elderly male voice called out from somewhere in the home.

"Only me, Mr. Bannerman!" Called back the child. "Mrs. Bannerman wanted some yarn!"

"Oh, Hakuo," the man knew his wife went to babysit the Krenn children this evening. And recognizing the child's voice, he addressed him properly. "Can you do me a huge favor?"

Hakuo was following the disembodied voice, and he found his way to the downstairs bathroom. "Sure,"

Hearing the boy is close he stops shouting. "I wanted to take a bath, but it's easier getting in than out at my age. Can you be a big boy and help me out?"

What was it with adults and the be a big "insert gender" line. A kid can do just as equal as someone older, if they were given the chance. Asking if the door is unlocked would have been stupid, he would have told him if it wasn't. Turning the knob he let himself into the bathroom.

"Thank you," Mr. Bannerman was saying as the child held open the towel that was slung over the bar, to protect his dignity.

He's got both hands on Hakuo's shoulders to steady his standing, and he waits until the lad has tightly tied the towel around his girth then taken his hand, before he begins stepping out of the slippery porcelain onto the throw rug.

"You good?"

"Yes, thank you."

"It's no problem," he shrugged his little shoulders that held enough strength to support a grown man's weight.

"There are some yummy lollipops in the kitchen, help yourself to one as a thank you."

"Okay. Dry off carefully," Exiting the bathroom, he was about to go for the front door then he recalled why he'd gone over in the first place. Retrieving the yarn, he exited the house and gone back to his own.

Hakuo in the present opened his eyes. He'd been asleep and dreaming. 'Have I always been so naïve?' he wonders.

Knowing then sooner what he came to find out about the kindly neighbor, would I have helped him out anyway? Who was he kidding, he knows the answer to that. It's yes, yes he would have helped Mr. Bannerman out of the bathtub. He may have turned out to be a perverted voyeur, but he was still an old man. He can't help it, Hakuo doesn't like to see people suffering. Not if they haven't done anything. What's the point of it?

But isn't that just his luck? He can't dream about jumping on the bed with a Beast Wars transformer, or being the world's greatest chef, no, he has to dream about his childhood. He has to suffer in the cinematic reel of his own side-eyed naiveté that the world is crude whether he's nice to it or not. Great. Yesterday he dreamt about the time he'd gone to the convenience store and saw a slightly older kid stealing, he tripped the kid and ratted him out to the store owner, who did nothing. He asked him, why didn't he make him pay, or at least take back the lifted goods?

The store owner replied blandly. "I didn't wanna get shot,"

Was he kidding? The coward. Annoyingly enough, the thief waited for him outside and beat him up.

'Dear god, I really do bring problems onto myself.' But, no longer. He's been handed another chance at life. And he's not going to screw it up. He's going to care only for himself.

"Three days to go, and I'm out of here!" Cheered the child, his little picket fence row of teeth showing.

'Starting now,' thinks the Krenn. "You're not getting out of here, kid. I don't know when it happened, but you're dead."

The boy's grin faltered then faded into nothing. "...You're lying,"

"I'm not. …You're a spirit, and the only way out of this hospital for you is up."

Tears welled up in the boy's eyes, the brown became dark as night as his color magnified by the man made water. "You're a liar!"

The pink pitcher of water fell over from the outburst, and the child fled the room right through his entering mother. She felt nothing physically, but she did give a brief pause before entering the room.

….

Swallowing the last spoonful of silken tofu stew, he hands his mother the empty container. "I think the hospital is annoyed that they can't charge you for my meals,"

Emiko smiled. She was glad she could be a thorn to the bastards in any way possible. "Your father was serious about our suing this place for neglect." She opens the book, but rather than read it herself she hands it to her son. He needs to work on reading, writing, and being able to hold onto things properly. It's all a process.

"In the meantime, they're gonna try kissing my ass to get me to change your minds." He scoffed, it sounded more like imitating a pig's grunt. "Good luck. It was negligence on their part, remember what you said last week, that sometimes I'd have little knicks? He could have been physically abusing me too."

Emiko closed her eyes and coached the tears to remain seated. She has no right to cry, it wasn't she who took the abuse, but her son. And he isn't crying. What right does she have, at least in front of him, to do so? "Your father's sister sent some Knoppers for you to eat when you're feeling better."

"Miracle cure. I'm ready to eat them," he rubbed his hands together already feeling the crisp wafer breaking beneath the weight of his teeth, and the soft nougat and milk cream filling his senses, all of it just kissed with the chocolate brushing... His incentive to be done with the hospital stay sooner than later was becoming more urgent. He never gets to at many German treats anymore. Surely he's being spoiled.

"I think not. You stay put until you're given the green card." Nodding to the item, she says. "Now, read."

"Yes, mom,"

Finding the line he begins to read the book.

~ 0 ~ 0 ~

She was visiting her mother. This is what Quinn Land told to her family as she packed and left that morning. She couldn't leave things strained between herself and her son, no matter who he may be. She'll always see herself as his mother. So, she packed a bag, took out the amount of money it cost to get a plane ticket, then drove four hours into Williamsport, Pennsylvania. An expensive rouse, for sure, but they can afford it to alleveate her nerves.

As soon as Emiko leaves the premises she's going in. Maybe she doesn't have to see him directly, like as close as one can be to exchange words, but if she can catch a glimpse of him. To know. She'll be satisfied that he's ok.

She can't seem to stop wondering what gives the Krenns the right? Why do they keep Hakuo all to themselves? They could have easily told them to shove it when they came into Yakusoku's life, but they came to an agreement of sorts. A visitation contract, like parents with joint custody. Where was the offer for the same? She supposed her sadness would no longer exist if she could just call up her son and ask him over for a visit. To talk. To maybe clear the air.

It hurt so much to find out that all the pain he's been through caused him not only to become a homosexual, but to give in to peer pressure and become a plaything between Ludwig Ballantyne and Gev London. She knew to hate that boy when they first met, it was instinct that he was no good. He reeked, he was covered in make-up all the time- hello, big flashing light that something was wrong! And he made her son act like a stranger. That was the worst part of all. How long was Yakusoku quietly suffering under Gev's influence and sexual advances? Is he still being manipulated by him even in this life?

She'd heard from Ai that he moved. Good riddance! She's heard from Ai that he found two other people to love. Poor bastards. But lucky, in the sense that he'll no longer be interested in Yakusoku.

Leaning forward, she watched the heavy clouds as they produced even heavier rain. Everyone was coming out but Emiko Krenn. What could she be doing in there? Oh, well. Perhaps she can beat the woman inside tomorrow? She needs to get back to the hotel and out of this foul weather.

…..

"Mom," Hakuo shook his sleeping mother's shoulder. She dozed off around the third chapter. Hakuo started on chapter 28 and by the time he hit thirty she was taken over by drowsiness and just conked out. "Dad's here,"

"Here you are," Trevor was saying. Bending, he gives his son a hug, then rests his hands on his wife's shoulders. "I thought you changed your sex, and moved to Florida for retirement."

Emiko stretched her sore muscles. "You know I only did that once to come here," She smiled at her husband's silliness. Getting a look at her watch, her eyes bugged. "I fell asleep!"

"Yes, three hours worth of sleep." Trevor pulled up a chair beside the bed. "Nathen's here, he's nervous about coming in to see you."

The three Krenns look at the door where Nathen is apparently hiding.

"Why'd you have to tell him that I'm nervous?" Muttered his hidden friend, entering the room, head dipped, he stole a glance in his friend's general direction then charged forward. "Here. From my mom and dad," He hands him some flowers.

Taking the flowers, he smiled. "Nice. Plastic. How'd they know?"

"I told them; they wanted to buy you a gift, I suggested get-well flowers and told them to get the fake ones."

He remembers the few times when they were at the park, Hakuo always made a pissed off sound of while sporting an annoyed expression whenever someone picked the flowers; muttering under his breath that they were bastards for killing something just to look at it. With plastic ones, he can have the pretty and none of the death. He thought it was perfect. He actually knows sweets would have been better, but the Krenns informed him that the doctors advised against it for now.

"I love 'em," He sniffed the perfume misted over them. He's not a fan scents, as it makes him sneeze, but he'll suffer a bit for the nice gesture. Besides, it's not an allergy just a once-in-awhile happening, the sneezes. "Tell them, than you."

"Let's get you home, sleeping beauty," Trevor said to his wife. "Leave them to their visit."

"Bye honey, get some rest." She said this due to the very lightly traced sleep deprivation under her son's lower eyelashes.

"I left your dinner with the kitchen to be heated for you," Trevor said, he said good bye to his son and his son's friend, then exited with Emiko.

"So," Nathen began. He remained standing, his hands tucked into the back pockets of his jeans.

"So," Hakuo placed the fake plants atop the side table.

Awkward as anything, Nathen jerkily, like a claymation doll being moved for filming sat in the emptied seat by the bed. "Can I ask what happened?"

"I'm not entirely sure. One minute I was upright, the next I'm waking up in a hospital bed." He left out the violated part. As according to the news that day, made it possible for it to go without saying.

"You don't have to be afraid of me, I'm going to be fine,"

"...But you sometimes sound like Jimmy reading JJ's letter board."

Ouch. Jimmy Dimeo is a character from a show called Speechless. His son has cerebral palsy, because of this his family and an aid speak read a word board for him so he can communicate. The father, Jimmy, tends to read off the words his son points to slower than the rest of the family. It's a very funny, and lovely show.

Hakuo shrugged his hand. "Well, it doesn't matter. That's part of the healing camp."

"I know. Hospitals freak me out… I always feel like something crazy is gonna happen, and it'll go all real stories from the ER on me."

Hakuo shook his head. "I think I'm beyond that point,"

"I read up on comas, statistically you're never really green zone until after several months of being in the clear, you're barely three. I'm scared."

"So be scared, but I'd rather see you, than get a bunch of "Nathen says hello, and he misses you" from my family."

"Sorry."

"It's okay, you don't mean it."

"I brought my phone, wanna see some of me and the guys' latest YouTube videos?"

"Sure."

Handing him his phone, he looks at the screen alongside his friend. He won't abandon him. From now on, it's nothing but bros hanging out spending quality time together. Then when Hakuo springs this joint, they can go back to plan A.

Get a place for them to share together.


© Copyright 2019 Ruelynn. All rights reserved.

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