Fall to Rebirth: 4/14/2015
So Many Things
Raidou slowly flipped through an old journal as hospital staff worked desperately to prepare the room. They rushed around him, but he simply sat quietly. A tall man wearing a doctor’s lab coat came in, bringing in a tray filled with tools required for an initial examination.
Raidou looked up from the journal. “Need a hand?”
“No, no, we’re fine,” the doctor replied. He pulled the tray up to the bed. “Just wishing we had rooms already clean and ready. All these apathy syndrome cases lately has really put us in a bind. They don’t need a lot of care, but you can’t care for most of them at home and so they just end up taking a lot of space. Needing an individual room doesn’t help.”
“They’ll be here soon.” Raidou looked down at the journal again.
“Rare for you to take those out of the house.”
“Didn’t have time.”
The nurses finally finished making the bed. They didn’t bother to stick around either, knowing full well how weird conversations between these two could get.
“Don’t you think it’s a little weird?” the doctor asked sharply. “Why would he come out like that?”
“According to the bio, Naoki Kashima is a second year in high school, not quite seventeen. He may be powerful. That doesn’t mean he knows what he’s doing.”
“All the better for us, I guess.”
“For his brother, certainly. He’s lucky Daisuke was on it. Anyone else would have ended poorly.”
The doctor’s phone rang. He quickly flipped it open. “They’re here.”
“Tell the nurse to lead them in.”
“We’re not going to meet them?”
Raidou leaned back. “Still reading.”
“You’ve actually never read this one?” the doctor asked as he typed quick response.
“Must be serious then.”
The doctor shook his head with a smile, organizing his things. Several minutes passed before a knock on the door.
“Doctor Yukimura, your patients are here.”
“Bring them in.”
Naoki walked through the door first, looking cautiously around. Detective Sakamoto followed him, immediately followed by Dante carrying Yukio.
“Lay him on the bed.”
“Are you Doctor Yukimura?” Naoki asked.
“Correct.” He rushed around to help Dante lay Yukio gently on his stomach.
Raidou watched over the edge of his book, seeming uninterested.
Naoki grew immediately interested in him though. “Who’s this?”
“Ah, this is-“ Detective Sakamoto began.
The sound of book snapping shut interrupted him. “Raidou Kuzunoha the Fifteenth. You must be Naoki Kashima.”
“He said you two had met,” Detective Sakamoto added, confused.
“Catfight later,” Doctor Yukimura said. “I need Kashima-kun’s description of how he found his brother and what demon he thinks caused it.”
“Metatron,” Naoki answered immediately, slowly coming over to his brother. Raidou opened his book again.
“Metatron? What did you do to piss of Metatron?”
“He is stubbornly good at it,” Dante added.
“And who are you? You don’t seem quite human.”
“Hey, I resent and resemble that remark.”
“That’s Dante,” Naoki explained.
Raidou’s hand twitched slightly, but only Pixie and Leanan Sidhe were paying enough attention to him to notice it. In fact, neither of them had taken their eyes off him since flying in the room.
“I see,” Doctor Yukimura responded, even though he didn’t quite. He moved to check Yukio’s pulse. “There’s a chart on the table. If you could sit down and fill out what you know about your brother? I’d like you to fill one out as well.”
“He’s underage,” Detective Sakamoto warned.
“This is merely for informational purposes. Once we gets these wings dealt with we can have the parents come in and handle everything properly. Until then, we just need everything we can get. His pulse is low, but not bad for someone who appears to have been knocked out by faeries.”
“We thought he’d freak if he woke up with wings,” Dante explained.
“Reasonable enough. Now, why don’t you take a seat as well?”
“Just stand against the wall for all I care, but I need to check his vitals.”
Dante held up his hands in defeat, moving to stand by Naoki.
“Sorry for bringing in such a crowd.”
Doctor Yukimura shook his head. “It’s fine. Better to have them all here than wandering around. Still, the only time I’ve seen something like this…”
Raidou glanced over the edge of his book as the doctor trailed off.
“Leanan Sidhe, drop my disguise,” Naoki requested.
“You don’t want to do that,” she hissed.
“I’d like to see it,” Raidou said, still looking at Doctor Yukimura.
She shook a moment, but did drop the disguise. “Do you think it’s like me?”
“I think it tried to be,” the doctor stated, “and I’ll need to give you a look over too. I’m guessing they chose your brother since you survived a similar transformation. If we can figure out why one would work and the other wouldn’t we should be able to cure it.”
“You should let him know that natural healing just encourages them to grow,” Pixie added.
“So they’re fully integrated, but stunted. Interesting.”
“You heard her?” Naoki asked, surprised.
“Of course. I’d be a terrible specialist in demonic parasites if I couldn’t see them.”
Raidou returned to his book, sensing the moment of crisis had passed.
“So that’s what you do. Do you do normal stuff too?”
“Of course. I work the emergency room just like everyone else, much like Daisuke works as a regular detective. Demonic incidents aren’t as rare as people would like to believe, but they usually stay out of our areas.”
Daisuke? Right, Detective Daisuke Sakamoto. So, those two knew each other really well then.
“I’ll head out then, let his parents know I’ve got him in good hands.”
“Thanks,” Naoki said. “I don’t want my mom freaking out on me again.”
The detective turned to Raidou. “You think you can stay and keep an eye on things here?”
“I wouldn’t worry about it,” Doctor Yukimura replied. “If it all comes down to the wire we’ve got a potential attack on a Japanese civilian from a major angel and the demifiend here. He can excuse his way out of about anything for this job.”
“I suppose so. What should I report?”
“Nothing,” Raidou responded, still reading. “Report nothing yet.”
The detective and doctor exchanged glances.
“Understand the demifiend’s situation, Daisuke. Better to hold off the report until he knows what he’s gotten into.”
“Not thinking the boss will like this, huh?” Doctor Yukimura responded.
Detective Sakamoto looked at Naoki, who watched the conversation carefully. “You really think it could be so bad we just shouldn’t say anything?”
“My grandfather was initially sent to kill him. As things stand I see no reason why their opinion would have changed.”
“Not my intention.”
“He thinks angels are jerks,” Doctor Yukimura explained.
“Well,” Detective Sakamoto said with an exasperated sigh and a sharp clap, “I can see you’ll get along at least. Call me when I can say something more to his parents and keep me informed, alright?”
Raidou lifted a hand from his book to wave the man away. The detective chuckled before leaving.
It took almost an entire five minutes for the quiet to end, discounting the sound of irritated pixie wings.
“You and the detective know each other well?” Naoki asked as he stood up to hand Doctor Yukimura the forms.
He glanced over them. “Healthy family.”
“Yeah. Mom makes us eat properly and neither my brother nor I are very sedentary.”
“Good. Whatever we do it will be easier if your brother is already healthy. I’ll hand these to a nurse when we get the chance, so we can pull up your full family records.”
“Yeah. Thanks.” Naoki felt very deflected.
“You’ll have to excuse Raidou.”
“He’s pretty much always like this, though usually without the excuse of a book.”
“What’s he reading anyway?”
Doctor Yukimura looked over to Raidou. “You’re the one who seems to want to keep him as our responsibility.”
The doctor let out a sight, even as he smiled. “Like I said, always like this. Always has been too, so don’t worry it’s just you. As for your brother, he’s in pretty good health if you disregard the obvious signs of torture and the wings. Good blood pressure. Reasonable pulse. Normal breathing.”
“Do you mind if I check you?”
“Frankly because I’ve never seen anything quite like you.”
“Drop it, Vincent.”
“He speaks,” Naoki exclaimed.
“I can’t drop it, Raidou. We have a patient here who needs help.”
“Only what you need to do.”
“I am a professional.”
“And an obsessive.”
“Hold out your arm.”
Naoki complied. “You two seem like friends.”
Doctor Yukimura pulled up Naoki’s sleeve to place the blood pressure band around his arm.
“Am I wrong?”
The doctor pressed a button and it began to exert pressure. “Not really. But we do have our disagreements.”
“Am I one of them?”
“You aren’t, at least not inherently. My family just has a bit of a history with going overboard when it comes to the relationships between demons and humans. That’s all. But yeah, we’ve known each other a long time.”
“He’s not the Raidou I met.”
“Entirely possible. He is the fifteenth one after all.”
“I wonder which one I met then?”
The pressure released from Naoki’s arm. “Looking good. Really good. I’m sure he knows who it was, so you’ll just have to trust him to tell you when he’s ready.”
“Hmm.” Naoki rolled down his sleeve.
“Now, how did your transformation occur?”
“Magatama,” Naoki replied, “but that’s not what they used on my brother.”
“Magatama?” Raidou whispered.
Naoki and Doctor Yukimura both turned to Raidou. He gently closed the book and stood.
“Yeah, strange blonde kid gave me one through the eye. Hurt, but now I can just swallow them and they find their way.”
“You have multiple?”
“Yeah, but they seem to get sick outside, so I’ve got them all in my body.”
“Demonic power through parasites,” Doctor Yukimura mused.
“Vincent,” Raidou snapped.
“Have you ever heard of anything like this?” the doctor countered.
Raidou sighed. “A blonde child?”
“Do you know who?”
Naoki shrugged. “No idea.”
“I see.” Raidou sat back down. “Random blondes handing out information and power.”
“Isn’t the usually bad?” Doctor Yukimura asked. “Excuse me, Dante was it, would you like a quick check-up too?”
Raidou turned to Dante. “Where are you from?”
“Why you ask?”
“You’re speaking the language of the demons.”
“Huh? He’s just speaking Japanese.”
“You’re good,” Dante responded to Raidou.
“I know it linguistically. I can tell. You’re an instinctual speaker.”
“What’s he talking about, Dante?”
“So’s the kid.”
“I noticed, but he’s the demifiend. Who are you?”
“The one and only Dante.”
“What are you talking about?” Naoki asked.
“American then,” Raidou surmised,
“Much as anywhere.”
“You don’t speak Japanese.”
“Not much,” Dante admitted.
For a moment Dante and Raidou just glared at each other.
“Seriously, guys, what’s going on?” Naoki demanded.
Pixie came up to him. “Only demons speak our tongue instinctually, but everyone understands it. That’s why we can always communicate. Well, at least everyone can understand it. Sometimes it’s talking back that’s hard for humans, or their minds are trying to block us out.”
“You’re a demon,” Raidou stated to Dante.
“Dante.” He came up to Raidou, standing about a head taller than the already fairly tall Japanese man. “And I’m a devil hunter.”
Raidou didn’t back down physically at all. “I’ll accept your explanation, for now.”
“Good.” Dante happily backed off. “That’s good. Just here to help the kid out.”
“No problem. Now, where can we get some grub?”
“I’m going to need to run some x-rays and the like,” Vincent said, “so maybe it would be best if all of you went out to dinner.”
“Sounds good. I could really go for some sushi.”
Raidou turned to him. “What about you?”
“I don’t care, but I think Dante’s been itching for sushi since he got here.”
“There’s a pretty cheap place two blocks away. Conveyer belt, but you can order take-out there too,” Vincent responded.
“You want sushi?”
“I’ll take anything that’s not hospital food, but something I don’t need to worry about eating hot is best. You might as well go out somewhere though, since this is going to take a while. He’s here in secret, so I can’t really push too many buttons with this.”
“Is it a problem?” Naoki asked.
“Not really, so don’t worry about it. Honestly, I handle this sort of mess all the time.”
Raidou sighed. “Alright then. Your demons should come as well.”
“Like we’re missing out on sushi,” Pixie exclaimed.
“You know we shouldn’t eat human food,” Leanan Sidhe berated.
Raidou shook his head. “Are you coming or not?”
“Well, I’m coming. Dante? Pixie?”
“Sounds good to me. You do your thing, doctor.”
Raidou sat between Naoki and Dante at the sushi bar, watching the little plates of food go by. Not the best place for conversations, but Dante seemed pleased at the sight of all the fish, even if he couldn’t seem to identify any of them.
Naoki grabbed some tuna. Dante grabbed the same.
“Going to just copy off of me?”
“Gotta start somewhere.”
Raidou sighed, pulling a slimy bundle of natto and okra off the belt.
“What is that stuff?”
“Healthy and cheap,” Raidou responded.
“Yeah, but really? You eat okra?”
“Okra, I know. What’s the other slime ball?”
Naoki looked sharply at Dante, surprised. “Natto. It’s fermented soy beans.”
“Why does something fermented look so disgusting?”
“It’s not bad,” Raidou commented right before plopping one of the rolls in his mouth.
“It’s better than it smells,” Naoki added. “I like it best with mustard. Actually, I only like it with mustard. Man, can’t remember the last time I had that stuff.”
Raidou ate the second roll.
“Just gulp it down, huh?”
“That’s how you’re supposed to eat rolls, Dante. That way you get all the tastes.”
For a while they had a fairly standard meal. Dante occasionally asked what something was, but otherwise the happy sound of munching prevailed. Conversation started up again when things slowed down.
“So, you’re the fifteenth Raidou?”
“One at a time?”
“The guy I met seemed a little out of place, I guess, but I still don’t get how I met a previous Raidou.”
“It’s not impossible you met a future Raidou.”
“Then you probably wouldn’t know who,” Dante countered.
Raidou smiled slightly.
“Does it have to do with the diary you were reading?”
“Hmmm, do all Raidous keep a record?”
“No. The diary was his choice. There are reports, but mostly just stories passed down through oral tradition and rumor.”
“Huh. Well, you definitely knew about me.”
“I investigated the cathedral. You two really stirred the hornet’s nest.”
“They had my brother,” Naoki retorted.
“I’m not saying you were wrong, just what you did.”
“Did you know about the blasted angels?” Dante asked.
“Demons prefer to live where they are believed. Angels commonly reside in Christian locales. St. Mary’s Cathedral has operated as a base for some time.”
“My brother’s not the only one.”
“As has been hinted, but without evidence there’s not much we can do.”
“Correct. It’s one thing if it’s a rogue group, but any group under Metatron is far from rogue. The consequences could easily become catastrophic. My job as Raidou is to avoid such a situation.”
“And let them get away with shit?”
“No, but they must be proven the first aggressor.”
“Don’t want it to be your fault,” Dante reasoned.
“Angels are aggravatingly chivalrous. If they acted out of turn they will generally back down. This is our jurisdiction and they should come to us first.”
“Who knew demons had rules,” Dante pondered.
“Didn’t think they had regions at least,” Naoki admitted.
“Demons are tied by ancient oaths and rules, and are rarely consciously aware of them.”
Naoki glanced outside the window to the sulking faeries. Raidou had refused to let them enter the building, sayings its impact on humans would be negative.
“They can enter where they like, but in a tight space remain conspicuous. It’s easy to panic when you know there’s something you can’t see.”
“I guess.” Naoki looked back at Raidou. “Is knowing all of this part of your job?”
“Not just about killing them anymore, is it?”
“Why would I?” Raidou responded, turning to Dante.
“You put up with the pixie.”
“She doesn’t much act like a demon.”
“Exactly. Why assume she is unique?”
Dante just stared at him for a moment.
“Calm down, Dante. You and I don’t agree on this either.”
He grabbed another plate of fish.
Raidou turned to Naoki. “Is he always like this?”
“No. Well, we’ve only recently met up outside…”
“I see. You see different things when you change spaces.”
“Something like that. Glad you agree with me about demons though. Besides, saw enough problems causes by humans not to think they’re worse.”
“What caused it?”
“I don’t know the details, but there was a man who caused it. He wanted to make the world anew.”
Raidou leaned back.
“He was pretty scary. Just wanted a world of silence. The ultimate peace, boredom, except you’re too lifeless to even care.”
“Did you want a world?”
“Not when I started. Even when I ended, I thought maybe if I can just go back and take what I learned. Everyone just freaked out.”
“I read the report that got Daisuke involved with your case.”
“Heh. Yeah, that was…not good.”
“Hey, do they have strawberry sundaes here?” Dante suddenly asked.
“What?” Naoki and Dante replied in unison.
“Strawberry sundaes, or is that not a thing in Japan?”
“We have parfaits,” Naoki replied.
Raidou just shook his head at the sharp change in conversation.
“With strawberry sauce?”
“Great. Where can we get one?”
“Are you done eating?” Raidou asked.
“Until the sundaes come out.”
Raidou waved over a waiter. “Then you’re done. We need the tuna bento to go.”
“There might be something in the convenience store.”
“I’d be up for that.”
“You could get Doctor Yukimura some coffee or something.”
“He doesn’t need more caffeine.”
Naoki shrugged. “Come on. It’s a true Japanese experience.”
“As long as they’re good.”
“Depends what they have.”
Raidou groaned. The waiter brought over the check. “Your bento will be ready very shortly.”
“Thanks. I’ll go up front and pay now.”
“Yes, sir.” The woman began clearing away the plates.
“Come on, you two. They’ll have it up front by the time we’ve finished paying.”
“Sorry, you have to treat us.”
Raidou sighed. “It’s alright. Not optimal, but alright.”
Naoki grimaced. Dante grinned. “You really are something, you know that?”
Raidou just went up and paid. “No sundaes for you.”