December 21rst, 2015
A small gathering graced the lovely cemetery of Elm Grove. Even in the late fall the atmosphere was siren and beautiful with bright reds and yellows splashed with orange and the lavish pond whispered quietly to the mourners.
The Ballantynes wanted the funeral to be done quickly. Their son's passing was too horrific to hold onto him any longer than is necessary, he needed to be comfortable and move on to a better place. There were many people who had something to say, friends from his old schools and music school. Teachers who found the boy endearing and had wanted to wish him well.
Hakuo was there, of course. He awaited his turn at the podium to say what needed to be said, what he knew was in Yakusoku's heart for his boyfriend and friend. Nono had been crying his eyes out once Mr. and Mrs. Ballantyne stated their peace, the poor guy couldn't get over it. They weren't even best friends, but he's never known anyone his age that is dead. Even Clark showed, he who was not a friend but neither was he an enemy.
Gev stood before the small crowd and just shook his head. He wanted to say something kind and meaningful for his love and friend, but as he looked out at all the staring faces, landing on the empty expression of a guy whom he knows is not Yakusoku, all he could offer was.
"To all who've earned it, suck my dick because you should be the one in the box." Before he left the stand and walked back to his seat beside the imposter.
Hakuo stood then and walked to the podium. He mimicked Gev as he looked at all of the peering faces. They expected something sincere and moving from Yakusoku because those who knew of their relationship he was the one who'd be hurt the most, and for those who only speculated of it wondered if this was the time he would come clean, and if so, they wondered how those hearing it for the first time would react.
Hakuo could only shake his head if such thoughts were going on. A good man is dead because of something horrible. Intolerance. How rude the world could become when they think they have right to police your activities and life. Releasing a breath he reached into his mind and gathered some of the feelings left there by the, unbeknownst to those looking at him, departed Yakusoku.
"I'd love to say he was a great man, I'd love to tell you that he's loving and kind but I can't… I can only speak for myself that he was any of those things. And for every wonderful thing who Ludwig was for some people he could have been the opposite." His fingers touched the wooden stand, tracing the trim as he thought then spoke. "He could have been an ass or a quiet thoughtful person who never said a word. My point is, we all create these silent worlds between each other, some are good and some are bad. It's never easy to be our whole selves with someone, but with Ludwig… I think that he and I- along with Gev- came pretty close to that. We laughed and loved and hated each other… We could be good and we could be cruel and we'd separate and come back together, it was our way. And we loved each other. I loved him in all ways… Sometimes I even liked that there were things about him that I could hate…"
Gev's breathing stilled as he listened to Hakuo, wondering if in there somewhere Yakusoku really does still exists? Because these beautiful, sincere feelings couldn't really be coming from a stranger.
"No one should be that perfect for you, it's a scary thought to some to find a person who's a forever, but there Ludwig was. I'm only sad that not everyone could have experienced his good side if they only got the bad, and I'm even sorry to those who never got to know him and be loved by him enough to see that he had a side that's bad."
Hakuo licked his cold lips and bit down into the bottom lips flesh as he needed a pause. Because he can still feel the sorrow of watching the pair sitting by that broken tree not even caring about the tragedy coming. Just being thankful they had each other.
"I'd once asked my parents what my happiness was worth to them, and they told me to go. I'm glad for that… because I knew what Ludwig was worth to me and in him I found a place to stay. I love him. I'll always love him. And I thank him, that for all the things that we've been through he braved a chance and loved me." Looking at the sky he said very softly. "Ludwig, thank you for loving me. Thank you for letting me know just how much I can love." And for his own personal feelings he whispered. "And thank you for letting me know my heart can be still broken."
Gev quietly joined Nono's crying. He couldn't hold the tears back anymore. Not after that. Hakuo was right to say those things, and they were exactly all the things that he couldn't say himself.
As Mrs. Ballantyne joined her husband saying kind words and, though not religious, a prayer, the crowd watched as Ludwig was finally put to rest.
Gev approached Hakuo once Nono released him from his death grip of tears and sweet words. "Thanks for saying all that, it was really…" he moved his hand outward as if Hakuo could fill in the rest.
"It's how I know Yakusoku felt so it was easy to relay his message."
"Yeah." He turned away and walked but he stopped fast but it was a mere brief pause when seeing Hakuo's shadowy hand on the ground reaching out for him, then he continued away. Yakusoku wasn't in there. If Mamoru was in there he made no show of it. As far as he's concerned a ghost from beyond the veil had reached for him but it could not touch.
Hakuo frowned. Because through all of this Gev was really the only person he knew. Not the Lands whose times with them were limited to speaking to Quinn Land one time when he was baking in the night, Ai Land who'd asked him one morning if he was really his brother, and Reeve Land whom he'd only smiled at. Just as well he cut all ties here. He needed to get home. Back to his life.
March 3rd, 2016. Groton, Connecticut.
Hakuo walked through the snow covered park on feet as light as a spider's steps. He didn't even sink one step into the snow. He was practicing expanding his gift and flight was definitely something he wanted to check out. But so far he could only lightly hover. It was hard earned to get his gift back after he'd lost it completely two and half months ago. Babysteps.
He'd been slowly moving on with his life at home, he's back in school, he has a job, he's gaining real friends instead of sycophants. But there was something nagging at him that he needed to do before he could truly move on…
Placing a newspaper that he borrowed from a homeless man down on the snow covered bench, he took a seat and rests a blue and white box he's carrying down on his lap and he waited.
"There you are," Chester Flint called to him as he hurried over, panting when he made it to the bench he plunked himself down beside whom he presumed is his best friend. "I was looking everywhere for you. It's freezing out," he rubbed his coat-covered arms to dispel the cold. "I can't believe you called me, I thought for sure you'd be pissed at me still after what happened."
"Like I said over the phone, I've been doing a lot of thinking about everything that's happened and found out that you were right," Hakuo picked at the corner of the box, looking at it as he spoke. "I couldn't see it with Ludwig around me, keeping me blinded, but he was using me to fulfill his own sick needs. And it took his death to realize that what you were saying was true."
Chester looked at his friend for a long time with a hard expression that slowly morphed into elation. "You really mean that? ...Wow… Thank you- you see I knew nothing could shake our friendship, not for long. Man, am I glad to have you back," He reached over to Hakuo and patted him on the shoulder. "So, let's go do something, anything you want."
"I don't wanna do anything right now," He opened the box and leaned it over to Chester. "Cookie?"
"Yeah. And hey, double chocolate chip my favorite." He stuffed one into his mouth.
"I made them for Ai, he was going to a friend's birthday party and I offered to bake cookies." Handing him the box he added. "Help yourself, I've eaten too many sample, I'm sick of them."
"You don't have to tell me twice," he ate into another one. "You really baked these yourself? That's amazing, I didn't know you baked." He cleared his throat. "Aheh, they're good but a little dry- no offense."
"None taken, I bought us some cocoas on the way over." He pointed to the two little paper cups sitting in the nearly empty box. "You can have mine too, I've got water- sugar overload."
"Sucks to be you right now, this is just what I needed, it's freezing out." Chester looked around as he sipped from the cup of hot chocolate. "I can't believe it finally snowed, I thought we'd be stuck in a hot concrete winter."
"Damned global warming." Hakuo looked at the sky where thick grey clouds glowed with desire to release the glaring sun even now. It would be fine, though, he brought sunglasses along to keep from being blinded by the sun's glare on the snow- if it came out.
Chester coughed and had some more cocoa. "So what have you been up to, I've been going by the house and haven't seen you around anywhere?"
"I've just been around." Hakuo shrugged. "What about you?"
"Nothing special." He grabbed the last of the five cookies from the box and bit into it. "Mmm, what is that underlying flavor? Vanilla?"
"Almond paste, I added some. It makes them special."
"I'll say. If you moistened these a bit, they'd be store quality." He cleared his throat, then brushed his hands on his coat. "What?" He asked when seeing a strange expression on his friend's face. He looked worried or maybe scared? It was hard to say.
"No, really, what?" Chester nudged him. "Come ooon, you can tell me."
"I was just thinking about what you said, and it made me think of this spooky commercial they've been playing."
Chester thought about all the recent horror movie commercials playing and shook his head.
"I was for macaroni," Hakuo turned and looked at Chester, his deep dual colored gaze pierced Chester's spastic expression. The guy was clearly manic, not believing that this companionable moment could be real. "A suited man said "we took such and such from our macaroni" as the scenes changed then he added "and nobody noticed"... To me that's pretty spooky. I mean, they think it's great that they're only now making things without stuff that didn't need to be there, so why was it there at all?" He shrugged his shoulder. "It's scary how the people in the food industry treat it's customers and we the consumer can't do a thing about it because if they figure it should be there what can we do?"
Chester's face twisted up. "You're weird. You're starting to sound like those nuts who like talking about conspiracy theories."
"Yeah." Smiling he sat back against the bench and looked up at the sky. "But, it really makes you think about things. If it's easy to take things out of food that don't need to be there it's just as easy to put them in…" His gaze slanted over to Chester. "Wouldn't you agree?"
"I guess," He held his fist up to his mouth and coughed again. Taking a long drink from the cocoa he began coughing again and again. "Wanna go see a movie? All this horror talk is making me itch for a movie."
His expression read repulsion and he'd decided he's had about enough. "Well, that's the call for me to take my leave," Standing he gathers the things he brought with him: the cups are returned to the box, the box is held in his arms, and the newspaper he was sitting on goes back under his arm. "Chester, you really need to learn how to understand things being said to you. I just flatout told you I put something into the damned cookies and instead of calling for help with what little time you have left, you decide to continue being as dumb as the people who gave you life and not realize that you've been had."
"Wha…" He gasped as air suddenly left his body then he sucked in again. "What's happe…"
"You're dying, stupid." Hakuo all but rolled his eyes when Chester reached out for him. "I poisoned you, and it was sooo simple, I only had to look like what you presume is your best friend and whala, you were fed at the teet without the slightest hesitance. For fucks sake you murdered his boyfriend, did you really think he'd forgive you for that? Ha! Lucky me, what little I know about you highlighted your intense desperation to be on top."
"He… Hel...p me…" Two little tears managed to escape and stick to his face in the cold.
"Are you kidding?" He smiled. "And Yakusoku wouldn't help you either, he died hating you fiercely." He watched Chester fall to his knees where he began stuffing handfuls of snow into his mouth to drink. "That's a new one, I've never seen someone try to hydrate theirself with melted snow. Watch out for the yellow stuff, right?" Kneeling down, he sighed. "You really are dumb, though. And this, was what you had coming for killing Ludwig with that molotov through the car window."
Hakuo has been plagued with nightmares of Ludwig's final memory before he was lit up. The resigned Canadian sat in moisture that'd been poured on the seat, alcohol by the smell of it. He cried with a smile as he looked at pictures of Yakusoku and Gev on his phone. He knew he was making the right decision, for as hard as it was deciding to give up his life, having them suffer because of him was harder. So with sleeping pills in his system he waited for the rest of his vision to come to pass and in the blink of an eye he saw the figure dressed in all black before the orange glowing bottle dropped into the window that he'd purposefully left open. It haunted him and he knew why.
So in honor of their love, and honoring his own word that if Chester didn't smarten up he'd die regretting it. He devised a plan. There was no party for Ai's friend, he baked seven cookies and bought two cocoas to assist the additive of potassium cyanide. The box was from some muffins he'd had for breakfast earlier that morning. Next he'd serve the cookies to him and watch as Chester fell victim to the moisture in his body drying up.
"I couldn't kill you as soon as I'd wanted to, I had to wait for the elements to be on my side as an aliby. As I'd said, damned global warming. But with winter in full swing and snow all around us, I knew I had to move fast. See, what you're going to die from is cerebral hypoxia, simply put you're losing oxygen pretty much from head to toe as your bodily fluids turn to air. And," he whistled to the snow eating victim. "Hey, stay with me a minute, you're only speeding the process along by eating snow." He scoffed when Chester started spitting out the liquidized clumps of ice crystals. "Which means I really must be going."
'No, please, help me,' Chester thought as he fell over writhing.
Hearing his thoughts he shook his head, crouching down he whispered. "Never. And let me tell you, I get no pleasure from killing you. I don't even know you. I'm just keeping my word." Standing he looked down at the pitiful fool. "I really have to go. I don't want you thinking 'at least I didn't die alone'."
'You won't get…' he didn't get to finish as his brain was going to mush. 'No... I'm sca..'
"I'm glad you're scared. After what you did, I would be." Walking away he says to the steadily deafening ears. "By the way, I will get away with it, do you know there are more deaths of dehydration in the winter than there are in the summer. Too much coffee, tea, and cocoa. No one thinks about a nice cool bottle of water, they just want the warmth. You'll be seen as just another victim of winter idiocy."
As Hakuo left the park he looked up at the sky due to a pause. The corners of his mouth tugged violently until laughter was spilling out of him like a tub awash with running water. And once his laughter died down he began to walk again towards the bus station.
"Guess I was wrong, I did take some pleasure in that."
He began to whistle, hands stuffed in the pockets of his long winter coat. And he wondered if his friends have woken up yet?
x x x
Commentary: Thank you all for reading this, and Mona you are my super reader I adore you for cheering me on. I'm gonna rest up before the sequel, and if you've never seen the wondeful Jodie Foster in The Little Girl Down the Lane it's a must watch. I did this scene based from that. It was fitting. I hope you all liked it and will read the sequel. I didn't even think I'd get 40 readers so this was everything to me.