Chapter Three: Interrogate
That night, Miyako's dreams were full of white rooms and glass tubes, and of needles as well. The smell of disinfectant was thick in the air and Miyako choked on it as she stumbled through room after room, her eyes half-open. A voice kept whispering in her ears, you'll never escape us...
She fell to her knees inside of a room with a lone metal table, weakened by the scents and the memories around her. A lump formed in her throat. Her ears rang.
Someone grabbed her by the arms and hauled her to her feet, setting her on the table. They pushed her until she was laying down on her back, then they strapped her to it.
The scene dissolved before her eyes and then she was free, lost in the darkness. She curled into herself and howled, her eyes squeezed shut as she rocked back and forth...
Her eyes opened and she was before the Doctor. The edges of her vision were fuzzy.
"What does Daddy want me to do?" She heard herself ask.
I was seven here...
"Daddy wants you to..."
She looked up at him, her eyes wide. The shadows hid his more important features in just the right way. His eyes were covered by sunglasses.
She heard a grunt as he stared down at her. Something flashed in his hands and then...
She bolted upright, her hand over her hammering heart as she fought to regain her breath.
What was that... he never...
She looked down at herself, her blanket falling away from her bare chest as she held her breath. Her arms fell to her sides.
It was just a dream. That's all it was.
She threw her blanket away from her and got to her feet. Her bare feet made a thick slapping sound against the wooden floor as she headed towards the bathroom. With the lights in the bathroom on, she gave herself a once-over...
And gasped at what she saw.
On her ribcage was a thin silver scar, placed just below the swell of her breasts. Her fingers ran over the mark, her heart in her throat.
She blinked once, then again, hoping the mark would go away. Yet as she opened her eyes opened again, Miyako could still see the mark.
But I've never... he didn't... did he?
She sighed, her entire body trembling as she left the bathroom and walked back inside her room. The smell of disinfectant was strong, just like it had been in her dreams. The clock on the floor beside her futon read four in the morning.
"Great," she mumbled out loud. She lay down amongst her blankets and closed her eyes.
Two hours later, she still hadn't managed to fall asleep. She lay there in the darkness, her arms over her head as she stared at the ceiling. Clips of her dreams spun around and around her brain, making it all the harder to close her eyes.
I don't want to sleep...
She picked each clip apart piece by piece, taking in every detail of her old home and making mental notes for herself. She stopped at one, deep inside her head. It was of a room with glass tubes, much like the one she'd had to consider "home" not too long ago. But upon further inspection, she saw a shadow in one of the containers.
She shook her head. Impossible. I was the only one in the labs.
She discarded the vision and got to her feet, her arms wrapped tight around her body as she headed for her closet. Moments later, her uniform under her arm, she was heading for the bathroom.
Her scar was still prominent on her ribcage when she looked in the mirror. The small, shiny mark seemed to mock her as she stared it, as if to say to her, you are no longer perfect.
There was a lump in her throat that refused to go away as she dressed herself for school. Once her skirt was around her hips and her blouse over her torso, she gave herself a long, hard look in the mirror.
It's an illusion, she told herself. I'm still what the Doctor wanted... And I'm still his only project.
She didn't believe a word of it as she left the apartment, backpack on her shoulders and her heart heavy in her chest.
She bought a newspaper on her way to Tensai Academy and as she entered the campus, she kept it tucked under her arm. She nodded to the odd student that happened to look her way as she passed them by.
Inside the building, there were already several students who were taking off their shoes and slipping on their uwabaki, putting their uniform shoes into boxes that were labelled with their names. Miyako headed for hers, instantly finding herself being jostled about by the other students as they moved around.
Something pressed into her back and she almost fell forward, stopping herself at the last second with both arms flailing. Her newspaper fell from under her arm.
"Shit... I'm so sorry!" Someone said from behind her. She bent over wordlessly and grabbed her paper before heading to her box. Her nose wrinkled at the smell of sweat and perfume that was around her as she opened her box.
"Hey! New kid!"
Miyako huffed as the voice registered in her brain. Yoshiki... She forced herself to smile and turned to greet him.
"Hey!" Yoshiki called again, this time closer. Her smile widened. He stopped just inches in front of her, his chest heaving as he breathed. "Miyako. Hey."
"Oh... hi, Yoshiki." She shifted from foot to foot, shifting into her "shy girl" ploy. Yoshiki grinned.
"How are you?"
"I'm doing alright, I guess. How about you?"
He cocked his head to the side. "Just alright?"
"Yeah." She lowered herself to the ground and unlaced her shoes, placing them inside the box and grabbing her indoor slippers.
Yoshiki waited until her uwabaki were on her feet before asking "can I take you to class?"
Miyako froze. "Umm..."
His face turned a bright shade of red as his words registered to him. "I mean... I mean, i-if you want me to..."
He's so pathetic! Miyako thought, repressing a grimace. But what choice do I have...
"Sure... I'd love to."
His eyes widened, but before he could say anything, she'd taken him by the hand and was pulling him out of the hall, towards the staircase.
"So, what do you like to do?" She asked him.
He fidgeted. "Video games, I guess. And sometimes reading."
There was an edge in his tone as he spoke that Miyako caught, something that told her that he was lying. Her grip on his hand tightened ever so slightly.
"Yeah, I'm a bit of a weirdo."
"No you're not."
He stopped in his tracks, making Miyako stumble on the stairs. He caught her as she fell forward.
"You... You really think that?"
Miyako took in his shimmering eyes and his taut stance through a curtain of hair. As she righted herself, she nodded.
He tugged her along after that. They both headed up the remaining steps and walked into the second floor hallway, where all the eleventh graders of Tensai had class. A couple of the classrooms already had their doors open, and as Miyako walked past them, she could see the students inside. Suddenly, she felt sick holding onto Yoshiki's hand.
He let her go as they neared their classroom.
"Well," he said, bowing before her. "Here we are."
She swept past him into the room, ignoring the glances a couple of the students shot her as she stepped in. The AC hummed above her head as she approached her desk, the machine sending a blast of cold air down the back of her shirt. She shivered with the chill that crawled up her spine. Whispers followed her steps.
The instant her computer was open, a message appeared on her desktop, blinking on and off. She clicked it, her bottom lip between her teeth.
I told you that you'd receive your first assignment, didn't I? Well, this is it.
Her heart skipped a beat as her eyes skimmed the rest of the message, over the attached documents and background info, until her eyes rested on the name at the bottom. A lump in her throat, she glanced to the other end of the room.
This will be interesting...
Her fingers rested on the keys for only a second before she typed back, It shall be done. She hit send before she could erase it.
Miyako knew the many complications that had the chance of rising from the situation, but as she cracked her knuckles, she disregarded every single one of them. The Doctor had given her a job and she had to fulfill it, no matter the cost.
Ms. Yoshi walked into the room then, followed by Ayame. The class representative sat herself in front of Miyako, just like she had the day before.
Suddenly, Miyako had an idea.
"Hey, class rep!"
Ayame jumped in her seat with a yelp, warranting a worried glance from Ms. Yoshi, before she turned in her seat.
"Uh... hi..." Ayame said, her eyes widened.
Miyako looked down at the girl's hands, taking note of how she wrung them under her desk as she spoke to her.
"How's it going?"
"Uh... good? Why are you talking to me?"
"Because I want to, obviously. Why else?" Miyako chuckled as she spoke, her eyes going back to Ayame's. "You don't have many people who talk to you, and I'm new. Testing my boundaries, I suppose you could say."
"Yep!" Miyako titled her head to the side. "So... how are you?"
Ayame wouldn't meet Miyako's eyes as she spoke, which Miyako picked up on.
You think you're a good liar? And yet you can't even meet my eyes? Hmm...
"That's good! Do you like being class rep?"
"I guess so."
"And as such, you know all the good places of this school to visit, huh?"
"Yeah, I suppose."
Miyako leaned forward in her seat, her eyebrows arched in mock interest. "You should show me at lunch, perhaps."
Miyako frowned as Ayame turned back around in her seat, barely managing to repress a sigh.
Analysis: Newbies to a social ladder are commonly frowned upon and shunned. It takes extra effort to be noticed...
She looked over to Yoshiki, catching him just as he was turning his head away.
However, with proper connections, popularity will come easily. More research is needed.
She filed the thought away - for later reference, she told herself - and kept her eyes on Yoshiki, a new plan forming in the back of her mind.
The AC hummed just a bit too loud for Miyako's taste, the buzzing sound it made grating on her nerves. It was passing period now, meaning that the class had ten minutes to do whatever they wished to before the next class began.
Miyako sat with her legs crossed under the desk, poring over the window on her computer screen. Her books for the next class were on the corner of her desk, currently serving as a mouse pad.
Her fingers were tensed as she took another look around the room, then she started typing into the text box, which above it had a title labeled NAME. Her keystrokes were swift and nearly silent.
Miyako had obtained as much information as she could from Yoshiki that morning, on top of sneaking glances at the snide American's desk, and she had felt confident that she knew enough. But as she typed away, she suddenly didn't feel so certain.
She kept typing, though, filling out the boxes as thoroughly as she could. The blinking cursor seemed to mock her as she came to stop. A box flashed to life on her screen.
What's all this for, anyway? - Y
Miyako sighed, running a hand through her hair as she recalled the Doctor's message.
"Her father... he hasn't paid his dues. But of course, he's too far away to send you to him, especially with very little info on him. But his daughter? We chose the school for a reason."
To make this all a pain in the ass for me, Doc? Cause that's what it seems like from this angle.
She rested her hands on the keys, mentally preparing her response, before typing,
I just want to get to know everyone. - M
Miyako laced her hands behind her head as she waited for Yoshiki's reply, only to let them drop when the next teacher walked in. Mr. Kaede, the English teacher. A gangly man with an unsightly comb-over and piercing grey eyes. A hawk-like nose hung over thin set of lips, lips that seemed to sneer at the students.
It had only taken Miyako a total of five minutes to figure out that class 2-C did not like Mr. Kaede. It took her another three to find out that she didn't like him, either.
He set his briefcase down on the podium with a thunk, his eyes raking over the students with a look Miyako could only guess was disapproval.
You know Rose hates you, right? - Y
Mr. Kaede's gaze snapped to Miyako, who could feel her cheeks heat up under his scrutiny, just as the message appeared on her screen. Miyako's hands hovered over her keypad, her heart racing in anticipation.
Everything about him sent shivers down her spine, even when he looked away from her. He gave another observant sweep of the room.
"Good morning, students."
Miyako relaxed a little, her shoulders slumping, and turned back to her computer.
Yeah... I know. But I figure, if I know about her, I can get her to like me, maybe. - M
Miyako shot a glance in Rose's direction. Too bad she'll be dead before then, she thought, her lip between her teeth. She looked away again as Rose raised her head.
The class fell into a stiff silence, interrupted every so often by the shifting of seats or a dry cough.
Somewhere, a bell started ringing. The teacher began to speak.
The class passed by in a blur, one too fast for Miyako to really comprehend it. One moment, class had begun, and the next there was a sheet of paper on her desk and a click as Mr. Kaede closed up his briefcase. Miyako looked up at the sound as it echoed around the room.
Lunch time, she realized. The clear, plastic lid of her laptop came down over the keys. From under her desk, she produced a small box and set it on her desk. A pair of chopsticks was pulled from her sleeve. With only a glance towards the teacher, Miyako opened the box and split her chopsticks.
Her first bite of lunch was inches away from her mouth when she felt a hot, prickling sensation spread over her back. She set her chopsticks down with a sigh and looked behind her, straight into Yoshiki's eyes. A couple desks over, Rose was staring her down as well.
Two looks, each with two different meanings, from two completely opposing people... She picked her chopsticks back up as she returned to her food and stuffed a clump of vegetables and rice in her mouth. The uncomfortable sensation returned, this time stronger.
Oh for fuck's sake.
She turned around again, her food rolling around on her tongue, and shot Rose a glare. Rose, eyes wide in what Miyako guessed was astonishment, looked away. Miyako gulped her food down as she watched for Rose to raise her head again. The American didn't, so she turned around.
Miyako took another bite of food, her chopsticks in one hand as she opened the laptop up with the other. As the desktop flashed to life over the plastic, her eyes caught notice of a blinking notification on the taskbar. She tapped it.
This should be good...
You want to come sit with me? - Y
Oh, nevermind... - Y
Woah just caught you and Rose in a stare-down... - Y
She sighed. That boy just can't seem to mind his own business...
Yeah, haha... guess she really does hate me. - M
I think so. Which reminds me, why are you even... bothering? - Y
Miyako smirked into her bento box as she replied.
Why do you think? - M
She watched as, across the room, Yoshiki wrinkled his nose.
To... get under her skin? How the hell am I supposed to know? - Y
Because I thought you were- I mean, because you're smart. - M
Um... - Y
Anyway. I'm doing all this because I want friends. And you always keep your enemies closer, right? Well, if I could convert her into a friend, then... - M
She'll probably never like you. - Y
Miyako shoved her chopsticks into her mouth with a huff, biting into them and swallowing the bits of rice she'd picked up. She yelped when her teeth made impact with the wood.
Maybe so. But a girl can try. - M
Her fingers all but pounded into the small keys as she reached for a cucumber slice from the box. As she crunched into her meal, her foot caught on something underneath her desk.
Oh, right... I still have that newspaper.
She picked up the grey bundle and put it under her arm, closing both her laptop and her box before laying the papers out on top of them. Just like it had two days prior, the front cover featured an old, smiling man.
Hiroshi Kita, aged seventy-nine, died of a heart attack three days ago inside of his room at the...
Miyako sighed. Don't they have anything better to do than write about him? She asked herself. Her eyes skimmed over the paper until it landed on the very bottom.
Mr. Kita is survived by his son, Takashi Kita, and his grandson, Nori Kita. A follow-up report on page three.
She wracked her brain for any names that fit the ones she'd been given, finally dawning on Kita Corp., a software corporation. She flipped to the specified page, her eyes landing on an aging man, one arm wrapped around the shoulders of a teenage boy and the other gesturing to the large building behind him. Takashi Kita, new owner of Kita Corp., with his son Nori Kita.
"What're you reading?"
Miyako jumped, her heart soaring into her throat as she felt a hand on her shoulder. She spun, coming face to face with Yoshiki himself.
Her first impulse was to fold the paper back up, but there was something in the way he was watching her that held her still.
"I... I'm uh..."
Her cheeks flared instantly, embarrassment making her bow her head. Words were stuck on her tongue as his other hand reached across her and picked up the newspaper.
"Ohh, this!" He said. "I know about this!"
"You do?" She choked out, her heart pulsing in a spastic rhythm in her throat. Her chest felt as though as it was convulsing.
"Yeah!" He smacked the page with the back of his hand. "There was a big uproar about it or somethin', I think. Mostly between all the rich people, though."
Her ears perked. "Oh really?" She raised her head. "And why is that?"
Yoshiki shrugged. "That I don't know. The wealthy don't like us knowing their secrets. There's rumors though..."
"Something silly, I think. Basically, people keep saying Takashi is going to be thrown from power."
Miyako rested her head on her knuckles. "Intriguing."
"Yeah. People think Takashi isn't fit to own Kita Corp., though who could say why."
"Anyway." He set the newspaper back over the desk. "I came over cause I wanted to see if you wanted to sit with us... You wanted to get to know Rose, right?"
Miyako looked past him to the cluster of desks by the door. Rose was watching her with narrowed eyes.\
"Thanks, but I'll pass. I have some studying to do."
He left her without another word, and she folded up her newspaper and tucked it under her desk, opening up both her laptop and her bento box with a wide grin.