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[Tamura Residence a.k.a. "The Black Box"] The home of Tamura Mariko and Tamura Ryūnosuke. Located in the Kasazaki district of Karakura, The "Black Box", as it has been dubbed by the locals, was only recently constructed after the demolition of the former Mafuyu residence. The Mafuyu family moved to Germany seven years ago and were looking to sell the land, however they were unable to find any buyers due to the tragic circumstances surrounding their departure from Karakura and the rumors that the house was cursed. The land was bought by Tamura Keiji who promptly saw to the demolition of the former home and the construction of the bold architectural statement that is the new Tamura residence. The jet black anomaly stands imposingly in the corner-plot of two intersecting roads. The neighbors of the Tamura's are the young newly-weds Mr. and Mrs. Hamashida on one side. And on the other side, the retired widow Mrs. Suzuki, who is also the president of the neighborhood association. The Black Box sticks out like a prop from a futuristic sci-fi thriller. The majestic, obsidian obelisk has a dominating presence that overshadows the neighboring homes. Curiously, the neighborhood association has documented a considerable decrease in petty crime and unruly behavior in recent months. Even more curious, it seems more people are taking out their trash on time. It is unclear if the Tamura residence has anything to do with the change. ----- Residents: Tamura Mariko Tamura Ryūnosuke
001: Things We Left Behind And Others We Didn't PRT 1 ----- ____________________ ... RYŪNOSUKE had not been particularly attentive of his surroundings for the majority of the four hour drive from the airport. He'd gazed out of the passenger's seat window on occasion to take in, if not but visually, the stark change in scenery that was the countryside of the Tama region, also known as Western Tokyo. Although he was not in a frame that would allow a full appreciation of the simplistic and natural beauty of the region, the 17 year old --who had until now lived exclusively in a bustling city-- saw in the wide and empty green plains visible on the roadside an indication of just how much he was leaving behind. He was hundreds of miles from Osaka, hundreds of miles from his old life, his old home. "Hundreds of miles from-" Ryūnosuke inhaled deeply as he pressed his head against the window glass and closed his eyes, hoping to banish his thoughts and clear his mind. Merely a temporary reprieve, he knew; one that worked most of the time, but the thoughts were never truly gone. The guilt and shame were always there, persistent, stubborn, and lingering in the back of his mind, pouncing out from the darkness to torment him only when he pretended he could move beyond them. Ryūnosuke sighed lowly in frustration. Who was he kidding, no amount of time or distance could ever make him forget what he'd done --the harm he'd caused-- much less could any distance change it. Tamura Mariko had thoughts and regrets of her own as she watched her son from the backseat of the silver SUV bound for their new home in Karakura. She regretted that she'd noticed too little and too late to help him, that she didn't see the signs that he was struggling and needed help. Most of all, she resented the fact that a tragedy had torn a rift between herself and her boy. Where there had once been warmth and openness now festered an expanding pit of coldness and silence. Oh, how she hated the silence and everything that came with it. The doubt and paranoia. Sleepless nights, woke with fear as she wondered if she would have to go through what that poor girl Hina's mother experienced. "Would she wake up one morning and find her boy-" Mariko shuddered, holding back the tears that had begun to swell in her eyes. "No." That was precisely why they had left Osaka. It would take time, it would be hard and painful, but she would get her family through this crisis. They would reclaim their happiness and she would see the glow in her son's eyes again. Even if that meant moving to the edge of the earth. Mariko reached over the passenger's seat and placed her hand tenderly on Ryūnosuke's left shoulder. "Are you okay, Ryūn?" she asked lowly. There was a delay in her son's response. Part of her hoped that perhaps he was considering to share everything that was bothering him. That he'd suddenly become inclined to tell her everything that happened that morning when he found Hina. That he'd shout at her, curse at her, or even blame her, just as long as he'd opened the door that would allow her back into his life. Let her be his mother again. "I'm fine." Ryūnosuke mumbled. Mariko, squeezed his shoulder, silently begging him not to shut down on her again. "Are you sure? You haven't eaten or said anything in hours. Are you hungry." "Mom, I'm fine... I'm just tired is all." "Alright, honey." Mariko conceded. She gave Ryūnosuke a final pat on his shoulder before she reclined in her seat. She wondered if she'd pressed too hard again without realizing it. If her maternal instincts had gotten the better of her again. But what else was she to do? What else did she have to trust in if not the biological imperative to protect her child? Did that make her selfish? How could it be wrong of her to want to be close to her son again? How could anyone expect her to be patient and endure the agonizing pain of knowing your child --the most important and beloved thing to you in this world-- is so close, not even an arm's length away, and yet so achingly distant from you? Ryūnosuke surely couldn't comprehend his mother's feelings. For as much as he was a selfish teenager, he had very real torments of his own as well. Perhaps fortunately, if he had nothing else going for him, Ryūnosuke was mature enough to at least recognize his own thoughts and emotions. He knew very well, that he was dealing with his own guilt, shame, and regret. He was angry, but not with the world --most certainly not with his mother. Rather he was angry with himself, for what he'd done. He'd blamed himself for ruining what little happiness his family had. For destroying that little happiness he'd always taken for granted. Add to that the fact that, for better or for worse, the troubled teen had inherited his father's pride, which dictated that there were things he simply could never say openly or admit. Mr. Nagashi was a man of many talents and responsibilities. Exactly three months from the day he'd have been under the employment of Tamura Keiji for fifteen years. He'd been President Keiji's (of Tamura Pharmaceuticals) closest friend for seven more years than that. Point was, Nagashi had known the Tamuras for a very long time. He'd, in fact, known young Ryūnosuke for the teenager's entire life. Nagashi, was practically a member of the family himself, but he was a professional and never eluded to that fact and was all the better at his job for it. At least in his own opinion. Officially, he was the Head of Security at Tamura Pharmaceuticals. Unofficially, the parameters of his job description were much less clearly defined. Put bluntly, he did whatever the Tamura's needed of him; with top priority going to whatever Tamura Keiji instructed him to do. At the moment, that task happened to be driving Keiji's wife and son to their new home. That also meant silently enduring the tense atmosphere that now loomed over the entire Tamura household like a black smog of ill-managed emotions. It was no secret that the smog followed the mother and child even now, and that it was heaviest around Ryūnosuke. Nagashi would have loved to give the teen some much needed advice but the truth was that even Nagashi, in all his life-hardened wisdom wasn't sure what he should say to Ryūnosuke. Frankly, as much as it pained him to think it, he was fine with being invisible as long as the Tamuras collectively acted as if he was. "We'll be there soon, we've got about another twenty kilometers." he said sharply before allowing himself to fade back into invisibility just as quickly as he'd spoken. "Thank you, Nagashi." Mariko replied shortly afterwards. Ryūnosuke remained silent. The teen opened his eyes again and watched as a train approached on the railway parallel to the road. He wondered where the train was going, what were the odds of it heading to Osaka. He watched closely as they passed the train, heading their opposite directions, and for a moment time seemed to slow down to a halt, just like it did in the heat of a match, when he was in the batter's box, honed in on a pitch. For just a second he caught a glimpse of a teenage girl who couldn't be any older than he was. She sat alone with a thick red scarf wrapped tightly around her neck. She wore an opened jean jacket, with a white blouse underneath, and on her lap was a small pink suitcase littered with newly applied and some aged and peeling cat stickers. However, her most defining feature was the ever obvious look of repressed sadness on her face. He recognized that expression, it was Hani's expression, the one that haunted him now. Ryūnosuke shifted upwards in his seat and looked backwards at the train as it drew away again, his brows furrowed with concern as a faint gasp escaped his pressed lips. Nagashi and Mariko took note of the teen's sudden alertness. "Ryūn?" Mariko called worriedly. Ryūnosuke responded quickly, almost too quickly, "It's nothing." he reassured; hoping his mother would leave it at that, and, against every cry of her maternal intuition, Mariko did. To Be Continued... ______________________________ WC|1,415 -----
007: Blunt Trauma: Ryūnosuke vs. Baron Quadhorn PRT 1 [Continuation From: Welcome To The Wild's] ----- ____________________ ... RYŪNOSUKE'S SHADOW danced on the ground beneath him, as he ran through the streets of Old Town Karakura; it was darkened by the glow of the moon and the LED street lamps that hung above and lit his way. Ryūnosuke figured at least ten minutes had passed since he'd left the Elites Dome and he hadn't even reached the Karasu river bridge yet. "At least ten minutes..." Ryūnosuke noted mentally. So, that meant it was now nine-thirty? "Still too late, way past curfew!" Ryūnosuke exclaimed inwardly. "Shit shit shit! Mom is gonna go ballistic." He could already picture his mother's absolute wrath descending upon him for breaking one of her only two rules. It was already bad, but it got progressively worse with every minute that he grew even later pass his seven o'clock curfew. How had he completely lost track of time? Well, Ryūnosuke knew exactly 'how' his real question was how he'd allowed himself to do so. Ryūnosuke could see the train station about half a mile off in the distance. The road ahead was completely empty and silent, but he could see the shadowy frames of people heading in and out of the station. The teenager reached into his pocket again for the fifth time in the last ten minutes, he knew he'd most like find no money to buy a train ticket with, but he was having a very hard time accepting the fact that he'd actually blown all his cash on batting cage tokens. Sure, enough, his hand came out of his pocket, for the fifth time, just as it had done the four times before --completely empty. "Fuck!" Ryūnosuke shouted. "How could you be this stupid, Ryūnosuke?!", he muttered under his breath. No money meant he had to run the entire way home, which would take him at least an hour and half if he gunned it. And Ryūnosuke was gunning it already, like his life depended on it. He was certain he could run the entire way, not at top speed the whole time, but there was no way he was going to stop; anyone well acquainted with Ryūnosuke's mother Mariko, knew he couldn't afford to... ______________________________ WC|365 -----