It's not as though any of it were real while it was happening. It's not important, it's just this person that used to be around. Twelve years old, with a dead cat, mauled by something too much bigger and already gone stiff and soulless, clutched in his arms. It was cold where it used to be warm and soft when it pressed it's face against someone's fingertips. Mostly it was just this stray cat, but you could really get used to the warm sounds of him purring.
Really. He was only my cat in the sense that he knew it was me coming with his food. Animals are like that about food, but people are the worst. So, who knows why someone would take a cat like that home with some strange idea of burying it, but that's what happened.
It was a really big house, where I lived then. Even in Yokohama, in a place so crowded they'd run out of burial space, it was a big house. It echoed, even with the staff running it. It was easy to find all the good places to hide and the narrow spaces where no one would see you if they were to look. If you hid long enough you might actually become invisible. No... really, if you'd been there you would know what I mean.
The gentleman of the house was- do you know, I remember more about the cat than that person? I suppose the cat and I conversed more often. But I do know he was very tall and had a smooth, inviting speaking voice, as if he might say something very interesting at any moment.
He sounded like velvet when he complained to the maid about the stench of cat guts and wondered out loud what kind of imbecile would bring something like that into the house.
"Toss that filth out and get it out of sight. There are important dinner guests coming!" Or something like that. I can't do my father's voice very well, you're much better at that sort of thing.
Anyway, the cat went into the trash and I was hustled upstairs to the bath and to my room. Out of sight of dinner guests, naturally. It wasn't bad, it was just how it was, but I think I'd really wanted to bury the cat. But that time, I couldn't do it.
Instead I climbed out the window, down the brick, and almost twisted my ankle coming down. I had a pack of cigarettes that I had taken from that person's desk while he was somewhere else, tucked into my coat pocket, but no light. It was raining. I was still wearing a sweater with the cat's blood on it, though I didn't remember putting it back on after the bath.
No light, no money, and rain, so of course a person of twelve is bound to get muddy and hungry. I was just walking, mostly, not thinking about anything much but getting a light or food. I'm not sure how I came to be in an alley behind a restaurant, but that's where I met a person with round golden eyes, just like a cat's. He was old, or at least he looked old to me then, but I couldn't help staring at his eyes. Just staring, like I should know something about him from somewhere. I don't know why. Sometimes, in a big house like the one where I lived then, you could forget you weren't actually invisible.
I wasn't invisible to him, though I can't remember what he said. Nothing important, something about my parents, something about cigarettes. Even though he was old and human he seemed like he might be interesting, but really, I don't think he said much at all.
But when I turned around to go back to that house I found that I couldn't go. It was a strange thing, like it was happening to someone else. Walking and walking, but walking past. Maybe it did happen to someone else.
After that I went to live with my mother's brother, Kasai. You'll like him, I think. He's one of our country's wonderfully corrupt police officers.
The next time I met the person with the golden eyes I'd gotten my clothes covered in blood again, finishing up my last assignment for the Izumokai. It's kind of interesting how that works out. I didn't recognize him at first, perhaps because he seemed much younger to me than he had the last time. Like a child, wide eyed and fearless, more animal than human.
He looked at me like he knew who I was and it seemed strange that he remembered me from all those years ago. Then again I remembered him too. This was the second time I'd seen those golden eyes after something died.
Not a cat the second time, just someone- just my kohai. That time it was raining too, water running down my face, pooling red around that striped suit he wore. I hadn't imagined I could be moved by such a thing. It felt very odd and the gun in my hand was quite warm and comfortable in the way that only guns can be.
He said it was probably Toujou that had done it before he died. That made sense, they'd always been Izumokai's rivals in the drug trade and that person, my kohai, was very invested in Izumokai. So I took my comfortable gun and did this one last thing for that person, because before, when they'd shot him down, I hadn't been there to do anything. That other time, my comfortable gun and I hadn't been able to do so much at all.
And now, there I was, staring into golden eyes, but it all looked like blood to me. The golden eyed man was a very comfortable sort of person, despite all the blood and I almost wanted to talk to him, but I couldn't have said about what. Bean jam and meat buns, maybe?
Nothing important. After that I went to watch them bury my kohai and it was very strange indeed.
The next day I learned that golden eyed stranger's name. Goku. And I found something entirely new, completely different from anything I'd ever seen before.
It's a funny thing, actually. In my entire life, nothing ever felt real, like it was happening to someone else, someone invisible. And then I took you home that day.
"Mmm... Kubo-chan?" Tokitoh shifts and yawns, rubbing sleep out of his eyes. The air stinks of cigarettes, which means Kubota is hovering nearby. Right in his face in fact when Tokitoh gets his eyes all the way open. Blowing smoke at him and staring contemplatively. Tokitoh wrinkles his nose, but doesn't say anything and lets Kubota's fingers slide through his.
He feels weird, like Kubota has been telling him something important, but he can't remember that. Tokitoh hates that, there's already enough shit he can't remember, starting with his entire life before waking up in this apartment, on this bed. He doesn't need to add to it.
Kubota smiles at him and that's a weird kind of smile too, like he's not quite there, which Tokitoh really, really hates, because, fuck, the least a guy could do was pay attention when you talked to him. But when Kubota talks he sounds fine. "Ah, are you finally awake now? I thought you wanted to get dinner out."
Tokitoh nods, hard. "Fuck, yes. Anything's better than the shit that comes out of your kitchen you seem to think is food. Hey- what were you babbling about, anyway? I could almost hear you in my sleep."
"Nothing, Tokitoh. You were probably dreaming," Kubota says and smiles his way fucking superior, I know shit, but I'm not going to tell you because you're such a cute amnesiac fumbling in the dark smile. Like fuck he was dreaming! He'd know if he were and he wasn't.
"Was not! Well. Whatever." And then Kubota's smile is gone, replaced by something Tokitoh couldn't name but he can always recognize. Bad things, time to completely change the subject things. "Hey, so let's go, I want actual food, damn it. Not whatever you're trying to poison me with today."
And Tokitoh hops to his feet, glad he slept in his clothes so he doesn't have to mess around changing, and tugs Kubota by the hand. Funny, he didn't think he'd let go once since he first let Kubota grab his hand. Now his fingers are getting numb, but whatever. It's no big deal.
See, the thing is, everything from before, it was all just happening to some person who used to be around. It isn't real. Nothing is ever real until you open your eyes and say my name. So, you'd better live a long time, Tokitoh, because the next time someone has to see that person with golden eyes and be covered with blood, it had better be you and not me.
Really. I insist.
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