Tadashi didn't hesitate. Again, acting instantly. Almost like he has been waiting to hear her words. To have her consent before doing anything to get her out of that place. She followed him. Absorbing his words as he tried to reassure her. They will go to a nice place. A peaceful place. One were she would be safe. Where she could finally be free. Where none of her demons would come get her. However, even as she imagined the beach house, her mind was spinning with all the different ways it could go wrong. Every fiber shaking. Nervous. Terrified. Sato finding them escaping. Sato furious. Sato killing Tadashi. She...didn't want Tadashi to die because of her. Why would another person have to suffer because of her? If it came to choosing, she would choose Tadashi's life in a heartbeat. Would become Sato's slave. Would endure anything he put her through. If it meant that Tadashi could live and escape.
Effectively, everything that could go wrong happened.
Sato intercepted them. The feral rage in his eyes a sight that turned Azusa's blood cold. In a blink of an eye, both men went at each other like maddened beasts. Both with the intent to kill. Azusa stood in a corner, watching the brawl take place. Watching both men beat each other bloody. Snarling. Growling. Pounding at each other. Tadashi seemed to have the upper hand due to his size, mass, and skills. The anxiety didn't leave her for a moment. So very worried for Tadashi's life. Her eyes glued to Sato for any sign that might put Tadashi's life in danger. Right when she saw that familiar shine that belonged to a gun, Azusa called it out. But it wasn't fast enough. A gunshot. A bullet passed straight through Tadashi's knees, making him buckle in agony. Of course, that wouldn't satisfy her husband. No. He had to put several more bullets through the same spot until the gun was entirely empty. The horrific sight made her eyes well with tears. Watching dear Tadashi writhe in pain as blood poured down his mauled knee. Moving her body, Azusa fell to her knees between Sato and Tadashi.
"Don't kill him! Please!" She pleaded with tears. "I'll do anything you ask. Anything you want. You can do anything to me. Just please spare him..."
Her words fell on deaf ears. Sato screaming at her. Making her flinch in fear. And confusion. He gave her what she wanted? No he didn't. She only wanted to be loved. To be cared for. To know she was someone precious to him. All she got was pain. Pain every damn night. Humiliation. Mortification. Abuse in every shape, way, and form. All she got was being turned from the beloved wife, to his personal sex slave. If that was his idea of what she wanted...then he was more twisted and sick than she had ever imagined. The only thing he accomplished...was killing her inside. With a pained cry, Azusa held Sato's hands as he grabbed her by the hair and threw her to the nearest wall. Pain surged through her body as she connected with the wall. Feeling the throbbing pain in her head. Disorientated, she hazily focused on Sato who once more picked her up by the hair. But then it was his hand that connected with her face. She cried out. Tears rolling down her face. Tasting the blood in her mouth.
Had...Sato just...hit her?
He hit her...
He had just stepped on whatever was left of her. Killed it. Shattered it. That lingering, faded part she realized she still had. The one that had believed Sato would never be like her Father. That whatever speck of love he had for her would prevent him from ever hitting her. Once more...Sato killed that. Proved her wrong. She felt his hand smack her again. More forcefully. More blood in her mouth. More tears. More shattered pieces from her already broken heart. Sato was beating her up. This was...just like her childhood. She had returned back to the past. The suffocation burning at her lungs as his hand was literally now around her throat. Lifting her up from the ground. Choking the life out of her.
Sato...was literally killing her...
Her vision began to fade as oxygen was lost. More than that, the vision she saw of the man she loved was also fading. Disappearing. Vanishing. Dying. Almost like the man she remembered from before had been an illusion her mind created. Someone that had never even existed. A dream she had lived too deeply in. With a loud grunt, her body reconnected with the floor. Laying down. Battered and bloodied. Coughing for breath again. Two figures arrived. One frantically tending to Tadashi. The only shooting at Sato. Damion and Ru...surely. But she was tired. So tired...aching so badly all over; in both both and heart. The dizziness becoming too much, Azusa passed out. Preferring the darkness of being unconscious to whatever horror she was surrounded in.
Her entire world had just finished crumbling down.
There was nothing left.
Just the tears of the dream that once had been.
The next day, Azusa woke up finding herself lying down in an unfamiliar bed, in an unfamiliar room. Body connected to monitors. Injected with IVs. A side of her face bandaged. One thing she instantly recognized, however, was the sound of the ocean waves and the smell of the sea water. The beach house. Every part of her throbbed, even the slightest movement. Each pang of pain a reminder of what had happened yesterday. Of how her world fell apart and shattered. Of the way Sato...had become her Father and mercilessly hit her. How was it possible she could still cry? One would think that the hell she lived in and all the tears she had shed would have sucked her dry. It seems...her husband had broken her so badly that there wouldn't be an end to the tears. Each drop a reminder of the abuse. Each drop a memory of the loving past that had brutally died at some point.
To add more stress, Ru had given her news. News that she was yet unsure how to react to. She was one month pregnant. She was...with child. Again. Normally the news should bring her joy. After Hwan, it was hinted the damage to her core was so severe she might be unable to get pregnant again. But here she was...with a baby already growing inside her. And joy was not something she felt. Only dread. Only sorrow and grief. To think...she had been so close to putting a bullet through her head and thus ending her baby's life. Killing another baby of hers again. God...if Tadashi hadn't arrived when he did...she would have killed another baby...was she this big a piece of shit? Not only that but she was sure it was Sato's baby. Even though she had slept with Tadashi, Sato had taken her every single fuckin night. It had to be Sato's. She was carrying the child...of the man who destroyed her physically, emotionally, mentally, and morally. The only remaining part of, perhaps, the Sato that had actually loved her. If he ever had...
Placing a hand on her stomach...more tears cascaded down her face. Still grieving over the death of her and Sato.
Getting out of bed, ignoring the ache all over her, Azusa made her way to the room Tadashi was in. The beach house was more of a mansion. Tadashi was in the room beside hers. She went to him. Ru was tending to him, monitoring. His knee...was destroyed. Completely. If he ever hoped to walk again he had to have several surgeries done and therapy. And even that didn't guarantee he could walk. Tadashi was destroyed...because of her. If only she had toughened up and stayed...if only she had not said nonsense to escape...then Tadashi would be fine. Not like this. Ru left the room. Azusa crawled on the bed and snuggled beside him. Placing the arm that wasn't connected to anything around her. Crying, she sobbed against him.
"I'm sorry Tadashi...I'm sorry..."
They had escaped.
They were free.
But at what price?
Ru had done everything she could be currently done to his knee. When he finally woke up about a week after leaving Mansu Ru informed him the extent of the damage done. That their beat option to get the most mobility out of his right leg again would be to call on Percy. The damage done to him wasn't in her skill set to repair. There was worry in her eyes that she may have cause more damage when she worked on him.
The thought of calling Percy... turned his stomach. Did he even have the right to ask for Percy's help after what he did to Hera? No matter how much he thought about it... He just couldn't bring himself to give Ru the okay to summon him here. Instead he told her to look for another skilled doctor to bring here to work on his knee. Then dismissed her wanting to be alone for a bit while he thought everything over. Currently Azusa was asleep, after Ru peeled the girl away from him. Informing him the girl was like a leech to him, clinging tonhis body while he slept. While it annoyed Ru it made him smirk.
He held no concern about his knee, however it turned out it turned out. Taking it as finally paying some kind of payment for what he had done to Elle. He didn't die, but he would suffer with it for the rest of the time he was breathing. Azusa didn't think it was a light matter. Understanding her worry and more then likely guilt that he got injured helping her.
Not much time passed before the very girl he was thinking about made her into his room. The state she was in hardly made him at ease. Catching her when she was close enough he pulled her to him, getting snuggly snuggled into his side. "You didn't listen to me." He whispered against the top of her head. Pulling the blanket up and over her he tucked her into bed with him. "I told you to run if Sato showed up, not beg for my life and allow yourself to get beaten. Are you feeling out? Has Ru tended to you decently?"
Ignoring the pain in his leg he adjusted a little to look over her. Touching her face light it was heavily bruised from Sato's blows. Knowing exactly why it ended up this way... He had hesitated to kill Sato because of her. With Azusa standing there watching.. He didn't want to kill the man she had so deeply loved in front of her. Didn't want that image to be connected with him. Instead it had allowed Sato to one up him, not having an ounce of hesitation. "You still look beautiful." Brushing his lips lightly over hers he smiled alight before laying down more comfortably. Keeping her in the safety and warmth of his arms. "Did you go to the beach yet?"
Ignoring Ru's blatant annoyance and insistence that she remained in her own room instead, Azusa spent every waking moment beside Tadashi. If not in his bed nuzzling against him, then sitting in a chair beside him as she held his hand. Not wanting to spend a moment apart from him. He was like this because of her. He would probably remain invalid because of her. What if not even Percy could help him recover? Had she just taken away from him any chance of a future? On the moments she wasn't writhing in guilt towards Tadashi, she was still finding ways to absorb the reality of the life that was steadily growing inside her. Unable to shake away the dread that filled her whenever she thought on how close she was to killing it. And that this child was the only surviving connection she had to the Sato that loved her once upon a time.
During his week she had not slept. At all. Only pretended to be asleep so that Ru or Damion wouldn't nag her about it. She didn't perceive they liked her very much. Surely blaming her for their leader's horrid fate. Nonetheless, they kept an eye out for her and took care of her. Most likely acting on behalf of what Tadashi would expect from them. Making sure she had her meals, even though her appetite was scarce to none, and making sure she went to sleep. But when night arrived, her body went on high alert. Hyper aware. Most of the times feeling that fear rattle her body and senses. Her mind connecting the dread of the night to the abuse she was subjected to daily. Being pregnant prevented her from relying on her sleeping pills to be able to sleep soundly, and her insomnia didn't let her fall asleep normally. Even so, if she did close her eyes in her current state, the only thing that would happen is making her fall in the nightmares and memories of this past months. Make her relieve every single mortifying moment. Hell...even just feeling the night fall had her breathing hard and heavy. Like the suffocation and constricting ache in her chest hadn't gone away.
In fact...even while awake breathing hurt. Each inhale and exhale.
Hearing voices in Tadashi's room, Azusa head there. Finding him finally awake. When he took her hand and pulled her into the bed, she settled close to him. Surrounding herself by his warmth and his scent. "You should know I'm stubborn." Azusa stroked the length of his arm. Being careful with his countless bruises. "I couldn't let him kill you..." And yet, perhaps this fate was worse than death. The mere possibility of being invalid because he had been trying to protect her. Because she had cursed him with her existence too.
So why was he asking her how she was doing and what had she been doing? Why was he focusing on her state and still not failing to give her affection and attention? Why wasn't he lamenting himself for his grim future? Why did he still looked at her as if nothing had changed in how he viewed her? Why did he still want to kiss her and hold her? Why didn't he blame her or pointed out all she did wrong? Why was he...so different and special that it made her want to cry...? Feeling his warm, soft lips brush against her, Azusa reciprocated the gesture. A thumb stroking his cheek as she cupped one side of his face. Gazing at the softness in his eyes, and at his beautiful smile.
"Tadashi..." She swallowed a heavy lump from her throat. "I'm pregnant..."
The shame and self-reproach once more gnawing at her and ripping another part of her.
"I tried to kill it...if I had pulled that trigger I would have..." Distressed, tear-filled eyes looked at him. Despair and grief reflected so heavily in them. "I was about to kill my baby...again...again I would have lost another one because of me." Her chest heaved as she panted. Hyperventilating. Voicing the truth of it made it all that more real. It weigh in on her the reality of what she had almost done. "I almost killed it...I almost killed my baby..." Azusa sat up, running a distressed hand across her hair. Her eyes began to look around the room, frantically. As if she was on high alert. Paranoid. As if she was waiting for Sato to come and take her away. To take her baby away. Or maybe kill it. He...he also tried to kill it... "Sato...Sato might take it from me...Tadashi...is Sato going to come for me?" She looked around. Still terrified. Still imagining her husband. "Did you close the doors? Tell Ru and Damion to be safe...Sato is probably mad...I am not home by now..."
She was losing herself.
"....do I have to go back...?"
Something he had not expected her to say to him. While it should be something she should be excited about, rejoicing with the one she loved with... she said it to him with such sorrow. Panic. Guilt. Fear. None of the emotion she should be feeling right now. To add it triggered a mental break down for her, consumed so quickly. She was upright looking around, scared that Sato would pop up like he had in the Sky House when they were leaving. "ZuZu." He called her name softly. Tugging on her lightly he made her straddle his stomach and nuzzle her head under his chin. So she was as close and plastered against his body as she physically could.
One hand rested on the small of her back, the other very soothingly trailed up and down her back. "You're safe here. Damion and Ru has made it so Sato will go on very long wild goose chase, but never arrive here. No one even knows this island exists, this is Hera's private island." Once again he pulled the blankets over her, encasing her in warmth. The dark circles under her eyes screamed that she hadn't been sleeping. "Sleep in my arms, just relax. Nothing bad is going to happen here, it is just us." He whispered to her as he kissed the top of her head. After a moment of silence... and bringing himself to do something he hadn't done in a really long time, he sang softly for her. Sang and continued to stroke her back.
Not even Elle had heard him sing, no one, but Azusa got the pleasure of hearing him sing. Rather desperate to give her an anchor. Usually his option would to be physical, but that was out of the question. In his mind for the rest of their lives. He would just stay by her side, hold her, maybe kiss her. But he would never take her body that had been abused and used for physical pleasure. He valued her too much to take from her like that. Brushing hair behind her ear he gently brushed his thumb over her forehead. "I won't let you go, ZuZu."
Stroking her back. Kissing the top of her head or her lips. Letting her nuzzle against him. Ear resting over his chest, listening to the anchoring heartbeat. Unforgettable scent and warmth. Hearing him softly sing with the deepest but most melodious if voices. That was how Azusa managed to sleep soundly. Only like this. Only in Tadashi's arms. Feeling his safety as well as her tenderness. Three months had passed since they escaped Mansu and arrived to the beach house. Since Azusa knew she was pregnant. Since Tadashi had a few surgeries done to his knee, attempting to recover some mobility. During this time Azusa saw Tadshi's promise be fulfilled. Saw the way he never failed to care for her.
Finding joy and laughter in life again was hard. It was like Sato had killed her capacity for it the day he raped her in front of everyone. But Tadashi, true to his word, tried his best to make sure she was happy. Sure, her smles were rare. Her laughter even rarer. But there was always warmth whenever Tadashi was with her. Bringing her flowers. Writing sappy letters to her. Singing to her. Reading with her. Finding any possible way in which he could tell her she was safe and that he would keep his promise. Showing her how special she was to him. Even when the paranoia and trauma triggered in, making her lose herself in panic attacks or waking up in the middle of the night to hide in the closet from Sato, Tadashi never got irritated. Never berated her for being weak. On the contrary, he was patient and so very loving. Kindly holding her when that happened and bringing her back to the safety of her current reality. Using his physical comfort to ground her again.
As the months had passed, so did her pregnancy. Now she was four months in. Her belly already growing. Showing the growth of the baby inside her. With each passing day she found herself loving her baby more. Happy that it was okay and it was alive. That this baby wasn't dead. It hadn't died. She...wanted to be a good mother. Would she be a good mother? She wanted the baby to always be happy. To always be loved. And Tadashi took special attention to her. Satisfying every midnight craving. Stroking her little bump. Singing to her and the baby. She loved his voice. Loved to hear him sing. It would always soothe her troubled heart. Momens like thos reminded her that she was away from hell. From the nightmares and the monsters. That evem when she had a flashback and lost herself in it, Tadashi would find her and lovingly bring her back.
Today she was at the library. The house had a small one but Tadashi expanded ir for her, knowing how much she adored to read. Even made a small nook for her with cusions and blankets. Azusa sat down in her own personal nook. Reading maternity books. It felt so much like deja vu. To think that almost 2 years ago she had been in a nook as well, at Beakyun...reading maternity books because...she was pregnant. It seemed like life was very much against her having Sato's child. How would things have been if Sasuke hadn't died? Would Sato still have loved her? Would he have not...? Azusa stared blankly at the window. Gazing aimlessly at the ocean. Pondering about the what ifs. And how maybe...her life wouldn't have been so miserable. Because back then...Sato cared about her so very much...
She heard Tadashi enter. Recognized his footsteps.
"I think about my other baby sometimes. Sasuke. Do you think...Sato wouldn't have changed if maybe I hadn't lost him...? That maybe he'd still love me?" A hand reached her tiny bumo and stroked it. "I read these books to orientate myself but...they always remind me of when I was at Beakyun in Thantos. When I read them for Sasuke. I was so sad...I lost him. He was going to be my first baby boy. Tadashi...I am scared...to lose this baby too..."
"Just take her back to her brother." Damion still felt the burning sensation in his chest towards the fact he hadn't killed the fucked up bastard that damaged his Leader to this extent. The pain was so bad Tadashi couldn't even attempt to hide it from his expression. Another surgery, more pins and metal pieces put in to keep his leg one functioning body part. Sato had severed and damaged a lot in his right knee, so much that the Doctor they flew out took a whole day to map out how to attempt to salvage it. Currently Doctor Zhi was sticking a needle into the side of his knee, injecting a pain killer directly to ease the pain. Three days had passed since the last surgery. "She is pregnant with some low lifes baby, let her family deal with her. I don't care if we live on an island, I don't want the girl to continue to make you bend over backwards for her. Your knee is obliterated, but you are babysitting her constantly cooing and coddling her to help her feel better."
Grinding his teeth together he grunted in agonizing pain, to the point he felt light headed and was sure he would pass out. Meaning most of what Damion said fell on deaf ears, unable to concentrate as the pain seized him. It felt like eternity before the needle came out of the side of his knee, followed by the numbing sensation.
"This pain... will come often." Doctor Zhi told him as he stood to his feet, Damion had summoned him urgently when he found Tadashi withering in pain on the floor. Refusing to scream because he didn't want Azusa to know. Knowing she had enough guilt, the girl thought his knee was getting better, that it didn't hurt him much. He didn't want Azusa to know, she could know anything, but this. Already she cried her eyes out every time he had a surgery for it. "Alert me right away and I will give you the shot. You should be fine now."
With that the Doctor excused himself, leaving him with Damion. "Why would I just live on an island?" Tadashi finally asked him. Finally able to breath, the pain no longer strangling his lungs. "Azusa gives me a reason, if she is taken out of the picture I am left with the decision had I tried to make before. I don't have Vlahakis and I don't have Elle."
"So you are just going to replace all of that with this girl? You're going to work yourself to the bone without any regard for yourself... for some girl that doesn't have a place in her heart for you? I give you Elle. The girl had the balls to die for you, the feelings she had for you were charming." Something he didn't grasp till he held the gun to the frail girl's head. After writing the letter the girl didn't beg for her life once, set on dying so Tadashi could live. With a sigh he got to his feet. "Send her to her brother, Tadashi. She doesn't need people like us, not after what she went through."
Painfully slow, Tadashi toddled to the library where Azusa was. His hands had a death grip on the crutch that offset his weight from his injured leg. It was only three months, he shouldn't be moving around. However, since he had started moving Azusa seemed relieved. Knowing he was getting better and she hadn't forever bedridden him. When he got to the door he adjusted himself, put himself together. Removed the sweat from his face. Then entered the library, no longer struggling he seemed to move over to where she snuggled in her nook with ease. A light smile on his face as he kissed her ever so lightly on the lips.
Scooting her over he joined her listening to her share her inner thoughts with him. Bringing up her dead child and Sato. Draping an arm around her he pulled her into his side. "I don't have answers for you questions, ZuZu. But I know this child is going to live. Nothing is going to happen to it so long as I am around." Stroking her stomach a gentle look touched his face as he stared at it. "If you would allow me, I would like to protect and care for your baby... If you need me to, I would raise it as my own. Give it my name to keep your child from ever being taken."
She felt it. A heartbeat stopped. Or skipped? It was hard to tell. Whatever it was, it had happened right when Tadashi spoke of the baby. What he implied with his words. To give it his name meant adoption. Tadashi was willing to adopt her child and raise it as his. Sato's child. And she knew, she knew...he will love it so much. It humbled her that he would do suchba thing for her and the baby. To even want it despite knowing it will have Sato's blood coursing its veins. It filled her with so much joy that she felt it when another part of her heart became imprinted by him. But...could she really do this to him? His kindness so great he places her above him always. She should place him above herself as well. Cupping the side of his face with both her hands, Azusa kissed him softly. Gently. Tenderly. With the same affection he displayed for her every passing day.
"Thank you, Tadashi. That means everything to me." Thumbs stroked his cheeks. Then her hand found his way to his hair, letting it intertwine with her fingers. Feeling its silky, soft texture. "But I can'd do that to you. You've already done so much for me...and suffered for me. I can't let you take more of my baggage and let you carry it. I don't...want to keep dragging you down with me..."
His knee was destroyed because of her. Surely...if she had not asked him to save her, he would have been fine. And even if she had still asked him to save her, if she had ran like he had told her then he would have been fine. He seemed to be slowly recovering, but she knew there was still lingering agony. And yet, he always tried for her. Always did everything to give her attention and affection. To let her know that he would always be here for her. Despite the additional fact that in his heart, he was still mourning Elle. Every day, was for her. He made sure it was for her. Every day he did something for her. And what did she do for him? Just add more baggage for him to carry for her? Add more wounds for him to lick? He deserved better. Surely...he deserved better. Arms encircled him, pulling him into a warm embrace. Allowing his head to rest on her chest. Hand softly stroking his hair.
"You're wonderful, Tadashi. You are a beautiful soul." She said softly. "I will always be indebted to you. Because you have been by my side, I am able to keep breathing. I am able to find joy in this life. Never doubt when I say that...you have imprinted yourself in a part of my heart." She placed his hand on her chest, over her heart. "It beats again because you saved me. Because you heard my silent cries for help as I drowned in my despair. Because you understand what it is to feel empty inside. Because...you know what it is to need a reason for living. Right now...I live because of my baby...and because of you. You're special, Tadashi. And I love you for who you are."
"The reason I walked away...is to not hurt her."
These past months the battle with himself was becoming greater. The grief and anger inside him had taken the shape of the beast that he used to cage. Raging in its despair and pain. Still mourning the death of his child. Still enraged about his self-imposed failure. Still yearning for Hera. It was maddening. It was insane. And it was slowly making him lose himself again. Unable to express anything and let it roam in a healthier filter. If he didn't kept it in check, Devlin knew this time that it truly would come out as a feral creature ready to devour anything. Even Hera.
"I'm not...in control, Silas. Hera doesn't want to talk about it, so I can't talk about it. I can't express anything. So everything is caged inside me. The more caged it is, the more feral it becomes." Fists balled as they trembled. As he felt that familiar banging inside his head. "Maybe she doesn't blame me, but I blame myself enough. I know...I know...that I could have done something to prevent the loss of our child. I know that I could have done something to spare her that kind of suffering."
He loved her. So much. And she was suffering. She even preferred having him marry someone else...
"I look at her sad eyes...and all I feel is myself falling apart...I love her, Silas." His knees gave in, making him buckle and slump down to the floor. A distressed hand ran through his hair. Pain in his eyes. Absorbing Silas' words. Hera had taken two swords for him. She had lost her child. She was marrying him off to cover up her own self-reproach as his wife. Hera was always surrounded by pain and disappointment. He felt he only kept adding to that... "Hera means everything to me. But I don't feel like I deserve her. That I don't even have the right to touch her. Her and the baby are yet another addition to the long list I have of people I have failed to protect."
It was now that he came to realize....he was actually confiding his inner thoughts and feelings with someone else. With a friend. Something...he hadn't done since Sato left. Even though he had loosened up with Silas and the Four, and had developed a strong relationship with them. Devlin was still closed off. Still reserved. He didn't talk to them about whatever troubled him deeply. Until now. Now, he had lifted the lid to his heart and was spilling some of it to Silas. At his friend's insistence and reasoning, Devlin went to see Hera who was in her studio according to Jeong. No doubt...drowning in her emotions on her own. As she had done every day for these past months.
Devlin let himself inside. Finding her, effectively, painting. But with the deadest look on her eyes. The most lifeless of expressions. Painting without any real emotion. Without any real purpose or motive. Just painting. And then, throwing the canvas at the ground and destroying it. Deviln watched. And then, his body moved on its own. The beast inside crying for her. Yearning for her. Standing behind her, he wrapped his arms around her. Pulling her back against his chest. His head resting on top of her head.
"I'm sorry...Hera. About everything. I..." He swallowed a heavy lump. "...I don't want to marry anyone else. The only woman I want and need is you. Only you. Can we...talk about this? Please? I need us to talk about this. My mind is fracturing every passing day, Hera...and I'm scared that I will really lose it this time. And...you need to talk about it too. " He turned her body to face him. Lifted her chin to look at him. Eyes that mirrored his own emptiness and his own sorrow. "You can't drown yourself in your thoughts. It frightens me more to lose you to that. I want to hold you too. Support you. Find a way for us to get past this. To try and heal. But we can't do it on our own. Please Hera...talk to me..."
Last edited by Vivix; 03-24-2017 at 09:58 PM.
The feel of her kissing him made his chest tingle, it wasn’t very often that Azusa kissed him out of her own want. After what she went through he didn’t expect her to want any kind of sensual contact, so when she did seek it out he treasured it. The tips of his fingers lightly touched the side of her neck as he returned the kiss, it was such a simple kiss but it was possibly the most exhilarating contact. When she thanked him, he knew she was going to reject the offer. The pleasant tingle in his chest was replaced by a dull painful tingle. Half wondering if he had over stepped himself by asking her such a personal suggestion. Almost… if the girl would welcome him fathering the child.
Leaning into her chest she offered to allow him rest against he closed his eyes. Adjusting himself so he was more comfortable he rested against her, his hand rested on her stomach. His thumb longingly stroking it as an innocent life grew inside of her. Not having a clue of the abusive way, it had been created. For a while he didn’t say anything just enjoyed the feel of her fingers brushing through his hair, it was by far his favorite feeling in the world. It relaxed him, made him long to just lay like this for days. That this girl would have it in her to care for him like she had cared for her husband… The selfish thought made him slowly open his eyes. Even though he knew it meant truly betraying Azusa… he did. He wanted… to selfishly have this girl’s affection.
The words she started saying to him seized his hollow chest. Made his insides tremble, tears to sting the back of his throat. “You’re such an angel.” Like he did every time he had a chance he moved her to straddle him. Touching the side of her face he lightly held her chin between his finger and thumb. “I’ve never once thought you as baggage, that I’ve had to suffer because of you, that you are bringing me down, or that this child would be extra baggage. ZuZu, the life growing inside of you is something exciting, it is a good thing. I gave myself to you, I want to live the rest of my life by your side. Nothing that has happened has made me question it for a second.”
Smiling sadly, he kissed her forehead, he did understand that him adopting the child could be burdensome to her. They weren’t even in that kind of relationship, it could complicate things for her later. “I don’t have to give the child my name, I said it without really knowing what you planned to do. Vlahakis… could be a cursed name to give the child.” Leaning forward he pressed his lips against hers, so desperately wanting to feel her. To act as if… as if… he could be more. “I’ll be and do whatever you need me to do. Whatever name the child holds, I’ll care and protect the child. Just as I will care and protect you.”
How was it possible for this man to care so much about her? To do so much for her without expecting anything in return. To give her so much without asking for anything back. To think about her happiness first, and her child's. To devote himself to her and carry all her crushing weight. The more she thought about it the more unfathomable it was, and the more it also humbled her. Never in her life had someone truly done this for her. Had someone cared for her through this lengths. Sato...had never said to her these kinds of things. He would have never placed her before himself. He would have never put his own interests and well-being aside for her. Sato never devoted himself to her. At the end, she was just a piece of meat he could reward himself with. To think...it was this man who truly wanted to be at her side.
Tears pricked the corner of her eyes. When she felt his lips on hers, her eyes closed. Her hands wrapped themselves around his neck. Pressing herself closer to him. Delighting herself in the softness of his lips and the familiarity of his taste. Feeling his hair tangled itself in-between her fingers. Feeling a soft moan escape his throat, vibrating against her. It felt desperate. It felt like she did. The necessity, the yearning, the dependence...of having a physical anchor in each other. Of being reminded why the were still breathing. Of why they had a reason to wake up every morning. It was in their misery and their loneliness in which they found solace in the other. And Azusa knew that Tadashi was the only person in this world who truly and deeply understood her.
"I want...my baby to have your name..." She spoke with a hushed voice. A whisper. Almost as if she was still struggling with the idea that this was giving him more baggage to hold, despite his words saying otherwise. "I want my baby...to grow up with your love and care. To have it grow with you as a Father. I don't want it to have the name Beakyun. They might...take my baby away from me...Sato might..."
She didn't want her baby there. She knew...that the moment wind reached Mansu of her birth, if it had the Beakyun name, Sato and the Elders would hunt her down for it. Their only heir. Azusa...would first die than let them take her child away and drag her to that abysmal place. A place in which she knew the life her baby would have. It would be the same life she had. No childhood. No happiness. Just training. Studying. And surely...suffer. If Sato had not hesitated to hurt her...he wouldn't hesitate to hurt his own child. Thinking that...made her heart sink all over again. Where had he gone...? The Sato who longed for a family to raise and care for? Where...?
"Sato...where is he...?" For a moment her eyes looked disorientated, looking around. The paranoia kicking in again. It was only when she felt Tadashi's hand stroke her back that her mind grounded itself back to reality. Back to Tadashi. Back to this moment in which he had said he wanted a life with her to take care of her and the baby. In which he would adopt it and love it as his own. Eyes searched in his. Anchoring herself in them. Looking at what made those eyes so enticing to look at. Why they always made her feel at home.
"Can we have a home...? You, me...the baby. I want us to be a sort of family. Not asking you to marry me. I don't...want to get married. Nor am I asking you to be my lover. I only want us to just be together as a family in some way. I...I've never truly had a family." Azusa looked down. Her hands reached out to his. Fingers lightly stroking his hand and his palm. Feeling his rough and calloused hands. She touched him to remind herself that he would not reject her as she poured another piece of her past to him.
"My Father...he hated me. My scars on the back are tangible proof of that. Nothing I ever did was good enough for him. My existence wqs a mistake. And my mother...she was never around. We were poor. Working her ass off all day every day for us to survive...until she literally got sick and died when I was still a child. Devlin...he was my only family. Officially adopted me as his half-sister. But even when he gave me everything I wanted...his priority was always the mafia. The Ryuunaga Empire. And i understood that. He was the King. But I never had a chance to really...live as a family. Or live normally. I never finished school. I never studied anything except the mafia works and my training." The reality was that even then...she was alone. Devlin couldn't be just hers. He had bigger things to care for. And a woman he had always loved but bad been to afraid to persue. Until now. "And Sato...I thought he was my chance for having a real family. One of my own. My first chance was taken away from me. And my second...he killed it with his own hands."
Azusa looked at him. Scared. Nervous. Expectant. Hoping... "Tadashi....can you please be my third chance at having a family?"
There wasn’t a whole lot of creativity or thought in the painting she was working on. A creation out of pure need to do something with her hands as the ever-growing desire to carve out her womb grew inside of her. It the desire had been planted in her head the moment she woke up the third time and she came to remember them telling her that a child had died inside of her. Only the thought of how devastated Devlin would be if she did something so horrific stopped her, but it was starting to get out weighed in her mind. So badly… so very badly she wanted to prevent some innocent child being subjected to… being her offspring.
Thick desire to destroy something she threw the canvas into the ground with everything she had, splintering the wood. Bare feet continued to smash and break it apart. No child should be born with her blood. No child should have to call her mother. Shock shot through her body when Devlin’s arms encircled her, so drenched in her own thoughts she hadn’t heard him come in. Hadn’t noticed his presence at all. It made it hard to breath as he talked to her, his voice heavy and pained. Pain she put him in. Not just from the loss of her child, but because she suggested he take on a second wife to bare a child for Ryuunaga. Something… she still felt very strongly in her heart.
“H…How… can we talk about it?” No, she didn’t want to talk about it. To face it in front of him… To face that shame in front of him. Felt the panic boiling up inside of her as he turned her around to face him. Tears stung her eyes as she took a step back, putting space between them. “Devlin, I murdered…. Our child. You got yourself involved with a blood thirsty bitch, I trample on people and I swallow their identities! Vlahakis blood runs very thickly through my veins. Is that what we want to talk about? There. I said it.”
Those words… had had said to her still clung to her. The words… that clearly stated the running of a Vlahakis bloodline. Words… that had always spelled how he had viewed her and her upbringing. That was her instincts. It was her nature. Without fail, every time, this is how it would end up. How she operated. Even with him, she was doing the same thing. Doing things behind his back. Making decisions without him. Plotting. Scheming.
Was it impossible for her to love someone? To trust someone? To release her control?
“I can’t… be what you want me to be. I tried… and this is how it ended up. I can’t give you what you want.” Sweat started to coat her body as she felt it hard to breath… things were starting to blur. Biting her lower lip, tears leaked out of the corner of her eyes. “My bloodline… shouldn’t be continued. I never wanted it to continue. What? Do you think you are the only one that thinks that my family is a disgusting excuse of a family? That you really had to tell me how wretched they are and shouldn’t be duplicated? I’m aware!”
She shrieked at him pressing the back of her hand against her mouth more tears escaped. “You should take a woman that can give you an heir from… a decent family. One that doesn’t plot your death. One that isn’t blood thirsty… that won’t trample you… and take your identity. Astuda shares your opinion, it is why the man hates me. The other families you have left will be more at ease without me directly at your side… I’ll keep my family at bay.” She felt like she was going to pass out… her wounds were throbbing… “You… you have to survive. Your bloodline is good, it goes back hundreds of years. Don’t let me taint it.”
A turn around happened, after what he said, she accepted him giving the child his name. Just like that, but just as quickly… drew a very clear line of the arrangement. She didn’t want to marry him. Didn’t want him as a lover. Just a stand in fatherly figure for the child. A platonic family, the three of them living together. Existing together. The smile on his face didn’t go away, as the words carved themselves on his heart. Clearly understanding his standing with her, how their life together would be. “Family.” He repeated the word as he played with some strands of her hair.
What… he had with Elle was just going to be a whisper of a dream. Or quite possibly a nightmare as it haunted him what he had… and allowed to be taken. That feeling… of being loved wasn’t going to show up in his life again. No. This was how it should be. The universe would have to stop working for it to allow him to be able to receive what he had from Elle… Elle… had been a flaw in the system, somehow slipped through the cracks of the god’s watchful eyes. When they noticed, she had come into his life… took her.
“I suppose what we have in common runs deeper than I thought it had.” He continued to play with the strands of hair, brushing his fingers through the silken strands. “I was born from my father’s heat of the moment with a nameless civilian. Took her in passion, then she died in childbirth with me as my father married the woman he is married to now. While I was brought into the house, everyone waited for Alithea to have her child. It took her five years, but she finally had Hera. Who was instantly everyone’s focus for attention. I didn’t know… I was born from another woman for a long time. I didn’t understand the attention that Hera got that I never got. The first-time father paid attention to me… asked something of me… was a month after Hera had entered her training.”
Trailing off he became silent for a moment, the memory burned into his head as strongly as it was for Hera. The first heinous act he did… to get praise and attention from father. “For three years, I had been in the forest and father hadn’t sent a single word to me… Till that day when he ordered my division to slaughter everyone in Hera’s camp. Hera. Hera. Hera. Hera. In the end… after 33 years of doing everything my father wanted. Everything he told me to do. Bending over backwards to be who he wanted me to be. After beating Hera and forcing her out of the family…. In the end… everything was done to allow Hera to take the throne.” Nothing he did had mattered. If he had done nothing, it wouldn’t have changed the outcome. If he hadn’t struggled and fought, it all would have ended with Hera as who father focused on. It was only ever about Hera. “There… was only one person that ever loved me.”
Pulling Azusa into his chest he held her, resting the side of his face on top of her head. He didn’t want her to look at him. Not as the tears once again burned his eyes. Not as he felt his chest ripping apart again. “I couldn’t have her… For not killing your brother… like I was ordered to do. I had her taken from me. Obviously, only after you lose everything and you realize what you’ve been doing had been for nothing but for someone else… you realize the other options you had in life. That you’ve been manipulated and used, a pawn in a much larger scheme. I allowed the only thing I ever had in life… die trying to grasp something that had always been planned for Hera.”
He would do it. He would live with her even if she never wanted him as a husband or a lover. The moment she found someone better for her in her life… he would let her go. She wasn’t any better with him in the long run. He was just a stepping stone for her, to help her find a better life and to break free. With everything in him… he swore to help this girl, Elle told him… if he had the ability to help someone he should. “I don’t know family any better than you… but we can make a family however we want it. We’ll figure it out. The three of us. Let’s buy a small house, just for us. Big houses… are so empty. I do want to take you closer to your brother. I’m not sure how close I can get you, he is married to my sister. Who… I don’t think there is a word strong enough to encompass the hatred and detest she feels towards me.”
Azusa listened attentively as Tadashi opened up his heart to her. As he laid bare a part of his troubled past. Of the life he had. This was a moment to treasure, something to feel honored about. She knew Tadashi was a man who didn't open up freely. Who didn't explain his life to just anyone. Much less talk about the girl he still mourned. For that reason, she didn't interrupt. Didn't make a sound. Just listened quietly. Stroking his hair. Holding him close. Learning about what formed the man in her arms. There was so much loneliness in his words. So much emptiness. When he spoke about his family, she knew at that moment the reason why he understood her so deeply. He lived trying to please his Father. To gain his approval. Only to find out...it was never enough. That it meant nothing to him. Just like how it had been with her and Sato. Yes. She knew what it was like to live your life for the most fruitless of endeavors.
And Elle...her heart constricted when he spoke about her. Could hold in her hand the palpable pain in each pronounced word. Her death still something that ripped him apart inside. She found herself once more wishing she could bring back the girl to life. Bring her to him. Let him be happy. There was no doubt that no one could fill Elle's place. Fill the colossal void she had left in his heart. Ah...he also knew what it felt like to lose the only person you have loved. Understood her own sorrow at losing Sato in her life. But...he was worse. His loved one had died. And he blamed himself for it. She wanted to heal his heart...so desperately. Was willing to do anything for him. Anything. But...perhaps no love she gave him could ever be enough. She was not Elle.
"I don't have a place with my brother either. He wouldn't want to see me." Azusa added. Fingers caressed the length of his arms, feeling each muscle that formed it. "I turned my back on him when I chose Sato and left. I betrayed him too. And...it was my husband that killed their baby. And...its me that had a part in Luna and Brax's death. I am as much unwelcome as your are."
She didn't have a home anymore. Not with Sato in Mansu. Not with her brother in Thantos. There was nothing for her to return to from her past life. Nothing for her to get back. There was just her empty hands who always tried so desperately to cling to something, only to have it slip away. All she had left to hold on to was her baby and Tadashi. This was her home now. This was all she had left. Azusa looked up at Tadashi. Leaned forward to capture his lips. Closed her eyes. Allowing their contact to further connect them. She took his hand and lovingly nuzzled against his palm. She didn't want him as a lover because she valued him too much to just compromise him to such a thing. Its not something to be taken lightly. Didn't want to trample on his memory of Elle either. Not to mention that the idea of being intimate with anyone again terrified her.
"I'm fine with wherever you want us to be. I just want to be with you. You're all I need. There is no one else I want in my life right now. Tadashi..." Closing his eyes, she kissed his palm. Then looked at him again with a smile. "I am not Elle. I can't take away the sadness in your heart even though I wouldn't hesitate to give all I have in my life if I could take it away. But I'll give you everything I have to make you happy. To give you what you want. You saved me, Tadashi. You gave me a reason to live again and to breath. And I want to keep doing the same to you."
Taking his hand she placed it on her small bump.
"I know...what name I want if its a girl." She hadn't really thought about it yet. The idea came to her mind a few minutes ago. When she realized just how much her baby would mean to them both. How it gave them another reason to not give up on life and to start over. To find happiness again. To heal. "If its a girl, I want to name her Nozomi. It means 'hope'. And this baby is our hope for a better life. Our hope for us to eventually be able to heal our broken hearts. My hope to find meaning to my life again." Her hand brushed back strands from his hair. Cupped the side of his face. Kissed his cheek. Rested here forehead against his. "And Tashi...you are my hope too. I don't know what I'd do without you..."
He knew the moment he had said those words about her bloodline that he would regret them. In fact, he had wanted to take them back immediately after they left his mouth. But he knew it had been too late. The damage was done. He had said them when he wasn't his entire self. When there was such a hazy line between control and complete chaos. Hera's words confirmed that his had been a knife that remained stabbed in her heart. Evident in the tears she shed before him. Hera was breaking apart. Cursed herself. Blamed herself.
"I don't care about your bloodline..." His voice came out as a broken whisper. Pained eyes locked in his wife's crying ones. "You could be a Vlahakis. Or someone else. It wouldn't matter to me. I only care about you, Hera. I want a family with you. What I said that day...I didn't mean it. I was out of line and...I never saw you like that. Ever. Hera..." He approached her, cupping her face in his hands. Thumbs brushing away the tears. "Hera...my beautiful wife...I love you so much. You. Whatever your bloodline is, whatever your family is...it won't ever take away my feelings of having a family with you. A child born from us."
Once more, he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her to him.
"I don't want you to be anyone else but you. I fell in love with your unique and fiery spirit. I...all this time...I've only felt I have failed you. I couldn't bring myself to touch you or hold you. Because I felt I had no right for you. That I didn't deserve you." A single tear rolled down his face. His chest constricting and hurting. What else did he have to lose to be happy? Was happiness really something impossible for him? Would he keep failing everyone who mattered to him?
"You blame yourself for our child's death but...I blame myself just as equally. I know...I could have done something. Your pain...our baby's death...this suffering you are experiencing...its another addition to the list of people I have failed. And every time I saw your saddened eyes...I only felt how disappointed you must be to have such a weak and unreliable husband who can't even spare you of the most basic of pains..." Quivering lips kissed her forehead. "I love you Hera...I love you..."
Last edited by Vivix; Today at 12:02 AM.
Any day now Azusa would have her baby, it brought him excitement beyond belief… Yet a thick overwhelming sense of anxiety. The baby was going to be a girl, Nozomi. In the months that lead up to very near time of Nozomi joining them, he had already bought a shit ton for the baby. There wasn’t a single thing missing to tend and care for the child. As he took Azusa shopping with him off the island in a near-by city, he spent more time debating over what brand and style more than she did. Picking cute pink and frilly outfits to deck the girl out in. When they got their house in Shinla where Devlin and Hera relocated after conquering over half of the north, he would deck out Nozomi’s room.
While they shopped he hardly left out Azusa, making sure that she had a full wardrobe every time her stomach got larger. Took her to salons to get pampered, her nails and toenails done. Facials. Everything he made sure their times they left the island she got a full experience. Anything her eyes looked at with interest or desire he got it for her. If there was one thing… he did when he noticed Hera do it, he invested his money into his own businesses and stocks to supply him with money not generated from Vlahakis. From the day, she left the woods, Hera had planned to leave on her own. She secured everything to break away. In the end, he had been the one that was released from the weight, while Hera still had it crushing down on her.
His pampering didn’t end when they were home, he massaged her feet and legs that swelled due to being pregnant. Taking her hormonal changes with ease and patience’s, he tended to her every need. If she wanted something to eat, no matter how weird it was, he got it. If she found out that wasn’t what she wanted, he got her something else till she was satisfied. Even took her to pregnancy classes in the city, doing the class with her with other couples. Both learning how to work through post-delivery and what to do when she went into labor. How to do stretches to help ease her pain or making handmade clothes, blankets or dolls for the baby together. While Azusa made a blanket, he made a mid-size panda bear for Nozomi. He spent weeks on it making sure it was the best crafted panda bear, putting in a lot of care and focus.
As he took pictures of them together he got them printed and framed them, hanging them in their room. Without Azusa knowing he read books on families, and did his best to follow what they talked about. Read books on how to be a father. A normal father, not a ruler. To give a warm normal family and fatherly vibe. Already planning to start cooking classes and a couple other classes to help around the house.
Though through everything, when the day hit… the crushing blow was more than he had expected after nine months. Today… was Elle’s birthday. As the day had gotten closer he had started to feel the tightening in his chest, but when the day actually arrive it shredded his heart. When this month was supposed to be exciting and focused solely on the arrival of Nozomi he didn’t want Azusa to see him. Didn’t want her to be distressed when she was so close to going to labor. So he went on a walk by himself on the beach, allowing Azusa to read alone in her nook.
Sitting on a rock he stared out at the vast blue sea as the tears rolled down his face. He never made it to a second birthday with her… to make it a less painful day for her. They hadn’t even lasted a year before she died. There had been so many things he had wanted to do with her… instead he had kept her locked in his room. Ashamed to show her to the world, knowing… and even thinking she wasn’t worthy enough to stand by him in the light. Knew she would be killed. If he had given up the idea of having Vlahakis… If he had… could have given her a better life.
Today… was the last day he was going to allow himself to cry about her. Today he would spend her birthday with her, but he had other people he had to protect and take care of now. While he would hold her in a tiny part of his heart, other people were going to fill it. He couldn’t burden them with the sorrow towards someone that was no longer in this world.
As more months passed, her belly kept growing. As more months passed, Nozomi was closer to being born. Joy would always fill her when she thought on how much closer she was to finally hold her baby girl in her arms. Just as much as the anxiety always accompanied it. Would she be a good mom? Would she be able to raise her well? Would she be able to teach her? Would Nozomi love her? Would she be angry when she finds out that Tadashi isn't her biological father? Would Nozomi grow up healthy? So many questions and doubts overwhelmed her, all anxious about how her daughter would grow up. All about wanting Nozomi to have a happy childhood and never doubt that she was loved in every corner of their little world. During these times, Tadashi had fulfilled his vow to care for her and the baby. Never missing a beat. Always paying attention to her every need and every craving. Making sure she was always comfortable. Preparing them for Nozomi's arrival both at home and with classes. That child would have a new outfit to wear every single day for the next 5 years with all the clothes Tadashi had bought for her. The man was more thrilled about the baby's arrival. Buying every single thing needed. The only thing that had yet to be done was the baby's room which would be in Shinla.
They had agreed to go near Devlin and Hera after Nozomi was born...seeking a more secure place for her. It took much deliberation from her part, but Tadashi was he one who insisted. Wanting her to reconnect with her brother and mend the fracture in their relationship. To feel safe and protected. Knowing Tadashi by now, he would sleep more soundly knowing she was near her brother instead of out here all on their own. Indeed. Tadashi never failed to make sure she had everything. Attentive to whatever tiny thing caught her interest. This was he first time anyone other than Devlin had spoiled her rotten. As if she was worth it. It made her feel like the heavy cloud of misery that shrouded her was slowly dissipating. Bringing forth so much sunshine and joy in her life. All because Tadashi was here with her every step of the way.
One of her favorite things was the pictures. She forgot what it was like to have pictures around the house. Or on her phone. To have so many memories filling up ever wall and corner. As a child she had no such thing. There probably wasn't even a single picture of her as an infant or a kid. The first pictures she recalled were ones of her and Devlin. But they were most likely stored away. On her phone she still kept some of them. Including ones she took of very old photos that even had Sato with her and Devlin. Of Sato and her only...she probably only had in her phone a handful of their wedding. He never liked that sort of attention so she didn't have any of their every day lives. It was something...she wasn't sure how to feel about. In truth though...she would have liked some memories of the Sato that used to be. But Tadashi was adamant to fill the house with memories. To never miss a waking beat. She liked looking at them. To see him smile more, despite the pain in his knee. To see him so excited about Nozomi. And even more so, to see herself smiling. To see life in her eyes again. A gleam she was sure had been killed from her. Tadashi...had brought her back to life.
Standing up from her nook, Azusa went to search for Tadashi. She was craving some ice cream and chicken. However, he was nowhere to be found in the house. Ugh. Walking was becoming slightly difficult. The weight of the belly made her arch her back often, making it ache a bit at times. God, would Nozomi be born a big girl? One thing she knew though was that she would be unable to give birth naturally. On one of her check ups, Ru had told her that because of her experience with Hwan, her insides were very damaged and prevented her from giving birth through the womb. Nozomi would have to be born via C-section. That didn't make the wait any less exciting. Just knowing she would have a baby of her own delighted her. Going outside the house in search of Tadashi, something told her to head to the beach. Recalling that whenever he felt like going out to think it was his chosen place. Effectively, he found him. Sitting on some rocks, staring at the blue ocean. The inexplicable connection they had pulled at her. That string that connected them. It pulled...as if he was asking for someone to go to him.
Her chest squeezed inside when she approached him and saw the tears on his face. He was...crying. Alone. The tears that came from him always undid her. It always unsettled her because he deserved only smiles. No tears. He had suffered enough in life. Such a beautiful soul he was. Nonetheless, she understood why he was crying alone. She did the same. Not wanting to worry him or make him sad, there were times in which she would lock herself in the library and cry on her own. Cry about Sato. Even now, her heart still grieved for him. Yearned for the Sato that once loved her. Cried for the Sato she had wanted to father her child. That had once also been so very excited to be a Daddy. And it was that same Sato that changed so drastically into a monster that killed her spirit in the most savage of ways. Whenever those intense emotions hit her, she would find her isolation in order to cry it all out. That was exactly what Tadashi had surely been doing too all this time.
"Tashi..." Azusa sat down beside him and pulled him to her. Hugging him. Holding him. Offering her warmth embrace. Hers and Nozomi's. Gently, she stroked the back of his head. Softly, she planted a kiss on his temple. "Its okay to cry. I won't ever resent you for remembering Elle and loving her. She was important to you. If you cry, I'll be here to hold you like this. Not letting you go. Not leaving you alone. I'll always be here." Her hand didn't stop the comforting strokes to his hair. Cooing and whispering the same words to him. "You can cry. I am here. I'll hold you. Nozomi will hold you. You don't have to carry your sorrow alone."
She felt him sob. Violently. It broke her heart. Her hold tightened. Her whispers didn't cease. She just held him as he cried in her arms. Letting him cry out his heart's sorrow and yearning for the girl he had so fiercely loved. Once she felt his body stop shaking, her hands cupped each side of his face. Thumbs gently brushed away the remaining tears. Her own glistening eyes gazed into his. This man...deserved every fuckin happiness this godforsaken world had to offer. And she would give it to him. She cared about him. So much.
"Would you tell me about her? About Elle? I've read that talking about your loved one helps with the healing process. I'd like to know about this girl who means this much to you."
Months passed, but bad news came left and right. Vlahakis blew up. Beakyun blew up. Father disowned Tadashi without even blinking an eye. Percy hadn’t had to call her for her to receive the news, her contacts were blowing up her phone since the day it had been announced. To add to the strange blow up from her father’s end, Tadashi went to Beakyun… Allowing… Azusa to oversee him? There had been no time to recover from that before word came that Tadashi and Azusa left Beakyun, with Sato in critical condition.
The elders of Beakyun was pounding Devlin for information to where Azusa had gone. Like they would know… they had found out when they called demanding their location. A location that wasn’t extremely hard for her to find. Her security system to her island house had alerted her to intruders. The only one bold enough to step foot in her house would be Tadashi. To say the least, Devlin and herself were beyond baffled over the strange situation. While she would like to say that Tadashi had kidnapped Azusa, that didn’t seem to be the case. From her contacts from the village, Azusa was hardly a victim. Offering the information to Devlin he told her it would be best not to get involved, to continue acting as if they didn’t have an idea where they had gone.
Wasn’t like he had to twist her arm not to get involved. She didn’t want to have anything to do with her older brother. Why Azusa was an idiot to get involved with him was beyond her comprehension. Since Azusa was still a source of worry for Devlin, she didn’t bother dealing with the fact that they were living in her private home. Not like they had time to worry about the two, they had land to conquer. Silas and the four horsemen, along with the rest of her division had been busy little bees. Taking out the mafia families and acquiring the land for them. Carving up the upper part of the continent till they conquered Shinla.
Ryuunaga packed their bags, then left Thantos behind. It was a godforsaken city she never wanted to go back to. While they unpacked in their new house, Hera felt an annoying prick in the back of her brain that lingered on her brother. Percy had called her, saying he had received information that Tadashi’s knee had been obliterated. That his fight with Sato seemed to have been worse than they had heard. Father had caught wind and was livid that Beakyun had dared handicap a Vlahakis, even if he was disowned. A Vlahakis was a Vlahakis. Now father was looking for Tadashi.
If that. All of that wasn’t enough, Azusa was pregnant and ready to give birth. Devlin was about witless about it. Torn between ignoring it and going to be there for his sister as she gave birth. Both knowing it wasn’t really something they could do when there was so much tension surrounding them. Hera had ordered for those that knew of Azusa’s baby to be killed, no word could be leaked to Beakyun. Something… was off about all of this and from the looks of it, those two were hiding from Beakyun. Who the child’s father… was also seemed to up in the air.
While Devlin and herself had patched up their relationship, the talk of children was still… a hard subject to have. Battling the ill feeling she had towards a child having her blood. They shared a bed again, talked to each other, made love a couple times, but she put herself on medication to keep herself from conceiving. The thought of having a child ate her up so much she literally got physically ill. There wasn’t a spec inside of her that believed she would be a good mother… or a decent human being by giving life to a child. Scared… of loving a child.
Wrapping her arms around Devlin’s waist from behind she snuggled the side of her face into his firm back. A purr of happiness came out of her mouth as she held him. “You’ve made such a huge accomplishment. Getting back the city Itioshi lived and ruled the north in originally. I’m proud of you.” This man… she loved him so much it hurt her. Playful hands snuck under his shirt, stroking his hard abs affectionately. “Before we know it, you will have all of the north under your control.”
Easing around to stand in front of him as he stood on the back patio she raised up on her toes to kiss him. “Mmmm. I love you.” Linking her arms around his neck she pulled herself up she wrap her legs around his waist, making him hold her. Stealing his lips for another kiss. “You thinking about your sister again?” Nibbling his lower lip teasingly she looked up at him under her lashes, her fingers stroked the back of his neck. “Can I steal your train of thought for a while? Before everyone else comes tomorrow… shall we mark this house as ours? We have the house completely to ourselves. Afterwards, both of us can contemplate the strangeness of our siblings?”
The sweet solace voice that belonged to Azusa called out to him, in her enduring nickname she called him. Bless her heart she even moved to sit on these uncomfortable rocks with him nine months pregnant. Pulled him into her arms, again calling his name and comforting him. He felt himself get sucked into her warmth, a place he never wanted to leave. Just longed to stay in her embrace for eternity. “Angel.” He choked as the tears strangled him from the very core of his being. “My Angel… don’t go.”
Burying his face into her neck he clung to her. Letting the tears out one last time. Letting the pain out, for the last time. It shook his body violently as he cried against her as he ended everything. This was the end. Because from now on, Azusa and Nozomi would be who he thought about. There wouldn’t be any room for Elle to constantly occupy his thoughts. A dead person couldn’t consume his mind and heart. The thought was… agonizing.
The feel of Azusa’s hand cup his face and wipe away his tears undid him. Before he knew it his lips captured hers, parting her lips with his tongue. Grounding himself with her taste, slowly he took her mouth in a deep emotional kiss. Very careful and thoughtful of her body. “ZuZu.” He breathed against her mouth, this girl… just would never know that she was literally… his every breath. That the devastation he would feel if he lost her would eclipse Elle tenfold. Oh… this girl…
“About Elle?” Brushing hair out of her face Tadashi took in her beautiful face, one that had finally healed from Sato’s beating. Hardly a trace left of what she had survived. “This is hardly a good place for you, come on.” It was dangerous for her to be on these rocks. What if she fell? God. He didn’t even want to entertain the thought, it made his nearly break out in a cold sweat. Very attentively he helped her down, nagging in a loving manner about her being careful. Then helped her walk back to the house, never once letting her go.
Personally, changing her out of the damp clothes, he put her into comfy clothes that would irritate her. Then quickly got her in bed, he sat behind her as he settled her between his legs. Careful of his injury, he made it work. He always did, because he loved holding her this way so he could feel her stomach for Nozomi kicking. Pulling the blanket over her he kissed her behind her ear. “I’ll tell you about her, if you promise to take a nap in my arms. You need to get as much sleep as you can.” Brushing his lips over her ear, he teased her till she agreed. Making his lips form into a smile against her skin. “What do you want to know about her?”
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