[summary] No.6 ~ 2739
Author/Circle: Kino Hinoki, Asano Atsuko
“I can’t save anyone…”
At these words of Shion’s, Nezumi is struck speechless–Shion’s eyes are blank and lifeless…but then the moment passes and Shion returns a soft, relieved smile and calls his name.
The gun clatters to the ground, and Shion rushes over to be sure Nezumi’s all right. Shion sets to work tending Nezumi’s wound, but Nezumi is quick to remind him, “…You protected me.”
Shion is confused for a moment, and Nezumi continues, “Don’t you ever forget that. You protected me.”
With dawning realization, as if he hadn’t realized what he’d himself done, Shion slowly looks around at the carnage he’s wrought. His hands start to tremble as he comes back to his senses, and he begs Nezumi to tell him what he’s done.
Nezumi repeats that Shion saved his life–but Shion is having none of it, and Nezumi rounds on him to explain in no uncertain terms that yes, that is exactly what he did.
He saved Nezumi’s life; if he hadn’t done what he did, Nezumi would be dead. He protected Nezumi, saved Nezumi–and Nezumi would’ve done the exact same for him as well. They’re at war, and it’s kill or be killed. Shion did the right thing.
After a long moment’s pause, Shion slowly explains that yes, he killed someone. He doesn’t know how it happened, but he took another life without so much as a second thought. Is that…something that can be forgiven? Is it something that should be forgiven?
He brings the gun to his own head–and Nezumi screams for him not to do it.
Nezumi leaps forward and punches Shion squarely in the jaw.
He starts a barrage of beration, chiding Shion for trying to take the easy way out and leave Nezumi behind–it’s a cowardly act. Does he seriously think that he’ll be forgiven for killing someone by killing himself? It’ll only make him a murderer twice over.
Nezumi realizes here they never should have come. He never should have gotten Shion involved in his fight. He should be the one begging for forgiveness.
“Bear it–and keep on living with what you’ve done.”
He’s sorry for having placed this burden on Shion, and tears come to his eyes as he takes in what he’s made Shion go through.
Shion reaches up and brushes a finger across the tears tracking down his cheek.
“That’s…the first time I’ve ever seen you cry.”
Shion begs him to stop crying–he’ll do as Nezumi says, so…please don’t cry? But this seems to only make the tears come more strongly, and Nezumi bites out, “Idiot…”
And buries his face against Shion, unable to keep the tears back and unable to understand their existence in the first place.
Nezumi: “I don’t…know how to stop crying, Shion.”
Nezumi: “I seriously don’t know how. If Inukashi saw me like this…I’d never live it down.”
Shion pats him on the back with a soft smile, holding him close.
“Yeah…I don’t imagine so.”
They collect themselves and rise to continue their mission. Nezumi is confused as to why nothing’s happened–it’s been a good 5 minutes since they were trapped inside by the doors, and electricity should’ve fried them to a crisp by now…but nothing’s happened. Nezumi wonders aloud if Shion knew this would happen, and while Shion says he didn’t know, he admits that he feels like they’re being summoned by someone or something.
“Would that ‘someone’ happen to be your little girlfriend?” Shion pauses to consider–could it be Safu who’s been helping them at every turn like this?
They reach an elevator that connects to their goal–the top floor–but how to get on? The guards they dispatched might have access chips embedded in their bodies, but Shion reminds that the door won’t open unless it senses lifeforce.
“Corpses are of no use to us.”
“I see…” Nezumi is unsettled by the cold words from Shion’s lips after all that just happened. Maybe he hasn’t just forced this upon Shion–perhaps…perhaps he’s unlocked something inside of him.
“I think…” Shion begins slowly,” …that she’ll come for us.” At this, the elevator doors open on their own, as if inviting them inside.
Back in No.6, Lili is impatient for her father to return, and Karan assures her that Getsuyaku is probably busy with work. “People always come back to the ones they love most, you know!”
This relieves Lili–but their conversation is interrupted by an emergency broadcast on the news, urging all citizens to return home immediately and not go outside, or risk being placed under arrest. In the middle of the announcement, though, the news anchor herself begins to scream and reaches for her neck, just as a parasite bee emerges.
Karan grabs Lili and urges her not to watch, trying to soothe and calm the frightened child and promising to protect her.
Back at the facility, things are hectic. The citizenry are in a panic, and if any more deaths are reported, the Security Bureau won’t be able to control the populace. Fennec is desperate–weren’t they supposed to have everything under control?! The man in lab coat simply suggests that they deploy the army.
Fennec is shocked–is he suggesting they use force against their own people? But he is eventually persuaded that to go against Fennec, the ruler of this city, is to go against the city itself.
Fennec takes his leave, and the man watches him go calmly. After all, she will soon awake, and then…
In the bowels of the facility, two armer guards appear before Getsuyaku, intent on escorting him…where? They refuse to tell, and Getsuyaku panics, desperate to escape. He flees, thinking of nothing else but returning to Lili and Renka–only to be shot squarely through the heart from behind.
Elsewhere, Inukashi hears the gunshot and realizes that Getsuyaku’s gone. Together with Rikiga, they watch as Getsuyaku’s corpse is dragged away, and in a fit, Inukashi calls the dogs to attention, intent on siccing them on the guards.
Rikiga calls out, asking what they intend to do, and Inukashi explains in no uncertain terms that the dogs are going to rip the guards’ throats out. Rikiga protests that dogs are no match for armed guards, and if their cover is blown, they’ll wind up shot themselves.
“If he was alive, then that’d be one thing–but they got him already! We can’t die ourselves! We’ve got an important mission to save Shion, got it? Don’t forget the most important part of why we’re here, Inukashi!”
Inukashi eventually relents in the face of Rikiga’s logic, and they settle back down to regroup their plan on how to get inside now. At this, two mice come running their way–all the supporting actors are gathered, now they just have to wait for the stars.
“Finally stopped, huh?”
Nezumi glances over at Shion, confused. “…What’re you talking about? The elevator’s still moving.”
Shion smiles softly. “No–I meant your tears,” and Nezumi flushes darkly, griping at Shion not to make stupid comments like that at a time like this.
Shion reflects mentally that it’s the first time he’s ever seen Nezumi cry–and it made him realize how truly precious Nezumi is to him. It’s not friendship, not merely a deep affection even–nor is it simply romantic attraction or respect or caring. It is a deep and powerful love for someone dear to him.
He’s felt this feeling once before–it’s the same thing he felt that stormy night, the moment when they first met. He wants to protect Nezumi, to care for him, even if it costs him his own life.
The elevator draws to a stop, and Shion senses someone calling him. Safu.
Nezumi seems to sense something as well and freezes in discomfort. “I can…hear a voice.” He can hear Safu, too, then? “No…no, this isn’t a human voice.” What’s it saying? “…’So you’re finally here’…”
So you’re finally here? I’ve been waiting for you.
They’re led through a door that whooshes open into a room filled…with dozens of brain stems housed in towering glass tubes. And in the middle of it all–stands Safu.
To be continued…