Five times Yasuo could fix everything with just a few simple words.
It wasn’t many nights that Yasuo found himself alone at home. True enough, no one lived in his quaint little house but himself, but he often spent nights in the company of beautiful young men and women. They never stayed long but there was never a shortage of them, either.
Tonight was different. Blame it on the rain, maybe, but something about tonight didn’t feel right. It was starting to look like the best thing to do now would have been to retire early and hope tomorrow would be better.
His thoughts were interrupted by a faint but continuous knock on the door. He barely heard it above the sound of the rain but the same gut feeling that insisted through the night compelled him to answer it.
Not knowing what to expect, he opened the door to greet whoever had decided to visit him so late in the night.
The uneasy feeling in his gut turned into horrified revulsion as he saw Iijima stood before him, covered in more blood than he had been not one year ago when he escaped his family’s home. “Yasuo.” He sobbed. “Yasuo, I’m so sorry.”
Yasuo was at a loss for what to do with so many questions running through his mind. Whose blood was all over Iijima? Where was Kirihiko? Was Iijima hurt? But before he could even begin to find out answers to these questions, he knew he had to get Iijima out of the rain and into his house, away from any possible prying eyes as well.
He ushered him inside, fighting the urge to just carry him and hold him like you would a crying child in need of comforting. Yasuo’s mind wandered to the small house Iijima and Kirihiko had made for themselves, a secluded space built upon the same mountain that overlooked the village Yasuo had also come to know as home. Horrible scenes played in his head where that little house had been razed to the ground by thugs sent by Iijima’s father or of an attack by bandits thinking them an easy target. He shuddered at even the thought of anyone attempting to lay a hand on Iijima like that.
He sat his cousin down in the living room and gave him a blanket, not minding the fact that he was covered in blood at all. By this time, he had noticed the scratches on his face and the way the blood had dried on his knuckles and nails and he knew whatever this was, it was going to be bad.
“I didn’t know what came over me.” Iijima said choking back tears. “I– Kirihiko–”
Yasuo held Iijima’s hand, attempting to reassure him or to be some sort of comfort, if any. “Iijima… Where’s Kirihiko?” But something told Yasuo he didn’t want to know the answer to this and he braced himself for something worse than he had previously expected.
At the question, the tears began flowing, but Iijima still tried his hardest to steady the shake in his voice. “A woman… I was in town when I overheard a woman looking for a man.” At this point, Iijima could not look his cousin in the eye. “She said- she said her old lover had contacted her to rekindle their romance… And that they were going to be married soon. But first- first he had to collect money from a rich lord… in exchange for bringing his son home.”
Yasuo paled at the sound of those words. It couldn’t have been. There was no way Kirihiko was going to sell Iijima out… was he?
Iijima must have noticed Yasuo’s grip on his hand getting tighter, because he placed his other hand atop his. “I thought, ‘There’s no way she meant Kirihiko. He would never do that to me…” he let out a laugh, devoid of any joy or happiness. “I pushed the thought out of mind. She must have been talking about someone else.”
A burst of sobs interrupted the story telling yet again. Iijima could not hold himself back anymore, and at this point, Yasuo felt like he didn’t want to hear any more. Still, Iijima pushed on in between croaks and sobs. “I wish I didn’t open the door.” he said hysterically. “I come home to find her atop him- In our room, Yasuo!- the way she was caressing him– I lost control.”
“I killed them Yasuo. I- I don’t know what came over me– Oh god, I killed them.”
Yasuo couldn’t bear to hear any more. He pulled Iijima into a tight embrace and stroked his hair as his cousin could not hold back his tears as well. He let him cry it out, not saying a word and instead hoped his embrace said enough. I will fix this. I won’t let anything happen to you.
Iijima eventually stopped crying and Yasuo drew a bath and prepared some clean clothes for him to change into. He silenced any ideas Iijima had of going back to his father and instructed him to stay in the house under any circumstance.
It was still the dead of night when Yasuo left to head towards what once was Iijima’s little shed in the mountain. He would make good on his word and make sure that nothing bad would happen to Iijima, that no one would ever know what happened in that house, and that Iijima would never have to be put in a position like this again.