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The Origins of Infestation

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It’s already been a long night by the time the guy with the toy sword starts in with his dramatic ‘you and I are nothing alike which makes it okay for me to be evil’ speech.  “What could you possibly know?!” it starts.  He’s apoplectic in his fury.  “To hell with that!  Don’t try and lecture me about my place in society when you’ve only seen it’s good side—”

Reigen could roll his eyes at that.  Like yeah, dude, you’re right.  Reigen Arataka, schizophrenic immigrant trans man, has no idea what it’s like to be spurned by society.  Sigh. 

The likelihood of making it through the night without dying spectacularly is decreasing by the second.  If he is going to die, however, he prefers to do it with some dignity intact.  Forget dredging up all of his ugly past—now is not the time and certainly not the place.  Think of the kids, for god’s sake!  Instead, he pulls out a slightly less intense story about sports day—actually happened, amazingly enough—and deescalates the situation as best he knows how: by bullshitting until something sticks. 

He then takes the kids back to the office, has a panic attack, drinks some tea, sleeps on the couch because he’s too lazy and tired to get a taxi back home, and goes on with his trans, schizophrenic, non-japanese-native-tongue life.

Or at least he tries.  Former Seventh Division Scars keep coming by his place asking for advice on this or that, or a place to stay for a night or two, or an arm wrestling match (not happening) and he can’t just say no (except to arm wrestling—he likes his fingers, thanks) and the toy soldier, whose name he’s learned is Sakurai, has been staring at him from across the room for the last twenty minutes straight as Reigen fumbles his way through making tea in his rarely-used kettle because Koyama broke the electric one and for fucks sake stop that already.

“Your story about sports day…” Sakurai says calmly, as if Reigen didn’t just scream his frustrations out into the world for all to hear.  He looks Reigen up and down, from the top of his disheveled head to the pink socks on his feet, calculating.  “You said that’s what makes us brothers but I’m not so sure it does.”

Oh, for fucks sake.  “You said you were alone and outcast as a child—I provided an example of a time when I was alone and outcast as a child.  What more do you want from me?”

“I want to hear your story,” Sakurai says, still so calm, still so calculating.  “Your real story.”

It’s been three weeks since Reigen’s public meltdown.  It’s been over a month and a half since the Broccoli Incident.  It’s been several months since Reigen’s failed TV appearance.  And it’s been years, plural since he’s had anyone to tell this story to, let alone actually told the story to anyone.  The story of Reigen Arataka… schizophrenic immigrant trans man…

Yeah, no, not happening.  Not here, and not now.  Even if he has turned over a new leaf and is approaching the world with a new kind of honesty, he’s… well, the world isn’t ready for that story yet.  And neither is he if he’s being honest.

He brushes Sakurai’s comment away the same way he always does.  He’s tired, he’ll tell it later, and all that nonsense.  It’s not the right time.  He’s tired.  He’ll tell it later.  He’s tired…

…And later comes in with the whirl of a massive power surge.  Mob is out of control, he’s lost his grip, he’s going to tear the city into pieces—

Naturally, this is the PERFECT time for a story.  When you’re not sure you’re going to survive something… are putting your life on the line… making a choice to see something to the end… well.  Turns out that’s the only time for a story like this.  A story that begins…