Reileen was five years old when they told her that her mother was dead.
Takeshi didn’t want to talk about it — as in at all; the same way he never let Reileen say anything to anyone about the starving and the beatings and everything else. She knows, now, that he was afraid. That he was older, yes, but not by much, and surely not enough. Things could get worse. Things probably would (as they, in fact, did). But, as a child, she didn’t know any better. And she always got angry at her brother for the lies.
Childhood was hard,
and Yakuza was harder.
“I missed you”, she said to her brother’s sleeping form. It had been literal centuries since the last time she had put her eyes on Takeshi. He was, of course, very different this time around; the new sleeve was, for some reason, white. Beside that, his personality was all over the place, but it was because he was stressed. He was always the worst of them both under pressure, even if he liked to pretend otherwise. “Did you miss me?”
For the longest time, Reileen asked herself if Takeshi dreamed about her. All those years sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, timeless on that prison shelf. Eternal in a way that the rich people who were killing and destroying to live forever could never understand. It was, in a way, very simple: true eternity is always the absolute absence of time, and this was the lesson that no one had to teach her.
During the who-knows-how-long lenght of her life, everyone told her that you don’t dream outside of a sleeve. That you need a real brain, connected to a real body, to be able to do that. They kept saying it, over and over and over again, because they didn’t know any better. They couldn’t fathom Reileen’s devotion. They couldn’t understand how she would reshape the world into the exact way she wanted it.
She’s funny, the detective. She has a healthy amount of suspicion, and doesn’t trust anyone as far as she can throw them. It’s funny; Quell was never like that. Their fearless leader was more the kind of believing, foolishly, childishly, in all the dumb, dubious things that could get them all killed. And, yeah, maybe Takeshi won’t ever forgive Reileen when (if) he ever finds out what she did, but she was right, and nothing he can say will change that.
The woman was dangerous. Now, though, she isn’t anything at all anymore.
Fine. She did some shitty things. But live long enough and you’ll realise that human life’s just really fucking cheap.
Also, you can buy it with licor.
“So”, she started, staring intently at her fingernails. They were painted light blue, and kind of disappeared against her skin. She wouldn’t go for something like that, usually, but she was trying to look non-threatening. Takeshi kept acting skittish, like Reileen hadn’t done all that thinking about him. And he didn’t even knew what the abstract concept of “that” included. “you went and got yourself a girlfriend, uh? I’m going to tell you now, brother, because someone has to, but you really can’t help yourself.”
“It’s not like that.” he answered her, bluntly. He kept staring at the blank TV screen, like it would tell him everything about Reileen that he missed during the last hundred years. Like it would explain to him, in detail, why the woman in front of him looked so wrong. She hated it — specially because it was crazy annoying. Takeshi never realized that he just didn’t know Reileen well enough the first time around. That she didn’t change, like, at all — just got prettier, and richer, and fancier. Just became everything she already was, in the process of the most beautiful metamorphosis.
Of course, he didn’t really see it like that.
She stared at him, thinking, thinking, thinking. What should I do? What should I say? Why can’t you just shut your fucking mouth for once and listen to me?
Why can’t you see that I’m right?
You would have gotten us both killed.
You left me, she doesn’t say, because it would be petty. To be hurt, repeatedly; to be scared, and to cry, to beg and to hide. I was just a child. I was only seven! And I was your sister—
how the hell could you?
“Do you remember Mother’s yellow dress?” he asked her, randomly, a few days before the end. There was something desperate around his eyes that kept putting Reileen on edge. It was like he was trying to convince himself to not do something that he already decided he was going to do — and when it happened, Reileen knew well, there was nothing left to be done. Takeshi and his principles would go walk into hell; running until it were only him, his guilty heart and his free conscience. He could say to himself, I did what was right, and go to sleep at night, more or less in peace.
He was able to do that because he never quite understood the definition of human beings.
“The flowery one?” she retorted, like an older sister amusing a small sibling (didn’t it used to be like that, in secret, every time he talked to her?). Their mother only had four dresses, and of those, three were gray. Still, at the back of the closet, there was her summer dress, of when she was young and went to church. Her husband never made her threw it away; maybe he thought it could be useful in the future. Reileen couldn’t understand how it would be so. It was worn out, and ugly, and she never used it in front of anyone.
Still, Takeshi used to treat it like a treasure.
He threw it in the acidic lake right before he kissed Reileen goodbye.
“I used to ask myself how you would look like wearing it.”
“Why?” she asked, shocked. She was wearing a perfectly nice pink blouse, looking prettier and bigger than life. Why would he want to see her on something like that?
“I don’t know.” he asked, and sounded heartbroken. “I think I just always thought you looked a lot like mom.”
Looking like her?
She laughed. “What? You mean pretty?”
“No.” he sighed. “No, I mean kind.”
Oh, she thought. Oh, no.
“Will you miss me, brother?” she asked, her mouth full of the disgusting taste of her own blood. There was something wrong with her body. There was something wrong with the wold. “Will you miss me when I’m gone?”
He kept crying. He kept crying, and didn’t say anything; not a single word.
The truth was simple, and very easy: Takeshi was missing Reileen since she was seven years old and lost forever.
He just needed a few years to catch up with the fact.
Dying is really, really warm.
She hated it.