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Fragments of moments forgotten in time

Chapter Text

𝙁𝙄𝙎𝙃

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The birth of his first-born is considered an event of the utmost importance, all the butlers remained silent awaiting orders, the midwives moved with incomparable agility in the marriage chamber, waiting for the right moment.

His firstborn was about to be born. The most important event for the Kaibara was the birth of a new family member, gaining more relevance when it came to the beginning of a new generation, and Kyo was more than eager to find out if his wife, Suyen, to whom he had been engaged from youth, he was capable of begetting a firstborn worthy of the Kaibara surname.

Suyen was a beautiful woman, there was no doubt about that, but she did not enjoy the best medical conditions; Kyo couldn't count exactly how many times his wife, his most loyal companion, had fallen seriously ill over a considerable time. Suyen was certainly not the strongest combatant, but she had not been betrothed to the head of the Kaibara Family for nothing, Suyen, although small and weak in health, was possessed of a great intellect, standing out among the people due to her quick ability to formulate combat strategies; Suyen was efficient in her work, and her talents had been rewarded by making her a member of the Kaibara Familia.

Kyo cannot complain about having Suyen as a wife, after all she was the woman who was considered appropriate to conceive his children, the perfect woman to assume the role of Matriarch of the Kaibara Family, but her fragile condition makes her body an unsuitable vessel for her greatest task: fathering children.

Kyo put all his effort into getting his wife pregnant, feeling relieved when the news was confirmed and he was able to focus on his role knowing that his wife would finally give birth to their firstborn. Although that did not completely quell his worries, after all, his wife's weak condition could put his son's well-being at risk; he made sure that the pregnancy was monitored to the end, limiting his wife's activities and confining her to her room to avoid unwanted accidents.

Things got complicated with that, Suyen was certainly not happy with the news, refusing to remain secluded in her room, ignoring his requests to rest and take care of the well-being of his firstborn. Suyen's challenging and argumentative personality brought more trouble than she expected, making a fuss about how her condition did not affect the pregnancy and that she was able to continue her duties even while pregnant; Kyo had dismissed the request immediately, ordering the butlers to lock her in her room, allowing them to put chains on her if she resisted; the welfare of her firstborn was paramount, after all, if Suyen couldn't bear the pregnancy and collapsed, he would have to find another woman to conceive his children.

Fortunately, Suyen's body seemed to adapt to her new condition and the pregnancy remained stable until the end. Suyen, bedridden, was emaciated and tired, having put all her energy into managing the pregnancy in a stable manner; It had not been an easy task, having to stay in bed against her will and with doctors administering various serums to give her the necessary nutrients and proteins.

Given all these measures, Kyo believed that his first-born would not be strong enough to survive the 'initiation', that perhaps he would die inside the body of his wife and would have seen his eldest managed to fail. But to his surprise, the delivery was uneventful, and by the time he realized it, all he could hear was the baby crying.

 His firstborn has been born. 

 

「✦」

 

The first thing Kyo hears upon entering the marriage chamber is nothing. Only a deep silence, he have to sharpen his ear to perceive the soft cry that drowns in the walls of the room, small and silent, one could say that it does not exist.

Kyo's heart flutters, realizing that his own footsteps are more noticeable than the silent cry of his firstborn. He hurries across the room, feeling excited to meet his first child, the one who seems to understand the art of silence from birth; that's already a good start.

Kyo pulls aside the soft dark curtains that hang from the canopy of the bed, feeling the emotion shoot up inside him when he finds the small figure of his wife resting on the bed and quickly turns his gaze to her arms; he pauses, surprised as he watches, unable to react properly as he tries to process everything.

His wife gives him a tired smile, being pleased that she has accomplished her task of delivering a strong firstborn, and cradles the babies closer to her chest. Kyo silently watches them, at the two little babies his wife holds carefully close to her chest, at two little boys who are identical; one cries silently, whimpering with little hiccups, and the other stands still in his place, breathing calmly.

Kyo spreads his hands, cradling their small faces in his palms, watching as they both bow to his touch and are silent. They are both so small, but they are perfect; her two first-born have passed initiation, and will be worthy of the Kaibara surname.

He watches them once more, smirking when he says, "Taro, Kano, my firstborn"

He leans in and gently plants a small kiss on their foreheads, the first and only show of affection they will ever receive from him. It's a shame they can't treasure that memory.

 

「✦」

 

Kano, the second of the twins, is five years old when he is injured during training. The little boy falls from the top of a tree branch, misses a jump and crashes to the ground without warning, sits down on the ground and brushes the golden brown curls from his face.

One of the butlers rushes to his side, kneeling beside the boy to check the damage. Kyo is surprised when the butler reports that his ankle is broken, he takes a look at his son's face —no longer the youngest by then— and is caught off guard at the lack of pain in it; the butler touches the little boy's foot, Kano is silent, showing no signs of pain or discomfort.

Kyo watches his son silently, watching the desperation with which the butler tries to get an answer from the boy about his condition, Taro, the eldest of his sons, is attracted by the voices and approaches his younger brother.

Kyo gives them one last look, silently questioning the possibility that his son is incapable of perceiving pain. "Taro", his eldest son looks at him with his prussian blue eyes. "Continue with the training", Taro refuses for a few moments, but another butler appears by his side to return him to the lessons. "Fujiwara, take Kano to the infirmary and make sure he stays there until his wound has healed" 

"Yes sir"

He spins on his heel, intending to enter the mansion when he hears the anguished exclamation of the butler behind him and a weak grip on his arm.

Kano clings to his arm, struggling with his balance as he looks at him. "I can continue"

He blinks at his son's persistence, considering for a few seconds to let him continue with his training, but thinks about it carefully; there's a chance that Kano won't be able to perceive the pain, and if so, he'll just keep pushing himself until his body is unable to continue standing and he end up collapsing.

He pulls away, resuming his way. "Go to the infirmary. There is no use if you continue right now"

Kyo retires, leaving his children behind, confident that the butlers will be able to handle their respective assignments in his absence. He have to trust them to do those jobs because Suyen is busy with her own.

After having had her first-born, and realizing that she was capable of giving birth without problems, Suyen had insisted on having more offspring, even knowing what their destiny would be, she had constantly insisted. Kyo had refused from the beginning, considering that two children were enough to honor the family, but he could not refrain from having intercourse with his wife and, accidentally, Suyen had become pregnant again; Suyen carried the pregnancy to the end, naming her new daughter herself in the absence of her husband, Kyo had allowed her to do that, being more busy taking care of his firstborn.

Kyo did not consider himself a man of preferences, but he was more interested in training his first-born than in the birth of a daughter that he had not consented to. The little girl, with her wavy navy blue hair, black eyes, and fair skin, did nothing but remind him of his late grandmother with her long locks of deep, shiny blue hair; Kasumi, which was his daughter's name, seemed to understand that he had no interest in her and kept away whenever she was in his presence.

He sighs, opening the office door. Kyo enters with silent steps, dropping onto one of the cushioned sofas that surround a small circular coffee table; Kyo looks his father's office, feeling uneasy when he has fragments of memories from when his father watched him from behind his desk, deciding that he can't wait any longer to have his own office.

Kyo rubs the bridge of his nose, leaning close to the table to pour some whiskey into his glass and think things over calmly. He has to organize his schedule to properly accommodate his activities, he also has to have Suyen start creating a schedule for his daughter's lessons, and he has to supervise the construction and furnishing of his office to make sure nothing is missing.

The minutes pass, Kyo pours more whiskey in his glass, the bottle drops more than half, he is too concentrated in his thoughts that his alarms go off when the office door opens.

Taro peeks out tentatively, partially hidden behind his mother's body, Kyo watches his wife enter the office and stop in front of him.

"I visited Kano in the infirmary", Kyo doesn't miss the way his eldest son cheers up at the mention of his brother. "He will have to stay in bed for the next four weeks, I ask that you rearrange his training schedule to fit his unexpected condition", Suyen leans in slightly and begins to walk back to the door. "I hope you consider it, I am retiring"

Kyo frowns for a few seconds. "Suyen", his wife stops, looking over her shoulder. "Did the doctors give you any information regarding what is going on with him?"

"I'm afraid I can't understand, my lord"

"There's no need for such formality", Kyo gives him a tired smile as he gestures to the bottle on the table. "Sit with me", Suyen immediately obeys, of course, and he has to hold back a grimace at that, hating her damn submission due to his presence. "I will explain it to you: when someone suffers, emotionally or physically, it is normal for them to express their pain through words, gestures or actions; our son is different, I saw him at that moment, he did not show any sign of pain in his person"

Suyen blinks in their older son's direction, waving her hand to tell him to leave, Taro obeys, though looking annoyed that he can't find out more about what's going on with his younger brother. His wife waits until their son leaves the office to sigh and stand up, walking around the coffee table to sit next to him with a thoughtful expression.

Then speak. "He seemed so calm", she says, soft and small, with a blank look. "When they were born, I was afraid that they were like me, fragile and small, but it seems like I'm wrong", Suyen looks at him with her deep-set purple eyes. "Do you think it's temporary or long-lasting?", Suyen gasps in fright when she says: "Is it a dangerous disease?!"

"Probably"

Suyen shudders in place, panting loudly as she stares at her hands with wide eyes and dilated pupils. She trembles, apparently dismayed at the possibility that one of her children has a life-threatening illness; Kyo takes her hand, mentally cursing for not explaining himself well, squeezing gently until she relaxes, leans in and plants a small kiss on her forehead, standing up and quietly leaving the office.

He walks the hallways, lost in his own thoughts. Heading towards the infirmary to ask the doctor about what he found out regarding Kano.

It turns out that his son has congenital insensitivity to pain.

Kyo is shocked when he finds out, not knowing how to react to the information the doctor gives him about his son's condition and how it may affect his training; Kyo is more concerned about the problems it may cause his son, fuck the training.

His son is unable to perceive pain, no matter how strong it is or how much it affects his body, he will never be able to realize it. The doctor seems relieved when he tells him that, fortunately, Kano has no other symptoms such as loss of smell, eye ulcers, or mild intellectual disability, but Kyo finds no comfort in that.

He just stands in the middle of the infirmary, with a grim expression as he looks at his son, who is lying on the gurney, with an indifferent expression and bandages around his right foot, thinking about how his new condition could affect his future. Kano suffered from a dangerous condition, not because it was harmful in the same way that other diseases were, but because it prevented him from realizing the real damage that it could cause to his body or that he could be suffering at that moment; Kyo fears that if he resumes training, Kano will continue until his body is completely ripped apart in different ways.

Kyo doesn't want to think about worst-case scenarios. He denies, pushing his thoughts away and walks to the gurney, sitting on the edge to give his son a little pat on the head. Kano stares back at him, confused, and leans a little closer to him.

His son's voice is small and weak. "Father, am I in trouble?"

Kano's steel blue eyes look up at him expectantly for an answer. Kyo falls silent, staring past his son before letting out a silent, imperceptible sigh; he doesn't know exactly what to do, his training doesn't cover things like that.

"No", he answers finally, unfazed by the way his son seems relieved by that, and looks away to see the doctor.

He stops, without saying a word, thinking whether it's really a good idea to ask the doctor to keep his son's condition a secret, he decides it would be a bad idea not to ask that. He don't want to harm his child's training, and keeping his condition a secret won't; Kyo is afraid that, if he finds out about that, Taro refuses to put all his strength and effort into a confrontation with his brother and Kano ends up being many levels below his twin brother.

It is true that Taro and Kano do not have the same strong, nor do they share the same strengths or speed of learning, but both must excel in the established statistics; they are both his firstborn and must be able to prove that they are worthy of it, Kyo cannot allow one of the two to be weaker than the rest of them.

Kyo stands up. "You will stay here for the next three weeks, the fourth week you will undergo a rigorous medical examination before rejoining your daily training sections", he makes a movement with his hand to point to his personal butler, who had remained silent at all times without moving from his place, and adds: "Until then, you will be under the supervision of Fujiwara"

His son flinches at it, looking more self-conscious than before due to the idea of having his father's right hand watching his every move closely, but he doesn't reply and silently accepts it.

Kyo has mixed feelings about that, a part of him feels upset with so much submission and another part is satisfied with the lack of resistance of his son to obey orders; a good assassin doubts before he questions the orders he receives, but a perfect assassin never doubts.

Kyo doesn't know if his son could fit into any of those categories. And he don't know if that's good or bad.

 

「✦」

 

By the time the twins are eight, things have improved significantly, some things change —his oldest son disagrees most of the time— but the difference is only noticeable if you make an effort to find it.

No other symptoms show up in his youngest son during that time, and after being sure that it would be rare for any symptoms to appear afterward, Kyo began to work with what he had. He focuses on testing his son's tolerance to various things, exposes him to different types of injuries and other methods of causing pain, but there is no change, so he tries another approach, this time he makes Taro sit in front of his brother, arms and legs tied to the chair, and makes him suffer.

His oldest son holds out as long as he can, until it is too much and the screaming begins. Kano remains silent the entire time, until tears begin to run uncontrollably down his brother's face and he blinks, the first reaction on his part.

Kyo watches, with interest, how his youngest son meets his gaze and says, so softly that he could be imagining: "Father, is enough"

The next thing is a resounding thump, Kyo slaps his son with a frown, just staring at him silently. Kano seems unaffected, he immediately lifts his face, his cheek bright red, and lowers his gaze to the ground.

Nobody says anything, his other son seems more concerned with how his brother is than with himself; Kyo sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration, dissatisfied with the little resistance from his sons.

He is about to speak when he hears Kano's soft voice. "I apologize father, I must not give you orders"

Kyo doesn't respond to that, not paying attention to his son's words, thinking carefully about how he should proceed. He trying everything he could, but the condition of his youngest son does not leave much to do; he feels stuck at the same starting point, mainly because he cannot continue with the poison resistance sessions because he does not know when it is too much for Kano's body to take, and he is not willing to lose one of his children for a mishap like that.

He have to find a way for his youngest child to learn something that is useful.

Then it hits him like lightning, hard and straight when he sees the grin on Taro's face, and realizes that he has been trying from the wrong angle. Kano cannot perceive pain, but he knows what pain is, he has seen how he is supposed to react to pain, but he doesn't; Kyo realizes where he should focus his son's training.

He puts a hand on his son's shoulder, feeling the slight movement under his palm, and gives the older one a glance.

"Kano", the attention of his children is focused on him. "I can't grant your request, it won't stop until you tell me how it hurts"

"Father?"

Kyo blinks and looks him in the eyes. "I want you to carefully observe your brother, record each of his expressions in your mind and tell me how you think he feels", he laughs without emotion. "You cannot perceive the pain in your body, but you can perceive the pain of others. I want you to think carefully about how that pain feels and— when you know it, your brother will be able to leave"

It won't be an easy task, the expression on Kano's face shows it, and he's honestly not sure Taro can continue any longer, but he knows he must. Once Kano understands what that pain feels like, when he has his reactions to the pain recorded, he will be ready to mimic those expressions and pretend that he is actually capable of feeling something.

Kyo knows it doesn't seem useful at first, but as time progresses, Kano will find out when he's reached the limit and will stop on his own; hopefully it won't take long and he can get back to his old training schedule.

And, with better luck, he will learn when is the exact time to share his thoughts.

Not that Kyo cares too much about his son's extreme silence, but he really would like to know something about him.

 

「✦」

 

Kyo sits behind the desk in his office, hands clasped on the polished dark marble surface, listening intently to his son's report on the most recent mission he was assigned to.

He retain the most important points of the report, the location, the time and days it was made, the name of the employer and the objective, he are so focused on memorizing those points that he startle when his son's voice stops suddenly. Kyo blinks his eyebrows together in confusion, looking up to meet his son's face— Kano doesn't look at him, he holds the report close to his chest, with all his attention focused on the large rectangular fishbowl that covers most of the right wall of his office.

Kyo looks at it for a few seconds and decides to let it pass, this being the first time his son has entered his office —although it has been a few months since it was finished— and it is not surprising that his attention was attracted by the decoration. Kyo has to admit that, of his children, Kano is the first not to ask about the fish tank and to keep his attention most of the time focus in him; although he can understand about Pariston, who is barely seven years old, and can be considered childish curiosity.

But Kano, is the only one of his children whose attention was attracted by something specific, Kyo remembers seeing him take a look at the fish tank when he entered the office but did not seem interested in it until that precise moment.

Kyo clears his throat. "Kano"

His son does not react to the call, he continues to look at the fish tank with an intensity that makes his aura begin to escape from the pores of his body quickly, Kyo worries that the amount of aura will increase and end up breaking the fish tank. He don't need a mess in his office, and he don't want to have to replace his fish tank and fishes, either.

He's about to raise his voice when his son's eyes move, a movement so small it's barely noticeable, but Kyo detects it immediately. He stands up, following his son's line of sight until he finds something.

  What the fuck? 

A fish.

 A small gold fish.

The little goldfish swims away among the tiny corals that decorate the interior of the fish tank, stops and swims above a chest overflowing with pearls. Kano stares at him without blinking, and Kyo is surprised when he finds the sight pleasant and a smile spreads across his face.

"Kano", he yells a little louder this time, and his son turns his face in his direction, looking sorry for being distracted. "How long has it been since you turned ten?" 

His son blinks, puzzled by the question but stops to think. "Two weeks, exactly on the second of January at five in the afternoon"

Kyo hums thoughtfully, tapping the desk gently with his fingers, then returns to his seat and points in the direction of the large fish tank.

"You can choose your gift"

Kano babbles a little, wide-eyed. "I don't understand sir"

"You completed all the assignments that were given to you this week without fail," Kyo lifts his face to see him. "Go ahead, choose"

So he's lost, because when Kano gets emotional and smiles, he's just as beautiful as his wife.

Kyo has to push deep the desire to have it, but maybe that wasn't enough to make it go extinct.