Inside the temple was even worse, the place was literally wrecked. The temple's properties were thrown all over the floor. But the worst was when he saw a beaten Yukihiro. He was beaten up pretty badly. He had a cut on his mouth, bruise marks on his head, and some bandages around his stomach provided by Souma and Makoto.
"What happened to you?!?"
"The black-masked gang came her last night and wrecked the place. I tried to stop them but instead they beat me up."
"Oh my, have you gone to the hospital?"
"No, but I'm fine," he said weakly.
"No, you need to go. You might be internally bleeding, where's Soumo-chan?"
"He's at the back, probably cleaning up."
"Ok, arigato," he said and he went directly to the back of the temple. Over there he saw an angry and irked Souma with an equally steamed Makoto sitting there. Kazuki had to snap them out of it, knowing very well that their loathing won't do them any good.
"Souma-kun and Makoto-chan, sitting there isn't going to help matters."
"No, but smashing the black-mask gang skulls would. I can't believe they would do something like this just because we are helping the homeless! Can't those bastards see that we are trying to improve the community?"
"Well I don't think it's a wise thing to go looking for them, they might kill you Souma-kun. And also, we are trying to improve the community indeed, but they don't see it that way, and the sad part is that most of Japan general population agrees with them. However, we are not going to let that stop us. In fact, I'm planning to do something big."
Yukihito just walked in when he heard Kazuki talking and said, "What's that?"
"Oh Yuki-san, I'm glad you're here. What I'm planning to do is to have something like a big exhibition demonstrating that the homeless are not useless in our societies, and to bring awareness to their problems as well."
"What do you mean?" Makoto inserted.
"I mean there are a lot of talented people who happens to be homeless, for example, Nekoko-san and her circus cats. If I can show the people of Tokyo what they are capable of, then at least we would be able to change their views of them."
"But that's ridiculous, nobody would want to go to some exhibit to learn about people whom they considered to be failures, owww!" Yukihito responded weakly followed by a loud moan. He was not is great shape.
Kazuki took great offense to his comments and replied "They're not failures! They're human beings who got the short end of the stick. Its comments and ignorance like yours that makes their situation even harder. The truth is that people are not aware of their homeless' problems. Anyway, you don't look so good, you need to go to the hospital. Souma-kun, take him to the hospital."
"But onii-chan, my motorcycle wouldn't be a good thing for him to ride on."
"I know that, so here are my car keys," he said as he threw them to Souma and he caught them. "Use my car to take him there. Me and Mako-san will clean up the place."
"Okay onii-chan," he said and he dutifully took Yukihito to the hospital.
After they left Kazuki looked at Makoto and said, "Come on Mako-san, let's start cleaning up, people will be coming in a few hours," and she followed his command.
For Himeko and Chikane, not much has progressed between the two since that night. In fact it seems that Chikane was somewhat distancing herself from her. She comes for the training and for their work, but they don't interact as much as they used to, nor does Chikane visit her at the tent anymore. Could it be that Chikane is still hung up on Otoha? Or is it that Himeko is still friends with Nekoko? Either way, it was making her sad. The good thing though is that she's been hanging out with Nekoko more often. Their friendship was not what it used to be but it was better than it was on her birthday. Nekoko was either oblivious to her sadness or that she didn't want to bring it up, for she never talked about it. But for Himeko that was all the better, she really didn't feel like discussing it. She didn't think Nekoko would fully understand, or she thought that she would use it to drive a wider wedge between her and Chikane. She felt a bit of frustration in the predicament she was in. She didn't know what do, she prayed, wished, and hoped but they didn't seem to work. Nevetheless, she knew she had to take her mind off it, but what else could she do. As she was looking at her artwork, she saw her drawing of her art teacher, Kuu-sensei. She then remembered that she was going to send her an email. She thought it couldn't be a better time, so she left her tent and went to an Internet café.
The café is nothing special. It's just a somewhat cramped place with a few computes. Himeko paid the worker for an hour of usage and then sat at one of the empty computers. She remembered the security advices Chikane gave her so that no one could trace her email, thus she went to an anonymous email site. Finally she began typing the email to her art teacher:
Dear Kuu-sensei, it's me, Kurusugawa Himeko. How are you doing? I am doing fine myself, in fact better than when I was at Mahoroba. I just want to let you know that I am okay and well. I am now living in another city since this summer. Over here I made new friends and had much more fun than I ever did at Mahoroba.
I also met someone special as well, her last name is Himemiya, can't tell you her first name. I really like her a lot but I don't know if she feels the same way about me. I though she did when we celebrated our birthday but lately she's been rather cold to me. I wish I could talk to you right now, because you probably know what to do about it. And yes, I'm gay, but I knew that before I came here, all because of a yuri manga magazine I saw a some teacher's desk :)
There's something else I want to tell you. The reason why I ran away is because I want to get away from my relatives. They locked me up in the house and have abused me verbally and physically. They've done many terrible things to me. I can't tell you exactly what they've done to me because they bring painful memories and make me cry. I also want to get away from my schoolmates who used to pick on me and tease me for being weird, wimpy, stupid, etc. Because of them, I never thought positive of myself, but that's started to change. I am not weird, nor am I wimpy or stupid, and I don't want to come back to Mahoroba ever again!
However, I will never forget you sensei. I'll never forget you kindness and your sweetness, and for always being there for me, no matter what the situation was. And I thank you for it very much, for you were one the few bright moments in my life at Mahoroba.
In all, I just want to tell you that I'm okay. Hopefully we will see each other again, but if we don't I just want to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Whe she was done, she double checked her email and hit the submit button, hoping that the mail went through. She went back to her tent and spent some with Nekoko and played with the cats.
The next day she met Chikane and headed to the gym to do their usual training, and then they went and set up their place outside the station to do their work. Chikane was playing her music on her keyboard. Her hand has healed and she was using her favorite instrument, the piano/keyboard. She found a full-sized one at the dumpster.
Himeko really wanted to ask what was going on inside of her. Why was she turning cold on her all of a sudden after they were about to get very close. It was just that she was afraid that she might lose her. That was the last thing she wanted to happen. While they were doing their usual, Makoto and Souma saw them.
"Hey Hime-san and Chika-san, how are you doing?" she said with her typical perkiness.
"Oh we're fine, how are you two doing?" Himeko asked.
"Not fine at all. Our temple has been desecrated."
"Oh my! That's too bad," Himeko replied.
"Yes, and it's all because we're trying to make a difference in the community by helping out the homeless," Souma angrily noted.
When Chikane heard that, she knew exactly who was behind it.
"Let me guess, the black-masked group?"
"Yes, absolutely. Because of what just happened, onii-chan wants to hold an exhibit for the homeless people, hoping that it might change the public's perception of them. He wants us to look for homeless people in this area who has any sort of displayable talent to join us for that day."
Himeko and Chikane just looked at each other and then Chikane said, "So you want us to be a part of this exhibit?"
Souma and Makoto nodded their heads to a yes.
"Well I don't know, are we going to get paid for this?"
"Unfortunately no, we have the place insured but it doesn't cover everything, and a good deal of our money is making the exhibition happen, so we don't have any to give. We will provide a free meal, courtesy of local restaurants, if you do participate," Makoto noted.
Chikane was mulling over it for a bit, favoring on the side of ‘no', but Himeko thought otherwise.
"I would like to participate. I have many drawings and photos that I would like to share to everyone." Chikane was about to object but Himeko continued, "Chikane-chan, this is a perfect opportunity to showcase your music skills, especially on the piano."
"Aren't I doing that already here outside?"
"But it's not the same. People aren't really that interested, they too busy trying to get somewhere, but at least you have a chance for everyone to fully listen to your music," Himeko elated. Chikane wanted to say no but she did see Himeko's point. It was an opportunity for people to see another side of Chikane, not the cold, bitchy, and calculating side everyone is familiar with. But what bothered her was that she will be near Himeko for a long time, she didn't want that for a reason only known to Chikane herself. She had strong feelings for Himeko but she felt best if it was not acted upon. Nevertheless, Chikane agreed to participate in the exhibition.
"Okay, I'll join," Chikane said with her usual dead seriousness.
"I'm glad to hear that!" Makoto replied with her usual perkiness.
"That's great! The exhibition will start in noon at the Sumitomo Fudosan warehouse near the Koma theatre two weeks from today. Hope to see you girls there!" Souma said and they left the area.
As they left, Himeko elated, "Wow, a lot more people get to see my artwork!"
"I'm glad to see you being excited about it. I remember when you were afraid to show them to people, thinking that they won't like it," Chikane remembered like it was yesterday. So did Himeko but she realize the change in her from what she was over a month ago.
"Yeah I do remember, but I can't wait to show them my work!" she elated happily.
"After we're done here, let's go visit the sensei and see what he really wants. I don't think it's that open-ended, but who knows?"
"That sounds like a good idea, Chikane-chan," she said and they went back to their jobs. When the evening sky was giving way to the night, Himeko and Chikane wrapped up their stuff and they went to the temple. While they were looking for him, they saw some of the remaining damages caused by the masked group.
"This was such a beautiful place, why would they do such a thing?" Himeko asked such a thing.
"Because they are intolerant idiots," Chikane said bluntly.
As soon as they spotted them they went up to him immediately bowed to him in respect. After that Chikane spoke first.
"You must be Oogami-sensei?"
"Yes I am, and you must be the blue-haired girl who plays the music outside the station."
"Yes I am, my name is Himemiya Chikane, and this is my partner, Kurusugawa Himeko."
"How are you doing Kurusugawa-san?" he said followed by a respectful bow.
"Fine thank you sensei," she replied and bowed back respectfully.
"Don't be surprise that I know who you are, my brother Souma-kun told me about you two and I've seen you two many times outside. How can I help you ladies?"
"We just want to know more about the exhibition that you are having two weeks from now," Chikane said formally.
"Ah yes, the exhibition. Well I'm trying to show everybody around here that the homeless are not worthless. I want to use this exhibition not only to bring awareness to the homeless situation, but to show that homeless people can be valuable to our economy and to our society. Who knows, maybe some of them might get jobs out of this."
"I see," Chikane replied. "But how can we contribute to your exhibit? Do you really think our skills are suitable for your exhibit?"
"Absolutely. Chikane-sama, with your musical skills, especially on piano, you can bring a wonderful atmosphere to our exhibit. And Himeko-sama, your artistic skills are simply amazing for someone your age, from what I've seen. Do you have any that reflects homeless life?"
"I sure do. I shot many photos of the homeless and did a few drawings on them."
"That's good to hear. You can bring your other drawings as well. I would like to use your drawings and photos to show what its like to be homeless, is that okay with you?"
"No problem whatsoever," she said with a smile and Kazuki returned back his own small smile. While Kazuki was talking to the ladies, Souma and Yukihito were watching them from a distance in interest, in particular Yukihito.
"Check out those two homeless chicks, they're hot even with those dirty clothes!"
"Them? Oh, those are the ones who do the drawings and the painting outside the station. The blond one did that drawing of me and Mako-chan."
"Oh yeah, I do see them when I walk by the station, but they're still some hot chicks."
"Yeah they are, especially the blond one," Souma said as he looked at Himeko.
"Oh so you got eyes on the blond one, huh? Man, if Mako-chan found out, she'll beat you with a baseball bat!"
"Man, will you stop it! You know I only got eyes for Mako-chan, no one else."
"Of course you do, cuz you're whipped!" Yukihito jested.
"No I'm not! I'm just very loyal and faithful to her, she knows that I'm in charge of the relationship," Souma cockily defended.
"Sure... Every time she asked you to do something, you do it. When we go out, you always tell her where we are going and you never stay late with us. Hell, with the fact that she hardly wears skirts and dresses and that she cuts her hair short, I'm wondering if she is ‘the man' in the relationship." Yukihito joked at Souma's expense. Souma was slowly getting angry at him questioning his manhood even though he was doing it in a kidding matter. Nevertheless, Yukihito continued, "Like I said, you're whipped," he joked once again and the discussion concluded with him making a whip sound effect.
"Oh shut up Yuki-san," he said followed by a poke to his still-bandaged rips. Now it was Souma who was laughing at his best friend's expense.
"OWW, Don't do that! You know it still hurts!"
"I know," Souma devilishly smiled. "And if I were you, I would be very careful what comes out of my mouth," he said and he poked him again. Another smile radiated from his face and Yukihito yelled a bit louder. Unfortunately, it got Kazuki's attention.
"What's going on with you two?" Kazuki promptly asked with his no-nonsense attitude as he approached them.
"Souma-san is being retarded sensei."
"Not as much as you are, Yuki-san."
"Stop acting like ten year olds, we got company here and you should know how to behave when we have people here. Anyhow, Souma-kun you know these girls already but I assumed that Yuki-san doesn't. This is Himemiya Chikane and Kurusugawa Himeko."
"No I can't say that I've met them before but I can honestly say it's nice meeting you two. My name is Tachibana Yukihito," he said with a polite bow to the two girls. "Allow me to show you around the area, event though we're still under repair."
"I think not. Yukihito-san, go help out with Souma-kun in cleaning this place up, I'll show the girls around," he said sternly and he returned his attention back to the girls. When he and the girls walked away, Yukihito voiced his displeasure to his best friend.
"I can't believe your brother, he is such a cockblocker."
"Dude, don't worry about it. You will see them again. I seriously doubt that they will find someone new within two weeks."
"Man, you never know," he said. Souma inadvertently changed the subject.
"By the way, can I come to your house this weekend? I want to play you in some Tennis on your Playstation 2."
Yukihito got nervous and said, "Ano, this weekend won't be good."
"Why not? I haven't been there in almost two months."
"Because me and my family are cleaning up this weekend," he said.
"But I thought you did that last week?"
"Well, we got more stuff to clean up," he answered nervously. Souma knew he was hiding something, but he decided it was best not to bring it up, so he just said okay and they move on to something else.
After the meeting with Kazuki, Himeko and Chikane headed back to their own places. Chikane started to think what songs she will play while Himeko gathered most of the photos and drawings she had relevant to the exhibit, plus a few other drawings.
About a half hour after arriving, Himeko told Nekoko and the visiting Natashi about the planned exhibit. Natashi liked it but Nekoko had mixed feelings about it.
"I seriously doubt it will work. I know Oogami-sensei has good intentions but I really don't know if it will work at all."
However Natashi disagreed, "I think it will work. I think it will show some attention as to who we are and what we are all about. It's also a perfect opportunity to show a group that makes up a significant portion of the homeless."
"Who's that?" Himeko asked?
Himeko eyes widen when she heard that, so she asked, "Are you a burukumin?"
"Yes I am. Many of us are homeless simply because of job discrimination. It's not as bad here as it is out west in areas like Osaka, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, but it still occurs as I found out the hard way."
"What happened?" Himeko said with sincere concern.
"I was an IT manager for the Tokigawa Health Insurance, located at the Akasaka district in Chiyoda. I was very successful at my job, making 984,000 yen (120,000 USD) a year and was groomed to be the next Chief Information Officer. Unfortunately, due to company's several bad investments and that everlasting recession, they were facing bankruptcy. Then the Osaka-based Fujimoto Insurance bought them out. When they bought out my company, they laid off hundreds of workers. I ended up being one of them, but I shouldn't have been, they were only firing the regular workers and a few lower-level managers. Most of the upper-level managers were kept, except me. I knew something was suspicious so I hired a private detective to investigate the company. He found out that they discovered that I grew up in a burakumin area near Osaka. I thought I hid it from them but later on I found out that they had a book telling them all the burakumin's settlements. Basically, they used the downsizing opportunity to get rid of me.
I was fine for a while but my finances started to dwindle when I couldn't find anybody willing to hire me. They basically had me blackballed from the industry. Plus my wife divorced me and won some of my money, so that did some damage as well. Before long, I was kicked out of my apartment, had my car taken away from me and I ended up being homeless. So I do want to bring up what they considered a taboo subject, because making it taboo makes it hard to bring awareness to the discrimination."
Himeko was amazed at his story and how much he went through. Nekoko got inspired by his story, even though she heard it a few times.
"I never saw it like that, maybe I can raise awareness for animal abuse while still entertaining the crowd."
"Yeah, and who knows, maybe someone can help you achieve your goal of owning your own animal shelter," Himeko happily noted.
"You might be right Himeko, there could be a lot out of this. Let me do some thinking and planning for the exhibit," Nekoko said while being lit up.
"And when I get back to my place, I will go ahead and plan my exhibit on the Burakumins and homelessness," he said.
The day has come for the exhibit. There were quite a few homeless people in the warehouse. They were getting ready for what they wanted to present. Himeko got her paintings, drawings and and photos set up. Chikane was sitting at a grand piano that Kazuki rented. Nekoko had all her performing cats there and she was setting up the equipment. Natashi, with some help from Himeko, had a small display showing info on the burakumin. There were also other homeless people participating in the event. What was surprising was that a lot of people came to see the exhibit and they varied from businessmen and upper-class people to regular workers and even some of the homeless who were not participating.
Girochi was there to supervise the building. He was standing right next to Kazuki and was rather surprised at all the people attending.
"Wow sensei, I'm really impressed. I didn't think you would get all these people here in such a short time."
"Well, I got to thank Makoto's marketing skills on that one. She really pushed this event on her blog and on her MySpace page. It's just too bad that your sister couldn't come."
"Yeah, she had to work at the monastery today. She really wanted to come."
"Yeah, I know she would have," he said with some disappointment in his voice.
While sitting on the grand piano's stool, Chikane was wearing a grumpy face. Himeko, who was right beside her, was very concerned about it so she brought it up.
"Why are you so mad? Today's the day you get to show how good you are on the piano."
Chikane looked at Himeko first and then she looked at her object of hatred and said, "Because she is here."
Himeko turned around to take a look and saw Corona walking towards Chikane. Corona got the news about the exhibit, and being the big-time attention hog that she was, she jumped at the opportunity to showcase her singing talent. The few times Himeo met her, she always put Himeko down, this time was no different.
"Well hello there old friend, I haven't seen you much since you started to hang out with this little girl here?" she said while looking at Himeko with irrelevant apathy.
Chikane looked at her with spite and said, "She's not a little girl, she's more of a woman than you'll ever be and I would like for you to show her some respect."
Corona just blew her off, saying, "Whatever. Oogami-sensei said he would like for us to perform a few songs together. Do you remember the songs we used to do together in the station?"
"Yes I do very well," she said, clearly showing her annoyance to Corona.
"Well that's good, you do have some value after all," she said. Chikane's anger was quietly rising inside of her. "Anyways, since this is supposed to be a classy environment, let's go ahead and do Moon River, do you remember that one?"
"Of course I do, I told you about that song," she said with a matter-of-fact tone. Himeko saw the anger building up insider of her, so she did her best of trying to bring it down to a simmer.
"Moon River, that's a beautiful song, I would love to hear you play it."
That brought a temporary smile on her face but she became serious again when she said, "Okay, but I'm only doing this for you."
Himeko smiled after that and then Chikane started to play. Corona sang the song and most of the people in the warehouse took notice. She performed the song well, event though there were some parts where she overdid it due to her showing off nature, much to Chikane's chagrin. Nonetheless, the crowd applauded for their performance, include Himeko. Amongst the crowd were Souma and Yukihito.
"Oh my, she actually uses her throat for something else!" Yukihito said.
Souma couldn't help but laugh, "What do you mean?" Souma naïve questioned.
"When me and my friends were walking through the red-light district, we saw here there selling her pussy."
Souma was shocked to hear that, he never knew about this. "Who went with you?"
Yukihito hesitated for a while, trying to come up with an answer, "Oh some new friends you haven't met. Look, I got to help out sensei in a few things," and he promptly left. Souma was beginning to sense something wasn't right.
After their Moon River performance, Chikane and Corona performed two more songs, but with the way Corona sang them, they lasted as long as four songs! In particular, this one song that happened to be a little over four minutes, but somehow she managed to stretch it beyond eight minutes!
"Did you ever know that you're my heeeeroooooooo? You're everything that IiiIIIiii wanted to beeeeeeeee. Did you ever know that you're my heeeero-O-o-o-O-o-o? Cause you are the wings... beneath... my... wings."
Corona kept on extending the words and adding unnecessarily pauses to the song. Chikane was doing her best to hold her anger and to keep up with her. Her cold exterior hid the frustration that Corona was inadvertently causing. Apparently, Chikane wasn't the only one who wasn't impress with Corona's singing. Hana was in the crowds watching her sing, and he had enough of her as well. So after she finished the song, he came up to the platform and too the microphone from her.
"Corona, do you know how to sing a song properly!"
"What the hell do you mean?" she barked back to him.
"I mean just that. You're fucking up on the hooks and you're overextending on the words. You're not singing like how a real diva should." he said as he went up to the stage. Without a care for Corona's or anybody else's consideration, he rudely push her, "Girl, step back and takes some note while I'm up here. Watch how a true diva sings."
Chikane was finally relieve from Corona's singing, thinking things will be better under Hana, that was until he started to sing.
"Hey, hey, I will sur-sur-survive..."
Chikane lightly shook her head in despair while playing that worn out disco song. She knew it was going to be a long day...
Meanwhile, quite a people were looking at Himeko's artwork and photos. They were amazed that such a young girl could produce such artistic masterpieces. Most of them were about the lives of the homeless, good and bad. She wanted to show all aspects of their lives so that people can see that they are no different from them. She wanted her paintings to build a ‘relation' with the guests, to get them into their own world. She did have other artwork not relating to any homeless theme, and there was one that caught many people's attention, including Chikane, who somehow managed to find time to take a break. It was a painting of her and Himeko together holding hands together with their backs facing. Chikane's side was dark with the moon shining at the top while Himeko's side was bright with the sun shining. The painting had a profound impact on her that she didn't want. She had to know a little bit more about the painting.
"What is this painting called?"
"I called it Memories. It's basically us looking back at our lives together through our perception."
"Together?" Chikane questioned.
"Yes, together," Himeko said with some sadness in her voice. She was trying to make it clear to her how she was currently feeling about their relationship. Chikane shed a tear and told her, "I don't think it's a good idea." Then she immediately went back to the piano and waited for Corona to continue singing. Himeko wanted to talk to her about it but she was interrupted by a man who wanted to know more about her paintings.
There was also another picture that brought a lot of interest, but one of mixed feelings and controversy. It was a painting of Himeko showing a young homeless man sitting in the cold with a message below saying, "There are over ten thousand teens that are homeless simply because their parents did not approve their sexuality."
One woman saw the painting and came up to Himeko, "That painting of yours sends a false sympathy message, just like that dirty eta over there. Why should we be sympathetic to those queers? Well that's what they get for being gay, they should be on the streets."
Himeko got angry at the woman's comments and showed a rare side of her anger.
"We don't belong on the streets. We are human beings and we don't deserve to be treated like wild animals, nor do the burakumins. Loving someone of the same sex is not a crime, so it shouldn't be treated as such!"
"So you are one of them?" she sneered with a disgusted look on her face. Himeko didn't let that faze her when she responded.
"Yes I am and I don't see anything wrong with that!"
Kazuki heard the bickering between the two, so he came over there and intervened.
"Why are you having problems with her painting?"
"Because she is trying to use her painting for us to sympathize for their sickness, and so is that filthy Eta with his display!"
"Their sickness? What's wrong with them? How is homosexuality a sickness? It has been proven by well qualified psychologist that it's not a sickness. And even if it is a sickness, that still doesn't give a parent the right to kick their children out. Parents should care for their children, no matter what. Also what makes an Eta filthy? Because they were force to do work that is considered disgusting to everyone else. That doesn't make them filthy."
"Both of them are filthy, they bring shame to our great society," she idiotically boasted.
"They're not bringing shame to our society. They're not doing anything to harm or bring down our society. Just like the homeless, they are wrongly judged of bringing shame to our society. You know what? It seems that you are just going to cause more trouble here so I'm going to politely ask you to leave the exhibit. Girochi-san, please escort the lady out of this building."
"No problem sensei. Ma'am, I will have to escort you out of this building."
Just about a minute after the woman got escorted, Kazuki came up to his brother.
"Souma-kun. The trash can near the wall is starting to fill up. Can you take it out?"
"Sure, no problem."
Souma then got the trash and went out to the back. When he got there he saw a teal-haired man digging through the trash. Souma stopped in his tracks, wondering if this person is who he thought he was. He was too far to see his face, but his figure was familiar to Souma.
"Could this be my brother?" he was thinking. He wasn't sure since the man hasn't looked up yet. About a few seconds later he finally looked up. The first time he only looked at him for a split-second before he was about to return back to his trash digging. But when he did his double take he immediately froze, looking as Souma. It was by no reasonable doubt that it was Tsubasa.
"Onii-chan?" Souma said.
Tsubasa didn't say a word at first, just glaring at him. Souma was slowly walking up to him when he called him out again. This time Tsubasa respond.
"Who are you?"
By then Souma was only a few feet away from him, "I'm Souma, your brother."
"You're my baby brother?"
"Yes, It's me, Souma, you're baby brother."
"Yes, baby brother," Souma replied, not fully understanding how disoriented he was due to his schizophrenia. Slowly Souma came up to him, all the while Tsubasa kept on saying 'baby brother'. Eventually, Souma got close enough to him to hug him, but Tsubasa was still in his dazed state, just saying 'baby brother.' Souma was able to hug him for about fifteen seconds, but then suddenly and unexpectedly, Tsubasa forcefully pushed him off. The force was great enough to send Souma flying backwards towards the trash cans. Kazuki and Girochi was nearby when they heard the crash.
"What was that?" Girochi asked to Kazuki.
"I don't know, but it sounded like it came from outside. Let's check it out."
Girochi nodded his head in agreement and they headed to the back.
Meanwhile, Tsubasa's schizophrenic state was becoming more apparent. "Baby brother you not! Baby brother you not! You lie! You lie!"
"It's really me onii-chan! You got to believe me!" Souma said while still lying on the trashcans.
"You lie! You lie!" he shouted.
Things were about to get dangerous when he pulled out his knife. Souma was scared and he immediately got up. Only a second later did Kazuki and Giroch opened the back door. Tsubasa instantly saw them and ran away quickly. Souma screamed, "Come back Onii-chan! Please come back!"
The two only had a short time to look, but it was long enough for them to know who it was. Girochi chased after Tsubasa but he was able to disappear after he fled the alley. Kazuki checked up on Souma to see if he's alright.
Girochi ran back to where Souma and Kazuki was and asked Souma, "Was that Tsubasa-san?"
"Yes it was," he replied in sadness, with his head hanging down.
"I'm glad that you're not hurt," Kazuki mentioned. "Look, let's get back inside and help"
Girochi was surprised at how Kazuki quickly brushed it off, "but he went through a traumatic experience. You can't just expect him to get back to work after what just happened."
"Well, letting him sit there and cry about it won't solve things, would it? I don't think so. We have an exhibition to run and it's going to need all the manpower available to run it."
Girochi wanted to protest but he knew very well that it wouldn't work. While that was going, some else was about to take shape. Corona, being unceremoniously kicked off the platform, was at the corner sulking. Yukihito saw this and went up to her.
"I can't believe that okama kicked up off there like that."
"Yeah, well that fairy an egotistical ass," she hypocritically noted.
"Well aren't they all are? A bunch of drama queen pansies?"
Corona laughed and then turned her head to face Yukihito, "Yeah, but he's like that stupid catgirl that runs the park, acting self-righteous and thinking they are making things better for the rest of us, yeah right!"
"So I see. Well maybe I can make things better for you, actually I can make things better for the both of us."
Corona knew what he mean, so she responded, "Man, you're so predictable. I know what will make you feel better," she seductively smirk. "But there's no private place around here."
Yukihito smirked back in return and said, "I know one, follow me." And he lead her to a closet far away from the main area.
Besides the confrontations, the exhibit went better than expected. It actually lasted until five in the evening, which by that time in early November, the sun has already set. It left a positive and informative impact on the guests and proved that homeless people are not worthless. It also brought awareness to other issues such as animal abuse and discrimination. Nekoko's cat circus entertained and amazed the folks. Chikane 's musical performances kept the crowd entertained, despite the switch between Corona and Hana and how they tested her patience with their long-winded singing. Natashi's display brought more awareness to a subject that is considered taboo in Japan. And so did Himeko's artwork and photos. Plus, she enlightened the people about the homeless and their dilemmas. In all, it was a success.
Himeko needed help carrying her artwork back to the tent so Chikane reluctantly pitched in and carried the remaining artwork with her. They didn't say anything on their way back to the park, and they didn't say much in the tent when they were putting away the stuff.
After they were done, Chikane said good bye but she didn't go back to the station, instead she went to the other side of the park and sat on the bench, looking at the moon. It was one of her favorite activities. She didn't know that Himeko was following her all that time. She figured that now was the time for her and Chikane to have a serious talk...