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Scene Title Return 0
Synopsis Marlowe stands vigil over Hachiro.
Date April 30, 2018

Rain runs in forking paths down the windows of the Yamagato Building's emergency medical offices. The private suite reserved for Hachiro Otomo is dimly lit by a single lamp over his bed. Flowers are already waiting by the bedside, but Hachiro has no way to appreciate them. He lays motionless, hooked up to a respirator with machines monitoring his vitals. The Yamagato Building may not have a robust medical center, but it has the best medical facilities in the Safe Zone. That much is no small comfort to the woman sitting in the beige leather armchair beside Hachiro's bed, however. Marlowe Terrell has not slept yet tonight, and may not yet sleep. She's been posting vigil by Hachiro's side since he was taken out of surgery. He hasn't yet woken.

Quietly, she sets her phone down on the table between her chair and his bed, regarding Hachiro's expression through the bandages and gauze on his face. Just a day ago they had been working together with Leroy, he had been full of life, hope, and a passion for the future. Now, he was clinging on by his fingernails from the brink of death. Marlowe scrolls through something on her phone, quickly finding what it is she's looking for and presses play. Her thumb works a dial up, raising the volume of a saxophone emitting from the tiny speakers.

She imagines Hachiro can hear it, wherever his mind is.

She isn't wrong.


A matte gray car rests on its crumpled roof, windshield shattered, tires still spinning. Scraps of the body are scattered down the street, a hub cap spinning in the middle of the road where black tire marks swerve left and right across the ice-clicked asphalt. Freezing rain falls steadily, and inside the car, it prickles in thorugh the blown out windows, spattered with blood.

I feel so unsure

As I take your hand and lead you to the dance floor

As the music dies, something in your eyes

The halls are empty, save for the whirring of security cameras. White construction tarps hang from many of the walls, affixed to scaffolding where portions of the building remain unfinished. "Ikanaide, ikanaide," is the mantra Hachiro Otomo has been murmuring to the young woman cradled in his arms. Blood-stained legs drape over one arm, her upper body over the other. Black hair is plastered to her face, and blood runs in thick rivulets from the side of her head, collecting down his arm and hand. He, too, is injured — he doesn't care.

Calls to mind the silver screen

And all its sad good-byes

I'm never gonna dance again

"No, it's your life!" Miko is furious, her dark eyes leveled on Hachiro across the car. "How long have you known about this!? How long were you going to keep is a secret from me!?' The indignation in her eyes is practically incandescent. "I trus— Yamate!" The scream fills the car. Miko Otomo raises her arms in shock, looking to a set of headlights shining ahead on the icy road. With a scream, Hachiro yanks the wheel, slams on the brakes. The anti-lock brakes stutter, the car begins to spin, and vertigo sets in as the vehicle veers wildly out of control.

Guilty feet have got no rhythm

Though it's easy to pretend

I know you're not a fool

Shouldering through a door, Hachiro enters the still unfinished research lab. He is leaving a trail of dark blood, drizzled across white tile. Hurriedly, he lays the young woman in his arms down on an examination table, careful to support her neck and head as he gently sets her down. Then, scrambling, he runs to the wall and keys in a passcode on a security pad. A pressurized hiss accompanies a panel opening in a wall, revealing a computer built into the structure. Hachiro looks around, his bloody face lit by the internal LED piping that frames the wall case.

Should've known better than to cheat a friend

And waste the chance that I've been given

So I'm never gonna dance again

Windshield wipers snap left and right at a steady pace, barely able to keep up with the accumulation of ice on the glass. "You will address me in English!" Hachiro shouts, looking from the road to the young woman sitting in the passenger seat. "And I will not be so disrespected by you! I have worked so hard to get us to where we are, Miko! I've given everything to this family, and you want to throw all of that away? This is your life!"

The way I danced with you

Time can never mend

The careless whispers of a good friend

Hurrying over from the open wall panel, Hachiro looks at Miko's body on the table, jaw trembling and tears welling up in his eyes. They dribble down his cheeks, cutting clean paths through drying blood. "Watashi no akachan," Hachiro murmurs as he steps to the side of the table, brushing one trembling hand over her brow, sweeping blood away and brushing tacky hair from her face.

To the heart and mind

Ignorance is kind

There's no comfort in the truth

"Watashi wa subete o shitte imasu!" Miko shouts, slamming a closed fist against the center console between their seats. "Kore o watashi kara dono kurai kakushite kita nodesu ka? Koroshiya!?" Tears are welled up in her eyes. "Karera wa watashinohaha o koroshimashita ka? Kiite imasu ka?"

Pain is all you'll find

I'm never gonna dance again

Guilty feet have got no rhythm

Frozen by his daughter's side, Hachiro smooths a hand over his face. He looks down at Miko, then to the open panel in the wall. He can't stop crying, tears blurring his vision and a tightness in his throat. After several long moments, he places his hand back down onto Miko's forehead. He is without words, and when his eyes close, Hachiro is convinced of the course of action he must take.

Though it's easy to pretend

I know you're not a fool

I should've known better than to cheat a friend

"No," Miko sneers, "it's not about the job." Her eyes narrow, vitriol evident in her tone. "Dore kurai shitte imasu ka?" Miko lobs at Hachiro, her upper lip curling back into a reflexive snarl. The expression elicits a look of shock, briefly, from her father. "Eizen wa watashi ni shinjitsu o katatta!" Tears immediately well up in Miko's eyes.

And waste the chance that I've been given

So I'm never gonna dance again

The way I danced with you

A pale blue light begins to spread from Hachiro's hand, fading down into Miko's forehead, infiltrating like luminous veins through her skin. Soon, the bone of her skull begins to radiate a pale light out through her skin, backlighting veins and capillaries. As the light infiltrates deeper, past the bone, it dims again until it is seek only as a faint glow coming out from behind her eyes.

Never without your love

Tonight the music seems so loud

I wish that we could lose this crowd

It takes a bit for Hachiro to speak up again, over the slow crooning of the music. "What's bothering you?" He glances from the road to Miko, who closes her eyes and presses her lips together tightly, exhaling a steady sigh out her nose. "Is it the project? I thought you'd like working in civil engineering?" Miko's eyes open, and she looks up to the ceiling, then balefully at her father.

Maybe it's better this way

We'd hurt each other with the things we'd want to say

We could have been so good together

Hachiro lurches forward, one hand gripping the examination table as his brows tense and eyes wrench closed tighter. A line of blood begins to run out of his righ tnostril, dribbles down his mouth and chin. He exhales a keening, agonized noise and nearly drops to his knees, but remains standing only through sheer force of will. The blue light at his palm ripples and wavers, small cubes of light drift up and away from between his fingers, dissolving like smoke in the air.

We could have lived this dance forever

But no one's gonna dance with me

Please stay

Once they're out of the parking garage, Hachiro makes a disconcerted noise and turns on the windshield wipers. "If it's not snowing it's this," Hachiro grouses, motioning to the freezing rain before turning on the heat. "I'm never going to get used to this weather." He looks over at Miko, who still hasn't said anything. She makes a noncommittal noise, regards her father in the reflection of the window, though only briefly.

And I'm never gonna dance again

Guilty feet have got no rhythm

Though it's easy to pretend

The blue light in Miko's open, glassy eyes shines brightly from inside of her pupils. Soon, the light spreads out of her mouth and nose. Thin streams — hair fine threads — of light rise upward from her brow, bristling between Hachiro's fingers. The veins in Hachiro's forehead bulge, as do those in the sides of his neck. Blood vessels rupture in his eyes, his hand shakes, locked in a claw-like grip at Miko's forehead.

I know you're not a fool

Should've known better than to cheat a friend

Miko doesn't say anything, just furrows her brows and wraps her arms around herself after putting on her seatbelt. She tilts her head to the passenger's side window. Hachiro can see her troubled expression reflected in the glass, and for a moment he considers whether to leave the parking garage or stay and talk. After another moment's indecision he puts the car in drive and pulls out of his parking space.

And waste the chance that I've been given

So I'm never gonna dance again

The way I danced with you

Finally, Hachiro pulls his hand from Miko's brow, dragging with it a ghostly and ephemeral series of points of light. It looks like a densely packed constellation of swirling stars, each linked by thin threads of pale white light. The shape is roughly analogous to that of the human brain, with each star a constellation of neurons firing. Until they fade, dissipating, sent elsewhere. Hachiro exhaled a ragged breath, his knees buckle, and he drops to the floor.

Now that you're gone

(Now that you're gone) What I did's so wrong, so wrong

Two car doors swing shut in close timing to one another. As Hachiro settles into the driver's seat, he turns on the ignition with a push start and looks over to Miko as she settles in beside him, tense and anxious. "Rough day?" He offers with equal anxiety to her, tapping a button on the console to start playing music, a slowly building saxophone solo. "George Michael, hmm? Reminds me of the time we went to karaoke for your sixteenth birthday. I remember your mother listened to you sing this song, and she turned to you and said…" Hachiro smiles, fondly. "What was it?"

That you had to leave me alone

"Kimi ga iru dake de boku wa shiawase dayo."

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