The Eightfold Path, Part V


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Scene Title The Eightfold Path, Part V
Synopsis Fractures within the Company begin to form.
Date December 3, 1986

"Watashi wa Takezo Kensei!"

Cottony, white clouds hang low on the blue horizon, broken up by the roofs of many buildings scattered amidst a rambling forest in the looming shadow of Mt. Fuji. The wind blows through the trees, swaying their boughs and bringing with it the chill of winter's approach. On the spacious back porch overlooking the pine forest, a battle is about to be waged.

"Ryuu! Watashi wa anata ga hime o toru koto wa dekimasen!"

White socks scuff across hardwood, widening into an awkward fighting stance. The legendary Takezo Kensei is exhausted, his arms ache, sweat beads from his brow and mats his hair to his forehead. The wind is cold on his skin, prickling gooseflesh beneath the fabric of his midnight blue robe. Grip tightening, he raises one elbow high and the other low, angling his sword down along his eyeline in a weary, though traditional, stance.

"Now I fight you!" Kensei shouts, and tightens his grip…

…on a yardstick.

Nakamura Residence

Fujinomiya, Japan

December 3rd


Through the sliding glass door that looks out onto the porch, Kaito Nakamura watches his six year old son fevrishly swinging a yardstick around, cheeks puffed and glasses slouched down off the bridge of his nose. There's a istful smile spread across Kaito's lips as he settles down with his breakfast at the dining room table, an American newspaper laid out beside him. He flips it over to the cover to see a photograph of Russian and American diplomats sitting around a table. The headline reads START Talks Discuss Global Nuclear Fears.

Setting the paper aside at the sound of approaching footsteps, Kaito looks up and over at the woman approaching from his right. Lifting an arm out, he slides it around his wife's waist as she slips in and presses a kiss to his forehead. Ishi Nakamura looks over the top of her husband's head to their son's play fighting outside, and each yardstick swing makes her smile grow. "«I thought Hiro was going to be practicing his English?»"

Kaito side-eyes Hiro, then looks back at Ishi with a smirk. "«He's shouting at the Dragon in English.»" Ishi rolls her eyes and reaches up with one hand to mess up Kaito's hair, then moves in to settle down beside him with a cup of tea. "«Would you mind taking Hiro out for the day when Kimiko gets home?»" Kaito asks without changing his conversational tone, moving the paper aside and pouring himself a small cup of tea from the kettle Ishi brought over.

"«Today? Is it work?»" Concern furrows Ishi's brow, and Kaito looks down into his teacup contemplatively.

"«Mostly.»" He says with a look up to her that way he does when he's hiding something. Ishi draws in a slow breath, then nods and straightens her hair anxiously.

"«I'll take them somewhere. How long?»" She looks out to the porch, where little Hiro skids around on his socks, yardstick-sword flailing wildly, shouts muffled by the layers of glass.

Kaito follows her eyeline to the boy, then back. "«Until the evening. Maybe a day trip up to Akihabara?»" His suggestion earns a wry smile from Ishi.

"«You do that and Hiro's going to grow up to be a strange little nerd.»" Ishi teases with an impish smile, eliciting a feigned look of serious indignation from Kaito that swiftly melts away into a smile. No worry about Kimiko turning out weird, it would seem. Kaito leans over to press a kiss to Ishi's temple. "«I suppose it wouldn't be all that bad,»" she admits with wryness in her tone, "«some of my favorite people are strange little nerds.»"

Kaito laughs deeply, smiling as he shakes his head. He's about to come back with a comment on Ishi's recent adopting of reading bawdy romance novels, but is interrupted by the ringing of a phone on the kitchen wall. Kaith breathes in deeply and then exhales a sigh, slowly rising from his seat as the phone continues to ring. While Kaito makes his way into the kitchen, Ishi looks out the sliding doors to little Hiro, flailing his yardstick around with hopping stomps and flailing slashes, fighting an imaginary dragon for the heart of a princess.

"Moshi moshi," Kaito says casually into the phone, and as Ishi pivots her attention to him she notices a distinct change in his posture. "Let me take this on my office line," Kaito says as he lays the receiver down on the kitchen counter. "«I'm sorry, it's work. Would you please hang that up once I'm in my office?»" Ishi nods wordlessly, folding her napkin up in her lap and setting it aside, then rising with a gentle push of her chair out. Kaito steps away from the phone, giving Ishi a wordless look, before moving out of the kitchen and thorugh the dining room on slippered feet, cutting down a narrow hallway that ends in a doorway to a spacious office surrounded by tall windows with slatted wooden blinds. As Kaito closes the door, he watches Ishi pick up the receiver from the counter and start bringing it toward the receiver on the wall.

He closes the door, then walks to his desk and picks up the desk phone. "Charles?"

«I'm sorry for calling you so early in the morning.» Charles Deveaux's voice on the other end of the phone is weary. As Kaito settles into his plush leather office chair, he draws in a slow breath and waits for whatever is stressing Charles so much to come to the surface. «I hate to ask you to do this, but I need you to come to New York, as soon as possible.»

"I am on vacation, Charles." Kaito's stern reminder stands in sharp contrast to what he'd told Ishi earlier. But then, after a moment of silence on the other end he adds, "Is it an emergency?"

«No,» sounds like a lie. Is likely a lie, Kaito surmises. «It's… a sensitive matter, I don't feel comfortable discussing it over the phone. I'd come to you, but— » That there is enough to get Kaito's attention. Charles doesn't like to travel, under any circumstances.

"I'll book a flight immediately." Kaito says quietly into the receiver.

«Thank you, Kaito.» Though he's certain Charles means it, Kaito can't help but feel something hollow in the thanks. The click on the other end of the phone ends the call, and Kaito closes his eyes and draws in a slow and steady breath. Then, into the phone still held in his hand he asks a simple question.


There's a soft click of a another receiver hanging up. Kaito doesn't get up from his desk. Instead, he waits with a slouch against the back of the chair, listening to the softly approaching footfalls on the hardwood floor. When Ishi opens his office door, the look Kaito gives her is both expectant and not entirely displeased. He waits for her to come in and close the door, then slowly scrubs one hand over his mouth in thought.

"«Is it bad?»" She asks with a worried furrow of her brows, absent-mindedly threading a lock of dark hair behind one ear.

"«Likely,»" Kaito admits, glancing out the window when Hiro comes windmilling into view, wildly swinging his yardstick-sword. "«Charles isn't one to make hasty decisions, or be easily shaken. Something must be going on.»" Ishi comes to sit on the corner of Kaito's desk, reaching out to take her husband's hand in her own, squeezing it firmly.

"«We should come with you.»" Ishi affirms. "«Family is strength.»"

A shadow crosses Kaito's expression in response, and he looks away from her and to the window again. "«The Company has changed, Ishi. I hardly recognize us anymore. I know, intellectually, things have always been this way… but it feels like there's something… sight-unseen… that changed recently. I have a nagging feeling that I'm missing something, and that whatever it is bleeds inside everything we do, an unseen killer.»"

Now it's Ishi's turn to look worried, and her grip on Kaito's hand only tightens. "«You can't tell?»" Ishi asks, nervously. Knowledge was Kaito's province, seeing the patterns in events before they happened or through the actions of the past. For his sight to be clouded was cause for concern. Cause for the entire Company to be concerned.

"«Arthur's been very displeased with the Formula research. After our argument last month,»" the reason he was on vacation at all, "«I could feel a rift starting to divide us. Arthur, Daniel, Maury… it's like something changed in them. Even Angela is afraid to talk to Arthur about it. His moods have been erratic, he's started drinking. I don't know if it's safe for you and the children in the States.»"

"«Charles would know.»" Ishi seems certain of. "«Go to New York, find out what's going on, and maybe everything will make sense then. I'll keep an eye on Hiro and Kimiko while you're gone.»"

Kaito smiles, nervously, and squeezes Ishi's hand back. "«And who will keep an eye on you?»" Kaito asks with a bittersweet smile. Ishi returns one of her own, brghter and more full of life as she leans in and softly kisses him.

"«I expect you to make up for lost time upon return,»" is Ishi's whispered rejoinder, eliciting a flush to Kaito's cheeks and shared laughter among the two. "«Make your calls,»" Ishi insists, giving one last squeeze of Kaito's hand before letting it go and sliding off from the corner of his desk. "«I'll make sure Hiro doesn't conquer Tokyo while you're gone.»"

Kaito draws in a slow, steadying breath that is exhaled through his nose as a deep sigh. Out the window, Hiro twirls past, trips over his socks, and falls flat on his face on the back deck. Kaito slowly closes his eyes, then blinks a look over to Ishi.

"«You're a brave woman.»"

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