Copyright 2021 Kieran Somerville -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Time passes. No more passing out thank god. I managed to get socks and shoes on after I figured out how to get my toes back. I fell on my face for other reasons this time, and Rana would just laugh and help me back on my feet. Evidently, for the first few months after this - well, choice happened - I was always falling on my face. They meant it, when they said they’d help me not just walk, but race to the finish line. We were walking through the corridors, and some of my memory from this point in time was starting to return a bit more. Nothing made sense though, as we finally made it to the common area in this old rec center turned into a school come haven.
Blocks from where I grew up. In another time, this was just a rec center - In another time I played softball here one summer before we moved to the suburbs. Yet it was another time, where my mind was broken for different reasons. A time where it took me well into my thirties to figure out where my brain was. Where my mind should settle, and how to exist in the world. I was one person, but it felt like my brain was more than one. Yet the other times we’re all physically peeled off each other like an orange… scratch that, BANANA. (See what I did there?)
“You’re here, that’s good. Wasn’t sure you’d make the journey awake.”
“Wait, I thought.”
“I’m not Izuchi.”
“I’m Makoto. I’m his cousin, and your brother in law.” Cousin, ok. I. Uh. Moving right along… this pink haired with black underlay fluff ball isn’t human either i’m guessing. “The only telepath left on your timeline that can take down the mental walls we all helped put up to keep you from falling apart years ago.” He smiled, and motioned for me to sit in the chair in front of him. “Let’s make this quick, because you’re gonna have a headache and probably a bloody nose for a bit after this. I hate to admit this, but even Kristoff doesn’t know that with you we had to add extra barriers - the concrete and rubber ones aren’t of your doing - those are mine. I’ve got several barriers to break and i’m here to help!”
I thought I was the demise of my own future, maybe Makoto’s just… I don’t know maybe he’s just saving me from myself?
“Don't be heavy handed, or your nephew will be a bastard by the time he gets old enough to remember who his babysitter is.” Saitou stood behind Makoto, teeth clenched. He was pacing because he was worried. He was also pacing because one of his eyes was partially blue. I said HALF of the mouse was gone - only half. I Guess I accidentally married the other half?
“I won’t, he won’t go insane from it but he’ll need paracetamol after this. Just because he’s no longer human doesn’t mean he won’t need some form of painkiller while his brain resets itself.” Makoto kicked his brother in the shin and wrinkled his eyebrows, “You BOTH need to settle because your anxiety isn’t helping.”
“Nya, makoto-kun, it’s not Mike that’s pacing - it’s me, your idiot baby brother who can’t keep still because his husband’s in pain.” Saitou’s face was pained, and he wouldn’t stand still. “That being said, my anxiety is the only thing preventing Mike from being the idiot cheerleader he’d be right now.”
“Ok how long is this meant to take?”
“Sit still, you won’t remember this part.”
They were right that I was only going to remember the before and the after, at least the part where I wake up with the noise of first avenue and hennepin. Cars, people, nightlife you’d assume - but it’s just everything at once as if it were a chorus of screaming toddlers, teenagers and those beeps from a hearing test.
I was sitting in the same spot I was in the last time that I woke up. The pain wasn’t real pain, it was just pressure and unfocused noise, unrelenting screeching and the course of remembrance. It was my turn to remember things, it was my turn to remember the story of how we all got here. At least, to me - it wasn’t remembering, it was learning. I felt like I never knew, but in this case it was just revisions to the timeline keeping things from going south.
“ON WHAT? I CAN BARELY HEAR THE NOISE IN MY HEAD IS SO LOUD.” I yelled, because well it was what I felt. Maybe I wasn’t ACTUALLY hearing it. The hearing part was subjective to whether or not I meant my mind or my ears. My ears were fine, I just wasn’t processing what was on the outside.
“On everything outside. Not your thoughts, not your memories, and certainly not the freight trains and toddlers, teenagers and beeps.” Kristoff laughed, slapped the back of my head. “You’re going to need to look with your eyes at what’s around you right now and not focus on the memories quite yet. Let those filter through like wind, you know how they always talk about the elements? Use that theory to guide those back to you.” Oww. Ok so THAT was painful. He’s heavier handed than anyone else the last few times who’ve slapped me. I guess there’s nothing in the rule book about giving yourself brain damage back handedly. Violence isn’t the answer, so why is it there? I mean, yes i’m whining - but I thought we did away with slapping ourselves! Ok, I get it - I’m just being a baby, he’s not slapping me for torment - he’s taking me off guard and being playful. It just fucking hurt.
“Did you just say wind?” I kept my eyes shut but being that somehow I could smell those around me more than usual I turned my head to face him. Almost eye to eye, y’know without my eyes actually being open. Then of course, like the jackass I am - “FRRFRRPPTTRRPPTT” - Fart noise, ala being how old again?
“Nice one, open those eyes and stop being a child for two minutes.” Makoto pushed Kristoff aside and poked me lightly on each eye. Just enough to annoy me but not enough to damage anything. “Open them, and ignore what he said. You do want to process everything at once, it’ll be a shock to your system but we have things we need to get done like now. We can’t wait on you sadly much longer.”
“I thought you said you’d give him time.” Kristoff raised an eyebrow and questioned Makoto, his tone curious but frustrated. “I mean I know we’re on a short leash with time right now, but you don’t want to overburden the poor bastard.”
“We gave you time in your time, because you HAD time from what I learned from Mike and Shiro. We don’t have time in this time, because - well WE JUST DO NOT HAVE IT.” Makoto growled, put his hand on my shoulder and rustled a box of something near me. “I’m gonna stick things at your face and you tell me WITH YOUR EYES OPEN what it reminds you of. Don’t tell me literally what it is, tell me where and what and how and who and when.”
“SKUNK 1955.” “I’m serious.”
“Ok fine, excuse me if i’m a little hesitant about this.”
Makoto grabbed the first thing out of the box, and I fluttered my eyelids to try and focus my sight on what was going on. You know the feeling when you’ve upgraded from an analogue large screen tv to now suddenly having a 4k Ultra HIgh Definition HDR tv? Yea, that’s what sight, smell and everything else just became. Maybe I had some of this before they unblocked things - but accessing things was like pulling teeth.
“Speak, tell me what this is - figuratively like I just said. Don’t rush, you’re welcome to study for a little bit - I mean don’t take a fucking half hour for each object but take a minute or so to get your bearings on it.”
The object? A damn banana. Yes, I just went there again, and yep - I want to skip all this and be a despicable me and I WANT TO SCREAM “BANANAS!!!”. Maybe be a bit more like Gwen Stefani when she sings “THIS SHIT IS BANANAS”. Instead my brain doesn’t go there, and reminds me this isn’t about the literal incarnation of the color, the object or the smell. These are objects that walkers have been gathering across lines. Some can still manage to sneak across and things don’t get stuck or lost - but it’s rare evidently.
“Earthquake, twenty years ago.”
“I’m getting there… “ I furrowed my brows and tried to concentrate more. “It’s not, here - not our time, nor our world. I’m not able to gather the exact location.”
“No, that’s good. You aren’t expected to know places and locations if you haven’t been there. I’m sure you could name a few if they’re here on earth - but other worldly? The fact you’re able to mention something is great. Time might’ve been off a bit, but good, let’s move on.” Makoto put the banana down, only for his brother to pick it up and open it up and eat it. “OI. SAI YOU HAVE NO CL… SAI .. THATS…”
“A sentient banana? From Warai? I’m not stupid, you put pheromones on this, it’s a banana from teh fucking grocery store you moron.” Saitou rolled his eyes and threw the peel at his brother and walked off merrily eating the banana’s insides. Save from the ever growing amount of cheeky immature blow job jokes he was making at me as he walked past. “You, me - later behind the shed! BABY #2??”
I went red, I gulped and I strained a look at him like I was confused. Because I was.
“Ok, next object, ignore my brother.” Makoto rolled his eyes and picked the next one up, it was a dusty smartwatch. Ok at least it looked like it, I’m not making any assumptions on this one.
I focused, but in not assuming - I realize that it wasn’t a smart watch. It wasn’t a dumb watch either, but it wasn’t a normal watch. I even recognize who’s it is, and what it’s for and where it’s from.
“This, it’s a communication device. It’s mine, and it’s from when we visited what’s left of Yasuo’s homeworld, and of course yours and Sai’s.” I wiped off the dust from it and looked at it again, it looked like it’d been through a war. “Wait, no, step back on that one - it’s not from this version of time - this version of time we’re in now - we never visited. We didn’t get a chance. We were going to eventually, but it became illegal over five years ago to leave the planet via the portal system without a permit.”
“Good, anything else?”
“Yes, it smells of sex, and it smells -- wait, this is meant to be from… I had this around the time Psilas was born, but because the war broke out on that time we lost him. He didn’t die, but we all split up and for his safety he went with someone else. This was mine, but we gave it to him - so you took it off his arm twenty minutes ago after he got done mas… GROSS.” I started dry retching.
I didn’t need that thought process in my mind, and thank god walkers can’t see the direct situation - and most can’t smell. It’s just when you’re “changed” by your husband, who’s from what’s called “TASOGARE SEKAI” or “Shadow Quadrant” as they roughly say it in english - you end up with some random animal form. Maybe more like animalistic traits… I guess. I’m not even sure at this point.
“WELL DAD, YOU KNOW THERE IS A POINT TO ALL OF THIS SO STOP JUDGING.” Psilas stood right in front of me and poked me in the nose. His red eyes, blonde hair- he looked like Saitou a bit.
“Anyone else, or anything else off… Wait one last thing.” Makoto grabbed one last thing, it was a wallet. He opened it, and passed it to me to check out. Cards were in there, photos were in there and coins in the coin pocket. I wanted to throw it at Psilas for making me want to puke up whatever food I've had in the last 24 hours.
“Wait, this is…” I looked at the photos, a blonde teenager with red eyes. The face wasn’t Psilas, it was softer. I mean I somewhat recognized the face shape, the features but the hair was different.
“Don’t let the hair fool you, he dyes his hair.” Makoto snickered, and passed a more recent photo of the same person just a bit older. “See?”
“Yes, that’s my nephew, and your step-son.”
“I mean I…”
“Nobody expects you to remember everything - the barriers being down don’t prevent you from having patches of your memory gone.” Makoto smiled and filtered through more photos and handed one back to me.