Cutscene: Memento Mori
Time: Approximately 12 AM
Place: Yumezaki Ward, Sumaru
Date: 14 August 2011
Gone 11:30, and Yumezaki Ward is still awake. In fact, it's even more awake now than it was at midday, now that the sun's sunk below the skyscraper-populated horizon and the gamblers, junkies, and whores have come out to play. Aglitter with the lights of a thousand entertainment establishments of varying legality and abuzz with the life and energy of those who populate them, the northernmost ward feels more like home than Rengedai ever did. Oh, sure, the Spencers' posh hotel is the finest in the city...but home is home.
Especially after the night Tatsuya Sudou's had.
He'd learned some very unpleasant things in that starry void, that place they'd called the Collective Unconsciousness. Things he's trying, with negligible success, not to think about right now.
But the coffee in his favourite mug is rich and hot, and the leather upholstery of his favourite chair moulds to his lanky body as closely and well as any glove ever fit a hand. The penthouse has acquired some new features during its refurbishment, a few of which the former executive hadn't known about until he'd seen (the bill for) them, and it's been extensively redecorated, but the chair has stayed. He'd been very insistent on that point.
The sound of cats chasing each other echoes down the hall, filtering into the living room and briefly drowning out the ticking of the wall clock. He'd missed them, gentle Fortinbras and bold Laertes; the two felines' presence reinforces the sense of home and of the familar as much as the coffee and chair do. In these past few months, tumultuous as they were, Sudou hadn't had much of that available to hold onto. Now, though...well, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
Tick, tock. He shifts in his seat, uncoiling his long legs from beneath his body and throwing them over the leather arm. His birthday's tomorrow, one he never expected to see. He'll be thirty in all of five minutes -- thirty and alive, with a full moon in the sky and the smoke of the Obon fires hanging on the breeze. He's occasionally wondered, in that way people who are too smart and too superstitious for their own good do, if the fact that he was born during Obon had something to do with the prominent roles fire and death have played in his life.
August 14th, 2011. 12:00 AM. Tatsuya Sudou is thirty years old, and sitting in a room full of viridian darkness. Wan yellow moonbeams slant through the picture window to his left, their light oozing across the polished hardwood floor like cooling piss. A heartbeat, and he sets down his coffee and rises gracefully from the chair, maneuvering deftly to the nearby balcony. The door slides open easily, baring his frowning face to the dead air. He steps to the railing and looks over the edge, pale visage tinted a ghastly hue of ghost-green by the bilious ambience. Below, Yumezaki's glitter has vanished, extinguished by the morbid shroud of the Dark Hour. His frown slowly pulls into an irony-tinged smile as he eyes his domain; it's as though the cosmos, in one last fit of gallows humour, decided to gift him with this memento mori for the birthday he almost didn't live to see.
He stays outside for the duration of the Hour, doing very little of consequence. Nothing else stirs, save Shadows.
Once it's over and the lights have come back on in ozone-scented silence, Sudou returns indoors and takes out his iPhone, one white hand flicking a thumb over the contacts list and choosing a name while the other refills his coffee mug. As the latter hand closes long fingers around warm ceramic, the former raises the smartphone to his ear. Within a few rings he's greeted by a familiar voice, one perpetually aslant with dry amusement.
"Seiichi. You may want to sit down for this."