Cutscene: stage one - Calcination

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stage one

Date: August 30th, 2012


"I need more."

Hideo Matsuda does not look up at the scrawny young man who addresses him. Yen bills slap into the table in front of him in a flurry of blues, purples and calloused fingers; his expression maintains a stony neutrality as he counts through crumpled currency.

The same cannot be said for his companion.

"You never listen to me. You've always been like that."

"Heard everything you said."

"But you're not LISTENING!"

The flush of money stops, briefly; Hideo turns vivid green eyes upon Kaito Yoshida, a young man who, only weeks earlier, had more customarily spoke to him with a tone closer to timid desperation. The look on his face, in frenzied brown eyes now flecked with yellow, is so much more confrontational in comparison -- like a pack animal trying to challenge the coveted alpha status.

Hideo snorts, and looks back to his money. The count resumes.

"Then say what you gotta say."

"I need more of it."

"Don't look sick to me."

"... It's not about that. I just need--"

"It's exactly about that," Hideo interrupts curtly, separating out piles of money and leaning back in his old, rusted steel chair. "What'd I tell you when I gave you that bag?"

"I know. That's why I--"

"You use it for anything but that cough, ain't my responsibility." Hideo Matsuda's voice cuts in like the crude chop of a butcher's knife. His chair protests noisily against concrete as he pushes out of it, facing Kaito fully. He advances on the younger man, eyes narrowed and focused. "You took 'em. You ain't coughin' for shit anymore. An' then you still come here, actin' like what the fuck I said means jack shit."

Hideo now towers over the other man by a good head or more, looking down on him with an expression best described as acerbic. "You sure you wanna be accusin' me of not listenin' after all that, Yoshida?"

Kaito manages to look up, expression stern. He meets Hideo's gaze evenly -- despite how overbearing the older man's sheer presence is, he refuses to look away. "I did listen. What I use it for -- you don't have to take responsibility for it."

Hideo remains silent, but that stare presses down on Yoshida, expectant. The scrawny man gulps once, but still stands his ground, hands falling behind his back. "Cint -- it's more than just a cure for me. It... I've never felt so -- so strong before! I've been able to help people - lead people - try to make things better and I -- I never could have done that without it! I need it. I know I can really make a difference in Sumaru, I know I can, I have it all figured out in my head what I've gotta do, I just -- I need it! ... I need it. I can't do what I know I've gotta do without it. And then, after, it won't... you owe me this much, Hideo. You owe me, and it's... it's what I need right now. So... give me it. Just this once, just so I can do this, and then I won't -- have to bother you anymore."

"..." Hideo stares at the other man for a long time; the tension in the musty, old room is palpable. His green eyes drift down to the younger man's arms.

He snorts.

"You're a stupid shit."

Yoshida grits his teeth. "I know."

"An' that's it, then? That's what you're tryin' to tell me?"

"... It is."

With one gruff shake of his head, Hideo turns away. "Yoshida. You take this from me now, we're even. Whatever the fuck you do after this is on your head. It ain't comin' back to me."

Kaito Yoshida's brown eyes widen. The sickly yellow flecks within them seem to almost bulge at the words. "Of course. Of course! This is all on me now. This is all for me..."

Hideo stomps an irritable path towards a back door labeled simply, 'KEEP OUT.' "Fine. You'll get more. But you're gonna wait -- still workin' on the next batch." He pauses only briefly here.

"... An' Yoshida... don't be a goddamn idiot."

The door opens. Kaito Yoshida's hands fall away from the gun stuffed into the back of his pants, staring in wide-eyed wonder at the distant sight of roaring flames writhing in a chaotic frenzy, and the a single, black dot glowing like a dark sun in miniature in the epicenter of it all.

"... I--"

The door slams shut.

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