Cutscene: stage one - Wish-Fulfilling Pill
Date: August 15, 2012
The dull sound of chairs scraping lightly against cement rings like nails on a chalkboard to Kaito Yoshida. His fingernails scrape against his pantslegs, his far-too sensitive fingertips feeling every fiber of denim drag rough across their surface. Beads of colds sweat drool down his all-too pale forehead as a chair is set down next to him; even the impact sounds like a cannonball to his ears.
Kaito Yoshida is not well.
"S'been a while, kid."
A second chair is set down. The man who settles into it is one achingly familiar to Kaito: large - he always seemed so large, even when sitting, as if he could just squash Kaito underneath his heel at any time - with black hair slicked back, he hardly looked any different from when last the man saw him. The black beard he wears now scarcely covers the sign of an ugly scar tracing a path along his jawline. He looks up at Kaito with vibrant green eyes, and gestures for him to sit in the other chair. Like always, Kaito can't do much more than comply.
"... Yeah. Sorry I didn't -- yeah," he mumbles out from a wheezing breath. "...They finally let you out, huh?"
"Yeah. Good behavior. I guess." Kaito watches with glassy eyes as the man speaks, his gaze focused on the other man's right hand as it taps against his knee -- fixating, briefly, on the stub where a pinky once was. He quickly tears his gaze away.
"Normally I wouldn't--" Before Kaito can speak more, coughing overtakes him. Violent and wet, it forces his whole body into a lurch, curling inward as he hacks into the open palms of his hands. The other man keeps his gaze fixed forward the entire time, unphased.
"... Sorry," Kaito apologizes again, wiping spittle and phlegm from his lips. "Like I said, I-- normally I wouldn't bug you or ask favors like this. I... I've always respected you a lot. But I haven't... I've been living a clean life ever since... you know. For my family's sake. But..." Kaito looks up, staring outward at the otherwise vacant room. Doubt and shame cloud his unfocused gaze. "... this thing -- this illness I've got, it isn't going away. We can't afford treatment at the hospitals, and ever since that clinic was attacked, I... I'm just scared my sister's gonna do something reckless and it'll all be because of this damn thing."
Kaito's lips pull into a thin line. He inhales, slowly, a whistling sound issuing along with it. "Sorry. I was just hoping... you could do me this one favor. The other guys -- they said you could help with this... condition I've got. I can't... I can't work for you again. And I don't have that much mo--" more coughing. His lungs feel like they're on fire. His entire world starts spinning. His eyes dry as the room becomes a blur of smearing grays. Something feels like it wants to break out of his skin and eat him and is this what it feels like to die--
Something lands in his lap, and suddenly, it is all he can focus on. A clear, small, ziplock baggy, filled with a handful of pills. They look rough - almost rocky, colored a deep shade of gray that borders on black, like smoothed out chunks of lead.
"... Take those," instructs Kaito's companion. His gaze is still fixed forward and severe. "They'll help. I don't wanna hear about payment or any of that shit. This is somethin' I owe you." Kaito's eyes widen. Every muscle in his body suddenly relaxes as if released from some unknowable burden.
"Thank you -- thank you so much, I--"
"Shut it," growls the man, and instantly Kaito complies. "But Yoshida -- you use 'em for anything other than that cough, I ain't responsible for that. You understand?"
"O-of course-- I told you, I don't do that anymo-- I mean, just -- I understand, Hideo. Really, I do."
The man named Hideo stands. Hands shoved in pockets, he stalks away, leaving Kaito to stare wonderingly at his baggy of granted wishes.
"Then get out. I got shit t'do."