The Autumn months brought little change at least from Tationy’s perspective. If you were to gauge Hiko’s thoughts on the time since the fire his outlook was a paradox of contradiction. On one hand the fatalistic Kari had many burdens that weighed him down and yet on the other seemed to think that things were as they were meant to be. Tationy often found herself curious at the way he could dig his heels in to fight and yet be accepting of the fact that everything in his life would always be a battle.
Didn’t he want calm? Normality? These were questions she often found herself asking and the inevitable answer was always, no. Hiko Kari was not the type of man to live an easy life. In fact, she was fairly certain he would not know what to do with himself or it would probably kill him. News headline reads; man dies from conformity.
The sound of rustling distracted her thoughts which brought her back to place and time; specifically, two in the afternoon on a Friday sitting in the office of Doctor Chochi Waichia. Pouring them both tea he spoke, “I like your new glasses.”
“I see you found yourself a new conversation starter,” She stated as she refused his offer of tea. Unfortunately, for him she was still a bit sensitive regarding her eyes. In a snarky tone she continued, “Don’t feel up to jumping right into how I am feeling or what has been going on since we last visited?”
“You instantly go on the defensive when we speak, I thought perhaps we could keep it a bit casual today,” He stated as he took a sip from his tea and set it down quickly.
Doctor Waichia had hidden his reaction, but she knowingly responded, “It’s bitter.”
“That explains why you refused. Your eyes are quite remarkable,” Before pausing momentarily, “We have been doing this dance for a couple of months now. I ask you a question or make a statement to elicit some sort of conversation and you find a way to maneuver yourself out of it.”
As she folded her hands in her lap she responded, “Each of these sessions you try to get me to discuss my feelings and Hiko, but what you really want to know is why I look at you like I have seen you before.”
The man that had been her therapist for a couple of months took a deep breath. His relaxed posture reminded her of Hiko. Even his demeanor spoke of a man born and bred for battle and willing to do whatever was necessary to win. Out of place in the modern age.
“Alright, let’s talk about that. Tell me what it is you see when you look at my face.”
Truly, Doctor Waichia was the type of man to go to any lengths to get the answer he wanted. Tationy thought about changing the topic. Continue the back and forth that they often engaged in, but his request still lingered as her mind swirled with images of the historical past.
There she saw two men, walking side by side in a marketplace. A heaviness loomed and there was a lack of bustle which seemed out of the ordinary. Yet, the one she knew as the Prince of Aslann was calm. She could feel his emotions, see his thoughts, and even understood why he did not carry a sword upon his hip like the man standing at his side.
There was a certain degree of frustration that came to Tationy each time her thoughts wandered to images of the past, the present, and the future. Just a subtle push to look beyond the veil and she could spend hours watching the scene unfold in her head. The uncomfortable part of the ordeal happened when her mind finally cleared itself and she came face-to-face with a concerned expression.
It was difficult to share the sometimes horrific details invoked by her unique abilities. So, Tationy dismissed it casually as absentmindedness, “I am sorry what were we talking about again?”
Most people were quick to believe the misdirect, but the intelligent man before her was not to be fooled. “What is the longest you have been outside your own mind?”
Tationy considered that his wording was a bit strange as she reluctantly responded, “When I was little, I would lose hours and days. Sometimes even weeks, but I have not experienced episodes like those in years…until recently.”
“You know I have to ask, Tationy.”
She brought her hand up, “I don’t want to go back to that girl who would sit in one place for hours lost in her own head. So, the answer to your question is yes, but lately …. I don’t know. Sometimes it doesn’t feel like the medication is working anymore.”
“I sense hesitation in that response.”
Noticeably she sighed, “Well, it is not as though my mind is being dragged to every moment in the past, the present, and the future. There have been plenty of times where I have witnessed the same events over and over again, but this is different. It is fixed on a particular point in time.”
Chochi had a rather curious expression upon his face, “That does seem unusual. Is there something about these moments that you are experiencing that stand out?”
“Not really. I have seen kings rise and fall and entire nations toppled. They are pretty mundane in comparison; the only shared link between them is that they all seem to center around the Prince of Aslann.”
“Do they feel different to you compared to other precognitive moments?”
“They all seem real. These just feel…” She tried to think of how she wanted to word it so it would make sense, but in the end all she managed to say was, “Connected.”
With a degree of resignation in her voice she barely managed to say, “I don’t know.”
Doctor Waichia always had the same response before ending their sessions. I think we have made some real progress, but it never felt like that to Tationy. Her dosages remained unchanged and she would leave the office feeling worse than she did when she had gone in. Still, she thought the most overwhelming part of the entire experience happened when her and Hiko left the building.
It did not matter the destination, the car ride was always filled with heaviness. She didn’t know what to say and he didn’t want to pry. For a good ten minutes, both would just sit in silence until Hiko would break down and ask, “How did things go with the doctor?”
“Why does everyone insist on making my glasses a conversation starter? I am wearing them to see, not for compliments.”
“I have no idea, but my father once said that praise is one of the greatest forms of manipulation.”
“That is frightening, but it actually makes a disturbing amount of sense.”
“So, what did Doctor Waichia say about your medication?”
“Still the same,” She said with resignation. “While he thinks it is possible it could be less effective he still does not think it warrants any changes at this point.”
“Why the hell not?”
“He said that there is not enough information on the abilities of the Tylo and there is a possibility that stress is triggering these episodes.”
“I am starting to wonder why I even pay this guy if he has no idea what the fuck is causing these ….” His words hung there. Tationy could not blame Hiko, it was not as though there was a name for what was happening. So, it was not surprising when he switched gears, “You have been seeing him for a couple of months and he has been consistently saying the same thing. Do you think stress is the cause?”
It was the question she asked herself every time Doctor Waichia brought it up. “I feel stressed when my Hiko is upset, but that is just because you will not let me help you. Sure there are a lot of things going on at any given point and it has been that way for months, but I don’t feel any different.”
Hiko gripped the steering wheel a bit tighter which drew Tationy’s attention. He was a man that needed to know that his entire life, even with all of its ups and downs, was set upon a stable foundation. The months since the fire and the nonsense with his father were a journey of perseverance. He was stressed; even if he tried desperately to hide it from her she could sense it.
Tationy hated feeling helpless. She tried to keep her composure, but she knew there was no way she wouldn’t get upset unless she changed the topic, “I am a little nervous to see this house. The last five the broker said had everything we wanted had so much more we didn’t. Maybe…”
“No,” Hiko stated.
“You didn’t even let me finish.”
“I didn’t need to. We have gone through this with the other houses where you thought I should just pick one and as I told you a hundred times already….this is our future. We are not getting it unless it has everything we both want.”
Hiko shut her down, “I don’t want this to be just some house where we put our stuff, but a home where we make memories together. When you try to push the decision off on me it makes me feel that I am the only one invested. This should go without saying, but we are either together in this or we are not. Which is it?”
Clearly changing the topic was a mistake because Tationy could feel his tension gaining as she asked, “Is my Hiko mad at me?”
“No, I just … want us both to be on the same page right now. If for some reason we are not, I need you to say as much so we both stop wasting time and energy on things that are not going to benefit us.”
She understood what he wanted, but she didn’t know if she was capable of giving it to him. Glancing out the window she tried to get lost in the world passing by, but her thoughts were muddled by his words.
There was a part of her that thought they were on the same page, but sometimes she was worried that they were not even reading the same book.
As much as she hated to admit it, she had baggage; not the type that people carried from a couple of failed relationships. A different kind. Uglier in that everything she had ever seen contributed to how she valued romance, love, and sex. Tationy did not come into her union with Hiko having an ex-boyfriend or two. She brought with her millions and billions of different perspectives on the subject of relationships.
Tationy hoped that their arrival to the house they were to look at would change the atmosphere. Unfortunately, that was not the case and even a deep sigh could not relieve the heaviness that just lingered there after their shared words.
Tationy took a moment to collect herself while Hiko climbed out, walked around, before helping her with the door. Not even with a single word or his favorite awkward smile. Maybe she should have said something, but even if she did would he have believed her? There was some comfort brought to Tationy as his hand settled upon the small of her back. Still, the words, any words felt forced and awkward. So, she focused in on the retro house before them and meekly managed to say, “This place is ugly.”
Hiko snorted, “Well it definitely has its own style. Attached two stall garage is nice.”
“It has no security gate,” She stated.
“Ahh, don’t know how I feel about that. Do you want to look at the outside while we wait for the broker to get here?”
“Might as well,” Tationy responded as she and Hiko began moving.
That damnable silence was still lingering there. She knew she needed to address the conversation that was abruptly ended during the car ride, “Love the pool and the view,” Tationy said and then quickly forced herself to add, “Regarding our conversation. I don’t want you to think that we are not on the same page because that is not what this is.”
“What is it then?”
“I wonder sometimes if what you said to your dad is true. That maybe I am just not capable; I have all of this stuff in my head and I find it difficult to not burden our moments. There are no words to express how happy I am at your side, but I also cannot explain these feelings of ….” Her words hung there.
“It might not seem like it, but I know that you have seen a lot of shit with those eyes. I am not going to pretend I understand what that feels like.” He took a moment to collect himself before adding, “What I want from you is not change or resignation.”
“So, what do you expect then?”
“Patience and time,” He stated, “This is a battle for me; I’m fighting against every preconceived notion that has tainted your views. I cannot change the fact that you see things beyond what any human being should, but I can give it my all to make certain that you know the love of this Kari man. It is not going to happen overnight, but if we are truly on the same page I will win over your heart and all of that bullshit in your head will not be able to taint it again.”
Hiko reached out and grabbed her. His proximity brought anticipation, but it always felt like teasing. With his forehead rested to hers he asked the question again, “Are we on the same page? Don’t answer lightly because if you say yes, it will be you and me for the rest of our lives.”
Why did the connection with him feel so deep? She didn’t understand it, but the pull was clearly there. Quietly she teased, “I hope this is not a marriage proposal because if it is you suck at it.”
Snorting Hiko responded, “Trust me woman, when I ask you to marry me that giddy girl that gets excited over the magic is going to twirl for hours.” Pausing a moment he placed his hand to the back of her head, closed his eyes, and just held them there.
The exchange felt erotic to Tationy even though there was nothing sensual about it. She could smell him; masculine and powerful. It made her dizzy and when she wobbled his arm snaked around her waist to keep her upright. Eventually Hiko continued, “Well, are we on the same page?”
There was a part of her that felt compelled to answer, but her words were not at all what she meant to say, “Sometimes I feel wrong, but never when I am standing next to you.” His eyes opened and fixed upon her. Maybe it was her or him, she was uncertain, but Tationy swore a subtle amount of tension built just from the words spoken, “There is something strange and palpable; even right now it feels like this invisible strand of fate is binding us together. Do you believe in that kind of stuff? I don’t and yet that is how I feel.”
Hiko moved his hand to gently stroke her cheek though initially he offered no words. Perhaps because he was gauging the moment. Eventually, he stated, “You said something like that to me a week ago after one of your…episodes.”
Quietly she asked, “Did I?”
“Ahh, you told me that sometimes it felt as though you and the Prince of Aslann were connected; bound together by fate were the words you used. I hate asking this, but are these moments of the past influencing …” His words stopped there momentarily before he switched gears, “Maybe it is time you tell me what it is you are seeing.”
Tationy understood even if she did not voice the words. She could not say whether or not the stuff she saw in the past was effecting her present and her future. Nor could she give any insight into why she felt a connection to both the Prince of Aslann and Hiko. Still, she had never shared what she saw with anyone. Could she with him?
It was as though he had anticipated her thoughts as he leaned in and whispered, “What you tell me will be our secret, I promise.”
Author Note: Well, it has taken me quite a while to post this. So sorry for that. As many of you are aware I have been helping my step-dad get my grandmother moved in so it has taken me an excruciatingly long time to get this posted. The next chapter should feature characters such as Kuro of the Ishi, Anjou of the Yamada, Sune of the Zenaku, and Sesiago of the Kari. However, before we lead into Chapter 16 (which is not started yet) there is something I have started and need to finish and that is The Exiled Prince short story for the Prince of Aslann. This story is very important and takes place between Chapter 15 and Chapter 16. It is almost finished. I am past the halfway mark on it, just need the time to get in game and finish it up. Hopefully, that will be today, but it was my intention to post it at the same time as Chapter 15. Sadly, that did not happen because it was not finished in time, but hopefully by next week it will be up and posted. If time is cooperative that is. ^_^