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Private Dying into Black

Discussion in 'Elysium' started by Ayano Tateyama, Jan 20, 2019.

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  1. Ayano Tateyama

    Ayano Tateyama Kagerou Project
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    The thick and faded tears of loved ones go unnoticed by all, turning black

    December 8th

    Ayano had gone a while without getting any replies from Shiro and even when he did reply to her, the worries were still there. “Some unexpected stuff came up”, reading those words gave her a feeling of dread. Maybe it was because she was the kind of person to bottle up her problems like that, so her immediate thought was that something happened to Shiro and he was doing exactly the same thing she used to do.

    Because of that, Ayano tried to get herself some free time as soon as she possibly could so she could visit Shiro. Maybe talking in person would make him more likely to tell her what’s going on. She… honestly wasn’t sure if she was intruding into some deeply personal matter, something that wasn’t really bad, just also not the kind of type he felt comfortable telling someone like her, who he had only known for a few months at most.

    Still… he did go as far as calling her his sister. Despite the comparatively short amount of time they’d known each other, they bonded so quickly that they already saw each other as family. With that in mind… just what could Shiro be hiding from her? Probably the same kind of thing that was bothering him when she first met him, he also never talked about that with her.

    Taking a deep breath, she made her way to Team Voltron’s house, now having actually memorized the way there, and knocked on the door. She was wearing a winter outfit, her red scarf present like always, and she fiddled with the red fabric as she anxiously waited for Shiro to open the door.




    @Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane
     
  2. Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane

    Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane Voltron: Legendary Defender

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    The home was empty.

    Shiro was empty. He'd woken up too early, again, in a bed that was far too big for just one person. Granted it was meant for two, for he and Keith, but the latter had run away again when things had gotten too much, left behind a gaping hole where his presence was sorely missed. The reason Shiro had woken up early? Another nightmare. The phantom burning in his neck had him groggily dragging himself to the bathroom, looking at his reflection there and finding the red ring of burned tissue still around his neck, almost as if someone had placed a lasso around his throat, but burning hot instead of rope.

    He'd been quick to cover up after washing away his cold sweat in the shower, the winter months, even in Elysium, giving him excuse enough to hide behind sweaters with high collars and polo necks. The rest of his fresher wounds were easier to hide too, barely been back for a week and they'd turned into bruises mostly, the open wounds healing over with new scar tissue he had to add to his already abundant gallery. There was no usual work out that morning, no jog with Juvo, not when each step felt as if the floor was draining the very essence and energy out of Shiro.

    Breakfast was dealt with mechanically, Shiro putting on a smile when the other paladins appeared one at a time and headed off for their usual days, off to work, see friends, etc. No one asked Shiro about Keith and he was grateful they didn't, all of them used to him disappearing and believing he'd come back in his own time, though it didn't help their leader who suffered all the more with the absence of the young man. He drifted through the early morning like a ghost, neither here nor there, flashes of the ordeal in the arena both recently and his time with the Galra flashed in front of Shiro's eyes, the man no longer crying out or flinching when these images did appear.

    Instead he busied his hands, tidied up a little for Ayano's arrival whilst a worried and perturbed Juvo kept him company, sticking close to the man's heels for most of the day. Shiro missed the sound of the teenager knocking, though his dog's soft woof to let him know had him pausing for a moment, walking over to the door and pulling up that mask he so often wore. He didn't overdo it, a small, gentle smile in place and he didn't hide his fatigue, knowing Ayano would pick up on it naturally, he just hid his own demons a little more out of sight for now.

    "Hello Ayano." He greeted, a lot more somber than the last time they had met.
    "Come inside." Shiro murmured, stepping aside as he swung the door open a little further, Juvo's tail wagging as he sat at the man's feet and looked expectantly at the young woman. Shutting the door behind his guest, Shiro ushered her through to the living room where two cups of tea, still steaming, were waiting on the coffee table.
    "I'm glad you made it alright. And I hope you don't mind but I went ahead and made us both some tea." The elder gestured to the mugs before he smiled down at the girl, avoiding the usual hug he would have given her for now as he didn't think he had the energy in him to pretend something so simple wouldn't have hurt his battered and bruised body.
     
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  3. Ayano Tateyama

    Ayano Tateyama Kagerou Project
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    The thick and faded tears of loved ones go unnoticed by all, turning black


    The door opened and right out of the gate Ayano could see just how tired Shiro looked. He looked like he had barely gotten any sleep, despite the fact he usually went to bed early. It was obvious that the smile he was giving her now was just a front, that he was just putting up an act so as to be polite and make her think he was alright.

    It had been less than five minutes and Ayano could already start feeling dread wash all over her. About as soon as that door opened, the atmosphere felt like it was getting heavier, a much different kind of feeling from all the other times Ayano had come to visit.

    Just what happened to him?

    "H-Hey big brother," Ayano greeted him, trying to smile. While she was genuinely happy to see him again, she couldn't deny that the worry she was feeling now was suppressing that joy.


    She came inside and was greeted by little Juvo, who was looking at her in a way that she could swear looked like even he knew something was wrong and wanted her to help. It was nice, however, to see just how attached Juvo was to Shiro, clearly the fact Keith was the one who found him mattered little when it came down to the dog's affections.

    "Some tea sounds nice but..." Ayano trailed off, hesitating to point the obvious for a moment before deciding to go for it. "Are you alright, Shiro? You look so tired, maybe you should take a nap? I could come back later..."


     
  4. Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane

    Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane Voltron: Legendary Defender

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    "Hmm?" Came the barely attentive response from Shiro, the man trying his best to be present for Ayano but he wasn't himself when his mind and body didn't feel like they even belonged to him in that moment. It wasn't the first time he'd felt that and he doubted it would be the last. But he had a guest, a very special one who was more family than friend now and he needed to do better for her, at the very least to keep her from worrying any more than her precious little head already did.

    Looking over to Ayano as he was about to sit down on the sofa, the paladin paused when he saw the anxiety etched into her features, no doubt a result of his own current demeanor. Dammit Shiro, now look what you've done. Deciding to smile for now, it was a tired one but the fact he had attempted it was sign enough that he was trying or at least he hoped that's what it showed.

    Holding up his hand to show the sleep wasn't needed (it was, just not now), Shiro took a seat on the sofa and patted the spot beside him for his little sister to take. Juvo padded over to the man's feet as he did so, nudging the paladin's knees before laying loyally by his side on the floor, as if to show a sign of solidarity and comfort.
    "I haven't been sleeping too well-" What's new?
    "But I'll be fine. Besides, seeing my little sister already works wonders." He wanted to hug Ayano, Shiro really did, though he couldn't. Whilst his body would give him away and show his pain via his flinches and jerks he couldn't help, he mostly couldn't hug the teenager out of fear he'd cry the moment he felt her small arms wrap around him.
     
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  5. Ayano Tateyama

    Ayano Tateyama Kagerou Project
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    The thick and faded tears of loved ones go unnoticed by all, turning black


    He was trying so hard to act like he was fine, even when he clearly wasn't. It was like looking into a mirror in perhaps the most uncomfortable way possible. Ayano often hid her pain and sadness behind a smile so happy that nobody would think it was fake. Shiro did the same thing too, she had known that for a long time now.

    But this time it was so painfully obvious, it must've meant something truly terrible had happened. Something that not even the cool-headed leader of Voltron was able to handle. Or perhaps, all those bottled up feelings were finally becoming too much to bear. Maybe even both at once. No matter which, it was clear that Shiro was on his limit.

    Could she do anything for someone like him?

    Taking a seat next to him, it was clear that Ayano was unconvinced and so, she thought it would be better to go straight to the point instead of trying to subtly drag the answers out of him. She hadn't gone there just to try and find out what happened, she really did want to spend some time with Shiro.

    Just not like this.

    "Shiro... you don't have to pretend everything is alright around me, you know," she gently spoke, her eyes still filled with concern. "I was a big sister once. I've done that before too. A lot, actually" Despite herself, she smiled, finding some light amusement in how similarly they tended to behave in this kind of situation.


    She knew that what happened likely had nothing to do with her. Shiro was from another world, had people from his world here with him and led a life that she knew had to have been really stressful. There were a multitude of things that could be weighing on him and she was perhaps the least qualified person to talk about these problems with him.

    But she couldn't just do nothing when someone so dear to her was suffering so much.


     
  6. Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane

    Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane Voltron: Legendary Defender

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    The silence hung heavily in the air between them, it was as comforting for Shiro as it was distressing. His shoulders sunk in on themselves a little more, the usually big man looking smaller as moments continued to pass between the two of them. It was only a couple of months ago he had spoken to her about something that had upset him a few months before that, it felt as if she only heard bad things from Shiro and he didn't want to be that kind of person. He was supposed to be her big brother as well and as far as he was concerned he was doing a bad job of it.

    More than anything, Shiro couldn't stand letting people down.

    His stormy coloured eyes lifted a little to look at Ayano as she spoke so softly, reassuring him even now she would be here for him and that it was okay not to be strong all the time. Sighing at last, Shiro first hunched over with his elbows on his knees, his free hands coming up to cradle his hands in them before he let his palms run over his fatigued features. How did he explain to Ayano that he had gone through something echoing back to his past? That the past seemed to keep on catching up to him and never seemed done in making him suffer?

    Shiro pinched at the bridge of his nose before he tried piecing together scrambled parts of his messed up life, picking and choosing which ones would be best to explain to Ayano what had happened without letting her realise just how much of a mess he was.
    "I was kidnapped." Probably not the best opening but he was trying. He didn't dare look at his little sister, instead Shiro stared ahead of him and let out heavy sigh once more, his fingers curling up against his knees before continuing.

    "The day after your birthday, I was kidnapped when doing rounds in the Undercity. I was thrown in with other victims and collared, forced to-" Kill. Shiro shook his head fiercely. He'd managed not to kill anyone this time but... his life before? With the Galra? That terrible year in captivity? He'd done what he had to, or so he told himself.
    "Forced to fight to stay alive." It hadn't happened that long ago. His wounds were still healing, the physical ones at least, mentality he didn't think he'd ever overcome. But the other paladins didn't know what had happened, not fully, not even Keith who had been AWOL again.

    "Obviously I got out... But not without a few new scars."
     
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  7. Ayano Tateyama

    Ayano Tateyama Kagerou Project
    Red is the color of a hero

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    The thick and faded tears of loved ones go unnoticed by all, turning black


    Shiro understood that Ayano could see through his act and he clearly wasn't very happy about it. Still, Ayano gave him the space and time he needed in order to be able to tell her what was making him hurt so much. Given what Ayano already knew of what he had been through, for it to have shaken him like this, it had to have been something really, really bad.

    Then he started talking and Ayano's eyes widened in horror that something like that had happened the day after the birthday party Shiro had so carefully arranged for her. For all of that to have happened right after like that... it was cruel, almost too cruel to be a coincidence. Shiro had been forced to fight for his life and, as he said himself, ended up getting more scars, both physical and mental ones.

    Ayano had already been bracing herself for something bad, so she wasn't blown away by it as badly as she was last time, but her reaction was still the same, if slower. She shuffled over to Shiro and wrapped his arms around him, her head leaning on his side.

    "I... I can't even begin to imagine how it must feel to go through all of that," she spoke not only of what she had just heard, but also the things that she learned months ago. "but I know why you tried to hide all of this."


    Maybe it was fate that two leaders would end up becoming family like this. They did very different things and led very different groups, but they both dealt with hardships the same way. Seeing Shiro do the exact same thing she did, she couldn't help but wonder how much she had hurt others by not saying anything when she still could.

    "You're the leader. You're the person that keeps everyone together. You can't let yourself fall apart because if you do, everyone else will too. They look up at you as someone who will make everything work out in the end, even if things look really bad. So you need to put on a smile and a brave face, bottling up all your aching and doubts for the sake of everyone else."

    Tears started trailing down her cheeks, even though she so desperately wanted to keep herself strong in this moment. In the end, she was still just as much of a crybaby as she used to be.

    "You have it a lot harder than I did but... I know how it is, and I don't want you to hurt like that." She tightned her embrace just a little. "So please... please don't try to hide these things from me. I can't help you if you don't let me know you need help."


    Even if she was now the youngest, Ayano was still a big sister at heart. She couldn't just turn a blind eye when she knew someone she loved was hurting. She had to help, even if all she could do was offer some words of comfort, she had to do something.

    So, it didn't matter if Shiro was the one supposed to take care of her. She was going to take care of him too.


     
  8. Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane

    Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane Voltron: Legendary Defender

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    There was that look of horror and sadness, no pity, but something close to it, that Shiro always tried to avoid seeing. Of course he felt guilty for telling Ayano but he was relieved at least she knew something about what had happened and if it meant she understood why he was the way h was sometimes then... bonus. To find the teenager hugging him, the man smiled a little bit to himself, sadly so, his arms winding around her, one at her midriff and the other resting his hand atop her soft brown hair. Slowly he stroked over the strands, wondering that if she could feel the coarseness and weight of his bloodied hands, would she mind him trying to comfort her still?

    "Hey... Everyone has their struggles. No one's is harder than someone else's." Shiro murmured, bowing his head to rest it gently against his little sister's, allowing his tired eyelids to close on their own for a moment. Sliding his hand down from her head he brought it to her lower back instead, rubbing over the clothing there whilst Ayano's own little arms tightened protectively around him.
    "I'll try, Ayano. I've gotten so used to keeping these things to myself its going to take a little time and work but I promise I'll try." For the longest time Shiro hadn't even wanted to tell people about his muscle disease when he lived back on earth, because it changed how people looked at you even if they said it didn't.

    Shiro didn't want to be pitied or treated any differently, so keeping the hardships to himself and just dealing with them whilst being there for everyone else but himself had become second nature. Leaning back, he encouraged Ayano to look up at him before he used the back of his forefinger to wipe away her tears gently, his voice soft but full of emotion as he spoke.
    "I don't think I realised I needed help until you said that, Ayano. I'm always busy being a strong leader that I forget I'm not a robot. Well, not entirely." Shiro lifted his robotic hand to make a point, smiling a little before he hugged his little sister's head to his chest, safe and warm, where she could hear his heart beating still.

    "I promise your big brother isn't going anywhere, Ayano. How can he when he has the best guardian angel for a little sister?"
     
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  9. Ayano Tateyama

    Ayano Tateyama Kagerou Project
    Red is the color of a hero

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    The thick and faded tears of loved ones go unnoticed by all, turning black


    Ayano could understand how it was. Being used to keeping your troubles to yourself, not showing any weakness because you're afraid of the consequences of it. Choosing instead to present yourself as some kind of unshakable pillar of strength that would never budge from it's spot. She had been there and, to an extent, she still was. In trying to make herself someone other people could rely on, she had to keep the negativity inside. Thankfully, she didn't have to deal with as many terrible feelings in Pandora as she had back home, but it was still something that came up every now and then.

    Still, Shiro had agreed. He promised that he would try to tell her whenever something was wrong, that he wouldn't just keep it all to himself and keep suffering in silence. While him saying he would try instead of confidently saying he'd do it left some room for doubt, Ayano was going to trust her big brother with this. Even if it turns out that he's still hiding things from her, she would still be there regardless, until he finally confided in her.

    Despite having been prepared for it this time, Shiro still ended up playing the role of comforter for her, though at least this time they were more equal in helping each other. Feeling his hand trailing through her hair and then to her lower back... it was nice. It felt safe, soothing, like she was being gently lulled to sleep although she didn't feel tired in the slightest. Looking up at Shiro, just to have him wipe the tears that had escaped her, she was once again reminded of just why the man had become the older brother she never had.

    And he even had the nerve to make a joke after all this.

    "Even robots can feel, sometimes." A thin smile formed in Ayano's lips, playing along with Shiro's joke in spite of it all.


    Then he pressed her head against his chest, her ear squished between it and the rest of her head. She could hear his heartbeat too, a steady, healthy thump that sounded oddly calming as she heard nothing but it before Shiro calmly spoke again. He promised her that he wouldn't go anywhere, that he would always be there to act as her guardian angel. It was a promise that she knew he had no way of fulfilling with any sort of certainty, but even then, just hearing him make that declaration put her at ease.

    "You can't promise that, not here." She reminded him, her tone calm and gentle. "But I'm glad. I'm glad to have a big brother looking after me."


    It felt like she could stay there forever and she almost wished she could. Still, Ayano was enjoying it while it lasted. She had gone to Elysium with the sole intention of finding out what was wrong with Shiro and try to help him deal with it, but, in the end, he was also helping deal with it. It was a reality that was tough for just one person to bear with, but when they were helping each other like this, it wasn't so bad.

    "Now that you've said that though..." She began really leaning against Shiro, letting him support her entire weight against him. "I know that at any day, any moment, either of us could be gone from Pandora forever, or maybe return without any memory of anything that happened here, so there's something that I want to make as clear as possible, just so I can have no regrets later." She looked up at him, flashing him a smile that stretched from ear to ear, her eyes showing nothing but love. "Shiro, you're the big brother I never had and never knew I wanted. Meeting you was one of the best things that happened to me here. I love you, just as much as everyone in my family." And finally, she buried her face on his chest. "... Just thought I'd let you know." A somewhat embarrassed giggle escaped her.


     
    #9 Ayano Tateyama, Apr 17, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  10. Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane

    Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane Voltron: Legendary Defender

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    "I know Pandora is unfair like that, but I think i've proven the impossible is possible more than once. So just you wait, you'll have a hard time shaking me off even if some day one of us goes." Shiro murmured, smiling softly at the teenager when she leaned into his arms a little bit more. His hand still stroked over her brown hair softly, watching how the strands effortlessly slipped between his fingertips and felt comforting to himself in its own strange way. Despite what they were talking about, the possibility of one day people disappearing, for now Ayano was here, tangible and cuddling him like he had been part of her family for a long time.

    When Ayano looked up at him, Shiro paused his hand on her head to listen to what she had to say, his eyes on hers as she begun explaining about their relationship and how he made her feel. A small frown formed at the man's brows, tugging them together before he found his heart skipping at the sweet words Ayano gave him, ones that touched his heart in a way he doubted he could ever try putting into words himself.

    As Ayano hid her face against his chest, Shiro's hands were still frozen in place before they finally moved, his arms winding around the teenager's waist and scooping her up against him, cuddling her to his chest as he hid his face by pressing his own to the side of her head. Tears dampened the man's eyelashes as he clung to Ayano, his lower lip trembling like a child's whilst he kept her in his arms a moment longer.
    "I love you too... My little sister." Shiro mumbled against her shoulder, having bowed his head to it whilst he clung onto her and had finally found his voice again.

    After a while he finally loosened his grip on her, tugging his sleeve down over his mechanical hand before using it to wipe over his eyelids, mumbling a small 'sorry' for the rush of tears. Shiro never had a big family, he never had much of a family anyway. From a young age he had grown used to the absence of family and thrown himself into accomplishing his own dreams because no one else would do it for him - especially when life was trying to stomp out his hopes so early on with the discovery of his muscular disease. So when Ayano called him brother, told him she loved him, was it surprising he'd blubbered a bit? Laughing a little at himself as he lowered his hands, the man couldn't help but hug Ayano to him just once more, nuzzling his face against her hair whilst rubbing over her back lovingly.

    "Thank you, Ayano. I mean it."
     
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  11. Ayano Tateyama

    Ayano Tateyama Kagerou Project
    Red is the color of a hero

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    The thick and faded tears of loved ones go unnoticed by all, turning black


    As much as Ayano wanted to believe Shiro would be with her forever, she knew that wasn't going to happen, one way or another. Neither of them would be in Pandora forever, they likely wouldn't even remember their time together if they were sent back... it was all a matter of time before Ayano found herself in stuck in a lonely world all over again. Still, Ayano tried not to dwell on something so depressing. She was here to cheer Shiro up, after all, not make him and herself feel worse.

    She suddenly felt Shiro's lift her to his level and still keeping her wrapped in a hug, hiding his face besides hers, holding her like he was afraid that she would vanish if he didn't. His own words caused a similar feeling to manifest inside Ayano and she clung him as tightly as her arms would allow her to. Honestly, she felt so comfortable there with him, that there was real chance of her falling asleep in his arms if she stayed like that for too long.

    Perhaps unfortunately, Shiro pulled away from her, allowing her to see his wet eyes for a brief moment before he began to wipe out all those tears that were trying to escape. It was so strange to see Shiro cry, almost unbelievable, really. He had gone through so much and yet, her words were what finally did it? Despite everything, she couldn't help but find it a little funny.

    "Are you crying?" She asked, in both disbelief and amazement. "No way, I made Voltron's leader start crying?!" While there was a definite layer of teasing in her tone, it still carried some genuine surprise on her part. There was something oddly rewarding about making Shiro cry like this and she couldn't help but giggle because of it.

     
  12. Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane

    Takashi "Shiro" Shirogane Voltron: Legendary Defender

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    As Ayano teased him the elder of the two laughed and tried covering his face with his hands in some attempt to save a bit of his pride, though it didn't do much good when he was left sniffling. The man reached for the box of tissues on the table and pulled free a couple, gently dabbing around his eyes before he reminded himself to breathe properly and look at his little sister. He smiled softly and reached his robotic arm up, curling his hand before he nudged Ayano's cheek with it and laughed to himself.
    "Who knew my little sister was such a brat, huh?" Shiro teased, shaking his to himself as he seemed to have stopped crying for now.

    "Even leaders cry. Let's just say it was my sleep deprivation catching up with me." Despite how Shiro looked as if he had definitely been crying, it seemed to make his features softer. Even the scar across his nose had an almost cute quality to it with how his nose and cheeks were blotched red from crying.
    "You know I haven't even cried in front of the other paladins? Minus Keith. But I've known him longer so he doesn't count." Shiro mused as he counted on his fingers the times he could actually remember himself crying in front of other people. It definitely wasn't a normal occurrence and as relaxing as it felt, he didn't plan on doing it in front of Ayano again any time soon.

    "Thank you for listening to me. Its probably the greatest gift anyone could give me. Just... listening." Even with time and life having slowed down for the team in Pandora, talking about the life they had seemingly been taken from didn't really happen. No one wanted to talk about Zarkon or forming Voltron and saving the universe. Shiro understood that, especially when most of his team were not that much older than Ayano. No one asked them. No one gave them the choice. But with Ayano here Shiro told her about more adventures to pass the time and forget the sadder things, he spoke of the time Hunk got farted out of a Weblum and how he gave the Altean mice a bath with Princess Allura once upon a time. Stories he hoped filled her with wonder as did visiting them up in Space, even here in Pandora. Before long he was checking the time and seeing just how much of it had passed.

    "Ah I've kept you so long. I should really get you back home. Hmm?"
     
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