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CASE FILE: Civilian
”Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned”
CASE FILE: Civilian
”Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned”
→ Anouk Ueda (Maiden name was Ito)
→ Las Vegas, Creta
DATE OF BIRTH:
→ September 2, 1984
→ 152 lbs
→ Despite an average build and what some might write off as a rather mom-ish appearance, Anouk Ueda holds herself to being a little more than the average lumping of mom material. While not obsessed, she does take pride in her looks and hates leaving the house without at least a little concealer and mascara on, and refuses to join the other moms she knows in the wearing of gross t-shirts and mom jeans (you know the type... high-wasted and designed to make your lose all sex appeal to anyone within a six-mile radius) or worse, sweatpants. Likewise, she makes certain that her husband and children are well-dressed as well, fully aware that a lot of a business' reputation can be weighed on how you present yourself.
Unlike her brother, genetics skipped Anouk to give her wavy auburn hair that, if given enough sunlight, will take on red and subtle gold highlights. She often wears her hair down to almost her mid back or in a loose ponytail, letting her bangs frame her slightly rounded face. Anouk does, however, share the same lavender-blue eyes as her little brother, as well as a sturdier build that one might initially guess from first glance. While muscle has softened slightly from devoting more time to motherhood than martial arts, Anouk still retains much of her strength and works out regularly, and typically starts every day with a small routine plus an hour's jog.
Despite her penchant for looking presentable and excellent taste in clothes, Anouk always carries that air of casualness and relaxed, and her warm smile help to put people at ease in her tavern. When provoked, however, Anouk's gentle features shift to reveal her true strength from years of physical training and study, and she is more than capable of putting up a good fight to defend herself and what she loves. Her reflexes have always been very fast, and the scar on her right arm is proof of this; starting from just below her wrist to her inner elbow are large, somewhat puffy and very faded burn scars that pattern her arm from hot oil when she and Ela were very young. Oddly enough, the scars always make her smile a little and remind her how deeply she cares for her little brother and that she never wants to lose that connection.
Slowly Anouk's smile is returning to a more natural look thanks to the soul-therapy of having her children returned to her and her brother to help anchor her. Nu's lavender eyes, while the same colour, now seem to carry a constant emotional heaviness that doesn't match the easy smile her patrons see. Scars from fights are still too fresh to have faded fully, but thankfully many are covered by clothes or makeup as needed; the scar of a bullet wound on the right side of her ribcage is one she hardly thinks of anymore, but is glad it's always covered.
→ Where Elastor was quiet and introverted growing up, his older sister was more dominant and extroverted. Warm, effervescent and enthusiastic, Anouk is a very intelligent woman who knows what she wants and is very good at making exact plans on how to get that... sometimes involving many, many lists and some mildly OCD cleaning before and after said lists and organizing is done, but that's BESIDES the point! Anouk is a go-getter and a problem-solver by nature, and once she decides to start a project she will see it through to whatever end; partially because she hates seeing things go unfinished, and partially because it drives her nuts.
Anouk is many things all at once, and over the years has learned to balance herself very well, relishing her family, business and private life. Being a woman who has always been unafraid of the world, Anouk is one who loves to travel and study, and loves history and culture with a deep passion that shapes the very frame of her being. Her appearance, while always looking good, typically always appears relaxed and friendly. Anouk is the picture image of the woman behind the bar that you want to tell your life story to. Her warm and sincere smile tend to put most people at ease, especially when she's serving them, and her caring nature carries through to always make her customers feel at home with her.
Kitaro and Kenta couldn't hope for a more devoted mother, and she makes no effort to hide how hard she works to provide for them. Despite this, she does make a point to always make time for them, spending much of her time off playing with her sons or taking them to museums or art shows, and finding days to put away the ledgers in order to devote the day solely to playing with them. In their marriage, Anouk was completely devoted to her husband, Ryosuke, and working with him was his counter-balance. Where she pushed, he pulled; where he started ideas and plans she would put them together and into motion. Generally she is always calm, and years of running a tavern have taught her how to handle just about anything that walks through her door in a way that she'll come out on top and is able to remain very even-tempered through the angriest customers, strictest food-critics and even the occasional person who comes in to try and rob her till.
The world is a beautiful and fulfilling place for Anouk, and times should always be taken to stop and find the beauty in each day. Her years in Aerugo were her happiest, and she sees Aerugo as more of a home than Creta is, especially now. Right now Anouk's mind is a dark place and very uncharacteristic of her typical go-getter, cheerful and savvy personality. Witnessing Ryo's murder, her home destroyed and her children ripped from her has left the woman from Creta angry, bitter, and deeply thirsting for revenge as her only goal has become to find and save her babies. Anouk is restless, easily upset, and hasn't slept well since Takatori destroyed her world, and is desperately trying to keep herself together enough to find her children so she can finally let herself grieve for her husband. She has been swallowing her suffering and fear and letting it bubble out as anger and cunning as she picks off criminals one by one to get what she wants and has determined that when this is all over and she has her children back, she will allow herself to cry.
Some bad dreams are harder to shake off than others and leave you to feel ill the rest of the day. Anouk's mind is still uneasy, but day by day she is trying to wake herself up and let herself fully rejoin the land of the living. The months spent alone, running and hunting in darkness have taken their toll on the woman who had never been meant for a soldier's life, leaving her mind vulnerable to punish itself over and over for the blood she can't wash away. Most days are fine, but sometimes Anouk feels she can relate to Lady Macbeth a little too much, seeing herself as something just as bad as those she hunted and killed but too selfish to give up her children to let them be raised by hands cleaner than hers.
It's been over a year since Ryosuke was murdered, and she is trying her hardest to push regret down to move forward with life. She doesn't want to spend her life in mourning, if only for the sakes of her sons and her brother; no matter how much it kills her, Anouk will smile and put on a brave face. She knows that Ela knows it's a front, but it's the best she can do for now. Nightmares plague her mind, and some days ghosts linger everywhere she looks; she doesn't mention it, but Anouk is a woman struggling to keep herself connected and focused, pushing it all down and away as she downs handfuls of anti-anxiety and depression pills during the day, sleep pills at night, and fights to not drown at the bottom of a bottle. She is doing better, and fighting, but some days haven't ceased to be a fight yet.
Anouk's soul has been left marred, to the point where her thoughts are filled with far too much doubt. She questions her ability to care for her family and keep them all together and functioning, and is terrified that something will happen again to make it all slip away once more. Takatori is dead but he haunts her mind, and she sees the lasting impressions he has left on her family, not only in herself and her brother, but also in the taint he has left on Anouk's eldest son, and that is a torture that she wonders if the bastard ever anticipated.
The only real relief is that Anouk knows she is healing, and that even slow progress is progress. More and more Anouk is letting herself relax, enjoying seeing her son start school and how much she enjoys dinners together. “Her three boys,” she calls them, and Anouk wouldn't trade them all for anything. Her comfort comes from seeing how closely Elastor and the boys have become, and him playing and bonding with them she knows is doing more good for them than any shrink ever could. Comfort also comes in small snatches as she has maintained her promise to not kill anymore, instead trying to let herself move forward enough to start to let love back in It scares her, and confuses her, but the affection is genuine and though infrequent does its best to mend the rips and tears of a woman who is trying to pin herself back together.
→ Carrot cake, COFFEE, her little brother (whether he likes it or not), her family, almond pastries, her brother's cooking, cute shoes, good business and profits, fried onigiri, her shotgun, Kitaro and Kenta more than life itself, and she will NEVER stop loving Ryosuke, classic rock and older heavy metal, singing to her sons, making them little costumes and toys by the power of her stapler and hot glue gun, group snuggles on the sofa
→ Traffic, Takatori, musicals, cheap tippers, mom jeans and sweatpants, being too tired to play with her sons, Barney the Dinosaur, the current state of affairs in the world, Takatori, not having her family nearby, knowing she'll never see her husband again, TAKATORI, parking in London, little punks who think they're hot shit and try to rob her, yappy dogs, still hearing that bastard in her dreams
→ Though she knows in her heart that Ela didn't kill their parents, she won't bring it up and has always wondered what really happened that nobody was telling her.
→ The fire destroyed the restaurant and part of their home above it, but most of the material things are ruined. One of the few things that survived is an old silver music box Ryo gave Anouk when they first met. The box is small and fits in her pocket, and stays in her bag with her constantly to keep her from feeling alone, even though she can't play it yet.
→ Childhood memories are always a fuzzy thing as you get older. They say it's because your brain fills up with more important information and what isn't crucial goes fuzzy, even though those are the years your brain learns and develops the most. Either way, looking back it was pretty normal and rather bland to start. Parents were great, and my little brother was so cute when we still lived in Vegas. He could be a freaking pill most of the time, and I know we bickered and got on each other's nerves a lot sometimes, but there really was nobody in the world I loved more than Elastor; I remember this one time I was frying donuts. You know, the kind you cut out of canned biscuit dough? Ela was still pretty small and decided he wanted to drop one in while I was draining the others, but he couldn't reach and ended up slipping on his toes and missing.. which knocked over the pot. Everything was a blur. I caught the pot with my right hand and spiked it out of the way. I was honestly so busy checking Ela to see if he'd been burnt that it took him pointing it out to me before I realized that the oil and pot had burnt down my own arm and was blistering badly. Hurt like a fucking bitch, and to this day there's still some nerves where the burns are that still don't feel things right. But it was something that honestly told me how much I loved my little brother, and that I really would do anything for him.
Growing up I was smart and competitive; not bragging, just a fact; and by the end of middle school my parents had decided with my teachers that the school I was in wasn't challenging me enough. Charter schools are expensive, and I wasn't crazy about living in a dorm room with strangers. That's when my aunt and uncle stepped up; they lived in Aerugo and were pretty okay off, and said I could come stay with them and try going to school in Aerugo. The culture and history would keep me busy, learning a new language would be good for my adult years, and the schools were supposedly tougher than Cretan schools and would challenge my intellect. I was a little hesitant to leave at first, especially since that meant I'd only see my parents and brother during holidays, but it really was too good of an offer not to take. I called and wrote all the time, and as I started high school I was happily settling into a suburb of Edo.
Needless to say, I was away from home when it happened. I just remember coming home from Kendo club to my aunt and uncle looking really upset and then being sat down, and being hugged so tightly by my aunt as she explained that my parents were gone. No really clear explanation, no reason at all... they were justgone, and worse, saying that the cops were trying to insist my brother had gone off the deep end and killed our own family. That whole month was just a horrible blur, and after that they locked up Elastor. I never believed he did it; he'd never do anything like that. Sure he fought a lot with our parents, but who doesn't? I wasn't allowed to take time from school to go to the prosecutions or hearings, and what defense had gone to him had failed. I must have sent hundreds of letters to Ela... So many at first, and then just monthly. Tell him about anything but asking about what happened. Sent photos and cards, presents at birthdays and Christmas. I really dunno if any of them ever made it to him or not, though... So few calls, so few letters or updates other than occasionally telling me my little brother was fine, or nothing at all. I guess my aunt and uncle weren't as sure as I was about Ela's innocence and were just trying to protect me. They figured the less I knew, the less I'd worry and maybe hoped I'd just let him go. But every time I looked at my arm I'd remind myself that I'd never let him go, guilty, innocent, saint or madman. He was the last blood relative I had, and I loved him beyond measure, whether he wanted it or not.
Time passed and I stayed in Edo, keeping it as my only home now and slowly I healed, finding peace in my clubs and sports. They were physical and let me vent things I couldn't politely voice when I wanted to scream about them. Kendo and swimming were my happy places, and competitions gave me a chance to really let it out and push myself harder than before. They let me earn scholarships and helped me clear my mind about things going on in my head that seemed so pressingly important at the time (because at sixteen we all know things mean the end of the known universe). One of my last Kendo competitions also let me meet someone who would change my life forever: Ueda Ryosuke. My opponent had been strong and fast, and his technique was like poetry in motion. Our match lasted a good ten minutes before he was declared the winner, but losing to him was truly an honour and I saw him as one of the most fierce students to spar against. In all actuality I had every intent of inviting he and few of his teammates to join mine for dinner after the tournament, and kind of hoped I'd get to spar with him again. That didn't happen though, and after it was all over, I had been helping collect my team's gear when a student with a camera approached me to ask my thoughts. He wasn't a fighter by any means of the word, his large round glasses concealing most of his face and large brown eyes. His voice was soft and a little melodic, and he had a tiny little ponytail at the collar of his shirt. He was in the same grade as I was, and after a short interview (that I only later found out was never used in his final reel) he joined my team for dinner. Turns out he was studying for his entrance exams to the same university I was. He was quiet, a little mousy, incredibly smart, and adorable. That was Ryosuke. He became my best friend and so much more. All through the university years we were nearly inseparable, even as we both started having schedules that were nearly impossible to align. We always made time, no matter what we had to give up.
He'd work late, so I'd bring him dinner. I'd start falling a little behind in some of my classes and he'd push me along and help me study. Where I was more people-savvy, Ryo was a miracle-worker with ledgers and business. We balanced each other so well. Ryosuke became so much more than my best friend. We graduated and we became business partners. Lovers. Married. Soul Mates. Both of our families were incredibly supportive, even as we discussed the future and dared a brave mew world when we announced we had decided to move back to Creta, back to Las Vegas where I grew up, and open our restaurant there. It was our dream, what we'd talked about since forever; I told him about the neighborhood I grew up in and the little eatery that had been built back when the world started and was still owned by the same two dinosaurs that built it. How one day I wanted to go home and see if there was anything left for me there. Eventually told him about Ela and our parents. Ryosuke didn't know if Ela was innocent any more than anyone else did, but he knew I believed in my brother and so never questioned where I stood on the issue.
Quietly we moved to Las Vegas, first staying for a few months just to test and see if living here would be good for us. It was so damn hard being home again... seeing the lot that had been our house and seeing it empty and rotting like a corpse on the ground. In all these years, nobody had touched it; I mean, technically the house was in my name now since I was the eldest and shit. But nothing had ever been done with it while my godparents looked after me. I didn't go in, though; not much to gain from disturbing corpses other than waking forgotten ghosts. Still, it felt good to be home, familiar smells, things coming back to me in flashes and waves like I'd never left. The old people who owned that little eatery were retiring after owning it the last thousand years, and oddly enough remembered the little girl who would walk home from school and stop there for cocoa and a basket of loaded chili cheese fries while she did her homework before going home. Must've been destiny or something. We caught up and became real close, and I helped out at their place while Ryo and I settled in. We were still trying to figure out how and where to open a restaurant and what kind, and then found out I was pregnant. Life is a beautiful, wonderful and amazing thing to experience if you let yourself. The feeling of having something inside of you, living and growing stronger with every breath you take and beat of your heart, knowing that everything you do will impact that life. I can't really put it into words, but there is no word in any language I know that will accurately describe the feeling of when I felt my baby's heart beating within my body for the first time. Ryo panicked quite a bit, but I don't think I've ever seen anyone happier, and Mr. and Mrs. Davis said we could rent the flat above the place since they were moving out to a smaller one. They worked there less and less, and left it more and more to me and Ryo to manage with them just in the background until finally Mrs. Davis said they would sell the whole place to us; flat, tavern, all the booze and food in it, all the stuff in the kitchen; down to every last fork and fryer. The Green Dragon Tavern became our home, our life, our world.
Happy moments and sad moments pattern everybody's life, and it's honestly up to you which ones you let rule you and make the biggest impact. It broke my heart that my parents didn't live to see the happiest moments in my life, but I like to think they were there and sharing mine and Ryo's happiness when we welcomed Kitaro into the world. Kitaro was perfect, but I knew he would be, and it was well worth the pain, all that spicy food, and terrifying my poor husband just for that moment where I laid back and looked as Ryosuke held Kitaro in that little room for the first time and kissed our son. I got to watch something rare and just as beautiful as creating life and feeling it within your body; I got to watch my husband cry and fall completely in love with someone he'd only just met. I was very glad that I'd been older than Ela and had learned a few things about taking care of him to give me some practice, but motherhood was harder than any exam or Kendo match had ever been since there were no re-dos or practice runs. But we were happy, and my life was whole.
The Green Dragon did well and business was good; Kitaro was growing and a very smart little boy, and oh God did customers just love him. I'd let him sit in the tavern with me while I worked, and he'd greet customers and go around to tables offering free cookies. Everyone in the area knew the tavern from so many decades before, and knew us, and everyone sorta looked out for each other. Was nice, like something out of the movies back in the 50's, but I guess that comes with having most of your patrons being older people who are regulars and you know them, their lives, and what they wanna order before they finish taking off their coat and sitting down. So when I had my second son, Kenta, there were more than a few people more than willing to come and help Ryo run the tavern, or come up to the flat and help take care of Kitaro, Kenta and I. It would never be the same as having mine and Ela's parents again, but having friends and neighbours who would go so far eased that void a lot and let me pretend, just a little, that this is what life might have been like with them.
Even as things in the world grew tense, our little world was fine. The Prime Minister died in Amestris and the King took over his duties for now; it was sad and suspicious, but we'd manage. Things began to heat up in Amestris, and we made sure the news never showed anything too graphic if Kitaro was watching. And then the war broke out... Honestly, if I could go back in time and find the bastards responsible for the war, I'd shoot each one of them to stop it all from happening. Yes, I'm a selfish bitch sometimes. It happens to the best of us. We were far and away from the borders, and even though patrons were uneasy, we were in a safe place where the war wouldn't directly touch any of us; who the hell would invade Las Vegas? But the war found us anyway... and it completely shattered the world as I knew it. It was late at night, after the tavern had closed for the night and we'd already locked the till. The door rattled at first, testing it. Ryo and I were still awake and had heard it, but everyone around there knew our hours. If it was a friend they'd have called and come to the back door and right up to the flat. I started to tell Ryo to go get the shotgun when the door burst open after someone shot the lock and kicked it in.
That night... was a blur. One minute things were fine and the boys were in bed, the next men in white suits had come in and started trashing the tavern. Things shot at, breaking. My liquor ruined and being tossed around. I tried to sneak back up to the flat with Ryo to lock them down there and call the cops, but... They saw us. They wouldn't leave and then charged up the stairs after us, told us to come quietly. I've got a fucking black belt, I shouldn't have been so easy to overpower! But... Ryo shoved me back up the stairs and told me to get the boys, try to get the out the back door and down to safety. Ryo had never been a fighter; he was a flower where I was an arrow. And yet, he charged down the stairs to meet those men, threw one over the stairs and struggled against another as I ran for the boys. Kitaro was awake and at his door and holding onto Kenta as he cried. I went to scoop them up when I heard it. That shot. That shot that rang through my soul and killed what was best in me. I cried hearing Ryo fall down the stairs. I died when he lay there at the bottom and screamed for us to run. I told the boys to not look back and to run for the back door, not to let go of each other's hands... But even when we all almost fell down the stairs of the back door from the second floor, those horrible men were waiting for us.
We were dragged by our hair and clothe to the front of the house and made to kneel on the sidewalk. Kenta was screaming, and Kitaro was calling out for his daddy. I could still hear Ryosuke inside, calling for us. Even with the gun pressed to the back of my head, that didn't stop me from calling back to him. All those years learning to fight, being so strong physically... What was it all for if when the time game I was so fucking weak and defenseless to save my family and the man who was my soul? Some of them started laughing, saying the poor schmuck in there was trying to crawl toward the door even with a bullet in his gut. And then laughed more as a lighter was carelessly thrown into the tavern. That smell... that awful smell of alcohol and wood polish and plastic all burning. Kitaro was clinging to Kenta and trying to cover his ears, but I know they both could hear their father screaming inside. Why?! I tried to tell myself over and over that none of this was real, that I'd just open my eyes and it would be gone... but my eyes were open and couldn't shut to look away, same as my babies couldn't. None of them would say why they were doing this. They didn't come to rob us or ask for protection money. Just came to destroy and leave for no reason.
The boys started screaming louder and I looked up away from the fire to see someone carrying them off and tossing them into a car. They were screaming for me, and I'd been right there! I heard the hammer cock back when I started trying to get up from the sidewalk to run to my sons as the screams inside the building finally died down and silenced forever my heartbeat with them. I was ordered not to move or I wouldn't see my children alive again, and as I looked up the man stood there with his hands in his pockets and grinned like the cat that ate the fucking canary. I was helpless at his command and he knew it, and looking past him I could see Kitaro, see Kenta, and could hear them both screaming and crying. I asked him to let my children go, begged and reminded him they were only babies. He only laughed more and said that just made it more fun. He wouldn't tell me why. He only told me to tell Elastor that Takatori sent his regards. And then the fucker SKIPPED away. He SKIPPED. To his car. And rode off in the night.
The police aren't doing jack shit. Said they'd never heard of a Yakitori (no matter how many times I told them he'd said TAKATORI), or a gang of thugs dressed in white suits. They took the bullet samples from around the house and said they were a match to other murders, but they couldn't trace anything. It was like they were ghosts. They'd look into it. They'd keep me informed. They'd get to the bottom of it. My ass. I bought a pawned Remington and now I'm going to bars all over Creta. Looking for where the lowlife and scum slither around. Looking for doorways to hell under the rocks. And I'm asking. I'm looking for that son of a bitch who took my children and husband from me. I'm buying and selling information and secrets as I get them, hoping they lead me to my boys. I don't care how many of these bastards I have to shoot, stab or poison, or if I have to wade waist-deep in blood. I will no rest until I'm with my family again one way or another.
Kitaro, Kenta... Please be strong for your mommy since right now she can't be, since she couldn't be when you needed her most. I will find you both soon, and take you home, and I swear nothing will hurt us again. I will find you. I will find you. I will find you. And hopefully someday my beautiful Ryosuke will forgive me for no being able to save him or our children from monsters that shouldn't have existed outside of closets. Sleep is torture because I still smell him next to me and roll over to cuddle and wake up and he's not there. He'll never be there again. But so long as I live, my wedding ring will not come off; my beautiful, gentle husband who died trying to save us will never leave me.
In my heart lives your memory, and there you'll always be.
Life has started returning to some semblance of normalcy. In the first few weeks following my sons' kidnappings and Ryosuke's death I waited and did what I was supposed to, and picked through my stuff to put what I could into storage before I vanished from Vegas to start hunting that bastard. There were only so many leads in Vegas, and trudging through the shit of the underworld leaves a trail, no matter how good you are. The homicide detective who had been investigating Ryo's murder, Leon Schanke, took up following me as a hobby. Guess everyone needs one. The first contact I made and left dead had almost been accidental and left me a mess; I'd never killed anyone or even thought I was capable. But regrettably, they got easier to stomach.
I can't say I enjoyed them; I hated them. But they did get easier, and in time, I found I was getting more creative with my lures to meet with catches. I was getting good at it rather quickly, but then again, necessity is the mother of invention. Hunts started taking me further and further out of Vegas and all over Creta. Leads were nuts. Found out some men from the MiW had been hunting me down at the same time, and it never ended well for any of them, and one by one, they sent a message to Takatori, one letter at a time, one letter on each body. There were a few times I was nearly toast. There was a back-alley doctor I'd met who was willing to keep patching me up, but the night he found me bleeding like that... It was bad. I came out of the firefight on top, but it wasn't pretty, and I left a trail of blood. I actually tried the dig the bullet out of my own ribs, but I can't say it was my best moment of clarity. I remember he told he he'd have to knock me out to dig it out of the rib bone the bullet was lodged in, and that since we weren't in a hospital, there was a pretty good chance he'd kill me trying. I asked about staying awake, but he said the pain from that would put my body into shock and kill me faster, so I took that chance and told him I'd simply refuse to die.
I'm still not sure how I feel about all the money I won upon waking up and finding out most of the people who knew about me and who knew the doctor had bet against me coming through. Though I guess it was nice when they all laughed that my first coherent words were, “Fuck you all.” But I managed to walk away from it, and carry on. It carried on like that for too long, like being in a part of the world where the sun goes down for half a year at a time, or just hinges on it wanting to be dawn forever but never lets the sun rise. I was stuck in it, sinking in it, like someone spilled a bottle of ink all over the pages of my life. There were lots of close calls, and a few bargains, too; once there was a game. I'd been caught by a low-ranking Mafioso who liked to think he was far more important than he really was, but for the area he was big enough. He trapped me in a warehouse with twenty people who were all armed; five were working for Takatori, and the other fifteen were innocent people all from similar circumstances as me. Some had had family members kidnapped and held hostage; some were in debt to Takatori; some had just been picked at random. But all of them were told they had to kill me to get what they needed; I had to kill only Takatori's operatives and judge the rest.
Met a nice kid who worked for Takatori. His name was Lucas. Sweet, scrawny thing, not old enough to be smoking but he was anyway. He helped me find the other operatives and get around traps; he only worked for the MiW to help take care of his mother since she drank away her widow's pension and nearly drank them onto the streets. I offered Lucas a new life. He could come work for me, look after my boys, and go back to school. I was about to let him be part of my family, and he injected himself into me completely. Even called me mom. I... really was set on bringing him home with me, helping him start over. But when it was done, Stagno said that one of us still had to die since I'd already condemned all fifteen people who were innocent to either die or lose someone; one mother actually shot herself in the head when she realized I wasn't backing down. I told Lucas I wouldn't fight him, and he moved like he was going to take on all those bastards with me, but then he rammed himself on the end of the sword he hardly knew how to use right. I was the only one who walked out of that warehouse. Period.
After that I stopped caring so much, not about finding my boys and killing that bastard, but about what happened to me. I was a mess, and still am, and was losing touch with my humanity. I couldn't seem to wash Lucas' blood off me or shake off the way I'd killed every last person there. I stopped sleeping almost altogether. All I could see was Lucas or Ryosuke, or my children every time I closed my eyes. Every waking minute was either spent hunting or trying to sidestep that annoying detective who had it in for me. I had as much protection as the underground would warrant me, but nobody was really above turning me in if the reward was good enough.
I don't know what brought me back into Vegas when I knew there was nothing left and that the cops were looking for me. My friends had all stopped contacting or trying to contact me, and I knew better than to bother them while things were still like this. I was wanted for murder, or at least for questioning since quite a lot of bodies were turning up who all apparently had nothing to do with a group that didn't exist and didn't have any association with a man they'd never heard of. My balls.
But I went home and just looked at it. Black and charred, the yellow police tape broken but undisturbed. Just like my childhood home, there was nothing left but ashes and a tomb. No idea how long I was on the porch as it started to flurry, and I knew there wasn't much of anything left to salvage that wasn't already in storage. Maybe it was fate giving me a nudge. Maybe it was Ryosuke sending me help I didn't ask for but needed. Whatever it was, it was a turning point. I'm sorry I nearly shot him and that I didn't recognize him, but there he was-- Ela. Among the snow flurries and bitter ashes, tired and covered in blood, my baby brother stepped out of the shadows and somehow found me.
I'll admit that at first I didn't trust it, it was too convenient. I'd been nearly caught in so many traps that the only bait left could have been my brother. But it really was Elastor, and of all things, he was sorry that he failed. I didn't understand it at the time, but it didn't matter. I had my baby brother back, and he already knew about what had happened to my family. He took me home with him, back to where he now lived in London. He... was kind enough not to ask about my hunts. I could tell he was doing the same, and I returned the favor. I never tagged along when he vanished and came back from trading lives for being a step closer, and I made sure he never followed me on mine.
But it was strangely what I needed. Having Ela near me at first was awkward and forced. We were different people than we had been as children. The whole world was different, but we'd make it work somehow. Slowly, I started sleeping and eating more. Ms. White had apparently been tending my sons, and called me with a deal that if we killed Takatori, she'd return my sons to me unharmed. It was weird that someone who worked for that bastard would work against him like that, but at the same time, it wasn't at all. It was just how the rules of the game went, eat or be eaten. I didn't have any choice but to agree, even if I didn't know how we'd do it.
Then it happened- I got the call. Takatori was alone and we could take our chance. I say we; Ela insisted on himself alone, even though it was just as much my problem as his. We went to that park though, and Ela attacked, and every time I tried to get a shot in on Takatori he'd stop me or throw the shot. At the time, I was pissed, but now I know what he was trying to do. I'd mentioned to him before I didn't want to kill anymore, and he was trying to save me from killing anyone else, no matter how much they deserved it or how much I thought I'd wanted it. Eventually he went down, , freaking smiling as he blew his own brains out and set off at least half a dozen bombs throughout London. But Ms. White was there, waiting for him to die, and released my sons to me as the park nearly burnt down with us all in it.
We all made it home alive, though, and it was finally over after three generations of being batted around like some cat's dead mouse. I had my boys back, but life was still different and none of us knew at first how to go back to normal. What was normal? Kitaro and Kenta had been away from me for months, and now they were somewhere new and living in a small apartment with a man they'd never met. Kenta warmed up quickly enough, clinging to my brother every chance he got. Kitaro, however, took more time. He was still so angry, and so hurt, and didn't trust Ela at all at first. I can't really blame him, but feeling that helpless hurt. I'm his mother, and I couldn't save him before, and then he was just bottling it all in. Taro's so much like Ela, and I think Ela saw that too. It scared me. But then one day, something must have burst because he just became Ela's little shadow and Ela became the one Kitaro would look to.
We needed some way to start living again, and the bar was all I've ever known. It's my life and my blood. I went back to Vegas one last time to get my stuff out of storage and say goodbye. Found out my friends had raided what they wanted since they assumed I was dead or in prison, and that stupid detective was still there, chasing his tail to pinch me. I'd been given a royal pardon by that point by Lord Dietrich himself. All the people I'd killed or had a hand in killing were associates of RIOTE, therefore enemies of the state. Schanke couldn't touch me. He said he'd be keeping an eye on me, but thankfully I haven't seen that twat since I left Vegas for good, taking the last salvaged boxes of our lives and Ryosuke's ashes with me. It was time to start over.
Not all of my old friends bailed on me, thankfully. An old barfly of mine tracked me down and said he'd heard about everything, and could help me get a new bar cheap. Piotr was always a good man, and I'd readily agreed to hop a train up to Drachma to meet with him in Moscow. King was waiting. I'd never heard of him, but King owned several successful bars and clubs around the world and did quite a lot of business everywhere. King owned some vacant property in London that used to be a bar ages ago, and could easily stock it if it had someone running it. I didn't mention Takatori and RIOTE- I wasn't that dumb, and you never know whose friends you might have gutted. But he seemed to feel for me, and offered me the building and stock cheap. Said I didn't even have to start paying him back until the bar was renovated and off the ground and we weren't operating in the red. No interest, too. He just really wanted to help, which was... incredible.
Fixing up and opening The Steel Rose took a lot of time and effort, but it was good for me. It gave me an outlet and helped me reconnect with my sons, show them that we'd be okay even if things were different now. I still wasn't sleeping regularly, but one step at a time. We would be okay. Just before I was ready to open, I needed to do one last thing, for closure. Ryosuke's parents had contacted me finally, and wanted a share of their son's remains, and to talk to me about their grandchildren. I didn't tell the boys, or Ela- especially not Ela. But they wanted to take Ken and Taro from me. They felt it'd be better for them to be in Aerugo. They didn't trust me since I couldn't save them or their son, and not after I'd vanished like I had. They didn't know about Takatori and the deaths. They couldn't. If I had told them what had really happened, they'd have ponied up a lawyer and a caseworker from hell and that would have been the end of it. So I went alone to Aerugo for a week to see them.
In the end we'd come to a standstill, and my sons are still with me because of it. And it's funny how the universe keeps sending me things I don't even know I need. I missed Ryosuke. I still do, and always will. But I went to Aerugo to say goodbye and try to let go of what was no longer mine, and while I was there... I met someone. A soldier of the Shogun, named Izanagi. He was quiet and just waiting out the rain, but... I can't really explain it. There was just this mutual need that neither of us could voice. I didn't feel unfaithful or unclean with him and there was no ulterior motive. He swore he'd protect me, too, which was something very touching. I still see him now and again when he comes into London to visit me when he's free.
Things have calmed down drastically since then, and I'm so damn glad of it. The bar is running well, and I got to meet a girl that Ela was secretly sweet on. Csilla's a cute thing, and the boys seemed to like her. Ela doesn't talk much about what's going on in his life- he's still such a need-to-know person. Always has been, but that's part of why I love him, pain in the ass that he is. But things must be going pretty well between them because recently she moved from Amestris to Creta, just outside the city so she could be nearer to him.
Kitaro is slowly becoming himself again, even after opening up to finally talk to me about the things that happened before Ms. White took him and Ken from Takatori. I hate what that monster did to my son, and if he were still alive I'd kill him again, a few more times. But Kitaro knows at least that he's gone and nobody will take them from me again. Ever. Until then, we just take it day by day and work to move past all the things that hurt us, including me. Izanagi still visits, and I've even been doing well enough at the bar to hire a piano man with two boys Taro's age to mind the drinks and give me a few nights a week to attempt sleep.
I admit sleep is still an effort, and every day I take more than just my multivitamins. There's go-pills to get me up and running, sleep aids to help me get a nap without nightmares, two kinds of anti-depressants, caffeine pills to keep me going when I can't stop, and sometimes something a little stronger than fruit punch to wash them down. I'm sorry, I'm not perfect. Ela gives me dirty looks for it, but I still smoke; I'm trying to quit, but that's not an easy off, either. Working on it. Sorry about that, too. I am. I'm sorry I wasn't the daughter either of you imagined I would be. She's gone, and all that's left is me, and I can only do my best to limp along and try to pick myself back up like you both taught me.
I am doing my best though, to take care of Ela and your grandsons, and I do what I can to help get Ela to smile every now and then. Sometimes I catch him when he doesn't think I'm looking. I almost miss them, but I have seen them. He knows I love him and that the boys love him, and in his way I know he loves us. We're a mess, but we're family, and the Ito family is always, if nothing else, resilient. Nobody knows that better than you both. I'm doing my best to look after us and help us all keep going, and someday I hop you can both be proud of Ela and I, despite all that we've had to do to get here.
I love you both always, and wish you were here to be a part of our lives. There are few things in life I miss more than my mom and dad, and I wish I'd told you both more between meets how much you meant.
Happy Father's Day, and belated Mother's Day.
→ Anouk has a slight OCD habit that won't allow her to leave a room if drawers and cabinet doors are open. They must all be closed before she leaves, and going into the kitchen solely to open all of them to watch her go nuts it not advised.
→ Very allergic to cats.
→ Her tavern, The Green Dragon, was the lower level of her house and had been a restaurant she used to go to when she was little
→ Her Remington rifle's name is "Mr. Blasty"
→ The new pub, The Steel Rose is named after Ela in a way, and was rented to her by King.
→ Anouk keeps her wedding ring on a chain, but highly doubts she will ever remarry.
→ Smoked casually in college and quit after the boys were born, but took it back up while she was alone. She's now trying to quit again and is trying very hard to wean herself back off smoking.
→ Nu is down to ¾'s of a pack of slims a day, and prefers regular to menthols, but occasionally likes clove cigarettes.
→ The hot pink Porsche grew on her entirely. Her plates say THNK PNK
→ Cooking chocolate chip Mickey Mouse pancakes while blasting Metallica is therapeutic.
→ She promised she wouldn't kill anymore and has done her best to stick to that, going so far as to load her shotgun shells with rock salt and trying her hardest to talk people out of getting violent with her since Anouk doesn't want to kill them.
→ Nu ha a kinda sorta thing with a very sweet soldier in Aerugo
→ She tries to mind herself, but some days she really does take too many pills that shouldn't mix.
→ Speaks Cretan, and Aerugese fluently; she speaks Amestrian in small bursts, but it's not the best.
→ Shula, Gavin, Cookie, Ayaka, Gotti, and Lust
→ Mother's Scorn
Last edited by Anouk Ueda on Thu May 23, 2013 10:47 am; edited 6 times in total
AW SHEEEEEEEET... It's going down! LOVE IT SHU~ <3
AW SHEEEEEEEET... It's going down! LOVE IT SHU~ <3
This will be the first app in MDA's history to be...
This is a temporary signature. 8D
- Posts : 2268
Points : 1089
Location : Fort Briggs
Archived due to inactivity.
This is a temporary signature. 8D
- Posts : 2268
Points : 1089
Location : Fort Briggs
All good here! <3
All good here! <3
Fluent in Cretan and Amestrian
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