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  Reo opens the door to his father's waiting room, Hana looking perky for a this early. Reo himself looks awful, bags under his eyes, he hadn't gotten home from Tokyo well beyond midnight. But here he was, 8am sharp.
  
“Is he..” he trails off, asking Hana. She nods and holds her hand out to his father's office. “He's ready for you.” she responds.
  
Reo nods and pushes the door open, turning to close it silently. His father sat at his desk, staring at the computer monitor. As always, he had an almost bored look on his face. Satake Toshio was nothing if not unreadable.
  
His son stood quietly in front of the door. He knows the etiquette, the procedure. It's only when his father turns his attention to Reo does he step forward, sitting in the chair in front of the desk. Always the right, he thinks, I wonder why I choose that.
  
“How is he?” his father asks.
  
“He is..” Reo pauses, thinking. “He is Lan. He is.. still a disaster.” He places his leather-bound tablet on the other, unoccupied chair, leaning back. “I think he's still drinking. I don't know how, or where he gets the money for it.”
  
If he could gather the words back into his mouth, Reo would have, “What do you mean? I instructed you to take 120,000 with you. I don't like that he drinks, but I..”
  
Toshio narrows his eyes at his son, who can't meet his gaze. “You don't give him the money, do you?”
  
Reo explodes, pushing the chair back and holding out an arm towards the window, towards Tokyo. “No! Are you kidding me? Father, you cannot expect me to hand cash over to him, you know exactly what it would go to.”
  
He paces along the office, fuming. “To give him cash is to fuel the addiction. Are you even sure he's going to therapy?” Reo unloads everything he was thinking. “You take it on 'good authority' that he is. You pay his bills, you pay for his therapy, I will not see you pay for his addiction!”
  
Toshio looks at Reo, waiting for him to finish. When he does, the older man links his fingers and rests his hands on the desk. “Something in Lan..” He pauses, looking down for a moment before continuing. “Something in him broke last year. When.. Emma died, he didn't.. he doesn't know how to function.”
  
“So he didn't grow up,” Reo responds, “big deal, he's in his thirties, father, are you seriously going to--”
  
YES, I AM.Toshio roars, causing Reo to stiffen, rearing back, “He is.. a part of this family. And I'm not.. going to give up.”
  
“So you would enable him? You would have me give him cash, when you know what it would go to?” Reo asks. “You may be okay with that, but I'm not. I feel for him, I do, but there comes a point where you have to say no. Lan is costing you.. millions of yen a year, father, how long is this going to continue?”
  
Toshio looks at his son, a hard glare. “You know we have the money. Don't try that shit with me, I'm not the group's accountants.”
  
“I.. I don't know what you want me to say. I am looking at this as a bystander. You buy his food. You pay his rent. You bought out that whole fucking complex for his benefit, and you know what? He still wants out.”
  
Reo reaches in his back pocket and produces the M9's magazine, slamming it on his father's desk. “I took the bullets. I took the magazine. The man wants to die.”
  
Toshio picks the magazine up and counts out the bullets along the side. All of them were accounted for – even the one that could have been chambered.
  
“Thank you.. for this. I didn't know he took this when he left.” He thumbs the back of the topmost bullet into his other hand, twisting it in his fingertips.
  
“I don't know how to fix my son.” Toshio admits, “I hope that the doctors may. That the time away will help. None of us know what he's thinking.”
  
He sets the bullet on his desk and sits down again, looking at it. “I can.. be there, but he doesn't want me there.” He sighs and leans back. “I don't know what to do. Neither do you. Neither do the doctors, neither does he.” Toshio focuses on the bullet, sighing.
  
“We can only really hope that there's a path out he can find. And if I can help him find it, that's all I can do.”

  Lan sits in the middle of the couch in his therapist's office. His eyes wander from her face – it's hard to look people in the eyes, looking over a floor plant, her desk with pictures of her family on it, a soft, warm light. He hates the way all of this looks, and the sounds. This wasn't Lan's first therapist, but every fucking one of them used that annoying white noise machine. He knows why, of course, but it doesn't bring the privacy and calmness to him as it does for other patients.
  
“You look better. Than last time, I mean.” she offers. He had eaten, he had showered, things a normal person would do. For him it seems to be worthy of praise. Lan nods in return.
  
“Are you still drinking?” He nods again and she sighs. “I'm assuming your relatives know?”
  
He shrugs, admittedly he did hide it as best he could. The alcohol was in his bedroom when Reo came over, and took my bullets, he thinks.
  
“Do you still only talk to Reo?” she asks.
  
“No, I..” he hesitates, thinking. He did have a conversation with Saya, but he can't really remember what they talked about. She was sad? “I mean.. it's not much of anything, but I've been talking with.. my neighbor. She even served us tea.”
  
His therapist blinks, shaking her head in disbelief. “Well that's.. something. It's a start. Wait, 'us'? Oh. End of the month, Reo was there?” She deduces, Lan nods.
  
“I mean, after that, we went shopping like normal, and when we got h--” he stops himself, home, I stuck the barrel of a gun in my mouth and tried to kill myself. Do you want to go back to the hospital, you moron? “I talked a bit more with Saya, she seemed sad? I think?” He scratches his temple, still trying to recall their conversation from last night.
  
He senses a tiny bit of disbelief on her part, as if that wasn't what he meant to say, but she shrugs. “Any.. progress forward is good progress. Saya, was it? From a psychologist standpoint, I'm a tad offended that she can get you to talk and I ca--” She doesn't finish, instead smiling at Lan. “I kid. You are talking, and that's something.”
  
Lan nods, leaning back into the couch.

  What the hell did we talk about last night?

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About the author

drac

Bio: apologies for everything about me, it might get better.

updates will be once a day for the next seventy days since i am migrating from another platform and have those chapters - and more - ready to go. (from 8/9)

feel free to come hang out in the discord, if you like.

[email protected]

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