A Black Cross
Birds chirp and fly across an otherwise empty green field in this next memory. Kai and Yasei enjoy the usually absent sunshine before the memory abruptly begins to shift into the ground. They fall into the darkness, passing through 77 large layers of Strontium and dirt until they stabilize in a pitch-black pit. As their eyes adjust to the darkness, they hear a steady drip echo across the room they’ve landed in. They look up and find Arashi chained to the black Strontium cross, staring at the dripping water in the corner.
Although there is no indication of time in this dark pit, Kai and Yasei get the feeling that large amounts of time are passing as Arashi counts the drops silently. At least a week had to pass before Arashi’s solitude was interrupted. A lift rattles to the bottom of the pit and a younger Saigo Uchiha steps towards the prisoner, taking a seat in the wooden chair left in front of him. “So, how’s it going,” Saigo inquires, adjusting on the chair. “…you were gone longer than usual.” “I had to go on a mission. And I had to put together the paperwork to enroll Kai in the academy.” Arashi nods silently. Saigo shifts again, “I brought someone here to see you.” “Who would want to see me?” “It’s your dad.”
Arashi winces and looks down at his chained body; as his eyes slide over his hands, he can practically feel Raiku’s blood flowing over them so many years ago, “…do I have to see him?” Saigo stands, “Listen, if you’re not going to do it for you, at least do it for your father. I wish I had spoken to my first son more than I did when he died…” Saigo begins to walk back to the lift, “Say you’re sorry.” He rings a bell by the lift and turns back around as the lift begins to lower, “My wife’s pregnant again.” Arashi nods again, “Congratulations.” Saigo seems to try and get more out of him before boarding the lift, “Not sure what to name him yet.” Arashi blinks heavily, “K.”
The dripping resumes, but soon it is interrupted by the returning lift. The bar screeches and an older Raiku Totoro steps off. Saigo pats him on the back and steps onto the lift, which goes up again. Raiku sits in the wooden chair, staring incredulously at his son, “Jesus,” he says as he eyes the seals covering his skin, “…so this is what they’re doing to you.” Arashi nods, keeping his head downcast. Raiku seems untroubled by his son’s discomfort, “Your sister is doing okay. Although, it’s kinda hard taking care of her with the ramen shop and all. I’m pretty short-staffed, so I could really use your help when you get out of here.”
“I don’t think that’s gonna happen, dad.” Raiku wrinkles his brow, “Sure it will! They can’t keep you in here forever!” “How could they not…after everything I—” Raiku slaps Arashi across the face, “Don’t talk like that,” he says sternly, “You made a mistake. Your sister’s up there. She needs you. I need you…We need to talk about what happened.” Arashi moves for the first time in the whole memory, “I don’t wanna—” “I don’t wanna hear it. I’m not mad at you, you know.” Arashi becomes limp again and a tear falls to the ground, “I’m so sorry.” Raiku smiles wryly and grasps Arashi’s shoulder firmly, “I’m your father and I care about you. We’re going to make you all better in here and you’ll be alright again. No matter what happens, I’m always going to be proud of you. And if your mother was still around, she would be to.”
Arashi nods again, his face returning to the blank slate it was previously. Raiku pats him on the shoulder, “I’ll come back tomorrow. I’ll bring some ramen if I can,” he peers towards the lift conspiratorially, “They’re pretty strict up there.” “…yeah, they don’t really feed me. At all,” Arashi says wearily. “I’ll talk to Saigo,” Raiku says, “Don’t fret too much.” When Arashi doesn’t offer any more conversation, he walks over to the lift, smiles and returns to the surface. As the clanking of the ascending lift fades, the dripping of the water becomes deafening again. Arashi’s exhausted gaze shifts back towards the corner, “5,000,568…5,000,569…”
The periodic visits from Saigo and Raiku as well as the unwavering count continue for five years in the pit before Kai and Yasei are ejected back into the jumbled hallway. As they look around, they notice that there is only one more locked memory remaining.