Strangers When We Meet
- a fanfic by Yuri Sha Hargreaves -
Yuri Jorujyu smiled at her best friend, Mick, as he introduced her to his mates from his martial arts class. He had brought Yuri to come see their live performance as part of the dance theatre. The martial arts was capoeira: a fighting technique that originated as a disguised dance form. They were enjoying a party after the performance.
The blonde girl considered joining Mick's class, which he greatly encouraged. They already worked well together in KERNS, the volunteer wildlife protective services they were both part of. Mick was the best ranger that Yuri knew, and she aspired to be as calm and level-headed as he was under every circumstance. Yuri was a little hot-headed and fiesty, which got her in trouble more than once with their superiors.
"So when's your brother come home?"
"Mm?" Yuri looked up at Mick, having been lost in thought as she stared at her drink. She felt a little shy around new people.
"From the war. He's coming home soon, isn't he?" Mick reiterated, as Yuri nodded.
"Tomorrow, actually. I'm looking forward to seeing him, we haven't seen one another in years now." Yuri said, as she remembered her older brother in a distant memory the Christmas before he departed for the war.
"Must be hard, worrying about him and all, but he's one of the lucky ones, getting to come home from the bloody war." Mick put his arm around Yuri, who grinned and rested against her best friend's shoulder.
"I'm so grateful for that." Yuri said as she gazed out the window, and wondered how her brother was doing in Vietnam.
Kiriko was a medic in the US Army, and was the most fearless person that Yuri had ever known, with a thrill-seeking streak from what she remembered of her big brother, so he was probably living the life out there, even amidst the war.
She knew the soldiers were in good hands with Kiriko . . .
The smell of Death surrounded the medic's tent where he was withdrawing a needle from a patient's arm.
"It'll be over soon." Dr. Kiriko spoke softly, even though he knew the dying soldier probably couldn't comprehend his words now. Still, as a doctor, he should provide some comfort for his patients.
Kiriko raised his eyebrows, surprised - maybe the soldier heard him after all. Kiriko checked the patient's pulse, and realised those words were spoken with his last breath. He had used euthanasia to end the soldier's life painlessly. A feat the Dark Doctor had taken upon himself, after the endless amount of pleads for Death he had to endure.
Kiriko had come to feel this was his calling - not once did a patient pass away without first thanking him for the mercy he provided them with ending their suffering.
"Doctor! Your flight will be here soon!" One of the soldiers called from outside his tent.
"Right." Kiriko stood up as he placed the needle off to the side, and grabbed his suitcase with his machine that he designed himself for his job as the Death Doctor. He had a flight to catch, it would take him back home to Canada. He would see his family again after so long.
He felt a frown creep upon his features as he realised his father probably wouldn't agree with his methods of ending life mercifully and painlessly, given his father was a doctor who aspired to prolong life and reach immortality with his group of like-minded doctors. Kiriko found the concept absurd now, although he had once admired it a long time ago, but that was before the war changed who Kiriko was.
Now he didn't see the point in unnecessary suffering, and if patients wanted him to end their life, he was willing to do so but only for a high price, and that's what he designed his machine for - a painless, even pleasurable, relief from the pain and misery his patients lived with.
Kiriko tested the machine on himself several times before he introduced it to patients; it would asphyxiate one as if falling into a peaceful dream-like state, before it would shut down their organs and heart painlessly - of course, Kiriko would never go all the way with his machine on himself; it was only to test that it was working right. And he made sure the machine provided as pleasant a sensation as possible for each patient.
"Let me walk you home, Yuri." Mick said as he held the door open for the blonde. The party was still going on inside, but Yuri wanted an early night so that she could get to the airport in the morning to meet her older brother after so many years of his being away in the war.
"Thanks, Micky." Yuri smiled at Mick, who was like a brother to her, and strangely enough, in a way, Mick was more of a brother figure than her real brother Kiriko had ever been, given that Kiriko was always away and Yuri didn't get to bond with him due to that.
Even so, she did miss Kiriko, and worried about him often. His letters back home were always filled with so much optimism and adventure though, so it put her mind at ease. He didn't write as much as he used to within the past year, but as he said he was doing fine, Yuri figured he was just busier than before.
"It'll be all right, you know."
"Mm?" Yuri realised she was lost in her thoughts again, as Mick spoke to her.
"When your brother comes home tomorrow, it'll be all right." Mick grinned at Yuri, his green eyes were gentle and kind, and went well with his fair complexion and blond hair. The two looked like they could be twins, between their fair features.
"You're right, although I am a little nervous." Yuri admitted, as she brushed loose hairstrands behind her ear. "We haven't seen one another in several years."
"I'm sure your family reunion will go all right. Will your father go with you?" Mick asked.
"No, Papa said he's got a meeting, so it'll be just me greeting Nii-san." Yuri replied, and Mick recognised the term for 'older brother' that his Japanese-Canadian friend used. Yuri knew her father, Dr. Jorujyu, was a busy man, and wouldn't be able to make it as much as he'd like to be able to be there for his son.
"You'll drive him home then?" Mick asked to make conversation, as Yuri nodded.
"Yes, and show him to his room, we've kept it tidy for him while he was away." said Yuri, as she crossed the street with Mick by her side. It was beginning to snow as they continued walking back to the Jorujyu estate.
"A good snowfall should put your mind at ease, luv." Mick smiled at Yuri as the snow fell around them, and she smiled back at him.
"I do love the snow." Yuri admitted with a small giggle, as she gazed up at the night skies which were starry and snowy above the two friends.
There was still snow on the ground when Yuri got up the next morning, and looked out the window every chance she got as she got ready to head out to the airport, feeling a little excited and nervous at the same time as she wondered how it would go with Kiriko being home after so long - she was so grateful he was all right, and so proud of him.
She couldn't imagine what he had been through, but she admired his bravery for being part of the US Army as a medic out amidst the war. She aspired to be like Kiriko and to feel closer to her absent brother in a way, she had volunteered as a nurse for the Red Cross. It was a long, exhausting job, but she always did feel a little closer to Kiriko when she reminded herself that he was out there helping patients like this.
Yuri stopped a moment in her tracks to place her hand on the doorframe as she looked into Kiriko's room, and felt a shiver of excitement that he was going to be home today.
Kiriko looked up from his book as he heard the announcement that they had arrived in Vancouver. The doctor stood up, grabbing his bag from overhead as he patiently walked through the lines of people to make his way to the crowd down below on the ground. He scanned the surrounding with his one good eye, and didn't see his father or sister waiting for him, so he headed onwards to see if they would be further along in the crowd.
The doctor was surprised a moment, as he noticed a beautiful woman looking right at him - she was blonde with long hair and a gentle face, she almost looked familiar to him, but he was too stunned by her beauty to think straight. He was taken by surprise that she would be looking right at him, as he glanced around wondering if there was somebody else she was looking for, but she was definitely looking at him.
"Me?" Kiriko mouthed as he lifted his hand to himself, she nodded with a pleasant expression, as he felt a smirk form on his face as he began to head towards her. He felt flattered and wondered where this would go as he closed the distance between them.
Kiriko felt his heart stop a moment, as it dawned on him the attractive blonde that he had been eying turned out to be his sister - he didn't even recognise Yuri, she looked so mature compared to the younger girl he remembered from years ago. Kiriko let the embarrassment roll off his shoulder as he approached the now waving blonde who smiled at him brightly.
"Nii-san!" Yuri hugged Kiriko tightly with tears in her silvery eyes, as she laughed and looked up at him with shining eyes. "How are you? It's been too long!"
Kiriko nervously ran his hand through his unkempt white hair that was pulled back into a ponytail as he felt his heart still skipping beats over his sister's more womanly beauty, her figure having been pressed against his only moments before - this was going to take some time to get used to. Maybe he just hadn't been around women in so long that he was losing his touch with people, he wasn't sure, but he mustered a smile back at Yuri the best he could.
"Fine, Yuri, and yourself?" Kiriko inquired in a low voice, as she took hold of his arm and started leading him towards where the cars would be.
"I'm doing well, thankyou Nii-san!" Yuri was still as polite as ever though, which put Kiriko at ease. She seemed different to him, but he figured that he was different to her as well, knowing all too well that the war had definitely changed himself over the years. "Oh no, what happened to your eye, Nii-san?"
"Oh..." Kiriko's one good eye widened as he forgot that Yuri didn't already know he had lost his vision in the eye that was underneath a black eyepatch now. "The war happened, Yuri." Kiriko answered quietly with a frown.
"It's all right, it happened quite some time ago. I'm used to this." Kiriko attempted to reassure her when he realised she was looking a little gloomy herself after a few moments of silence.
"You're still as handsome as ever, though, Nii-san!" Yuri smiled at Kiriko who felt a slight blush over his face, as he chuckled at Yuri's innocence and sweetness.
"Here we are!" Yuri said as they reached the car, and she climbed into the driver's seat, opening up the passenger side for her brother who slipped in next to her. "It snowed last night, Nii-san, you'll love it."
"Oh?" Kiriko raised an eyebrow as they drove out into the snow-covered city, and he grinned. "So it did. Quite nice, Yuri."
There was silence in the car for a while as Kiriko wondered what to even say to his sister who was focused on the road ahead of them, and seemed a little shy with him now. Maybe the silence was all right, Kiriko figured as he felt weariness taking over him after such a long flight. He couldn't wait to sleep in his own bed again, and catch up on much-needed sleep.
"Papa wanted to be here, you know." Yuri spoke softly, glancing at Kiriko with a small smile.
"Oh, is that so?"
"He had a meeting this morning, so he couldn't make it unfortunately."
"That's all right, I suppose." Kiriko replied, turning to look out the window at the snowy scenary of Canada as Yuri talked about their father and brought up how he was glad Kiriko was home in time for the holidays.
"Yes, seems Christmas Eve is tomorrow, isn't it." Kiriko mused to make conversation as Yuri smiled at him, she looked so pretty like that, as Kiriko appreciated her sweetness and felt his heart skip a beat again.
'Get a hold of yourself, Kiri.' He scolded himself, running his hand over his face. This was his sister, for God's sake - he could find another woman once he got settled. It was never hard to meet somebody in Vancouver from what Kiriko remembered. Even so, he doubted they could match Yuri's beauty, she had a special light about her that he hadn't seen in anybody before, one that made her look so angelic and youthful, but not like how he remembered her when she was a young girl, it was different somehow, and complemented how womanly and feminine she had become in their time apart. Kiriko found himself admiring Yuri in the silence as he leaned his elbow on the window and was gazing at her from where he rested his face upon his hand. He figured admiring her beauty was no harm, after all.
"What do you keep looking at, Nii-san?" Yuri was blushing now as she noticed her brother staring at her with a strange, but pleasant expression. "Am I that much of a stranger to you?"
Kiriko raised his eyebrows, and shook his head, as he chuckled.
"Stranger, huh." Kiriko murmured, as he sat up straight in his seat, and looked ahead of them. "No, I was just admiring you, Yuri - you've become a woman." Kiriko decided to be honest, as Yuri smiled sweetly at him.
"We've both changed, Nii-san." Yuri said so softly that Kiriko almost didn't catch her words. She was focused on the road ahead of them so Kiriko couldn't read her expression, but he thought she looked shy again. He hoped he wasn't intimidating to Yuri, especially with his eyepatch and rougher demeanor.
"That's to be expected, naturally." Kiriko replied, his voice lowering into the silence that settled between them for the rest of the ride home.
"You've kept my room the way it was?" Kiriko asked with surprise, once they arrived home.
"Yes! Me and Papa, well, mostly me, really." Yuri giggled with a blush, as she brushed her hair behind her ear and smiled up at Kiriko, who raised an eyebrow observing her fair features. "Do you like?"
"Indeed." Kiriko murmured, as he turned away from Yuri, unable to bear her beauty and felt foolish that he was feeling this way over his own sister. Was he that alienated from society that he was no longer used to females anymore? Kiriko decided to distract himself by flipping through his old records, and took out a David Bowie album to show Yuri.
"Remember this, Yuri?"
She nodded, and smiled at him again - Kiriko couldn't help grinning back, as she spoke, "Do you want to listen to it, Nii-san? We still have the vinyl player you had."
"That might be nice. Would you sit with me and listen, Yuri?" Kiriko asked as he handed her the album, and she briskly walked over to pull out his vinyl player from the closet. After she put on the album, and "Space Oddity" started playing, she came back over to sit with him on the bed.
"Ohh, this brings back memories." Kiriko mused, as Yuri agreed with him.
"It does!" She smiled up at him again, and Kiriko was surprised to see a faint pink blush on her face, as she quickly looked away from him.
"You . . . feel it, too, don't you?"
"Feel . . . what, Nii-san?"
"Like I'm a stranger, like we're meeting for the first time, somehow." Kiriko murmured, unsure of how to phrase it - all he knew was that in the past few hours he had spent with Yuri, he was definitely attracted to the woman his sister had become, and hoped it was some strange side effect of feeling proud of her, if not his being an outcast to the world after being amidst the horrors of war and the euthanasia practice he had taken upon himself as his calling.
"I wouldn't say that, Nii-san . . . You're still you, and I'm still me." Yuri smiled shyly at Kiriko with a gentle look. "You are different, as am I. But it's a good kind of different. You're pleasant to look at, and I've been enjoying your company. I've really missed you, Nii-san."
Kiriko was stunned into silence by Yuri giving him a warm embrace. He wasn't sure what to do as she continued to snuggle into his shoulder, so he relaxed and placed his arms around her, resting his chin on top of her blonde hair. He could feel his heart skip a beat at first, but as he relaxed, he came to enjoy her warmth and closeness, wishing the moment would never end as "Space Oddity" rolled into the next track.