Part 118: Coco's Route - True End - Part 23Video: Coco Last Awakening I
Hokuto and I were still confronting Yubiseiharukana. She kept her mouth closed as if she had spoken about everything. You (Yubiseiakikana) stood next to her also wordless. In the cold silence, I tried to reorganize in my mind what had happened so far, and started wondering....
'Why am I here?'
I found the answer easily.
'I have appeared because I was tricked by myself from the past.'
I mean....The mastermind behind the incident in 2034 was no one else other than myself. In 2017, I had told You to trick me, and therefore I appeared in the world in 2034, having been tricked by myself. Thanks to the strength of Hokuto's appeal, Takeshi had come back to life and saved Coco, helped her into the pod and activated the cryogenic suspension.
So...that was what happened....That moment, when Hokuto had shouted out 'Dad!' at the dark bottom of the ocean.... Everything had happened for the sake of that moment....It had taken 17 years, going back in time, in order to bring the dead back to life....That was everything. Coco and Takeshi were still sleeping 357 feet under the ocean.
(So I need to get there!)
In order to save them!
Dodging the branches, slicing through the wind, I ran like an arrow released. As I pumped my legs I thought....
(How can I get to the bottom of the ocean...?)
I cut through the woods as I was thinking. I sprinted over the curving arch of a bridge, and reached the docks, the harbor for the floating island. I looked around and didn't see anything that resembled a mini-sub. As I tried to catch my breath, I walked around the docks.
I noticed there were broken pieces of rock in the middle of the open area. All of the pieces scattered around were huge. They were as big as my whole body. The surface of the rocks had a refined smoothness. Looking closely, I found that some letters were carved on it.
'Wher' 'abov' 'sky'
There were meaningless letters jumbled on the pieces of rock near me. There were letters on the other pieces. I put the pieces together and tried to guess the original sentence.
'Above the' 'sky, and' 'at your feet....'
"It's a stone monument...."
I whispered. The monument must have fallen down for some reason and had broken into pieces. Was it due to the tremor from the accident? Or had it been the passengers, who in a state of panic had rushed towards the docks and knocked it over? I had no idea what the cause was. I picked up one of the smaller pieces.
It was probably as heavy as Coco.
A thought just hit me.
'If I jump into the ocean holding this piece of rock in my arms....'
Before I had time to think it over, my feet were starting to move already.
I ran hard towards the ocean....The moment I reached my maximum speed, I kicked off the ground with all my strength. My body flew in the air....I jumped high over the fence....The blue water surface swayed below my eyes....
I splashed into the ocean holding the heavy piece of stone. The letters on the piece said...'Heaven'....Holding 'Heaven' tightly to my chest, I plummeted into the darkness.
The seawater pressed hard on my eardrums. Unable to pop my ears because I held 'heaven' in my arms...I simply endured the pain. Water pressure, incredibly high, squeezed my body. It felt as if my joints were about to snap into pieces. My chest felt as though it would be crushed.
Deeper, deeper, deeper....The deeper I went, the more the water pressure rose....My lungs could not stand it. I decided to open my mouth.
The air in my lungs came out and a large amount of water poured into them. I automatically gagged and started to choke. Even then cold seawater filled my windpipe.
As my lungs filled up with water, I felt despair welling up inside of me. How far had I gone? I looked up, and saw the water surface far above. I couldn't go back now. I looked below. I couldn't see anything. There was only the blue-black darkness. I couldn't see the bottom of the ocean yet. No matter how fast I sank, 357 feet was still very long. I went deeper and deeper, but scenery was unchanged.
The darkness...darkness...darkness...a world covered in darkness....It occurred to me...that I might....I might just be swallowed by some deep ocean trench and keep falling forever. I began to feel desperate. The only positive thing was that somehow the pain had disappeared....I felt that my conscious mind could still be clear, as the sense of pain had numbed. I realized that for the first time in my life.
Hey, wait....To begin with, the body I was in belonged not to me but to Hokuto....Thinking about that I felt guilty.
(I need to return it in one piece....)
I couldn't see the bottom yet. My brain was running out of oxygen and I started to lose consciousness. My limbs were numb. The numbness soon turned into spasms. Against my will, my limbs started to go wild. I almost dropped 'heaven'. I quickly pulled it close to me and held it tighter to my chest.
Going deeper, deeper and deeper....I must have looked like a priest at an exorcism gone wrong, possessed by an evil spirit, my whole body twitching wildly.
I hit a rock surface and had stopped going down.
I burst forth from the water surface with great force. Putting my face above the pool, I started coughing hard trying to expel all of the seawater in my lungs. I grabbed the rim of the pool. I took a deep, deep breath. I coughed hard as I was breathing in and chucked up a large amount of water. I repeated that a few times. I now really understood the suffering Takeshi had gone through. I crawled up weakly onto the floor.
But there was no time to relax. I started running towards the examination room.
I felt the heaviness of all the past years, as I smelled the stale odor in the room.
The paint on the capsule pod had partially peeled off and the surface of it was rough and weathered. Manipulating the computer terminal I checked on the status of the pods. Both Coco and Takeshi were safe.
Under cryogenic suspension their body temperatures had been kept at about 40 degrees Fahrenheit, with their heartrates and breathing reduced to only a few times a minute. They seemed to be in good health. The cryogenic suspension device seemed to have worked properly without a single glitch for 17 years. I deactivated the hibernation program for both of the pods.
Coco and Takeshi were set to awaken at anytime. First, I opened Coco's pod.
"Who is it...?"
"It's me, Coco."
"I came to save you...."
"Yes. I kept my promise, didn't I?"
"The promise....The promise....The promise...?"
Coco rubbed her eyelids and blinked repeatedly.
"I knew it! So you DID come to save me!"
Oh wait, was it actually Hokuto who she had hugged...? Was it me...or was it Hokuto...? Was it Hokuto who wasn't me...or was it me who wasn't Hokuto...?
I did not fully understand...but still....I hugged Coco tightly, too.
"You know, I've been waiting for you sooooo long!"
"I've been waiting for you so, so, so long!"
"I knew you would come and get me. I wanted to see you so bad....I just...had to see you again....My brother...."
"Uh, uh-huh....But you see, Coco...? I'm not your brother, actually...."
"Oh, that's alright. A girl who doesn't have a brother could call someone who is like a brother, 'brother!'"
"Where is that written?"
"It's not written anywhere. I just decided it!"
Coco and I stared at each other as if we were drawn to each other.
"Hey? It's strange....I thought I had so many things to talk to you about when I finally see you, but....I don't know why, but....I get all tongue-tied...."
"Oh, but one thing....Can I tell you something I couldn't tell you before?"
"Well, I....I think you'll be surprised, but....You might not believe me, but....I....Well, I...."
"I might have fallen in love with you."
My heart skipped a few beats.
"Well, but...But I still.......ah...."
"For 17 years....For 17 years....I've been waiting for you, brother. I've known about you since 17 years ago, you see?"
"You've been watching over me this whole time, too. But, I've been watching you, too...."
It all started to make sense to me....Coco and I had been sharing the same time....I must have been sharing experiences with Coco through Takeshi's point of view....I had always been by Coco's side....
"Would it be so bad if I fell in love with you?"
"I don't think so, really...."
"Well then! It's decided! From now on, you and I are sweethearts, okay?"
Before I got a chance to ask her back, Coco jumped into my arms again. Coco had regained all her strength. Maybe the antibody had kicked in while she was under cryogenic suspension. Whatever it was...I was relieved....My heart was filled with waves of happiness.
It had taken me a while, but it was finally Takeshi's turn. I gave the body back over to Hokuto, since I wanted them to have a family moment.
"Dad! Wake up!"
All the sudden, Takeshi opened his eyes.
"Wh-where...? Is this...?"
He looked around confused. Takeshi realized that Hokuto's face was in front of him, and said.
"W-who on....Earth're you...?"
"It's me, dad!"
Takeshi took a close look at Hokuto's face. He looked over Hokuto's whole body. He closed his eyes tightly and started banging his forehead with his palm. He opened his eyes and glared at the examination room wall. Then, Takeshi gasped as if he realized something and looked at Hokuto again.
"That's right, it's me, dad! Dad! Dad! I've missed you so much! Daaaaad...."
Raising his voice like a child, Hokuto rubbed his face against Takeshi's chest.
"Hey hey hey...wait a sec, Hokuto...."
Takeshi pushed back Hokuto.
"Take it easy, will you? Alright?"
Takeshi tapped Hokuto on the back....
Coco rushed at him.
Coco hastily jumped at Takeshi and hugged him.
"Hey, Coco! You look all better now!"
"Uh-huh, I don't have a single sore spot!"
"That's great...looks like the plan worked out beautifully, didn't it? That's just so great!"
Hokuto jumped at Takeshi and hugged him just like Coco.
"Whoah, stop it now!"
Takeshi forcefully peeled him away...
"W-why!? Why don't you want me to hug you!?"
"Before I answer that question, there's something I want to ask you."
"What is it?"
"How long have I been sleeping? A day? Two days? Oh man, I didn't sleep for...a week did I?"
"Ugh....Guessing from your reaction... it's been more than a week...?"
"Th-three months, then...maybe?"
"Y-you gotta be kidding.......You mean, I've slept past summer and into autumn...?"
Hokuto and Coco closed their eyes and shook their heads.
"Today is Sunday, May 7th...."
"The last day of the holiday."
"FWA, HA, HA, HA! Whew, c'mon, you had me scared for a second there....So it's only been a few hours since then...."
Hokuto and Coco looked at each other, nodded and said.
"Dad? I don't want you to panic, alright?"
"Just calm down and listen...."
"You have been...."
Video: Coco - Last Awakening II
Yubiseiharukana took a small submersible to pick us up at IBF pool. Inside the mini-sub she scolded Hokuto...
"You've got to be out of your mind to dive into the ocean like that! I mean, 357 feet....Don't you know, Hokuto? In this world, there's this wonderful and safe vessel for going underwater called a 'submarine.' Why didn't you just let me know? You are so stupid! Pure foolishness! You must be the dumbest guy in history! It must come from your father's side of the family...yeah...."
She kept picking on Hokuto until they reached the surface.
Hokuto must have been thinking - 'It wasn't really me who decided to jump into the ocean....'
No matter how many times they tried to explain, he just wouldn't listen. Therefore, Takeshi still couldn't believe that Hokuto was truly his son.
"Those are such nice words....They make me feel like getting up and doing my best."
"Yeah, I agree."
"Okay then, I'll say it too....Good morning, Takepyon."
"Good morning, Coco."
"Well, me too....Good morning, dad."
"Good morning, son...."
"...Son!? ...I DON'T have a son!"
"You've got a daughter, too."
"Hey, don't start adding kids like that! So are you telling me I'm the father of two children at my age?"
"That's right. And it's true whether you like it or not....Right, Coco?"
"Nya, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
"Kya, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Listening to their cheerful laughter, I thought to myself....
'I should be going back to where I came from.'
As I began to fade I heard only their happy voices behind me.
"Hey, Takepyon, Takepyon!"
"I've got a new brother!"
"A new brother?"
"Uh-huh, he's actually my brother and my boyfriend at the same time...."
"Reeeally, well good for you."
"Hey, dad! Dad!"
"I told you NOT to call me dad!"
"How about father, then?"
"Don't call me that either!"
"Why not? You told me to call you father before...."
"Well that just slipped out of my mouth...."
"Hey, Takepyon, Takepyon!"
"You're not making any sense!"
"Hey, dad! Dad!"
"What is it now!?"
"You too, huh!?"
"What's up, Pipi?"
"You just wanted to howl!"
"Hey, stop changing my nickname!"
"Coco's short comedy! If Coco were a monster!"
"Grrr, grrr, I'm a monster! Thump, thump, thump! I'm going to destroy everything! Grrrr!"
"Where's the punchline?"
"My grandfather's son, my grandmother's son!"
"That's so confusing!"
"Hokutan's comedy sketch! If I became a 12th grader! Since I've made it all the way to 12th grade, I'll try my best not to forget to bring stuff to school. Since I always seem to forget my protractor, I'll do my best to remember it."
"That's a resolution, not comedy! Well, do your best! Don't you forget it, ya hear?"
"What's with you this time, Pipi?"
"Let me guess, just wanted to howl again, huh...."
"What is it now...?"
"I want to play cater-pi-llarrrr, I want to play cater-pi-llarrrr, I want to play cater-pi-llarrrr!"
"Well, go ahead. No one's stopping you?"
"What, am I BOTH now...?"
"Look if you can't think of anything to say, don't say anything!"
"You're just going to howl again...."
"Oh, it's shorter now. Say that's kind of new."
"So what is it?"
"There you go again...."
I decided to leave as I was hearing their happy voices.
"Oh! Wait a minute! Brother!"
"Can I see you again? I know I'll see you again. No matter what. I believe in you....Because you know something? You and me are both from the sun, right? We can use psychic power. Okay? So believe in me, too. Your world and my world are connected. Our two worlds are...going to be united....And at the intersection, there is a perspective....I'll always be with you, brother...."
"Okay, so I'll see you then! Brother!