You barely slept that night. As soon as the sun rose, you rose from the futon that had been laid out for you in Makoto’s room. Makoto was asleep like a baby, snoring quietly as he slept on his side, curled up. Your eyes stung a little from the lack of sleep, but you rose to your feet, walking to the mirror and began brushing your hair. Today was the day, the day you’d say goodbye to your mother. It’d been difficult to cope with her death, but Makoto had been helping you through it, and then your father had been taken as well and you’d ended up living with the Tachibanas. Hiyori and Ryouta had been incredibly kind, and Ren and Ran had been very understanding, trying to take your mind off things. Looking at your reflection in the mirror, you noticed the lines and dark shadows under your eyes. Looking at the two suitcases sitting on the floor, you knelt down and opened them, looking for your black dress. If you were attending your mother’s funeral, you had to be dressed appropriately. Standing once you found it, you exited the room and headed to the bathroom.
Once you were dressed and ready, you exited the bathroom to see Ren and Ran standing there, looking up at you. Both of them were wide awake, having gotten plenty of sleep, but they were looking up at you with the biggest, saddest eyes in the world. They could honestly put a puppy to shame. Smiling gently, you knelt down in front of them.
“Ren, Ran, what’s wrong?” you asked, seeing Ren sniffle a little, tears forming in the corners of his eyes.
“Mummy and Daddy said that today we’re going to the graveyard… They said we’re attending a few-ner-all…” Ran said, attempting to say the word funeral. You couldn’t blame her, it probably wasn’t a word she heard very often. Ren was still tearing up, trying not to sob.
“Daddy said that your Mummy was gone… And that we’re going to say goodbye to her today… I couldn’t imagine my Mummy gone!” Ren exclaimed, bursting into wailing sobs. You smiled gently, shuffling forward and wrapping him up into your arms, cradling him as he gripped onto you tightly. Ran was looking at you sadly, watching her brother continue to wail and sob. The door to the bedroom opened and you looked up, seeing Makoto looking down at all three of you sadly.
“Sorry Makoto… Did we wake you?” you asked, seeing a small smile form on his face as he shook his head, kneeling down and placing his hands on Ran’s shoulders.
“Ren? It’s okay. Our Mummy is still here, she’s just down the stairs. We need to be strong for [first name]’s sake, okay?” Makoto reassured, seeing Ren look up at him, nodding quietly. He still clung to you though. Standing up, he clung to the skirt of your dress, refusing to let go. Ran looked up at you.
“Big Sister, can you help me get dressed? I want to look pretty at the few-ner-all!” Ran asked, grabbing the skirt of your dress and gently tugging. Ren looked up, strangely silent as he continued to cling to you.
“Alright. Ren? Do you want to stay with Makoto, or would you like to stay with me?” you asked, seeing him nod and cling to you more. You gently petted his head in your hand, before allowing Ran to drag you to their bedroom. Sitting down on the bed, Ren sat beside you, still clinging to you in his silence. Ran rushed to you, holding two dresses in her hands.
“Which one should I wear Big Sister? The red one or this blue one?” Ran asked excitedly before she suddenly quietened down, looking down at the ground in thought. She then looked up calmly.
“Which one would your Mummy like more?” she asked, making your eyes widen in shock. For an eleven year old, she was a very considerate young lady. Smiling gently, you pointed at the blue dress.
“She’d love that one, it’d remind her of Dad’s eyes… She wore a blue dress just like that on their wedding day” you stated, seeing the huge grin appear on Ran’s face. Turning, you smiled down at Ren.
“Ren? Would you like to pick something out to wear?” you asked, seeing him turn and nod silently. His hand was still gripping the skirt of your dress tightly. He stood and walked to the dresser, picking up a dressy pair of shorts, a shirt and a vest. Walking back to you, he gently pushed the clothing into your hands. Smiling gently, you began undoing his pajamas, getting him dressed. After securing the vest on tightly, you adjusted the small bow tie around his neck. He gave you a weak smile before Ran appeared, jumping excitedly around you.
“Me next! Help me get dressed next!” she exclaimed, smiling happily. You giggled, turning your head as you began helping her get dressed in her pretty blue dress. Makoto stood at the doorway, wearing his nice black suit. It wasn’t an actual tuxedo, but it was a fancy dress suit. He wore a small smile on his face as he watched you dress Ran, seeing Ren look at him quietly.
“Big Brother? Are Mummy and Daddy ready?” Ren asked, finally speaking up after his big crying session. Makoto smiled, looking out over his shoulder behind him.
“They’re ready. We’re just waiting on you and Ran now. We all need to get our shoes on and then we can go” Makoto replied, stepping to Ren and petting his head. Ren looked around, looking like a lost little puppy.
Once everyone was dressed, you all exited the house and began walking to the graveyard. Ran held your hand in hers, Makoto holding her other hand, and Ren was clinging to your skirt again. You had your spare around wrapped around Ren’s shoulders, holding him to you as you walked. Hiyori and Ryouta Tachibana walked along behind the four of you. Ren really wasn’t taking this very well. Ran was a little more mature and could handle it, but this appeared to be really difficult for poor little Ren. Approaching the graveyard, you saw several figures already there. Gou, Rin, Haruka, Nagisa and Rei were already there. All of them turned, giving you both a weak smile.
“Hey everyone…” Makoto greeted, lifting his hand and waving to them. Ran waved at them excitedly, letting go of both your hands and running to Haruka.
“Haru! Haru!” Ran chanted, grabbing his hand and giggling happily as he tugged at his arm, jumping around excitedly. Haruka managed a small smile, letting her pull his arm around.
“Wow, Haru-chan’s popular!” Nagisa exclaimed, watching Ran shower Haruka in affection. All eyes turned to you and Ren and you felt Ren’s grip on you tighten more. Looking down at him, you gave him a gentle smile, petting his head. He seemed to relax at this.
“Ren doesn’t look very well” Haruka stated, looking at Ren worriedly. Hiyori smiled sadly, approaching the two of you.
“Ren’s just never been very good at dealing with loss… We just have to be gentle with him” she reassured everyone.
“I see… Ren? Would you like to go get a soda?” Gou asked, kneeling in front of you so she was eye level with Ren. Ren looked up at you, as if asking if it was okay. You smiled, seeing a small smile form on his face. He reached out a hand, grabbing Gou’s hand and let her lead him out the graveyard and to the vending machine nearby. You smiled, watching them leave, before turning to look at everyone.
“This is it… The priest will be here soon to begin the ceremony. Are you ready [first name]?” Rin asked, giving you a sympathetic, serious expression. You nodded, giving him a reassuring smile.
“I’ll be alright…” you stated, beaming a smile. Everyone looked at each other, before looking back at you. They could tell, they could see, just how hard you were trying not to break. You’d lost your mother, had your father taken by the police, and now you were burying your mother alone. There’s no way you were alright, and they knew it.
“[first name], it’s alright… You don’t need to act strong in front of us…” Rei stated, seeing your defences immediately cave. Your shoulders began trembling as your eyes stung and watered. You blinked rapidly, looking down as your hands clenched into fists. Your breathing became unstable as the tears poured down your cheeks, small sobs erupting from you. Makoto gave you a sad look, stepping to you and wrapping an arm around your shoulder comfortingly. Ran had been holding strong as well before she suddenly burst into tears, sobbing loudly. Everyone looked at her, seeing her wail loudly.
“Big sister!” she wailed, running to you and burying her face in your skirt. She wrapped her arms around your waist, wailing and sobbing.
“Ran, it’s okay…” Ryouta tried to soothe, stepping forward.
“No it’s not! Big sister’s crying! It’s not okay if someone’s crying!” Ran exclaimed, making him freeze at her outburst. He gave a sad look, retreating back to Hiyori as he realized she was right. You wrapped your arms around Ran, gently running your fingers through her hair.
“Ran… The priest’s here… We need to quiet now for the ceremony” Makoto stated gently, giving her hand a gentle pat as she looked up, seeing the priest arrive, smiling sadly. Gou and Ren came back, still holding hands as they approached the graveyard. During the ceremony, you had both Ren and Ran clinging to your skirt, sniffing and whimpering quietly as you put a hand on both of their heads. During the ceremony, people gradually came out, one by one, from the town and watched the funeral. You were glad a lot of people were showing their support. You watched the machine slowly lower the coffin down into the ground, knowing that your mother’s body was in there. You could feel the stinging of tears, but you held them back, knowing it would set Ren and Ran off again. You watched sadly, remembering all the times you’d had with your mother.
(six years old)
“Mummy?” you asked, wandering around the house, looking for your mother. Your father was busy working, and your mother had suggested playing hide and seek to pass the time. It was your turn to seek. You approached the door to the study, reached up and grasped the door handle in your hand, giving it a twist. The door opened and you peered inside.
“Mummy? Are you in here?” you asked, stepping inside and looking around again. You heard a bump from inside the cupboard, making you jump and let out a small squeak. Reaching for the handles, the doors suddenly burst open and you found yourself being lifted up into the air by familiar, slender hands and blue nails. You saw a wavy, flying mess of dark blonde hair and green eyes, identical to your own. Laughter filled the room as you giggled, being hoisted up into the air above a familiar, smiling face.
“Found you Mummy!” you exclaimed, seeing her giggle as she pulled you down to her chest, wrapping her arms around you in a hug. You clung to her, burying your face in her shoulder, nuzzling into her hair. Her hair was a familiar scent you always found comforting, so you nuzzled into it for a long time.
“You silly goose” she cooed, running her fingers through your long, dark brown hair. You remained like that for a while.
You watched the coffin be laid still, being snapped back to reality. The priest finished saying his final words and you were called up to the front. Ren and Ran reluctantly let you go, letting you walk up to the front. When you got there, you turned to face everyone. Inhaling, you steadied yourself.
“Everyone… I’d like to thank you all for coming. About a week ago, my mother, Julia [last name], was murdered, here in Iwatobi. During that time, a lot has happened, both good and bad… But today, we say goodbye to a brave, kind hearted woman, and mother, and wife, who will be missed dearly. Julia was known best, for her loyalty, her willingness to continue a task till its completion and her motherly and protective nature. I have no doubt that my mother… died bravely, fighting to protect either herself or a loved one. Today, we may be saying goodbye… but we will always remember her in our hearts…” you declared, feeling the tears fall down your face as you announced this to the large crowd of people that had arrived. Ren and Ran were bawling now, clinging to Hiyori and Ryouta. You turned, facing the coffin and knelt down.
“Goodbye Mother…” you said softly, announcing the end of the funeral.