"Memories" was a short story that was published sometime ago as an writing exercise. This story was re-polished a bit and an illustration made for it for the Japanese release of Father Figure extra. Turned out it wasn’t used (Libre opt’ed for the prologue of the FF sequel instead). So now we are releasing it for you to read.
And a bit of David for your weekend to celebrate Germany making into the Cup finals! XD
Do note that this does spoil FF’s ending as that this cut scene happens about a month after the final chapter of the novel.
“How are you doing?” Katsuya said, his voice gentle - same tone as always whenever he spoke to Gabriel, as if a voice any louder would shatter the brittle man.
Gabriel only nodded. He was standing by the window – his once imposing frame now a thin outline. His lips’ were pale and cracked, the luster of his skin gone. Under the unforgiving Halogen lights that hid nothing, he looked terrible. He looked like a man barely alive.
“They tell me you’ve stopped eating again,” Katsuya said as he sat down on the chair beside the bed. “Sit down and talk to me?”
Katsuya patted the bedside. After a few moments of contemplation, Gabriel shuffled over to it and sat down. Gabriel had lost more weight since he last saw him only a week before, so much so that his eyes appeared to be bigger.
“I don’t want to take any more drugs,” Gabriel finally said. His voice was small, almost child-like. “It won’t make me better.”
“It will help you – “
“No, it won’t help me get better,” Gabriel said, louder. “And it makes me forget Father.”
The large eyes were glossy and rimmed with collecting tears.
“I sleep and sleep and wake up …. Then I don’t remember Father.”
The first tear rolled out from the corner of his eye, trickling down the steep slope of his cheek. The droplet hung at this chin for a second before it fell.
“Will you help me? Please make them stop….” Gabriel said, his voice drifting into a whisper as he spoke. His body shook and he squeezed his eyes shut. There were sobs caught in Gabriel’s throat, like a child who didn’t know how to stop the emotions from coming out. He was crying – the kind that was heartbreaking to hear and see. Katsuya stood and took Gabriel into his arms.
“I won’t lie to you and tell you that the medication will make you better,” Katsuya said softly – an odd contrast to Gabriel’s sobs. “But for you to move beyond this pain, you have to let go of your Father.”
Katsuya ran a hand through Gabriel’s hair, calming him. “He wouldn’t want you to live like this.”
Gabriel’s arms came up and looped around Katsuya’s waist. His hands seized fistfuls of Katsuya’s shirt. The side of his face was still pressed against Katsuya’s chest. His sobbing had subsided but tears were still flowing, wetting the shirt.
“I wish…we had more days together,” Gabriel said with a shaky voice. “I wish…he could tell me again and again how much he loves me… I wish…”
Gabriel took in a breath and let it out. When he spoke again, his voice wasn’t quivering anymore.
“Every day that goes by, I forget a little bit more what he sounds like… what he looks like… I think it is worse than dying, to wake up one day and not remember him…”
“I understand,” Katsuya said. “But you have to want to exist more than just for those few memories. You are still young. Your father’s last wish was for you to live on, remember?”
“I don’t want anything… I don’t want my life…. But I need him in my mind, like I need air. If he left me…”
Gabriel choked down the sobs that threatened to come up again.
“Will you take me to see him? Bring him home so you can visit him any time you feel you are forgetting him?”
There was no response to his question. Katsuya didn’t expect an answer. Gabriel would still cling to Uriel. But perhaps Gabriel would exchange a fading memory for something else. It was a long shot.
“I can’t,” came the reply. Gabriel loosen his arms around Katsuya and leaned back. He wiped at his damp cheeks with his sleeves.
Katsuya only nodded. He sat back down on the chair.
“Will you tell me some day?”
Gabriel stared at the ring on his finger. Quiet. Katsuya waited patiently.
“Some day…” Gabriel said without looking up. “When I need to be with him.”
“That’s not what I want,” Katsuya said. He placed a hand over Gabriel’s. “I want you to remember what your father wanted you to be … a good man. To be alive.”
“I’m not,” Gabriel said. He looked up – his eyes still bloodshot and wet. “I’m not a good person. I’ve never been. I’m only alive because I’m a coward. When the day comes that I have enough courage to be with Father, I will tell you everything. But now…I don’t want to lose him.”
“You never did.”
“Father taught me how to ride the bike,” Gabriel said, as his voice hitched to a happy tone. A smile appeared as he spoke, although tears continued to flow. “A black and blue dirt bike that we got in a garage sale. We worked on it for days. I fell down over and over again but that was still better than having training wheels. I can’t be seen with those things. And Father kept on picking me up over and over again…”
Katsuya listened intently, unflinching.
“Mother was so angry. I’ve ripped up the pants and ruined the shirt. But I was so happy because I could ride a few feet without falling down.”
“Gabriel,” Katsuya said, after a long pause that followed. He stood up. “I’ll make adjustments to your medication.”
“Thank you,” Gabriel said. The smile still lingered on his face.
“I’ll come back and talk to you later today,” Katsuya said. “You have to promise me that you will eat and drink, okay?”
“If they tell me you won’t…”
“I will,” Gabriel said quickly.
Katsuya patted Gabriel on the shoulder and left the room. He was greeted by David who stood at the doorway of the connecting observation room with a grimace.
“What was that?” David asked.
“The drug’s not doing what it’s suppose to do,” Katsuya said. “His psychosis is unchanged. If anything, he’s gotten worse.”
“Where does that leave me?”
Katsuya sighed and gestured for David to step back into the room. He closed the door behind them.
“If you would like my off-the-record honest assessment, you won’t have a case,” Katsuya said, looking through the two-way mirror at Gabriel. “Ever.”
“So he becomes the tax payers’ burden until he dies?”
Gabriel remained where Katsuya left him. He was no longer crying but he was staring through the window fixedly – frozen, as if he was focused on some unseen thing that had mesmerized him.
“He is replacing people from his childhood memories with his father. An older neighborhood boy was the one who taught him how to ride the bike. It’s a form of psychological self-defense. The pain of loss was unbearable. So…”
“So his insanity is caused by his psychological defense against going insane?” David said.
“Yes. It’s a common response to trauma, to fabricate a new reality. But Gabriel is stuck in a loop that I don’t think he’ll ever be able to get out of. Usually, your psyche can regain semblance of normality once the source of trauma is removed and the time away from it diminishes the impact.”
“And fixing his drug intake will do what? Prolong his fantasies?”
Katsuya let out a sigh.
“I can only continue to provide therapy and hope he’ll want to tell me where Uriel is without it being a dying declaration. The medication…if it is really messing with his long term memory as he said, has to be adjusted or even the memory of where he buried Uriel will go with it.”
They both looked at Gabriel quietly for a while.
“You seem to be very emotionally involved with Gabriel and this case,” David said, breaking the silence.
Katsuya smiled and looked at David.
“I’m emotionally vested in all my patients, Detective.”
“I’ll make sure I have you to take care of me when the day comes that I can only get turned on when I’m carrying a gun.”
Katsuya’s smile broadened.
“Sexual deviancy’s not one of my specialties,” he said.
“Who said anything about treatment?”
It took Katsuya a few moments to process the comment and David’s grin. He wasn’t certain why, but it made him laugh – a welcome break from the tension that had been tying knots in his belly since morning.
“Just keep your gun holstered, Detective,” Katsuya said. “And you’ll be fine.”