|Shogo: Looking For The Next Best Thing
By Hamish Paul Wilson.
Edited by Graham L. Wilson.
Thanks to Monolith Productions for the Shogo game and characters.
“I DID NOT KILL THEM!”
“DENIAL! YOU KILLED THEM!”
“NO!” Sanjuro screamed and woke roughly, sweating heavily. He found himself in his quarters, and he thought he should have a look for Kura, Toshiro, and Baku. Then he remembered; they were in fact dead. That did not mean that there was still not anyone left for him to see however. Sanjuro got up and headed out of his quarters, and entered Kathryn's room quietly. She was sleeping noiselessly in her bed, enjoying a rare moment of peace kept separate from all the turmoils of her recent life. Sanjuro sat down on a chair and looked at Kathryn, thinking over his grievances. Despite it all Kathryn was still a light sleeper, and awoke when something in her subconscious mind sensed Sanjuro's presence.
“What is it?” she groggily asked while opening her eyes. She just needed to have one look at Sanjuro's face and expression to tell what the problem was. She thought for a few moments, choosing the right words for her response carefully. “The dream again?” she inquired softly.
“Yes...” Sanjuro almost muttered, never being good at vocalizing his feelings. Kathryn was still considering her best option to console her friend. She sat up in bed, and finally decided that the simple approach was the best. She leaned over and embraced her him, and Sanjuro was almost at the brink of crying. Sanjuro took comfort in her embrace; dealing with emotions was Kathryn's specialty.
Sanjuro was found to have Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome as a result of Kura, Toshiro, and Baku's untimely deaths, and had been given many days of shore leave in order undergo his “recovery”. If anything the free time was only making things worse, as when he was working Sanjuro could concentrate on other things. When he had free time his thoughts always drifted to the dark side of his mind, which always caused him trouble. Except when he was discussing with a certain someone...
“It is not your fault...” Kathryn soothed gently as Sanjuro related last night's dream to her.
“Tell that to my subconscious” Sanjuro said frustrated.
“I believe it is not your fault, and you need to do it too...” Kathryn continued unfazed.
“It is easier for you, you were not there!” Sanjuro snapped, cutting her off. Kathryn's face turned to stone. “Sorry, I did not mean it that way...” Sanjuro added quickly and apologetically, fully aware that he had been out of line.
“It's okay” Kathryn acknowledged quietly, embracing Sanjuro again and resting her head on his shoulder. Then they both started to cry, comforting each other communally. After awhile the two finally separated, and Kathryn returned to her other outlet, staring at a wall of text on her computer screen. She had not been directly involved with Kura, Toshiro, and Baku's deaths, and was never found to have any ailments. She still worked at her communications desk, but she was definitely not the same person. She had become more distant and depressed, keeping to herself as much as she could except when seeing Sanjuro. Her writings were also showing this, with her now creating depressing ballads instead of her usual literary works.
After completing her latest piece, she printed it out and gave a copy to Sanjuro, hopeful that seeing it would help boost his faith in her by ensuring that he did know that she really did understand how he was feeling. “Why do you write this when it only makes you upset?” Sanjuro asked upon finally reading it. It was not the response that she had hoped for at all.
“I feel better when I put my feelings on paper” Kathryn replied downheartedly.
“You only seem upset” Sanjuro commented. Kathryn decided it was best not to argue, and started to do another grammar check.
“YOU ARE GUILTY!”
Sanjuro had not realized that he had fallen asleep, and found himself lying alone on Kathryn's couch. Her writings were still lying on his chest, the paper crinkling as he got up. He looked about the room, and realized that it was around midnight. Kathryn was asleep in her bed, this time with a troubled grimace on her face. She stirred however the moment Sanjuro pulled himself off the couch. “Don't go!” she called out, and Sanjuro complied. He seated himself down bedside her, and the two sat side by side for a moment in silence. Many thoughts were going through Sanjuro's head. Some were of course still about Kura, Toshiro, and Baku's deaths, which always seemed to be lurking somewhere in his consciousnesses.
He was also considering how terribly important Kathryn had become in his life during recent times. Sanjuro always felt terribly lonely when she was gone, because deep down he did know that she really was the only who could truly understand. Sanjuro turned his head towards Kathryn, something which she responded to by staring down at her feet, as for some reason she now felt unable to hold his gaze. Sanjuro allowed himself to think on the matter for a few more moments before deciding on something. He then leaned over and kissed Kathryn on the lips. Her eyes widened for a second, but then she accepted it gently. She had suspicions about how much the two of them now meant to each other, but this would seem to confirm it.
Both of them then continued to look at each other for a few seconds, trying their best to decide on one another. “I love you” Kathryn whispered, and Sanjuro smiled. It was the right move after all.
It was a different Kathryn that entered Sanjuro's quarters after her duties at communications that morning; she now had a spring in her step and twinkle in her eye. “It is good to see you smiling again” Sanjuro noted, feeling better himself. She answered by giving him a warm hug and a light kiss.
“I have had a good day” she declared pleasantly, in a tone of voice she had not used in a very long time, not since before the incident. Sanjuro then remembered that the radio was still running, and he walked over to shut it off.
“I appreciate the best, but I'm settling for less, 'cause I'm looking for the next best thing.”
Sanjuro flicked the off switch, and returned to his expecting lover. A deep smile appeared on Kathryn's face as Sanjuro kissed her again. In some ways she felt guilty about letting herself get this involved with Sanjuro so soon after Kura's death, but then it was helping both of them confront the past. Kathryn had always known that she loved Sanjuro deep down inside since she was a teenager. She did however wonder what Sanjuro's true feelings were. Did he really love her, or was he only with her under some deep desperate need? Sadly she suspected the latter. Oh well, either way, she would love him and be the best lover she could be.
She expressed this thought into words, “I love you, Sanjuro”.
Sanjuro looked into her beautiful face and eyes and said “Me too, dear”. Kathryn embraced him, kissed him, and pushed him down onto the bed.
May 19, 2008
Review read and cleaned up on September 16, 2014.