Ren groaned and ran a hand over his tired face. He was so sick of these last minute meetings he had to do, he just wanted to be done with everything ever evolving Koutarou. He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, remembering three years ago as if it was yesterday.
Koutarou had been living with him, claiming he had nowhere else to go in such a big city. Still depressed about Kichirou, Ren had said yes and a few days later, Koutarou had moved in, just like when they were in college.
For the first couple months, Ren had thought that it was going well, that he could use Koutarou again to forget his loneliness. They continued to live together even after Misaki was born, but that had been the hand that had pulled the mask from the lie.
Three years ago, Ren and Koutarou had gotten into an argument. Koutarou had started it.
“Why do you keep going to the hospital? It’s not like that child is yours! Just move away with me and forget that man!”
“I can’t. I like my life here and wouldn’t leave even if I wanted to.”
“You’re so goddamn stubborn. This is why no one will ever love a man like you.”
Several months after that conversation, Ren had learned that Koutarou had constructed a plan that had begun even before Koutarou had moved in with him. Apparently Koutarou had hated life after breaking up with him all those years ago and under the thought of not wanting to be miserable by himself, he had devised a plan to ruin Ren’s life.
Koutarou had investigated Ren’s life and, after talking to several people in the area, he had found a young beta male that was one of Ren’s younger students. This student was only fifteen at the time, in the same grade as Hana and Akira. Coming from a poor family, the student was on a hunt for easy jobs to be able to help pay for his younger siblings. When Koutarou had offered him a large amount of money to help him with his plan, the young man had agreed.
Koutarou and the young man then entered an agreement. This agreement was that Koutarou would get to have sex with the young man as many times as he wanted, he would take ponography pictures of the boy, videos and anything that could be used as blackmail. Under this agreement, the fifteen year old also became pregnant.
Waiting until the boy was showing and too far to turn back in the pregnancy, Koutarou had released all the videos to the police. Since Koutarou had never been shown in the pictures or videos, and because the boy had been told to only ever cry out Ren’s name, all the evidence pointed toward Ren as a rapist.
That very day, the police had come to the high school and had picked up both Ren and the young boy. Koutarou then spread rumors throughout the school, defaming Ren’s reputation by using the money his parents had given him after their death. Finding out that the young boy was pregnant, Ren was shocked, and at the same time, disgusted. Who would do such a thing?
The boy stuck to his agreement with Koutarou and claimed that the bruises and the baby inside him were all because of Ren. Ren denied these claims vehemently, however, the police did not have enough evidence and had to let him go to continue investigating. They were able to do a test that Koutarou had not calculated into his plan, and that was the in vitro paternity test.
This test was used to determine paternity during pregnancy using amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling, the same medical procedures used to test a fetus for diseases. But those procedures were sometimes invasive and carried a small risk of inducing a miscarriage, so they were rarely used for paternity testing. However, because of the young man’s age, and that he was in the middle stages of pregnancy, the police decided that this was the best course of action. These tests had been developed in the recent years to make it easier for omegas to determine who their children’s fathers were if they were raped. After several years, the tests were able to become completely non-invasive due to being able to tell the baby’s paternity just by taking a blood sample from the mother.
Using these tests as evidence, the police could determine who was telling the truth and who was lying. The only issue was that the test would take up to a month to come back from the lab.
During that month, Ren’s reputation as a teacher crumbled. No students would talk to him, and even the teachers avoided him. They called him a rapist, two faced, a liar. Eventually the principal gave him the option of leaving voluntarily or being thrown out. Ren left voluntarily, no longer comfortable within the school he had once loved so much.
Days after he vacated his desk, and left the school, he got a call from the police. They had determined he had nothing to do with the boy’s pregnancy and that he was framed. It was also found out, after a thorough investigation with the pregnant boy, that Koutarou was behind everything. The only problem was that Koutarou had still been living with Ren that entire time. The police told him he would be arrested as a conspirator if he did not hand Koutarou over.
That very night, Koutarou was arrested on multiple charges. He claimed insanity and blamed it on Ren. The trail was set at a later date, wanting to wait until the victim of the scheme had given birth and was in a better mind set before proceeding. But no one expected Koutrou to escape and run the the young boy’s house. Wanting to make it a double suicide, Koutarou stole a car and shoved the boy inside.
The car accident was intentional, and although the two were found injured, neither of them died. The boy, however, lost the baby, and Koutarou had suffered intensive head injuries. His injuries were so severe that he lost all of his memories and regressed to the time when he was eight.
Due to this relapse in his conscious, he had been admitted to the hospital. But, Koutarou had no living family members left, the only one who knew anything about him was Ren. So, even after three years, Ren was still required to go to the facility where Koutarou resided until the police and caretakers decided what to do with the now inept Koutarou.
Having received a call that morning from the facility claiming they had important matters to discuss, Ren had closed the cafe for the day and asked Hana to take Misaki to preschool. Upon arriving, Ren found out that today was the day that they would finally be deciding what to do with Koutarou.
Koutarou’s lawyer was fighting for Ren to have to take care of the disabled man while Ren’s lawyer said that they had absolutely no blood relations and there was no need to discuss matters any longer. No one even asked Ren what he wanted, they just yelled and talked over him, claiming their answer would be what would be best for Koutarou.
SItting in the corner of the room, his knees hugged to his body, was the ‘eight-year-old’ Koutarou. He was listening in silence, but his eyes would dart toward Ren every once in a while. He felt like he knew Ren, but he had only seen the man a few times every year. He didn’t understand what the lawyers were talking about or even understand what regression meant. Couldn’t he stay here? He liked the nurses here and everyone was nice to him.
When the clock struck three o’clock, the two lawyers finally came to an agreement, they turned to Ren who was holding his head in his hands, his head throbbing violently.
“If you really want nothing to do with him any more, please sign this document.” Ren’s lawyer pushed a stack of papers toward him, a pen ready to sign. Ren looked at him quizzically. “It states that you have no rights to anything that happens hereafter and that Koutarou will officially be handled by the government. You will never see him again.”
“Thank God,” Ren groaned under his breath, signing every line his lawyer told him to.
Koutarou’s lawyer sat on the other side of the table with a frown on his face. This was not exactly the outcome he wanted, but one couldn’t win every case that they had. WIth one last flourish of his pen, Ren had a smile on his face so wide, his teeth blinded his lawyer. After almost three years, this was the happiest he had ever seen Ren.
A small smile crept over his face as he said, “Go home, you’re free of him.”
Ren didn’t need him to say anything else before he bolted from the room at high speed. From the corner of the room, Koutarou watched Ren leave with sadness lingering in his eyes. He felt as though he should remember that man…
Shouta listened to the rest of the story in silence. Due to the interruptions from the children, it had taken nearly the entire day for Hana to finish. Not knowing how to feel about everything he had heard, Shouta was in a confused mess. On one hand his heart hurt for Ren to have had to go through something so horrible like that, but his heart hurt the most for that unknown boy.
If all you wanted to do was take care of your family, there should have been no reason to have to give your entire future away by getting pregnant. Out of everything that child could have done, that had been his decision. He probably hadn’t thought about what to do with the baby after. All he was thinking about had been the money, and the ‘love’ he thought he was getting from Koutarou. Shouta wanted to go back in time and beat some sense into that child.
After listening to everything, Shouta realized that everytime he thought about the unborn child, his heart hurt more than anything else. That life had been taken away by someone who couldn’t even control their own life. It shouldn’t have mattered that Koutarou had regressed, they should have tried him as a murderer. Now that poor boy would have to live with that his entire life. He wasn’t able to protect his baby, and he had tried to ruin someone else’s life just for money.
Nowadays, even Yakuza would not try to intentionally ruin someone’s life like that. All they would do would use threats, and leave the ruining to the money lending groups. Shouta would know, since he was the son of the Ichikawa Group’s boss.
No one but his family knew that he was a former Yakuza, and he wanted to keep it that way no matter what. He especially didn’t want Ren to find out about his sordid past. Thinking back, it was no wonder his father wanted him to take over the group. Back then, he was ruthless and had been suited for such a thing. But that small child that had taken his hand in the park a year ago was the reason why he had quit. He didn’t want to lead that life any longer and wanted to commit his time to raising the children in this world to make a better future.
This was his dream and had been that night he first laid eyes on Ren. Only he knew that their first meeting had actually been a year ago. He would keep that little secret in his heart until he died.