Starring out the window at the drizzling rain splattering on the glass did little to cheer Ken up or pull him out of the sober mood he had been in all day.
He knew he should be at peace, after all, the war had ended and Gelsadra was dead. But the few months since their victory had left him feeling hollow inside. He couldn't reconcile within himself that he had turned out just like his father- and now his life had begun to reflect the choices Red Impulse made when he was four years old.
"It's been raining for a week." Ken said flatly.
"Who cares?" Joe moaned from his hospital bed rolling onto his side to try and get comfortable.
"I wonder if it was raining the night he was born." Ken said softly and he turned to look at Joe.
Joe sighed. "Why don't you ask her?"
Ken shrugged. "Then morning Jun told me it was Dyami's 1st birthday...well I wanted to ask her about it then...but she has a birthday present to send to him and wanted to know if I would like to send something too." The image of the blue paper wrapped present and card she held in her hands came into his mind, being a weekend his parents would have been able to have a party for him.
Joe put his hands behind his head. "So why don't you."
"Because..." Deep down Ken didn't really know why, scratching his head he searched to think up a response. "I don't think Jun should be doing it... you know sending him presents... and I told her as much...and then she burst into angry tears and that ended any more discussion about him...she told me to go away because I obviously didn't understand how she felt...so I did."
Ken could see her struggle, but he just couldn't reach out for her in the way he felt she needed him to. They had become friends again, but just not close like they had once been. He missed her in that way- her close friendship and their long conversations meant more to him than a physical relationship no matter how amazing could ever fulfil him...
Joe didn't respond he just lay their staring at the ceiling, eventually he turned his head to look at Ken seriously. "I know nothing about this sort of thing, so I can't give you any advice."
"Should I go back there tonight...since she said she wasn't working?" Ken asked again feeling unsure on how to approach her about it.
Aggghhh... he thought in frustration. He had been wracking his brain for months over it. He had so many questions he wanted to ask her about the night he was born. He wanted to try and rebuild the relationship they had once, he just didn't know how or where to start. The days when he held her in his arms and told her loved her seemed liked a lifetime ago. Had to mush water passed under the bridge for there to be anything between them now. He wondered.
"I was a tough day for her Ken, but what about you?" Joe interrupted his thoughts and a look of concern crossed his hardened features.
"I'm not sure... I've tried to pin point where I was and what I would have been doing this time last year...I think it was around this time that I was helping Jafaru." Ken turned it over in his mind again- he had been doing it all day, thinking about what it must have been like for her, but she became distant if he asked her anything directly about her feelings towards giving him up or about the pregnancy.
Joe tried to sit up. Ken saw his face grimace as pain hit him forcing him to lie down again.
"I hate feeling this weak...and useless..." Joe grumbled as he weakly pulled up a blanket.
Ken didn't respond to that remark- Joe had been feeling sorry for himself since they found that bomb in his heart and them his body went into shut down. Ken decided not to let him indulge in it any more.
"Do you think they would have a birthday party for him? Jun would know since she got that letter from them a few weeks ago." Ken grimaced at that, Jun offered it to him but he refused to read it. He told he wasn't interested and a confused expression crossed her delicate features...
"I hope they did...and he had other babies his age to play with...and a big birthday cake." Ken pictured it in his mind...a clown and kids playing with him sitting on his mother's knee while they all blew out the candles...
"Kids parties would drive me nuts." Joe smirked and rolled over onto his side briefly.
"I dunno about that, I think they would be fun...seeing them playing and learning new things." Ken felt his heart lighten a little as he imagined it. He never had parties when he was little since his mother had been so ill and sad and over protective of him.
"Have you met Matt and Natasha yet?" Joe enquired. "Other than when we ran into them on that bridge, but they didn't know you're his biological father..."
"No, not yet, and to tell you the truth I'm not sure I should do that...after all if there is any remnants of Galactor still around..." Ken left his deepest fear hanging, and the mere thought ran a shiver up his spine.
"You mean since Galactor know what you look like an association could endanger them" Joe corrected him. "Smart thinking, is Jun still having that meeting?"
"Yes." Ken didn't hide his disapproval.
"Ken you have to let her deal with it in her own way...Galactor don't know her civilian identity." Joe pointed out.
"True..." Ken agreed. So why did he still want her to stay away from him and not have these twice a year meetings? Since he couldn't answer that question he pushed it out of his mind.
"It a pity about Dr.Pandora..." Joe said changing the topic. "She was one beautiful and smart lady..."
Ken nodded, "If she hadn't died who knows..."
He stood up and walked over to look out the window. The image of her being launched in the rocket that claimed her life still haunted him.
"I wish she was still here...I know she would have been able to help to me." Joe whispered and he closed his eyes, after a few minutes Ken could hear his steady breathing as he slept.
"Yes she would have...Talk to you later Joe..." Ken said softly-closing the door of the private hospital room behind him.
Briefly he stood looking at the closed door wondering what he would do next...should he go for a flight in his Cessna or go back to the snack J?
Contemplating his next move Ken decided to go for a few hours hour's flying to clear his head and then go back to the Snack J for dinner.
* * * *
Sitting down on the lounge in the small living room of the loft Jun picked up the book she had been reading for the past week and opened it to the marked page. Looking at the title of the next chapter she began to read.
"Sis..." Jinpei broke into her concentration.
"Jinpei." She said. "What is it?"
"Sorry sis..." Jinpei looked guilty.
Sighing she put down the book.
Jinpei eyes fell on the title. "Do those books really help you?"
Jun shrugged. "They might, only time will tell." She looked at the cover title. "Moving on." She figured she had to something deal with her depressed state of mind.
Jinpei sat down beside her- he looked like he had the weight of the world on his small shoulders.
"I know I've been mean to you at times over the past few months." He admitted slowly.
Jun put a comforting hand on his shoulder. "I deserved it- I should have told all of you...I can't put words to why I felt the need to keep it to myself... The words I have found seem inadequate." She confessed.
Jinpei threw his arms around her and hugged her close. "You deserved to have us looking after you... we're a family and we look out for each other."
"Oh Jin...that's so true." Jun agreed. "We are one unconventional family...but it works doesn't it."
"You bet!" He said smiling as he pulled away from her. "Promise not to keep secrets like that from me again..."
Returning his smile Jun nodded. "I won't Jinpei...you're growing up so fast."
"Awe..." His face turned a light shade of pink."Has to happen sometime. I'd like to have a girlfriend one day..."
"I'm sure that will happen Jin when the time is right, your charming personality will attract the right girl." She winked and he blushed even deeper. An alarm went off inside of her- did that mean it was time for that "talk" with him about sex and girls already? He's only just turned thirteen she thought swallowing hard-she knew it had to happen soon, since she didn't want him to end up in the same situation that her and Ken ended up in and all the complications that went with it.
Nervously she looked back at the book, maybe Ken or Joe could help her out in this area.
"Are you going to see them tomorrow?" He asked. Jun knew who he meant and a soft smile touched her lips.
"Yes..." She answered.
"Is big bro going with you...? I think he should." Jinpei added looking at her seriously.
Sadly Jun shook her head. "No, he doesn't want to have any contact..."
"It doesn't make sense...I thought he would." Jinpei scratched his head. Jun felt confused by Ken's reactions anytime she brought it up he backed away from her and told her his thoughts on it. This caused a bone of contention between them. She felt since he had stopped the adoption order it would be good for him to meet them properly and let them see he's not a vindictive person or otherwise. She saw reservations in Matt's blue eyes, especially when she had a brief meeting in the office with Val to reassure them that neither Ken nor she would be trying to take him from them.
She saw relief wash over the both of them, and Natasha had unshed tears in her eyes, it was then that Jun saw the real grief that Ken caused by his actions. The delicate relationship that she had begun to form had been put in jeopardy.
"How about I come with you?" Jinpei offered. "That way you don't have to go alone."
She studied his face, Jinpei looked eager to go with her, and deep down she knew she didn't really want to go alone to the park that they had organised to meet at.
"Sure Jinpei...just remember that they are his mum and dad..." She said.
"I know you won't have to worry about me sis, just introduce me as your little brother." Jinpei grinned- she could see his excitement from the way he bounced off the couch he ran down stairs.
"Hi Ken." She heard him say.
"Hey Jinpei..." Ken returned his greeting, she imagined him sitting down in seat at the bar.
Reluctantly standing up she put the book back into her bedroom, she didn't feel comfortable with him seeing her reading books like that. The thought that he wouldn't understand made it all too much for her to handle.
Gathering her thoughts Jun decided to go downstairs and see if Ken had changed his mind about the meeting.
He looked up and smiled as she came off the bottom landing of the stairwell. He hadn't seated himself at the bar like he usually did. Ryu sat at the bar watching Jinpei playing cards at one of the empty tables.
"Hi Jun." Ken greeted her with a searching gaze.
"Ahhh, Hi Ken...so...how's Joe?" She asked trying to keep the mood light. Ken still silently studied her.
That searching gaze often bothered her these days, so she looked away trying to find something that would take her immediate attention, she saw his smile turn into a frown, she should have known he wouldn't miss a thing with his sharp observation skills.
"Joe's still not well...I think he needs to feel useful." Ken jammed his hands into his pockets and sat down at a table and picked up a newspaper.
Stepping behind the counter she picked up a clean glass and poured him a drink of cola and one for herself and then headed over to join him.
"How long do think this peace will last?" Jun said sitting the drink down in front of him.
Ken's frown deepened, and he let out a drawn breath slowly before answering, he looked longingly out the window. "Forever...I hope it lasts forever."
"Me too..." Jun agreed looking out the same window at the sun coming through the dark clouds for the first time in a week. "Have you changed your mind about coming with me...to see Dyami tomorrow?"
Ken slowly shook his head and stood up. "I can't..." he said and walked out of the Snack J with his shoulders slumped and lost in thought. She saw Jinpei's worried glance as she tried to understand why he didn't want to have any connection with him.
The street outside sparkled from the sudden rays of sunlight against the wet pavement. She hoped Ken was right, could peace be truly possible forever...