The Doom that Came to Saburo


In which Jadeite picks up the phone and discovers things he was never, never meant to have known. Or seen. Especially seen. Saburo, meet Rogaia Shimizu.

Date: 2018-12-31
Pose Count: 14
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 18:17:00 102144
It is, granted, the tail end of 2018. This means that most people, the Shitennou included, live and die by their cellphones.

But it's also the case that the apartment has an identity practically all its own, and with the way it gets treated as a temporary drop for people hiding, people homeless, and people heavily in need of medical attention, a way to reach the place is also important. Which is why Mamoru finally had an actual apartment phone put in.

It is now ringing. This in itself is suspicious.
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 18:24:06 102145
The world may possibly be ending, or telemarketers may have finally found them. These are the only reasons that Saburo can imagine someone actually using the apartment line that Mamoru had installed. He may owe him money, because he'd been confident the thing would never see use, at all, ever.

It's because of this state of shock that the phone has to ring twice before he gets to this feet and goes to answer the thing. He hopes the person calling them is patient, especially when the phone has to ring a third time before he can lift it from the cradle and to his ear.

"Hello! You've reached the -" Earth Court Frat House is probably not something he should say in front of a telemarketer but he should also be polite and cautious - "Chiba-san's apartment. This is Saburo speaking, how is your day going?"
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 18:28:50 102146
    Three entire times. Who could bear such a delay?

"Oh! I'm very sorry," says the voice on the other end of the line. Female, with a slight and not-particularly-familiar accent. "I was trying to reach Kazuo Takeba's residence. The telephone must have misdialed." (It is obviously the telephone's fault. No human agency could have erred.) "I am so very sorry for interrupting your day."

At least, if it's a telemarketer, it's an apologetic one.
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 18:34:51 102147
This is a whole heap of surprises, not exactly unpleasant, only confusing.

First, that the person on the line is probably not a telemarketer, because Saburo is certain that a true telemarketer would have never admitted fault and begun searching for the secret weakness that would let them buy his soul and also dignity and wallet.

The second is that anyone looking for Kazuo wouldn't realize that where Mamoru lives, Kazuo is sure to be found nearby.

"There's nothing to apologize for, Ma'am, except that I'm sorry to say Kazuo isn't here at the moment. His apartment doesn't have it's own line yet." (Never, actually. Saburo is very confident that Kazuo's apartment will never have it's own landline.)
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 18:42:47 102148
(Kazuo might not have his own cellphone if he didn't need it for emergency contact purposes. And also for playing Go remotely when Mamoru is bored in classes and Saburo is not around to conspire with.)

"Oh," the voice on the phone repeats. "Oh. Takeba-san can be reached through this number? Oh." ... the woman's tone has sharpened through those last couple of words; she draws a breath, though, and the next sentences are the coaxingly-sweet tone of someone in her sixties or seventies who has had plenty of time to learn about what catches more flies. "Please. This is Rogaia Shimizu. Is there any small chance that your honored and excellent person might be graciously and charitably willing to take just a brief message to pass on to Takeba-san?"
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 19:09:30 102149
(Saburo despairs for the many, many apps that will never get the chance to bring Kazuo joy, and is also grateful that at least Kazuo always reads his texts. It is the most he can ever ask for and he knows it.)

He also recognizes the sharpness that coats that polite voice, the way her statement is not a question but rather a confirmation, and he remains his most cheerful, sunshine-filled self as he listens to her complimentary request, honey-sweet, polite, and utterly lacking in familiarity. He doesn't recognize that name, but anyone looking for Kazuo and willing to be that polite was either a bill collector (unlikely, considering their funds) or family.

His smile broadens, standing up just that little bit taller, shoulders back. "Of course Shimizu-san, it would be my honor to pass along your meessage to Kazuo-kun. I am certain that you have gone to some effort to find this number, and I would hate for that to have been in vain."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 19:23:14 102150
    There is the usual amount of polite and solicitous checking to make sure that Saburo is prepared to take the message -- Rogaia is apparently thinking in terms of paper and pencil, rather than in terms of Saburo having his own cellphone in his pocket right there, but that is clearly manageable. And then...

"If you would be so very kind, Chiba-san," apparently Saburo is Saburo Chiba now, who knew?, "I would appreciate it so very much if you would tell my darling and beloved grandson, my heart, my soul, that I am going to eat his liver. We spent years searching for his grave, and now that he's somewhere he can be found, I have to get his phone number from that father of his? Would he have died if he wrote a New Year's card? Please do us the uttermost favor of telling him he should call us sometime before old age takes us both."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 19:32:53 102151
And Saburo is all set to take down this message - he does not choke at being called Saburo Chiba, because he can recognize, with hindsight, that ths was the only logical thing Shimizu-san to think - except that the entire message is a series of choke-worthy moments.

Kazuo has a grandmother. Yet another living relative, ostensibly able to contest the idea that Kazuo had been born a man, complete with stern demeanor and serious business face.

Had Saburo not spent the last several months avoiding his own blood family with all the passion, tenacity, and skill he could summon, he might have been a bit sympathetic to her plight. (He still was, honestly, he just empathized much more with Kazuo's apparent disregard for getting in contact.)

This does not prevent him from saying, "I can sincerely believe that you're related, because you sound just like him. Shimizu-san, you have truly challenged my conviction that he sprang from the Earth fully formed."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 19:36:02 102152
And that -- there is only one response that that sentence could evoke. One response that may put Saburo on top of the world, or doom him to a hideous fate, or both at once.

"Of course he did not! I have baby pictures."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 19:45:52 102153
Oh this is temptation. Oh this is cruelty. Empathy wars with impish, brotherly delight, and brotherly teasing wins.

"Shimizu-san, I would hate to ask you to put in yet more effort, but would you be willing to share those baby pictures? Perhaps a reminder of how intimately involved in his life you are would encourage Kazuo-kun to reach out."
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 19:48:19 102154
"Oh, it would be the smallest thing I could do to repay you! You are such a flower. Is there somewhere I could send them? An address, or perhaps a cellphone number?"

Someone is going to die over this. It is probably not going to be Rogaia.
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 19:52:03 102156
"Truly, you are a blessing Shimizu-san. Sadly, I would fear for the safety of physical copies, but if you would send them to via phone, my personal cellphone number is (XXX)XXX-XXXX."

He may die for this, but it would hardly be the first, or worst, tiime.
Kazuo Takeba 2018-12-31 19:59:50 102157
There is a moment of silence. Then Saburo's cellphone buzzes.

"There. There. That is a beginning, at least. Kiyoshi will help me get more onto the phone. If Kazuo keeps being obstinate, I will be happy to send more encouragement. All the encouragement he could possibly need."
Saburo Yukimura 2018-12-31 20:05:02 102158
The buzz of Saburo's cellphone is the death knell of Kazuo's dignity (and most likely, Saburo's life). No sound has ever been as sweet.

"Thank you, Shimizu-san. I will ensure that Kazuo receives your message before the end of the hour."