Chronicles of Chiron: Excising Arx | Scene 12

Takuto is just about to unplug Datapad++ from the hospital network, when he notices a change on the display. “Oh, wait,” he says suddenly, drawing Cleve’s attention. “No, now the balance is zero! It’s been paid off by… S. Stanton? Who’s that?”

A smile slowly spreads across Cleve’s face. “That was Mariah.”

Takuto’s brow wrinkles in confusion. “Mariah’s name is S. Stanton?”

“No, it’s a fake name,” Cleve explains. Subterfuge is definitely not Takuto’s strong suit.

“Oh. Okay, okay. D-does this mean we can go in, then? And just get Arx?”

“I’m guessing Mariah is going to come out with Arx,” Cleve says. Takuto wraps his arms around his closed computer, nervously drumming his fingers against the case. Seeing this, Cleve tells him, “You did good.”

“Thank you, Mr. Cleve.” Takuto lets out a long breath and looks up at the second floor windows. “What room do you think Arx is in?” he asks plaintively.

“You’re the one with the computer,” Cleve observes.

“It didn’t have the room numbers, only the financial records. But what am I going to say to Arx? I left them there!”

“But you came back when you could,” Cleve points out. Emotional advice is not Cleve’s area, but Mariah is inside and Louisa is watching the opposite side of the medical center, so consoling Takuto falls to him. 

“Is that enough?”

Cleve shrugs. “I mean, I don’t know Arx, but…” 

“They’re pretty awesome,” Takuto says quietly.

“From what I saw, Arx wanted you to go.”

Takuto grows sorrowful. “Does Arx just not want me around?” He sucks in a breath. “Oh, gosh… what am I going to say to them?”

“I think you’re worrying about it too early.”

“I’ve been worrying about this for a month! Did you ever leave anyone behind and then reconnect with them later, Mr. Cleve?”

“Uh, I can’t say that I have there, Takuto.”

Takuto sniffles. “No. No, you’re a good person,” he murmurs.

“Most of my relationships just ended, and probably I won’t see them again,” Cleve says. Those people are all on Earth, decades dead.

“Fair. I don’t know, like, were you and Roze ever a thing?”

Cleve shakes his head. “No, we’re more like siblings.”

“I don’t think that’s what Arx and I are like,” Takuto says. “That’s not what I want to be like… What can I do to make this up to them?”

“Change their balance to fifty credits so that we can spring them,” Cleve says practically.

“I mean, I already did—oh.” Cleve’s message sinks in finally, but Takuto still worries, “I should’ve gotten them something from a vendor.”

“Look, I’m not an expert on any of this,” Cleve says, with no mustache now to hide his smile of amusement at the teenager’s fretting. “But you’ve done what you can.”

“But you’re an adult, Mr. Cleve!”

“That doesn’t mean I’m good with relationships. I mean, I can tell you how to piss a woman off, that’s for sure.”

“That’s, like, not what I need to know in multiple ways,” Takuto says. “But… that’s good to know if I ever… need it? Okay.”

Cleve realizes that was too subtle for Takuto. “I think the only thing you can do is say what you need to say from your heart. That’s all you can do.” Cleve’s no romantic, but this is his honest assessment of the situation.

Takuto nods. “I’ll do that. Thanks, Mr. Cleve!” 

Above them, rainbow glints in the fading sunlight indicate that Bella the shimmerfly is flitting about from window to window. Cleve sees her stop at one window and hover there for a while. Then suddenly she is gone. He has wondered how shimmerflies get around, whether they just go unnoticed due to their translucency or if they actually teleport. When she reappears just as suddenly, he considers that supporting evidence for the teleportation theory. Perhaps that’s the room where Mariah—and presumably Arx—are.