Saito leans against a nearby pole and looks at the carrier with the shard inside of it. A vehicle shows up soon and two military officers with a special designation, place the shard in the back and give Saito a ride back to base.
Saito thanks the two officers and heads to the entry terminal and scans his ID badge. The gates open and he walks up the escalator. The lobby is only military personnel and no fellow kinetic operatives, he heads to the transport room and returns back to his reality. Once he steps out the vacuum chamber and the tear in space gets smaller. He receives claps from above, the staff handling the portal, and overseeing the maps and grids clap for Saito. One staff member is waving extremely hard and Saito hears a whisper in his head. The staff member is none other than Sukina.
Saito rubs the back of his head and takes off the communication device from his neck.
He heads to the lobby area and sees a message on one of the tables.
“Hello Saito, this is a message from Tsubaki and Akihiro. Head over to the lounge room nearby.”
He opens the lounge room door and it appears to be dark. He walks in and turns on the light and…
“Happy Birthday Kazami-kun!” said by all the Kinetic Operatives.
Saito is standing there stunned and confused as confetti and streamers fall onto his hair. He slowly starts to realize what’s happening and says.
“Wait, wait, wait.. Oh right, it’s my birthday. How did I forget, it’s all coming together. No wonder Rinka looked all weird making me breakfast. Guys, you didn’t have to do all this. After all, I bought gifts for you instead. Y'all asked for a bunch of souvenirs when I left.
“Well, it looks like you haven’t changed at all. Jet lag hit you so hard, you couldn’t even realize it was your birthday. Well, either way, can we start the party. Yumi start the music!” Akihiro says with a shout.
Yumi starts playing some music from the speakers and plucks the strings from her Koto. Tsubaki, still wearing her battle attire, comes out of hiding with a birthday cake and sets it on the table everyone is gathered at.
She adjusts her bangs and reveals a smile and says.
“Happy Birthday Saito. I’m glad to see you came back to us. I hope you enjoy this little party even if you might be an idiot.”
Saito appears overwhelmed and looks over at all the people in front of him. He finally looks at Tsubaki in the eye and starts to shed a tear.
“Oh no, we made him start crying. Even with this short notice from Tsubaki, she still made a wonderful party.” Kotone says.
Everyone suddenly glares at Kotone, she realizes she wasn’t supposed to say that and retreats into Yumi’s arms. They all focus their attention on Tsubaki, who doesn’t seem fazed at all and they all let out a big sigh in relief.
The party continues and various people are dancing, Kotone in the distance stuffing her face with cake. Yumi and some other members are having a jam session. Tsubaki comes back from the lockers in her casual attire, a virgin killer sweater under her cardigan, and black jeans with black vans. She has a bag hiding behind her as she approaches the table where Saito is. The music stops and everyone begins to huddle around the table once again. Tsubaki’s face is completely red as she places the bag on the table. Tsubaki prepares herself to unveil what’s in the heavily decorated gift bag. She tries to buy time and glances over at Akihiro that’s coming out of the lockers. Akihiro comes over from the lockers, in a red hoodie and tan cargo shorts, with boxing boots and drops a cardboard box of items.
“Alright, before we get to this kid’s gifts he brought back from the States. How about I start it off?” Akihiro shouts.
The room delivers a mighty cheer and Akihiro begins presenting his gifts.
“First from my cardboard box of gifts, probably the second most important gift I present you… RevCharge Bangles, courtesy of your favorite techie, moi. If you strap this to your gauntlet, it starts revolving around your arm as you feed voltage into it. With one, it enhances your firing and lessens the amount of charging you have to do when you fire off a beam or electro ball. With two of them strapped on one wrist, they grind against each other creating electromagnetic force similar to a railgun and you can fire off a destructive of concentrated energy. Please aim it towards the sky. We don’t wanna cause damage to the surroundings, it’s gonna deduct from our pay. Aside from that, I think you should look inside the box on your own time.” Akihiro says as he pushes the box towards Saito.
Saito rummages towards the bottom of the box and feels a cloth with padding. It begins to pull it from the box and sees a black and white polka dot strap.
Akihiro draws near and whispers into Saito’s ear.
“This is an important one. I figured you might like this, I included some photos and the swimsuit Tsubaki wore for her photoshoot with the women’s kendo magazine.”
Saito looks at Akihiro blushing a bit.
“You’re a good man. Aki, you're a good man.” Saito says in a deep voice.
Tsubaki stares at the strap in Saito’s hand and instantly connects the dots. She swiftly steals it from Saito and stashes it in her pocket. The other operatives look at her with questioning eyes.
Akihiro brings everyone’s attention back and says with a grin.
“With that, I end my gift presentation. Now, I believe it’s Tsubaki turn to showcase the main gift. Can she do it without blushing super hard? We’ll find out now.”
Tsubaki adjusts her hair and lets out a sigh before saying.
“Well, it’s been years since I’ve seen my friend and he left for the States without something he holds important to him. He might not remember but he gave this to me before he left and I’ll be returning it today. Now, hurry up and open the bag, stupid.”
Saito unties the fancy gift wrapped bag and reaches inside. He reaches inside and feels a silky fabric and pulls out the once tattered black and tinted blue scarf he wore previously, that has now been patched up and has a small embroidery of a small Yunyin on the ends of the scarf.
He sheds a tear and responds back to Tsubaki, slightly choked up.
“I thought I lost this before I moved. I always tried to replace it with other silk scarves like the white one I wore today but it didn't feel right. Tsubaki, I can’t believe you went through all this trouble to fix something like this.” Saito starts sniffling.
“I didn’t do this for you. I did this because I respect your mother and couldn’t stand to see this expensive fabric be tattered up and old looking. However, I’ll accept your thanks.” Tsubaki says as she tries to hide her blush.
“Wait but you told the shop owner that this was for:
Someone really important to me. Someone I cherish a lot. Someone who helped become who I am.
That was me? Saito recalls.
The whole room abrupts into laughter and some of the crowd starts hunching over unable to contain their laughter, even banging the floor. Tsubaki becomes beet red and the air around her begins to get hotter.
Akihiro among the crowd of people laughing, says.
“There it is! She’s so red, she’s burning up. I’m weak!”
Tsubaki runs toward the women’s locker room and Saito races to catch her. He grabs her arm with his bandaged arm just before she enters the locker room and says.
“Thank you so much, Tsubaki. Thanks for taking care of it for me and fixing it. I love you a lot.”
Tsubaki bursts into flames and shuts the door. The sprinklers activate in the locker room and steam escapes under the door.
The party goes on, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves. Saito leans against the wall near the women’s locker room expecting Tsubaki to return.
A university student that goes by the name, Zaikai Sato, in an expensive white blazer comes up to Saito and says.
“Foolish child to the real successor of the Kazami family. Did you not return with your father? I’ve waited long enough to train with the man so where is he?”
Saito stands there paralyzed as the phrase, Father echoes through his mind. As his vision darkens, a glimpse of his dad flickers in front of him. He tries to recall what happened and keeps mumbling Dad under his breath. Zaikai, waiting for a response, comes closer to the boy and looks at his eyes. He feels something is wrong as Saito's eyes don’t blink and the darkest shade of brown clouds them, almost appearing soulless. In Saito’s mind, his last memory of his dad starts flashing quickly. Saito begins to start sliding down the wall and falls to the ground. Zaikai runs over to Akihiro, Tsubaki opening the door of the women’s lockers runs over to Saito, and tries to shake him. Crowds of people encircle them and shout Saito’s name. Saito’s vision gets dark, and the last thing he sees before passing out is Tsubaki crying for Saito to wake up.