Transformers © HasTak, IDW. - - - - - - - Less Words - - - - - - - She tried not to listen but with the neighbors' talk, it was hard not to. Rumors about giant robots that transformed into cars and other vehicles, even animals. One claiming to have seen a flying blue-and-white shark composing haiku in broad daylight. Another's brother who swore that he saw one of the bullet trains leave on its own during his shift. With NO driver. But it was so hard. What with the flying gossip starting not soon after her husband's unexpected kidnapping by a terrifying robot that turned into a two-headed black and purple dragon in New York. The others would think of it as simply coincidence. She thought otherwise. Fear and worry for her husband aside, she still had Yuuki to worry about. A sigh, hands automatically preparing the night's dinner. Her little Yuuki seemed to have changed just a bit after his father's kidnapping. While Mikoto had anticipated anxiety, she hadn't expected her little boy to become so secretive. Although there was a little inkling that he was getting into all sorts of trouble related to her husband's disappearance. Worries aside, she was glad that Yuuki was at least able to come home by the end of the day, safe and sound. Yet the first time she saw bruises on him, Mikoto weighed the possibility of her son listening to her on staying home and decided not to -- he had their stubbornness. As she filleted the beef for soup, the neighbors' gossip once again flowed through her head and Mikoto couldn't help but chuckle at their disbelief and what she saw after Daichi's kidnapping. The blue American sports car often following whatever red sports car it seemed to be near, the majority of the time owned by a frazzled young lady. Tinted yellow windows the blue vehicle may have had but whoever spoke from it sounded much more than just a car enthusiast. And there was that metallic hint to the voice. It was a bit hysterical when one particular police car flashed its lights and the blue one would immediately take off, the police unit following almost like an older sibling chasing the younger one. When she rode the 500 Nozomi one time on visiting friends in Nagoya, the train suddenly stopped itself midway and flatly refused to start up. Engineers later realized that had the Nozomi continued on its route, it would've derailed on the set of tracks ahead of it. Same thing with the E4 Yamabiko on the way to Fukushima, except it was a sudden collapse of the elevated viaduct that lead to a screeching and jarring halt before the conductor had even pulled the brakes. The few times Mikoto saw Yuuki running on the street, she had been surprised when he eagerly climbed into a ladder truck that bore a square-faced symbol instead of the local fire station crest. She had wanted to call out at one point but they were already gone before she had the chance, although she couldn't shake that sense that her son would be safe no matter what. Eventually, she was able to piece a minuscule picture after hours of poring over the rampant stories but kept it to herself. Besides, who would believe her tale about the same particular police vehicle occasionally following her just barely out of sight. Much less the time when she had knowingly bowed at the law enforcement car, prompting a startled squawk of its sirens before it flashed its headlights in return and then leaving as if in a hurry. Mikoto had just set down the last pair of chopsticks when both the clock rang seven and the doorbell went off at the same time. Delighted, she figured it would be Yuuki to be ringing whenever he forgot his keys and swiftly slipped out of her apron before changing slippers. As she finished unbolting the locks, Mikoto had been ready with admonishing on how late it was but the words died when she fully opened the door. It wasn't the eagerly bouncing and late 10-year old that caught her attention, practically rocking on his heels with joyfulness not seen since their last family trip. In the same mussed up lab coat with unidentified stains, pants creased in ways that could almost rival the most complex origami, the vest and tie that had seen better days, and minor cracks in the glasses, stood Daichi. A little more world-weary, the hint of being haunted by something hidden, beard sorely needing a trim, gaunt cheeks indicating lost weight, but still her husband in the flesh. He even had the cute look on his face, embarrassingly scratching one cheek the same way he did when they first met at Tokyo University -- him a then rising student in the field of energy research and archeology, her learning to be a counselor. As Daichi fumbled with words, Mikoto simply smiled warmly and drew them both close in a tight hug, ignoring Yuuki's half-hearted protests. Her husband returned the gesture, thin arms mirroring as if not wanting to let go and tightening when he felt wetness on his shoulder. "...okaeri nasai," she whispered, tears flowing freely. "...tadaima," he rasped out in return, thick with emotion. Unseen, a driverless ladder truck watched the reunited family for several moments before quietly departing into the night. ======= Christmas gift in return for Darkfire Blade, AKA Hellsfirescythe, on drawing my request of my TF OC Wirejack over at dA. The TF universe used here is Car Robots, NOT Robots in Disguise. Choice of going with the Japanese version was mostly out of culture diligence. TF doujinshi artist Hatago Warawaraya's scene that inspired this little piece. Yuuki = Koji Daichi = Kenneth 500 Series Shinkansen Nozomi = J5/Railspike E4 Series Shinkansen Yamabiko = J4/Midnight Express Japan-Guide.com's article on the Shinkansen trains and routes. Trains themselves also looked up on Wiki and Japan-Wiki.