Disclaimer: I do not own Darker than BLACK, etc etc.
"It's confirmed," Ootsuka's voice crackled over the radio. "BK-201 is showing signs of activity. We can't pinpoint his location yet, but it's in the same area where the man in the mask sightings were reported."
"Understood. I'm almost in position." Kirihara Misaki threaded her Porsche smoothly through the Tokyo traffic, sparse at this time of the night. "Kouno, Saitou," she said into the radio, "have you seen any sign of him?"
"Nothing yet, Chief."
Kirihara switched off her headlights, then turned down an alley and braked, letting the engine idle as she drummed her fingers on the steering wheel and stared into the darkness between the buildings. He could be lurking in one of those shadows…or maybe they'd gotten here ahead of him? Scattered reports had come in over the general police broadband of a masked man seen chasing – or fighting, the reports differed – a man in a business suit (or overcoat, depending on who you asked), along a route that, if the reports were at least halfway accurate, should take him to this location. His star was still intermittently active, so he hadn't gone to ground yet. Would tonight be the night they finally caught the notorious Black Reaper?
The radio crackled again. "Chief!" It was Ootsuka again.
"What is it? Have you located him?"
"No. But another star has just activated – KV-464."
Her heart skipped a beat. "Where?"
"It was too brief to even narrow down."
"Damn it," Kirihara muttered to herself. She wanted to catch KV-464 almost as much as she wanted BK-201. More, maybe. As far as she could tell, BK-201 at least left civilians alone, though whether by design or accident she didn't know. KV-464, on the other hand, had killed at least three innocents in the short week he'd been active in Tokyo. That wasn't even counting the stars that had fallen by his hand.
"Chief!" crackled the radio. Saitou this time.
"What is it?"
"BK-201, headed south on Hitsugaya street, towards your location."
"Roger, pro-" Thud! Kirihara dropped the radio in surprise as something landed heavily on the roof of her car. She caught movement in her rearview mirror – a shadowy shape rolled off the car's back end and ran towards the entrance to the alley, coat black against the glow of the streetlamps. BK-201! Ignoring the concerned noises coming from the radio, she slammed the gear shift into reverse, speeding out of the alley onto the empty street. BK-201 had turned the corner, heading south onto Hitsugaya. Wait, hadn't Saitou said…she glanced to the north as her car cleared the alley, and gasped. BK-201's mask was just inches from her window – and then was gone. She slammed on the brakes, tires screeching. Another thud, softer this time, from the car roof, and then she saw the Black Reaper land gracefully on the other side of her car, roll, and leap back to his feet to dart down the next alley without a backward glance. Damn it!
Without bothering to kill the engine, Kirihara pulled her gun from her purse and jumped out of the car to follow on foot. Heart pounding, she turned the corner of the alley, gun first – and ran smack into Saitou. She landed with an oof on the ground.
"Chief!" Saitou gasped, reaching down to help her up.
"Did you see which way they went?" Kirihara asked, as her lieutenant pulled her to her feet.
Saitou shook his head. "What do you mean they? I turned down this alley to try and cut BK-201 off. I lost sight of him right after I radioed you – was there someone else?"
Kirihara ground her teeth in frustration. "How does he always disappear like that? He was chasing someone in a long coat. They've got to still be around here somewhere."
She nodded. "I didn't get a good look at who it was – possibly the man in the business suit that the first reports mentioned. I lost sight of him when I nearly ran over BK-201."
"Nevermind. Let's check in with Kouno."
He was already on the radio. "Chief, you're going to want to see this."
Hei crouched on a narrow window ledge above the alley, watching as Chief Kirihara and Saitou exited the alley and returned to her car. He was well hidden in the shadows, but even so, neither of them thought to look up. They never did. Huang's gruff voice sounded in his earpiece. "What's the status, Hei?"
"I lost him."
"How the hell did you do that?"
"Ran into the police." Almost literally; he rubbed his wrist where he had twisted it vaulting off Kirihara's car when she had come flying out of the alley right in front of him. Thank goodness for good reflexes. Huang wouldn't care about excuses though, so he continued with, "Was Yin able to track him?"
"Negative," came her soft monotone.
"Useless, the both of you. Whatever – police chatter on the radio is getting interesting, sounds like that area's going to be hot for a while. Best we pack it in and try again tomorrow."
"Understood." Hei deposited the earpiece in his coat pocket, and headed for the roof, hands finding crevices and toeholds in the side of the building easily. He ignored the pain in his wrist. He was relieved by the order. These constant almost-run-ins with Section 4 and Chief Kirihara were becoming aggravating. How on earth had she managed to get here ahead of him? Coincidence? Or was she after KV-464 too? This particular target was proving to be more challenging than most, leading him on a merry chase through the city streets, sometimes in plain sight of witnesses.
But Kirihara…she was starting to make his job difficult. If she became too much of an obstacle…he didn't like to think of that. He wished he'd never run into her as Li, gotten to know her a bit. She was a good person, a good cop, and far too clever by half. He wouldn't like it if he had to kill her.
His life was so much easier when he didn't have any sort of attachment to humans. Or contractors, he added. Attachments were born out of emotion, and emotion made you vulnerable, and vulnerability made you dead. He had to survive at least long enough to find out what had happened to his sister. She might still be out there, somewhere, and if she was, she would need him. What was that about attachments being dangerous? He ignored the inner voice that was trying to point out the irony of his thoughts. It didn't matter. Despite a sharp twinge in his wrist, he pulled himself over the edge of the roof and headed back towards one of their safe houses to deposit his gear. Hei pushed the cop from his mind. Nothing mattered but surviving, one night at a time.
"Well, I think we can confirm that it was indeed KV-464 that was responsible for those deaths," Kirihara sighed as she adjusted her glasses to get a better look at the corpse on the ground. "The timing of his star's activity matches perfectly with this one." She looked up, and added sharply, "I thought I gave clear instructions that all uniformed officers were to keep their distance?"
"Officer Yagami," Saitou said, reading the name on the dead man's uniform. "Dispatch says he called in his intent to apprehend the masked man before that order came through."
Kouno trotted up. "Hazmat is on their way."
"Do we really need them? The others were confirmed non-contagious," Saitou said.
"You want to touch him? Better safe than sorry, I say."
"Quiet, you two." Kirihara could feel the furrow forming in her brow, but she ignored it. It helped her think. An officer dead, on her watch – she would mourn later. Right now, she needed to focus on catching KV-464.
"We'll get him Chief," Saitou said, as if sensing her thoughts.
"We may not even need to," Kouno pointed out. "If BK-201's after him too…"
"I want them both!" she snapped. "It's our responsibility to protect the city from contractors, not to let them wipe themselves out, and catch innocent people in the crossfire." She looked down at the body. It looked just like the other victims of KV-464: swollen extremities, a purple-tinged face. It had been less than an hour since KV-464 had passed through here, yet from the looks of the corpse, it could have been a week. He must have gotten a stronger dose than the others…maybe because he was just an obstacle in KV-464's path, and the contractor had no need to hide his actions, as with the first victims?
Kirihara turned to see four white-suited figures approaching. The Hazmat team. She nodded to the leader, then turned and headed back to her car, Saitou and Kouno falling in behind her. "Go home and get some sleep," she told them. "We'll continue the investigation tomorrow."
"Whoa, what happened?" Kouno asked, looking at her beloved blue Porsche.
"What do you mean?" But then she saw. Two dents in the roof, as if from two heels landing on it. "Damn it!"