Hi everyone! :3
As a head's up, this first chapter here will be about Kagome's mom and dad and how they first met. This prologue does not have any significance in the story at all. It's simply a little extra creativity thrown into the beginning of the story.
Daniel Alan Fischbach stood before the mirror in his small apartment, his short brown hair combined back while he fixed his burgundy tie. All the while, a somewhat frustrated expression graced his face, his blue eyes narrowed accordingly. He was dressed in a white long sleeved shirt and black dress pants, his attire suitable for his job at the police station. No, he wasn't a police officer, in fact he was what you would call a private investigator or in other words, a detective.
Unlike his accomplices, Daniel stood out; he took his job very serious, and at most times, his personal feelings betrayed him, yet he never lost his focus on an investigation. In fact, Daniel served as a private detective since his graduation from high school, surprising many as well as his elders. He rose above and beyond and now at the tender age of 25, his success paid off rather well.
He wasn't one to brag, and for the most part, he was a quiet man who didn't mind living in his small shabby apartment. The money he earned from his profession was rarely kept in his pockets and he often sent a great portion back home to his grandmother.
Once his tie was adjusted, Daniel gave one last glance over his uniform through the mirror. Save for a few wrinkles in the dress shirt, he didn't look too bad, and with that, he grabbed his car keys off the small table beside his bed and exited his apartment.
Late afternoon quickly rolled by while he sat in his small office at the very back of the building. At the moment, he was sorting through various documents pertaining personal information on criminals, and as he'd seen almost every criminal act in the book, he couldn't help but lean back in his chair with a sigh. From outside the room, he overheard the officers laughing, their loud bantering indicating they were reacting to a game on the television.
Every now and then he didn't mind the ruckus from outside his office, but at times he found himself stepping out of the room for a quiet walk around the town. However, as much as he would like to simply step out for some coffee, he realized he couldn't.
In his hands, he read over many documents containing a particular murderer whose whereabouts were still unknown. Unlike his usual investigations, this one remained aloof and hidden, costing Daniel over a year's time so far to apprehend. The suspect's name was Martin Morgan Fletcher, an American man with blonde and thinning hair and a rough goatee, sporting a scar under his left eye and various tattoos of skulls and profanity all over his body. Martin was a robust individual, a lot bigger than Daniel and capable of handling two men at once. This man was notorious for killing women and children, even going so far as to butcher the bodies and act on cannibalism, and he was wanted all over the states. The very thought of this man disgusted him.
One year ago, when Daniel and his partner Jeremy were so close to tracking Martin's coordinates, locating him on various cameras throughout the city, it was a day Daniel would never forget. He'd received a small box in his mail slot one afternoon and it had been such a shock to find two bloody appendages inside along with a note and various pictures of his partner Jeremy tied to a chair unconscious, his clothing torn and bloody.
The letter had stated that Martin was annoyed by Daniel's chase and had instead hoped to scare Daniel into giving up, but instead, it only fueled Daniel to rashly bring the police to the location of Martin's whereabouts, which he had swiftly abandoned. The letter had stated not to bring backup if he wanted to see his partner alive, and ever since, Daniel regretted his decision.
Since then, Daniel lost his closest friend. Not long after Daniel was transferred overseas to Japan, Tokyo where the suspected murderer had fled to, and for a year now, Daniel remained there, always watching and quietly investigating the whereabouts of Martin Morgan Fletcher.
As he sat there going through the camera recordings in his office, searching for any case of his suspect, a loud knock at his door distracted him. When the door opened slowly, a familiar Japanese face of a tall and youthful man sauntered in. His ebony hair was parted to the side and his white button down shirt tucked into his khaki pants, and in his hands, he carried two small cups of coffee, to which Daniel was appreciative.
Ryoma grinned at the detective's relaxed expression. "Working hard as always Danny?"
The detective nodded at this, accepting the coffee before sipping on it. Although bitter, it was rather soothing and Daniel relaxed into his chair, watching as Ryoma pulled up a chair from the wall up to his desk. "I suppose your shift has ended?"
Ryoma nodded. "Not just mine, but yours too. You've been spending almost every hour of every day in this stuffy office."
That was true. Daniel was the type to focus his attention mainly on his job and he rarely went out as it was. Still, this case was taking far too long to finish, and Daniel had a suspecting feeling Martin might have already escaped elsewhere without his knowing. For a year now, Martin was suspiciously quiet, and that worried him.
Noticing the somewhat frustrated expression marring his partner's face, Ryoma decided he had to do something to clear Daniel's mind of all the stress accumulating in his office. "Say, why don't we go to the bar downtown? I think a few drinks is all we need after a long day, don't you think?"
Although he wasn't much for alcohol, Daniel decided to quickly wrap things up, storing away his documents into his locked-up filing cabinet before locking the door to his office, following Ryoma out of the building. The two conversed in idle conversation, their stomachs growling for a good meal which had Ryoma's mouth-watering at the very mentioning of a Hot Pot.
Eventually they arrived at Ginza Fal Bar, a bar which had been around since 1998. The inside was dominated by a long counter top, taking up much of the building and a large assortment of various alcoholic drinks displayed upon the wall on shelves. It was a regularly visited place where quite a few business men stopped by after work, and it was typically opened throughout all hours of the day and night.
The moment they walked inside, Ryoma was quick to seat himself at the counter. The bartender was an old friend of Ryoma's, and the two easily fell into a comfortable conversation. As an hour went by, Daniel only allowed himself two drinks, while Ryoma remained somewhat out of sorts, his face reddened by the alcohol.
Sighing, Daniel realized he would have to once again escort his friend back to his house or at least get him a taxi ride. A few minutes rolled by and more people stepped into the bar, some old men still dressed in their business suits and a small group of three Japanese girls who were surprisingly dressed in Nurse uniforms.
Daniel couldn't help but stare at them as they sat at one of the back circular tables, bantering loudly and laughing. One girl in particular stood out from the other girls; she had seemed a little quiet, her long and flowing brown locks cascading down her back and a tinge of redness to her cheeks which showed she was a little uncomfortable and embarrassed. For some reason, Daniel couldn't help but feel drawn towards her.
Kumiko sat with her friends, her eyes downcast and quite flustered. Immediately after work, her two friends Hisao and Umi had practically dragged her to the Ginza bar where they proceeded to celebrate becoming official nurses. It was a dream come true for the girls, but Kumiko had hoped to celebrate in a more quieter and nicer place than just a bar, but she didn't argue of course.
While the two girls went to order their drinks at the counter near Daniel, Kumiko remained seated, looking around the room timidly. From across the room, a few older men were eyeing the three girls, whispering provocative words to the other before howling with laughter.
One man in particular, dressed in a business suit, soberer than his friends, stood up and approached Kumiko, who was unaware. Once at her side, Daniel watched as he tipped his hat to the woman, his hand placed over the circular table quite close to her chest; the very sight irritated Daniel, who only watched, his drink forgotten on the counter.
"I must say this is the first time I've laid eyes on you, Miss…"
Kumiko flushed under his hardened stare, and moved a little away in her chair mindful of his arm in front of her. "Oh … my name is Kumiko … Um … nice to meet you."
"This must be your first time here. Would you like me to buy you a drink?"
At his offer, Kumiko nervously waved her hands in front of her, searching past his body to find her friends still talking with the bartender, oblivious of her situation. "No no, I'm fine. I really don't drink."
As the individual continued pestering her, it was at this point that Daniel stood up and approached the man. It wasn't difficult to grab his shoulder and pull him away from the frightened girl. "She said she isn't interested. Why don't you go sit back down with your friends?"
From Daniel's interference, everyone's gaze fell onto the three, and although the business man seemed reluctant to give up, one glare from the bartender was enough to send the man walking out the door in a huff.
Kumiko released the breath she'd been holding and thanked Daniel for his assistance. "You don't know how nervous I was. Thank you."
Daniel only grinned at her. "You're welcome. Not to make you uncomfortable, but I overheard your friends mentioning something about graduating finally?"
Kumiko blushed before fervently nodded. "Oh yes … well we all finally became official nurses. It's been my dream for a while now. My mother used to be a nurse, and I guess it's no surprise that I take after her."
Daniel nodded at this. "Well congratulations. Please enjoy yourself and be careful on your way home tonight," Yet before he could move to walk back to his chair beside Ryoma, who was still passed out, Kumiko stopped him.
"Wait … I don't know your name."
Surprised by this, he turned back before extending his hand out to her. "Daniel, but you can call me Danny."
"Danny … That's a nice name," She replied, her eyes sparkling. "My name is Kumiko Higurashi."
Another day went by and as Daniel reclined in his chair, he watched the clock tick noisily above the door across from him. The paperwork for the morning was littered across his desk pertaining more criminal activity and the usual suspects here and there. Numerous paper work was piled to the far right of his desk, filled out and prepared for later scrutiny. It was already nearing 5pm, and he realized not much had been achieved for the day.
There was the usual knock at his door, and without looking up, he knew it was Ryoma, holding a steaming cup of hot coffee. Making his way over to the desk, not bothering to pull up a chair, he handed Daniel his coffee before looking back at the clock.
While his partner looked back at Daniel, watching him press the cup to his lips to quench his thirst, Ryoma noticed the abundance of paper work lying strewn throughout the room. "I heard you finally solved the case for the previous hit and run."
Daniel nodded before setting his cup down. "The fool made a stupid mistake. If he hadn't turned toward the cameras on the street it would have taken much longer to locate him."
Ryoma nodded. "And our current report still remains at large?"
He nodded. "Not much I can do. None of my reports add up, and I have a feeling that lady made up most of the information. I'm at my wit's ends trying to solve it." Sadly, he wasn't allowed to call anyone out on their bullshit, and he figured he would have to simply close the case soon if nothing else.
Silence filled the room for a short moment until realization crossed Daniel's expression. In an instant, he stood from his chair, rubbing his lower back achingly before reaching for his coat hanging on the wall.
"What's the hurry? Normally you stay until close."
After quickly fixing the wrinkles in his shirt and buttoning his coat, he turned back to his partner. "I almost forgot about my plans with Kumiko," He admitted somewhat in embarrassment.
Since that moment in the Ginza Bar, the two had exchanged their numbers and often met up for long conversations and small dates at a local coffee shop. It had been first time in a long time since he had enjoyed himself, and he realized he really liked the girl.
Ryoma chuckled. "You've known each other for two weeks but it already seems like you've been together for months."
Daniel smiled and nodded his head. Since the moment he saw her and spoke with her, there was a connection he couldn't possibly explain; he wondered if she felt the same.
"Well don't let me hold you up," Ryoma replied, holding the door open for his partner, who lowered his head appreciatively.
Kumiko was seated patiently at a small tea shop, looking out at the streets quietly. It seemed night was slowly descending and there was still no sign of Danny. Perhaps he had gotten held up at work, and if so it wasn't so surprising. He seemed like a nice young man, working laboriously every day at the police station. For the two weeks she'd occasionally met up with him, he was courteous to her, often offering to pay for her dinner.
She blushed at the thought of him. Today she had made an effort to wear nicer clothes rather than the usual work uniform or pants. Instead, she wore a light blue dress, its length reaching the top of her knees and a pair of white flats. Kumiko had even curled her hair, allowing it to fall down her back in waves, and even her makeup had been touched up a little with extra care.
As she looked out the window, she watched the various citizens crossing the streets, many hand in hand with their significant others. There were only a few cars parked out front, one a pale yellow in color and the other black with tinted windows.
"Would you like another cup Ms.?" The young waitress asked, and at Kumiko's nod, her cup was refilled with the steamy consistency.
It was fifteen minutes after five when Danny walked through the doors, his expression somewhat thankful she was still there waiting. When Kumiko saw him, she ushered him over to the table with a delighted wave, and Danny was quick to seat himself.
"I'm so sorry I'm late."
Kumiko only smiled. "It's alright. I didn't wait long. How was work?"
Removing his coat, Daniel only shook his head. To be honest, not much was accomplished, and he was certain Kumiko noticed the dark circles under his eyes. "Just another day. Fortunately, after numerous reports, we solved one, yet hundreds more have yet to be solved," he replied with a shake of his head.
"Well it must be quite busy for you," She replied, sipping her tea.
As the waitress returned, she poured Daniel a cup as well and it wasn't long before the two were caught up in deep conversation. Kumiko went on about her job as a nurse to discussing old trips she'd gone on with her friends, and for what seemed like hours, they realized the tea shop was closed for the evening.
As they stepped out of the shop, Daniel offered to drive her home, but Kumiko had explained she had plans to meet up with Umi before heading home. As much as she would have loved to have Daniel drive her home and quite possibly meeting her father, she knew there would always be another time.
"Are you certain Umi's place isn't far?"
"I'm sure. It's just around the block," She explained.
Before turning to leave, Daniel suddenly called out to her, and when she turned in question, he suddenly pulled her into his embrace. "You look beautiful tonight," He whispered into her ear, and it was enough to make her blush.
"T-thank you," Kumiko was sure her face was beat red and she couldn't stop herself from smiling. "I was a little worried it was too much."
Pulling away from her, he looked into her brown eyes before leaning forward to kiss her forehead. Once pulling away, he couldn't help but flush under her surprised stare. "You're always beautiful but tonight I couldn't take my eyes off you…" Daniel hoped that hadn't sounded creepy, but judging from her smile, he guessed not.
"Well thank you for today, Danny. It was great seeing you," She replied, her heart pounding loudly.
"I'll call you tomorrow and if you want, maybe we could meet up and see a movie?" He asked, hoping her answer would be yes.
She nodded. "I would love that very much."
As she turned to leave, Danny watched her turn the corner. He was tempted to follow half way to be sure she got to her destination safely, but he thought better of it and instead turned in the opposite direction towards his car.
As she rounded the corner, Kumiko couldn't stop the smile from spreading on her face. He was very different from a lot of guys, at least the ones who had tried making passes on her in the past. He was such a gentleman and never seemed to pass up a moment to spend time with her.
"You look beautiful tonight. You're always beautiful but tonight I couldn't take my eyes off you…"
The sound of his voice was still soft in her ears. As she kept walking, she pondered to herself. Perhaps she could invite him over for dinner sometime. Would it be strange to do so? It would be the first time meeting her father, but did it seem too fast? Would he be up to it?
As these questions weighed on her mind, she didn't notice a black car with tinted windows following behind her. The lights were turned off, but when she heard its engine behind her a short distance away, Kumiko moved over to allow the person passage through. While her thoughts were occupied with previous conversations from the teahouse, she didn't notice the windows lower until the car pulled up beside her at a halt.
"Excuse me, but I was wondering if you could offer me directions?"
Confused for a moment, Kumiko was hesitant to step towards the vehicle, deciding to keep a short distance away. She wasn't able to get a good look at the person but judging by his voice, it was obviously a male. "Yes? Where are you headed?"
Unbeknownst to her another person had stepped out of the car, and while Kumiko gave the directions to the older man, she was unexpectedly grabbed from behind, a cloth held over her nose and mouth. As she struggled to break free, her vision slowly darkened.
The morning came like any other as Daniel made his way into the police station, his suitcase in hand. Ryoma was the first to greet him, among other officers walking about. After unlocking the door to his office, he removed his coat and sat down in his chair. Last night he had failed to complete a few reports concerning more cases, and decided he'd work an extra hour longer today before stopping by Kimiko's house.
Another cup of coffee was offered to Daniel, compliments of Ryoma, who quickly exited the room. As Daniel searched through the pile of reports from yesterday, his pen in hand and ready to begin today's work, his gazed shifted to a small envelope under a few reports to his right.
Curious, he placed his pen down and looked at it. It wasn't addressed from anyone or stamped, but simply closed. As he tore open the envelope and unfolded the letter within, a few pictures fell onto his lap. Picking them up, his eyes grew wide with disbelief.
The pictures showed his significant other tied up to a chair, blood seeping from an open wound to her head and seemingly unconscious. There was someone standing behind her, holding a knife against her throat and wearing a mask.
His heart pounded and flashbacks from living in the states reminded him of how Jeremy had passed away. It couldn't be possible. Someone had initially left this letter here on purpose and they seemed to hold a grudge against him. Daniel half expected to see bloodied fingers or anything within the letter, but thankfully I was pictures.
Quickly looking over the letter, he recognized the familiar font as that of Martin Morgan Fletcher, the cannibalistic bastard who terrorized women and children. After living in the shadows quietly for so long, he had finally made his move. The whole scenario was too familiar to Daniel.
If you are wise, you will not make the same mistake. You've been on my case for far too long, and it's time we settled things.
Martin had typed the address mentioning an abandoned factory near his location but warned to come alone or else her fate would mimic that of his deceased partner.
In a flash, Daniel leapt from his chair and exited his office. Not long after he was in the security room, checking the camera footage but it was to his astonishment the footage had been removed. Daniel cursed and quickly returned to his office to retrieve his coat, but it wasn't long after that Ryoma stepped in.
"Is something wrong?" He asked, having noticed his partner darting from one room to the other with an expression that clearly read fear.
Panting a little heavily, Daniel nodded and pointed to his desk where the letter and photographs were strewn. "That bastard finally revealed himself, and it's not surprising he's playing the same games with me."
Ryoma was almost floored. "Shit…"
"I'm headed there now. I need you to keep that letter safe as well as those pictures. Hide them somewhere in case I don't return. Can you do that?" He asked.
"Don't tell me you're going there alone?! That's suicidal! The instant you show up, it's not going to matter. There's no way he'll let her live just like that!"
There was a sudden commotion outside his office, and as the two men glanced out the door, they noticed an elderly short man dressed in old priest clothes arguing with one of the officers.
"I don't have time to fill out paperwork!"
Although he didn't have time to entertain the disputes happening right in front of his office, Daniel said his goodbyes to Ryoma and exited his office. However, he didn't get far when the old man noticed his approach and placed himself between him and the door.
"You! You must be that English man Fischback!" He hollered, much to Daniel's confusion. Did this old man know him?
He was taken aback by the aggression in his tone and more importantly to the use of his last name. Daniel never did care for his last name, but he was sure he had never met this old man before today. "I'm sorry? Have we met?"
"You certainly have not. You've been dating my daughter recently, haven't you?"
Daniel's eyes widened in realization. This was her father! "Uh … Mr. Higurashi…"
"Then I'm sure you must know where she is, correct? She was last seen with you the other day!" He exclaimed angrily, however Daniel was put in a rough spot. How could he so clearly explain the whereabouts and condition of Kumiko without making a bad decision?
Ryoma, noticing Daniel's distress, quickly put himself between the two before offering the old man some paper work. "It seems your daughter is missing? Kumiko Higurashi, right? If you would, please fill out these papers a—"
Mr. Higurashi smacked the papers from Ryoma's hands, leaving the young man absolutely speechless. "This paper work is a waste of time! Where is my daughter?!" His attention shifted to Daniel, whose hand was held to his forehead achingly; he felt a headache coming on.
"Please calm yourself, sir. We are doing the best we can in this situation," Ryoma tried to reassure him, but his words only annoyed the old man.
Realizing there was no use hiding such information from him, Daniel returned to his office and grabbed the photographs, as much as he hated doing so. Once returning to Ryoma's side, who was looking at him almost pleadingly, he showed Mr. Higurashi the photos.
"I only just now saw the photos on my desk this morning with a letter from a wanted suspect I've been searching a couple years for. It seems he has taken your daughter, and I feel I am to blame for this. Rest assured, Mr. Higurashi, we will do our best to find her and bring her safely back," Daniel replied.
Mr. Higurashi's face immediately deflated, his eyes widening fearfully. As he looked over the photos of his little girl, his hands began shaking. "You say you will save her, but do you even know where she is?"
Daniel nodded. "I received a letter along with these pictures. I know the exact location."
"Let me see the letter."
Regrettably, Daniel could not allow that. "I cannot. This is all the evidence we need to catch our suspect. We hope you will comply to this and wait patiently until we bring Kumiko back."
For a moment, Mr. Higurashi stared long and hard at Daniel, leaving the detective somewhat hesitant to say anything further. "Very well. If you save my daughter, I will have nothing but respect for you, but as of now, I do not like you one bit."
The drive to the old factory took at least a good half an hour to reach, and once there, Daniel parked his car and stepped inside. With his flashlight, he searched each area of the factory, climbing steps after steps and flashing his light into separate rooms. The place hadn't been touched for a long time, but there was indeed the presence of another regularly visiting; Daniel knew this when he spotted a few empty wrappers of WacDonalds lying strewn about and small packets of ketchup here and there.
It was obviously Martin Fletcher had been hiding out here for some time. There was a brief moment when he wondered if there were others inside the factory, locked up or lying dead; it wouldn't surprise him in the least.
Eventually, Daniel arrived upon an open room, where a hanging light dangled from the rafters, its light flickering continually. Sitting in the center of the room was Kumiko Higurashi, unconscious and tied to a chair, her mouth gagged.
"Kumiko…" He breathed, his eyes searching through the darkness for any signs of Martin, but he saw no one.
With one last look, he quickly ran to her side, his hands immediately upon the ropes holding her in place. When he noticed Kumiko slightly stir in her sleep, he immediately felt a presence behind him, and with quick movements, dodged a hit to the back of his head.
Turning quickly, Daniel's eyes locked onto Martin's, his ever-present smile just the same. "You bastard!"
Racing towards him in an effort to knock Daniel down, Martin charged forward, his knife in hand, but Daniel quickly side stepped out of his path. With a raised leg, Daniel hit the back of his neck, effectively causing Martin to stagger in his footing. In that moment, the detective grasped his wrist and raised his leg once more, hitting the murderer straight in the gut, but this action only caused Martin to chuckle.
Daniel's leg was caught within his grasp, and as much as he struggled to pull free, he couldn't. With a quick pull of his hands, Daniel's ankle was turned painfully in the murderer's grasp, and he fell to the ground.
"Let's end this, right now," Martin drawled, holding his knife up in front of him.
As he laid there, watching the killer saunter towards him, Daniel tried his best to back away, attempting to get onto his feet, but the force in which his ankle had suffered, caused him some difficulty.
"As much as I like our little cat and mouse game, I think it's time we switch things up."
"Go to hell!"
Finally regaining his standing, thankful Martin had allowed him some time to gather his footing, Daniel immediately ran at him, ducking at an intended swing to his stomach and neck. Managing to come up behind the man, Daniel wrapped his arm around his neck, effectively locking it in place, and this caused Martin to stagger, gasping for breath.
It didn't last long of course until the two somehow fell onto the ground, struggling to hold off the other. Realizing he still had his gun, Daniel quickly reached for his pistol, but Martin easily grasped it in his hand, and while his finger rested on the trigger, the bullet escaped and flew into the ceiling, causing some debris to fall.
His gun was smacked out of Daniel's reach, landing a good distance across the room, and momentarily distracted, he was punched in the jaw, his face turning awkwardly at the impact. He'd made a mistake. This was exactly what Martin wanted, for him to fall into his little trap. There was no way he would allow Kumiko to walk free, and he planned to kill him this very moment.
Daniel struggled for breath, trying desperately to claw at his enemy's tight grip encompassing his neck. The guy's enormous weight pressed upon his body, and he found he could not move at all.
Yet even as his vision started to blur, he made out the sound of a gunshot, and his ears suddenly rang from the violent noise. It wasn't just one shot, it was multiple shots.
Eventually Daniel's struggling stopped, and Daniel realized Martin had stopped moving, his eyes wide and his mouth hung open. With a forceful shove, Daniel managed to push him over, and he fell upon his back unmoving.
"Daniel!" A masculine voice cried out before quickly running to the detective's side to help him to his feet.
Blinking bemusedly, while also nursing his neck, Daniel regarded his companion. "Ryoma … I told you not to get caught up in this mess."
Despite his nagging, Ryoma only smacked his back. "Are you kidding me? Why wouldn't I worry about you? We're a team after all! You're lucky I showed up when I did. I for one wasn't looking forward to any bloody appendages at my doorstep."
At his words, Daniel chuckled, his eyes looking back at the fallen body of the criminal he's sought after for so many years. It was finally over. Relieved, Daniel felt an incredible weight lifted from his shoulders, and he wanted nothing more than to go home and sleep for the rest of the day. There was no time for that, however.
Stepping away from his partner, Daniel approached Kumiko, who had not once awakened during the quarrel. After untying her, he, along with Ryoma's help, managed to leave the factory, carrying the young woman back to the car.
It was finally over.