Canon compatible, expanding off the world in the same feel as the episodes, filling in gaps. Tethered to my other ID:Invaded stories, this one follows directly on the heels of FILE: BUSTED, but includes some elements from VIVISECTED. It is not essential to read the other ones, but it will enrich the experience.
MAJOR TRIGGER WARNING: If psychological disorders and suicide are triggers, DO NOT read! ID: Invaded gets heavy into this and I am writing to the feel of the series.
"Can you be any more surly?"
"Is that a challenge?" With his arms crossed, Narihisago glared through the barrier of his cell at Momoki who was clearly attempting to suppress his annoyance and failing bitterly.
Momoki's eyes narrowed, furrowing his brow thoroughly, stance rigid he pulled himself even more upright if that were possible going for the height difference in an effort of authority.
Like Momoki needs to. He knows he calls all the damn shots!
Momoki took a deep breath and held it for a moment. "This isn't up for discussion."
"Then why bother to ask me?" He kept his eyes locked, resisting the urge to roll them. That dead stare always bothered Momoki. In less than ten seconds his nerves crumbled, eyes flicking away to the side. That cinched it … and secretly surprised Narihisago. Odd. A lack of confidence in his decision?
"Do you want to get back to diving again?"
The words left his lips before he thought about them. "Of course I do!"
"Then we have to figure out what's going on."
Throwing his hands in the air, Narihisago walked in a frustrated circle. "This is a waste of time and you know it!"
"I promise you, for this scan you just have to still, they won't be triggering anything."
Stopping, Narihisago planted both palms against the clear shatterproof barrier a bit harder than he had intended, all the frustration of that disastrous day that Kokufu and Momoki had foolishly tried to use a piece of medical equipment to see what was going on in his brain when he went off. The loud thud echoed and sent Momoki back a step. "I don't give a shit if they won't! I told you I don't want to go through with this! I'm tired of being poked and prodded like some experiment!"
Momoki shook his head, resetting his stance, fists at his side. "Tough shit. You're going, Narihisago. The research hospital unit that Kokufu and I have gone to great lengths to make arrangements for has a specialized scanner that has the potential for giving us a better handle on what's going on with you. It's just a day trip, there and back. Not as big of a deal as you're making this out to be."
Now Narihisago rolled his eyes. "Can't you leave well enough alone?"
"If you were well enough—I would! You need help."
"I need a purpose. I need to dive!"
Stepping back, Momoki lifted a hand. "See? You're not being rational enough to realize the damage this is doing to you."
He heaved an annoyed sigh. Turning his back on Momoki he flopped down his bed.
"Narihisago … please don't shut me out. Talk to me." His voice had gone from frustration to desperation.
Refusing to respond, he continued to face the wall, elbow punched into the pillow, his head resting in the palm of his hand.
"Look, I'm sorry it's come to this. We don't have a choice. You need help … and whether or not you like it, you're getting it." After a long silent minute his footsteps walked off.
Across the hall from the other cell, Fukuda snorted a laugh. "Wow, the boss is damn dense for being a detective."
Wearily, Narihisago remarked toward the wall, "Didn't used to be." Deep in his gut a hollow opened up as he fought to keep his breathing steady. Promise or not, he wasn't in the least bit eager for the process of being restrained for another scan. He'd been through enough tests by now, not just at Kura, but before as well. Way back when this first began and his stability came into question. A shudder escaped him as it all came back in a terrible cascade of memories, most of them ending in blackouts. "Pointless," he sighed.
"Don't have to tell me that." The squeak of Fukuda getting off his bed was followed by the shuffle of his feet and a grunt as he settled on the floor. "I got an open appointment if you want it, buddy."
Rolling onto his back, Narihisago eyed him sitting in the corner with his knees drawn up, folded arms resting on them. With the scarred side of his face to him, Fukuda stared up at the ceiling idly, waiting. It was only a few minutes of silence before Narihisago shifted out of his bed and sat in the front corner floor in much the same fashion. "Doesn't matter how many different scans they do, it's not like those'll fix anything. All they prove is that I'm still unable to control myself in certain situations." He rested his chin on his crossed wrists. "What good did triggering me do other than bruise the shit out of me?"
It had been long enough the evidence had faded, even the deep mark that the prison bracelet's edge being shoved into his flesh had left behind. Some moron had put the strap right over it.
Fukuda raised an eyebrow, looking across the hall at him. "Makes him feel like he's doing something. Shame he's on the wrong track. Sheesh, your real solution is simple."
Shifting his eyes to stare at him, he grumbled, "There is nothing simple about this."
"Ehhh, depends on how you look at it." Fukuda shrugged, his smile filled with confidence. "Well, I mean, I doubt you want to see it. The truth is, you're too close."
"Typical you. Less than helpful."
"Hang on, I'm not playing around, I actually got yah." Fukuda's smile broadened.
"I sincerely doubt that." Narihisago stared at the ceiling.
He laughed into his hand. "Wow, thanks for the vote of confidence. You've lost a lot, Narihisago, but the fact is … " he tapped the hole in his forehead, "there's another half to your whole."
He stiffened, his eyes drifting as he struggled to decode the message. This was hardly Fukuda's first jaunt into maddening wordplay. The man was entirely too smug and Narihisago was hardly in the mood for this shit. As it was he had no idea when they would escort him out of here … out of Kura for the first time since he'd been transferred here for his own good. Wandering un-escorted though the building had brought forth a number of startling revelations about his mental state, what would the outside world bring?
Fukuda pointed a finger three times toward the back wall of Narihisago's cell. "Every time we talk about your past, you sure do talk a lot about daughter … "
Clenching his jaw, Narihisago growled, "Watch it!"
He held his gesture, pointing. "I dunno about you, but I see three people in those photos."
Narihisago turned, his eyes locked on an image. He sat smiling with Muku on his lap … and beside him … " … Ayako."
"You never talk about her … even though you know the truth."
His hand hurt. He looked down to discover his white-knuckled fist shaking on his knee.
"Ohhh, that reaction would be a confirmation. We know what your problem is, Mr. Anger Issues. Are you grinding your teeth over there?"
In shock, he realized he was. Forcing his hands open he planted them on the floor, staring down between his feet trying to catch his breath. It welled within him, a deep burning ball of fire hitching his breath. He still lacked the ability to dwell here. Inside his chest his heart raced away as if trying to escape, to evade the crushing weight.
In a tornado of thoughts circling round and round it whipped into a fury until he found himself gripping his head. Anger, pure undiluted rage tore through him uncovering the void left behind. A gut wrenching hole in his heart.
Another half to his whole … his mouth felt like someone had shoved cotton in it. Dammit Fukuda! Why did you bring this up now? He climbed to his knees, and slowly stood approaching the wall. Staring at the photos, unable to turn away from the train wreck of his life. He always spoke of Muku … the innocent victim. But he could count on one hand the number of times he had mentioned Ayako since he'd been imprisoned.
Suicide. The images rushed him, far faster than he was ready for. He caught his weight against the end of his bed but forced his gaze to remain on the photos despite the challenge to his equilibrium. She had told me she was alright. She had lied! Ever since that day Narihisago detested lying, even little white lies. He'd come home hours later to find her dead in the bath she had told him she'd take to relax. She had bathed … in her own blood.
She had left him … alone … already crippled by grief, her suicide gutted him to the core. In all his life, in all the dives, he had found no pain to rival that of her loss … and only one pleasurable release in the wake. Looking into the eyes of a piece of shit serial killer and watching their reason crumble until he inflicted …
"Why did you bring that up now?" His finger hovered a fraction from touching the image of her smiling warmly.
"Cause you still aren't able to face facts."
Narihisago shook his head, staring back at Fukuda. "No … that can't be it. I'm all about facts!"
He raised an eyebrow. "Yeah, but not the best with emotions. Not that I'm one to speak on their behalf. But I would think if I'd had family close enough that I would have mourned them, we know though the brief conversations you haven't."
His eyes searched for a place, but there wasn't even the faintest of a pause in their frantic pace. She was gone … they both were … and I sat there, in silence, alone … once more his hand hurt. He stared at the shaking fist, nails digging into the flesh of his palms, startled at the undeniable revelation. "I never got past … anger."
Rising to his feet, Fukuda gave a lackadaisical cheer. "And we have a major breakthrough. This is the longest you've stayed on topic so far. Don't you feel better now?"
He staggered to his bed and dropped down, bracing his head and trying to catch his breath. "No … not even the least!"
"All you gotta do is tell him what the problem is. No need for some stupid scan. Problem solved."
"How can you say that? It's no where near solved!"
"Sure it is. We know what's wrong with you."
"I still have no idea what do with that!"
Fukuda blinked half lidded eyes. "Oh," he muttered unenthusiastically, "suppose that does complicate things."
"Besides, " he flipped a hand, "after our heated exchange I doubt Momoki will even come back down before they come for me."
Lying back on his own bed, Fukuda drew up a knee and rested one leg over the other, bouncing his foot. "Well, you're screwed."
"Shit, combined with what Hayaseura did to me it's no wonder I'm too unhinged to be released. Good thing I never counted on getting my life back."
"You? Out on the chaotic streets of today? Hah, I'd give you no more than a few days before someone pisses you off enough that you end them."
Narihisago looked at his hands, pumping them before he closed his eyes.
"Uh, no, not like that. I'm talking about that trick where you profile them to death. Which is actually kinda rad if I'm honest."
His blood ran cold. "Good thing that'll never happen."
"Yah, you're never getting out of here, ehh, permanently that is."
Slowly, he shook his head. "That … is the abysmal truth."
In the middle backseat of the squad car, Narihisago morosely watched Tokyo's cityscape pass by. His hands had been cuffed behind him, checked thoroughly by more than one guard to be certain they wouldn't release without the key. Since he'd been an officer, he knew damn well there were ways if the catch wasn't secured properly.
Narihisago had no choice to go along, unless he'd really wanted the humiliation of being sedated.
The car heater kept it toasty on their trip. Outside the trees of late autumn were nearly striped bare of their leaves. The sky leaden and threatening rain in the late morning light. Pedestrians hustled along the side of the road bundled in jackets and scarves. Such a difference from Narihisago. Since he'd been loaded into the car from the ramp and barely left the building, he wore the black t-shirt with the long sleeves of his jumpsuit still tied around his waist. He wouldn't be exposed to the outside weather and didn't need a jacket.
"Has the city changed much, Mr. Narihisago?"
He shifted his eyes from outside to the seat next him. Hondomachi sat on his left side smiling up at him. He had to give it to him, Momoki had been thinking with this little detail. It was hard to remain upset with her overly cheery demeanor. He shrugged, the cuffs clinked and earned him a glance from the armed guard in the front seat. "A bit. It hasn't been that long." Only three years. During the transfer to Kura he hadn't been able to see much out of the back of the van.
She quirked a brow. "What's with the frown then."
He closed his eyes, wishing she hadn't asked.
"Not on board with this, huh."
"Not even a bit, but Momoki wasn't keen to listen." And Fukuda's chosen topic hadn't really helped.
"Don't you want to dive again?"
He opened his eyes, nodding. "More than anything. Been staring at the same damn walls for two weeks straight. It's driving me … " his mouth hung open just shy of the word before he clamped up and stared out the right side window.
"Makes sense. Anyone would be." She didn't say it, but the fact that she grasped his meaning anyway was a slight balm to an already bad day. "This shouldn't take long. I'll stay with you the whole time, and who knows, maybe this will be your ticket back to the cockpit again. Not that I mind diving, it's been interesting."
Narihisago snapped his gaze back on her. "Oh yeah? What have the wells been?"
"Isn't Momoki telling you?" She sat up straighter.
He scowled. "No, he's barely been down there. And like I said, I hadn't left my cell in weeks."
"I don't see any harm in sharing. There was this really strange one that had these strings. They were like filaments? A whole ton of them overlapping in an array of colors. The solution was to … "
Narihisago leaned closer to her trying to imagine what he had been missing out on.
Suddenly the entire car jerked to the left, their quiet conversation replaced by the sounds of shrieking tires, braking glass, groaning metal, and alarmed screams. The horizon turned and flipped, more than once in a disorienting sequence.
Narihisago stared in horror as the car's momentum took it up onto the end of the hood in a front stand. He had enough well dive experiences to know—this wasn't going to end well!
"So," Wakashika licked off his fingers from the chips he'd been eating at his cubicle, "you guys missed it at the karaoke bar last night."
Habutae and Shiratake both kept their eyes locked on their computer screens in their shared office. This room was nothing like the high-tech Wellside. Here it was the typical laptops with standard cubicle divisions between their desks. Each one had a bit of their personal touch to them. Wakashika's looked like a combination between a pop market and a convenience store's snack shelf. Habutae's contained photos of celebrities he'd met at events and stacks of news magazines. Shiratake had created a little forest, all around him magazines focused on obscure locations and landmarks, especially the natural ones.
As Wakashika continued his outlandish account of how the hottest girl in the joint sung a duet with him and afterward requested his digits, Momoki and Togo double checked a file at his corner desk, currently splayed with paperwork. "Hondomachi did a hell of a run to close this case for us, we don't want him getting out on a technicality."
Momoki sighed, "Shame we couldn't coax a full confession out of him. Would mean we could just skip the trial. So much easier that way."
"That would have meant him realizing that literally hitting someone over the head with a book won't knock sense into them, it just kills them when done hard enough." She shook her head. "I had thought it was just an id well metaphor until SWAT entered his basement. That man has something wrong with him."
Habutae glanced their way. "An obscene case of self-righteousness."
"Clearly." Momoki checked the last portion of the form before shutting the file.
Shiratake yawned, "We're in the middle of another slow stint. Only three cases in these last two weeks."
"I know," tapping his hand on the desk, Wakashika eyed them all over the partition, "since we have some downtime, how about we all go—"
Habutae eyed him. "If you say karaoke I am going to clear out your desk with the firehouse."
Holding the last word, Wakashika sank back down into his chair.
For a short while all that could be heard in the room was the muted click of the keyboards.
"Hey Director," Habutae waited for him to look his way. "This morning you went down to see Narihisago, right?"
"Expected that to last a bit longer since it had been awhile. You were rather quiet when you came back up."
Momoki sighed, scratching the back of his neck. "Wasn't precisely a comfortable topic. Kokufu and I decided on another scan."
Shiratake peered over his laptop. "Didn't that go badly last time?"
He nodded. "This one is different. In fact, it's not even one we can do onsite. We had to arrange an escort to a research hospital that specializes in this new technique. That's why we're not diving today. Hondomachi went with him. Figured the two have a good enough rapport, she's capable enough to calm his ornery ass down."
"Wait—he's not in Kura right now?"
Togo shook her head. "Departed late morning. Had to arrange for three squad cars, and six officers."
Wakashika dropped the chip he was holding back into the bag. "Plus Hondomachi … for one guy? Are you serious?"
Momoki sternly nodded. "For one very valuable guy. It seems excessive, but given how pissed off he was with me this morning none of us left anything to chance."
"You don't think he would do anything … "
"On purpose? No. The danger comes when he gets edgy. I'll be honest, he never agreed to the test. He actually gave me the cold shoulder. That's why I was hoping Hondomachi would smooth things over a bit. He's responded well to her presence in the post dive debriefings. By the time he gets back with the experience that this whole thing was no big deal we'll be fine. It's mid-afternoon now, that should be soon."
The door to their office opened. Breathless, Kokufu stared straight at Momoki wide-eyed with his phone in his hand. He held up a hand fighting to catch his breath. "Never … arrived … "
He blinked as the whole Wellside staff turned to face Kura's acting chief. Momoki swallowed the lump in his throat. "What never arrived?" Please let it be some piece of equipment … have we ordered something?
Kokufu pointed down the hall. "They called … the escort … they never arrived."
Slowly, Momoki stood up, the shock taking control over him. But his panic had nowhere to focus. "But he should have been there, hours ago! Hell, they should have been on their way back!"
"That's why they called me, to ask if there'd been a delay. When dispatch called the officers there was no reply." Kokufu pointed to his phone. "They just notified me."
"Hondomachi's with him." He picked up his phone to bring up her number.
"The first thing I tried. No answer. They're trying to locate the phone's GPS."
"Matsuoka! Send him to track Narihisago's implant chip."
"That's the thing." Kokufu shook his head. "When we tried to pull it up it's not showing, like the booster has been severed."
"Shit! The prison bracelet."
"Does he know about it?"
"That it acts a signal amplifier? Yes. He does." A bead of sweat traveled down his forehead. "But he wouldn't have done that … I know he wouldn't have cut it off!"
"We need to get to the bottom of this quickly." Kokufu held up a hand. "I gave Matsuoka the route that had been blocked off for this, he's following it now."
Light-headed, Momoki sank back into his chair, his mind racing down the dark avenues of possibility. Narihisago couldn't be missing … this couldn't be happening.