Your Life is in my Hands

Summary:  'To serve and to protect', that's Chichiri's motto.  But when life denied him the chance to protect one of those people he cared for most, everything changes.  Is it a change for the better or for the worse?

****************
Chapter 1

Today commenced like every other day, the sky overcast, surroundings putrid and dismal.  I cursed dawn's light seeping through my window as I stretched lazily to quiet the screaming alarm.  A world of chaos and insanity awaited me alongside innocent lives longing to be sheltered and protected.  It was my born destiny to be trapped in the cycle of my daily routine of serving justice and dignity to humanity.

I gazed over to the phone near my bedside that was blinking in fury seeking to grab my attention.  Three new messages.  Another investigation I proposed carrying myself sluggishly towards the bathroom.  Never had water felt so great on this early morn as I flushed the cool liquid thoroughly across my face.  I met the feeble stare of my pale reflection in the mirror as I clutched my toothbrush already adorned with paste.  I looked ill and drained, something, which seldom overcame this body, a fault that can only be burdened upon these slender shoulders.  Thus, was my weakness, selflessly striving for the safety of others even if it meant working myself to exhaustion.

I readied myself with haste, trying to beat the clock at its own game.  Tardiness crept up under me like a shadow, breakfast and chores left abandoned while racing through the door.

Raindrops welcomed my exit to the parking lot along with the smell of heated pitch.  The humidity was stifling today with fogginess cloaking. I dreaded the thought of work awaiting me today. And yet another distraction chimed.  I dug into my coat pocket irately as I made my way towards the car.  The name printed boldly on the screen surfaced no surprise.  I flipped the top quickly silencing its shrill cry.

"Hello?"

"You're late. Where are you?"

"I'm in my car taking the southeast exit.  Are we meeting at headquarters today?" I asked.

"Didn't you get my messages?"

"Uh no."  My mind flashed back to the blinking image I left behind on the cordless in my apartment.  Forgetfulness had surely overcome me, a trait I had grown to gravely despise.

"Listen, just meet me at 72nd and Yoruba, Sawa District.  I'll be at the small deli nearby.  I'll explain everything to you on your arrival."

"Breakfast's on you?"

His sigh rumbled over to my end as he reluctantly replied yes.

"See you in ten minutes," I concluded before turning off the phone.

********************
There he was as intended, sitting on a wooden bar stool, anxiety titivating his slender face.  Worry was agitating his soul, something that confused me.    Curiosity burdened my mind to know.  He was rarely ever like this.  I assumed our daily tasks had soon overcome him.

It's been four years since I met Hikou.   He became my partner upon acceptance at the Southern District Police Department.  It's a memory forever embedded in my mind enforced by the events, which transpired on that day.  My life endangered was selflessly protected by his will, with no regrets or hidden grudges desired.  He earned my respect that day and I earned his, along with friendship, commitment and trust.  We became a good team, inseparable and highly admired, also envied and loathed with disgust.

We both had our reasons for joining the police force, some contrasting but most of them similar.  One thing we definitely had in common was our desire to protect and serve, which ironically was the motto of our department.  Our past hardships were a founding part of our motivation, something that uniquely separated us from the rest.  Common dilemmas bonded us like family.  Life granted us great memories to admire and cherish forever.

"Iwata!"  Hikou signaled.  "I'm over here man.  Come take a seat."

I walked over casually seating myself beside him near the tiled counter.  His expression had softened tremendously, happiness now residing upon his face.  He was sipping on a cappuccino with a half eaten bagel laid in front of him.

"Of all places, why did you choose to meet here?"  I inquired.

I gazed around my surroundings assiduously helping myself to the distractions occurring around me.

"We have an assignment somewhere in this area.  The boss left me a message on my phone early this morning."

"I figured it was a new investigation from the three new message notes.  I left the apartment in haste however, leaving everything carelessly behind me."

"Not like you Chichiri.  Did you have a hard time on my day off yesterday?"

"It was a rough day.  I'll say that much."

"Enlighten me would you," he remarked attentively raising his now half empty cup back towards his lips.

"It was and event-filled day that went wrong.  That's the best way I can explain it."

"And we agreed four years ago that days like these are unpredictable and that we'll take each experience as a stepping stone to the greater.  Now let's depart shall we," he suggested grabbing the remainder of his bagel while pushing the stool in.  It was the end of that conversation, his usual solution to every problem, but not necessarily the best choice for every situation.

I trailed behind his frame, following him to the exit where I positioned myself near the door.  The rain was now drumming angrily against the windowsills, strong winds raging, threatening to rip the world to shreds.  A bad omen I regretted to ponder nervously.  Disaster was lurking in the shadows, playing seek and destroy.

"The case we're assigned to surrounds a female suspected of foul play," he conversed casually.  "Her husband was found dangling off the curtain rods in their shower.  At first glance it appeared to be suicide but the forensics uncovered some more critical data…"

Hikou always loved the thrill of a new mystery, a passion that plagued my young mind as well.  Fresh adrenaline pumping, anxiety swimming through our veins was a common feeling we both shared.  I stared at him with much interest as he elaborated the major incidents of the case.  Even though most of our cases would appear as similar, we treated each one as unique, a belief that cracking them would be more efficient.

"Shouldn't we get going?" I asked ceasing conversation while reaching for the cell buried deep within my coat pocket.  Two urgent messages popped up on the screen instantly as I flipped the top to make a call.

"Looks like the boss has been trying to reach us," I commented bewilderedly.  Hikou nodded his head in agreement as two messages appeared on his phone as well.

The chief seemed a bit annoyed, an emotion that seldom consumed him but only in matters of grave importance.

"Looks like we gotta head back to headquarters," Hikou stated pointing out the obvious.

I exited the building reflexively surveying the area outside.  The rain had stopped, inviting cracks of sunlight to peep through, illuminating the scourge of debris that was left behind.

"You can head back to the station.  I'll meet up with you guys later.  I just wanna check out the place for a few minutes."

"Don't forget, it is on Okina Road and Amsterdam," he imparted.  "Building number 220, apartment 9B."

He waved to me making his departure while I headed to my vehicle that was parked lower down the street.

I hadn't noticed it before but the area seemed somewhat deserted.  Activity was scarce and so was hospitality.  I already expected oncoming difficulty in discovering enough evidence to solve the case.

Okina Road.  A green sign appeared before me hinting that I had entered the correct place.  I made a right stopping three blocks over before I encountered the required neighboring street.    I mapped out mentally the instructions Hikou left me, trying to decipher which building was 220. 

"Hey man.  You need some help?"  Were the words that suddenly slipped out the mouth of an intoxicated man.  His clothing was partly tattered.  His skin looked bruised and soiled.  And water had forsaken him for the past few days.

"I'm looking for building 220" I replied.

"How about sparing me some money in exchange."

"No thanks.  Forget it." I commented in disdain.  Just as I perceived, the community lacked in manners and common courtesy, a negative attitude that stirred up nothing but a negative impression.

I reached into my pocket for my cell phone that was once again screaming for my undivided attention.  It was Captain Sumisawa with important information I presumed.  I wondered if he sensed my growing frustration.

"Hello?"

"Officer Iwata Chichiri."

"Yes Sir."

"We have a terrible situation right now and I'd like you to report back to headquarters immediately."

"What's wrong?"  I nervously inquired.

You'll know all the details when you get here."

********************
An indescribable feeling haunted my heart as I walked into the hospital that evening.  The setting so surreal arose such melancholy emotions.  It was a situation I was unprepared for, unexpected, not thought of.

He was sent out with three other officers to crack a small drug ring.  It was a simple assignment that wasn't supposed to end in tragedy.  The Chief's words played through my head like a broken record and the more I dwelled on it, the more I felt responsible.  Guilt consumed me like a man who just committed murder.  My failure to be present when most needed was unforgivable, an action worthy of the death penalty.

"Iwata."  The chief's voice grabbed my attention, his appearance startling me, as he appeared in front the door.  I questioned if his concern was genuine as I noticed the look of sadness drenched upon his face. Condemn me for thinking selfishly, but in my mind I felt like the only one who cared.

"What are you doing here Chief?"

"I thought the reason would be obvious," he replied. "Or am I one of those prohibited from entering this room."

Breaking the short moment of silence, my response surprised even myself, the sad words that I eventually mumbled.  "If Hikou dies, I will never forgive myself." 

For the first time in a long time, I cried.  Tears streamed down my cheeks as I looked at my partner who was lying in the bed unconscious.  Fate had bestowed an injustice, an occurrence that would change my life forever.

*************************

The only thing I'm concerned about is if making up last names for the characters was a good idea.  I only resorted to that decision since I thought using their Seishi names would make things more familiar rather than their birth names.  If you have any other suggestions, by all means…