A/N: This is the sequel to The Broken Miko. It won't be nearly as long – I'm planning on about 6 chapters, so that I can concentrate on my other story, Thousandfurs. I suppose that you can read this alone, but there are many references to the previous story, so I strongly suggest that you read it. Plus, I think it's rather good. That's just me of course. Haha. I hope you enjoy the story!
The Broken House of Taisho
Chapter 1: Youkai Blood
Kagome sang tunelessly as she walked out of her bedroom, pinning up her black hair with a golden barrette. She stopped in front of the hallway mirror and smoothed her tresses over the crown of her head. It was always a bother to get it just right where the concealment spell hid her demon dog ears.
Straightening the lapel of her gray pinstripe suit, she heard the splat of wet food hitting the wall in the next room and a wail of defeat. Sighing, Kagome turned on her heel and walked into the spacious kitchen. "What's wrong, Midori?"
Her daughter spun around and glared at her mother. "She just took the spoon from me and flung her perfectly good apple sauce across the room!" She glared at the little creature in the high chair. "She does this purposely when I'm feeding her, just to get me annoyed, I swear!"
Kagome laughed as her youngest daughter, the four month old Satu, gurgled. "Oh, of course she doesn't. She's just playing a bit. You need to watch her more closely. I'll feed her, if you would prefer that."
"I can handle it, I can handle it," muttered the girl, walking over with a sponge to clean up the mess, while Satu dipped her little fingers into the apple sauce. She studied each handful with her big golden eyes before shoving it into her mouth, smearing it across her face. She had even managed to get it on the scarlet crescent moon on her forehead.
"You do good by your sister," said Kagome with a smile. "I'm glad you get along."
Midori shrugged as she threw the wet sponge into the sink. "Yeah, well, she is my sister I guess. She's not too bad, even if all she does is eat, cry, sleep and poop."
"She'll get more interesting as she gets older. Children do that." She winked at the girl. "Although we're still waiting on you."
Kagome's middle daughter scowled. "Har har har. Where's Dad? He doesn't make fun of me."
"True," agreed the hanyou, "but your father doesn't have much of sense of humor to begin with." Satu gurgled again and Kagome smiled at her. "No, he really doesn't, baby girl. But we still love him, don't we?" She kissed her sauce-faced daughter on the cheek and went to the refrigerator to pull out some bread.
"Why are you so happy?" asked Midori with a suspicious look. "You're not pregnant again are you? Cause once was enough!"
Kagome laughed again. "You know, I had two before Satu. And no, I'm not pregnant again. I'm happy because I finally get to go back to work today."
Midori grimaced. "You're happy about going back to work? I still don't get that about you and Dad. I mean, you did a lot of your paperwork while you were home. Now you just get to do it in your office again!"
"Mom's just happy she doesn't have to deal with you anymore, Midi," drawled Daichi as he lounged in, wearing his ever-present pajamas.
"Deal with me?" echoed his indignant sister. The use of her hated nickname always riled her up a few more notches than necessary. "You're the one that does nothing around the house. At least I go to school! I'm out of her hair, unlike you, you lazy bum."
"At least I'm not some little brat, prancing around giving our father advice about how to improve his biotechnology in the business that he built from scratch. Without your help, I might add."
"You're just jealous that I have two brain cells to rub together!"
Kagome rubbed her temples as the fight escalated. It figured that the moment Satu was quiet, the other two would start. She began to miss her two eldest but non-biological children. Rin and Washi, when they had lived at home, had always been the ones to break up fights. Growing up with a distinctly sterner Sesshoumaru had ingrained the value of quiet into their characters. Daichi and Midori hadn't had such training.
Just as she was beginning to think that Sesshoumaru had become soft in his old age, he came into the room with his golden eyes lit on fire. "Silence, you two ungrateful whelps!" he snapped, in a hushed but furious tone. He glared at them as they immediately fell quiet. "Your mother does not need your squabbling today."
"Yes, Father," they murmured.
"Midori, go and get prepared for school. Daichi, I expect you to be dressed for the office in twenty minutes' time." He looked at his children carefully, appearing more imposing in his black suit and severe tie than usual. They walked out past him, not even letting their footsteps make too much noise.
Kagome waited until her concealed ears could no longer hear her children. "You don't have to be so hard on them. They're just children and they weren't bothering me too much."
"We didn't have such trouble from Rin and Washi," he replied, pouring himself a cup of coffee.
The hanyou placed her toast on a small plate and brought it to the table with some last remnants of butter. "We certainly did, just in different ways," reminded Kagome.
"Perhaps, but Daichi at least should know better. He's five hundred years old."
"They're siblings. They'll always fight. Rin and Washi do it too, but they fight out of our earshot."
He arched an eyebrow. "When Daichi and Midori learn to do the same, then we will know that they have matured into adults." Only receiving a shrug from his mate, Sesshoumaru drained his mug with one movement and put it in the sink. Striding over to his youngest daughter, he wiped her face, removed her bib and lifted her into his arms. "Is Ruri here yet?"
"No," replied Kagome. "It was nice of her, really, to offer to take care of Satu for a bit during the day, while we look for a nanny."
"She wants her own pup," observed Sesshoumaru.
His mate looked down at her toast. "Desperately. I felt guilty being pregnant around her."
"She's been without mate for five hundred years."
"She's been without love for five hundred years," corrected Kagome. "She would never have a child with someone she doesn't love."
He made a little sound of disapproval. "A foolish action."
Kagome stood up. "Why? It's not like there's so many more female than male youkai. She can choose a mate when she sees fit."
"Ruri is not getting any younger. Although the numbers haven't changed, the competition has. If she waits too long, she will be competing with Midori. And I believe that Midori will win that particular contest."
She smirked at him. "That sounds a lot like fatherly pride."
Sesshoumaru held up his baby and looked at her chubby face. "My daughters will not be rejected by any male. If they are, I will ignore your rules of human etiquette and gut the males in their own homes."
"Somehow, I don't doubt you," Kagome replied with a roll of her eyes. "Ruri will be fine, I'm sure. She's a famous architect who meets many eligible men every day. She can take care of herself." As she spoke, the doorbell chimed. She looked up at the large, modernist clock on the wall. "Speak of the devil. Time to go!" she said, almost squealing.
Father and daughter looked at each other. "Your mother has a history of mental instability," he told Satu. Kagome stuck her tongue out at him from across the room. "You have been spending too much time with the children," he added as the scowling hanyou went to answer the door.
"Ruri!" she exclaimed happily when she opened the door.
The skunk demoness, laden with scrolls of blueprints and a sizeable briefcase, smiled weakly. "Morning, Kagome. My, you're cheery."
"Fortunately, she is not always like this," intoned Sesshoumaru from the kitchen door. "Good morning, Ruri-san. Would you like some coffee?"
Ruri's eyes widened in appreciation. "I'd kill for some. My damn coffee-maker finally quit on me this morning." She turned to Kagome as she set down her things on the entryway table. "Do I look like the night of the living dead?"
"No," replied the hanyou truthfully. "You will though, after a day with Satu. You're sure you're okay with this? I really appreciate it but I could always call Kaori or my mother."
The youkai shook her head. "Oh no. I'll enjoy it. And if it really gets tough, I do have Kaori's number." She smiled as they headed into the kitchen, where Satu was back in her now clean high chair again. "Hi, little one," she cooed as she picked her up. Kagome tilted her head and watched Satu grasp a fistful of Ruri's beautiful black and white streaked hair.
"Reconsidering your decision to leave Satu?" Sesshoumaru murmured from her shoulder.
His mate smiled up at him. "It's always hard to leave them the first time, I guess. It'll get easier."
Midori slid into the room. "Mom, I'm leaving. Oh, hi Aunt Ruri!" she greeted. Ruri's streaked hair looked so much like her own silver and black tresses that Midori felt quite a kinship with her honorary relative. When they went out together, everyone would assume that she was Ruri's child, not Kagome's. Kagome, for her part, was grateful that her middle daughter had such an excellent mentor.
"Hi, Midori. Off to school?"
"Yeah, I gotta go or I'll be late. I'll be home at three though, and I can help with Satu." She waved at her little sister. "Bye!"
Kagome listened to her daughter run down the hall and slam the door behind her. "I think that's our cue to leave too. Where's Daichi?"
"Right here," muttered a sullen, but smartly dressed, dog demon.
"Alright. Goodbye, sweetheart." Kagome leaned over to kiss her baby on her forehead. She stepped back to let Sesshoumaru give his customary head pat to their daughter. "Bye, Ruri. Thanks again!" she called as they grabbed their briefcases and went out the door.
Daichi glared at his own briefcase before jerking his thumb over his shoulder. "Ten bucks says Aunt Ruri has a nervous breakdown before noon."
Kagome squeezed her mate's arm as the elevator ticked off the floors as they passed by. "I know I should miss Satu, and I do, but I'm so happy to be back."
"I'm not," groused Daichi. "And I don't see why you are, Mom. You just have to deal with that awful Machi and her company. Gouken International isn't going quietly, you know. They want to merge with us, not get gutted from the inside out. It's been over a year and it's still not over."
"Well, aren't we the optimistic one?" teased his mother. "I have more than enough energy to deal with Machi and that sinking ship of a company of hers."
Daichi just shrugged. "It's even got Rin down. She kept complaining about all those scientists from Gouken hovering about, trying to gain her favor. They know she's ultimately the one to decide which ones stay and which ones go."
"It seems," Sesshoumaru said evenly, "that she has not complained for many months."
"Yeah well, she's a bit preoccupied, isn't she?" snickered the boy.
Kagome turned with a raised eyebrow. "What are you saying? What could possibly occupy Rin's mind besides her work? She's obsessed with it."
"Rin's gotten herself a boy toy. Haven't you heard?"
"Don't be crude, Daichi. And I don't believe you. We would have smelled it on her," Kagome reminded him. She eyed him carefully. "Who is it?"
Her son smiled easily. "She wouldn't tell me. Sorry, Mom, but you're going to have to drag it out of her yourself. I tried when I figured it out. She was being very forgetful and ditzy one day when I visited her and it was like trying to get answers from the dead. But I got enough to know that it's a new thing and she's positively giddy over it. Kinda gross actually. Not used to her being such a flake."
Kagome grinned and looked up at Sesshoumaru. "Rin in love! Isn't that wonderful?"
The hanyou ignored his annoyance. "I haven't spoken to her about her romantic life for quite some time. She doesn't like it when I bring it up. I suppose I will have to break that particular rule."
"Don't pester her too much, Mom," sighed Daichi.
"The first of my children to fall in love, though!" she argued. "I'm in no hurry to have grandchildren. Just the thought makes me feel old, but I do want my children to be happy. To tell the truth, I've been most worried about Rin. She's so much more buried in her work than you or Washi. A girl has more trouble finding a good mate when she's quiet like Rin."
Sesshoumaru rolled his eyes as Kagome gushed. "The children will all find mates in due time. Even Rin, our eldest, is only just over five hundred years old. She is still young."
"You were only seven hundred when you took me as your mate," reminded Kagome. "I was only nineteen. Really, I'm just a few years older than Rin."
Daichi blanched. "Don't put it like that, Mom. That sounds so gross."
"Agreed," murmured Sesshoumaru. "However, you forget that the situations are different. You spent nineteen years as a human. You lived a fourth of your life and matured as a youkai would after centuries. Rin was still a child when she became immortal."
Their son looked a bit mollified. "Right. Well anyway, I still say that you shouldn't bug Rin about it. She'll tell you when she wants to." The elevator chimed and the doors opened on the fifty-ninth floor, to the lobby of the marketing division. "Bye Mom, Pop."
Kagome waved as the doors closed to carry them to the top floor. "I think we'll actually end up being early," mentioned the hanyou, glancing at her watch.
"Good. Emiko and Sakura both stayed late on Friday, even after I left. It will do us good to appear before them."
"You've been leaving the office early a lot in the past four or five months," Kagome recalled. "Our assistants have been almost doing our jobs."
Sesshoumaru looked at her with his golden eyes. "Something that will change, now that you have returned in good health."
"Even so, so many overtime hours and such dedication for so long. You know what that means, Sesshoumaru."
He scowled. "Knowing your significant generosity towards your underlings, I would imagine that you want to give them a raise, or something of the kind."
"It's well deserved, my mate," she reminded him. "Do you really want to train another assistant? Especially so late in the quarter?"
A heavy growl emanated from his throat. "Give them the raise."
Kagome was about to respond when Sesshoumaru's head jerked. "What is it?"
Then she smelled it. A scent she hadn't smelled in years, not in any great quantity. Over the centuries, she had become accustomed to it, even able to block it out like Sesshoumaru, but it still surprised her each time. The coppery scent of blood. She could almost see its scarlet drops when the stink reached her nose. This time it was stale and putrid, as if the stench had been there for days.
"Oh my God," whispered the hanyou, watching the numbers light up, as they finally reached the top floor, the nexus of control for Tenseiga Corporation. The few seconds it took for the elevator to slow down and stop were agonizing. She was ready to claw apart the doors when they finally chimed.
When they did slide open, Kagome raced forward to the reception desk, where major clients were greeted and calls were directed. A large gold sign giving the name of the company was now smeared with blood. Darting around the desk, Kagome saw that the secretary, who had only been hired three days before she left on maternity leave and whose name she had never even learned, was lying in a pool of sticky blood. It had soaked deep into the berber carpet.
"She's been here since Friday," murmured Sesshoumaru, almost making Kagome jump.
She didn't answer, but ran down the hall to her corner office, barely registering that Sesshoumaru had walked the other way, to his own. The entryway to her sizeable room had a well-situated desk in front of it, where Emiko normally turned away unwanted visitors. Now, the fire demoness was lying in the center of badly burned carpet and her own blood. Like the secretary in the lobby, it was drying out.
A moment of processing the sight, and Kagome found herself screaming. It brought Sesshoumaru running, but he halted when he found only his mate and a corpse. "Sakura is dead as well. Some of the floor is nearly burned through with her acid in some places. She put up a brave fight. The cleaning crew was not so fortunate. Six bodies in all." He paused and looked down at Emiko's body. "You have seen death before."
Kagome turned and although there were no tears in her eyes, she had an expression of deep sorrow. "She was my friend, Sesshoumaru. So was Sakura. I'm not used to that, especially in this time and place. We were doing so well! We were so happy and now this!" She scowled and fisted her hands. "That harpy will pay for this!"
"And what harpy would you be referring to, my mate?"
The hanyou pulled out her cell phone and angrily dialed the emergency services. "Machi, of course!" She turned away. "Yes, it's Kagome Taisho at the top floor of Tenseiga Corporation… We need the police… People have been killed… We just got here… No, of course we haven't touched anything…" She shot an angry look at Sesshoumaru as he bent over the body of her assistant. "Please hurry." She snapped the phone closed.
The two demons stood in silence, looking at the carnage that had been wrought. Papers were everywhere, many of them soaked in blood. Kagome noticed for the first time that the door to her office was open. The inside looked like it had been ripped apart as well.
"We need to leave. The police won't like us being in the crime scene. They'll think we've touched something." Her voice was flat as she turned and went back to the elevator. She carefully avoided looking at the corpses. "Wait. We can't leave. We can't leave them. I mean, they were all alone all weekend."
Sesshoumaru looked at his mate carefully. "Kagome," he said slowly. "They are dead."
"I know that," she snapped. "I'm not going crazy. That was five hundred years ago. I just… can't leave them. They were my friends."
"Machi did not do this, Kagome."
She stared at him. "How could you know that?"
He pointed at the dead body behind the desk. Only her foot was visible, although still surrounded by blood. "What youkai do you know uses a firearm? Whenever we have murders in our little community, it is by our hands or swords. No self-respecting youkai takes a gun against another."
"Who said that Machi was a self-respecting youkai? Guns could have been used to throw us off the trail."
He considered this for a moment. "Perhaps, but I still do not believe Machi had anything to do with this. Our offices were torn apart, but I could not see that anything was missing. Machi would have taken all of our files pertaining to the takeover. Also, I do not smell her scent. She has not been here herself and she is not trusting enough to give this job to a hired professional."
Kagome leaned against the wall, covering her eyes. "I have to admit. This doesn't look like any youkai killing I've seen in my life. But what human has the power to kill two powerful demons like Emiko and Sakura and not bleed themselves? I only smell their blood, nothing of the killers'. Even Sango wouldn't have escaped this battle unscathed."
"We should wait for the Demon Squad," murmured Sesshoumaru, using the nickname of the local law enforcement team used for crimes involving youkai. Its real name was the Elite Citizen Task Force, a name that human bureaucrats had created. Staffed by both demons and humans, the detectives were the most capable of the police force, in order to deal with the intricacies of youkai crime. As high members of demon society, anything involving the Tenseiga Corporation founders would immediately be handed over to them.
"I know," murmured Kagome. "But I can't remember the last time so many youkai have been killed at once when it wasn't battle. Especially by a human, if you're right."
Sesshoumaru shrugged, straining to listen for sirens through the thick walls. It was futile. Even he could never hear a siren so many floors below their position, but it distracted him from the scent of blood.
"But we have no human enemies," Kagome said suddenly. "Except for my family, we barely talk to any."
"I am sure we have some, although they may not be known to us. We must wait for the police," he reiterated.
She wasn't accustomed to her mate so easily giving authority to anyone else. It angered her, that he wasn't tearing down the walls, demanding who had committed these horrible murders. She wanted to know. She was ready to tear down the walls. She would do it, if her legs didn't feel like jelly, if her arms weren't leaden.
How could she be so affected? As Sesshoumaru had pointed out, she had seen death before. And she had seen the death of friends. It amazed her every day that they had made it five hundred years without losing any of her nearest and dearest.
The fact was that she had been lured into a false sense of security. No, that was wrong. She had allowed herself to fall into that trap. Once she had passed the Second World War, Kagome had just settled into a life of being co-founder of Tenseiga Corp. and the mother of three almost grown children. Midori had been a welcome upset to that balance, another piece of the puzzle of her life that just made it that much better. Satu, whom they had agreed would be the last of their children, was the completion of her destiny as she saw it. She believed it was heaven and she wasn't going to look around and remind herself that it was anything less in reality.
The elevator chimed its arrival and the doors opened to reveal Detective Ito, the officer who had taken Kagome's case when her car had been vandalized with demon slurs seven years before. Five hundred years ago, he was just a common foot soldier in Makoto's Northern Army, one of the few non-celestials. Now, he was the second in command of the Demon Squad and greatly respected among the demon community. It was unusual to see a forest demon take up a weapon, but Kagome expected that it was his natural drive to protect others.
"Mr. Taisho. Mrs. Taisho," he greeted with them with a nod. He was stony-faced, but Kagome couldn't blame him. Youkai killings were rare and a major hassle. He looked out across the lobby and sniffed the air, determining exactly where the corpses were on the floor. "Wait here, please. I'll have questions for you when I'm done."
The police squad fanned out, immediately taking out their yellow tape and marking off most of the floor. Forensic specialists crouched over the secretary's body while a photographer snapped shots from every conceivable angle. Others clustered around Ito, murmuring in soft tones as he moved about the offices, checking every one.
"Is anything missing?" he called back to the pair.
"We don't know," admitted Kagome. "Probably. Our offices look like a tornado has been through."
"And nobody has come in this entire weekend?" he asked, taking one look at the deeply set bloodstain on the carpet.
"Well, no, I don't think so. Usually, Sesshoumaru or I come in to get some work done but we've been busy with the new baby. The cleaning crew comes in on Friday evenings. They normally get to this floor around eight." Kagome hugged herself. Ito had a way of questioning that never sounded like interrogation, but also reminded the subject that they were not off the list of suspects until he said so.
Ito wandered off for a few moments, looking in on all the other bodies, and came back with a determined expression. "We'll be closing down this floor for a few days, Sesshoumaru-sama. Work can continue on other floors, although we may be questioning a few of your employees, but we need to go over the entire floor. Neither of you touched anything, correct?"
"No, we didn't," Kagome answered for both of them.
"Alright," he said, taking out a small notebook. "Just a few questions and then I'll let you go for now. Does this floor have security cameras? I didn't see any when I walked the halls."
Sesshoumaru pointed to where the ceiling met the walls. "Several. We use the type of camera used in surgery, with a bud tip. Very small and very undetectable. It is on a separate power line as well." He looked evenly at Ito. "But anyone that can kill both a fire and snake youkai without raising the alarm would certainly have thought of that. Our system is monitored constantly."
"Hmm." Ito turned back to one of his followers. "Go check on the security guard. Get any tapes of Friday and the weekend that they have for this floor, the first floor and elevator shots." He faced the couple again. "Do you have any enemies?"
"In business, many. But I cannot think of any who would be so bold to risk everything for a few of my secrets. My daughter's department of biomedical research, or the biotechnology floors would be much more likely to be sacked of company secrets." He saw the question coming and stopped Ito. "Three of my children work here as well. I saw the two that do not live with us yesterday and Rin always is early. She would have alerted me if anything was amiss."
Ito wrote this down, scribbling furiously. "I'll want to talk to all of your children, of course. Do you have any personal enemies?"
Kagome raised an eyebrow at him. "You remember the last great war. Anyone from the East or South would consider us an enemy, and we have a few besides that. Machi, for instance," she said, throwing Sesshoumaru a dark look.
"Machi Kudo? Of Gouken International?"
"What about the victims? Do they have any enemies that you know of?" he asked.
Kagome shrugged and looked at her mate. "I don't know of any. Emiko was an only child. Her parents live in a little suburb outside the city. Sakura has a few siblings that live around the country, but her parents are dead. They both lived pretty basic lives. I can't imagine anyone trying to kill them for personal reasons. I don't know anything about the secretary here or the cleaning crew. Do you, Sesshoumaru?"
He shook his head. "No. Sakura acted like a professional and never disclosed her private life. My mate only knows as much as she does because she cared to ask."
Ito wrote this all down. "We will contact their families." He pointed towards their offices. "And I'll need inventories of what you have in your offices, so we can see what's missing. One of you may have to help out with that after we have the crime scene cleared up."
"I will assist you," offered Sesshoumaru. "I am curious to see what they considered so important."
The detective continued to write for a few moments and then looked up at the two most powerful youkai in Tokyo. He sighed mentally, realizing what a field day the papers would have with this, especially those run by demons. The public loved to read about the rich and their troubles and the Taishos were considered positively boring. They never had public rows, or did dangerous stunts that risked their life and limb, or bought obscenely priced luxury items. They didn't even have a staff to rat on their private lives. A few gruesome murders in the midst of all this perfection would definitely spark public interest and the papers wouldn't forget it. "Well," he said heavily, "that's all I have for you at the moment, but don't leave the city because I'm sure there will be more questions later. And of course, I'll keep you updated on the investigation."
"Please call my son, Washi, when you are done here," said Sesshoumaru, taking out one of his business cards and writing Washi's cell phone number down on the back of it. "I am sure the press is here and they will not allow us to remain silent for long."
Ito nodded, taking the card. "We have to keep some of the details to ourselves, but I will be ready shortly, at least for a preliminary press conference. You can go speak to your son now."
Kagome thanked him and went to the elevator, calling it quickly and stepping inside with Sesshoumaru. Both, somehow, had managed to hold onto their briefcases the entire time and now they just looked at each other. "I… don't know where to go," the hanyou admitted as the doors closed.
Sesshoumaru leaned over and pressed the number for the forty-third floor, where Washi's office was. He presided over public relations, a very important department for a medical company. "We will call Daichi and Rin to the office as well."
"What about all of our meetings? Our clients?" she asked. She closed her eyes for a moment. "Emiko knows all of them. She writes them down for me, puts them in my computer. It'll all be trashed!"
"We will worry about that later," he replied.
Kagome started to breathe hard, leaning on the wall of the elevator for support. "This could ruin us, Sesshoumaru, if they stole something vital. Or even in publicity! Imagine what a nightmare this will be for Washi!"
"He is adept at handling a crisis, which is why we are visiting him first. Our son has not failed us yet."
The elevator slowed to a stop and opened to reveal a fairly empty floor. Kagome guessed that the numerous police cars and officers downstairs were distracting most of their employees, if not detaining them altogether. She shook her head. "Maybe he isn't in his office. Perhaps he's downstairs helping the police."
"Mom!" Washi appeared at the end of the hall and jogged towards them. "What the hell is happening? I can't get a straight answer out of the three people who've come up so far. I was just about to go down to the ground floor."
Kagome stepped forward to meet him and threw her arms around his neck and murmured unintelligibly. Washi looked at his father over her shoulder helplessly as she squeezed him hard. "Um, Mom, what's up?" he gasped a bit. The concealment spell didn't prevent him from feeling her arms crushing the invisible wings on his back.
"Six of our employees have been murdered on the top floor over the weekend, including Emiko and Sakura," answered his father. "Our offices have been trashed. I believe that important papers have been stolen."
Washi took a few moments to process this and then extricated himself from his mother's grasp. "But… there's only financial papers up there. Someone could pull a hell of a job doing some insider trading with that information, but we're not talking about our trade secrets. All that is kept in our safes on other floors or it's encrypted."
"We already considered that," replied Sesshoumaru. "I believe it was a human that did this."
"A human killed Emiko and Sakura?" He blinked a few times. "Okay… um, I'm going to take a few minutes to think about how that's possible, while I go down to the first floor. The press has probably already started to gather."
"We can't tell them anything yet. Detective Ito is on the top floor still looking around. We can't give a press conference without talking with him."
Washi nodded and flipped open his phone. "Okay, I'm going to make a few calls then. Have you talked to Daichi and Rin yet?"
"I shall call them up here," said Sesshoumaru. He looked at Kagome. "You should call Ruri, to check on Satu. If this is a personal attack…" He trailed off, looking more upset than he had in years.
The hanyou blanched in terror and pulled out her own phone. The three rings were torturous.
"Hi, Kagome-chan," she said, sounding a bit out of breath.
The hanyou tried to keep the sobs out of her voice. "Is Satu alright?"
"Oh yeah, she's fine. She kinda… spit up on my blueprint for the new downtown museum, but um… I think I got it all cleaned up. You know, she gives me this same glare that Sesshoumaru-sama does when he…" she trailed off. "Kagome? Did you just sniffle?"
"People got killed," murmured Kagome. "Please, please, protect Satu."
"Kagome! What's going on?"
The hanyou put a hand to her head. It felt like it was going to split apart. "I don't know yet. The Demon Squad is here. Sesshoumaru thinks it may have been a personal attack, so I called you to make sure everything was still fine there."
"Everything's fine. I'll even walk the apartment and make sure everything is normal. I still remember my battle training. Don't worry about us. Concentrate on your business." Ruri paused as her friend sniffled a bit more. "Are you sure you're alright?"
Kagome wiped tears away from her eyes. "It was a really good day gone really bad. Keep watch on Satu. We'll be home as soon as the police are done."
One of the things she loved most about her friend was that Ruri always knew when not to push any harder. "Okay, Kagome. Please be careful. And Satu will be fine. I promise. I love you, Kagome-chan."
"Love you too. Bye." She snapped the phone closed and locked eyes with Sesshoumaru, who was now speaking with a very upset Rin and a pale Daichi. They both had a sheen of sweat on their foreheads, as if they had run up the stairs. "Satu's fine," she whispered, knowing that her mate could hear her.
"As is the security guard," added Washi, approaching again. "Nothing out of the ordinary was seen on the video and you know they're not allowed to walk the top floor. The feed must have been tapped, which is nearly impossible to do. Someone really thought this out, Dad."
"I'm beginning to see that."
Washi rocked his weight between his two feet. "Dad, I know you hate this sort of thing, but I think we should all go down there together when the time comes. If only I go, it might look like I'm trying to hide my family away. You know how the press will go crazy with that."
"If I appear, I will be the one expected to make a statement," said Sesshoumaru darkly.
"Perhaps that would be best," Kagome said softly as Washi's phone began to ring. "A united front of the Taisho family."
"Even if you don't like it, Pop, you're the face of this company," said Daichi.
Rin nodded. "The public trusts you. You're known for not being the typical deceitful CEO. If you don't go out there, when we're facing possibly our biggest image crisis, I don't think the public will trust you anymore. We can't afford to lose them."
Sesshoumaru crossed over to his rattled mate, who appeared more exhausted by the minute. "I will not jeopardize my company for the sake of my usual silence. But Washi must write the statement. I have no skill for public relations." He studied her pale face. "You are not taking this as well as I had imagined, Kagome. You may stay here if you wish."
"No," replied the hanyou immediately. "I'm fine. I was once used to losing our subordinates in battle, I guess I just didn't expect it here and now. The feeling was just a bit overwhelming. I'll be back to normal in a few moments when I've gotten used to it again."
The taiyoukai knew that she was exaggerating. It would take days for the sudden upset of her world to be righted again, but he nodded his acceptance. It would do no good to question her self assessment.
Washi snapped his phone shut. "Well," he said, "Ito says he's done for now. It's time to face Japan."
A/N: There you go. I hope you like the first chapter of the sequel. I know that I really jump into things, but this is basically a short story. Please review and let me know what you think!