I owe a ton of apologies to everyone who waited for my story to be uploaded.. to whoever has been patient with me so far.. I express my deepest gratitude and sincerest apologies..
Standard disclaimers apply..
Forever In Between
Chapter 3 : Competition
It was newbie day.
Or rather, it was what Kazuma always called it. That day of each year where every member of the DDS family would get together in the main hall and Dan-sensei would introduce the new students. The bespectacled lad stifled a large yawn and tried to focus as Dan-sensei droned on about the importance of working together as a team.
To be frank, Kazuma was getting rather bored of the routinely proceedings of the ceremony. It was the same each year. Only after about an hour of preaching would Dan-sensei officially introduce the new kids.
It was not like anyone else was paying attention either. The whole of class Q sat in one row side by side. Kazuma had an isle seat. Beside him was Kinta who, without a doubt, had dozed off as soon as the speech began. Kazuma vaguely realized that those squinty eyes did have some use after all.
Shifting his glance away from the lamp post, Kazuma made out the bleary outline of Amakusa Ryu. The boy had crossed his legs and arms and appeared to be staring off into space. Without even looking, he knew that Meg and Kyu would be sitting beside him.
Kazuma heaved a sigh and looked ahead. Why in heaven's name did he chose today to leave his laptop battery uncharged? He could be playing computer games right now. Or even photomanipulating pictures of his classmates. Heh.. he might even check out some of the crazy websites out there. Lately, he had been obsessed about a certain pairing..
He was broken out of his stupor by a slight snigger from beside him. A female laugh. He strained his head to see Kyu whispering something in Meg's ear. After that, she clamped a hand over her mouth to stop her giggles from getting to loud. She then tugged on Ryu's shirt so that he could lean down as she whispered in his ear.
Kazuma's keen eyes did not miss the smile that appeared on Ryu's mouth or the narrowing of Kyu's eyebrows.
A sudden wave of curiosity engulfed the lad as he leaned back into his seat. Call it detective instinct, but he just had to find out what was going on between those three. Immediately, a thousand possible scenarios formed themselves in his mind and he smiled in glee as he pondered the possibilities.
Well, they were not called Class Q for nothing. Immediately after that, Dan sensei informed the three students -minus Kazuma and Kinta- that they had another case to tackle. This time, they were to investigate a murder case that had happened in the Tokyo International University.
"Now, I'd like Kyu, Megumi, and Ryu to go in as new students,"
They were being briefed about the case in the headmaster's office.
"Unfortunately, Kinta will not be joining you this time as his father has requested him to undergo special police training,"
"Kazuma will remain here in the DDS premises and shall provide you with tech support. Even though he is already busy researching another case, we'll be sure that you are always in contact with each other,"
The three of them only nodded silently.
Katagiri sensei couldn't help but analyze each of her students from her corner of the room. Ever since the party was resumed, Kyu and Ryu had been acting strangely towards each other. She had an inkling of what this was about. Right now, Meg was standing in the middle of the two boys who were so obviously trying to avoid eye contact with each other.
"Her name was Makita Itsunagi. A third year medical student who was 24 years old,"
"The victim was found amongst the trash in the local dump. By the looks of it her body had been carried, unnoticed by the driver, all the way from a dumpster in the university to the city dump,"
Without warning, a horrific picture of a mangled corpse heaped under piles of rubbish came onto the screen behind Dan sensei.
Meg gasped and covered her mouth with her hand as she turned away momentarily.
Kyu couldn't blame her. The body of the girl was completely distorted. Her arms were twisted in the wrong direction and her head was snapped backwards. Almost as if she had been crushed.
"Do we have an estimated time of death?" said Ryu unflinchingly.
Kyu looked past Meg towards the blue haired boy.
For kami's sake, I know the guy is trying to be professional and all but does he have to be so emotionless? He acts as if we see mutilated corpses on a daily basis.
Well, technically, they did. However, that was hardly the case.
Kyu looked back at the screen while Dan sensei shuffled through a sheaf of papers. The body was gone. Now, it showed the university's large campus grounds.
"The coroner's report says that her death was caused by a massive blow to her abdominal cavity. Pieces of her crushed ribs impaled her lungs, causing the victim to drown in her own body fluids,"
"The estimated time of death was somewhere around 8pm on Thursday. The body was found Friday morning,"
The three of them nodded.
"Well then, the three of you should go home and get a good night's rest. Your mission starts first thing in the morning." concluded Dan sensei.
"Hai!" the three of them chorused.
They were dismissed shortly after that. The three of them walked silently along the corridors with Meg trying to make conversation every few seconds. After several failed attempts, she came to a halt and glared at them crossly.
"Honestly! What is the matter with the both of you?"
When neither of them replied, she opened her mouth as if she was going to yell when suddenly she gasped and widened her eyes as if she suddenly remembered something.
"What is it?" said both of them simultaneously. The two boys glanced at each other before turning back to Meg.
"No, its just that I forgot my cellphone back in the class. I'll just run and get it.."
She had already turned and started to run before Kyu could reply. He heaved a sigh and mumbled
He turned to see Ryu leaning against the wall, seemingly interested in the pattern of his sneakers.
"Well, what?" replied Ryu
"Aren't you coming after her with me? If you haven't already noticed, Meg has just run off alone in a near deserted building at 11pm!"
"If you haven't noticed, the corridors are brightly lit. Dan sensei is still around and I'm damn sure Meg can defend herself if she needed to,"
And he knew because he had been teaching her self defense for the past two years.
"She's our friend!"
"She's fine!" said Ryu exasperatedly. "Do you think that you're going to shield her eyes every time we see a rotting corpse? Do you really think she's gonna get scared in the face of death like she used to and come crying into your arms?"
The silence that followed hung above them like an ominous cloud.
"You have no idea.." began Kyu softly "what it was like in that trick room three years ago. With Meg bitten and the both of us having no idea if anyone could come help us,"
He looked into the eyes of his best friend and said
"You have no idea how scary it is. Seeing your best friend suffer and not being able to do anything but calm them down when you yourself are on the verge of loosing it,"
Ryu looked away.
"She doesn't need to be babied. I've said it once and I'll say it again. She has her gift for a reason. She's a lot stronger than she was three years ago. And I for one will not stand in her way when she has to use it,"
Meg gulped as she heard what her two friends were saying. She had heard raised voices when she was walking back from retrieving her cellphone and had sneaked back to investigate. She had only heard Kyu's story and Ryu's proclamation. But that was enough for her to realize. They both cared for her. More than what they let her know. And now, she felt guilty for even pondering the possibility of liking one more than the other.
She stepped out from her hiding place and at once the two boys looked at her. She smiled and pretended she didn't hear a thing.
"Ja, Lets go!" she said cheerfully.
The boys were definitely more chatty now. And she felt all unease evaporate instantly. Things will work out. Eventually.
The following morning, they met up at the train station and made their way towards the university. Meg noted the fact that both of her friends seemed to have cheered up overnight. Their behavior at the party still confused her. But then she waved it of thinking that they had argued about something.
They were greeted by the student counselor at the school gates. She seemed relieved that DDS had finally arrived. Her name was Rinko Gerrard and she looked like she was in her late 20's. She was a tall and thin woman with her hair a dark shade of lavender. As Meg shook both of the woman's hands, Kyu nudged Ryu.
"They could pass off as sisters,"
Ryu sniggered slightly and whispered back.
"You think Kinta would like this one too?"
Their whispers were cut off by the appearance of another member of faculty. This time, it was a dark haired man in a white polo shirt and black slacks. He wore a cheeky smile on his face and much like Nanami sensei, practically oozed a playful aura. However, his features were marred by a scar that covered his left eye. And if Ryu was not mistaken, he wore a towel on his forehead like a bandana.
"Hello there! I'm Seiichiro Sano. I teach geography here," as he shook everyone's hands eagerly.
He winked at Meg.
"But you can call me Sano if you let me take you for a movie tonight,"
Rinko had just hit the dark haired man on the head. A vein was pulsing at her temple. Yup, they were definitely long lost sisters.
"You'll have to excuse him. He's as playful as a seven year old kid. He tends to act out of line,"
"Aww.. don't be such a spoilsport Rinrin,"
Kyu burst out laughing at that comment while Meg blushed furiously.
They moved away from the gates and started walking towards the dorms. Rinko and Sano walked abreast with Meg and Kyu while Ryu brought up the rear. Soon, the air was filled with Sano's and Kyu's boisterous laughter.
They really do make quite a pair. Thought Ryu to himself.
Sano pointed out several of the major buildings on the way. As they passed the Art building, Ryu saw the man inconspicuously slip his hand around Rinko's waist. This earned him another thwack on the head but the lavender haired woman made no move to leave the man's side.
Ryu suddenly realized that the two of them kinda looked like future versions of Kyu and Meg. A grim sensation suddenly filled his insides and he shook his head vigorously in attempt to rid himself of the feeling.
They reached the dorms without further incident. It was two days before the summer holidays which meant that there were very few students still hanging around the school. The boys and girls dormitories were in separate buildings. They immediately decided to check out the crime scene before doing anything else.
that's it for now.. I'll try to update as soon as I can.. Promise..