Title: Summer Rain
Author: Sybil Rowan
Pairing(s)/Characters: No pairings, just a Ken
Summary: Sequel to 'Spring Fever.' Ken's rash decision has terrible repercussions. His act of kindness puts him and Weiss in danger. He left confused as to how to get out of the situation he's created.
Warnings: Some mild violence.
Author's Notes: I will make a sequel to this one because I left it as a cliffhanger. Sorry about that. It'll be done soon. I promise.
Disclaimer: Weiss Kreuz, its names and characters belong to Koyasu Takehito, Project Weiss, Marine Entertainment and Animate Film.
Beta Reader: My totally awesome husband WingedPanther73!
Word Count = 3,989
March 6, 2009 (8:31pm)
Hitomi Kitagawa stood back from her canvases. She studied the oil image of the young man that now graced the canvases. She smiled at her two day project that was now complete. Hitomi set aside her palate, picked up her wine glass, and took a deep sip of the dry, red liquid.
She looked over to her left where she had completed another portrait right before this second portrait. It was of a blond man dressed in a long, navy coat. The likenesses of the two young men were as perfected as her talents would allow.
Hitomi turned and walked to her deceased husband's study. She picked up a business card tucked under the phone and dialed the number on the card. After three rings she heard a gruff greeting.
"I'm finished, Mr. Norinaga. Please come by and collect the portraits."
"It'll be there within the hour," the private detective answered and hung up the phone. She hung up her receiver and walked back to her paintings.
"This is the first time I've done this, Mrs. Kitagawa. If you're a good artist, I should be able to track them down," Ito Norinaga said, following the tall, elegant woman towards a study. She cast a sardonic look over her shoulder and waved her hand to the study. He entered and walked over to the two paintings resting on easels, side-by-side.
"Wow. That is fantastic. Uncanny. They almost look like photographs."
"Art has been my hobby since my childhood."
"You could have been an artist rather than an actress, Mrs. Kitagawa. You were also great in films. I really like all your stuff with Kurosawa."
"Can you find them?" she asked, giving him a harsh glare. He shrugged off his new employer's aloof nature. He turned back to the portraits and looked at them.
"I should be able to track these guys down. I'll see if they're criminals and then go from there. Keep in mind, it may take me a while."
"The trail should still be warm. It's only been a week since they murdered my husband and some of his men." She walked over to her deceased husband's desk, leaned against his desk, and crossed her arms.
"Yes, ma'am. I'll do my best, but these things can take up to four or five months."
"Well then I suggest you get started. Have you read my description of the events?"
"Yes, your testimony indicates at least three people were here. Police seemed to think more. They made a hit on your husband for that... illegal activity, shall we call it? I guess that's where I come in."
"Yes, I want to limit police involvement for that reason. That's why I hired you. I want you to find that boy quickly," she said, nodding towards the portrait of the young man with goggles propped on his tousled, brown hair. "Time is of the essence, Mr. Norinaga."
"You want both of them?"
"Not really. Just that one. He's the one I want."
"I guess he's the one who killed Mr. Kitagawa? I also guess you want to have what's left of your husband's men do away with him?"
"No, I have something else in mind for him," she said. She walked over to the portrait with Norinaga. "He's quite handsome, isn't he?"
Norinaga snorted, shook his head, and took the canvases from the easels. "I'll call you every Monday and let you know my progress."
[four months later]
"Oh... isn't he so handsome?" a teen girl whispered excitedly as Ken passed by. Ken felt his face flush as he ignored her and started wiping down the flower coolers.
"Man, I hate summer," Youji whispered over to Ken while shooting a cluster of teen girls a dirty look. "Even when the summer school sessions are in, they still find a way to get in our way."
"It's a sunny day. They'll leave soon enough. It's the rain that drives them in," Ken whispered back. Youji sighed and walked over to a crate of new vases. "By the way, I need to leave in an hour."
"You got it."
"So long as Omi gets back," Youji mumbled as he started to unpack the red glass vases.
Ken's attention to cleanliness slipped away as he kept glancing at the front door. The sooner Omi got back, the sooner Ken could get out into the warm sunlight. Also, away from the adoring girls. As he predicted, the girls slipped out of the shop and Omi showed up fifteen minutes early.
Ken bid a hasty good-bye to his teammates, scooped a net bag with five soccer balls, and jogged down the sidewalk to the nearby park where eleven children waited for him. They all enthusiastically greeted him as he dumped the balls out of the bag. He let out a gusty laugh as they started to run the field to warm up.
"Akira! Watch what you're doing!" Ken shouted as a stray ball flew off to the opposite side of the field. He ran across the field as the ball sailed towards a tall woman leaning against a tree. The woman caught the ball just as Akira, his star goalie, almost ran into her. Ken pulled up short right in front of them.
He watched the lady hand Akira the soccer ball while the child looked up at her with awe. Ken placed his hands on Akira's shoulders and tugged him away from the lady. He kept his face lowered; it would be impolite to look the woman in the face. That and he didn't want his embarrassment to show.
"I'm so sorry, ma'am. I hope you're okay," he said.
"Most certainly," she replied back in a rich, deep voice. "It's wonderful to see children playing."
"We'll leave you alone. Pardon us," Ken said gently pushing Akira towards the soccer field. He noticed the child's attention was stuck on the woman. He surreptitiously glanced at her for the first time.
She was wearing a light blue summer dress, a wide brimmed hat, and overly large sunglasses. There was something about her that was so graceful and familiar; his mind went to the most recent movies he had seen, trying to place her. Nothing came to mind, so he continued to usher Akira back to the soccer field.
"Mr. Hidaka, if you could spare a minute," the woman called out.
"Split up in two teams and start. I'll be there in a minute," Ken shouted to the children as he shooed Akira towards the cluster. He glanced around the grounds to make sure only a few mothers were hanging around before turning back to the woman and walking over to her. He still kept his eyes lowered.
"I'm sorry. Have we met, ma'am?"
"Yes we have. Four months ago."
"I'm sorry. Did I coach your child this last spring?"
"No. My son is twenty. We met at my home," she said. He lifted his eyes slowly. Confusion drifted away when the woman removed her sunglasses. Ken felt his throat tighten as her lips gave him a shallow smile. "I see by you sudden pale complexion you remember me now."
Ken's head jerked down to the ground. All he could see was bright green grass. All his numb mind could do was wish the woman away.
"You're so quiet all of the sudden."
"How did you find me?"
"I hired a private investigator. It took him a while, but he stumbled on you by accident. All that fame you once had followed by that scandal? He was lounging around at the library when he was looking through old sports magazines. I had to say, I found it quite humorous that after almost four months of hard work that his laziness paid off."
"Please, not here in front of the children. Can..."
"Not in front of the children?" She let out a dry, throaty laugh that made Ken flinch. "I wonder what those women over there would think about their children's soccer coach if I shared with them how we met? Hum? What do you think, Mr. Hidaka? Do you think they would look on you so favorably?"
"Please don't go over there." He looked directly at her now. He felt a spark of anger in his stomach. This was his outlet, his escape. The threat to it was maddening.
"Why shouldn't I? Why shouldn't I raise their concerns about you being a..."
"I am not..." He started the denial, but it was choked off in spite of the great choler behind it. His face grew red hot, he looked away again. "What do you want? To report me to the police? Go ahead. Just quit making idle threats about telling the kids."
She put her sunglasses back on. "I want you to come to my house at eight o'clock tonight. Come prepared to work. I trust you remember the way?"
"What do you mean? Work?"
"Are you really as naive as you look? I could tell from that first time you had an innocence... maybe even gullibility... about you."
Ken couldn't help but glare. His good intentions were often misjudged as weakness. Hardly anyone knew about the great strength it took to be kind.
"Now you want me to help you? I can't," Ken said through clenched teeth. "Call the police. I'll rot in jail before I kill someone without a good reason."
"Don't you think the things you did that night have consequences for me? You put me in danger. My husbands former associates are after me. They wanted all the money my husband made illegally. I've given it all to them, but they keep after me. They want more and more. They threatened to go to the press and tell them what the great Hondo Kitagawa did behind closed doors. It would be a huge scandal on our good name, but I told them I didn't care any more." Her voice grew rapid and desperate. Her lips were pressed together as her head lowered; her delicate shoulders started to tremble. Ken felt his hostility drain as a wave a guilt started to wash over him.
"Please don't cry. I didn't know. I'm so sorry you got caught up in all this. My only intention was to stop your husband from hurting any more girls."
"They've even threatened to kill me if I don't cooperate, Mr. Hidaka. You can make it right though. It's one man causing the problem his name is Tatsukichi. I've arranged for him to be at my house at eight. We'll have dinner and then I've promised to write him a check. We'll be in my husband's study."
"But I can't... just...." Ken kept his eyes moving to insure no one was around to over hear them. The children, to his relief, were still merrily chasing around the field while the few mothers were deeply engaged in gossip. He turned his eyes towards her and took a deep breath.
"You can and you will. Look at it this way. The money he's extorting out of me is only going to reestablish my husband's white slavery ring. You would be stopping it before it starts again. And you would be saving my life. It's only a matter of time. He's ruthless and won't stop."
"Okay, I'll do it. But please let this be the last time you see me. It's dangerous for me..." Ken glanced around again. "... being seen with you can lead to trouble."
"I need this one favor from you. I'll leave the French doors unlocked," she said.
Ken felt his shoulders slump as she turned and walked off towards the parking lot adjacent to the park. He turned to the kids' soccer game and tried hard to push off his sensation of helplessness.
Sneaking out of their apartment with his bagknucks was easier than Ken figured. After a quick, early dinner he was able to get Omi and Aya into playing a game of Go. He knew that would distract them for hours. He didn't worry about Youji who had a new girlfriend and had plans for a date.
Ken made an excuse that he was feeling tired and wanted to turn in early. Omi gave him a half hearted wave as Aya place a white stone on the board and scooped up three of Omi's black stones. Omi's attention went back to the game.
He locked his bedroom door, changed his clothes, and got his weapon. He gingerly opened his window and gasped as a bright flash startled him. He scowled at the sky as a distant clap of thunder rolled across Tokyo. The skin on his face felt tight when he felt the pre-storm humidity.
Ken quickly climbed out of the window and made his way to his motorcycle. He didn't crank it until he had walked it half way down the block. Another flash of lightening caught his attention, but no thunder yet. He was thankful the storm was still far off; he didn't want to be caught in the promised deluge.
It was a half-hour drive to the Kitagawa mansion. He barely remembered the way from four months ago, but he found it and pulled his motorcycle to the thick brush several feet away from the dimly lit home.
He grabbed his bagknucks and snuck across the well manicured yard to the back veranda just like the time before. The warm glow from the French doors was muted by the increasing lightning strikes. He glanced in the study at the grandfather clock. It read eight fifteen.
As he carefully opened the French doors the thought of being set up crossed his mind. What if she had police waiting? No, Kritiker would know what the police were up to and would warn him. Then again, she could have hired another assassin to get revenge. He sighed and jerked his head back and forth; Ken dismissed the thoughts as Aya-like paranoia.
He had to help make things right for this lady that he had inadvertently put in danger. He had to trust his sense of justice. He had to have faith that doing the right thing would always lead to a good ending. It's what kept him going in spite of the hardships and betrayal he had suffered. He refused to end up jaded like Aya.
He quickly made his way into the study. It was the same as before with the strong cloying odor of pine, liqueur, and stale smoke. Ken took his spot behind the door like last time and waited. Tension ran through him as he squeezed his right fist to release the steel claws.
"...and we need more money for that situation with the German guy. Klaus what's his name," a man said. His voice was getting closer to Ken. There were footsteps.
"I know, but Hondo didn't leave any more money to bribe the man. You'll have to make due," Mrs. Kitagawa snapped.
"I don't care, Hitomi. You need to make it happen. What about all that movie star money? I know your sitting on a bunch of cash," the man said as he stepped through the doorway.
Ken struck before the man knew what happened. His claws raked deep into the man's back. Blood flowed freely as the man crumpled to the floor. Ken jumped back and swung around to the door, claws still extended.
"Good work," Hitomi Kitagawa said, stepping through the doorway. She walked to her husband's desk, retrieved a cigarette from an ornate box, and lit it. Ken's mind went numb at the woman's aplomb; she just stared at him with that same shallow smile she'd had that afternoon. A clap of thunder startled him back into thought.
"You need to relax, Mr. Hidaka. You did what I needed you to."
"What do you mean? I was under the impression I would do this and we could part ways."
"This man was one of my husband's former associates. He was trying to assert too much control over some of Hondo's more lucrative ventures. I want to affirm myself as sole owner over all of my husband's business dealing, legal and otherwise. You see it's hard for a woman to gain power in this kind of business. Especially a former actress. Now that he's done away with, I'll get everyone under control and can rebuild from the disaster you inflicted on Hondo's business four months ago."
"What? No way! I didn't think you wanted to be a part of that. That's why... that's why... I didn't hurt you. You tricked me!"
"I told you the truth. That man was costing me more money than I was willing to invest on foolish pursuits. He was starting to put a contract out on my life. You see, that was all true."
"But you wanted power! You said it would stop that white slavery ring your husband started."
"And so it will. That's attracted too much attention. I've found a new venture with the drug and gun trade with some South American dealers." She took a drag off the cigarette and gave him a warm smile. "Don't look at me like that. You wouldn't have come otherwise."
"You're right. I would have never come," Ken said low and steady. He retracted his steel claws and lowered his right hand. "You did lie to me by omitting your intentions. I despise liars."
She gave him a sour look that twisted her elegant face into something ugly. Her voice was full of scorn as she walked over to Ken and said, "Listen! You think you have some right to morally judge me? How much money did you get for killing my husband? How many millions, Mr. Soccer coach? You think just because you do some good deeds by helping children that expunges you from murder?"
"No! I never said that, Mrs. Kitagawa, but your husband had destroyed several young girls! Someone had to stop him. What I did was wrong, but there was no other way."
"Well, you did a marvelous job stopping it, didn't you?" Her eyes mocked him as she walked over to the same cordovan sofa he had hid her behind. "I'll be frank since I have no interest in getting into a debate. I know where you work and live with your coworkers. The House of Kittens Flower Shop. I know all the addresses of the children you coach. I figure you must work for some vigilante organization, but I don't know who they are yet."
"If I end up harmed all the information I've gathered on you and your coworkers will go to the police and press. My private investigator will see to it. I don't think you want that."
"No, I don't," Ken said flatly as peals of rain slapped the French door.
"Fine. Here's the deal. I need someone to enforce my control over Hondo's organization. Someone unknown. That will be you."
"Not on your life! I don't work for criminals, Mrs. Kitagawa."
"See sense. If you don't help me on occasion I will destroy you and the others working with you. You may not care if you rot in jail, but do they?"
"We all knew the risk," Ken bluffed.
"Really, but do those sweet children you coach know the risk of hang around you? I still have a lot of connections from Hondo's white slavery ring."
Ken felt his jaw tighten. He loathed her implication, but most of all he loathed her. Ken couldn't believe one single act of mercy could have repercussions against those children he valued. Let alone the threat towards the other Weiss members.
"You want me to protect your crime ring?"
"Yes. Don't worry. I won't interfere with your life at all. The only thing I ask is that you never harm any of my men and you come when I call you. In exchange no one you know will get hurt."
Ken took a deep breath and looked down at the man he had just killed. His stomach filled with acid as walked towards the French doors. He quickly ran out into the icy down pour and headed towards his motorcycle.
"Where's Ken? He needs to get his ass down here," Aya said after an elderly customer left. Youji set aside his broom with an aggravated scowl.
"I'll go. He should have taken over for me ten minutes ago."
"He's probably sick. He didn't show up for breakfast," Omi warned Youji before he launched himself to the loft apartment above the store. Youji went right to Ken's bedroom door and pounded his fist on it.
The door was flung open. Youji bit off his nasty comment, seeing Ken's haggard appearance.
"You look like hell."
"I feel like hell."
"Get some rest I'll finish up your shift," Youji offered, gently pushing Ken back towards his bed. "Hey! Your floor is all damp. Did you know your window was cracked? With all that rain last night..."
"Please, Youji. I need to rest."
"Sure." Youji shut the window and grabbed a towel from Ken's hamper. He quickly wiped up the floor while Ken tucked back into bed. Youji walked towards the door. "We'll check on you later. Hey, you know... are you okay?"
"It's just a cold."
"No I mean... you look sad or something."
"I'm sick. I don't look my best."
"I've seen you sick before. It's your eyes. You have something on your mind?"
"Yes, but nothing you can help me with," Ken snapped. "Just leave!"
"Fine," Youji said, waving a hand in the air. He shut Ken's door and headed back downstairs. The phone started to ring, but Aya and Omi were tied up with customers.
"Hello, House of Kittens. How may I help you?" There was silence, a click, and then the buzz of disconnection. "Stupid hangup." Youji looked up to the store front and noticed the darkening sky. "Great more rain."
"She won't call me. She won't call me," Ken murmured over and over as he pulled a blanket over his head.
The pounding rain wasn't what kept him from needed rest, but it was his troubled conscious. His mind went back to the choice to not kill Hitomi Kitagawa four months ago. His mind twisted between regret and integrity to his morals.
The one thing he knew was that it was his utmost duty to protect the children he coached and the rest of Weiss from his mistake even if it meant protecting someone as obscene as the Kitagawa woman. He also knew he had to bide his time and find a way out.