Author Notes: Sorry for the massive wait! I'm on holidays and honestly, I literally am taking a holiday so this ended up being a target of procrastination…The core of this entire fanfiction has come, please keep reading!
Disclaimer: I don't own Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro or anything related to it.
Yako beamed, satisfied with her predictions. Rather than mulling over the destructive implications of the tower, she basked in the joy of hearing about the meanings to the final card. However, when she came face to face with her problem the very next day, it was a little too late to pay any attention to the words the fortune teller had spoken to her. Perhaps if she placed more importance on the implications of the cards, she could have avoided this adversity. If what the fortune teller said was true and that this was all planned by fate, maybe it was all unavoidable in the end. But all was for naught now; he cut the red string that bound them together and she threw it away. Their worlds may crumble during their separation but there is no going back. What has happened has happened and what is done is done.
At first she had been doubtful, uncertain what thoughts and ideas circled Keane Schwartz's mind. He had invited her to come to the music college's concert hall late at night, an hour that was perhaps not the safest for a girl travelling alone. When he had presented her with the idea, the German seemed to place heavy emphasis on the condition that she be alone when she came to meet him later that night, reasoning that he wanted to hear some comments from her regarding one of his self composed pieces. Of course, it was her so called 'responsibility' – as phrased by Neuro – that she persevere until the very end when they have gleaned enough information to prove the man guilty. She knew it was a bad habit to rely on the demon to come save the damsel in distress all the time, but knowing that he would always prevent her from falling into harm's way always provides her with comfort. With this in her mind, the detective set off with a positive mindset, keen on drawing the last threads of information from the pianist.
Setting foot into the empty concert hall, it struck Yako again just how large the hall was. Paved in thick dull red carpet that was soft under her foot, she somehow felt a little out of place amongst the unmoving lines of parallel seats. Spotting the musician with his attractive Nordic appearance, the girl greeted him. "You said you wanted me to listen to something you composed right?" Yako glanced around the concert hall, looking for a grand piano that was obviously not present.
The German nodded sheepishly, "But it's so appalling I'd rather play it in a practice room, if you don't mind." Gesturing for her to follow him towards the backstage area, they made their way through the hallways until they arrived at a practice room, the door swung wide open, beckoning for them to enter.
Yako caught a flash of bright yellow that sealed off the crime scene just a few steps further to her left. Entering the practice room after Keane, she was reminded by the yellow tape that she was now alone with a suspect in a murder case. Her stance stiffened in nervousness. The room was near identical to the one where the body of the first victim had been discovered, although this room was larger in size. The only difference was the adjoining room. When she asked about it, the musician said that it was a store room for spare instruments but was rarely used by anyone at all. Curious about the store room, the detective wandered into it and found several double bass cases propped up against the wall, violins tucked away in their cases and a selection of other brass, string and woodwind instruments. Yako wrinkled her nose in displeasure as a musty smell of dust, age and something else faint wafted to her nose. Finding the temperature in the storage room oddly cold, she rubbed her arms and located the air conditioning system in the room. It was switched off.
"Are you done with your detective games?" A voice called from the doorway, calling to mind the image of a predator laughing at its prey's stupidity and misfortune from outside a trap. Yako shivered and turned around in dread. Keane Schwartz stood in the doorway, outlined with light as the other room's lights barraged the chilly storage room. The lights were off in the store room itself and although she couldn't see the man's face at all, she knew that his clouded winter eyes conveyed nothing other than pure evil intent. He said in the same tone that sent icy shivers down Yako's spine, "Don't assume that I'm completely oblivious to the fact that you've only been trying to draw information out of me this entire time. But I think I might have told you a little too much about myself – so it's time to silence this irritatingly nosey mouse here."
"I knew it," The girl watched the pianist vigilantly, trying to look for a weakness to understand his objective, "You were the one who killed Klavieres and Violette."
His clouded azure eyes showed no sign of hesitation, immorality dancing merrily across his entrancing features. The older man started to close the distance between himself and Yako. He laughed, "So what if you know I'm the murderer? Can you break my alibi? Do you have the evidence?"
Inside her head, Yako's instincts screamed at her to run away and escape from the impending danger. It didn't care how she got out as long as she accomplished the ultimate goal of fleeing from the German. Caught in too many life-and-death situations with criminals to be proud of had taught Yako to ignore her instincts during most of the time and rely on her logical mind to stay calm and reason accordingly; but this time, she couldn't hold back the feeling of panic. And like so many of those times when panic took over, her body refused to cooperate.
It was only when it was all too late, when he had her wrists trapped against the wall did she begin to struggle, to fight back. His face was far too close to be a comfortable distance, his lips trying to capture her's. Still attempting to yank her thin arms away, Yako shrieked, "What are you doing? Let me go!"
"What do you think I'm doing, Miss Detective?" A smirk crawled to Keane's lips as he glanced at her, making the detective's blood run cold. He licked his lips, "Before I get rid of you, I suppose it's only natural for me to take advantage of available resources."
Whilst her brain sent out erratic messages all over her body to squirm in the man's grip and force her way out of this compromising situation and scream for help all at the same time, the only remaining patch of her mind that was still unaffected by the loud pound of her heart and the adrenaline rushing through her system knew Neuro would come save her. He always arrived in the nick of time to save her from harm. And this was no exception.
Or so she thought.
She couldn't pick out a single hint of movement, a flicker of shadows or electric green eyes sparkling with sadism. Nothing moved. For a split second when she realized that no, Neuro wasn't going to be there to save her time after time, her will to resist failed to spur her on with her attempts to break free. It was then that her own voice called out from the deeper corners of her mind, frantically interrogating and throwing questions at her. What happened to the Katsuragi Yako that had existed during the three years of Neuro's absence? What happened to her independence, her strength to solve cases even without Neuro's convenient demon tools? What would he say if she surrendered? Punish her? Demote her? Abandon her? Replace her?
With her motivation restored, Yako managed to free one arm, using it to force Keane's head away from her just as he had undone half of the buttons on her blouse. With the heel of her high heels, she stomped on his foot, applying as much pressure as she could. As a normal person would react, Keane swore and flinched, his other hand instantly releasing her, providing her with an opportunity to escape. Using a hand to hold her blouse together where the buttons had been undone, Yako ran as fast as she could outside onto the streets, into the public where the man wouldn't possibly dare do anything else more to her.
Once she reached home, she slammed the door shut and locked it. It was only when she was back in the safe confines of her own house did she allow all her emotions to resurface. Tightening her hold on her blouse until she could feel her nails digging into her own hand through the fabric, Yako leant back on the door and let herself slide and sit in a heap at the foot of it, curled up into a ball, willing herself to drown in the darkness that infested her apartment, hiding her face from no one in particular – after all, this home is practically unoccupied by anyone apart from her; her mother is constantly overseas due to her job's nature and her father had passed away four years ago. Released from the crushing maw of panic and fear, the entire event that had only occurred a while ago came racing back into her mind as if afraid she had already forgotten it in the short time that it took her to sprint home. Tears sprung into her eyes, the salty liquid streaming down her face as she recalled being held against the wall, Keane Schwartz's violating lips smothering her face as she refused to stay still. Even now, she could feel his heated breath against her skin and all the other things she experienced moments ago.
What Yako had failed to notice when she returned home was the figure lying on the ceiling, his back magically attached to the ceiling to defy all rules of gravity. It was easy to tell that he was not happy through his body language – his arms were crossed over his chest and his expression a heartless glare of vexation and antagonism. "Yako, the mystery has withdrawn into its shell," He said, "What can you say in defence of delaying my meal?"
The girl remained where she was and did not reply. The demon leapt down from the ceiling.
"To be affected so greatly by something minor like this…"
"Somebody like you would never understand!" Yako couldn't hold her temper back anymore and snapped at the tall man, "You knew and you didn't do anything?"
"I had confidence in you but it seems that this trust is merely one sided," Neuro watched the human's tear stained face for a moment as his facial expression warped into an even uglier look, a tint of disgust mixed with impatience. "The current you is disqualified from calling yourself my partner. Don't show your face at the office until you've reflected upon your faults." Without another word, the green eyed demon slipped out into the dark night through the window, melting into the night time cityscape of glittering lights, much like the very reflection of the world's night sky dotted with millions of stars.
"You monster!" Yako screamed after his disappearing back and threw whatever she could grab at the man dressed in the blue suit, the item missing the open window but hit the wall beside it instead. Staring in the direction which Neuro left, the blonde only hugged her knees closer and cried. She was convinced that this whole ordeal would be avoided if Neuro had come to save her and yet, his cruel words cut her deeply. She was convinced that it was entirely his fault that she nearly got raped and yet, she was the one who ended up even more wounded than before after their short exchange of words.
Trailing his hands gently over the monochrome keys of the piano as if it was delicate porcelain and letting his fingers linger slightly on every key as if he was sad to part with the piano, Keane Schwartz's sharp features were a presentation of alarming composed serenity. In any case, he knew he wouldn't be arrested for what he had done just then. If the detective accused him of attempted rape, would she be able to supply any proof? Even with her international fame taken into account, if she informed the police that he was the culprit behind the murder of Klavieres and Violette, without evidence her theories were nothing but blasphemy. However on the other hand, he has to be careful from now on. She knows he's the murderer. Although insufficient, she does have shreds of information gathered from other sources and eventually, she will be able to destroy his alibi. It was only a matter of time.
If he was going to be arrested in the end of it all, why not cherish the time he had left before his freedom was taken away? Why not use that time effectively and attain all that he had wanted?
After a moment's pondering, it appeared to him that a barrier poised itself between him and his goal. "Katsuragi Yako, I'll have you learn that whatever I want, I get," The German pianist's lips widened to a delightfully grotesque grin, "But I think I'll enjoy an appetizer first, it'll make the main dish all the more delicious. What was his name again?"
Rummaging through his memories for a name, Keane once again let his fingers glide over piano keys gently. Suddenly tightening the muscles in his hand and sending the tips of his fingers crashing down on the piano keys to produce a horrible clash of notes, Keane smiled.
"Nougami Neuro was it?"