Look, it's my first Hikaru-centric fic! YAY ME! Please read and review. Tell me what you think, it would mean a lot. AlphaWolf13.
"The parents have requested we bring in outside help," my boss informed me as we made our way through the station to his office. Uotani Private Investigations had hired me my first year out of school as an intern. Since then, I've been slowly working my way up, finally being promoted to chief investigator; a big accomplishment for someone only 27 years of age.
"What kind of outside help?" I ask warily. Outside help always meant one thing and it always complicated our job.
"They've asked that we collaborate with a psychic," he said, confirming my suspicions. It didn't surprise me. Their eight-year-old daughter had been missing for five months; they were beginning to get frantic. But all psychics out there were only after one thing; money. They were obviously all a bunch of phonies. And they preyed off the grieving, desperate people. Made me sick to think about it.
"Anyone we've worked with before?" I inquired. There was a time when I believed in ghosts and magic and all that jazz, but when I started working as a PI I quickly changed my tune. I saw so many so-called work just long enough to earn few grand and then say some crap about the Otherworld shutting them out. Just disgusting.
"No, she's new to the city," he replied. She? We didn't usually get many female psychics. Seems the maternal instinct weighed heavy on a woman's conscious. Unlike men, they didn't have the heart to scam innocent people.
We stopped outside his door and he sighed. "She's waiting inside."
I went to reach for the handle but he brought his arm up to stop me.
"She's waiting inside. Please Hikaru try not to be so rude."
"I just… people like her really get on my nerves," I sighed. "All she's doing is slowing down our investigation. The longer we play her games, the more time that creep has to mess with that little girl."
"It's not like we're any closer to finding her than when we started," Captain Uotani argued. "Let's just give it a shot. What can it hurt?"
"The question is more who can it hurt," I grumbled, opening the door and stepping into the office. As I did, a young woman rose from her seat. She turned to face us and I was taken aback by how utterly young she looked. She stood what I guessed was about five feet and three inches tall, shorter than me by quite a bit. She had black hair that just brushed her shoulder blades and thin bangs that tickled her eyebrows. Her large eyes were a glossy dark brown. She had a slender frame, her face especially being lean with and angular chin. She wore a long, black skirt and an olive green turtleneck. She bowed to myself and the Captain.
"Mr. Hitachiin, this is Miss Kimiko Suzumiya," Captain Uotani said. Kimiko righted herself and smiled.
"Pleased to meet you Mr. Hitachiin," she said.
"Likewise, Miss Suzumiya," I returned, somewhat coldly.
"If we're going to be working together, you may call me Kimiko," she offered. I shook my head curtly.
"That's quite alright Miss Suzumiya; I doubt we'll be working together long anyway."
Kimiko blinked in surprise. So the little fraud wasn't used to be treated like this? Well, she had best get used to it because I'm – hopefully – not the only sane person in this world.
"Captain Uotani, if it wouldn't be too much trouble, I'd like to have a personal effect of the child. It helps me locate the missing person to have something of theirs to focus on," she requested. I made a, what I thought to be appropriately quiet, scoffing noise. The Captain ignored me.
"Have the parents not supplied you with a personal effect?" he asked, surprised. Usually that the first thing families do when they hire a psychic.
"They have," she replied. "But I'm afraid my gift doesn't really work that way. In order to find the child, I need something that was with them when they went missing. I was told you have a stuffed duck plush toy here as evidence."
"We do, but that's not something we usually release to a non-contracted investigator," I said, almost snapped.
"Oh, regretfully, in that case, I'm not sure what I can do," she mumbled, sheepishly. See, they're all the same. "There's a certain energy signature left around objects and places involved in trauma and life-altering or routine events. I'm sure you've heard of a restligeist or a residual haunting. If not, they're almost like sensory echoes. I'm able to see the memory that has been imbedded in a certain object or place. All I'm able to get with the stuffed toy I have now are memories of a birthday party and the bedtime story routine. It's no good to me," she explained. Yeah right, make your excuses.
"But you said you could pick things up from locations?" Captain Uotani asked. Oh come on sir, don't tell me you're buying into this.
"Yes, but it's not as reliable as an object," she admitted. "Locations are crossed by a lot of people. I could end up picking up on the wrong person's memories. I'll try however, if that's all you'll grant me access to."
"Alright then," Captain Uotani agreed. "We'll go check out the location. I have to get a few papers signed. Mr. Hitachiin will take you there. I will meet you soon."
"Thank you for your cooperation Captain Uotani."
"Whatever it takes to get this girl home, and hopefully alive," he replied.
"If it means anything to you, I can't sense a presence around us. I felt nothing at her home and around her parents either. I don't think she's dead," Kimiko said.
"Is that your professional opinion?" I quipped, chuckling a bit.
She hardened her gazed and looked at me challengingly. "If we're considering that being a medium is not only who I am but also my profession, than I suppose, yes that is my professional opinion." Oops, looks like I ticked off the psycho – psychic I mean.
"Hikaru, that's enough," Captain Uotani warned.
"Come on then," I sighed. I opened the door and gestured for Kimiko to go ahead. I slipped out behind her before I could the disappointment that I'm sure was written all over my boss's face.
The car ride to the site was spent in silence. Kimiko spent the entire time in some sort of daze and I didn't want to bother her. God forbid she accuse me of interrupting her communion with the spirits or something equally as crazy.
When we arrived at our destination, Kimiko stepped out of the car and shivered. I followed her over to a spot on the side of the road. I, as a man, must admit that Kimiko Suzumiya was a good looking woman. If it weren't for the crazy, I can't say I wouldn't be putting the moves on her. But I have more dignity than that and I'm not the kind of guy to pursue a girl for her looks alone. Besides, she probably just got out of high school and I'm not that kind of guy either.
"This is where she was abducted."
"We're assuming," I replied. "This was the path she would take to come home from school. It makes sense that somewhere along here she would be abducted. Almost nobody drives these roads anymore."
I walk several meters down from where we were standing to a beat up four-wheeler trail.
"We believe this was where she was taken. At the time, there were deep tread marks set in the mud as though someone pulled out of here in a hurry," I explained. Captain Uotani's right. There's no need to be rude to her.
"No, this is where she was abducted," Kimiko said again. Oh, so she hadn't been asking. "He took her on foot. He was someone she knew."
"Sure," I said, playing along. It's known well enough that roughly 76 percent of abducted youths are abducted by someone they know, either a relative or an acquaintance. "While you're at it, if you could just zap up a description," I joked.
"He has rough hands," she said, opening and closing her fisted hands as though she could feel something against them. "And there's a chemical smell," she added, closing her eyes and inhaling deeply. "I don't know, bleach maybe. Or hydrogen peroxide. Actually, it smells a little like a pool," she continued. "Does she take swimming lessons?"
"There's no mention of it in the report," I said. Sorry to disappoint you.
"No, but she wouldn't have had to. He could be a lifeguard maybe," she countered. "Hold on, he's wearing a nametag."
You wouldn't be stupid enough to make up a name, would you? That's a serious game you're playing.
"Um, I can't quite make it out," she groaned, squinting and straining her neck like she was trying to get a better view of something. "Shinobu. I can't get a first name; it's hidden behind his jacket. But that should be enough to go on."
"You realize that what you're saying is serious? You're accusing someone of a criminal offense," I said.
"Mr. Hitachiin, with all due respect, I think you're out stepping your boundaries. Captain Uotani asked you to take me here so that I could find out who took the girl, not so that you could pass judgment on me," she snapped. "Now, I'd like you to call your boss and tell him what I told you. Shinobu didn't seem to want to harm her, but nonetheless, psychologically, she's in a bad place. I was asked by her parents to use my gift to help find their daughter and I'll be damned if I'm going to let some sceptic stand in my way."
I pulled my phone out of my pocket and dialled Captain Uotani's number.
"Sir, I need a search on a man, last name Shinobu. Could be a lifeguard or a swimming instructor… Yes, that's Miss Suzumiya's conclusion. Thank you, sir."
I sat at my desk, looking down at the paperwork I was filling out. The stuff that said case closed. I'd been avoiding it all day, not wanting to face the fact that we had actually found her, locked away in the basement of Mister Kenji Shinobu, the lifeguard's home. The man had some psychological problems – well obviously – but he hadn't done anything to hurt her. She was being treated like family. A background check on Mr. Shinobu found that he had a little sister who drowned when she was eight years old. She bore an uncanny resemblance to the girl he abducted.
I just can't begin to fathom how Kimiko Suzumiya knew.
There was a knock at my door. Speak of the Devil. Kimiko stood in the doorframe, smiling gently at me. She had changed since this morning. She wore a tight, knee-length dress. It was the kind of thing women referred to as a little black dress. She had curled her hair lightly and done up her glassy eyes.
"Good-evening Mr. Hitachiin," she greeted.
"Good-evening Miss Suzumiya," I replied. "You look nice."
"Yeah, I can't stay long. I'm meeting someone for dinner," she explained. "I just wanted to double check that the girl was alright."
"Her family says she's settling in well enough," I said. "As well as is to be expected."
We were silent for a moment.
"How did you know?" I finally said. "How did you even know where to begin to look?"
"How can you still not believe in my abilities?" she asked, incredulously.
"There's got to be a logical explanation," I argued. "People can't read energy signatures or whatever it is you claim to do. You're just some delusional schoolgirl, still caught up in her fantasies."
"You think it was a fantasy, growing up with this ability," Kimiko screeched. "The only delusion you'll ever catch me living is one where I'm a normal girl, where people don't avoid me like the plague because they think I'm crazy. All I've ever wanted to do with my gift was help people. But of course, the minute I go to the police with the things I see, they want to send me away for a psych exam."
My jaw falls open, not sure what to make of Kimiko's outburst. She took my silence as a request to continue.
"I helped save a little girl today. That makes me proud. And I'm going out on a date; my first date in over a year. I have a Master's degree in psychiatry and an undergrad in the occult. Never mind the fact that I look like a twelve-year-old, I am 25 years old and the only thing that I've done that is of any importance is that I helped that kid. So don't treat me like I'm crazy or like I made an educated guess because I didn't. I have a gift, Mr. Hitachiin and unless you can learn to live with that, maybe you should lead a cushier life and get out of mystery solving. Because there are some mysteries that you can't solve with logic."
I hung my head. I felt kinda bad about not believing her. I didn't believe in that kind of stuff, but I shouldn't have so blatantly argued against her. I was rude, and for a man who claimed to be not like other men, my crude behaviour showed otherwise.
"Have a good night, Mr. Hitachiin," she scowled, turning on her heels and storming out of the station.
Maybe Kimiko was right. Maybe some mysteries aren't just black and white. Maybe science leaves some pieces missing.