Thank you for putting my on alert and favourite! It makes me rather happy when I get the emails :)
"Woah, Haruhi, check this out!" The familiar harmonised voices call from inside the common room.
"What now?" I snap back, the Hitachiin twins have been winding me up all morning, "I'm busy"
Two red heads appear around the door frame, "But you really gotta see this" At this point another face appears at the door. It belongs to Kari, a new officer who started a couple of weeks ago. I met her on her second day on the force and bought her coffee in the café around the corner.
"Haruhi, have you seen the news?" She pauses as I shake my head, "The Souh Enterprise building is on fire and all the board members are trapped!" I feel my eyes widen as I stand and head over to the common room. Picking up the remote I turn up the volume just as the journalist starts updating the situation.
"All twenty one members of the Souh Enterprise Committee Board are trapped at the top of this twenty story building, including the CEO of the company, Tamaki Souh .His secretary is also missing, presumed to be stranded with the board. Fire crews and ambulances have already arrived at the scene, trying desperately to reach the top floor. Everyone else working in, and visiting the building have been accounted for and there are very few casualties among them. At this stage the fire is presumed to have been an electrical fault on the nineteenth floor that has now spread along to both stairwells. Keep up to date with what's happening here by checking our website, but for now, it's back to Satoshi in the studio."
Slowly, I lower myself onto one of the old, pale green sofas nearest the door. The twins plop themselves down next to me, their arms around my shoulders. Kari stands awkwardly on the threshold.
"Does Kyōya know?" I ask, barely above a whisper. Hikaru, Kaoru and Kari glance at each other.
"I'm not sure," Kaoru replies slowly. Hikaru begins speaking but stops when I stand up, adjusting my skirt as I slide past Kari in the doorway.
"I'll go let him know," I say softly as I leave.
The walk to Kyōya's office seems a hundred times longer than usual. It was strange how the four of us had ended up working together. I'd done a year's work placement here while at university and after a five years working as a lawyer, decided I'd like to go back. Kyōya wasn't made heir, much to everyone's surprise, and so began to run the Ootori secret police force but soon decided he didn't want to work for his father and so joined the state police. Hikaru and Kaoru both studied forensic science at university. They then went back to fashion but a couple of years ago landed a job here. Hunny-sempai and Mori-sempai run a large chain of bakeries while Tamaki took over the Souh business from his father. Funny how much changes in 10 years.
I knock on Kyōya's door, praying he's not busy as I want his full attention.
"Come in" his detached professional voice came through the door. Slowly, I opened the door, still working out how to tell him the news.
"Kyōya, you haven't seen the news have you?" I ask slowly, still forming my explanation in my head.
"No, why?" Here goes.
"Tamaki's trapped in a burning building" I sputter quickly. Kyōya raises an eyebrow at me. "Try talking slowly and from the beginning" he says with a hint of amusement in his voice.
"It's not funny!" I cry, "The Souh Enterprises Building is on fire and Tamaki-sempai and the rest of the board are trapped." I grab the remote up from the cabinet in the corner, turning the TV on and flicking through till I find the news channel.
"The flames have been subdued enough for fire fighters to enter the nineteenth floor, and hopefully they will soon be able to reach the stranded board members on the top floor"
"You go and get the twins, I'll see you by my car" He grabs his jacket and walks briskly towards the door, snatching the remote out of my hands and placing it back on the cabinet after he turned the TV off.
"Where are you going?" He doesn't reply, but continues out of his office door and turns left.
"Better ask permission from Gov before we go wandering off, no?" He calls back over his shoulder.
I stand there, stunned for a few moments. Since when did Kyōya ask permission? Quickly, I pull myself together and head out of the office, turning right back to the common room. Hikaru and Kaoru are still there, talking to Kari.
"Hey Kari, um, Hika, Kao, Kyōya wants us to meet him by his car." I say as I swing myself round the door frame. A confused look crossed there features simultaneously. "Well come on then" I call as I begin walking towards the car park at the back of the building. Kyōya always parks in the same space. I'd learnt that very soon after starting. I hear the heavy footfalls of the twins as they scramble to catch up with me. Together, we descend the stairs down into the underground car park and walk towards the far wall.
"Hurry up!" Kyōya had already pulled out of the space and begun to make his way towards the exit. He throws open the passenger door as Hikaru pulls the back door open and crawls along the seats, followed closely by Kaoru as I jump in the front.
"Put the lights on will you please Haruhi" Kyōya asks as we pull out of the station and onto the main road. Obligingly, I open the glove box, pulling out the blue light and placing it on top of the car roof. The other cars soon part to allow us to speed towards the Souh building.
Soon we arrive to see the chaos that has unfolded since Kyōya and I watched the news only 10 minutes earlier. 7 white sheets were spread over suspiciously human like shapes under a marquee that had been set up and there are a few people with blankets around their shoulders by the ambulances. Kyōya and I head over to the Fire Chief while the twins go towards the ambulances.
"What's the situation like?" Kyōya asks calmly showing the chief his badge. I flick the leather case holding mine open and show it to him too.
"Not looking good," He replies, "Out of the 9 brought down so far, 7 are dead, the other two suffering badly from smoke inhalation and burns. However the fire in one of the stairwells has been tackled and the other should not take too long now. It's very unsafe in there though." I nod and look up at the window of the conference room. I remember Tamaki showing me round 5 or 6 years ago when he was pronounced heir and his father stepped down from the CEO position. He seemed so happy.
"Have the bodies been identified?" Kyōya asks. He may have well just asked 'Is Tamaki alive?' It's what everyone was thinking, especially Kyōya.
"Unfortunately, the burns on some are so horrific we can't identify them,"
"Okay then, is there anything we can do to help?" I ask, putting up my wall of professionalism to stop myself from breaking apart.
"Not at the moment, however we do think that this wasn't an electrical fault after all, it follows all the patterns of arson." Kyōya and I share a look.
"Well in our original investigation, we thought that there was one starting point, however it would seem that that there were two centres one on either stair well. When the fire started, everyone came down the stairs on the left, and witnesses say that there was a man that alerted them to the fire and pushed everyone in front of him."
"Where is he now?"
"That's just it, he's disappeared, no one has seen him since and no one recognised him at the time" This is looking more and more like attempted murder.
Kyōya glances at me, "I think this should be treated as attempted murder" he almost whispers, aware of the throng of press behind us. I nod numbly.
"Do you think they were trying to get one person or all?" I ask softly.
"It's hard to say, if you wanted just the one or a few, it would be easier to put a gun to their head, but then again, most of these people are in high society, it might be too hard to get close enough to them. Or he could have wanted them all dead. But that might have been easier to have snuck in as a cleaner and planted a bomb…" I tune out as a crown of blond hair is brought out of the glass doors. Placing a hand on Kyōya's arm I watch intently, looking for some kind of life, praying they were okay. We watch on helplessly as the body is carried over to Hikaru and Kaoru who place another white sheet over the lifeless blond.
"Poor soul" the chief says, but I'm not listening, I'm still staring at the cloth.
"Haruhi… Haruhi," I look up at Kyōya, who's discreetly shaking my arm.
"What are we going to tell the press?" I ask as I hear the journalists trying to call us over. "We don't want to raise alarm but at the same time…" I trail off, Kyōya will know what I mean. We can't lie to them without there being damage to the public trust in us, but at the same time we don't want to start a panic with little evidence.
"We'll tell them that we are still gathering evidence but at the moment, we cannot rule out arson." Kyōya says after a pause, "We don't want the press getting wind of suspected attempted murder just yet," he pauses again, "why don't you check on the twins? See who's been named and who hasn't, I'll sort this lot." He smiles at me and walks off towards the gathered microphones. He'd become a lot more friendly over the last few years, probably since he gave up being pressured by his father, although people still ask me how I can work alongside someone so cold and calculating. Maybe it's just me who's seen the change.
I watch Kyōya start his speech for a few seconds before turning and walking towards the marquee where Hikaru is crouching over the third sheet.
"Who've we got then?" I ask casually, noticing how heartless I sound. But this isn't the place for sentimentalities.
"16 have been brought down now, 5 alive in hospital, and these 11. 6 of these have been identified." Kaoru walks over holding a piece of paper. "This is the list of all the people who were on floor 20." I glance down it, noticing the twenty two names, 6 with red pencil crayon next to them and 5 with green.
"Where's the blond one? Has he been identified?" I question, already walking along the feet of the victims to where I thought he was. Kaoru hurries past me and takes hold of the top corners of one of the sheets. He looks at like me, giving me that look he always did when he thought I'd regret what I was about to do. Hikaru walks up behind me, putting a hand on my shoulder, "Unfortunately, he has." Kaoru pushes back the cloth, revealing the familiar crown of blond hair, the slightly pointed nose, the full lips.
I have no words. Hikaru's hand falls from my shoulder and I grab it in my own hand, holding on for dear life. Kaoru pulls the cloth back over Tamaki's face and they slowly lead me back to Kyōya, instructing him to keep an eye on me.
We left Hikaru and Kaoru there as Kyōya and I headed back to the station, loaded with CCTV footage and lists of names. There were 8 survivors in total, the final two being found in a storage cupboard unconscious. They had all been taken to the hospital with round-the-clock surveillance to stop the suspect from finishing the job. We still aren't certain about whether it was murder or just arson, but we don't want to take any chances.