k59 : hey^^~ i'm back! for now at least.. i just wanna thank you who r still with me n being so patient.. i know waiting sucks.. i'm a reader too, so i really appreciate that u're still with me^^~ anyway, enjoy XD


to AnnReading : if u're late then i'm very very late.. i recognize u^^ u still have the same profile pict.. thank you for the wishes.. i'll really need it since it starts next week X0 i really don't know what i'm doing not here (^_^;).. thx for reading n commenting^~^

to abc31 : i'm planning to^^~ i think that they really shouldn't make Masaki disappear.. it looked as if the boys weren't friends anymore.. yes, he's still sick but it's kinda important that he is (^_^;).. thx for reading n commenting^^~

to ollie : i'm really sorry X0.. but i really don't have time to update fast.. this year is really crucial to me, so.. pls just bear with me (^_^;).. thx for reading n commenting^~^


Episode 2 – part 2 'Hide and Seek'

xxx

xxx

A resounding bang jolted him from where he was seated. His hands were fumbling to put the thing he had been staring at earlier into his drawer. Hiding his nervousness behind a mask of annoyance, he looked up to face an irate gunslinger who had just stormed into his office.

"Why?"

Yumeto raised an eyebrow at the very unclear question the woman had just thrown him, pushing the drawer close discreetly.

"You need to be more specific than that if you expect an answer, Noriko."

The woman made no move. Instead, the frown she was wearing was getting deeper.

"You change your plan for the third kidnapping. Why?"

He let out an annoyed sigh and turned his attention to his laptop.

"And I should share my reason to you why?"

The gunslinger glared at him, to which he just raised an unimpressed eyebrow. He pushed aside his laptop, focusing his attention to the woman seething in his office.

"What you seem to have forgotten, Noriko, is that I am your leader. Thus, I have no obligation whatsoever to explain myself to you. When I make a change in my plan, you follow it, not question it. Do I make myself clear?"

A slightly strained smile formed on Noriko lips, "Crystal."

Without another word, the gunslinger walked out of his office, with his gaze following her retreating form. Once she was out of his office, he gave a soft sigh.

That was far too close for his liking, his hand moved to take the picture he had shoved into his drawer earlier. A slight smile lightened up his face as he caressed the sentence that was written at one corner of the paper, careful not to smudge the pencil.

"I wonder if you can still say this to me after all that has happened," he murmured to himself. With a final sigh, he carefully refolded the paper and placed it back into the drawer.

He reached for his phone and dialed a number before leaning back into his seat. His posture was completely relaxed, betraying whatever uneasiness that he was currently feeling.

Be prudence, better be prepared that sorry. That was what he had learned from his role as a crime planner. And he would continue to do just that, especially if the look Noriko had given him was any indication.

He needed to make sure that everything was in place.

xxx

She watched silently as Yoshida walked out of the apartment building and into a car, before driving off. No doubt to finish the last preparations for the event tomorrow.

Noriko scowled deeply.

There had to be a reason why Yumeto decided to let Yoshida be the messenger for this final kidnapping instead of leaving it to her just like the last two cases. There just had to be.

And she will find out what it was.

She walked out of her car and took off her sunglasses, closing the car door as she went. It did not take her long to arrive to her destination and she took a pick lock from her pocket. A soft click could be heard and she's in.

Closing the door behind her, she looked around the dark apartment. She flipped the switch on and squinted as her eyes adjusted to the sudden change in light.

The living room looked just like a normal apartment. Definitely nothing here.

She walked pass the kitchen, ignoring it completely.

Looking around, she stared at the three remaining doors.

The one on the opposite wall was a storeroom, she had learnt from the one time she had been here. The one on the left was Yoshida's room. Somehow though, these rooms did not catch her attention.

No, her eyes focused on the door on the right. The spare bedroom.

Mainly because the door was slightly ajar, unlike the other two. Meaning that someone had recently been in the room.

Walking into the room and leaving the door open, she took in the surrounding.

It was oddly clean, for a room that had not been used at all ever since Yoshida moved into the apartment. It was as if – she frowned as the thought formed in her head – someone was using this room.

She walked to the wardrobe and wrenched it open.

Nothing.

There was nothing that indicate someone had been living there inside.

Frustrated, she tried the bathroom, only to be greeted with the same result. Looking around the room once again, she noticed that even the desk was free of any item.

She was about to check on the bookshelves when she sensed a presence in the room. In a blink of an eye, she had her gun drawn and pointed at the door of the room – right at an impassive Yoshida's face.

"Found what you looking for, Noriko-san?"

Putting her gun back, she let out an annoyed sigh.

"Not quite. Who was living in this room?"

The ex-bomber raised an eyebrow at her.

"No one. This is a spare room."

"It's too clean. And it's not like there are people who would visit you."

"I like to keep my place clean. Moreover, if someone did live here, shouldn't there be some sort of personal belongings here?"

Narrowing her eyes but letting the matter drop, she walked pass Yoshida and out of the room, heading for the main door.

"You're leaving already?"

Yoshida's voice called out to her as she pulled the door open.

She spun around swiftly and regarded the man with a cold look before answering.

"I've got all the information I need. For now."

Throwing a last glance at the room, she slipped through the open door. Behind her, Yoshida took his phone and dialed a number as he walked to the still open door. Hearing the soft click informing that his call was answered, he closed the door and locked it back.

"Everything was just as you had said, Yumeto-san."

xxx

Kato bit his lips nervously as he once again looked at his wrist watch.

9.50 and she was nowhere to be seen.

"You okay, Kato?"

He turned his head to face his superior officer and nodded shortly.

"Fine. Nervous, but fine."

Detective Fukuchi looked at him for a moment, as if calculating him, before answering.

"I understand. I would be too, if I'm in your position. Whether that boy will return, it's all depending on you. You will be incredibly ignorant if you aren't."

Okay, he was very sure of this right now. Detective Fukuchi was absolutely horrible at comforting people. Even when trying to comfort people, the older man had somehow managed to make him even more pressurized. Thank goodness that Fukuchi-san was not a motivator or something like that.

He smiled awkwardly and was about to make a comment that would get him into trouble later when a shout defeated him into it.

"Kato-san!"

Sighing tiredly, he turned to face the school nurse, and couldn't help the yelp that escaped his mouth.

"What on earth are you wearing?"

Sayama frowned at him and looked down to stare at the dress she was wearing. It was a pitch black dress, complete with an overly large black hat and sunglasses.

"What's wrong with these? You said that I need to look unsuspicious."

He dropped his head onto his hand and groaned.

"And just how are you going to achieve that if you look like a Victorian woman lost in time?"

She frowned deeper.

"But you said that I will be doing some spying. And all the spies in the movies I watched wear black clothes."

"If you wear those clothes you are just going to attract more attention. Go change to something that is much less suspicious looking!"

Kato used his free hand – the one that wasn't carrying the money bag – to attempt to turn his colleague around. Sayama just pouted and batted his hand away.

"And just what do you suggest I wear? Jeans and shirts?"

He nodded seriously with the straightest expression he could manage. His cool and collected façade almost broke when the school nurse proceeded to throw her hands up and stomp away, grumbling about annoying police detective who liked to criticized her fabulous fashion sense.

"If that's fabulous, I rather not see what she sees as horrendous."

He murmured to himself while shaking his head in exasperation.

A coughing sound startled him enough to realize that he had forgotten that, all this while, Fukuchi-san was standing right beside him.

"What was that about, Kato?"

And that he had not discussed this with his superior officer.

He's doomed.

"Uhm, well… She's our loophole."

The only response he got from Fukuchi-san was a raised eyebrow. He put his hand on the back of his neck in a nervous gesture.

"It's like… The kidnapper would probably ask me to lose all the police. But Sayama-sensei wasn't a police. So, I thought why not have her follow me discreetly."

He gulped anxiously as he waited for Fukuchi-san's reaction.

To his astonishment, Fukuchi-san did not berate him as he expected him to. The older police officer just nodded and checked his watch.

"You better start walking now, Kato. It's almost ten o'clock."

Not believing his luck but not daring to push it, Kato just nodded and started to walk away.

It wasn't even a minute later when his phone rang.

xxx

The first thing that he saw when he opened his eyes was an unfamiliar ceiling and for a moment he wondered if he had fainted at random place again.

But then the memories came back.

He was walking home from school, taking his usual route, when someone suddenly grabbed him and started dragging him away. He remembered being forced onto a car and someone covering his mouth and nose with chloroform soaked cloth.

The rest was blank.

Letting out a tired sigh, he pushed his body up to a sitting position. The gnawing feeling he had been feeling these past few days had increased tremendously.

Was his mother really the one behind the kidnapping cases?

If so, then… It was his fault, wasn't it?

Because he was no weak, his mother needed to work extra hard to keep their little family alive. It was all because he couldn't help with their family's finance that his mother ended up had to resolve to this method of getting money.

He drew his knees up and hugged them close to his chest, burying his face onto his knees.

He was such a burden.

Taking a deep breath, he shakily lifted his head. First thing first, he needed to know where he was.

He looked around and, to his astonishment, he seemed to be in a hotel of some sort. Guilt once again attacked him. He got to stay in a hotel, while the previous victim – and a child at that – was placed in a storage room.

The room was lighted in gentle lighting, furnished with television, small refrigerator, expensive looking wardrobe, comfortable twin beds, carpeted floor; all in all it was a typical hotel room.

Frowning in confusion, he looked towards his left, where the other bed was. For a moment there, he thought he saw someone occupying the bed.

It was absurd though, there was no way the kidnapper would go so far as to make sure that he didn't escape as to stay… here…

His heart started to pound frantically.

It was no mistake. There was someone lying on the other bed.

He pushed himself up to standing position and, with shaky legs, he stumbled towards the other bed, despite what his instinct was telling him to do. Escape immediately, while the person was still asleep.

As he became nearer to the bed however, he started to doubt that the person was one of his kidnapper.

The person couldn't be an adult, the figure on the bed was too short to be one. The person seemed to be tucked in as well, as if someone had put him there – he was sure that the person was a he.

What made him most confused though, was the fact that the person's breathing seemed to be short and labored. It was as if the person had trouble breathing.

As he stood at the edge of the bed and took a good look at the person's face, though, he couldn't help the gasp that escaped his lips.

The face was horribly familiar, even when it had been about three months ever since he had seen it.

"Ainosuke-kun?!"

He quickly plopped himself onto the bed and started shaking the unconscious teen.

"Hey, Ainosuke-kun? Can you hear me? Wake up!"

It was then, when he started to pat the teen's cheek none too gently, that he realized what was wrong with his friend. He put his hand on Ainosuke's forehead and bit his lip anxiously. He may not have thermometer with him, but he was sure that much heat couldn't be good for a human body.

With a determined gaze, he stood up – even though he wobbled a bit – and headed for the refrigerator for some ice.

He could worry about the truth about these kidnapping cases later.

For now, he had a sick friend to attend to.