A Rose of Prim Stands in the cool Evening part one:
Megumi stood in the morgue staring down at Hizumi's body lying on a metal table, stitched back up after an autopsy. She had spent many hours trying to figure out why BK201 would have targeted him, looking through a dozen files on him, but there was nothing. What he had told her about being an orphan and jumping from job to job had been his only crime.
So why did BK201 target him? Was it a message to her about something, or was he pissed about something she had done? She couldn't get her mind around it. Perhaps he wanted her for himself and was jealous of Hizumi. If that had been the case, then she would see him dead.
The door leading into the morgue opened to have Hayate enter. He frowned while approaching her left side.
"You shouldn't be down here," he said.
"I had to see him," she said.
"You love him?" His right eyelid rose.
"I—I don't know. I do have deep feelings for him. I just wonder… if I wasn't involved with Hizumi, would BK201 still had attacked him?"
"Don't put the blame on yourself, Section-Chief. You had no idea a lunatic like BK201 would do such an irrational thing."
"But is it, sir? Was it irrational? That's what I can't understand!"
"Maybe you should worry about something else. Like your statement about Hizumi's death."
Megumi glanced over at him with a bemused look, and said, "Sir?"
"You had stated that BK201 had electrocuted you quarter past ten, right? Well, the lab had said a few minutes ago that his star was only active when he disappeared in front of you and Shoji."
"That can't be? I know for a fact that he electrocuted me. He glowed blue! I thought I was finally going to meet my maker last night!"
"The evidence is telling a different story."
"Telling what? That I'm lying? You're not thinking I killed him, do you?"
"I'm not, but others might."
"Is there going to be an investigation on me?"
"As of now, no." He shook his head. "It seems the CIA doesn't think it's necessary, at the moment. But if there are any other clues that pop up, they are willing to reopen the case."
"Sounds more like they don't care about Hizumi's death to me."
"And you shouldn't either, Section-Chief. It might have a bad effect on your work performance."
Megumi breathed in heavily, as she tightened her jaw line. A part of her was kind of glad that the case was being dropped, but it also killed her. How somebody could ignore a person's death without a concern was unbelievable to her.
"What about Hizumi?" she asked. "With no next of kin, what's going to happen to him?"
"You mean his body? Cremated and then buried in some cemetery for ten years. You know the drill. Get some sleep, Itashi."
Hayate clapped her shoulder, turned away, and exited the morgue. Megumi looked down at Hizumi and wished she had kissed him. Perhaps last night would have been the moment for it, but she would never know.
She leaned forward, gave him a small peck on the forehead, and whispered, "Goodbye, Hizumi."
Megumi turned away and left the morgue.
Hours later, Hizumi's body was wheeled out of the morgue to have it cremated.
Two in the morning at a local bar in Hiro-O, Megumi sat at the bar table drinking down dozens of glasses to quench her agony away and hoped it would give her a hangover so that she had an excuse to call off work. It didn't matter to her if her boss was right about Hizumi's death messing with her. She really liked the guy.
Megumi gestured for the bartender to pour her another drink.
"Don't you think you had enough?" he asked.
"Nope!" she hiccupped. "Why doez it matterrr. Not like 'm gonna drive drunk? TCS makez sure 'f tha', pal!"
"I'm not worried about that! I'm worried about you getting alcohol poisoning or throwing up in my bar."
"No worriez! 'M fine!"
Megumi stood while holding out her arms to show she was on her toes, but then tipped to her left too much and fell on the ground.
"Yeah, sure. No more drinks for you."
The bartender walked around his bar and helped Megumi into a chair. She looked up at him with a smile, and then passed out on the table. He sighed, knowing it was going to be a long night.
The bartender closed his bar and began cleaning up.
Two hours later, the place looked spick and span. Now all he needed was the cop woman to wake up and leave so he could go home to his wife.
To his luck, she began to wake, making him smile, but then frowned as she leaned over his clean floor and puked.
Megumi exited the bar a half an hour later as the sun began to peek over the horizon. Any higher and it would start blinding her. She located her car parked in the alley, sat in it, and called her work to leave a message. To her luck, her boss answered the phone.
"Detective? What…? Are you drunk?" he asked.
"Hangover, sir," she replied.
"Wha…? Did you do that because of your boyfriend?"
"Sir, you can yell at me tomorrow about my stupidity, all right."
"I think now is more appropriate! I told you to get over him! I need you here, not at your home in bed!"
"Sorry, sir. It won't happen again."
"I hope not! Don't make me regret making you Section-Chief, Detective!"
"You should be," she whispered.
"What was that?"
"Get some rest, Section-Chief Itashi. If you feel better later today, come in. And that's an order!"
Megumi hung up.
Unwilling to round up the energy to program coordinates into her GPS, she leaned back in her chair while crossing her arms and closing her eyes to fall asleep.
Minutes into her rest, she felt her brain drift off as she fell into a deep sleep. It felt so comforting in this stage of sleep. It seemed she was in a dream state, but still slightly awake to where you couldn't tell.
However, it didn't last as her body seemed uncomfortable, and woke up. She looked at her clock and saw only a half an hour had past. To her it felt like hours had ticked away. The brain was a mysterious piece of work. In one instant it could help you figure out things, and then be confused in another.
Megumi repositioned her body to get more comfortable, as her eyes opened for a second to see an old man in a green coat wearing big glasses across the street. She closed them while licking her lips and turning on her side, as her brain tried to compute what her eyes had seen.
Ten seconds later, her brain comprehended the image, jolting her awake to sit up straight and gaze back at the old man. He looked to be the same old man from the day Ryo had lost his life.
Her head was throbbing from the sudden movement, but she ignored it to burst out of her car, run out of the alley, and stop before the road due to heavy traffic. The old man looked towards her, holding his glare for a few seconds, and then headed off.
"Hey, wait!" she shouted, making her head throb even more, and hopped over the railing. "Please! Wait! Why did you leave the scene of the explosion?"
Cars came to a sudden halt as the TCS program recognized Megumi jaywalking, as she ran across the road after the old man.
"Wait! I'm not going to arrest you!" she said.
The old man turned a corner, making Megumi run faster. Her head felt like it was going to erupt like Mount Fuji, as she skidded around the corner and saw the man wasn't far ahead. She caught up to him to make him stop and look back at her while she breathed heavily.
"Eh, yes, young lady?" he asked, smiling.
"Why did you run off back when my partner was blown up," she asked.
"Eh…? I ran off from an explosion?" He placed his right index finger under his chin while thinking. "I don't recall doing such a thing, but then, I do forget where I put my keys at my old age." The old man sheepishly scratched the back of his neck.
"You know perfectly well! I'll arrest you and take you in to get what I want!"
He placed his hands on her shoulder, and said, "Miss, I think it's time for you to wake up."
She looked at him baffled. His smile disappeared, as his body began to outline in blue and his eyes behind his glasses glowed red. She gasped, as she found her body shaking from an electrical current coursing through her body.
Suddenly, Megumi woke up in her car startled and in a cold sweat. Apparently her jumbled up brain was having a disarranged dream. She looked at her clock to see she had slept through the whole day.
Sighing, she typed her address into the GPS and settled back in her seat to let her car drive her home.
Megumi entered the Foreign Affairs the next day wearing glasses that covered a majority of her face. Shoji, Saitou and Sakura looked towards her as she sat down to catch up on her work. Saitou and Sakura returned to their work, but Shoji kept his eyes on her.
"What is it?" she asked, wanting to get whatever was on his mind out.
"Where'd you get those glasses?" he asked.
"From the store. Why?"
"They're not you. They hide your pretty face. And they give you bug-eyes."
He couldn't see it, but Megumi's eyes were narrowed at him. He was really testing her patience.
"Megumi! My office!" screamed her boss from his office door.
Megumi stood to head for his office, as he stepped back in it. She believed she should be frightened, but after facing the Black Reaper several times, she felt like this was going to be like taking a stroll through the park.
Megumi entered the room, closed the door behind her, and stood before his desk. He looked up at her with his hands laced together.
"First off, take those glasses off," he ordered. Megumi did, so that he could look directly into her eyes. "Second, don't ever get wasted like that again! I would gladly demote you back to just detective, but I think you would welcome it. So instead, I'm going to say that I'd take your badge and gun away and make sure your days as a cop is over. Understood!"
"Yes, sir. Is that all?"
"Far from it!" he yelled, making Megumi's eyes widened. There was more? Perhaps there were a few obstacles she didn't take into account concerning her little stroll. "BK201's star was active, and because of your hangover, we probably missed a good chance at getting him."
"Around Hiro-O at half past five in the morning."
The Black Reaper happened to be in the vicinity she had passed out at. Why couldn't her good luck let her wake up at that moment when he was active?
"What's so surprising, Section-Chief?" Hayate asked.
"Nothing. Do we know why he was there?"
"Not a clue. Saitou and Shoji didn't locate any bodies or anything out of the ordinary. So he either hid the body really good and we'll find it later, or he took it with him."
"What now, sir?"
"Get back to work, and drink a lot of water today."
Megumi left the office to return to her work. Her brain still felt scrambled and thought about calling off today, but she believed it was best to come in so she didn't make things worse with her boss.
"Oh, Megumi," spoke up Shoji, as he turned to face her. "Guess what?"
"You're a Martian from Mars," she said.
"No. You were wrong about the number that that girl gave me. I have a date tonight. Where's my money?"
Megumi frowned at him and gave him the bird.
In the Astronomy lab, Emiko, who was grateful to get her job back, walked around to make sure her people were hard at work and up to date. Nothing was going to get by them.
She was surprised that Kanami had turned down her old job in the lab, stating that she didn't want to work for a group controlled by the Americans. Since she had declined it, the CIA reinstated Emiko as leader of the Astronomy lab.
It also irritated her that she was second in the CIA's eyes next to Kanami. She felt that she could out perform that old woman any day and was willing to have a contest with her if the CIA approved it.
However, that would never happen.
"OH!" shouted Chou. "OH, OH! EMIKO-SAN!"
Emiko walked over to Chou, and said, "What is it?"
"Something you should see! A star has reappeared!"
"Chou! Everybody knows about BK201 already."
"Not his star! Another star! One that keeps on appearing, disappearing, and so on!"
Emiko didn't know what Chou was saying and looked at what she was seeing. She noticed a star that wasn't recorded on any of the up dated charts and hit a few keys on the computer to get the Messier code.
She gasped, and said, "She's back! Where is she right now?"
"Somewhere in Ueno, I think," said Chou. "I'm sending the Dolls to that location as we speak!"
Emiko pulled out her phone and dialed the Foreign Affairs number. To her displeasure, the pervert Shoji answered it.
"Hello, Emiko-kun!" he said.
"Where's your fearless leader at?" she asked. "Still out for the count?"
"No, she's here. But why do you want to talk to her when I'm here?"
"Because it's business and not pleasure. Put her on!"
Shoji moved the hologram around to reveal Megumi and her bug-eye glasses.
"Yes?" she asked.
"Another star has emerged from the dead again, and this one you should be shocked to know whom."
The specters on the telephone line in Ueno swarmed around the area. The old man, oblivious to them, walked the streets to head back to the place he was using as his sleep quarters. Seeing that the Contractor they were looking for wasn't around, they continued on.
The seventy-year old man came up to an apartment complex that had its stairs on the outside, and as he was about to head up it, an unsettling feeling came over him. He turned around to see two muscular goons, wearing black, spiky clothes, standing behind him holding baseball bats.
"Can I help you kids?" he asked, as he smiled, stupidly.
"Yeah, old man," said a kid, his ears pierced with a huge ring inside it. "Word is from a cute high school girl that you got cash on you. She said if we steal it from you, she'd show us a good time tonight. Hand it over and we won't hurt you."
"No, no. She must be mistaken." The old man waved his hands in front of him innocently. "I'm just a poor old man that has nothing. I have to scrounge for food in trash cans."
"Don't lie, old man!" said the other kid, who had his nose pierced. "Give us the cash, or get hurt."
"But I'm telling you, I don't have a yen."
The pierced nose kid gestured for his buddy to take the first shot. The earring kid tapped his bat in his hand, as he approached the old man who looked as though he was going to pee his pants. The earring kid took a firm grip on the bat, and swung it.
To the kids' surprise, the old man caught it with his left hand barehanded and reached over to rip the earring out. The earring boy screamed, as the old man took the bat upside down, slammed it into the kid's side, breaking his ribs, and then hit him on his back to knock him to the ground.
The pierced nose kid grinded his teeth, gripped his bat one-handed, and swung downward to have the old man dodge left, and then right to avoid an upward strike. The pierced nose kid repeated his actions without receiving a single blow.
Having enough, the old man jabbed the hilt of his bat into the kid's stomach to stun him, and grabbed his nose ring to rip it out. The kid screamed in pain, as he grabbed at his nose while releasing his bat. The old man dropped his bat to stand before the kid.
"Learn to respect your elders," he said, and then knocked him out.
The old man sighed, feeling good to get into a fight to stretch out his joints.
Punks these days were pushovers. At least in his prime years kids knew how to put up a little effort in a fight. It seemed that these kids wouldn't be able to hit a ball off a tee stand.
He turned to head up to his apartment, but held his ground due to a young girl dressed in a navy school uniform sitting at the top of the stairs with her knees enclosed and her legs spread outwards. She had green hair, orange eyes, and a smile that shouldn't be taken out of context.
"I see you can still handle yourself in a fight," she said.
The old man stood in silence for a few seconds, and then said, "Why are you here? It's not safe."
"When is it ever safe?"
The old man was quiet for a few more seconds before saying, "What do you want, besides sending those punks after me?"
"Can't I say hello to an old friend?" she asked.
"Depends. Are you friend or foe?"
"I thought we were past this?"
"You left me in a bad situation twenty-five years ago, and I didn't appreciate it!"
"How do you think I feel?" She frowned. "I wasn't pleased one bit with my decision! I lost the man I loved more than anything!"
"It was probably a blessing to him, wasn't it, Amber!" Amber stared at the old man displeased. "You should leave this timeline and head back."
He headed upstairs to pass Amber.
She stood to face him, and fought to say, "Does… does he still have… feelings for me?"
The old man stopped before heading up the next flight of stairs to look down at her.
"I don't know," he replied, and continued to his room on the third floor.
Amber felt bitterness overwhelm her heart, and let it get the best of her to let a tear fall from her right eye.