my second story...

devi no kaze: thanks.. and i'm working on it...

Chapter 1

The call for help came late at night. They usually did. Only this one is one of the worst kind.. A child. Lost in the unforgiving Hotaka mountains.

Fuji Syusuke replaced the receiver and rolled out of the bed, shoving his feet into heavy boots as he pushed to stand. He'd been asleep less than ten minutes.

Backpack always loaded and ready, he reached for the dog's leash and vest and heard the soft pad of canine footsteps coming on his way.

It was Chase.

A little piece of his heart broke off. As always, Chase was ready to work,ready to rescue the lost.

"Sorry, honey,"he said,laying one hand on the wide, intelligent head."Not tonight."

Not any night in the future,although Chase was the best air-scent search and rescue dog he'd ever trained.

As soon as I got the money,boy. We'll have you fixed up and good as new."

But money, for Fuji,was hard to come by. Even by training and boarding other people's dog, his income was limited. The monthly check from his father's insurance barely covered necessities, and surgery to correct Chase's damaged knees was expensive,far over his budget. But Chase deserved a chance to work again. Being the best that he is. Somehow,even if he had to take outside job, he'd find a way to help is friend and partner.

The idea of working at a regular job made him shudder. Not that he was lazy. It wasn't the work that bothered him. It was people.

"Hunter,"he called softly and was not surprise to find the brown Lab waiting quietly behind him. Trained to search by air and ground, Hunter as an excellent dog who loved kids.

With regrets to the depressed Chase, he snapped Hunter into his bright orange rescue vest and, flashlight in hand, headed for his truck.

One step outside and he burrowed deeper on the muffler around his neck,thinking of the search to come in this very cold night.

The knowledge spurred Fuji to work faster. If anyone could find the boy,he and Hunter could do it. They were the best in the mountains. Maybe the best in the county . They never quit until the victim is found-alive or dead. He preferred alive.

As he passed the kennels, the rest of the dogs, all boarders in training, slipped out of their houses to stretch and shake beneath the white moon.

Fuji didn't mind. Working with dog's,anyone's dogs, was his life and ambition.

Chase and Hunter on the other hand, was his babies,his children,his family. He toke care of them and they toke care of him. Together, they don't need anyone else, but a lot of people needed them. And when the need was met, people faded away.

People.

He touched the barely visible scar at his hairline.

Not his favorite space.

Intentionally, he turned his thoughts to the to to little boy lost somewhere beneath the flat white moon.

But, kids were a different matter . He didn't consider them adults yet. They didn't have ulterior motives. They were at the mercy of adults, just as he'd been.

Fuji wondered why he'd awakened tonight with the old memories so sharp. But memories were okay,odcasionally. They made him focused,kept him mindful of why he'd never permanently leave this mountain again.

-O~o~O-

Tezuka Kunimitsu paced the command center he'd set up near the small community of Takayama.

"How far away is that dog team?,"he asked Oishi Shuichiro, the sheriff, who stood to one side.

"He'll be here."

He figured that. He'd called the guy, hadn't he? And distinctly remember the soft,almost feminine sound of a voice still drenched in sleep.

Tezuka laid out the topography maps and mentally went through scant information they had about the missing child.

Outside the station, truck motors roared and doors slammed. A couple of park rangers came in followed by a petite man with a happy looking dog.

For Tezuka Kunimitsu time stopped. He stare at the boy. Bundled for cold, he wore a bright yellow ski suit and hooded parka. From within the frame of sheepskins he (Fuji) looked out over the assembled group,assessing,cautious,almost angry. He was both fearsome and fascinating, and Tezuka experienced a most unusual reaction. Interest. He, who had sworn off attraction five years ago was attracted and mesmerized.

review please. ^^