Chapter 44

If Len had planned ahead he would've charged his cellphone. If he'd planned further ahead, he would've brought a cellphone. If he'd thought ahead farther than both options, he'd have owned a cellphone in the first place. Naturally, he didn't. So here he was, simply walking to find a phone booth that was both devoid of vandalism and still in functional condition.

The truth was he had possessed a phone at some point. Whether or not it had been legally his was another matter altogether. The point was, he had, in fact, had a phone up until the point when his moral code had decided to become something of a crusader. He'd returned the hot property without any traces of him on it and as much as he'd wanted to hate the action, the spite never came. Even as he tried to hate Yuzuki and Kaito for leaving him he simply couldn't.

He was still in pain, but it was the less severe ghost of past pain that he happened to be in now. His body functioned. Both his hands were in working condition, not to mention his ribs...Len pressed a hand to his stomach and surveyed his body silently. Thanks to Yuzuki he was fine. It was unnerving to be well, but that didn't mean he wasn't grateful.

The mental damage he'd been dealt was still lingering. It was something he'd never forget. Even as Len walked he was still battling it. Only because he didn't want to be afraid of it. He didn't want the fear of pain to paralyze his actions. In simplicity itself, he didn't want to freeze up. If he froze when time most called for him to act he wouldn't forgive himself. No longer was the option to forget the pain he'd gone through. For forgetting it, welcoming it, and being alert of it were three separate things that had the furthest amount of space possible between them.

When he'd woken he'd found himself laying in a field of unruly long grass wearing Kaito's uniformed coat. The safe haven of delirious sleep had lasted briefly before remembrance of past events had delivered the sharp slap of a wake up call. He'd lived in this city long enough to take his bearings of where no doubt Yuzuki and Kaito had left him. He'd headed towards the road with unsteady steps that grew with confidence over time. He'd been farther from any stores and any pay phones than he'd originally thought much to his dismay. The neighborhood was as unfriendly as any could be and so he'd kept walking. He'd walked feigning the similar boast of trouble that kept people's gazes diverted but not enough to demand a challenge from other delinquents who passed him by.

The smart thing to do would've been to ring a bell and ask to borrow a phone as politely as possible. However in this neighborhood people didn't have landlines to spare, minutes to lend, or any communication device to lend out that wouldn't result in a bullet or bruise of some sort; before he was robbed of any possessions he may have. So, Len walked. The sleep he'd gotten had rejuvenated some lost energy and so he hadn't minded walking anyway. It gave him a chance to think.

He still had no clue how he would save Rin. It worried him profoundly that this was the one thing he didn't have a solution for. He possessed little to no answers and had no rational. If he called the police and told them about his predicament he'd be locked up and straitjacketed before he could believe it was happening. Arranging an argument for a kidnapping would prove utterly uncouth too. Yuzuki had mentioned a name, Yuma, hadn't she? She'd told him that he had people loyal to him in hospitals that would kill him. Call it paranoia but Len had no doubts that if there were people linked to the agency in hospitals they were sure to be a few everywhere else too. Which now meant the number of people he could trust and rely on had just significantly decreased.

But he had a name now and a name was more than nothing at all. From the sounds of it, it was a very important name too. Most likely the name of the man who ran the agency or place Rin was located now. So, a man named Yuma ran the agency. It might prove to be nothing really but at least Len had something. He had a lead.

The single lead inspired Len to keep going over his conversation with Yuzuki restlessly. If he had one lead, there had to be others. He remembered that whatever Luki had done to Kaito had linked them. Didn't that mean Kaito could take him to Rin? The excitement was short lived because Kaito was no longer with him. Luki could also somehow track Kaito but that didn't mean Kaito could do the same.

"My worthless pawn did a better job than I thought he would," Len remembered Luki saying.

"Is Kaito up? He's been out for a while."

"No, he's still fast asleep. He must have been exhausted...passed out on the beach like that."

"He's not tired at all, he's just lazy and decided to fall asleep so he could cause me trouble."

Len remembered another conversation between the group when they'd returned from the beach. And ever since they'd gotten back and Kaito had regained consciousness from that time he'd been acting strange.

Those pieces finally locked together and Len understood. Between the time they'd left Kaito and gone off into the woods somehow Luki had gotten to Kaito and changed him. Then just as easily they'd brought him back. Which meant that wherever the agency had been, it hadn't been too far from that destination. They certainly couldn't have carried him. And even if they had, Rin had disappeared with Teto that very same day. Rin couldn't have ran and taken Teto back, the very idea was absurd. Which meant, he potentially had the location.

"I won't live long," Yuzuki had told him sadly but there hadn't been regret. He owed Yuzuki. Her safety was as much on his shoulders as Rin's was. But there had to be something else.

"I do not have the answer to that but perhaps Ted Kasane does." And Len had it. Two names and a potential location. Definitely more than he'd possessed before. Not much but it was something to work with. All he could really do now was get home. He had change in his pocket and as he looked around now the pay phone wasn't too far ahead; only a few blocks. He was about to run the rest of the way when a cream coloured limo swerved professionally parallel to the sidewalk. Len sprinted for the nearest alley but a familiar voice caused him to stop before he was nearly there.

"Len, if I have to chase you we'll simply drive away." Len glanced back at the limo and saw Luka, dazzling as ever-as was her trademark-from her rolled down window. In the seat next to her Mikuo grinned and waved wildly. Miku sat at the furthest side and remained silent, the corner of her mouth did curve up for about a moment. Luka pushed her shades back in from her where they rested on her head.

"Get in the car Kagamine," Luka ordered. "Preferably before I change my mind and have my driver run you down instead." And the window rolled up.

. . . .

Len never knew sitting could feel like such a luxury until he was comfortably seated in a leather seat in the Megurine's limo. The car still smelled new and to the far left right of the vehicle was a fully stocked bar complete with all matters of snacks. Len's stomach rumbled as he eyed them. He blushed and looked away furiously trying to salvage whatever pride and menace he had left, only to hear Luka scoff before he was pelted with a bag of pretzels. They fell into his lap and Len picked them up.


"Just eat them," Luka barked before she looked out the window. She didn't say anything else. Mikuo cleared his throat as Len tore the bag open; it was the only sound in the limo aside from wheels on asphalt. It seemed to Len that the atmosphere was incredibly cramped and tense.

"So," Mikuo began awkwardly, "I guess I'll fill you in on what happened, Len." Len arched an eyebrow at Mikuo before he bit into a pretzel. The salty and crispy snack was heaven.

"We uh, we were looking for you," Mikuo said in a way that told Len he was specifically leaving a certain event out of it.

"Well, you found me."

"Yeah, seems we did." A few more moments of silence passed. Mikuo looked like he was having a hard time with finding exactly what to say and finally Miku simply rolled her eyes.

"The school is destroyed," Mikuo stated firmly.

"What?" Dread flooded through Len.

"And everyone inside? Are they..."

"We don't know," Miku admitted but she didn't look at Len. Mikuo was the only one who did. "I mean it looked like everyone did but people panicked, Len. So no, I don't know."

"It fell not long after Kaito fled off with you," Mikuo added.

"It-It just fell?" Len choked out, exasperated. Miku and Mikuo nodded, Luka continued to stare out the tinted window.

Len didn't have anything to say. He didn't know what to feel now that he knew the extent of the cost Yuzuki and Luki's fight had cost them. He'd seen the damage done to Yuzuki, but to know an entire school...Their entire school...Guilt threatened to shove him over the edge and suddenly the pretzels he ate were bitter and stale.

"It's all my fault," Len admitted. His grip loosened on the bag of pretzels where it fell into his lap. "I caused this."

"Len..." Mikuo said complacently.

"It's true!" Len shouted. "If I didn't bother Rin that time, if I'd followed her instead of Teto. Christ, if I'd just known where she was-"

"Don't go down that road, Len," Mikuo cautioned. "Even if you had been there, what could you have done? Even if you had known, what would that have changed? Could you have lived with yourself if you'd just kept walking that day?" At the other end of the car Miku was confused but she kept quiet.


"You're a good person, Len. Don't ever question that."

"Good people haven't done the things I have," Len spat.

"Good people do bad things too," Mikuo said before he grinned, "All the best heroes have flaws." The words coaxed a brief smile from Len.

"So, they destroyed the building and left as far as we know," Mikuo ended before he looked expectantly at Len.

Then Miku looked up, "You owe us some answers, Len," Miku declared caustically. "Answers like where the hell you disappeared to, like who those people are, like how your injuries are suddenly-suddenly," Miku stopped for a breath. "And most of all who Rin really is." The weight of the coming conversation hung in the air thickly but Len managed to breathe. It wasn't the steadiest breath but it was a breath all the same.

"Okay." Len's hands shook for a moment. "You may not believe me but I'll tell you," Len assured as he glanced between the four of them. "I'll tell you everything."

. . . .

By the time Len had finished telling Mikuo, Luka, and Miku everything he knew, they were seated in a private meeting room at the Megurine mansion. An eighty acre flaunt of the mass wealth that belonged to the Megurine title. It was no modest place for living and with the wide spread of land it consumed, the closest neighbouring house seemed a world away. The entire place was surrounded by a large brick wall that possessed colors to match all the shrubbery around it. The place wasn't directly out in the open, for an impressive bunch of trees hid the house away from natural view and even the brick wall was being smothered into coexistence by the trees lining the outside of it. When the driver had turned off the highway and driven for a couple miles, Len had thought they were heading somewhere they shouldn't be. The driver had steered onto a brilliantly hidden driveway and even then Len hadn't seen the house they were heading up to until they'd driven through the gate.

As far as he'd seen from the limo, it had been a maze of fragrant rose bushes, shrubs trimmed to show some of history's most astounding officials in their element, and the mansion branched off into other buildings entirely. Elaborate fountains had been made for each Megurine family member displayed so vividly that for a moment Len had really doubted Luka sat in the car with him. The fountains were so lively it was both mesmerizing and unnerving. Luka's fountain adorned the very middle of the cobblestone driveway, water swirled in various shades of vibrant color to bring her dress to life. Her arm was gracefully extended towards a butterfly that landed on her index finger and where the water didn't swirl elaborately to color her-like her skin-it shot into the air and was hit expertly by the sunlight to project her skin color. It had been a luxurious tan and even now Len was stunned by the effect and how it had even worked out.

The limo had parked after pulling up by the front steps where they had gotten out and trudged up the gorgeous red and white cobblestone steps. Len hadn't resisted gawking at the statue which had led Luka to tell him how much she detested the thing. On their walk up to the front doors Len had taken note of the grass levelled with the top landing of the first flight of stairs before they went up the second flight and onto the pristine wooden balcony and inside. It was an understatement to say that Len felt uneasy around this much wealth. He sat there feeling more than a little insignificant.

The housekeepers had been so kind too. They hadn't eyed Len or Mikuo with any suspicion. They'd been treated like guests. Within moments of entering Len had Kaito's uniform jacket removed, his shoes put away, a change of house slippers that did not mark or stain the marble floor, and food as well as refreshments on the way. Luka had dished out orders to the staff about which room was to be prepared, what food and drink was to be brought, as well as what overnight preparations to be made with the ease of someone who routinely did so. Luka had walked briskly and Len had barely had time to drool over the foyer with its enchanting chandeliers or the long corridors decorated in lengthy rugs and walls adorned with all matters of expensive paintings. Mikuo had all but dragged him into the meeting room.

Now they all sat in a room with comfy chairs all gathered around a rich and lengthy redwood table. Len was almost afraid to touch it. The table was one of the most gorgeous things he'd ever been seated at. For a while he even got lost in trying to figure out the fable that was carved into the legs of the wood. A single sharp snap brought his attention back to what he was really supposed to be paying attention to. People really weren't kidding when they said that the rich were in an entirely different element than the less fortunate.

"Len, I just asked you a question," Miku said. Len was about to rest his hands on the table but settled for leaving them in his lap.

"Um, what?"

"I told you he wasn't paying attention," Luka sneered. "Men never do."

"He was just distracted by the decor, and I can't blame him," Mikuo broke in to defend Len. Luka glared daggers at Mikuo but he merely smiled.

"He still wasn't listening and that's the truth."

"If you saw a plane crash you would look wouldn't you?" Mikuo asked Luka. She looked insulted.

"How does that even-"

"Guys!" Miku suddenly shouted. "There's still the matter of what Len told us to figure out." Miku shifted to face Len. "So, Rin isn't really your friend from childhood. She's some freak with supernatural powers or whatever just like Yuzuki and that lunatic, Luki."

"She's not a freak, Miku," Len said defensively. Miku didn't comment on the matter.

"Anyway," Mikuo started, "We don't really know why Rin left the agency or what goes on at the agency, but it's safe to assume it's some seriously bad stuff." Len and Miku nodded, Luka stayed stubborn

"It's safe for us to assume that this Yuma guy is the big baddie that runs the show and the only way we can get Rin out, recover her memories, and really find out what the heck is going on is through this Ted Kasane guy who's most likely Teto's older brother and was probably the crazy scientist who attacked you in the market," Mikuo summed up.

"Since Teto went back we can assume that he's also located at the agency," Len stated.

"Which we can't get to," Mikuo added.


"And is guarded by that psychotic guy Luki and potentially Yuzuki."

"Mhm," Len agreed.

"That will no doubt rip us limb from limb if we even manage to find the place." Len nodded. Mikuo drew a long swig from the sparkling water bottle before him. "Len, I hate to break it to you but we're screwed."

Miku nodded in agreement before she spoke, "Are you planning on just barging in there? Then what happens?"

"How are you going to find Rin? How are you even going to leave with her?" Mikuo continued, in addition to Miku's barrage of questions.

"I, uh-" Len choked.

"Didn't plan that far ahead?" Mikuo laughed.

"Well, um-" Len croaked

"Are you an idiot? Going in there would be suicide!" Miku shouted.

"But we can-" Len stuttered.

"We can what, Len? Get utterly obliterated? Going to the agency would be handing yourself over to Yuma," Mikuo stressed. "Why not stuff an apple in your mouth and show up on a silver platter while you're at it?"

Len stopped for a moment. Sure, they didn't have a plan but that was because they only had a few leads.

"We should just look into the leads we have," Len suggested.

"And then what?" Miku snorted. "You still go charging in? Luki took down a freaking building, Len. In case you forgot. He scared the absolute hell out of you."

"Miku's right, Len," Mikuo sighed. "Unless you have supernatural powers of your own, we're not going anywhere near that place." Len slammed his hands down on the table and rose from his chair so fast his chair flipped over.

"We can't just sit here!"

"What other ideas do you have then?" Mikuo prodded.

"Other than charging in like a moron and hoping nobody notices you," Miku added dryly.

"We'll think of something..."

"Psh!" Miku laughed. "Um, like?"

"Am I the only one who isn't on a trip to looneyville here?" Luka said irritably.

"Why don't you believe any of this, Luka?" Miku turned to glare at her.

"Its crazy!" Luka shouted. "Do you hear yourselves? Are you all incredibly lit? Len probably hit his head far too hard."

"Would you like to go back to our school and take a good long look at the rubble, Luka?" Miku sneered. "Buildings don't just collapse."

"Someone obviously messed with the supports. It's a delinquent school, Miku. Crazy crap like that happens."

Miku sounded appalled, "A building is demolished suddenly and you think a few teens were just screwing around!"

"Why do you even give such a damn about Rin suddenly anyway!"

"Ladies!" Mikuo cut in. "Not the time!" They both instantly silenced and Mikuo turned to Luka. "Look Luka, frankly I don't care if you think terrorists boomed our damn school for an explanation, you're going to help us either way so that all this can be over quicker. And that's whether you like it or not. Get it?"

"How dare y-"

"Do you understand?" Mikuo asserted acidly. He stared her head on and Luka held his gaze. The pure and utter fury that Luka met Mikuo's gaze with prickled Len's skin; Miku swallowed.

And then after the better part of five intense minutes, Luka finally looked away and shoved her sunglasses back over her eyes where they were obscured by tinted lenses. Mikuo stood straighter.

"I am not going to become a junkie on whatever the rest of you are on," Luka swore. "I'm only sticking around so that Miku doesn't end up doing something incredibly stupid. Got it? You are not giving me orders Mikuo Hatsune. Ever speak to me like that again and I'll have someone cut your tongue out."

Mikuo merely smiled. "Deal."

Len was sure he'd seen Luka blush, but he didn't say anything. He was intent on not losing a tongue himself.

"Now, we don't have much of a choice except to wait, Len," Mikuo said.


"But," Mikuo interjected, "we will see what we can dig up on those leads of yours. Happy?" Nobody else at the table dared argue with Mikuo and that's when they left to their designated rooms for the night. Len was only a little unnerved by the increase in respect he suddenly possessed where Mikuo was concerned.

Len showered and spent far too long enjoying the glory of hot water on all his aches. He ran the shower far longer than he really meant too but the Megurine's could afford it. When Len was finally done in the bathroom he changed into the clothing that had been left for him. A fresh change of clothes was glorious, even if it was a size too large and pajamas; he was still thankful for it. When he walked into the room he was sharing with Mikuo for the night, Mikuo was kneeled and had his head bowed as he whispered something. It took Len a moment to realize that Mikuo was praying.

"What the hell are you doing?" Len asked as he avoided Mikuo and sank into his own bed.

"Praying," Mikuo murmured before he continued. Len rolled over and stared at his friend. The thought startled him. Since when had Mikuo and him become friends? He couldn't recall when exactly it had happened. Oddly enough...he didn't hate it.

"Praying?" Len repeated. "Are you serious?" Mikuo didn't reply, he merely continued on with a prayer Len didn't know. Len had never taken to a particular religion, but that didn't mean he didn't believe there was some higher power. Despite the many reasons for doubt that presented themselves. After a moment Len spoke again.

"Mikuo? I think we'll need a more practical solution."

"You don't like it, then you don't have to pay me any mind." Len sighed and, with a groan and effort he was sure he was going to regret expending, he spoke again.

"I didn't know you were religious." Mikuo made the sign of the cross and crawled into his own bed.

"There's no point in it if I'm going to flaunt it."

"I bet. The pope flaunts enough for all of you." Mikuo merely smiled, and before long the two of them were asleep.