A/N: A lot happening in this Chapter and I've been allowed by one of my fellow authors to have a Special Guest appear. Hope you like it.

Special Thanks to DualSelf for Assisting on this Chapter

Disclaimer: I don't own Persona. I own Reiko Setsuka.

Chapter 97
April 29/May 3/July 13-16, 2011

July 13, 2011

Aiya's Restaurant

"Damn…can't believe it! A big soccer game for us tomorrow and it was cancelled because of a cheating scandal…" Daisuke said.

Yu, Daisuke, Kou, and Charles were at Aiya's drowning their sorrows in various meals. Daisuke was the most disappointed, because he had practiced hard.

"Look, Nagase, it's not the end of the world…Coach will find a new school…" Kou said.

"Ichijo…you don't get it…If you're prepared for something and it doesn't happen…then focus will be lost. Now, I'm concerned that the soccer team will have no momentum if there is another one."

"The timing may not have been right as it was," Yu said. "It is close to finals…"

"Yeah, but Coach Kondo knew we would need a break studying because Sunday we'd all be busy doing that. "

"What I don't understand is why 3 female seniors at Sekiruto High School in Okina thought that they could get away with promising the team…their womanly charms if they scored high. Or even that this doesn't happen until Finals when the 5 players involved cheated on the midterm…"

"Apparently one of the wings for Sekiruto was loudly bragging when the vice principal happened by and overheard. She then conducted a full investigation," Kou said, snickering at the stupidity of the player.

"Wait…isn't she Sofue-sensei's former University roommate?" Charles asked.

"The very same…apparently she broke the news to Sofue-sensei first as a courtesy, things snowballed from there," Daisuke said.

"At this point it can't be helped…we'll have to wait until after Finals for another game."

"But who would be willing to do that at such short notice…?" Daisuke asked.

Charles looked at Kou and Yu for a second. "Say, Narukami…I need to walk this off before continuing…What say you join me?"

"Of course. Nakamura-san, we'll be back…" Yu said to Aika's father.

"Very well…I'll be sure to tell Aika…" He replied.

Daisuke frowned. "Maybe it's a…"

"Sit, Daisuke…" Charles said after eating a forkful of orange chicken.

"What's going on?" Daisuke said.

"Daisuke…This is more than the team or you being in the best shape for this…you're disappointed because you figured this was a big opportunity for you to show what you could do…get a head start on seeing which Universities, both in and out of Japan, would offer you the best scholarship for you…am I right?"

Daisuke blinked. "Uhh…that's pretty good, Waldo…how'd you figure that out?"

"Dude, for the longest time…I've had to live with disappointment…I know how bad this hurts. But you're worried that with a big opportunity out the door now… you're not going to get an opponent that you think would be a fair test. An opponent that it would go down to the wire who the victor in the pitch is…"

"It's really weird you know all this…"

"*sigh* My friend Trevor, who's gone to Military school… he liked soccer…and he knew what it was like when he had a minor injury… Then it was teams that would crush ours or ones that we would crush…so I can see where the frustration comes in on wanting to beat an evenly matched opponent and make it an exciting moment. While I do like the storyline in sports of a David-versus-Goliath…nothing beats the storyline of, 'evenly matched, and up until the final second, even the outcome was in doubt.'"

"What does this have to do with…?

"…you? Simple…things happen…It bites royally and it makes you feel like the world is against you…but things are not always bad as they seem…Maybe the next team will be good enough that they can repeat the school the tale of how Nagase Daisuke and Yasogami's soccer team beat some other team in Yasogami's house."

"You make it sound so simple…I just…I just want to be at my best, and I'm worried I won't and I'll let everybody down. That's all I ever wanted to do."

"I understand…but the only way you'd let us down is if you didn't show up for the game…literally OR figuratively, that's why, I understand you wanting to be at your best…just don't let the fear get to you…"

"Are we talking about me…or you…?" Daisuke asked with a smirk.

Charles had a few more bites of chicken… "I think I'm just giving you life advice so you don't turn into me…"

"I don't think that'll ever happen, Chuck." Daisuke laughed.

"Yeah…well…I think I'm the best judge to determine who should stay away from being in my shoes…you don't want my baggage."

"I don't know…I here you've been getting more date requests in your shoe locker because of Monday."

"Yeah…" And Yukiko's steamed…although, I don't know why…I'm not encouraging it…and she should be glad I'm only annoyed when she gets a date request from a girl… They're more competitive than guys at this…Charles thought. "…but all I did was punch a guy out for the second time. It shouldn't be like I starred in the biggest movie of all time."

"I'm just glad you're not the type to go for a harem…"

Charles sighed, "Too much potential for heartbreak…I hate hurting people…Except for that guy on Monday…his lip should have bled too."

Daisuke laughed. "Down, boy…you protected Amagi…that's enough in my book…"

"I certainly hope so…"

"Still…about the soccer…Maybe I was lucky and avoided a career-ending injury," Daisuke said with a smile

"Maybe," Charles said, returning the smile.

The two continued to eat their food.

Aika sighed when she came back from a delivery and saw Yu's and Kou's half-eaten plates.

"Don't touch them, please, Aika…they'll be back," Charles said.

"Very well…" Aika said.

"By the way, Chuck…you really said 'Arf' to that guy?" Daisuke asked.

Charles sighed because he knew this was going to come up… "Yeah…'Arf!' That guy called me a gaijin dog and went after Yukiko again…what was I supposed to do, invite him for afternoon tea?"

"Nah, I figure he deserved to be knocked onto the ground…It's just, that line. Yosuke's been going around the school asking if people heard about the awesome."

"Well, it's better than having half the school dislike or hate me," Charles said.

"What about the other half that's fond of you Charles-san…?" Aika asked.

"I'm glad that half's been in my corner this whole time," Charles replied.

"Well, I certainly hope they stop disliking you…I can't not deliver to those people."

Charles was touched. "I…can't believe you would consider doing that on my behalf…"

"I'm not…They give out good tips unless they know I know you…I need all the tip money I can get," Aika said.

Which made Charles wonder if she was joking or not…her polite blank face made him wonder.

Until…

"A-ha…you were about to smile!" Charles said.

Aika just sighed and said, "I'm sorry, but the corner of my mouth has an itch." And she scratched it as if she really did have an itch.

"One day…Aika…one day."

Daisuke was trying not to laugh. "Forget it…I've known Aika for years… she's never smiled. She's not cold…she just won't smile."

"There's nothing smile worthy…" Aika said.

"I shall not give up on my quest," Charles said.

"Your funeral…" Daisuke said.

Yu and Kou returned and the four boys finished their dinner.

Inaba Police Department

"So…where are we with this kid?" Itomori asked.

"Basically he cops to all three killings, he knows all the details but he keeps embellishing things…adding things here and there that look inconsistent…but then when we try to trip him up…he's able to explain it away…" Adachi said.

"Sir, I still don't like it…I buy that he killed Morooka…but the first two killings…it seems too easy."

"Unfortunately, Dojima, the prefecture doesn't want simple unless it's to describe how we can have him prosecuted. Is there anyone willing to take this case…?"

"Watanabe…no relation to our former chief…" Adachi began.

"Despite multiple attempts for him to make her a relation…" Itomori said with a slight bitterness.

"…she won't touch it…At least not with the Yamano and Konishi killings on the table…She says Morooka's a 'slam dunk' as the Westerners say…But the two women…not going to happen…She wants him to rot in hell for those, but even she's not sure…." Adachi finished.

"Fujita said he'll take it on…provided he at least try to offer a deal to the kid first…" Dojima said.

"A DEAL?! This kid murdered a teacher and may have killed two women…No way in hell is the prefecture going to allow THAT!" Itomori said.

"He said he was going to make an offer that the kid's lawyer can ONLY refuse…" Adachi said.

"So instead of a carrot and a stick there's only a weak stick and sturdy stick to choose from?! Fujita does that we'll be buried in paperwork for the rest of the year trying to make sure this case is closed. Look, tell him that he can make an offer…but it has to at least look enticing so it can go either way…The prefecture's talking about reducing overtime as it is."

"We understand…" Dojima said.

"All right…we still need to get Arisato's statement and interview from Shirogane…We also need to lock down as many inconsistencies as we can…"

"I understand, sir…" Dojima said.

"So I need you two to go over all your notes from this case, all your paperwork. If you think there's a better suspect than Kubo then I need to know as soon as possible!"

"All right, Chief! " Adachi saluted.

Dojima rolled his eyes slightly, but as they were dismissed he said, "Your brown-nosing's still obvious but at least it's better."

"Domo?" Adachi said, confused.

Adachi went back to his desk.

Dojima sat down and looked over his notes.

He had a pang of regret every time he looked at the file.

I didn't want Charles involved and he ended up being a victim…And God forgive me…there WAS a time when I thought Yukiko would have been a suspect…But then that would have made Charles alienate me. Fortunately I got some help that ruled her…and him out.

April 29, 2011

Inaba Police Department

Chief Watanabe had showed up to work only slightly hung over. After a brief back-and-forth with Itomori about how to proceed, Dojima was called in to Watanabe's office.

"Dojima, the prefecture seems to think that we need to set up a profile of the suspect. Normally I'd have you use your American friend…but since his son's got a bulls-eye on him…"

That you seem to keep on him, Dojima thought.

"The conflict of interest would jeopardize things…so I want you to contact Detective Togoshi in Tokyo."

Many had heard about Detective Togoshi Juro. He was a Detective from Tokyo who had managed to make a reputation for getting into the head of suspects and victims…sometimes even before the suspects were identified. He left no detail overlooked, no stone unturned. If he didn't close a case it was only because the perp skipped town and the trail went cold. But those were few and far between.

"Sir…With all respect…do we have enough for him to work with?"

"We have more than what he had to start with when he cracked the Fibonacci sexual assaults. He can do it with what we have," Watanabe said.

So Dojima contacted Togoshi. Within about 4 days he got a phone call back. Dojima was surprised how open and friendly, yet old-school Togoshi was.

However, Dojima was also privately amused about how absent-minded the Detective was.

"Let's see…I'm sorry ever since I got shot in the shoulder they've had me on restricted duty and I'm consulting everywhere because they think if I stayed home I'd forget where this building is… If someone had only looked at the girl from Reykjavik for the Fibonacci assaults I wouldn't be this popular. Let's see…Death Note Killings…No that wasn't you…Iwotodai-Port Island Deaths…Need to find this girl named 'Catherine' the vics said they were dating before they died. Why are all the girls named 'Catherine'? But that wasn't you…Ahh…Domo…" He said to someone else, Dojima presumed. "The Hanged Man Murders in Inaba." Then he sounded like he was murmuring…reviewing the file.

Then it seemed that Togoshi's voice changed…Like he was more focused. "I'd have to say from what you sent me, your perp is someone who's Male, age 18-39, though I can't rule out as young as 15 or as old as 55. Has good upper body strength. Highly Intelligent. A calm, cool, collected guy. I won't say he's incapable of rage or other emotions…nor would I say he's in total control…but he seems to manage them quite well. I would have to say that he may also possibly be either an Otaku or Video game fanatic…just because the fog and the hanging of the bodies have that touch of macabre to it that is consistent with those brands of entertainment. Your suspect may even be aware of the weather patterns. I would presume, assuming he's an Otaku or Gamer that this is some sort of game where the victims need to escape before the fog arrives, and kills them if they failed. Hanging their bodies for all to see as 'failures' or 'losers'."

"So in other words…he makes it difficult to escape…but not impossible."

"Yeah, that sounds about right. He'd want to make it entertaining…in fact. I'd have to suggest that both Yamano and Konishi was a test run for him…or maybe he had planned to kill them as a quick start so that when he gained momentum…he'd be entertained by the general public as well."

"So…do you think he's insane?"

"No…At least not in the sense of what he believes right and wrong is different from what society, or you or I would define. I do think he's deeply troubled…and needs to do this in order to be satisfied in some way."

"Very well…Did you receive my second email about who could possibly fit the profile?"

"Yes I did…and I have to say…I'm disappointed you weren't up front with me. It seems you want to EXCLUDE these three," Togoshi said in a tone that while it appeared like he was teasing Dojima…he really wasn't.

Dojima's jaw clenched. "I'm sorry…I thought if I had asked you up front you would have said my personal feelings were clouding my judgment. "

"Don't sweat it, Dojima-san…you have your reasons. But, Amagi's out because she's female and doesn't seem to have the upper body strength to carry up Ms. Yamano's body. Plus…while the reported Motive is sound…Getting revenge is sound. There's still the problem of method…The way Ms. Yamano was killed and Amagi getting the body to Yamano was found. It doesn't work. Plus…There's no indication that Amagi's a Gamer or Otaku, is there?"

"Actually a search of her room revealed she has a PlayStation 3 and Portable and a 3DS and several games. Her parents just laughed, despite the situation, that she had several games that were of a violent bent."

Togoshi chuckled. "While some say that would make her fit the profile…I would have to say that instead she plays them as a stress reliever."

"I would say so, too. She doesn't seem to be they type to be violent…In fact several days before she went missing there was an incident at the community center that she felt responsible for…even though it wasn't her fault."

"Really? What happened?"

Dojima told Togoshi about how Yamaichi from the Academy and 3 boys from Yasogami picked a fight over Yukiko and then how it resulted in damage to the art displays. He mentioned how Yukiko had felt like it was her fault, just for people wanting to date her."

"Then that excludes her…A person who feels responsible for that would not be a killer," Togoshi said.

"What about Charles?" Dojima asked.

"Waldo? While he does appear to be a Gamer and is intelligent…He seems to have the normal range of emotions from what you've observed?"

"Yes."

"Plus he has no reason to want them dead. No discernible pattern to either of them other than they were female. But his disability is the real thing to exclude him. He couldn't lift either woman that much and he would have fallen to his death trying to climb with a body."

"But there is Charles's trauma…"

"Witnessing your best friend being shot in the chest is traumatic and it's not something I recommend for a person to develop a healthy mental diet…but he's had some time since then to cope, right?"

"He had therapy sessions, yes…but they weren't helping. Every time he turned around there was someone who made him feel guilty and ashamed. His parents agreed letting him be foreign exchange would take the heat off of him."

"Poor kid…I don't blame him for a fresh start. But I think that he would have no reason to kill either woman because of that. He seems…from what you're describing… to be a recovering sociopath."

"Then…what about my nephew?"

"While I would agree he has the upper body strength, the intelligence, and from what you described as the deft emotional control…Somehow…he has no motive either. I knew a kid who got bounced around a lot from place to place. He didn't seem to show emotion until just before Senior year of high school. The reason? He didn't want to make connections that were temporary. I think your nephew may be doing that too to protect himself or the other people. But I think time with you, your daughter, and Waldo…in addition to other friends will help him out of that shell…"

"So you don't seem it's odd about the Junes incident?"

"The fact that he kept facepalming in that video suggests he's unhappy with the situation young Hanamura put him in…but not a killer. A killer wouldn't be that embarrassed from what I've seen."

"He is indeed a gamer and Otaku from what my sister tells me," Dojima said.

"Well, yes…but that's not all that unusual…unless it becomes an obsession with them."

"It's amazing how much you know about this case without having been here…"

"Inaba's plastered all over the news since last month… I think with enough DVDs recorded, I've pretty much got the town laid out. Add to that I have the Internet and some other resources…Any Detective could work this case hundreds…or even thousands of miles away."

"I see…thank you for your assistance," Dojima said.

"Well, don't only thank me…Also thank this girl I have who's wanting to become a detective and wants to learn. She was good at researching… Just needs to assert herself a little more," Togoshi said with a chuckle.

"Kids…always eager to please," Dojima laughed.

"Yeah, but when they're mind is keen enough to be a detective…they're the eager ones you want to keep."

"All right, well, then thank her too, please."

"I sure will… Good day." Then the phone clicked.

Forgive me, Nee-chan, I don't suspect Yu…but he knows something…and so do Yukiko and Charles… and I need to make sure that they don't get themselves in trouble…Otherwise…I can't help ANY of them. Dojima thought at the time.

He then delivered Togoshi's conclusions to Watanabe...As far as who the suspect may have been. Only Itomori saw the list of how it couldn't have been Charles, Yukiko, or Yu, lest Watanabe get the idea that Dojima was trying to sabotage the case, have him removed and any or all three of the teens ending up being arrested for suspicion of Murder.

July 13, 2011

Inaba Police Department

But now, there was someone who would fit the profile more.

Kubo is a gamer and Otaku, He seems to be quite smart…in fact he ranked 4th at the Academy's Midterms…And those are from what I and Adachi saw were MUCH more difficult than Yasogami High's Midterms. He doesn't seem to have control of his emotions though…he seemed to have wild mood swings when we interviewed him. He DOES however have the upper body strength for lifting both women and even Charles and Kanji, despite his build. Dojima thought.

Profiles are good as a guide, but sometimes they miss the human element... That punk went after Nanako and Yukiko with intent…he wanted to harm both of them…And THAT's why I have no problem locking this little son of a bitch up. Because he killed the first two women for similar reasons. Because they obviously rejected or offended him. Perhaps both.

That's why…being a cop is difficult…even if you're an honest one…But…There's no better suspect than probably Yu…and I'm NOT going to let my nephew be arrested.

If the little punk wants to take the fall for three murders…then we have no choice but to grant his wish. The public and the prefectural office are DEMANDING we show them the killer. And so…we have one…let's give them what they want.

I just hope history can say we were right this day. He thought.

Dojima finished looking over his notes and after checking with Adachi, called Fujita…

July 14, 2014

Inaba Municipal Hospital

"Amagi-san…the doctor will see you now," The administrative nurse said.

"Domo…" Yukiko said and went into Dr. Yamata's office.

"Good afternoon, Yukiko…what brings you to my office today…you're not feeling ill, are you?" Dr. Yamata said.

"No, Doctor…Ummm, I haven't asked for this the first time…it was my Mother who had requested it initially, and I've let it lapse…both in potency and in prescription…but…" Yukiko blushed.

"You're losing me, here…what are you sodding talking about?"

"It's hard for me to discuss…because, well, I…this will be confidential?" Yukiko asked.

"Yes lass, it will. But what are you asking…?"

"I, um… I need a new prescription for this medication…" Yukiko took out a paper and showed it to Dr. Yamata.

Dr. Yamata looked at it and then said, "Birth control?"

"Yes… I wish to be…up-to-date…"

"So, you are considering actually seducing some poor sod into your futon and shag his brains out?"

"You make it sound scandalous…And it's not some 'poor sod'! It's Charles-chan!"

Yamata dropped the paper on her desk in shock and looked at Yukiko with her mouth open. "You…you're that far along in your…courtship?" She said once she found her voice.

"No, I wish that were so…but…I want the birth control because when the moment is right…I want him to feel BEAUTIFUL…"

"That…That's a noble goal…Most girls…they like the idea of feeling loved or they think they'll feel loved…then they'll end up being pregnant or get a disease…or something like that. But…you're doing this FOR him…remarkable."

"I love him so much…"

"I'm sure you do…but I can't fill this…"

Yukiko became angry and hurt. "Why not? You don't think it's right?! I love him and I want him to be happy! And I don't care if you have a problem with it! He's been through the worst kind of hell in America where he was rejected because of his disability…or because he was gullible…or because he saw his best friend get shot in front of him. So maybe I can give him something where he can feel like that for once the world isn't against him!"

Elizabeth looked at Yukiko like Yukiko had just lost her mind. "I didn't say that. I actually think that you and Charles would have intimate relations whether I agreed with it or not. What I meant was that I cannot fill this specific medication."

"Oh…" Yukiko said, blushing and feeling foolish.

"I actually liked your bloody rant there. Good show, but this Medication was taken off the market here in Japan because there was a recall in the States and Europe over its side effects, particularly a stroke or high blood pressure. There is a safer alternative, that I will prescribe and that your Mum's OB/GYN should have prescribed for you too…if he wasn't so worried about keeping a good relationship with the manufacturer." Elizabeth wrote out the prescription on her pad and gave it to Yukiko.

"I'm…My apologies, Doctor. I thought you would have frowned upon my wanting to take things further with Charles-chan…"

"I'm not his Mother…at least not in any way that counts…All I can do is advise that each of you practice healthy sexual habits and don't do anything that would hurt your partner."

"Domo…But…it probably won't be for some time yet…I just hope that this will be ready…"

"Its potency allows it to sit in a pill bottle for about 10 months…so you should be fine. Just make sure you take it right before you have intercourse or at least up to 9 hours afterwards…any longer and you better hope that his condom didn't break…"

"Umm…what if I don't want him to use it the first time…"

"Well…the script I gave you is not 100% pregnancy-proof…but I would advise that until marriage that he wears protection more often than not…just so you don't get pregnant."

"I understand…I…just want the first time to be special…"

"I understand…but you can't just have unprotected sex, even WITH the pill…because you might still get pregnant. I have no concerns that he would not be responsible if you became pregnant…but you two are still young…and you can ill afford a child without means of support."

"Then you believe my parents would disown me if I became pregnant…" Yukiko said, downcast.

"Let's just say, knowing your Mum and Dad, they would be unhappy…And…I made that mistake of having unprotected sex and ended up pregnant…"

"You were…? But not with Morooka-sensei, were you?"

"I guess I shouldn't be surprised…it's all over the news now, anyway," Elizabeth had a sad smile, "Shiro…had low fertility…we tried…but we couldn't. No, this was when I was younger…I was at Oxford…I met this American there…We had a few too many…and then we shagged for 14 hours straight."

"Ohhh!" Yukiko blushed.

"Somewhere in there…I quickened…*sigh* When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared, I didn't have enough money to raise my child and myself…I was barely making ends meet. So…I tried to get the child's father to be responsible. Do you know what he did?" Yukiko shook her head. "He made promises about taking care of me and then suddenly dropped out of school and went back to Chicago, leaving me with his child."

"So…what did you do?"

"I did the only sensible thing I could do…I felt it was wrong to end my child's gestation. So I would carry it to term…and then give it up for adoption."

"You didn't want to keep it…?" Yukiko said tentatively.

Elizabeth's eyes blazed an inferno. "I most certainly did…but being pregnant with the child was a strain on my resources and my health. In addition, my parents wouldn't help me…they said I made my own decision to shag without protection and had to live with it. I, of course told them to sod off. My brother Matthew was my only means of financial support."

"In the end…I delivered my son Shinobu…and then gave him to an adoption agency after spending a few days goodbye with him. He looked so little like me…and more like his father…but I didn't care… If I could have afforded to keep him…I would have. He was a sweet child…he only cried when I said goodbye…He was a very smart lad."

They both sat in silence for a moment.

"Do you know…what happened to him?"

"Oh yes…his family gave me status updates…that was my only condition at the time…that I remain in contact with the adoptive parents…"

"He doesn't know he's adopted?" Yukiko asked

"I…don't believe so…He's healthy…and happy…that's all that matters to me." Elizabeth sighed. "You must think I'm bloody awful…"

"No...I think that you made a choice that was right for you…and Shinobu…but you should have given it a chance…"

"Perhaps so…You know…I think you and he would make the best of friends."

Yukiko thought about it. "Maybe…if he were still as sweet and caring as you say…but he probably wouldn't be as sweet or caring as Charles-chan…"

"You never know…" Elizabeth said.

"Dr. Yamata…Please report to Room 418. Dr. Yamata…Please report to Room 418," The dispatch said.

"Damn! Ozawa's about to go…"

"Ozawa?!" Yukiko said, recognizing the name.

"Yes, I have to get there as soon as possible…"

It wouldn't be Yumi, would it? No…But her father? Yukiko thought.

"Yamata here. Before I get there, has anyone able to reach his daughter," Which confirmed what Yukiko thought. "What…you say she's the one who called it in…? An American's with her…?"

Charles-chan?! Why would he be here? Yukiko thought.

"All right…on my way." Yamata hung up her phone. "I'm afraid I have to cut this short…"

"I understand…" Yukiko said.

Dr. Yamata briskly walked out of her office. Yukiko followed after about a minute.

Charles-chan was helping Yumi by being a friend…wasn't he? Oh stop it, Yukiko, you're just being paranoid. She thought

Yukiko took the elevator to the 4th floor.

She reached where room 418 was and saw…

"Charles-chan?" Yukiko asked. He had his glasses off and was crying. "What's happening…?"

Charles was stunned to see Yukiko. But he took a breath and said, "Yumi was in there finally visiting her Dad…after weeks of resisting it she finally came in and was feeding him…they were talking with each other…I was out here because they'd only let family in, per her request. I heard him say she was a kind girl…she rejected that…but she was just protecting herself…He told her how he and her mother took days to come up with her name…which translates in English as "bear fruit." She started crying and then his breathing started to become labored and then she and her mom called the nurse."

"So why are you here? And why are you crying?"

"Drama was today…I came to check on her…none of the other students in Club will because she's more passionate than they are and so they have their noses out of joint. As for my tears…It's because…Do you think I'm selfish?"

"Did she call you that?" Yukiko said with surprise and a rising anger.

"No, she didn't. I just mean…I never got to say goodbye to Siobhan…and this situation reminds me of all the things I wanted to say…but couldn't…because I was still in jail."

"Is that all you're thinking about…is yourself…?" Yukiko asked.

"No…I mean…I'm thinking about what Yumi's going through too. She's reestablished a connection with her Dad and now he's going to die. And it sucks for her."

"Then…while I can understand that you may be going through this…as long as you're worried about Yumi-san too, No that doesn't make you selfish…That makes you YOU." She was smiling at him.

"I hope there was an O in that second 'you'," He said with a sad smile.

Yukiko chuckled.

"Why are you here?" He asked.

"I…um…needed one of my prescriptions redone by Dr. Yamata." Yukiko sat down next to him.

"How is she?" He asked.

"She's holding herself together considering the circumstances." She looked downcast

"That's good. Yukiko…Thank you for understanding."

"You'd never do anything hurtful…" She said.

Then they heard Yumi crying from her Father's room.

"Dad? DAD?! I…Never said… 'Thank you for bringing me into this world!'" Yumi said.

Yukiko looked at Charles in shock. Charles nodded his head. "He just passed away…"

They heard the sobs of Yumi and her mother.

"I'm sorry, we tried to keep him as comfortable as possible," Elizabeth said.

"You all did a fine job for him, Dr. Yamata. It had become his time."

"It's unfair…" Yumi said.

"Yes, it is Yumi. Very unfair. But what you need to do now…is remember all the good times you had with him…right until the end," Elizabeth said.

"Yes…Doctor…" Yumi said.

Then she appeared in the hallway… "Oh…Charles-kun, you came…"

"Yes I did…" Charles said.

"Dad died…" Yumi said. Then she started crying again. "Why…Why did this happen…?"

"I'm sorry, Yumi…but he's in a better place now…" Charles said.

"Thank you."

Yukiko looked with interest at the exchange.

"Ummm…stay with me, please?" Yumi said as she was trying to come to terms with her father's death.

"Well…" Charles said. Still aware that Yukiko was still there

"It's all right, Charles-kun…I need to fill my prescription, anyway…" Yukiko said.

"Oh! Yukiko-san…I didn't know you were here," Yumi said, embarrassed.

"I only arrived a few minutes ago. I'm very sorry for your loss…"

"Thank you. You're very kind."

"You're welcome," Yukiko smiled.

"All right, I'll see you later then, Yukiko…" Charles said.

"Yes…goodbye…" Yumi said to Yukiko with genuine gratitude.

Yukiko said good bye to Charles and got on the elevator…but once the doors closed she exhaled hard.

I trust Charles-chan…but I don't trust her…at least…I don't think she's doing it on purpose to mess with me…

But I could tell…She was blushing when she asked him to stay…

And her eyes…

were filled with love…. For him…

July 15, 2011

Samegawa River Plain

"I suppose this will be private enough," Naoto said.

"I suppose so…" Minako replied.

They were both at the covered picnic bench. Each was facing the other.

"Now…please…tell me what happened the Morning of the 10th…" Naoto said.

"What? No 'Are you doing okay?' No 'How are you dealing?' None of that, DETECTIVE?" Minako snidely asked.

"I believe that those answers went without asking…based upon you going to the school…plus showing up at Ms. Kujikawa's place on the same day…Now…please…what occurred on the 10th?"

"You're playing this to the hilt, aren't you?" Minako said.

"Arisato-san…I have little time to play games. I should have had this in two days ago but your schedule would not allow me to ask for any date sooner than today?" Naoto said coolly.

"You checked on which Clubs I go to…Great. I hope you enjoy Fencing and Student Council…oh wait…you can't go to Student Council as you are not a student."

Naoto looked amused. "You're much like Waldo-san…baiting me…the problem is…He was less obvious than you are."

"DAMN! You were onto me. *sigh* I was unable to sleep that morning. I took a walk…which allows me to think when I'm unable to sleep."

"What were you thinking about?"

"My relationship with Narukami Yu…and why it hasn't moved as far as Charles and Yukiko's apparently has."

"I see…Continue."

"I reached the North End of the shopping district. I was going to get a coffee at Junes when I felt something drop on my shoulder. It was a red stain, I then looked up…Saw Morooka hanging upside down…and I screamed."

"You didn't see anyone else?"

"No…while the fog was mostly cleared out by the time I saw him there was still a surface haze where your perp could have been in any dark part of the nearby alleyways watching and could have killed my except for the fact where I had screamed very loudly."

"Were you listening to music?"

"Huh?"

"I notice you have red earphones attached to an MP3 player… were you listening to music…?"

"I was…but I don't remember which track was playing…"

"But you didn't hear anything?"

"No…I'm sorry."

"Now…What is your involvement in this case?" Naoto said.

Minako looked stunned. She didn't think her cousin…who was trying not to be her cousin…would go for the jugular like that. "What?" She asked.

"You seem to have some sort of involvement in this case. First, you are here, rather than in the twin cities of Port Island and Iwotodai. Second…you seem to be hanging around a lot with the former victims…"

"That doesn't prove anything…"

"Further…you were mysteriously hospitalized…"

"And you visited me on the day of release!" Minako retorted.

"I am not aware of any prior relationship between us… I believe you are mis-"

"BULLSHIT! You're my cousin Shirogane Rumiko! You gave a rat's ass about how I and my brother felt when our parents died! Now…If you want to pretend to be a boy because a girl can't make it in a man's profession, then FINE! But don't pretend we are strangers…don't you DARE!" Minako angrily said. Then she got up and started to leave.

Then Naoto said softly…

"Nee-chan…please wait."

Minako stopped,

Naoto sighed…and even though Minako didn't turn around…it seemed her cousin's voice was cracking.

"I…didn't want to interview you…didn't want you to go through this again…this trauma of finding the body. But Itomori would have gotten suspicious. He's wary of me…but he gives me a fair amount of respect…and the minimal trust I won't betray him. If I had objected…either he would have probed further and found our connection…and my true gender…or he would have sent Adachi-san or another bumbling incompetent and they would have given you the third degree…Agreeing to interview you…was the best solution."

"Rum…Naoto…I don't have a problem with you wanting to protect yourself…or me…but I have a problem that the extent you're going is making us adversarial strangers…I…can't take that."

"I am sorry…Nee-chan…but please…for the sake of my façade and our familial connection…please…pretend you know me only by reputation."

"Naoto…why?"

"Something is going on here…and you know more than you're telling…I don't want you to be arrested."

"But you know…even 'not being related' to me…that I'm guilty of nothing."

"Except possibly obstruction…you may have material information that may result in concluding this investigation."

"And what if I did? If I told you…you'd think I was insane…that my coma…or my toxic overdose had left me either mad or delusional."

"I would be the judge of that…" Naoto said.

Minako thought about it. She wanted more than anything about the Shadows and Personas and Tartarus and Mayonaka and Nyx and the Kirijo Group and Erebus and the Shadow Operatives. All of that. But then…if she mentioned anything to Naoto about the Gekkoukan days…and how the Kirijo group was responsible for unleashing the Shadows on the Earth… Naoto would place herself into direct conflict with Mitsuru.

And Mitsuru would not appreciate Rumiko's investigation one bit. She would totally reveal Rumiko's gender thus ruining her…and she would do it as a cold business decision…even if I begged and pleaded with Mitsuru not to do it. Even if I threatened to stop being her friend…Mitsuru would still "pull the trigger"…Because Rumiko would get in the way of Mitsuru's goal of making things right for her Grandfather's misdeeds.

"No…I can't tell you…" Minako said.

"I see…then perhaps a Material witness order…?" Naoto said with disappointment

"I want to…but I can't…because that would place YOU at risk. I can't let that happen."

"You cannot withhold the truth…"

"You even try to arrest me or hold me as a material witness and Kirijo-senpai's gonna get me legally released. Then she's going to…no matter how vehemently I object…make your life a living hell… I'm sorry…but a little knowledge is a dangerous thing…"

"I see…so you are threatening me?" Naoto said…though her eyes reflected fear.

"No…I'm pleading with you…to not get yourself into a battle you will lose."

Naoto looked down and thought about it…

"Very well…I'll use the information I have garnered today…However, If you are ever arrested or held as a Material Witness in this matter…please…do not look to blame me…"

"I'd figure the prefecture would make Itomori do it as it was…" Minako said bitterly.

Minako was about to leave again…

"Off the record…Nee-chan…Please…don't get yourself into trouble you can't get out of…" Naoto said.

"I ask the same of you, Rumiko…Please…be careful…" Minako implored her cousin.

Naoto closed her eyes and smiled. "I will be careful… for you…"

"Thank you…Detective."

"No…Thank you…Arisato-san…"

They both went their separate ways. Both troubled at the fact that they had secrets to protect…because the truth was dangerous.

I hope someday Minako/Rumiko can forgive me for what has happened today… and for the actions I take in the future, both girls thought.

July 16, 2011

Inaba Police Department

"Where is he?" Adachi said, frantic.

"Where's who?" Dojima said, having come into work.

"Kubo!" Adachi replied,

"Wait…What the hell did you do?!"

"I didn't do anything…I left him in Interrogation 2 to sleep for the night again…I slept in one of the spare beds in the old office for Robbery. When I woke up and I checked up on him, he was gone!"

"Adachi…tell me you locked him in there…please tell me you didn't screw up the lock like you did with the flasher…"

"No… Yemana watched me lock him in and he tested it himself."

"Yemana…This true?"

"I tested the door and lock myself… No one could get in or out without the key…" Yemana Goro said.

"Really?" Dojima asked.

"Well, if they jiggled it a couple of times it might unlock…but that's not Adachi's fault."

"Thanks, Goro…" Adachi winced.

"So have you searched the building…?" Dojima asked.

"Everywhere…three times…" Adachi said with panic.

"Look…we'll find the kid…I figured he'd get scared once reality hit him…"

"Yeah…but what are we going to tell the Chief?" Adachi said.

Dojima sighed. They had requested several times that the lock be fixed…but the prefecture would not authorize Itomori to replace or repair it. Adachi had figured out how to temporarily fix it…but it didn't work when they caught an Italian woman who went around with just a brown raincoat…when she wasn't skinny dipping in the Samegawa…

"What should you tell me, Adachi? How about you tell me that what I overheard has actually not just happened…and that he's in Interrogation 2." Itomori was folding his arms and did not look pleased one bit.

"Sir…I'm sorry…but I can't lie…I thought he was locked in there…" Adachi looked downcast.

"Well then…he must have figured a way out…I need you two to go look for him…as far as the public knows there's no suspect that's been arrested yet…but that won't sit long…"

"Yes, sir…"

"Find him…Especially you Adachi…because otherwise I WILL transfer you back to the Central office PERSONALLY and then PERSONALLY yell at your former CO that sending you as punishment was the BIGGEST BONEHEADED MISTAKE THEY EVER MADE!" Then Itomori slammed the door to his office.

Adachi looked crestfallen… "It's not my fault…It's not like I MADE him disappear…"

"ADACHI!" Dojima said. "Calm down…he didn't mean any of that…he's just under a lot of stress…And now the prefecture's going to want to know how we let a kid get out of custody."

"And then the shit's going to hit the fan…"

"So where do we go…? Last place he'd go is his place…" Dojima said.

"So where would he go…? He's got this fixation with Amagi…and he seems to have a problem with Charles-san…" Adachi replied.

They looked at each other…

"SHIT!" They both said.

They both got on phones dispatching officers to the Dojima Residence, the Amagi Inn…

And Yasogami High…

To Be Continued…

A/N: Juro Togoshi was used with permission from Ari Moriarty, who appeared in her fic "Dreamgirl" I've loved they Character and so wanted to showcase him here. Thanks again for letting me use him and for reviewing his appearance before go time, Ari.

Now: I'm going to step away from the Main IDBH fic for about a week or two to work on the "Vignettes" side project, because I want to get back to that for a bit. I will still be working on IDBH, but don't expect anything for at least 3 weeks on this fic. Thank you all for reading and reviewing and please continue to do so.