Disclaimer: I still, to this day, do not own any of the characters you recognize in this chapter and in this story in general…
Author's Note: I am SO sorry for not updating. To be honest, I haven't been able to write anything up because of writer's block – you all know how that is. Also, I've been extremely occupied with schoolwork, thus rendering me unable to have the time to actually write something. Hopefully though, you guys did not lose hope in me. I would never abandon this story, given the response I've gotten from it so far! Anyway, thank you to all of you who have been patient enough and have been following this story. Thanks especially to Daiji for all her constructive criticisms, Araiey for all her support, and Cherie for being a great author and supporter! Here's the sixth chapter – finally! Also, I tweaked the previous chapter a little bit. So, if you guys want to check that out, please do! Thanks again!
Chapter Six: A Small Talk Between Strangers
It was another typical day at the Tokyo Police precinct. The air was polluted both by the smell of tobacco and by the noise of telephones ringing, accused criminals swearing, and police officers yelling. Amidst this scene, a tall and lanky investigator, his well-polished shoes rhythmically clicking against the floor, made his way past the chaos and into a plain, undecorated hallway.
Ignoring a polite nod from a younger officer, the man continued his trek, narrowed eyes focused on a dark-gray door at the end of the corridor: interrogation room B, his destination. With long strides he reached the door in mere seconds, turning the doorknob with a gloved hand and entering a small, rectangular room adjacent to a larger one.
"What has he been up to so far?" asked the inspector, addressing an officer in his early 30's, his intense gaze set on a young man sitting quietly in the adjacent room.
"Nothing much, sir," replied the man, popping a stick of gum into his mouth, loudly chewing as the silver wrapper fell to the carpeted floor. "He hasn't moved an inch since he got here; been staring at that freaking wall with that smile of his face. The kid creeps me out, boss."
Giving the officer an appreciative nod, the inspector extended a hand to a gray door leading to the adjacent room, gloved hand clasping the knob as he turned halfway to face the other officer. "That wrapper had best be off the floor when I return, Jounichi-san."
And with that said, police inspector Hajime Saitou pulled the door open and entered the dimly lit room, his presence breaking the young man's trance.
"Please come in and have a seat."
Nodding, Soujiro Seta walked past the police officer, his eyes adjusting to the dimly lit room. Taking a seat on one of two chairs set on either side of a rectangular table, the young man quickly scanned the room, inwardly scoffing as his eyes landed on a one-way mirror reflecting his boyish image.
"Someone will be with you in a few minutes," said the officer, her hand clasping the doorknob, a polite smile etched on her face. "Until then, please make yourself comfortable."
A respectful smile crept onto the young man's lips as the female officer closed the door with a gentle snap, leaving Soujiro to sit in silence, the quiet atmosphere punctuated only by the ticking of a circular wall clock hanging above the one-way mirror. The sound lulling him into an almost hypnotized state, Soujiro fixed his gaze onto the gray wall in front of him, his lips smiling as he recalled events that had occurred over the past 48 hours.
The atmosphere was tense at the Takani household since the failed attempt on Megumi Takani's life. Everyone – both Fumiya Takani and the house servants – remained shaken and dared not to speak of the incident, save for the proper authorities. Indeed, so tense was the atmosphere that Fumiya Takani himself remained locked in his office and the house staff remained out of sight unless needed.
This was the environment Soujiro found himself in 24 hours ago: the halls empty, the kitchens quiet. And it was this environment that led the young man into a conversation with a usually boisterous young woman…
48 hours ago
The double white doors leading to the servant's dining area swung open as Megumi Takani's personal driver entered the room, his gaze immediately landing on the figure of a young woman sitting along in the room, her slightly slouched back facing the young man. Closing the gap separating himself and the girl, Soujiro stood behind her, his hand resting on the back of the chair as he shifted his position to better see her face.
"Misao-chan…have you seen Kamatari-san?" asked the young man with a smile, slightly face-faulting when he did not receive a reply. Clearing his throat, Soujiro moved his hand from the back of his chair to the girl's shoulder, asking lightly, "Ano…is anything the matter, Misao-chan?"
The young woman snapped out of her trance, curious blue orbs meeting concerned brown eyes. An apologetic smile made its way onto her lips, her hand flying to rest onto her shoulder, on top of the young man's. "Soujiro! Gomen…I didn't hear you come in!"
"Iie, it's ok," said the young man, pulling up a chair and flashing the young woman a smile. "Misao-chan…is something wrong?"
When no response came from the girl, Soujiro added, "If you are concerned with Megumi-san's safety, you don't need to worry. Fumiya-san made sure that she's protected while Shinomori-san recuperates."
"I know that…but what about Aoshi-san?" said the girl, turning to face Soujiro, her face a mixture of anger and worry. "I'm sure by now, someone's watching his every move, waiting for the right time to finish him off."
"Shinomori-san is a strong man…you know as much as I do that he cannot be finished off easily…especially now that Megumi-san has been thrust into a difficult and dangerous situation."
"And what about us?"
"I doubt us house servants will be targets, Misao-chan," consoled the young man. "And even if we become targets, I won't let anything happen to you…I would never forgive myself."
She gave the girl a supportive smile.
The sound of a door creaking open shook the young man out of his reverie. Shifting his gaze away from the dull wall, his brown eyes landed on the tall form of a police inspector currently taking out a pack of cigarettes from his trouser pocket as the door gently snapped to a close. The young man moved to stand up from his seat, but stopped when the officer silently told him to stay seated.
"I am sure you've seen how this works in the movies, Seta-san," said the police officer, leaning against the gray wall, completely ignoring the empty chair across the young man. "So let us begin."
"Ano…are you not going to introduce yourself first, sir?" asked the young man with curious eyes.
"If you feel it is relevant – although I do not think it is – then I am police inspector Hajime Saitou," answered the man with great impatience. "With that out of the way, tell me…where were you after the attempt at Takani-san's life failed miserably? You appeared ten minutes after the shootings were heard…a little suspicious, do you not think so?"
"I'm sure it does look suspicious, Saitou-san," chuckled the young man, lightly knocking on the rectangular table. "But I was simply asked to move the vehicle to a different spot by a parking attendant. He had said that I was in the way of pedestrian traffic."
"I see," the police inspector mumbled, unconvinced. "And where, might I ask, did you move the vehicle?"
"Given the limited parking spots available at the library, I had to move the vehicle to the mall parking structure half a block away," answered the boy, unblinking.
"The mall parking structure? Isn't that only three minutes away from the library, by car?" Saitou asked, an eyebrow raised in question, eyes filled with mild triumph. "Why then did it take you ten minutes to arrive?"
"You must understand, sir, that the streets had been blocked when I had arrived," explained the boy. "It took me awhile to persuade the police to let me into the library complex…"
A contemplative look made its way onto the police inspector's face. After a few minutes of silence, he looked up at the young man and said, "I see…I have nothing else to ask you, Seta-san." With a curt nod, he tapped the one-way mirror and watched as a female officer entered the room, a patient smile on her face.
"Follow me, please."
"Is there no other way that I can help, Saitou-san?" asked the young man as he got up from his seat, eyes fixed on the smoking man in front of him. "Megumi-san's safety is of utmost importance to me."
"Is it now?" muttered the inspector with a light scoff. Without another word, he exited the interrogation room.
"That was a quick one, boss."
"The boy is hiding something behind that smile," said the lanky man, crushing his cigarette into an ashtray.
"You think so, boss?"
"Why else would he give out such detailed explanations for his late arrival?" Saitou commented, moving to leave the small room. "I might just keep an eye on this young man…he knows something; I can feel it…"
A short silence fell between the two men, broken when the door opened with a creak, letting in the noise of the precinct. "And Jounichi…"
"Were you not listening to me?" asked the police inspector, glancing momentarily at the silver wrapper on the floor. And with that said, the door snapped closed, leaving the younger officer embarrassed.
A small sigh escaped Megumi Takani's lips. Almost a week had past since the attempt at her life, and things are beginning to return to normal. The servants have begun again with their normal work routines, her brother has begun to interact with other people in the house, and Aoshi Shinomori's condition has improved considerably.
A smile crept onto the woman's rouge-colored lips. Aoshi Shinomori was still a mystery to her. Despite holding numerous, albeit short conversations with the man, she still had limited knowledge about him. It seemed unfair to her, really. Her bodyguard knew almost everything about her; and yet she herself had no idea about his past. And being the woman that she is, she is determined to change that.
The young woman turned to see the running figure of her personal helper, Misao Makimachi. "What is it, Misao?"
"Are you going to visit Shinomori-san again?"
"Yes I am," answered the woman, a light smile on her lips as she gave the girl a polite nod.
"How is he?"
"Shinomori-san is a strong man…his attending physician has told me that he should be back in about a week," replied Megumi, adjusting the strap of her purse, which had slid down her toned arm.
"That's good news," said the young woman, an expression of relief on her face. "Will you be staying at the hospital for the whole day again, Megumi-san?"
"Only for a few hours…I have some business to attend to at the University."
"Shall I call for Soujiro-kun then?"
"Iie…Fumiya-san will drop me off himself," Megumi replied, giving the girl an apologetic but thankful smile as she continued her trek down the hallway. "And I will let Shinomori-san know about your great concern, Misao-chan."
"Arigato, Megumi-san!" chirped the girl, her attention suddenly caught by the disappearing form of Soujiro Seta behind swinging kitchen doors.
There you have it, folks! I have finally updated! It's not a very exciting chapter; but it's an update nonetheless! Just stay tuned for the next chapter, because the story will pick up from there! And just to let you all know…there will be some interaction between our favorite characters on the next chapter…so wait for it^_^ But for now, please review and let me know how this was…have a nice day and thanks for being patient with me!