Hola mon unsuspecting readers. To begin with, there were a few notes about this chapter that I wanted to put down before we continued ever onwards but like an elephant, I've gone and forgot them.
With that in mind, I will stick a warning on this chapter for some fluff, that's just the way it rolled.
Oh yeah and apologies for some words that my word processor doesn't seem to recognise. I'm pretty sure they are legitimate English words like 'lungfuls', I'm absolutely positive that I've seen that word in books before but if they are actually just made up, keep in mind the attitude of the ancient Englishmen which was decidedly lax on such things as spellings and making up words. Look at any of the original Chaucer and you'll know what I mean or better yet, 'Good Omens' by Neil Geiman illustrates it perfectly with any text quoted from Agnes Nutter's prophecies.
Hmm...spiele...a warning for that too.
Disclaimer: I own a few bits of funiture, this computer (though sometimes it rebels against the shackles of its oppression) and some cereal. I certainly do not own YnM or Good Omens though it is a fantastic book.
The Kumamoto File - 2
Hisoka squeezed his eyes tight shut.
"This can't be happening," he muttered to himself, trying to control the roll of dread washing through him.
Beside him, he could feel the slight brush of fabric as Tsuzuki moved forward.
He cracked open an eyelid.
The bed was still in the middle of the little hotel room. It was still a double bed. A very small double bed. The sheets were a dark crimson.
"W-what was Tatsumi thinking?" Hisoka stuttered, pointing an accusing finger at the offending bed. Somewhere, in the back of his mind, he was aware of just how childish he probably looked at the moment, his stance defensive, his composure flustered. It just added to the embarrassment of the whole situation.
From the other side of the room, Tsuzuki glanced back, a hopelessly clueless expression on his face.
"Hmm, what's the matter?"
It took all of Hisoka's willpower not to face palm.
"There's just one bed!" Hisoka exclaimed, renewing his accusing point and becoming irate when his sleeve flew off of the end of his finger.
Tsuzuki stared at the bed, processing this.
Hisoka's eyebrow twitched.
To his utmost dismay, Tsuzuki flashed him a grin.
"At least we'll be warm tonight?"
Heat flushed through Hisoka's cheeks making them burn. He whipped round, intent on hiding the blush that he knew Tsuzuki had already seen.
"Idiot," he mumbled, stalking into the bathroom with his overnight bag.
Tsuzuki winced as the door slammed shut and the lock clicked smoothly into place. He would pay for his feigned ignorance but ultimately, it was worth it. Slowly, he turned so he was looking back out of the little hotel window at the streets of Kumamoto. Neon signs flickered to life below him, taunting him with the promise of any kind of food he desired. His stomach growled uncomfortably.
'Maybe Soka's hungry too...' Tsuzuki thought, without much hope.
Sighing wistfully, he sat back on the corner of the bed and pulled Takahata's file towards him. He felt a stone of unease form in his stomach as he flicked to the first page and stared into the unfortunate man's face.
Hisoka turned the taps over the little hotel bath and let the water run nice and hot. He would have a good long soak and damn Tsuzuki if he needed to relieve himself while Hisoka was in there.
He poured in some complimentary bubble bath and let the aroma encompass him, breathing deeply to encourage himself to relax. As he stripped down, he half expected to see the burning red marks pulsating over his translucent skin but to his surprise, for tonight, he was a blank canvas.
He slipped into the water and lay back feeling the frown between his eyebrows soften. The ache caused by fatigue seemed to be seeping out of him into the water and he sighed contentedly. His mind wandered to the case at hand and the man that looked so much like his partner. Immediately, he felt his side, running a delicate finger over the place where he had felt the wound emphatically imprinted by the poor man.
There was no denying it, Takahata had given a perfect description of Muraki, had given a flawless account of classic Muraki behaviour. Hisoka knew that he should have told Tsuzuki already, if the older shinigami hadn't already worked it out for himself, but he just couldn't bring himself to extinguish the light that had tentatively re-appeared in his partner's eyes since Kyoto.
It had been a slow progression. Every day since the incident, Hisoka had watched his partner intently, searching for any signs that his mentality was slipping. At first, Tsuzuki had smiled as normal, as though nothing had happened but the smile never reached his eyes, eyes that remained scarred by the flames of Touda's fire...
The weeks had passed and Tsuzuki's spirit had lifted. Hisoka wasn't sure if it was because of his empathy but he was clearly the best at handling Tsuzuki after the incident. The others, Tatsumi in particular, had made the mistake of walking on egg shells around Tsuzuki while Hisoka continued to beat him upside the head when he was late and refuse him treats when they went out for lunch.
Somehow, just acting like nothing had happened had helped and, eventually, the smile had reached Tsuzuki's eyes.
He didn't want to be the one to take that away again just by mentioning Muraki's name. He knew far too well the feelings of terror and shame that the doctor's name alone could inspire.
A brief knock on the door interrupted Hisoka mid-thought.
"What's the matter?" Hisoka called through the door.
There was a pause.
"Uh...Soka-chan...I need to use the bathroom..."
This time, when the world was tainted incarnadine red, he knew it was somehow going to be worse. His eyes tracked down from the angry red sakura blossoms to the dark figure under the branches. The weapon glinted, the woman was stabbed and the blood stained the front of the doctor's coat.
Except it wasn't a woman Muraki was holding.
As he turned, silver eyes glinting cold in the light of the red world, Hisoka could see the slackened form of Tsuzuki lying dead in Muraki's arms.
He woke sweating and shaking in the dark, gasping in lungfuls of air like he'd been drowning in the dream. For a while, the sound of his breathing covered every other sound in the little hotel room but as he calmed he could hear the steady thump of a heart beat so close to his ear.
"Shh...it's okay Hisoka..."
Suddenly, he was very aware of just how close he was to Tsuzuki. His partner had his arms wrapped warmly around his body, pulling him in close. Hisoka's head was tucked into the crook of Tsuzuki's neck and Tsuzuki was gently stroking his hair.
Hisoka stiffened and the movement was not lost on Tsuzuki who simply continued to stroke the boy's hair and whisper softly in the dark. He smiled when he felt the heat radiating off of his partner, half expecting him to push away and roll over muttering 'idiot' under his breath. To his intense surprise, after a while, he felt Hisoka start to relax in his arms and a tentative hand came up from under the blankets, pale in the light from the little hotel window to grip Tsuzuki's shirt like a lifeline.
A surge of pity welled up in Tsuzuki's heart as he saw the scorching marks of the curse flaring deep in Hisoka's skin and, almost imperceptibly, he pulled the boy closer.
"You're okay now..." he whispered gently.
They stayed like that for a long time, Hisoka daring not to move a muscle and Tsuzuki slowly slipping back into a dream, a serene smile replacing the protective expression on his face. His hand stayed on the back of Hisoka's hair and somehow, Hisoka found that he missed the soft rhythm of Tsuzuki's stroking.
He couldn't go back to sleep. This time he knew he would dream of Touda's fire and of the dead look in Tsuzuki's eyes.
Carefully, he wriggled away from his partner's embrace, taking care to be extra wary of the hand still on the back of his hair. Taking it in his own hand, he pulled it over his head and laid it to rest neatly on the pillow. Tsuzuki moaned once, briefly at the sudden lack of contact then rolled over and slipped straight back into blissful oblivion.
Hisoka stood watching his partner's steady breathing in the dark and thanked Enma that Tsuzuki wasn't inflicted with the same nightmares he was.
If he had been, Hisoka wasn't sure if Tsuzuki would have ever fully regained himself.
He started moving quietly over the little hotel apartment, pulling on a fresh pair of trousers and a black T-shirt. He glanced outside once but nothing was open at such a ridiculous hour. At least, nothing he would want to visit.
It was half past 2 in the morning.
After some indecision, he concluded that it was probably for the best if he teleported back to Meifu and got on with some paperwork, perhaps prepare their schedule for the next day. He scribbled a hasty note to Tsuzuki should his partner wake before he returned and set an alarm on his watch before disappearing like a ghost in the shadows.
Tatsumi Seiichirou, secretary for the summons division of Enmacho pushed his way through the double doors of the bureau nursing a cup of coffee in his left hand. He had a stack of papers tucked neatly under his right arm and was anticipating a morning of productive work.
It was a little after 8 in the morning and he was looking forward to filling out his overtime form which would ensure a hefty bonus to his salary at the end of the month. He passed Watari's lab where the light through the little window was, comfortingly, turned off and he passed by Chief Konoe's office which was in a similar state of disuse.
As he rounded the corner onto the main office floor, what he did not expect to see was the flickering light of the lamp at one of the desks and the hunched figure of Kurosaki intent on some files that were open beneath him.
What was the kid doing here? Wasn't he out on call with Tsuzuki?
Tatsumi hovered in the doorway watching as Hisoka worked. As he looked on, he noticed Hisoka slowly sinking into himself, his head slipping sideways. As soon as his head flopped down, he jerked up, shook his head, took a sip of coffee from what looked like a well used mug and tried to get back on with his work.
Tatsumi frowned. He knew that Hisoka was quite serious about his work and that the case that Chief Konoe had given the pair was quite puzzling but he didn't expect that it would be perplexing enough to merit an all nighter.
Just as he was about to approach, Hisoka's hunched up form fell sideways, completely lax, off of the office chair.
Tatsumi's heart lurched into his throat and, as an automatic response, his shadow writhed and sped forward to catch the boy before he hit the ground. Tatsumi dropped his papers which scattered a white snow fall over the office. His coffee landed with an undignified clunk on the office floor as he ran forward to check the unconscious form before him.
"Kurosaki?" he asked urgently, turning the boy over as his shadow dispersed.
Hisoka blinked up at him, completely disorientated.
"Oh, thank Enma," Tatsumi spluttered, leaning up against Terazuma's desk trying to stop his heart escaping through his chest. As Hisoka sat up, rubbing his eyes, Tatsumi could see the mess of papers and coffee behind them and winced inwardly. So much for a constructive morning.
He pushed his glasses, which flashed threateningly in the light from Hisoka's work lamp, up his nose.
"Kurosaki, would you mind telling me what's going on here? Why are you here in Meifu without Tsuzuki?"
Hisoka sat back against his own desk and surveyed the secretary. He felt way too tired for a confrontation at the moment. If he was going to do this, he really needed an espresso or something.
"I'm sorry Tatsumi for causing you trouble like that," Hisoka began, bowing his head appropriately. "I couldn't sleep so I thought I might come in and do something useful."
Tatsumi's eyes narrowed.
"You know shinigami are supposed to work in pairs Kurosaki," Tatsumi started but Hisoka shook his head interrupting him.
"I'm aiming to meet Tsuzuki for breakfast when he wakes up. I've already planned the schedule for the two of us today."
Hisoka swept a pale hand across to his desk where Tatsumi could see the edge of a map folded over.
Tatsumi's eyes softened as he regarded the exhausted youth. Now that the strict co-worker malarkey was out of the way, he let the worry flow up from the recesses of his mind.
"Ah," Hisoka flinched, sensing the change in Tatsumi's emotions. "I'm fine Tatsumi, I just haven't been sleeping too well."
Tatsumi's frown deepened.
"Perhaps you should stay home and rest today," he suggested, "I could accompany Tsuzuki in your place for today if you would be kind enough to impart the wisdom you picked up in your research last night."
Hisoka tried to stop the wave of fear that gripped him. His breathing hitched and his hands became clammy. He didn't want to think about going back to that empty, dark apartment, being alone when he woke up sweating and shaking not knowing if Tsuzuki was alright...
"It's fine Tatsumi," Hisoka told the older man quickly. "I can handle it."
Tatsumi shot the boy a disbelieving look and brought out the big guns.
"You will be a liability to the mission in your current condition," Tatsumi told him, feeling completely unremorseful as Hisoka's eyes hardened. He knew how the boy hated to be told he was weak.
"I'm fine," Hisoka reassured him smartly, "I am going back to help Tsuzuki-
A high pitched beeping sound cut through the room and interrupted him mid-sentence. His eyes stayed glued to the secretary as he flicked the little switch on the side of his watch to turn off the alarm.
"I am going to help Tsuzuki bring in Takahata's soul. I will not let myself become a liability. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get back. Tsuzuki will be waking up any moment now."
Hisoka stood and with one last defiant glare, disappeared.
Tatsumi sighed, massaging delicate fingers over his now throbbing temples. What a headache.
Tsuzuki stirred only when the first rays of sun hit his face. The warmth enveloped him and made him stretch out like a cat. Lazily, he opened his eyes and searched the space next to him for the form of his sleeping partner.
When his eyes met the empty side of the bed, he sat up, hair sticking out at odd angles.
"Hisoka?" he asked, glancing over at the bathroom.
As if in response, the door to the bathroom clicked and Hisoka wandered out, holding on to his overnight bag.
"Good morning Tsuzuki, did you sleep well?" Hisoka asked, dropping his bag on the chair next to the bed.
Tsuzuki blinked in confusion.
"Yeah, I did actually," he said, tilting his head to one side. Though his partner was neatly pressed and ready for the day, Tsuzuki could see the deep circles under his eyes like a bruise, deeper than yesterdays. Hisoka clearly hadn't slept again.
"Shall we get some breakfast?" Hisoka asked, careful to avoid eye contact with Tsuzuki.
"Oh, pancakes!" Tsuzuki exclaimed excitedly, rolling out of bed and grabbing his trousers from the little bed side table.
"You go down, I'll be there in 5 minutes," Tsuzuki told him, disappearing into the bathroom.
Hisoka stared after his partner and huffed. He didn't think he'd seen Tsuzuki move that fast before.
Tatsumi walked briskly down the hall. He had a lack of coffee in his left hand which was instead holding a ball point pen, point tapping agitatedly on his hip as he walked. His right hand was devoid of papers, instead he was holding a tiny stress ball that Wakaba had made one morning when she was at a loss of what to do with herself.
He was not a happy secretary.
He rounded the corner and knocked once, sharply, on Watari's door. He waited.
"Yes? One moment," came Watari's cheerful reply followed by a colossal crash and some muffled but still recognisable swearing.
When Watari opened the door, his face was somewhat singed and some of the shorter hairs in his pony tail were standing on end but there was a huge grin on his face.
"Ah, Tatsumi, please come right on in," Watari said, skipping away from the door to let the solemn secretary pass. Tatsumi did a quick scan of the lab he had just entered and noted with some suspicion that it was just a bit too clean.
"I have a favour to ask Watari," Tatsumi began, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose.
Watari raised an eyebrow, this was serious. Or if it wasn't serious yet, it was heading that way.
"You have my undivided attention," Watari confirmed as something started emitting a pungent smell from behind them both.
"It's about Kurosaki."
"Bon?" Watari asked, fidgeting slightly in his seat as the smell got noticeably worse. With a hoot, 003 abandoned her favourite position on Watari's shoulder for somewhere higher up, away from the smell which was becoming downright ghastly.
"Yes...would you please fix whatever is making that terrible smell?" Tatsumi asked, without breaking stride.
Watari shot him a grateful look and disappeared, returning a moment later looking alarmingly pleased with himself. Tatsumi made a mental note to stay away from the coffee for the rest of the day.
"Sorry about that, please continue," Watari urged.
Tatsumi cleared his throat.
"This morning when I came into work, I noticed Kurosaki at his desk working. This was at 8 o'clock," Tatsumi told the scientist.
"Ah, is Bon turning into a bit of a workaholic?" Watari asked.
"It seems so but I think it has something to do with an inability to sleep at the moment," Tatsumi confided. "I'm afraid he might cause more problems than he solves on the case both he and Tsuzuki are on if he continues like this."
Watari's cheerful face darkened.
"Do you think this has anything to do with what happened in Kyoto?"
Watari copied the gesture, reaching into his lab coat pocket and pulling out a small vial of clear liquid.
"The same concoction I've given Tsuzuki to stop the nightmares, yes," Watari confirmed.
"That will probably work, unfortunately we have no way to pull Kurosaki back now. He teleported back to the hotel this morning," Tatsumi said, running a hand through his hair.
Watari shook his head.
"We'll have to catch him when he comes back, until then, it'll be up to Tsuzuki to watch out for him."
Tsuzuki found Hisoka sat at a little two seater table in the hotel restaurant. His eyes were closed and his head was nodding forward. Every so often it would jolt up and his eyes would open just a little bit revealing dull green. Tsuzuki shook his head and sauntered over, dropping into the chair opposite Hisoka who jerked awake.
"Huh?" He mumbled, resisting the urge to rub his eyes like a child.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Tsuzuki asked straight out, trying to gage his partner.
Hisoka simply nodded, trying not to fall into the repetitive rhythm of the motion.
"I'm fine," he said.
"You're not fine, you're dead on your feet," he observed, bracing himself for the fight he was probably about to get himself into.
Sure enough, Hisoka shot him a withering look.
"Push me too far Tsuzuki and no pancakes for you," Hisoka said threateningly, withdrawing the open menu beneath him.
Tsuzuki's eyes went wide with shock.
"You...touché..." Tsuzuki mumbled, pouting as he snatched the menu back and started perusing through the dessert menu.
Hisoka leant on his hands and watched Tsuzuki's face light up as he started placing orders. He felt something not entirely unpleasant squirm through his stomach as he stared at his partner's sparkling purple eyes, at the smile that looked so natural on Tsuzuki's face. The whole world just seemed a bit brighter when Tsuzuki smiled.
"We have a lot to cover today," Hisoka said, bringing out the file he'd prepared and dropping it on the table.
"I've mapped out the area around Takahata's work station and the correlating routes to his home," Hisoka told his partner as a stack of pancakes appeared, impossibly tall, masking the way between them.
Tsuzuki nodded as he ate.
"There's only one park that Takahata could have possibly used as a short cut so I was thinking that we should take our investigation there for the day," Hisoka concluded, looking to Tsuzuki for input.
Tsuzuki swallowed a humungous portion of cake and grinned.
"You just want to go to the park for the day don't you," he teased, pointing his fork at Hisoka. "If you wanted to go out with me that badly, you could have just asked you know."
Hisoka merited this revelation with another death glare.
Tsuzuki frowned again. Normally something like that would have made his partner blush. He enjoyed seeing the flush of red on the too pale cheeks of the boy but today, something seemed to have changed. Was it because of the way Tsuzuki had hugged Hisoka in the middle of the night when the nightmare had begun? Perhaps he had over-stepped his bounds a bit.
"So I guess you were thinking about leaving Takahata alone for the time being," Tsuzuki said, deciding that the only way forward was to discuss serious matters.
"For now...yes..." Hisoka told him, looking away out of the little window.
Tsuzuki felt his hand on the table flinch. He didn't need to be an empath to see what Hisoka was feeling, the expression on his face gave it away completely. He pitied the man in the bed that looked so much like Tsuzuki but more than that, he was afraid, afraid of the way the man felt and what it would do to his own emotions.
What Tsuzuki didn't see was that it ran deeper than that. Hisoka wasn't just afraid of how the man would feel but of the look on his face, the same face as Tsuzuki's, when he had spoken of his brutal attack. He knew the look well, he had felt it obscure his own features every day when he had been in that dreadful hospital with that dreaded doctor.
The park was bustling with people much to Hisoka's annoyance. Though the foliage in the park was quite dense in places, they were never far away from someone pointing out a bluebird or looking at the flowers that had started to bloom. They passed a mini doughnut stand and, after much begging, Tsuzuki was able to walk away with a steaming hot bag of mini doughnuts, one in every flavour.
"Want one Hisoka?" Tsuzuki asked, waving a cinnamon doughnut under his nose. Hisoka's nose wrinkled, he never had been much of a sweet lover.
"No, thank you Tsuzuki," the boy said, waving his partner off.
"But it's so delicious," Tsuzuki sang, munching two at once.
The skate park that Takahata had mentioned was tucked away at the back of the park by some trees. Although it was a school holiday, there were no kids around which was strange in itself and the place was starting to grow over with weeds. Both Tsuzuki and Hisoka started hunting for clues almost instantly though they knew it was a long shot considering the age of the case.
"Did the police find anything?" Tsuzuki asked, climbing up on top of the half pipe to get a better look at the layout of the land.
Hisoka shook his head.
"That's why we're here, I'm hoping that Takahata's attacker might have left something of himself behind...a spiritual trace perhaps," Hisoka suggested, closing his eyes and breathing in deep, letting his spiritual powers stretch out.
Tsuzuki sat on the edge of the half pipe and watched his partner. To passers by, it might look like Hisoka was trying to soak up some sun and the thought made him guffaw. He couldn't imagine that Hisoka tanned very well with his porcelain skin.
Hisoka felt gently at the energy around him. There were the faded sensations of the people that had come to the scene after Takahata had been stabbed, the residue of serious emotions and concentration. His brow furrowed as he felt the sharp tug of the attack, the residual panic woven into the grass.
He could feel Muraki's familiar dark aura.
He opened his eyes and started walking speedily through the trees behind the half pipe, Tsuzuki quick on his heels. He weaved through the undergrowth, breaking into a run as he felt the concentration of darkness growing.
The trail lead him deep into the trees through a wildlife preserve and up. He didn't know how long he ran for but it felt like an age. He could hear Tsuzuki panting after him. All of a sudden, just as the sinister feeling of Muraki's spiritual residue piqued, it fell away and Hisoka jerked to a halt.
Tsuzuki nearly ran straight into the back of him, skidding to a stop and falling on his butt.
"Hey," Tsuzuki muttered, rubbing his bruised butt cheeks.
Hisoka was concentrating and Tsuzuki cocked his head in confusion as Hisoka took three calculated steps back and stood straight as a pin over a section of earth that looked like it had been recently upturned.
"Here," Hisoka whispered.
Tsuzuki pulled a face.
"If I'd known we'd have to go gardening, I would have brought my trowel," he grumbled, pulling out a piece of parchment from a pocket in his trench coat.
"Stand back Hisoka," Tsuzuki instructed, lining the parchment over the soft earth, mumbling something and stepping well back himself.
There was a popping sound and a small explosion went off on the ground, cratering the earth and spreading mud everywhere. Both shinigami peered into the hole the explosion had left.
Hisoka drew back.
Something glinted metallic silver in the light of the sun.
Tsuzuki crouched down and dug around it with his bare fingers. Hisoka reached out to him with his empathy, his teeth clenching as he felt Tsuzuki's spirit quiver.
It was a knife that Tsuzuki had dug out of the ground, a knife splattered with Takahata's blood dried onto the blade.
The knife that Tsuzuki had used to stab Muraki the night of that terrible fire.
The name fell from Hisoka's mouth like a lead weight and silence followed it. Tentatively, he leaned around his partner's frame intent on looking into Tsuzuki's eyes but Tsuzuki stepped forward, holding the knife out in front of him like it might explode.
Carefully, almost reverently, he placed it on the little table at the end of the hotel bed and sat on the edge staring at it.
Hisoka tried to reel in his empathy which was reaching out to the older shinigami. He could already feel the edges of some complicated emotions circling Tsuzuki's system. Confusion, dread, guilt...
And he could feel the resigned affirmation. Tsuzuki had considered the possibility that Takahata's attacker had in fact been Muraki.
Hisoka fell against the closed door, an agonised expression crossing his features. Maybe he should have spoken to Tsuzuki after all.
Tsuzuki was looking at his hands, frowning. Emotions seeped from him and although Hisoka blanched, feeling them prick at his mind, he couldn't bear to ask Tsuzuki to strengthen his mental shields. Instead, he steeled himself and stalked forward, perching on the end of the bed with his partner.
"Tsuzuki," he repeated.
Tsuzuki didn't look at him and this scared Hisoka. As he watched the changing face of the older shinigami, an ill-humoured smile flickered across his face.
"At least we'll have the element of surprise..." Tsuzuki mumbled. His voice shook and Hisoka was overcome by an overwhelming guilt.
He turned away to stare at the floor, hardly seeing it.
"Uh...that's not exactly...true," Hisoka began, his hands balling into fists on the bed sheet.
Tsuzuki did look at Hisoka now and his eyes were wide with disbelief.
"Do you remember when we were in the cafe yesterday and you came back from buying the treats?" Hisoka asked rhetorically. "I must have looked like I'd seen a ghost..."
Tsuzuki's pupils grew small as he remembered and horror washed through him.
"Muraki was there...in the crowd. I felt him for a moment," Hisoka admitted, daring to glance back at the shocked face of his partner.
Tsuzuki's eyes were wide, unseeing, his lips were parted slightly. He brought a shaking hand up to his mouth.
"So you knew who it was when Takahata described him at the hospital..." Tsuzuki whispered through his fingers.
New emotions were rushing over Hisoka, terror, sorrow...betrayal...
Hisoka bit his lower lip to stop it wobbling as he nodded.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Tsuzuki asked. His voice was dark and Hisoka flinched away from it. This behaviour was so unlike Tsuzuki that it was throwing him off. He fought to concentrate.
"Look...I've been having these nightmares for a while and I haven't been sleeping," Hisoka explained, trying to be concise, knowing it was his only chance to make his partner understand. "I wasn't sure if what I'd seen was real or if it was just some...delusion and I didn't want to mention Muraki after...after Kyoto."
Hisoka chanced a side long look at his partner and stood as though stung when he saw the expression there. Tsuzuki's brow was furrowed and his eyes were sharp. Hisoka was strongly reminded of the time Tsuzuki had found him hunched against the wall, heading to the restricted records section of the library to find out about his own death. He remembered the feel of Tsuzuki's anger as it sparked through his own system.
"So why didn't you talk to me after Takahata confirmed your suspicions?" Tsuzuki asked, his voice was cold. He was interrogating Hisoka.
Hisoka shook his head and met Tsuzuki with the same calculated coldness.
"That description could have just been coincidence. The first concrete evidence we've had of Muraki's involvement is that knife," he pointed to it. "So I am telling you this now."
He folded his arms and raised an eyebrow at Tsuzuki and sighed when his older partner continued to glare. In his time, Hisoka had merited many ice cold stares like this, from those he gave attitude to when he'd first appeared in Meifu, from those in that house that had told him he was a monster, his mother, his father...but Tsuzuki's was the only glare that made him want to break down. Tsuzuki's was the only glare that could shatter his resolve, make him try to be the peace keeper.
"Look Tsuzuki, I was only trying to look out for my partner. I know what kind of turmoil Muraki's name alone can inspire..."
Tsuzuki's expression softened and Hisoka could see the beginnings of tears collecting in the corner of his eyes. The purple in them shimmered and Hisoka pulled back further, confused when the need to take on the role of peace keeper turned into a need for something else entirely.
"Hisoka..." Tsuzuki sighed agitatedly and closed his eyes, pressing the heel of his hand to his forehead.
"Listen, I know you were only trying to look out for me but this is our job. We are first and foremost investigators and all information, even just hunches, should be shared when it comes to situations like this."
Hisoka stared at his partner.
Tsuzuki was giving him a lecture?
Tsuzuki that no good slacker was giving him a lecture.
He stood in the middle of the room blustering fruitlessly. Tsuzuki would have found the temper tantrum funny if it wasn't for the situation. He watched the colour flush through Hisoka's cheeks and saw his eyes flash dangerously. A thrill went through him, so this is what Muraki meant when he said that anger was beautiful...
Hisoka stopped and pulled himself up to his full height, taking a deep breath. His eyebrow continued to twitch showing that the anger was just bubbling under the surface so Tsuzuki remained quiet, letting the sadness have free reign over his thoughts.
Hisoka had failed to confide in him, even after asking Tsuzuki to live just for him. Did he not trust Tsuzuki to honour the promise he'd made in the midst of the roaring flame? Did he not think that Tsuzuki could handle it?
He stood up from the edge of the bed, feeling the hot tease of fresh anger inflaming his own expression.
"Hisoka, if you can't trust me to deal with the information available and act professionally then I'm not sure this partnership is going to work," Tsuzuki told him, moving towards the hotel room door.
The anger in Hisoka's face morphed into something much worse as Tsuzuki moved past him and his resolve faltered. All he wanted to do was spin round and tell the youth that everything would be alright but he knew that this trust issue was a serious problem. It had to be addressed or what was the shinigami rule about working in pairs actually for?
He tried to tell Hisoka that he was only going to get dinner, that he would be back in a few hours but the words just didn't come out. He left Hisoka standing in the middle of the hotel room as the last light of day faded away.
Tsuzuki fled down the hall.
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