Pulling his coat around him, he continue to trudge through the rain but slowly picked up speed. He had an appointment with a doctor, not for himself, but an appointment about a patient the doctor had treated. The patient, a young woman who left this world nine years ago, was his partner at his law firm. She was a brilliant young lawyer with so much potential, but then she ended up in the hospital and dying. This doctor who he was heading to see was her doctor. As he entered the building they agreed on to be their meeting place, he remember how she was still sick but improving in her final days.
He looked up to the doctor who said his last name. "Arata-sensei, call me Haruto," he said as he pulled his coat off. "Did you bring what I asked?"
"Yes," said Arata as he pulled out a folder from his bag and offered it to Haruto. "Haruto-san, have you heard about her daughter?"
"Thank you," said Haruto as he took the folder and opened it. "Yes, I have. In my last call with Ryouji-san, he informed me that my former shadow has started her third year of middle school. Time has certainty went quick. You never found that locket, Arata-sensei?"
"No, I have not and I found the locket isn't the only thing missing. Her other possessions that she had at the hospital are missing."
"Why are they missing? These records indicate that she was improving enough for you to consider releasing her," said Haruto as glanced through the papers in the file.
"I have not figure that out, Haruto-san. Also, the doctor who signed her death certificate never gave me a clear picture of how she died."
"Arata-sensei, have you talk to the nurses that interacted with her on that day?"
"No, I have not Haruto-san."
"I would suggest that you do," said Haruto as he closed the folder. "I have my suspicions about her death not being natural, but the evidence is not conclusive enough for me to force an investigation to start."
"Stay in contact, Haruto-san," said Arata before he bowed.
"I will, Arata-sensei. If I find out more, I will let you know," said Haruto before he and Arata parted ways.
"What do you know about Narcisse?" He asked a heavily tattooed man.
"What are wanting about that back stabber, lawyer?" The man spat back.
Haruto Tanaka had found that eleven years of work had lead him to this yakuza member. Now, he was trying to his best to get on the good side of this man before him. "If he is a back stabber to you, then you might be able to tell me something that can help keep Narcisse behind bars. I am trying to see if he carried out a threat that he made," said Haruto.
"A threat, you say lawyer? Maybe we can strike a deal. That back stabber has brought us hard times," said the man.
"I am glad to be working with you," said Haruto. "Can we leave for a more private place to strike our deal?"
"Yes, that would be acceptable," said the man before leading Haruto-san away.
When his assistant said that he had a visitor, he never thought it would be a familiar face dressed in drag. "What brings you here, Ryouji-san?" Haruto asked as soon as Ryouji had sat down on the couch in his office.
"That insect went with her," said Ryouji.
"You are quite the protective father," said Haruto before smiling at the man before him.
"Haruto-san would never understand since he has a son instead of a daughter," Ryouji quipped back at him.
"You do have a point, but I am sure my shadow would love to have you to trust her. She, after all, did get into Ouran Academy on her own and decide all on her own to go to Boston."
"I wish she would just ask for some help some of the time, Haruto-san."
"She is like her mother. Ryouji-san, if you have a day off, would you like to have dinner with me and my wife? I assume it would be quite lonely without her for a whole year."
"Thank you for the offer, but it will probably be awhile before I can take you up on it because my daughter has promised to call me on my day off next week."
"Do you know what time it is in Boston at this moment, Ryouji-san?"
"It is evening of yesterday there," said Haruto as he looked down at the papers on his desk. "Ryouji-san, we can talk another time. Right now, I have discovered something important that I need to look more carefully at. And personally, I would love my discovery be able to put someone permanently behind bars either here or in France."
"May I ask why either here or France, Haruto-san?"
"What do you know about Narcisse?" Haruto asked as he flipped a page of paper on his desk.
"That name, Kotoko mentioned it once," said Ryouji.
"Anything else did she mention?" Haruto asked as he looked up at Ryouji.
"She never did speak that name in a good light," said Ryouji.
"Narcisse is a French crime lord who came here to cultivate some connections with the yakazu. We put him away over eleven years ago, but within the year he will be released—and promptly deported," said Haruto.
"Was he part of her last case?"
"No, second to last case."
"Thank you, Haruto-san. I need to head towards work. I will call you on your offer for dinner sometime," said Ryouji before standing up.
"See you later, Ryouji," said Haruto before Ryouji left.
It had taken a year, but the money was now there for him to continue his twelve year quest in France. But as he was looking through the list of people that were deported, his eyebrows kept furrowing as he kept not seeing the name he wanted to see on that list. "Damn it," he cursed under his breath. "If they didn't deport Narcisse, I will need to make more plans to be able to protect Ryouji and my shadow."
Haruto looked up from his computer screen and saw Arata standing in front of his desk. "Hello, Arata-sensei. Thank you for coming here. I have something to ask of you about our trip, but I need to look and see Narcisse has been released," said Haruto-san before turning back to his computer.
"Did you hear that she will be coming back from Boston on the day we plan to leave for France?" Arata asked after he sat down on the couch.
"Ryouji told me that...," said Haruto before his eyes zeroed in on Narisse's name. "He was released two weeks ago. Then why is he still here in Japan?"
"Would that cause any problems?" Arata asked.
"I will need to ask to see if someone here would be willing to follow certain people. I doubt Ryouji would be his target, so I will have them to focus their time on my shadow," said Haruto. "Have you got everything sorted out so you can come with me to France?"
He had been walking around Paris, France for almost four hours. As he continued to search, he was dogged by sleep and his memory of seeing his shadow walking through the crowds at Narita International Airport earlier today. Thinking of his shadow made him smile, but then he caught sight of a Japanese woman in an alley that made his smile change into a toothy grin. As he watched the woman, a man came up to her and handed her a few biscuits. Taking out a camera, he snapped the end of the exchange between the man and the woman. Once the man left and the woman was starting to move back into the alley, he made his move.
Once he entered the alley, the woman shirked away from him, but he still could see her features clearly. Her brown hair was knotted, her eyes dull, and her clothes were nothing more than rags. The shadows of the alley didn't allow for him see her full condition. "Hello, miss. Would you be willing to tell me your name?" He asked in Japanese.
Slight recognition passed through her eyes, but then she stood up straight and glared at him "You can't fool me, Narcisse," she said before running down the alley and disappearing.
"Kotoko-san, it looks like I have found you," said Haruto before he turned and left the alley.
In a hospital room, Haruto sat in a chair and continued to gaze at the woman he had rescued last week. And in the week since her rescue, she had been through a lot, but through most of it, she spent asleep due to the sedatives given to her. When the tests came back, Arata and the French doctors had discovered a drug in her system that altered how she saw her surroundings. It was the drug, not her, causing her to not be willing to be rescue and requiring her to be chloroformed. "Haruto-san, she should be waking up soon. We have dropped the sedatives to see if her state of mind has improved," said Arata-sensei as soon he entered the room.
"Good," said Haruto in his response.
"She could relapse into the state that she was in when you found her," said Arata.
"Why?" Haruto asked.
"That drug is taking awhile to get out of her system, but we are trying another drug to help get the other out of her system," said Arata.
"Haruto-san, is that you?" A female voice asked causing Haruto and Arata look at the woman in the bed.
"Kotoko-san, are you awake?" Haruto asked. "Can you at least open your eyes to show that you are awake?"
"Haruto-san," she said after she opened her eyes, "how did you find me?"
"I made a promise to a yakuzu member that I would put the back stabber Narcisse if he gave me information about what he knew about Narcisse. He happened to know about how being taken to France," said Haruto as beamed towards Kotoko. "How are you feeling? Arata-sensei says you have a nasty drug in your system still."
"Tired, but I don't feel like sleeping any more, Haruto-san. Can you help me sit up?" Kotoko asked.
"Arata-sensei, can you lend a hand?" Haruto-san asked.
"Yes," said Arata as walked over to the side of the bed.
Once Haruto stood up and walked over to the side of the bed, he and Arata helped raise Kotoko up into a sitting position. Then the two men slowly help Kotoko to stand up and guided her to the chair that Haruto-san had been sitting. "Kotoko-san, do you feel up to eating?" Arata asked.
"It would be nice to," she said.
"I will go and see what they can fix for you to have," said Arata before bowing and leaving the room.
"Kotoko-san, is there anything you would like to talk about?" Haruto asked as he sat down on her bed.
"Are Ryouji and Haruhi-chan safe?" Kotoko asked.
"Yes, they are safe. When I come tomorrow, I will bring a photo album of all of the pictures that Ryouji has given me of your daughter. They have done quite well in the past twelve years. Ryouji has dropped by the firm way more often than when you were around. What else would you like to know?" Haruto asked before he smiled at Kotoko.
As he listened to Kotoko list off things she wanted to hear about, Haruto found he couldn't stop smiling. Finding her was his biggest accomplishment, but now he knew that putting Narcisse back behind bars would be the final piece to this accomplishment.
AN: A version of this prologue appeared on my first journal entry on deviantart. So, who figured out who are all the canon characters in this fanfic?