A\N: Um. Yeah. This one's for Azadari. Who reviewed just about every chapter. . uuuuuuuu. Oh! If anyone cares, I got accepted to my second choice college. I've just gotta wait to see if I get in my first choice one. – But… chances are I'll probably be reject. /CRIES
The doctor had opted to eat alone, in his office. The doors were closed and the blinds were drawn shut. He preferred it that way.
There was no need to converse with any of the other doctors; he had already done that during his earlier break. He did not find any of them particularly interesting—they were all alike in their indifference. All too ignorant too see that some greater malice was at bay.
So he ate alone.
Well… He was not truly alone. Seishin was probing around in his computer, attempting to trace a change made in Mutou's report. It had been three days since he'd last seen the other man. Two days since the report had been forged. A day since it had been tampered with, as the jinrou had accurately predicted that it would be.
The intruder had apparently been captured on the doctor's low-resolution webcam, which he'd unintentionally left running. Which meant that the intruder had broken into Toshio's office at some point in time. It made sense, didn't it? He hadn't published the report after he had changed it. He'd left it on his computer, and then gone home for the night.
It followed suit that the person who had changed it was someone working at the hospital. It had to be someone who was familiar enough with medicine to write a highly technical report.
He opened up the document that he and Seishin had used in lieu of conversation. He typed: think i've got it. its someone at the hospital.
He'd gotten a reply almost immediately. "I suspected as much. The first five to look at the file were Aoyagi, Hasegawa, Sakazaki, Unlisted, and yourself."
seishin nobody here's named unlisted. He chuckled to himself. It was a lame joke, wasn't it?
The red text resumed its slow and steady march once again. "I know, Toshio. Unlisted means—"
Toshio had promptly hit the enter key, to begin typing a reply. It didn't work as he'd hoped. The jinrou continued typing regardless. "That the person who was"
Enter. "Looking at the file was"
Enter. "Masking their"
Enter. He began typing: "i know. it was a"
Seishin had decided to finish his thought, despite the fact that Toshio had begun a new one. "IP address."
"joke. it's a joke, seishin." He sighed. What was he expecting? A laugh? Seishin hadn't ever done so readily.
He stared at the screen, taking the lack of response as a break in the conversation. His sandwich lay on his desk, barely touched. He picked at the lettuce, ignoring the text from Shiomi. She had apparently met with a few of her friends, and was going to spend the night at some spa resort with them. There was a couple with child amongst them—the cause for her consternation; she wanted a child of her own. And the two of them were getting old, so…
He didn't know how exactly to answer her. He was no longer interested in children. Or maybe he'd never been interested in having children in the first place.
He hadn't found anything strikingly attractive about her, either. She was like Kyouko; convenient.
Seishin seemed so pure in that regard.
He imagined the other man sitting at his computer, a woman's arms around his neck. She was frail and bird-like. Found something interesting about living with a jinrou, and a shiki. He'd embrace her, and tell her that he was working on a pet project. And she'd tell him not to work too hard.
He dressed to please her. But he'd looked so mundane, while wearing them. Imaginary-Seishin was wearing the same clothes as he had worn three days ago. He lacked the repertoire that he'd exhibited during their brief encounter in the Go Parlor.
The clothes were good looking. And he was good looking. And yet… There was something wrong with the picture. The belt buckle was too flashy for his taste. So it had to go. Regardless of what Imaginary-Seishin's imaginary-girlfriend had to say about the altered outfit.
He looked at Seishin again, thick sweater and tight pants. They lacked the unity that the belt gave them. So, perhaps she was right. The sweater had to go. Seishin probably wasn't wearing anything underneath.
And the pants looked awkward on a shirtless man. They were meant to be worn with something on top. (Imaginary-girlfriend preferred something draped lightly over the thighs.) So the pants needed to go too.
He found himself imagining an almost nude Seishin. He flushed. He hadn't meant to undress him. He just wanted… He wanted… He didn't know.
He imagined Seishin with a straining…
Toshio turned a brighter shade of red. What was he thinking about? He was in a somewhat committed relationship. And Seishin was a man… Who was probably in a committed relationship as well…
But his mind kept drifting back to the image of the almost-nude Seishin, in a relatively compromising position. It had just somehow… happened. He looked back at the screen in an attempt to avoid further thoughts.
A new line of red text had cropped up. "You don't have to get so aroused."
"Webcam. It is still connected to your computer." He could almost visualize the smug smile.
"so you've been watching me this entire time?"
"that's kinda creepy."
There was another pause. This time, Seishin had initiated the conversation without any prompting. "You seem to have plans for the evening, I take it."
"not really." He'd begun to type "she's gone," but swiftly hit the backspace key. "any progress?"
"Actually, yes. 'Unlisted' seems to have accessed the file from an internet café. The café is fairly close-by. Furthermore three workers in the hospital seem to have overlooked the file in its entirety." The text stopped.
"why the first five, specifically?"
"The first five people accessed the file on the date it was published. I assume that this person wanted to check up on his/her work, to make sure that you hadn't altered it in any way. This must have occurred only shortly after it was uploaded. I hypothesized that this person would have checked it on the day it was uploaded. The five of you were the only users I could find on record as having checked it that day."
He hadn't bothered to read through the small paragraph. He understood what he thought it was that Seishin was trying to communicate. But he lacked the attention span, at the present moment. Instead, he opted for a less dry topic. "you used to hate computers before."
"They are…" There was a small pause there. Toshio had taken a bite of his sandwich, and the previous red text had faded away. "It's my job."
He had wanted to ask what exactly it was that Seishin did. But he didn't. He knew that he wasn't going to get an answer. "oh." He'd quickly added onto it. "you're pretty good at it."
"Thank You." With that, an email notification had popped up in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. It was from Seishin. He was vaguely aware of its contents. It was the information that Seishin had discussed, albeit in greater detail.
He opened it up, regardless, looking over the message, in an attempt to please Seishin. Though he wasn't quite sure why. He quickly reopened the document. "looks good."
"Thank You. As I stated before, the internet café is not too far away from your residence. And I do expect you to purchase time at a computer there. Notify me when you do, via text message, and I should be able to obtain the information that I require."
He wasn't quite sure how to respond. There was some finality in Seishin's statement. He had typed in a "sounds good," with the intention of following it up with a question. The only one that came to mind, however was "are you free later tonight?"
He had stared at the screen in disbelief. There hadn't been a conscious decision to ask, on his part.
"May I ask why?"
"drinks. i got some champagne as a present a while back. and we have cause for celebration, now that you've found the guy."
"Toshio, I'm hardly close to 'f[inding] the guy,' as you put it. It's a premature celebration."
"c'mon. it'll be fun. you'll be off daddy duty for a while."
"I rarely ever take care of her."
"better than being alone in your apartment."
"I don't live in an apartment."
He sighed. "seishin. just come over. it'll be fun."
He was only mildly surprised when Seishin complied. "Alright. However, I have work in the morning, so I will be leaving early."