Keishichou Tokuhanka 007 and its original characters are the property of their creator, Kaji Eiri.

A Wandering Mind (part 3)

Sasaki was a little taken aback when Kuze showed up at the office only a few hours after having left the hospital as if nothing was wrong. If anyone knew about supernatural phenomena, it was Fuyuki, and if anybody knew Fuyuki, it was Kuze—Sasaki had seen enough over the past few months to know better than to dismiss what Fuyuki saw, and years with Kuze told him that the man was not one prone to jokes or lies (though he did seem fond of teasing Fuyuki and the Boss).

But the look on the man's face as he eyed the 'Fuyuki-imposter', who was flirting with the three assistants on the other side of the room, told Sasaki that this was in no way over yet.

Sasaki almost felt bad for the body-snatcher.


Niki liked being this girl. She was pretty, had nice clothes, was surrounded by idiots who were eager to please her, and had the hottest guy in the police force for a partner. She wasn't sure why the girl was a part of such a tacky sounding unit, but she always thought that female detectives were rather glamorous, so she decided to play along.

She trailed behind the officer called Kuze, who had told her they were going down to see somebody called Dr. Yuu. She shifted from foot to foot as they rode the elevator back down to the ground floor, glancing up at the tall man shyly.

He was so good-looking—and from the chatter of those idiots back there, apparently he was always hogging the girl called 'Fuyuki'…which meant he would be hogging her, right? She didn't think she would mind in the least.

The doors opened and he strode out, leaving her to follow.

He seems so distant…maybe I should try talking to him?


"M?" he kept walking, not even glancing at her.

I got his attention…now what?

"Um…what are we going to see… Dr. Yuu for?"

"To take a look at some bodies."

Niki was sure she had heard wrong, but decided not to ask again, unsure if the real 'Fuyuki' would have. Pretending to be someone else was turning out to be somewhat nerve-wracking.

"Fuyuki! Kuze! What brings you to my humble lair again so soon?"

Niki turned about at the sound of a new voice, and blinked. Oh—another good looking guy!

This one was almost as tall as Kuze, with silky, long-ish brown hair and vivid green eyes. He didn't have the same dark, cold charm of Kuze, but he looked sophisticated in his half-moon spectacles and lab coat. He smiled at her.

"Have you changed your mind about letting me dissect you?"

huh?! Niki backed away slowly, suddenly feeling very uncomfortable with those glowing green eyes locked on her. They made his smile seem creepy. …he can't be serious…it's just a joke! Calm down!

She giggled nervously and glanced at Kuze.

He wasn't smiling.

"Show us the same bodies as yesterday, Yuu. Fuyuki wants to do a double check."

Eh? …I didn't say that…did this girl say that? Double check of…what? She suddenly wished that she had asked the idiots she was talking to earlier more questions—Kuze and this Yuu person had such sharp eyes…she was too afraid that they would see through her.

"Alright. I held onto them, in case you two weren't finished…and since I'm still curious about them, of course."

This guy's smile is so creepy!

She stayed behind Kuze as they followed the Doctor through some swinging doors and into a chilly room with stainless steel tables and lots of sharp-looking tools, vials with strange-colored liquids, a microscope…and jars of amber liquid that contained things that looked suspiciously like…

"…Um…what are we doing here again?" she whispered, hoping the creepy guy in the lab coat wouldn't hear her. She was getting a bad feeling about this place.

Kuze looked down at her with a lifted brow. "I've said it twice now—weren't you listening? We're here to look at the bodies."

"You…You're not serious, are you? Don't you think you've taken this joke far enough?"

"Joke? Kuze has a sense of humor?"

Niki nearly jumped out of her borrowed skin at the voice of the creepy lab-coat guy coming from right behind her. She spun around…and froze.

Three of the stainless steel panels on the wall next to them had been pulled out, revealing them to be sliding, refrigerated shelves…with very cold, very dead bodies inside them. Not only that—but these very cold, very dead bodies hadn't died peacefully.

Niki ran from the room as fast as her borrowed legs could take her and dashed into the ladies room to upturn the contents of her borrowed stomach in the trash receptacle. Even after there was nothing in the stomach anymore, she kept retching. She felt light headed and dizzy…and when she looked at her borrowed face in the mirror, it was practically green.

She wiped the bile from her lips with a paper towel and stumbled toward the door of the ladies room.

What kind of sick nightmare is this? I have to get out of here!

She tiptoed out into the hall, and nearly screamed in terror to find Kuze waiting for her there, leaning against the wall with his arms folded. The only thing that kept her from shrieking was his cool hand clamped over her mouth.

"What's wrong with you? You deal with this stuff every day—it's your job, 'Fuyuki'."

Is it just me, or did this girl's name sound kind of cold coming from his lips?

She stuttered "I—I don…I don't f-feel so good…maybe I got out of the h-hospital too fast…"

She hoped that he didn't hear the panic in her tone. She didn't like this. It wasn't supposed to be this way—this girl had everything, so why would she want such a horrible job? It wasn't like she needed the money…all her clothes were branded! She was staying in the most expensive hotel in the city!

"You haven't even looked into their memories of being murdered yet, and you're already green—either you are really sick, or you're not you anymore." Niki felt like the blood in her veins had frozen "The Fuyuki I know doesn't even blink when she sees a dead body, even if they haven't been cleaned up and made pretty for the analysts yet."

The frozen blood slowly drained from her face. What kind of girl is this girl?! What's WRONG with her?! Memories of being murdered? Doesn't even blink? And how were the bodies in there 'pretty'?! This is so sick!

Kuze sighed, sounding very weary. Niki flinched. "I'll take you home—let's go get your things."

Niki's mind was reeling at a million miles an hour as she and Kuze set out from the police station.

Why would a girl do such a horrible job? Is she sick in the head? What a waste of such a great life! She should be having fun every day—she was the daughter of a prestigious owner of a powerful research institution!

Then it dawned on her. Maybe it wasn't the job she wanted, but the perks that came with it. She glanced shyly at the man walking beside her. She must be in love with this guy! That's it! Love makes people do all kinds of crazy stuff, right?

"Um…Kuze-san…where are we going? This doesn't look familiar to me…"

"Well…That's strange," he drawled. His voice sounded so distant, and kind of bitingly sarcastic. Was she imagining it? Did this guy not like 'Fuyuki' at all? Why not? "You come to my place all the time—you even stay over often enough. You must have hit your head pretty hard to forget all that."

…Huh? Wait…what did he just say? Stay over? All the time? What exactly is going on here?

"It's kind of rude of you to forget stuff like that, don't you think? Especially when you're so clingy at night and wake me up so violently when you have nightmares."

Niki felt like her borrowed ears were on fire. Was it just her, or was there a wicked glint in his dark eyes just now?

What the—!? What exactly is going on between these two?! Are they in a relationship? Is that even legal? Is that why he's mad at this girl? Because I didn't know they were involved like this and acted so distant with him?

"….Kuze….I'm sure I'll remember soon," I'll get better at bluffing for sure! There's no way I'm passing up being in a relationship with a guy this hot! To heck with it being legal! "…I'm just still a little muddled because of my head injury."

"I see."

She shivered at the way he looked at her. What's with that smile? It's scary, but who cares when he's this good looking?

She followed him into the large, tidy apartment in a daze, feeling butterflies when he shut and locked the door behind them. She nearly leapt out of her borrowed body when he took her by the elbow and pulled her into the next room, shutting it behind them and leaning on it.

It was a bedroom. Niki felt her borrowed ears catch fire again.

He's not going to…? …is he?

She jumped nervously when he reached over to pick up a pen from the top of the dresser, tossing it in the air and catching it again, his eyes thoughtful. He tossed it onto the bed in a high arch and surveyed the room with a sharp gaze.

"I guess I'd better get this over with before she finds out we're back," he said mildly.

Wait…'she'? He's married?! And he's having an affair with this girl!?

She blinked. Well. Not that I mind overmuch. Maybe he'll divorce her soon.

But there was something about the way his eyes and voice softened when he spoke about the mysterious 'she' that made Niki think something was slightly off about this situation…But then he pinned her with his dark eyes and she forgot how to think altogether.

"What's your name?"

"…What?" She stuttered, trying to sound suspicious instead of panicky. It was much harder than she hoped it would be. "S-stop joking, K-Kuze! It's Fuyuki, of course!"

"I want your real name. I know Fuyuki—and you are not her."

Niki felt her knees wobble as the blood drained from her face. How does he know? Even if he thinks I'm acting strangely, people usually don't believe something like this is possible! How does he know!?

He gave her a twisted smirk. "Fuyuki isn't your average girl—she knew about you even before you attacked her. And she told me. Now, drop the act—it makes me sick seeing you try to take her place. You're terrible at it."

The strength left Niki's legs and she fell to her knees. It wasn't supposed to be like this. Nobody was supposed to know!

How do I get out of this!?

When she made a dash for the door, he snagged her by the elbow and pulled her into a tight hold against his chest. It wasn't painful physically—in fact, she was kind of startled by how gentle he was being—but she had the distinct feeling that the look in his eyes was not gentle at all.

"You aren't going to get away with this, brat," his low, silken voice in her ear sent shivers through her. "Every moment you spend in her body, I will make a living hell—you have my word on that."

Niki started crying. "B-but…even if I leave…there's no guarantee she'll come back! Isn't it better if she's still alive, even if it's me inside?"

"If you think I'd let a selfish, murdering brat like you parade around in the body of the woman I love, you are sadly mistaken—I'd rather lay her bones to rest forever than watch that happen." She started sobbing openly as he unfastened the silver bracelets around her borrowed wrists and tossed her onto his shoulder like a sack of potatoes. "But, luckily for you, I don't have to. Fuyuki's more than woman enough to take you on all by herself."

If you've ever hyperventilated and then held your breath, you'd know that even though you didn't really need to inhale again for a while, it still feels weird to not be breathing. Like something that should always be there suddenly isn't.

Fuyuki was feeling a little like that, multiplied exponentially. She felt like she ought to be breathing, she ought to have a heart that was beating, she ought to be able to tell if she was warm or cold, if it was light or dark…but it wasn't all that unusual a feeling to her. It happened every so often when she extended her power without her protective bracelets.

But it had never happened for this long before. She'd never spent so long in the void.

It was a good thing had such strong telekinetic abilities—otherwise she might not have been able to stay in one location without drifting. She had to concentrate on the physical things around her (while not destroying them). It was a little like making herself a body that wasn't living or breathing, just for the sake of having an anchor to keep her in place. That was where she got the idea to make herself a body out of water. If she was going to have one, it might as well have a familiar shape.

It was difficult keep calm—so she played games with the water. Pulled up images of fishes and made them swim around the room, playing water Ping-Pong, practiced making her water body more detailed—for the sake of distracting herself from the discomfort of being bodiless and the anxiety that was trying to mess with her thinking.

I trust Kuze. This is going to be alright.

There were moments when her control faltered. She broke all the glass fixtures (the mirror, the shower walls, the glass that was sitting on the sink), and the faucet seemed to have developed a substantial leak.

Kuze's going to be livid…but if we can get my body back, I'd put up with any punishment…

She perked up as his familiar presence entered her conscious. His, and another, who wasn't as familiar, but whom she had unpleasant, and recent, memories associated with.

But some of her anger was dialed down at the realization that the ghost in her body was truly and utterly terrified.

…what did Kuze do to her to get her in this state? She decided not to ask presently—it was helpful, since she would be weakened by her fear and more easily displaced.

'…Kuze, would you talk to her for me?'

'What do you want me to say?'

'I want her name, and her story.'

'Can't we worry about that later?'

'It's best to worry about it while she has a mouth to speak with.'

She could feel Kuze's mental sigh. 'Alright—I'll ask.'

Fuyuki listened to the girl's story. And then she gasped.

'You're alive?!'

Kuze translated her outburst, seeming unhappy with its loud nature. The girl confirmed that she was indeed alive—though unable to return to her own body as of present, since she was unable to locate it.

Fuyuki was so excited and relieved that she literally dissolved into a puddle.

'…Hey! What are you doing!?'

'This means I don't have to destroy her, Kuze. I don't have to end her—I don't have to listen to the screams of her heart as I force her out of existence…'

'…so…that's the real reason you fear ghosts?'

'…they have such a strong will to live, and they fear being erased more than anything… being an exorcist isn't a pretty job, especially if you can feel what they feel…' she collected her temporary body, pulling herself into a semi-dignified stance. '…speaking of which, why is she so terrified?'

She could hear his mental smirk. 'Nothing a pig-head like you needs to know.'

They were able to locate the body of Niki Amami in a nearby hospital—she'd been in a coma for five days. It turned out that she didn't even know she had killed the people she had tried to possess.

The Director was very apologetic for having doubted Kuze, much to his annoyance.

The four of them (Kuze, Fuyuki, the Director, and Sasaki) decided that it would be best not to let the Boss and the three idiots in on what had happened—none of them wanted to deal with the uproar that would create.

As for Fuyuki, she continued to hate ghosts, was forced to lend herself to Kuze as a pillow indefinitely as punishment for wrecking his bathroom, and had discovered that she really liked playing with water—much to Kuze's chagrin. After all, he was the one that usually ended up having to rescue her when she exhausted herself and fell asleep in the bath.

In the end, Kuze never told her what he said to Niki that got her so riled up. He only smirked when she asked, reminding her that she wasn't the only one who could keep secrets—a reaction that annoyed her like none other, a discovery that Kuze would enjoy exploiting in the near and distant future.

And when he asked about why he'd never seen her bracelets go off while she was sleeping before, he found it ridiculously difficult not to do something inappropriate to her when she confessed that he never saw it because she had less nightmares when he was with her (Not only because he was relieved that he wouldn't have to endure the electric waking method often, but also because of adorably mortified expression she made after she realized what she had just said to him.)

[I hope this was okay, guys—I really appreciate the support you have given me, and I don't want to disappoint. It's amazing how encouraging reviews and comments are. I wouldn't have been able to finish this last one without you. Thank you!]