Feb 26, 2011

Chapter 43

Chapter 43

Chapter 43 of MSK, please enjoy! ~Aeyra

Chapter 43

Turning the Tables

The woman spoke no words as she approached him slowly, her unhurried footsteps contrasting with Ryuu’s racing heart, so much like the beating of a hummingbird’s wings. Her face was expressionless, and filled with a sense of confidence and determination that he couldn’t comprehend. It made him shiver even more, trying to back up into the bed when he came to realize that he was already leaned up against the headboard.

She bent down to the boy, still lying on the soft feather mattress, and smiled- a grin that was enigmatic and sly, a mystery. “A secret makes a woman, woman, but I’ll tell you later. It’s a promise,” she answered as a loud knock sounded from the door. Voices called from the other side, but they were indistinct and Ryuu couldn’t hear them over the pounding of his heart. Ba-dump, ba-dump, ba-dump! “I’ve got things to do. Just wait here while I finish up, ‘kay?” She placed her two fingers to her lips, and winked at him.

Patting him gently on the head, she turned around and retreated towards the door where she had come from; letting in light for a split second- and then it disappeared, leaving him in near-darkness once more.

What should I do now? thought Ryuu, head spinning with fear. The last time he’d been a situation close to this was the kidnapping incident a few weeks ago, but then he’d had someone tell him how to escape, Ai telling him exactly what to do. This woman had a very similar aura to the one who had hit him in that cold, dark room, after he’d been kidnapped- what did she call herself again?- oh right, it was Viura.

He hadn’t seen this new woman’s face through his terror clouded vision and the dim lighting, but he was almost sure it was the same person. Blonde, with piercing eyes- and the same exact feeling- confidence, with a touch of grief and a need for revenge at the edge of it. However, something felt a little off. Now what was it…?

He lay back down, pulling the blanket off to see his ash-tipped clothes and sneakers. At least nobody had changed his clothes. That would have been rather awkward. But, the ash confirmed his nightmare. There really had been a fire, and he had been taken here.

It couldn’t be a hospital; it was much too comfortable for that. There was no sickly medicine smell or the fresh scent of cots; it was just a straight, calming perfume, something that reminded him of the cologne his dad would wear to big meetings. At the thought of his dad, tears started to well up in his eyes. What had happened to his parents?

As far as he remembered, they had not mentioned any plans of leaving the house that afternoon. His mom had said she was going to cook a big welcome-back feast and his dad was helping her with it. He knew that a fire of that degree and magnitude was impossible to survive unless you happened to run out the front door the moment it started. The kitchen wasn’t right next to the front door.

He recalled the gentle fragrance of his mom’s silky blonde hair as she hugged him tight; she was a foreigner and she had given Ryuu her determined green eyes. His dad’s eyes were a deep chocolate brown, but they were filled with strength and courage. He had inherited his raven black hair from his father, along with the spirit of an officer. So many memories, so many things. He prayed with all his heart that they weren’t dead, and that the woman who had been in this room with him wasn’t going to kill him; he had felt her aura, and she had definitely murdered people in the past, but her motives were unreadable.

Ai had said that being in their business was dangerous, and he was at risk if he told anybody. But, he had kept his word! He hadn’t even made a single suggestion to his parents! Hell, he hadn’t even had time to see them before that fire. Searing, angry, devouring flames, eating away at whatever was left, killing anything inside. No mercy given, nothing held back, a full-powered onslaught of death.

Would it have happened if he hadn’t walked back home? If he had stayed at the hospital a little longer? Was it possibly his fault? Please don’t let it be that way! Kaa-chan! Tou-chan! Please don’t tell me you’re dead! he prayed silently, bowing down his head in fervor.

A slight rustle from the corner alerted him to the woman’s return, and she walked up to him, smiling painfully as if she had just heard some bad news. Her mouth opened, and she spoke, but not the words he had wanted to hear. “I’m Jodie Starling from the F.B.I. We’re here to protect you.”

Surprise much?

******************************************

Somewhere in a different place, a different woman was talking to a different boy. Where you ask? Beika Central Hospital.

“Where did you come from?” asked Kaito, hostility and fear in his blue eyes as he stared at the platinum blonde woman standing at the edge of his cot. She was silent and still, a feline quality to her, looking like she was ready to pounce on him.

She stared at him seductively, red irises glowing with something indefinable- what could it be? He tried to figure out what emotion was behind those bloody red orbs that scared him to absolute death, but the only word he could come up with was powerful.

“My dear Kaito-kun, I couldn’t help but hear your argument with- what was that girl’s name again? - Aoko, was it?” She avoided his question, throwing her own into the spotlight and causing him to be greatly confused. How would this stranger know about Aoko? About the argument? It was nearly impossible to hear what was going on inside the room when the door was closed, and the only people there had been the usual posse. Heiji, Kazuha, Ran, Hakuba, and Aoko- no Ai.

“Who are you? What do you want?” His tone implied ‘Get out of here before I kill you’ but it was obvious he had neither the strength- nor the courage to do so. His voice was quavering as he stared at her, looking like a bird locked into the eyes of a snake, terrified, but unable to look away. Hypnotized.

“My name is Viura, but feel free to call me anything.” She smiled, hiding her fangs behind her lips, winking at him so for a moment she looked like a normal teenager, cheerful, definitely not evil. “I’m here to help you, Kaito-kun. I can get you out of here for good.”

“I’m leaving in three days anyways. I don’t need you to get out.” It was easy to detect the doubt behind his uneven speech, the urge to fall captive into Viura’s eyes, drawing him deeper and deeper into a mysterious new place, a true enigma….

Suddenly, he jerked his head around; trying to make sure he didn’t stare into those crimson orbs, not wanting be sucked into their depths. Something told him he shouldn’t look no matter what; make sure he wasn’t tricked by those rose-colored eyes, to hold his ground.

“Don’t be like that, Kaito-kun.” She made sure to repeat his name, putting more and more honey into her voice as she continued. It had been a while since she had last used her hypnosis abilities, but they were sure working well. It wouldn’t be long before the boy cracked. She chuckled mentally. The fun hadn’t even started yet. “I only want to help you. You want freedom right? Freedom like that Ai girl suggested?”

She had meant to kill the little girl when she walked by, vulnerable and an easy target, but realized if they noticed Ai was missing, it would cause them to be even more protective of her real target, Kaito. Standing a whole corridor away, using a listening bug she had attached near the room, she heard their banter about ‘going outside’ and ‘don’t leave this room’ giving her all the tools she needed to seduce the boy into her hands.

After the main fire of the dispute was over, she proceeded to her next goal, the assassination of Miyazaki Ryuu. She had snuck into his house, taking note of the voices and scent which told her how many people were in the building. Two adults- and one young boy. Smiling, she poured the gasoline on the ground and dropped the match.

An explosion immediately erupted from where she was standing and she skillfully avoided the plume of flame that threatened to singe off her already short hair, tinted a unique strawberry pink that the inferno made all the more vivid. She heard the screams as the fiery tongues made their way into the kitchen where the family was, and the desperate shoving of chairs as they started to run, much too late, towards the front door, which, unfortunately for them, was quite far from the kitchen. It was a very large house.

A second blast emanated through the building, and she knew that the blaze had found the gas-fueled stove. It was over, her job was done. Skipping out of the house, the fire licked her feet and fire-proof suit, but it felt like a pleasant sauna, warm and comfortable. Not the burning inferno of hell she had made it.

She had left well before the fire trucks arrived, knowing that no matter what they did, there was no way they could bring the dead back to life. Her mission had succeeded; not even all the luck in the world could protect that dragon twice. Especially not from her.

Only thing was, there was part of her that denied she had actually killed Miyazaki Ryuu. This whining, doubtful, annoying part of her that said she had failed. How could she have? What she heard and smelled clearly confirmed the presence of two adults (his parents) and him, the boy. Why the heck would there be another kid in his house at FREAKING dinnertime?

Maybe they had brought another boy over for a ‘playdate’ or whatever they call it now? What if he had a friend, then it could easily be explained. Just because you never had a friend doesn’t mean the possibility doesn’t exist. You have to make sure, Viura. She hated her inside voice that reminded her of Vermouth even though they sounded completely different. It was probably the fact that they were almost always talking trash about her.

She hid her now constantly conflicting emotions about herself and Vermouth behind a well-developed Poker Face, still smiling at Kaito, luring him into her eyes, her being, letting him sink…

“Can you really give me freedom?” he asked, hope in his voice. It was the response she had been waiting for; she had unlocked the tightly sealed gate.

“Quite easily. But I won’t be able to take you back. I wouldn’t want to. Not back to those liars.” Now the true deception began, starting the ruse she would implant in his head.

“Who are you talking about?” he inquired, eyes filled with confusion, suspicion- desire. “Are you talking about my friends?”

“They’re just trying to trick you, Kaito-kun.” Okay, Viura. Don’t break eye contact, and make sure to keep it smooth, realistic. Even if he forgot everything, this kid isn’t stupid. “Don’t you remember me? I’m your best friend, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen you. I missed you so much.”

“I don’t recall ever seeing you before. I remember seeing my friends though. I can remember Aoko.” He narrowed his eyes as he skeptically scanned her face for a hint of pretense, but he couldn’t find anything, only blatant honesty that raised his doubts even higher.

“She tricked you into thinking those things. That sneaky witch.” She put the perfect mixture of emotions into her voice, hatred, disbelief, and disgust. It was done with such perfection that Kaito was starting to feel himself falling in step with her words, believing them despite his intent to look beyond them.

“Where did I know you from?” he asked, curious to learn more about this new, alluring, friend of his.

“You worked with me in the Black Organization. We’re not the bad guys she said we are; we’re trying to save the world. They just want you on their side. Trust me; they’re not here to help you.” She shook her head solemnly, trying to get her point across.

“How do I know whether or not I can trust you?” His face suddenly filled itself with fury as he retaliated, letting out his fear, like a cornered animal. “How do I know who to believe?”

“You don’t, and that’s the problem, Kaito-kun.” She sounded crestfallen, as if truly beaten down by a friend. “I wish I could help you, but if you don’t want it, then I guess I can’t.”

She’s giving me a choice? he thought wonderingly. Even Aoko didn’t do that… “Before we leave for good, can you just let me go outside for a while? Please?”

“You’re going with me? Really, Kaito-kun?” Her features suddenly lit up with delight, while on the inside she was laughing deviously. If Kaito hadn’t chosen to come with her, she’d have been forced to use harsher tactics, more than just plain hypnosis and seduction.

“Yeah, I’m sick of this place.”

*******************************************************

“I feel like something’s wrong,” murmured Ran to Kazuha and Aoko. They were having a sleepover in Shinichi’s house, the girls gathered in Kazuha’s room. Heiji was talking with Hakuba in the library downstairs. “What about you guys?”

“I don’t feel anything.” Kazuha stretched luxuriously, yawning as she extended her arms above her head. She was tired, but not quite ready to go to sleep yet. She was much too tense for that. Aoko and Kaito’s fight had shaken them all.

“I think I know what you’re talking about, Ran-chan,” Aoko said, staring out the window at the half-moon, shrouded slightly by the dark clouds. “I can’t tell exactly what it is, but it makes me think of Kaito.”

She thought their discussion was over. He seemed content enough after she had shot him down, and she hugged him to let him know it was all right. She hadn’t expected him to explode on her.

“I don’t want this!” he screamed, pushing her off. His blue eyes were filled with a fire she hadn’t seen in what felt like absolutely forever, something that was pure determination and a trace of loathing. “I want to go outside! I don’t want to be trapped in here! I hate this frickin’ place!”

“Kaito!” she gasped, taken aback by his sudden outburst. “I thought I promised you that you can leave this place soon!”

“How can I believe you?” he challenged, hopping off of the bed. “You’ve said the same thing for the past few weeks! I took one step out of this room with Ai, and you kicked her out. Do you really know what’s best for me? If you do, then tell me why you think that way!”

The other teenagers sat solemnly on the bench beside the wall, watching the fight unfold right in front of them, unable to do anything to stop the two former best friends from starting all-out nuclear warfare. Ran made a move as if she was about to stand up, but Hakuba pulled her back down. “It’s probably for the best to let them duke it out themselves. It’s their problem, not ours, not even if we want it to be.”

“But-“ she protested, then she calmed down, listening to Shinichi.

Ran, he said. Hakuba’s right, this is their fight. Don’t interfere. They need to decide this for themselves. He heard her small squeak of dissent, but she settled back onto the crowded bench, putting her hands over her ears so she wouldn’t have to hear the arguing. It made her think of when her parents separated. A painful memory she never wanted to revisit.

Curses, insults, heated cries flew across the room, from Aoko to Kaito, Kaito to Aoko, and then silence, as both of them stopped, staring each other angrily in the eye. It was far from a conclusion, but it was the end of round one of which Aoko had won at a bitter cost.

Kaito refused to even go within two feet of her, causing her to cry and beg. With an arrogant, rude ‘hmph!’ he hopped back onto the cot and faced the wall, wishing that there was a window instead of cold hard concrete to look at.

Crying, Aoko walked back towards Ran and Kazuha’s comforting hugs that were half-filled with sympathy. All of them were split between Aoko and Kaito’s decisions, between freedom and safety. Which was the better choice? Not even the high school geniuses Shinichi, Heiji, and Hakuba could figure it out.

All of them fervently hoped they would never have to make that choice. Except Shinichi, who wouldn’t even have the chance to decide. I almost wish I could, he thought, with only Ran to hear. It would at least mean I was still living.

The phone started ringing from downstairs, a distant, impatient bellowing. None of them bothered to get up, knowing that one of the boys would get there first anyways.

“I got it!” cried Hakuba and Heiji at the same time, placing their hands, light and dark, onto the receiver.

“I got here first you know!” said Heiji, a playful, semi-angry frown on his face.

“So what?” scoffed Hakuba, arrogance dancing around in his icy blue eyes. “It’s not like it really matters.”

“Then take your stinking hand of the phone!” cried Heiji, trying to pick it up. “It might be something important!”

“I’ll take it then!” Hakuba pulled the telephone out of Heiji’s grasp, picking it up with a formal voice, his foreign accent ringing through his pleasant words. “Hello, this is the Kudo residence.”

“I usually answer the phone with, ‘This is Heiji speaking’,” protested Heiji, crossing his arms in annoyance.

“That doesn’t really apply here, does it?” questioned Hakuba. “You have to be polite while talking on the phone. This still is Kudo-kun’s house, and if it’s not his, then it’s his parents.” He held put a finger to his lips to tell the dark-skinned teen to shut up, and listened intently. “Mm-hm, mm-hm… WHAT?! WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”

“Oy, Hakuba!” Heiji shook Hakuba furiously when he didn’t respond, the manners that the blond had been spouting about no longer applying based on the shouting that was done into the receiver. Something was really wrong. “What happened? Tell me!”

Hakuba’s face whitened, contrasting with his honey-blond hair, eyes frozen in shock. “Okay, I understand. Give us about half an hour. Thank you.” Shaking, he put down the phone.

“We heard you screaming, Hakuba-kun!” panted Aoko, who had sprinted down the stairs followed by the other two girls. “Did something happen?”

“It-it’s Kuroba-kun. He’s not in his room, and he’s not in the surrounding corridors or anything! His door was found unlocked, as well as nearby emergency exit. They think he escaped.” He looked at Aoko’s devastated face, waiting for the barrage of insults that he had become so used to.

“Kaito,” she whispered, nearly inaudible, lips forming the name several times more, silent as she took in the news. “Are you sure about this?”

“Positive. The doctor wants us to go over right away; he says there’s something that we need to see.” He walked towards the coat stand where his thick leather jacket was hanging. “What’re you waiting for? We can’t let anything happen to Kuroba-kun!”

They stood still for a few moments more, shell-shocked. Then Ran jolted to her senses and followed Hakuba’s lead. “Call a taxi; it can be hard to flag one down from this street. They don’t come very often.”

“Got it.” Hakuba whipped out his cell and started dialing the keys, letting out their little musical beeps. “I would like to request a taxi to Beika District 2-chome, 21-banchi, please. Okay, we’ll be waiting. Thank you.” He turned around to look at the others. “It’ll be here in five minutes, ten minutes tops.”

Aoko fidgeted nervously as she put on her coat, looking as if she were about to throw up from fear and guilt. “It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have been so mad at Kaito; if anything happens to him, I’ll-“

“Nothing’s happened to him yet, Aoko-chan,” assured Kazuha, secretly thinking about when she had thought Heiji had gone missing. “Maybe he’s just sulking and hiding in a corner somewhere. He’ll be fine; he can take care of himself even without his memory.”

She nodded, tears falling down her face, singeing her skin as they rolled down. Kazuha’s words meant nothing to her. Why did I have to be so darn harsh? Maybe if I had just listened for a while, maybe if I hadn’t been so damn stubborn this wouldn’t have happened!

“Could you get yourself to the hospital right now, Ai-chan?” Ran was talking on her cell phone, explaining the situation to a sleepy Ai. “I’m sorry for waking you up, but it’s important. Please?”

It must have been a yes, because Ran was smiling in a half-hearted way as she ended the call. “If he’s hiding, Ai-chan probably has the best chance of calling him out right now. She was on his side.”

“I thought I knew what was best for him. Funny how an elementary-schooler beat me there, isn’t it?” Aoko murmured, voice cracking.

“She’s had a lot of experience with things like this; maybe even worse things.” Heiji started walking out the open door, waving at a bright yellow car. “Taxi’s here, let’s go!”

*********************************

“You haven’t been able to find him yet?” cried Aoko in disbelief as she burst into the room, shouting at the doctors. “Why?” They had gathered into Kaito’s empty room, staring at the floor, avoiding Aoko’s harsh glares. One of them approached her warily, swallowing before he spoke.

“We’ve tried searching most of the wings, but we didn’t see him anywhere. And I think it might have been-“ The doctor mumbled something indecipherable. Heiji strained his ears to hear, but he couldn’t even make it out.

“What was that?” she asked, an accusing tone in her voice. “What do you think it might have been?”

“A kidnapping,” a nurse answered for the incoherent doctor. “Somebody left a note on the bed. Here it is.”

The rest of them gathered around Aoko as she read the note, realizing quickly that it was Kaito’s handwriting she was reading. A beautiful messy scrawl that she could recognize anywhere.

I’m not really sure what to do anymore and I don’t know even what the truth is. Someone came in to pick me up, someone I think I can trust. I don’t know if I can trust any of you after what happened today, and I don’t want to face it again. Viura said you were all lying to me and I listened to her. I’m leaving to go with her. If this is the wrong choice, then sorry to you all, but I don’t think it is. Send the little girl Ai my regards; she’s the only one who thought like I did.

Kuroba Kaito

Or is it Bordeaux?

Aoko’s knees gave in, and her tears smeared the messy inked handwriting as she cried into her hands, feeling the full effect of her mistake. She felt somebody tap her on the shoulder, but she didn’t react, preferring to sniffle alone.

“The ink is still smudging, and it’s a kind I recognize.” Heiji rubbed his finger against the paper, his detective instincts taking over. “It hasn’t been over an hour since he wrote this, we might still be able to find him; it would be impossible for him to have gone very far.”

“Viura,” whispered Ai, who had just arrived, wearing a coat and striped pajamas underneath. She hadn’t had time to change when Ran’s desperate call woke her out of deep slumber. “I recognize that name.” Her face blanched with fear, and her eyes stared straight forwards, remembering those fearful blood red irises. Viura. A woman who was part of- No, this could not be happening.

“Wait, Ai-chan, do you mean-“exclaimed Ran, remembering how Ai had explained the camping incident to them, the phantom bomber who had disappeared. A young woman, slightly older than a teenager, with a wicked smile, short strawberry-tinted blonde hair, snake fangs...

With her face as pale as the snow lying on the ground outside, she spoke, her voice quavering, eyes staring at the ground. “He’s been taken by the Organization.”

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