Feb 20, 2011

Chapter Twenty One

Chapter 21

Stormed

Heiji's POV

"Hattori Heiji! Tell us about what happened!"

"Tooyama Kazuha, what was it like?"

"Tell us details!"

The crowd of reporters attacked us like an annoying swarm of insects. There was hardly enough space left in the small room to even move. Good thing Kazuha and I were on the bed instead of being trapped in the sea of reporters.

"One at a time please!" I tried to calm down the commotion, but to no avail. There wasn't one person willing to give up their spot as 'first in line' which apparently they all were. I sighed, and then asked Kazuha to help me.

"Just tell them what they want to know," she whispered back. "Try to get them out of here as fast as possible, Heiji. I'm sick of them already."

I'd been surrounded by reporters plenty of times. Sure, I'd enjoyed the publicity and my name all over the papers, but to be posted as a victim, even a survivor, just wasn't my thing. I hadn't even solved a mystery this time. It was all so pointless.

"Okay, okay," I said, giving up. "I'll start on the details." My words managed to silence the entire crowd for a couple precious moments while I started. "Your first question must be, what was the explosion like, right? Well, it's kind of hard to describe. It was like being placed in a sea of fire. Burning, and hard to breathe, because it's like drowning into the flames."

"Why were you there, Hattori-kun?" Asked a female reporter.

"I just happened to be running a minor errand there with Kazuha here." I winked at her and she nodded as she approved my lie. "We'd just left the building when it blew up. I didn't notice anything suspicious while I was there. That's it, right?"

They looked disappointed about not getting anything better out of me. "How about you, Tooyama? Did you happen to notice anything?"

"Nothing at all." She hadn't even been inside the building. She only met me outside, we had our first kiss, and then the building exploded.

"What did you feel about it?" Someone asked, trying to get more info.

"Same as Heiji. Now is there anything else?" Her tone was clearly dismissive. One after another, they trudged unwillingly out of the room.

"What a relief." I collapsed back onto the cot. "I hate stuff like that. The interviews are always the most annoying part."

"What about the part where you show up on the headlines of the newspapers?" Kazuha asked curiously. "Is that any fun?"

"Yeah, if I actually succeeded in something. But this time, I'm a victim. It'll ruin my image." Then I thought of something else. "Crap, what will mom and dad think?"

"They'd probably make you go back to Osaka. My parents would probably force me back too. But I don't want to go back yet. This is a very interesting mystery. I see why you like these things. The only problem is poor Ran-chan and Ai-chan. I feel so bad for both of them."

"That's one of the reasons I have to stay here in Tokyo. In order to solve the mystery and help those two feel better. Step one, we have to find a more permanent living space than hotel rooms. Step two, we have to convince our parents we have to stay. Step three, we should probably enroll in a school here for at least part of the year. It feels like this mystery is going to take a while."

"Good thinking, Heiji." Kazuha gave me a grin of approval. "Just like the great detective of the west!"

"What did that have to do with being a detective?" I asked. "It's just plain old common sense."

"We should ask Ran-chan about what her school's like so we can try to enroll for the time being. Maybe we ask Kudo-kun if we can borrow his house. You know, no one's living in it and houses get so lonely with nobody in them. But first, I'll call mom and dad to tell them. You should too." She pulled out her cell phone and called her dad. Sighing, I did the same. I could already imagine my mom having a total freakout.

The phone hardly had a chance to ring before my mother's frantic voice started scolding me. "Do you know how much I was worried about you, Hei-chan? You're coming back to Osaka now! No more of this dangerous business!" Looks like I had deduced right. I held the cell phone six inches away from my face to make sure I didn't lose my hearing. My mom was loud.

"Listen, mom," I tried my best to soothe her into a calmer state. I ignored it when it had no effect. "Just let me to talk to dad. I need to discuss something with him." Dad would understand, being a police officer and all. He'd know what I meant when I said I had to solve to this case. At least, I had thought that.

"Listen, Heiji. It's much too dangerous. I'm not letting you stay in a city where random terrorist bombings are taking place. Come back to Osaka now." He sounded calmer yet fiercer than my mom. But like that would affect my choice.

"No, I'm staying in Tokyo. You can't make me leave. I'm turning eighteen in less than a year. I'm almost an adult. I can make my own choices, dad. I've already got plans for where Kazuha and I will stay, and we'll most likely be attending Teitan High School. I'll try my best to not get into anything dangerous." Hopefully he would listen now. I had everything planned out. He had no right to make me leave.

"Heiji." His voice sounded slightly unsure, like he hadn't expected me to reject his authority. But there was still a firm resolution in the sound.

"No, dad. I don't care if you come and pick me up. I'm staying." I heard a sigh from the other end of the line, and I knew he had given up.

"You can stay in Tokyo. But don't expect your mother to accept the idea easily. I'll be calling you as often as I can to check up on you. I'll put monthly allowances into your bank account. You're the one responsible for your food and everything now. Can't keep you a kid forever, can I?" He sounded sad, as if an era of his life had passed. It had. I'd announced my independence.

"Well, then call you later, dad."

"Bye, Heiji." I heard the phone hang up on the other side. I looked over at Kazuha, who was waiting for my answer.

"It's a yes from me." I smiled at her. "What about you?"

"I told my dad I'd be with you, so he actually took it pretty well. He knows I don't really have the bravery it takes to get into dangerous stuff easily." She grinned back, and now her face was expectant. "Now that we're alone, do you want to…"

"Most definitely." We leaned in and started kissing. Staying in Tokyo had been a success, so why not?

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