Chapter Thirty-Two: Akira�s Salvation:
Why am I doing this?
Tsuzuki stood outside of Meifu's bounty center. It was just like Ju-Oh-Cho, only� Oh what's the word? Underhanded. Tsuzuki let out a nervous chuckle. Akira, dressed like a little sailor, looked around in his arms. His sitter remembered his instructions so well.
"I found it," Hotaru told him. She showed him the information on Emiko's laptop. Tsuzuki and Mike looked.
"The Bounty Center?" Mike asked. He turned to Tsuzuki and Hisoka.
"Did you know about this?" he asked. They shook their heads.
"Anyway," Hotaru said. "This is where the bounties are issued. Maybe you can get them to take the bounty off him." Tsuzuki raised an eyebrow at her.
"How?" he asked.
"I don't know," she said. "Talk to them. Something like that." Tsuzuki tried to grin and bear it as he nodded.
"Right�" he said. Run, man, run! The shinigami couldn�t escape from Hotaru�s sweet little childlike eyes.
So, here he goes. Akira-kun reached out to touch his cheek. His sitter tried to stay positive through this ordeal.
"Yes," Tsuzuki said. "You'll go home in a moment." The baby cooed. The shinigami sighed. What am I doing? Tsuzuki walked through the glass doors. Heat smacked him in the face. He squinted his eyes for a better look. The lobby looked normal, better than what he thought it would look. Tsuzuki noticed the front desk. Good start, he thought. The man took in a breath. Here goes� He walked up to the front desk and rang the bell. The glass screen slid open and a woman looked out. Her face said, "I want to go back to bed." Tsuzuki nodded in sympathy. The receptionist stared at him.
"What?" she asked.
"Uh�" Tsuzuki said. "I have a question about the bounty on this baby's head." The woman didn't even blink.
"Okay�" she said. Tsuzuki paced himself for the next question.
"Is there a way to take the bounty off this little guy's head?" he asked. The woman blinked at him.
"Do what now?" she asked.
"Cancel his bounty," Tsuzuki repeated. "It's for my friend."
"On what grounds?"
"She's raising the baby by herself. I am assuming that the bounty was on the baby's head when his mother was still pregnant with him. But now, he's in a better home now that Akira-kun here's mother is dead. His adoptive mother really wants to keep him. So could you take the bounty off of his head, please?"
"Raising the baby?"
The receptionist blinked at him. "Okay� wait here." She booted up her computer from sleep and checked the data. Tsuzuki waited with baby Akira. The child reached for his cheek again. Tsuzuki pushed him off.
"Now, now," he said. "You'll go home soon. Hang in there."
"Oh!" a loud voice called. "And what do we have here?" Tsuzuki froze and jerked his head upwards. Don't tell me� The shinigami slowly turned around. Thanatos stood inches from him, grinning next to Eros.
"Oh crap," Tsuzuki mumbled. The female bounty hunter clapped her hands together.
"Sweet!" she said. "You brought the baby." Thanatos turned to her partner.
"Would you look at that?" she asked. "And they said all of the good bounties are taken today." She turned to Tsuzuki. "Well, hand him over." Tsuzuki backed up.
"No," he said.
Thanatos forced herself to grin. "Give me the baby."
She gritted her teeth. "Give me the damn baby!"
"No! He's with a loving mother now."
Thanatos tried not to laugh. "Won't do any good. He's going to be rotten, just like his real mommy."
"No, he won't!" Tsuzuki barked. She gave him a little shrug.
"Kind of a waste, really," she said. "His new mommy's going to learn the hard way. Such a shame."
"People can change!"
"No, they can't!"
"Yes, they can!"
Thanatos snorted at that statement. "Alright, prove it!"
Tsuzuki blinked at her, suspecting that she was plotting for a way to con him out of Akira-kun's soul for the money. "How?"
"With that little brat, of course."
Thanatos nodded with a serious look on her face. "Yep." She turned to Eros. "Take me to breakfast, I'm starved."
"Yes, Thanatos," he said with his head bowed. They turned to leave, but Thanatos paused and glanced over her shoulder.
"I will be watching you!" she hissed. "Bank on it." Then, the bounty hunters walked out the door. A sweat drop formed on Tsuzuki�s head. She just doesn't quit, does she? His attention came back to earth when someone cleared their throat. Tsuzuki looked up to see the receptionist staring at him. The shinigami blinked.
"Yes?" he asked.
"The bounty can be taken off the baby, but it'll take three days to do it," she said. Tsuzuki sighed aloud with another sweat drop on his head.
"Great�" he mumbled. �Just great�" This just meant more stress for him and joy for Hotaru.