Chapter Twenty-Four: His Confession:

As the summer’s gone
We are not surprise to see
“Autumn rain” at night.

--Eiki (1823-1904)

The rain found its way to Meifu as Thanatos made her way to Ju-Oh-Cho. She could almost taste that victory sake now when she made it to the back hallway. The bounty hunter looked around as she kept walking. She spotted Tatsumi leaving an office. The girl grinned to herself. Thanatos gracefully walked over to her target.

“Tatsumi-san!” she called, “So glad I found you!” The secretary eyed her oddly.

“How did you get all the way back here?” he asked. Thanatos gave him a little shrug.

“I can be very persuasive,” she replied. Tatsumi didn’t look convinced.

“What do you want, Thanatos?” he complained.

“Your Tsuzuki spent the whole night with that Kimoto girl last night!” she said with a grin.

“So?” the shinigami asked, “He’s protecting her; it’s part of his job.”

“Then why did I see them kissing this morning?” she challenged, “You can’t tell me that’s part of the job, now can you?” Tatsumi rolled his eyes.

“I’m not getting involved in this,” he brushed off as he started to walk away. Thanatos trailed him.

“But if they are in love, it’s bad for everyone!” she pointed out, “Think about it! If she turns to white ash, he’ll be so depressed and I know you care about Tsuzuki-san’s well-being, don’t you?” Tatsumi froze in his tracks and turned around. Thanatos knew she hit a sensitive nerve. The shinigami walked back over to the bounty hunter.

“And you’re sure you saw them kiss?” he asked.

“Yes,” Thanatos said with a nod. Tatsumi thought about the information that she fed him.

“Hm,” he said. “I’ll talk to him.”

“Good,” Thanatos mumbled to herself. The thought of sake coated her tongue.

Tsuzuki came to work hiding his bless. Sure, he was upbeat at work, but the shinigami seemed to be glowing lately. His co-workers wanted to know why and soon asked questions. Tsuzuki did his best to dodge them, but everyone wanted a piece of him. Watari tried to make a truth serum to get the details of his friend. Those either failed or Tsuzuki would “accidentally” drop them on the ground. Afterwards, he’d get out of the lab as fast as he could. Konoe and everyone kept asking him questions. However, Tsuzuki’s biggest challenge was his own partner, Hisoka. It didn’t help to be paired up with an empathist. Tsuzuki did his all not to give himself away to his partner. This ranged from avoidance to picking up extra work to not talk at all. Despite all attempts, Hisoka knew that Tsuzuki was hiding something. He too wanted to know why.

Tsuzuki sat at his desk, away in his fantasies. He could still taste Anna on his tongue. He missed feeling her sensitive muscles around his hot throbbing flesh. Her voice crying out for more still rang out in his ears. The shinigami got horny just fantasizing about it. That kiss this morning promised so much more tonight.

Hisoka watched his partner with an eyebrow raised. Tsuzuki was all a glow once again.

I think he’s in love with someone, Hisoka thought as a pool of worry welled up in his mind. Tsuzuki was about to get lost in another lustful fantasy when a shadow cast over him. The shinigami came back to reality as he looked up. Tatsumi stood over him with a stern look in his eye. The shinigami swallowed a bit as the happy feeling faded away.

“Yes?” he asked.

“Tsuzuki-san,” the secretary said, “Can I talk you for a moment?” The other shinigami blinked.

“Okay…” he said, “What about?”

“Outside,” Tatsumi added. It took Tsuzuki a moment to get it.

“Oh,” he said. Both men went out into the hall. Tsuzuki had a bad feeling about this, but he decided not to show it. Maybe it’s not about that, he thought. Tatsumi turned his attention to him once they were inches from the door. Tsuzuki kept his composure.

“Yes?” he asked. The secretary pushed up his glasses.

“I have noticed that you seem happier than usual this past week,” he said, “Has anything exciting happened lately?”

“No,” Tsuzuki lied. His former partner eyes him.

“Nothing to do with Kimoto-san?” he asked. Tsuzuki froze in nervous shock. That bitch told on us after all!, he thought. The shinigami looked away with his fists clenched.

“No,” he lied again as he tried to stay calm, “Why?” Tatsumi already didn’t believe him, but he kept pressing for the truth.

“I have heard that you and Kimoto-san have an intimate relationship,” the secretary said, “Is this true?”

“No!” Tsuzuki denied. Tatsumi saw through the lies, yet he had one more question to ask.

“Do you love Kimoto-san?” he questioned. Tsuzuki kept his eyes down.

“Uh well…” he mumbled.

“Do you?” Tatsumi asked, “Look at me when you answer.” Tsuzuki looked up at his former partner. His heart wouldn’t allow him to lie on this one. Tatsumi saw the pupil dilate in Tsuzuki’s eyes and gave him a disapproving look.

“This relationship shouldn’t have happened,” he said in a low voice. Tsuzuki lowered his eyes to his feet.

“I know,” he murmured, “But…” Tatsumi raised an eyebrow at him.

“But what?” he asked. Tsuzuki jerked his head upwards as he clinched his fists tighter.

“I love Anna-chan!” he announced. Tatsumi shook his head.

“You’ve got three days to end it with Kimoto-san,” he told the older shinigami, “If you fail to do so, she will be sent off to be judged—case or not. Understood?” The cold glare in his ice blue eyes heightened the threat. Tsuzuki trembled all over as he swallowed hard.

“Y-Yes!” the man yelped. He ran back into the office. Tatsumi watched him sternly. Tsuzuki slammed the door and leaned against it panting. Thanatos sold him and Anna out. Now, Tatsumi wanted him to dump the love of his life or she would be sent off for processing. Tsuzuki shut his eyes and shook his head.

“No!” he wailed, “It can’t end this way! I won’t let it! I won’t! I…” Tsuzuki opened his eyes when he felt someone watching him. Hisoka sat at his desk staring at him with heavy hurt eyes.

“Hisoka…” Tsuzuki mumbled as he looked away in shame. However, it was too late; Hisoka heard and saw everything. Though he couldn’t put it into words at the time, but he felt as if a door that was once open was now shut tight and locked. He hadn’t realized it until it was too late. Hisoka was left out in the cold and he didn’t even have a key.