Chapter Sixteen: Kato:

July 21st, 1994.

�You�re making a terrible mistake!� Kato pleaded to a twenty-nine year old Daisuke as he packed up things in the room he shared with Anna.

�No,� the younger man argued back, �I already took the job in Tokyo. This will benefit both of us. Anna and I have to leave this place; it�s too boring.�

�Boring or not, you are safe in this village!� the older man yelled.

�That�s just it,� Daisuke pointed out, �It�s too safe. Besides, Anna needs to be around kids her age.� He reached into the closet and packed away more of his daughter�s clothes. Kato watched as his stomach turned.

�But what if your mother finds you and her?� he asked desperately. Daisuke shrugged and shook his head. He turned around from the suitcase that he was packing his family�s possession into.

�I know,� he said, �But I can�t keep Anna innocent in this village forever. That�s just not right.� They knew that Haruka and the family were closing on them. The younger man hated to think what would happen if she got her hands on her grandchild. He sat down on the futon.

�But,� Daisuke finished, �I will wait until August. Anna will be done with classes then. Once she is settled out of school, I�ll give her the chance to say goodbye to this place.� Kato nodded despite still being against this whole idea.

�Agreed,� he said. Both stayed quiet in the moment for reflection.

May 20th, 2009.

�How are your wrists?� Tsuzuki asked. He had taken Anna to a local caf�. The Shinigami ordered a glass of ice once they sat down. He took the cubes and wrapped them in a napkin. Anna held the cold wet paper to her wrists as she took in slow breaths. A waitress walked over to the table out of curiosity and concern.

�Is she okay?� she asked. Tsuzuki nodded quickly.

�Yes,� he said, �Just a minor burn. We�ve got it under control now.� The waitress nodded and went away.

�Hey, could you get me some anpan while you�re at it?� he asked loud enough to be her as disappeared from view to the kitchen. Tsuzuki turned back to Anna.

That was eight minutes ago. The woman nodded now.

�The burning has stopped,� she said.

�Let me see your wrists,� Tsuzuki said in a low voice. Anna slowly removed the melting ice. The Shinigami inspected the burns as he took hold of her wrists. The blue light was gone and powdery-white pink scar tissue took its place.

�They�ve healed nicely,� Tsuzuki said with optimism in his voice. Anna looked at her wrists frowning in discomfort.

�Ugly sight, aren�t they?� she asked.

�Huh?� Tsuzuki asked back. Anna sighed and shook her head.

�These burns�� she said in a low voice, �They are so ugly� don�t you think?� Anna looked up from her scars at Tsuzuki. He saw the pain and disgrace in her eyes. Someone in her family cut her deep. The Shinigami figured that the clan killed her like they did Daisuke, Hana, and many others.

�No!� Tsuzuki said quickly, �They�ll not that bad�� She didn�t seem to believe that at all. Poor woman, the Shinigami thought as he felt his own heart ache for her.

Somebody cleared their throat next to their table. The pair looked up and saw Kato Iwao standing over them. Anna�s face went into blank surprise while Tsuzuki went into defensive mode. Kato smiled at the pair as he gave them a little wave.

�And how are my two favorite people?� he asked. Anna gave off a small gasp.

�Kato-san!� she said.

�What the hell do you want?� Tsuzuki snapped.

�I just want to eat and talk with you guys,� the old man said in a gentleman-like tone. The Shinigami glared at him.

�Why?� he asked. Kato didn�t answer; he sat down with the pair. Tsuzuki observed Anna and Kato to understand the relationship between Anna and Kato. The older man rested his rough hand on his cheek.

�Anna-chan,� he said, �So good to see you again, alive and well.�

�Yes,� Anna said with an emotionless nod. Her finger ran along the edge on the wet glass.

�How have you been?� Kato asked.

�Fine,� she said, �And you?� Her eyes didn�t really meet with his as she spoke.

�Good, thank you very much,� the man replied, �Have you found out what happened to your father yet?�

�No, I got killed instead,� Anna said with a hint of bitterness in her voice.

�But you�re still alive,� Kato pointed out.

�Yes, I am,� his former tenant answered. Tsuzuki listened and watched the whole time. Anna didn�t hate Kato, but yet, she was so distant to him. To the Shinigami, this was the okay to express his suspicions about Kato to Anna later on.

Outside, Hisoka and the demon trio watched them from outside invisibly. While the Shinigami didn�t really trust Rihoko�s neighbors, he had to put that aside and check on his partner and the clan�s murder target. Meanwhile, Emiko planned on giving him a little �demonstration� of the truth for him when the right moment came along. For now, they all had their eyes on Kato.

�Who�s that guy?� Emiko whispered. Hisoka shook his head. They too had their suspicions about Kato. Who was he and what was his connection in all of this? Why was he so interested in Anna so much? Kato looked at Tsuzuki for a moment and then turned back to Anna. A fox-like smile came onto his face as he could see a little prediction for them in his head.

�You�ve got a good man here,� he told former tenant, �You two will be just perfect. Take care of each other and you both will survive.� Anna and Tsuzuki looked at him confused.

�What?� Tsuzuki asked.

�What are you insinuating, Kato-san?� Anna questioned him with an eyebrow raised. Kato shrugged.

�You both are smart people,� he said simply, �You will understand in time.� Both Shinigami and woman had no comment. Yes, these kids will be fine, Kato thought as he rose to his feet.

�Well,� he said, �Nice talking to you guys again. I hope we can share a meal together one day.� The older man gracefully turned to leave.

Don�t bank on it, Tsuzuki thought. On his way out, Kato turned to the waitress.

�Miss,� he addressed her, �Put whatever they order on my tab. Here�s my card.� The waitress nodded in surprise as he handed her his debt card.

�Of course!� she said flustered. She took the card and ran it through the cash register. Anna and Tsuzuki looked confused at the old man as he left the caf�.

Hisoka and the demon trio moved aside as he walked past them outside. Kato looked up at the sky.

Oh Daisuke, he thought, You shouldn�t have left the village.