Chapter Eight: Lab Promise:

Tsuzuki rushed to Watari�s lab. On the way, he thought of how to word his worries. He could trust his good friend with something like this, right?

The man knocked on the door.

�It�s open!� his friend replied. Tsuzuki slid back the door and went inside. He found Watari with Charlotte and Takashi again. His friend looked up from his research.

�Oh, Tsuzuki,� he said. �Just the person I want to see.� Tsuzuki froze and blinked at him.

�Why?� he asked in suspicion. Watari clapped his hands together.

�I have a couple questions for you,� he said.

�Questions?� Tsuzuki asked.

�Yes,� the blonde scientist said, �Wait here.� He turned and went to the back room. The other shinigami took a seat. He looked other at the couple to his left.

�Hey, I know you,� he said when he noticed Charlotte, �You�re that hostess in that club back in Tokyo.� The woman blinked at first.

�I�m sorry,� she said. �But do I know you?�

�I apologize,� Tsuzuki said. �My name is Tsuzuki Asato.� The hostess still looked confused.

�I�m Charlotte,� she replied likewise. �This is Takashi.�

�Nice to meet you,� the angel said with his head bowed.

�Yes,� the shinigami said. He noticed their fingers laced together as they held hands.

�Oh,� he said. �Are you two�� Tsuzuki took a moment to form how to ask this. �Are you two dating?� he asked.

�Dating?� Takashi asked in a puzzled tone.

�Is she your girlfriend?� the shinigami asked.

�Girl�friend?� the angel asked. Charlotte rested her head on his shoulder.

�No, no,� she said. �He�s my roommate.�

�I see,� Tsuzuki said. However, he saw it differently.

�So what are you here for?� he asked.

�A check-up,� Charlotte said. �You?�

�I just wanted to ask a couple of questions,� the shinigami answered. He studied the pair as he spoke. Charlotte reminded him of Anna personality-wise. They both looked like ice queens at first glance. Like himself with his wife, Tsuzuki guessed that Takashi opened up the warm-hearted girl in Charlotte. The angel�s whole demeanor around her said, �I will protect her with all of my being.� The Shinigami could tell that Takashi would love Charlotte in sickness and in health. Too bad the angel himself couldn�t grasp this. He didn�t seem to understand the concept of romance and courtship. It tempted Tsuzuki to take him aside and talk to him. Maybe inspire him to voice his true feelings to Charlotte. �Sorry to keep you waiting!� Watari called out as he returned. Both parties looked up as the scientist pulled out a flash drive and plugged it into his laptop.

�Now, who first?� he asked. Tsuzuki raised his hand.

�Good,� his friend said. �I have something to show you.� He opened a file on the flash drive. �I took a live sample of Anna�s core for comparison on my case,� he explained, �You need to look at this.� Tsuzuki walked up to the screen.

�What the�?� he asked when it first caught his attention, �What� What is that?� The document depicted a live video feed of crystal-like sphere, pulsing and glowing bright pink.

�I put a small shikigami in the sample as a camera to monitor it,� Watari said. �I went to check the sample this morning and found this.�

�What does it all mean?� Charlotte asked. Watari clicked for a close up on the center of the sample. Tsuzuki�s eyes widened in fear at what he saw. The center had a little fox face on it.

�The core�s been taken over by a parasite,� Watari put in simple terms. He turned his attention to Tsuzuki.

�Be honest with me, Tsuzuki,� he said sternly. �Has the Mother started to take over to fulfill the curse?� Tsuzuki lowered his head.

�Yes,� he murmured.

�Tsuzuki!� Watari gasped. �When did this happen?�

�This morning,� the other shinigami admitted. �After her and me� you know, last night.� He looked the scientist desperately in the eye. �Watari, please!� he pleaded. �Tell me how to fix this!� The scientist gave him a sharp nod.

�You didn�t have to ask,� he replied. �I�m on it.� Tsuzuki bowed his head.

�Thank you, friend,� he said in a low voice. Watari smiled as a response.

�Sure,� he said, �Anything for a friend.�