Chapter Three: Motivation:
Tsuzuki took Anna back to Kimoto Manor. He lay her down on her futon and sat on the floor next to her. The shinigami watched as she caught her breath.
"Are you okay?" he asked. Anna nodded.
"Too many thoughts keep flooding my brain," she complained.
"I know," he said. Anna glanced at him.
"How long will I be hearing thoughts?" she asked. Tsuzuki lightly brushed her bangs from her forehead.
"It's only the first three days," he said. "After that, it'll go quiet."
"First three days?" Anna asked. "How long will this take?" Tsuzuki swallowed sheepishly.
"A month," he whispered. Anna's eyes widened as she tried to sit up. Tsuzuki pushed her back down.
"Don't get up!" he said. "You're still too weak!" Anna glanced at him.
"A whole month?" she cried. "A whole month of suffering?" Her boyfriend lowered his head.
"I'm so sorry," he whispered. "This is the only way."
I love you. I just don't want to let you go!
Anna frowned at him. "Talk to me!" she complained. "Don't use your thoughts!"
"Sorry," Tsuzuki replied. Anna sighed as the shinigami stroked her cheek.
"It'll be okay," he whispered. Tsuzuki took her hand. "Just think about it. After this month, we'll be together forever." He forced himself to smile. However, that was quick to die when he noticed her face.
"What?" he asked. Anna shook her head.
"You're worried about something," she pointed out.
Tsuzuki frowned. "You heard my thoughts?"
Anna shook her head. "I didn't need to hear your thoughts. I know you, remember?"
Tsuzuki lowered his gaze. "Oh."
She reached up and ran her finger in a feather-like way against his cheek. "What's wrong?"
Her boyfriend sighed. "I broke protocol again."
Tsuzuki breathed out as he held her hand tighter. "Not many survive the merge."
"What are my odds?"
"Not so goodï¿½"
Anna used her elbows to prop herself up. "Okay, don't dance around with it. Give it to me straight."
The shinigami's face went grimmer. "Ninety-nine percent of people that have taken the Heaven Stone have died."
Tsuzuki looked deeply into her eyes. "Tell me right now. Can you handle the stress? It won't be an easy month. You can pull the stone out if you want. But whatever you decide, it can't be undone. You have to stay with it the whole time. I will support your decision."
Anna remained quiet as she weighed her options. "One month, huh?" she asked.
"That's right," Tsuzuki said with a nod.
"I seeï¿½" Anna mumbled. She kept a serious face as she looked up.
"Keep it in," the woman said. Tsuzuki looked shocked.
"What?" he asked. His beloved gave him a little smile.
"I too want us to be together," she said. "From what I heard in your thoughts, you make this mess seem worth it."
"Are you sure?" Tsuzuki asked.
"Only if you answer two questions for me."
Tsuzuki blinked. "Okayï¿½ What?"
"Why go through all of this for me?"
He gave her a little smile as he stroked her hand. "Because," he whispered. The man leaned down and kissed her on the lips. Pleasantly surprised, Anna kissed him back.
You are the love of my life, he said in her mind. The couple gently parted, leaving Anna smiling at him.
"Okay," she said.
"And your other question?" Tsuzuki asked.
"Are you staying with me tonight?" his woman asked. Her boyfriend smiled.
"Anything you like," he replied.
"Then yes," Anna answered. "I am sure."
"Yes! Anymore questions?"
Tsuzuki shook his head. "Nah."
"Good," Anna replied. She scooted herself away from him. "Come to bed with me?" Excitement flooded her man's face.
"Sure!" he cheered. Anna gently shushed him.
"Please keep it down," she whispered.
"Oh," Tsuzuki whispered back. "Because of Rihoko, Yoko-chan, and Seita-kun?"
"Well that too," Anna said. "But mostly, everyone's thoughts from the neighborhood and your talking are a little too much for me."
"Oh yeahï¿½" Tsuzuki mumbled, feeling nervous and somewhat guilty. "I forgot that you can hear all thoughts now. "
"It's okay," she said. Anna paused, thinking. "How is the stone doing that to me?" she asked. Tsuzuki lay down next to her on the futon.
"Oh," he said. "Your soul is wide open right now. Everything flows through you at the moment." Anna's eyes went wide again.
"Three nights of hearing thoughts?" she asked. He placed his arms around her shapely body.
"Afraid so," he whispered.
"How will I sleep through nights?" she asked. The shinigami lightly shut his eyes.
Do the best you can, he thought. Anna glanced at him as he went off to sleep. The woman frowned.
"Damn it!" she mumbled to herself. Anna lay awake as many more different thoughts circled in her head.