Chapter Two: Top and Bottom:
March 1st, 2010.
Tsuzuki sat in a bar near the guest house that he and Anna were staying in. He still had one more gift to give her for her birthday. Shinto priests came in abundance in this country and the shinigami needed to find the right one. Tsuzuki looked along the bar to his left. A man near the other end drew his attention. He looked about fifty in his jeans and t-shirt and had just finished his last shot. Go over to him, instinct told Tsuzuki. The shinigami got up and walked over to the man. He looked up to see Tsuzuki smiling at him. He raised an eyebrow at the guy.
"Uhï¿½ can I help you?" he asked.
"Mind if I sit down?" Tsuzuki asked. The other man shook his head.
"No, I guess," he replied.
"Great," the shinigami said. He took a seat at the stool next to the man. "Excuse me for asking this, but are you a priest by chance?" The man stared at him.
"How did you know?" he asked. Tsuzuki shrugged.
"Just a guess," he said. He held out his hand. "I'm Tsuzuki Asato, by the way."
"Himura Kenji," the priest said. The men shook hands and Tsuzuki held up his hand.
"Bar tender!" he shouted. "Another drink for me and my friend!" The man behind the bar got to work. The shinigami began his plan.
"You're not from here, are you?" Kenji asked him.
"Nope," Tsuzuki replied. "I'm on vacation with my fiancï¿½e. It's her birthday today."
"Oh, I see. Where are you from?"
Kenji gave off a low whistle. "That far?"
Tsuzuki nodded with a huge grin. "Yep."
"Is your fiancï¿½e having a good birthday?"
"Yeah, it's almost complete.
The priest gave him a funny look. "What do you mean?"
Tsuzuki sat back, smiling. "I still have one more gift to give her. It'll have to be tomorrow, though."
"Why is that?" Kenji asked. The shinigami leaned in close.
"Tell me," Tsuzuki whispered. "How are the shrines here?"
"Good, I guess."
"How is yours?"
The priest blinked at him. "Why?"
The other man smiled. "That's part of her present."
"Huh?" Kenji asked.
"I need you to help me out with something," the shinigami said.
"What?" his new pal asked.
"Please marry us," Tsuzuki requested. "I would like to get married tomorrow."
April 1st, 2010.
A Shinto priest walked to work in Kabukicho when he heard a cell phone rang. He checked his pocket. That's not my phone, he thought. The cell phone rang again and the man traced the sound ahead of him. Whose phone is that? The priest took slow steps forward of him as he followed the ringtone. The color drained from his face at what he found. A snow pale young man dressed in black with his equally pale and black-clad girlfriend lay dead hand-in-hand in the grass under a cherry tree. The priest backed up with his hand over his mouth.
"Oh lord!" he murmured.
Tsuzuki sat at his desk with his paperwork. Everyone gave him odd looks around the office. So far, Tatsumi hadn't acted on any attempts start on damage control. Maybe he'll let this one slide? No, this was Tatsumi here. He didn't play around. The guy didn't like spending too much money if he had to. Plus, he wasn't to deal out harsh punishments for crap. Remembering all of that left Tsuzuki on edge. What would Tatsumi do this time?
"Tsuzuki-san," the shinigami heard someone say. The poor man froze as his heart pounded against his chest. Low and behold, there stood his former partner in front of him. Tsuzuki breathed heavily.
"Yes?" he asked in a yelp. Tatsumiï¿½s stoic facial expression didnï¿½t care.
"Tsuzuki-san," he addressed. "Just the person I wanted to see." The older man raised an eyebrow at him.
"Why?" he asked. His former partner smiled.
"I just want you to meet someone," he said. Tsuzuki gave him a strange look. Something told him that he didn't have a choice in the matter. The man lowered his head as he quietly followed Tatsumi out the door. The men walked out to the lobby. Tsuzuki looked around with a puzzled look on his face.
"Why are we here?" he asked. Tatsumi gave him a little smile.
"We're meeting an old friend of mine," he said. Tsuzuki did his best to not look a poor rabbit about to be shot.
"Who?" he asked.
"Me, of course!" they heard a woman say. Tsuzuki and Tatsumi looked up to see a blonde woman standing before them in the doorway. Her hair came down to her shoulders and she still had her shades. Despite it being spring, the woman had on a brown trench coat. Judging by black leather luggage, it was safe to say she had a pretty penny to her name. Tatsumi smiled.
"Ah, Tana-kun!" he said. "You made it. So good to see you again."
"I can say the same thing to you," she said. The pair bowed to each other.
"How have you been?" Tatsumi asked.
"Good," the woman said. "And yourself?"
"I've been good," the man replied. Tsuzuki blinked, looking back and forth between the pair.
"Uhï¿½ who is this?" he asked. Tatsumi and the woman turned their attention on him. The former gave him a little smile.
"Tsuzuki," he said. "This is Fujimoto Tana, your and Anna's new marriage counselor." He is former partnerï¿½s jaw dropped.
"Tana-kun," Tatsumi said. "Here is your new project."