TW: References to violence and gore
(Monday, April 5th, around 18:30)
Asami stood staring out his office window at the fading sunset. It was a clear night and the city lights seemed even brighter than usual. He was still wearing his funeral clothes. A beautifully tailored very black suit, matching vest, an almost blinding white shirt, and thin black silk tie. The suit was only a little rumpled. One hand was in his pocket.
When they’d arrived, Asami had gone straight to his office and locked the door. He hadn’t come out or spoken to anyone except when he met with a late afternoon appointment. The appointment was necessary but routine. Kirishima had offered to attend the meeting instead but Asami had refused. Kirishima had also suggested that Asami change out of his funeral clothes but this suggestion had been ignored.
Detective Shirai had called earlier to tell them three of Jin’s young friends had been killed since they were standing in front of the building at the time of the shooting. The other three were critically injured. Asami had relayed this information with very little emotion. Shirai had also reported that the town car used by the shooter had been stolen. They were still trying to track down its whereabouts.
Suoh reported that the experts had found that none of the security tapes had been tampered with. Nothing had been removed or altered. Also, Taniguchi reported that the heroin had come from one of their distributors which wasn’t surprising since Tsuji would have had easy access to the drugs.
Now Kirishima and Suoh sat in the large leather chairs facing Asami’s desk, waiting. Kirishima watched his boss, taking in his posture, the tilt of his head. He wasn’t smoking. He exchanged glances with Suoh.
Asami turned around to face them. He smiled just slightly. “Kei, that funeral suit looks good on you.”
Kirishima sat up straighter. “I…thank you, Asami-sama.” Kirishima was also still wearing his funeral clothes. They were similar to Asami’s: beautifully tailored very black suit, blinding white shirt, slightly wider fine black silk tie. No vest.
“You should have changed clothes,” he said, “Even if that suit looks nice.”
“We’re just here in the office, Asami-sama, so it doesn’t matter,” he said. Asami’s smile went slightly crooked as the right corner of his mouth turned up. He nodded at him. “I’d like a cigarette, please.”
Kirishima stood up, pulled out the gold cigarette case, handed Asami a Dunhill, and lit it for him. Asami looked at Kirishima steadily as he exhaled smoke. “Thanks. For everything, Kei.”
“You’re welcome, Asami-sama.”
He hadn’t changed because he thought Asami might feel more comfortable if he was also still wearing his funeral clothes. He knew it didn’t matter but he’d wanted to make this small gesture.
Asami tapped the cigarette on the silver ashtray in front of him. His eyes took on a faraway look for a moment and then he focused on Kirishima and Suoh.
“I know you’re worried about me, Kei, but,” he looked at Suoh, “what about you, Kazumi? Are you worried?”
Suoh shifted in his seat. “This has been a difficult time. We are keeping a close eye on you, Asami-sama.”
“Of course, you are. Someone tried to kill me today,” he said. Kirishima had called Suoh when they’d left the wake so he and the other men could start working on identifying who and why hours ago. When they’d briefed Asami earlier he’d said nothing. This was the first time he mentioned it. “And I’ve been getting phone calls from my dead lover all day long. That’s enough to make anybody worry.”
“What?” asked Kirishima. Asami reached into his pocket and tossed his phone to him. Kirishima dialed voicemail and listened to the first few messages. A shudder went through him. They were all of a very personal nature, including things Jin had said to Asami in the car in the past. He knew about them, of course, because he had been driving but he had never mentioned it to anybody.
“Kei, do you…? Is it possible that wasn’t Jin lying on bed?” asked Asami.
Kirishima stared at his boss. “You were very certain and the body was positively identified. And if it was him, why would he keep calling you and leaving messages? Why not tell you where he is so we can go get him?”
Asami took a drag on his cigarette. The tip glowed. He was holding it very delicately between his first two fingers. He crossed his arms and exhaled the smoke.
“He has been telling me where he is,” he said. He looked at Kirishima again and his eyes were almost pleading. “It could be him. That person lying on the bed, most of his face was gone…It could have been someone who looked like him.”
“No,” said Kirishima, shaking his head, “It can’t be him.”
Asami stood up. “Why not?” He was holding Kirishima with his piercing, incredibly intimidating stare and his voice was just starting to rise.
Kirishima looked at Suoh. “Please excuse us.” Suoh rose without a word, bowed low, and walked out of the room, closing the door behind him.
“It could be. Anything is possible.” Asami stood up and started pacing. He took a long drag on his cigarette and stopped in the middle of the floor-to-ceiling window but didn’t look out. Instead, he leaned with his back against the glass, looking down at the floor. “Anything is possible,” he said again, exhaling the smoke.
Kirishima stood up. “I’m taking you home. You didn’t sleep very much last night and you need some rest.”
“He’s been telling where he is, Kei. He’s been asking me to come to him,” said Asami, breathing hard. He dropped the cigarette and leaned over. For a moment, Kirishima thought he might throw up again but he didn’t. “Please get me some water,” Asami said, finally.
Kirishima picked up the still glowing cigarette and put it out in the ashtray on the mini-bar and quickly poured some cold water in a glass. He handed it to his boss and watched him drink it down. Asami handed the glass back and went to sit at his desk.
“Tell me what he’s been saying to you,” said Kirishima, putting the glass on the bar then returning to stand in front of the desk.
“He keeps asking me when I’m going to come get him so we can go to Paris.” Asami closed his eyes. “He says he’s at a building in Minato Ward. It’s near the warehouse where we destroyed Andou and his men.”
Asami opened his eyes and looked up at Kirishima. He looked almost afraid. Kirishima shook his head. “No, Asami-sama.”
“It wouldn’t take long. Just you and I, Kei. We can go right now.”
“No, it’s too dangerous. I will send some of our men. I’ll send Kazumi with a group of men tonight.”
“I want to go myself.”
“Did you forget someone tried to kill you today?” asked Kirishima, taking a step closer to the desk. “I won’t allow it.”
“I have to see for myself, Kei. I have to see with my own eyes,” Asami said, his voice rising again. He stood up and stepped closer to Kirishima, looking down at him. “If you don’t come with me, I will go by myself.”
Kirishima stood his ground and gazed unblinking at his boss. He shook his head.
“You…are not…my KEEPER!!” Asami was almost shouting. At that moment there was a vibrating sound. Asami’s phone.
“No, Asami-sama,” Kirishima said, “I’m getting you a new phone and…” Kirishima reached for the phone.
“DON’T YOU TAKE HIM AWAY FROM ME!!!”
Kirishima’s chest squeezed painfully. His boss had never raised his voice to him before. Asami let go of the phone and it hit the floor with a thud. It continued to vibrate. He stepped backwards and dropped into his seat. His hands were shaking.
Kirishima picked up the phone, saw it was from Jin’s phone again and pocketed it. “I’m taking you home, Asami-sama. Three men are going to accompany you from now on. I’ll send Kazumi to the building tonight and we’ll give you a full report in the morning. If there’s anything urgent we will let you know as soon as possible but right now you need to get some sleep.”
Asami didn’t speak nor did he look at Kirishima.
“I’m going to talk to Kazumi for a few minutes and then we’ll leave.” Kirishima left the office without waiting to hear his reply.
Kirishima sat in his office chair, rubbing his eyes. He took off his glasses.
“I want Taniguchi to be one of the three men to watch over him. They are to accompany him everywhere. Make sure he doesn’t try to go there alone. Make sure he doesn’t do anything alone,” he said putting his glasses back on and looking up at Suoh.
“If we don’t find anything at the building, I’ll call you instead so he can get some rest. I’ll give Asami-sama a report tomorrow.”
“Kei, there’s something bothering me about the detective,” said Suoh, sitting down in the brown leather chair in front of his desk. Though Suoh was huge, the chair seemed to accommodate him easily.
“He’s been filtering a lot of the information about Jin and his family, and about Andou.”
“Do you think there’s a problem, Kazumi?”
Suoh sat silent for a few moments. “No, I don’t. There isn’t any reason why the information might be bad. Andou’s organization doesn’t exist anymore and there isn’t anyone who might want retaliation. I just wanted to bring it up. It might be good to look at other sources of information.”
“That’s…a good reminder for me. Thanks,” said Kirishima. “Speaking of sources, have you found out any information about who might have tried to kill Asami-sama this afternoon?”
“Not yet, but we’re still working our contacts in other organizations. We should know more tomorrow.”
Kirishima laid his hands on the desk then slowly squeezed them into fists. “Whoever is responsible for hurting him like this…whoever is causing him all this pain…I want them eliminated, Kazumi.”
Suoh nodded. His face was grim. “We’ll get them, Kei, and whoever they are they will pay.”