Chapter 3

TW: Gun violence, gore, death, and references to drug use

(Friday, April 2nd, 23:35)

Zero Hr Ch 3Asami strode into the penthouse with Kirishima close behind.

“Get ready to clear out of here by tomorrow.  I want both apartments cleaned up and the entire floor put on the market by the end of the week,” said Asami.  He looked at Kirishima.  “You and I are leaving tonight and not coming back.”

“Yes, Asami-sama.”  The men were waiting for him.  They were quiet.  Tsuji stepped tentatively forward, bowing low.

“I’m so sorry, Asami-sama…,” he began.

Asami walked past Tsuji towards the master bedroom suite, cutting off his inevitable expressions of sympathy.

The master bedroom suite was locked per Asami’s instructions so Tsuji opened the door and turned on the lights.  Asami walked in, stepping carefully.  Kirishima followed, scanning the room quickly, before looking down at Jin’s body on the bed.  The poor kid had blown his brains out with a 16 inch 12-gauge shotgun by putting the barrel into his mouth and pushing the trigger.  His brains, hair, pieces of skull and other tissue were splattered all over the walls, his clothes, the furniture, and the huge bed, the white sheets still rumpled from the previous night when he and Asami had slept together for the last time.  Jin’s beautiful face was destroyed, both from the jagged exit wound in his head and the shattered bones of his delicate features.  The rest of his face was swollen purple and black.  One of his eyes was still intact though it was black from the blood that had bled into it from the inside.  He was wearing jeans and a thin gray sweater.  An almost empty syringe lay among the sheets.

“The gun.  It’s…one of ours.  From the security station,” said Tsuji.  His voice was almost a whisper.

“How did he get it out of the gun safe, Tsuji-san?” asked Kirishima.

Tsuji glared at him.  “I have no idea.  He must have gotten the combination somehow.”

“So Jin goes to the security station after you both come back from his walk, manages to get inside undetected, opens the safe after somehow getting the combination, removes the shotgun, takes it to his room, and shoots himself?  How do you explain all those security breaches?” asked Kirishima.

“How dare…how dare you use that insolent tone in front of Asami-sama at a time like…this!”  Tsuji’s eyes were narrowed.

“I’m asking—,” said Kirishima.  Asami looked at both men, silencing them.  Kirishima bowed.  “My apologies.”

Asami seemed to have no reaction, not even a slump in his shoulders.  “Why…are there drugs here?” he said, finally.  His voice had wavered for just a moment.

“It was there when I found him, Asami-sama.  I didn’t touch anything per your instructions,” said Tsuji, “He must have had a relapse.  We’ll know for sure after the autopsy’s done.”

Asami leaned over and removed the 12-gauge from Jin’s left hand.  He had to pry his fingers away from the barrel.  He laid the gun on the bed and picked up Jin’s left arm, pulling back the sleeve on his sweater.  There were scars from old track marks and they could see a fresh track, coagulated with blood.  There was also a fresh bruise on Jin’s wrist.

“How…” Asami stopped speaking for a moment then continued.  “How did drugs get in here?”

Tsuji fidgeted.  Asami looked at him, waiting.

“I don’t…I don’t know where that came from, Asami-sama.”

“You’ve had at least five hours to find out and YOU DON’T KNOW??!!!”  Everyone but Kirishima flinched.

Tsuji went pale.  “I…You said to seal the room and leave everything as is and to call the police, Asami-sama.  I was only following orders.  I’m sorry!” Tsuji said, bowing again.

“Maybe,” said Asami stepping closer to Tsuji, “You got tired of being Jin’s ‘babysitter,’ as you put it last night, and you allowed this situation to happen so you wouldn’t have to deal with it anymore.”

Tsuji choked.  “Asami-sama, you’re not yourself,” he finally said, his voice hoarse.  “This is a terrible shock and…and….” Tsuji opened his hands and took a deep breath.  “Ryuichi, you know I would never, ever do anything to harm Jin.  Not the most important person in your life.  I was only following your orders.  I will see to it that we get to the bottom of this terrible tragedy.”

Asami stared hard at Tsuji, not speaking.  No one in the room moved.

“I take it you also didn’t notice the bruise on his wrist.”

“Didn’t you…? Didn’t you make that mark last night?” asked Tsuji.  He was trembling.

“No, I didn’t.” Asami’s voice was very soft.  He turned away, glancing at Kirishima with a slight nod.  He looked back down at Jin’s body, his hands in his pockets.

Kirishima pulled his Beretta with practiced speed and fired two bullets into Tsuji’s head.  The man didn’t even have time to blink.  He dropped to the floor without a sound.  The men around him stepped back, some wiping off Tsuji’s splattered blood off their faces.

“Taniguchi, find out where the heroin came from, including the names of the supplier and distributors,” said Kirishima.  He’d already slipped his gun into his shoulder holster.  Taniguchi picked up the syringe, bowed low, and walked out.

“Who was on security today?” said Kirishima.

Nishio made a small noise. “M-myself and Sato,” he said.  He was shaking slightly.  Kirishima’s eyes narrowed.

“How did you not notice that Jin managed to get the shotgun from the gun safe?”

“We had a problem with the lobby camera, Kirishima-san, so we went downstairs to take a look at it and to talk to lobby security.  It must have happened then,” said Nishio.

Kirishima frowned.  “And you thought it was acceptable to leave Jin alone in the apartment?”

“He wasn’t alone!  Tsuji-san was here in the penthouse with him and…”  Nishio took a deep breath.  “He was doing so well last night and he seemed fine this afternoon.  We were gone for less than 15 minutes, Kirishima-san!”

“Why weren’t we told about this problem with the camera earlier today?” asked Asami.

“I…I didn’t think it was that important.  It was only a problem with plug.  We replaced the camera and came back upstairs.  We noted the problem in the log book,” said Nishio, “You and Kirishima-san were preparing for this meeting, Asami-sama.  We thought it was more important to let you place your focus there.  We were planning to brief Kirishima-san after you both returned tonight.”  Sato was staring at Nishio, eyes wide, but said nothing.

Nishio was medium height, had large eyes, and spiky dark hair.  Sato was taller and had short hair that he’d bleached to a reddish brown color.  They were young, under the age of 25, and Kirishima knew Nishio was among the men in the organization who thought that Tsuji should have been given the honor of being First Assistant.  Nishio had spoken out on Tsuji’s behalf on other occasions before the previous night’s meeting.  Both young men had come highly recommended when they’d joined the organization two years previously.  Tsuji had taken both men under his wing, so to speak.

“Both of you, get the tapes from the security cameras for today and yesterday, and bring them to me,” said Kirishima, turning away from them.

“Yes, Kirishima-san,” they said at the same time, bowing.  They left the room in a hurry.

“Everyone else make sure this apartment is secure and get ready to leave.”  The rest of the men left the room, leaving Asami and Kirishima alone.

“May I look around, Asami-sama?”

Asami nodded, still staring down at Jin’s body.

Kirishima did a circuit around the room, stepping very carefully, noting all the details.  Though blood and tissue was splattered all over, the rest of elegantly furnished room was the same.  He pulled out a handkerchief and opened all the drawers.  He did a quick but thorough search of the dressing room, bathroom, and the closets.

“May I?” asked Kirishima.  He’d stopped in front of Jin’s body.  Asami looked at him, his eyes dazed, then focused on his face.

“Yes.”  Asami walked out of the room.  Kirishima checked Jin’s pockets for any items.  There were none.  He pulled the sleeve back on Jin’s left arm again and studied the new track mark and the bruise on his wrist then picked up Jin’s other arm.

Kirishima paused when he looked at Jin’s right hand and glanced at the Martin D-7 guitar on a stand in the corner of the room.  His fingernails were long on his right hand so he could play the guitar without a pick.  Jin had told Asami it was something Bob Dylan had done with he was young.

Suoh walked into the room.  “The police have arrived.  Asami-sama is talking to them in the living room.  He’ll want to pay for the funeral, I think.”

“The arrangements are already being made,” said Kirishima, still studying Jin’s body.

“Right.  Well, let me know if you need help with that,” said Suoh, “Why did you shoot him?”

Kirishima frowned at Suoh.  “Because that’s what Asami-sama wanted.  What other reason is there?”  He could hear voices from the living room.

“Yes, of course,” said Suoh, glancing towards the door, “but wouldn’t it have been better to torture him for information?”

“There isn’t anything he could have known that we can’t find out ourselves.  Something isn’t right here.  No one else had that kind of access to the household and to Jin.  These things are always about money so there has to be trail to follow.”

“It could have been misguided jealousy.”  Kirishima didn’t reply.  “You know what I mean,” said Suoh.

Kirishima looked away then nodded.

“No one has wanted to talk about it, Kei, but everyone knew Tsuji was bitter because you were chosen as First Assistant over him.”

“Yes, and no one wants to admit this organization has been suffering from that kind of discontent in the ranks.” Kirishima took a breath.  “We need to mend that situation, Kazumi.”

Two gun shots were fired in the hallway.

“Asami-sama!”  Kirishima yelled.  He and Suoh rushed out of the room, drawing their guns.  They pushed their way through the men standing around the security station.  Kirishima breathed a sigh of relief when he saw Asami looking down at Sato’s body, still holding his gun.  Nishio was lying dead next to him.

“They tried to run but Asami-sama was coming out of the living room.  Both of them pulled their guns on him,” said Taniguchi.

“Are you all right?” asked Kirishima, putting his gun away.  Asami nodded at him.  He approached his boss and did a quick check, scanning him front to back to make sure.

“I’m all right, Kei.”

Kirishima noted a small blood splatter on Asami’s lapel, looked around the group of men, and then at Detective Shirai who was standing with his men near the living room door.  Asami slipped his gun back into his shoulder holster and went back into the living room, motioning the detective to follow.

Kirishima leaned close to Suoh.  “We need to clean house.  Right now.”  Suoh nodded.  Kirishima walked back to the bedroom and closed the door, leaning against it.  There were shouts then the sounds of a scuffle.  He waited, pushing up his glasses which had slipped down his nose.

There was a knock at the door.  He opened it partway.

“I have Tsuji’s other men,” said Suoh, “There were two others.”

“Torture and interrogate them.  No conversations.  Find out if they know anything of interest then eliminate them,” said Kirishima.

Suoh smiled slightly.  “Yes, Kirishima-sama.  I like how you’re taking control of this situation.”

He sighed.  “I know I should have done it sooner.  We won’t make this make this mistake again.”  He glanced past Suoh at the men who were still standing in the hallway.  All of them were watching.  “Get started on finding suitable replacements.”

“Will do,” said Suoh.  He made a gesture at some of the men gathering near the kitchen. Kirishima watched as the group dragged Tsuji’s remaining men towards the entrance hallway.  He left the door open and checked Tsuji’s body for anything out of the ordinary.  There was nothing.  There were muffled sounds and the opening and closing of the front door then the penthouse grew quiet.

A few minutes later, Asami and Detective Shirai walked into the room.  The rest of the police waited outside in the hallway.  Kirishima could hear them speaking quietly.  Kirishima stepped back but stayed in the room. He watched Asami closely, listening to everything he said.

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