Tsuzuki tries to save Anna from being burned alive in the cremation. After he does so, he takes her back to her old house before that fateful night in 1999.
Chapter Two: Return to Kimoto Manor:
Tsuzuki trailed the assistant funeral director to the crematorium grounds. Right then as he thought, a hitch arose. The usual cremator wasn’t at his post. Instead, a new guy in his twenties prepared the cremation. Tsuzuki watched on slightly nervous. “/Oh shit!/” he thought. The man hadn’t counted on this! So now what? The Shinigami drew in a deep breath. He would just have to improvise now. The man walked over to the coffin and the new guy.
“Hey there,” Tsuzuki said to the other guy. The cremator paused and looked up at him. A puzzled look came onto his face.
“Sir,” the new guy spoke up. “What exactly are you doing here?” The Shinigami looked around for a moment.
“Where’s Narusawa-san?” he asked. The new guy looked at him surprised.
“Haven’t you heard?” he asked.
“Heard what?” the shinigami asked.
“Narusawa-san died five days ago. I took his place,” the new guy answered.
"Sweat drop Oh yeah…” Tsuzuki replied nervously. He just now remembered that little fact. The Ju-Oh-Cho heard about that as well. Okay, the plan just took a hard hit there. Too late to turn back now. Seeing Anna again messed up his mind so much that he missed some important details. Narusawa-san’s death slipped his mind when he looked into the woman’s greenish-brown eyes. Well, here goes nothing. Tsuzuki pulled out a bottle of sake he managed to nix from Narusawa-san’s old stash.
“Drink?” he offered the new guy. The new guy shook his head.
“Nah,” he replied. “I’m straight edge.” Tsuzuki looked at him puzzled.
“Straight edge?” he asked.
“Yeah,” the cremator replied. “No drinking, drugs, or smoking!”
“I see…” the Shinigami replied. The cremator went to his work. Tsuzuki looked on nervously. Plan A failed miserably. He had to get Anna out of that casket or she would burn to death. But how? The shinigami looked around again for a little help.
Then, an idea came to him. Tsuzuki spotted the guy’s cremation license in his brown fake leather wallet sitting on the table with the crematory supplies. He quietly took it from his wallet and slipped it into his pocket. Plan B took effect right… now!
“So you’re new, right?” the Shinigami asked him aloud.
“Yeah,” his new “friend” replied.
“Where’s your license?” Tsuzuki asked. The guy turned around smiling.
“I’ll show you,” he replied. The man walked over to his wallet. Tsuzuki watched on silently. The bait had now been taken. The new cremator opened his wallet and looked inside. Panic met his face.
“Oh crap!” he mumbled. Tsuzuki looked on at him, acting.
“What’s the matter?” he asked. The new guy looked up at him pale.
“It’s gone!” he yelped. “My license is gone!” The Shinigami looked on with fake concern.
“Did you lose it somewhere?” he asked.
“No, I had it in my wallet like I normally do,” the new guy replied. “Oh this is bad! I could get arrested for cremating without a license!”
“Okay calm down,” Tsuzuki spoke up. “Maybe you left it at home or something.” The new guy nodded with a smile.
“Yeah,” he said. “I was in a hurry this morning. I must have left it at home!” He turned to the Shinigami. “I’ll be right back,” he said. “My apartment is just a few blocks from this funeral home!” Then, the new guy ran all the way home to go fine his “missing” license.
“Right…” Tsuzuki replied as he watched on. The plan worked! Now to finish up. Once he was sure the guy had gone, Tsuzuki opened the casket. Anna smiled at him as she laid waiting. The Shinigami smiled at her in relief.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Yeah,” she said with a nod.
“Let’s go!” Tsuzuki said to her. The woman nodded at him. The shinigami helped her out of the casket and shut it back. They hurried out of the crematory yard invisibly.
“What about your friend?” Anna asked in his arms.
“He’ll be fine,” the Shinigami replied. “I put his license back on the table before I got you.”
“Ah,” Anna replied. He took her all the way back to the old Kimoto manor. The woman looked around confused.
“I don’t get it,” she said. “Why are we here?” Tsuzuki shrugged.
“Don’t know,” he replied. “Just thought it would be a good place to hide you for now.” Anna looked at the old decaying building. Ten long years. The place hadn’t been touched since that dreadful night…
“We can go somewhere else if you want,” Tsuzuki suggested. Anna looked up at him on that one.
“Huh?” she asked. The suggestion took a while to register in her mind. “No!” she said at last. “This will do just fine. I have to face my past to find the truth anyway!”
“Alright,” Tsuzuki replied. The two headed into the manor. They broke into the empty house and went inside. He took her to the old living room. Still looked the same since ’99, only older and emptier except for some pieces of furniture left over by the police. Daisuke’s blood still stained the tamai floors. Tsuzuki and Anna tried to look away. Too many painful memories. They sat at the chipped black and gold coffee table facing each other. The shinigami stared at Anna.
Ten long years. Has it really been that long? Anna grew into quite the young woman. Not model gorgeous or ugly as sin. Her looks sat in the middle. Straight russet red hair to her creamy pale shoulders. The bangs masked her forehead well. He could never escape from those greenish-brown eyes of hers. Anna’s face still reminded Tsuzuki of a little traditional Japanese baby doll. Her Japanese and American features managed to blend together smoothly. The Shinigami looked Anna up and down silently. “/Damn, who knew ten years in the states could do that to a person?/” he thought as his eyes stayed glued to her chest. Even those grew rather handsomely.
“Yes they are real and they are a 38C,” Anna announced aloud. The Shinigami looked at her shocked and confused.
“Huh?” he asked. “Why are you telling me that?!?” Anna giggled at him.
“You were staring at my breasts, weren’t you?” she asked. Tsuzuki quickly became nervous.
“Yeah… I mean, no… I mean…” he tried to reason on the spot. “Why would you say something like that?!?” Anna laughed again.
“I only tell that to guys I like!” she replied. The Shinigami looked at her confused.
“You… like me?” he asked her.
“Maybe…” Anna replied. She giggled again. Tsuzuki relaxed some. “/She seems to like messing with me!/” he thought. Which reminded him…
“Hey Anna,” the Shinigami spoke up. The woman looked up at him.
“Hm?” she asked. Tsuzuki became serious for a moment.
“What are you doing back in Japan after so long?” he asked. Anna became serious as well.
“I wanted to find out why my father was killed,” she replied. Tsuzuki looked at her on that one.
“Wasn’t he killed during the home invasion?” he asked. (A lie of course. Tsuzuki was just testing her.)
“I thought so too,” Anna replied. “But then two months ago, Kato-san came to visit me in California. He told me that my papa was murdered ten years ago. I didn’t believe him at first. Then, Kato-san put his hand on mine and shut his eyes for a moment. I felt a little tingle all over my body and then everything opened up to me again.”
“How do you mean?” the Shinigami asked her confused. Anna shook her head a bit.
“I can’t explain it,” she replied. “Kato-san just touched me on the hand and told me the scars on my heart were healed. I had a real moment of clarity for the first time in years.” Tsuzuki watched on in suspicion. Something about this Kato-san guy seemed pretty off. He heals the scars on Anna’s heart and tells her the truth, she comes to Japan, gets murdered, and Kato hands Tsuzuki the Hell stone to bring her back. Smells like a scheme.
“So you came back to Japan to find out the truth and got killed instead?” Tsuzuki asked.
“Yeah,” Anna replied. “How am I alive now?” Tsuzuki hesitated at first. He knew this would happen. Something told him that using the Hell Stone and keeping her alive was a bad idea. But yet, something about her made it worth getting deeper and deeper into this mess. So, deeper and deeper Tsuzuki went.
“I put a Hell stone inside of you,” he admitted quickly. Anna didn’t understand him there at all.
“What do you mean?” she asked. “What is a Hell stone?” Tsuzuki shook his head.
“I’ll tell you later,” he replied.” Do you have any idea why you were killed?” Anna shook her head.
“No,” she replied. “I didn’t even see my attacker. I was getting ready for bed that night when someone snuck up behind me, grabbed me, and muzzled me. The last thing I remember is feeling the wires around my neck being pulled tighter and tighter until I died.” A little disappointment crept into Tsuzuki’s eyes. “/Figures!/” he thought. “/She doesn’t know anything at all!/” He knew he should pull the stone out and be done with it there. But yet, something inside held him back. The Shinigami just couldn’t figure out what or why. It wouldn’t hurt to let her live long enough to find out the truth, would it? Surely the boss wouldn’t mind, would he?
Tsuzuki stayed up talking until it got late. The Shinigami left feeling warm seeing Anna alive once more. The woman felt the same with him after so long. Ten long years. That night brought her tragedy and happiness all at once. Speaking of which…
Anna stood up from the coffee table and walked down the hall. She used her memory to find where Daisuke’s old office used to be. “/Last door to the left,/” Anna thought to herself. She found it right away. The door stared the woman down like a cat to a mouse. Here it was. Time to face the past again. Anna drew in a deep breath and slide the door open wide.
Just like everything else in the manor, Daisuke’s office was the same, only older. Anna felt so cold being here. She wanted to turn back now. But if she did that, Anna wouldn’t know what happened to her father ever. She had to stay and find out the truth. But right now, she needed to sleep. Anna walked over to Daisuke’s old leftover futon, lied down on it, curled up, and went to sleep.