Chapter Seventeen: Evening Dinner:
September 14th, 1976. The funeral went on until sundown. Seven-year-old Kato Midori looked like a little doll in her casket. Two days ago, she lost to months of illness. So young that it caused the whole village pain. Her father, Iwao, couldn’t perform the funeral ceremony. He had done funerals for years. The priest just couldn’t do this one. Iwao tired, but it was just too much. So, he and his wife, Michiko, sat in the audience. So painful when it’s your child.
They cremated her at night. Her parents watched on helpless. The golden yellow flames feasted on the small child. Heart-breaking for any child. Six months later, Michiko followed her daughter. Kato hadn’t been fine ever since.
May 2009. Tsuzuki and Hisoka made a request to have a background check on Kato Iwao. They just didn’t trust that guy. Turns out they weren’t the only ones. The rest of Ju-Oh-Cho didn’t trust Kato either. The background check began right away. Surprisingly, it only took an hour for something to come up on Kato. He had a profile in Meifu’s database. For what reasons, those remain unclear—for now. Everyone crowded around the computer to read. Turns out, Kato had a heavy file on him as well.
“Kato-san used to be a priest?” Tsuzuki asked in shock. “That explains how he had access to a Hell stone in the first place. And how he knows I’m a Shinigami.”
“But what does he want with Anna-san?” Tatsumi asked.
“You think that Kato-san and Haruka are…” Watari started to ask. Everyone went silent after that. Tsuzuki looked at Konoe.
“What now, Chief?” he asked. Konoe thought about that for a brief second.
“You and Hisoka go out and get more on Kato,” he assigned. “I don’t like that guy’s involvement in this case. Not one bit.”
“Yes sir!” Tsuzuki and Hisoka both said. So, back out to Tokyo again. Watari gave them the address before they left. Kato lived all the way outside of the city. A run-down apartment to be exact. The boys teleported to apartment 217. Hisoka looked at the paper Watari gave him. He looked at the apartment.
“This is the place,” he said.
“Ready to do this?” his partner asked. The boy nodded. The Shinigami teleported inside. The whole apartment was pitch dark. Tsuzuki turned to Hisoka.
“Where do we start?” he asked.
“Bookcase,” the boy answered. The older Shinigami nodded. They walked over to the tall, black, dusty bookcase. The dim moonlight in the window worked for them just fine. At first, the boys just found old books. Nothing special, really. Then, came some holy books. (Not surprising. Kato was a priest after all.) Then, along came a bigger surprise. Tsuzuki found an old little book of photos. Kato was there as the main subject of course. But… he was with a woman. A woman and a girl to be exact! Tsuzuki looked at the pictures closely. The woman looked very beautiful. She looked about thirty with soft flowing plum-black hair to her shoulders. Hey eyes were a pretty olive green. She looked so small next to Kato. In fact, he towered over her in every picture they were in together. The little girl looked cute herself. Her face was round with little fat cheeks. Her stringy honey-brown hair was parted into two long ponytails. Her eyes were of a shiny green glass color. Her play dresses looked so cute. Tsuzuki looked on confused. “/What is this?/” he thought.
“Hey Tsuzuki,” Hisoka whispered. “Look at this.” His partner leaned over to see. Hisoka held a wedding anniversary card in his hand. The older Shinigami read it to himself. “Thank you for twelve beautiful years together. Let’s have more happy ones to come. Love, Iwao” was what it read. Both boys looked at each other confused.
“That can’t be right,” Tsuzuki said. “He lives alone, doesn’t he?”
“Yes,” the boy said. “Since ’94.” Both went silent. Okay, this was weird. Was Kato shady and mental as well?
Suddenly, the lights flipped on. The Shinigami looked up right away. Kato stood in the doorway. He stared his “guests” up and down. The Shinigami did likewise. Hisoka studied him closely. With his empathetic powers, he could sense that Kato was cold yet lonely. The human turned out to be a complex one. Kato stared on at the boys.
“Oh,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting any guests for dinner!” Tsuzuki and Hisoka looked at him confused.
“What?” they asked. Okay, they hadn’t expected this at all. Kato nodded.
“Come,” he said. “We’ll talk over dinner!” Kato walked over to the kitchen. Tsuzuki and Hisoka looked at each other confused. What the hell happened?
In a few minutes, dinner was served. The three gentlemen sat at the table eating grilled fish, rice, and udon. Well, Kato did most of the eating. Tsuzuki and Hisoka sat staring at him in silence. Kato paused and looked up at them.
“Come on guys!” he said. “Eat up! You’re food’s getting cold!”
“I’m not hungry!” Hisoka spoke up.
“Me neither,” Tsuzuki lied. The older man shrugged.
“Suit yourself!” he said. “Anyway, you had questions for me. I can tell. Okay, spill it. What’s so important that you had to break into my apartment for it?” The Shinigami didn’t speak at first.
“We heard you used to be a priest,” Hisoka spoke up. “Why did you stop?” Kato froze for a moment. He didn’t look up at all. The other two guys waited for an answer.
“Yes,” Kato said at last. “I was priest years ago.”
“What happened? Why did you stop?” Tsuzuki asked.
“Back in ’59, I met a young woman named Hino Michiko,” the older man answered. “Me being young and naïve then, I fell in love with her. Michiko was a bright and beautiful sweetheart. Very rich too, she came from a wealthy high-class family. I didn’t care about any of that. I loved Michiko for who she was. There was a problem, however. I was a priest and wanted to keep my vow of chastity. That soon became close to impossible.
“I turned to another priest for help. He told me to act on my feelings in a pure way. He suggested to take it slow. I wasn’t sure at first. In the end, I asked Michiko out on a date. She said yes. From there, we became a couple.
“Four years later, Michiko and I were married. We were a happy couple. Yet, Michiko-chan kept having the feeling that we were missing something. She didn’t know what it was for years. So one day, I wished that the answer would find her. Then in summer of ’68, Michiko started feeling sick. I feared the worst. I thought my wife had come down with a stomach virus. Turns out, Michiko was pregnant. She had finally gotten her answer. On February second ’69, our angel, Midori, was born. Her mother and I loved her so much. You could say that we were an ideal family. But then, it all went to pieces.
“A month after her sixth birthday, Midori fell ill. At first, it was minor. But then, it just got worse and worse. The doctors couldn’t help her. Michiko and I didn’t know what to do. All we could do was watch our daughter’s life slip away. On September twelfth, Midori died. I couldn’t even do the funeral ceremony. Another priest had to take my place. Then a month later, Michiko became ill as well. Six months later, she was dead. It was as if after Midori died, my wife had lost the will to live.” Kato shook his head sadly.
“I have great healing powers,” he went on. How ironic! A man with great healing powers and I couldn’t even save my own family from illness! After that, I lost interest in life. I quit being a priest after Michiko’s death and have kept to myself ever since.” Tsuzuki and Hisoka stared on in silence. Well, that answered a few questions for one night. Dinner was quiet for the rest of the night. Kato saw them out afterwards.
“Tonight was great!” he said as the boys went out the door. “We should have dinner together again someday!” The Shinigami said nothing as they disappeared into the night.
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