Chapter Eighteen: White Crystals:
Anna and Tsuzuki made it to Miyazaki's office. The shinigami knocked on the closed door. The pair waited, but no one came out. Tsuzuki knocked again and received no answer. He looked over at Anna.
"Care to wait?" he asked.
"Like we have a choice," Anna muttered to herself. She began looking around the hall. Up ahead, she saw that same man and girl she spotted yesterday. They looked to be in a fight. Anna watched with a bad feeling. The man pushed the girl back roughly as she shut her eyes in discomfort. Anna nudged Tsuzuki on the arm.
"Asato-kun, look!" she whispered.
"Hm?" the shinigami asked as he looked up to see the fight escalating. The man slapped the girl in the face, causing her to whimper in pain.
"That's gone too far!" the shinigami hissed. They rushed over to the couple to break them up.
"Hey!" Anna barked, "Get off of her!" The other couple looked up. The man glared at Tsuzuki and Anna.
"Mind your own business!" he snapped.
"Get off of her!" Tsuzuki barked. He grabbed the girl and pulled her away.
"Hey!" the man snapped. He tried to lunge forward, but Anna blocked the way.
"Move it, bitch!" he yelled.
"No!" she snapped. The man pushed at her again. Anna turned to her boyfriend.
"Asato, take her and run!" she yelled.
"But what about you?" he asked.
"Take her and run!" she repeated.
"Right," he said with a nod. Tsuzuki took the younger girl by the arm and ran down the hall.
"Hey, come back here!" the other man yelled. He tried to go after them, but Anna grabbed him by the arm. He struggled to push her off.
"Let go, bitch!" he barked. Anna dug her nails deeper into his arm.
"No!" she snapped.
"Fuck off!" the man yelled. He pushed Anna to the ground, but Tsuzuki and the girl were already gone. He snorted to himself.
"Fuck this, I'm leaving," he mumbled to himself. Anna watched as the man took off in a huff.
"Yeah, you better run!" she shouted. The "gentleman" flipped her the bird as he disappeared from sight.
/Asshole/, the woman thought. Anna looked down the other end of the hall and rushed to catch up with her boyfriend and the victim. She found them in the university garden and flagged her arms up and down at the pair.
"Hey!" she said. Tsuzuki and the other girl looked up and saw her rushing toward them. She stopped in front of the pair to catch her breath. Tsuzuki looked her up and down.
"You alright?" he asked.
"Yeah!" she said in between breaths. Anna turned to the girl.
"Are you alright?" she asked. The younger girl nodded as Anna sat down next to her.
"Who was that creep?" she asked. The girl shook her head while she looked down at her lap. Anna touched her shoulder.
"It's okay," she whispered. "You can tell us; we won't hurt you." The girl groaned and flinched away.
"Shhh," Anna whispered. "It's okay, it's okay." Tsuzuki watched the younger girl closely. This child's face and hands seemed to be of an unhealthy grayish-white. Her hands trembled many times. She refused to make eye contact with either one of them. Something seemed off about her. The handprint on her cheek added some color to her face.
"Listen," Anna whispered. "We want to help you, but we can't if you don't talk. Now, who was that guy hitting you?" The girl still didn't look up.
"He's my cousin," she mumbled. The couple looked shocked.
"What?" they asked. The girl pressed her lips together.
"I deserved it…" she mumbled.
"No one deserves to be hit like that," Anna argued. The victim shook her head.
"No, you don't understand!" she cried.
"Understand what?" Tsuzuki challenged. The girl kept her eyes to her feet. Anna turned her face to her. To her horror, she noticed it too. The girl's eyes looked glassy and glazed over, clear sign of drug use. Anna tried to play calm for a little longer.
"What happened to you?" she asked. The girl tried to look away.
"He's all I have," she tried to reason. "My parents and his parents all died years ago."
"So?" Anna asked. "You still don't deserve that kind of treatment!"
"Yes, I do, okay?" the girl snapped.
"Why?" Tsuzuki asked.
"Because I love him!" the girl snapped. "I love him and he loves me!" She broke down crying. Anna gently patted her on the back.
"Shhh," she whispered. "It's understandable for abuse victims to feel this way." The girl turned her head to her, glaring.
"I am not abused!" she snapped. "My cousin loves me! He was even my first!" A wave of shock slapped the other two in the face.
"What?" Anna shouted.
"I was twelve," the girl confessed. "I came home from school one day and heard some old rock 'n' roll music. I followed the sound to his room. I found him sitting on his bed with a needle in his hands.
"I stood in the doorway and asked what he was doing. He turned to me with a smile on his face and said, 'Here let me show you.' I sat down next to him on the bed. He took my arm and injected me with heroin. After that, he took me."
The girl looked up at the sky. "Ooo, that was the best day ever for me," she muttered as if only to herself. Tsuzuki's jaw just dropped.
"And… how old are you now?" he asked.
"Fifteen, why?" the girl answered.
"And how old is he?" Anna asked.
"He'll be twenty-three next month,” the girl answered. “He's a graduate student here."
"I see…" Tsuzuki muttered as he didn’t like the way any of this sounded. Anna couldn't take this anymore. She rose to her feet from the bench and stormed off. Tsuzuki stared at her, confused.
"Anna, wait!" he called after her. The shinigami leapt to his feet to catch up with his girlfriend.
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