Atalan (atalan_fic) wrote in yamifics,

Lies and Secrets - PG-15 (2/4)

Title: Lies and Secrets (The Other Side of Twilight)
Chapter: 2/4
Author: childofatlantis (writing journal atalan_fic)
Genre: mystery, alterniverse, angst
Pairings: all the usual subtext suspects and a few less usual ones.
Rating: PG-15

Summary: (Sequel to Fade to Black.) - The Summons Divison has demons that sleep only lightly, as Hisoka discovers when his second case becomes tangled up with his co-workers' past, and his own.

A/N: And here's chapter two. Warnings for the same kind of themes as in the YamiMatsu manga: violence, death, random porn yaoi and shounen-ai. Anything stronger will be rated higher.

Again, worship and unending gratitude to Calliope, threewalls, lynndyre and wordsofastory for beta duty. :)

Lies and Secrets

Chapter 2

"You mustn't go outside," said someone, and he opened the door and saw fire beyond it.

The heat was so intense that it made him dizzy, but the flames were black and he couldn't see through the smoke. He felt like he should know this place, but he was sure he'd never been here before in his life. All he knew was that he had to get to the other side of the fire, and yet he couldn't move. The thought flashed through his mind, with a surreal clarity, I am not really here.

"Let me go!" shouted someone, voice so torn with desperation that it was unrecognisable.

"Let me go," whispered someone else, barely audible over the crackle and snap of the blaze.

Suddenly he could move again, but when he tried to run forward, the smoke whirled around him in a maze of fire and shadow. Someone seized his arm and held him fast. The flames blew aside for long enough that he could glimpse the man barring his way, his face obscured by some sort of visor.

I have to stop him! he wanted to shout, but the words caught in his throat, and the man became a winged serpent who hissed coldly, "No."

Then he was falling backwards, so far and so fast that he lost all sense of himself, shouting (too late) that he'd changed his mind...

He was caught and lifted in arms as unyielding and triumphant as a snake's jaws, and he smelled the heavy scent of spring blossom through the shadows that drew him down. The shout became a scream as he fought to escape, because he knew what was coming, he could see it taste it feel it all around and it was blood and death and pain and someone was laughing and he knew that voice but--


Hisoka didn't know if he'd actually screamed, but he was sitting bolt upright and gasping for breath before he was awake enough to realise where he was. The feeling that he'd left something too late was so strong that he tried to jump to his feet to fix it, but he got caught in the blanket and collapsed back onto his futon. After a moment, he drew his knees up to his chest, wrapped his arms around them, lowered his head and waited for the shaking to stop.

Slowly, the world came back to him: the smell of slightly stale tatami mats, the rustle of a stand of bamboo outside the window, a long slice of moonlight that had pierced a gap in the faded window screens. The shadows in the small hotel room were just shadows, and their master was still sleeping restlessly an arm length away.

Hisoka drew a long breath. It wasn't the first nightmare he'd had since his death, but the others had been shadowy things, where he ran through unending hospital corridors painted with sinister glowing red lines. This was sharper and somehow alien. He imagined he could still smell smoke, and he ached with the need to take back something he had said or done or forgotten...

Tatsumi moved in his sleep, and Hisoka glanced at him uneasily. Dreaming someone else's dreams? The idea made his skin crawl. Carefully, he disentangled himself from his bedding and stepped over Tatsumi. Perhaps it was nothing more than that he had been too hot sleeping in his clothes. His eye fell on the two case reports lying neatly on the table by the door. On impulse, he picked them up, stepped into one of the tatty pairs of slippers laid ready, slid the door open and silently left the room.

Terazuma had evidently not been exaggerating: Hisoka suspected that the only cheaper option would have been to sleep on the streets. The paper screens lining the narrow corridor were many-times patched and discoloured in places. The guest house was quiet; he guessed it was well into the early hours of morning. Even the owner had retired, leaving only a dim light in the reception area. Hisoka had intended to go outside, but the dream came back to him suddenly when he laid his hand on the door, and he sat down on one of the hard plastic chairs instead.

The untidy writing on the older report was even harder to read in the half-light, but Hisoka had nothing better to do. He turned to the part about the demon. Otonashi Tatsuya had claimed to see it in a dream - the original report was vague on the details, but a sheet had been inserted with the diary entry copied out in Tatsumi's tiny script. He scanned through both pages, then read to the end of the file. As far as he could tell, it had been assumed that the contract had been broken with the death of both Otonashi and Minase. One of the pictures of Kazusa caught his attention; her carefree smile was almost accusing. Could the Summons Division have been that far wrong?

Hisoka paged through the report absently with one hand, the other supporting his chin. He needed more information - and his so-called partner was unlikely to provide it.

The Gushoushin had given them a laptop, which Hisoka was fairly sure he could operate, and which he seemed to recall had been underneath the reports in the hotel room. There were plenty of hours until dawn, and with luck Tatsumi was still asleep.


"Nothing." Hisoka slid the door shut behind him and kicked off his shoes. "The hotel staff don't remember anything suspicious, any visitors, or what happened to the luggage."

Tatsumi didn't look up from the laptop. "You looked around in spirit form?"

Hisoka rolled his eyes. Tatsumi didn't appear to notice.

"Of course. That's what you told me to do, so I did it."

"Did you read anything from the room itself?"

"No. Too many people have been in since the death, and too many others before that."

It wasn't entirely true - there had been a sickly blend of self-loathing and despair painted over the walls like the dark brown stains that had yet to be removed - but he didn't feel like putting that into words.

Tatsumi finally sat back from the computer, pulled his glasses off and passed a hand over his eyes. Without the lenses, his eyes looked bluer than ever, and the lack of focus dulled their sharpness.

"I can find nothing in the police records, and the family of the latest victim claims they don't have the violin in their possession. We appear to be at a dead end."

He replaced his glasses and returned his gaze to the screen. Hisoka folded his arms over his chest and leaned back against the wall. He was just considering a pointed reminder that Kazusa had given them another name, when Tatsumi added abruptly, "I've also made some inquires about Yamamoto Ritsuko."

Hisoka blinked.

"There was a guest by that name staying in the hotel at the time of the latest suicide. Her room is booked until the end of this week."

Tatsumi did not look up as he spoke, apparently absorbed in whatever was on the screen. Hisoka bit back his first, scathing response, and swallowed a second which would probably have resulted in Tatsumi's shadows wrapped around his throat. He tried to keep his voice neutral.

"If I'd known before I went, I could have tried talking to her. It would have saved time."

"Why didn't you check the hotel register?" Tatsumi countered tartly. "I'd have expected you to think of that."

Hisoka flushed and glared at him. Obviously investigating Yamamoto had not been an offer of truce, but merely Tatsumi's practical nature asserting itself.

The computer beeped. Tatsumi frowned and leaned forward. Hisoka's gaze wandered to the sliver of sky he could see through the window. Still, if Tatsumi was willing to at least consider the woman Kazusa had named, then perhaps he could be persuaded to protect the girl...


The room was suddenly chill, the shadows stirring. Hisoka straightened up in surprise, staring at Tatsumi.

"Would you care to explain the meaning of this?"

The words were clipped, their very formality setting off alarm bells in the back of Hisoka's mind. Tatsumi stood up in one swift, sharp, angry motion. He crossed the room and shoved the laptop into Hisoka's hands with unnecessary force. Hisoka met his eyes - cold and furious - for a long moment before swallowing and lowering his own to the screen.

I knew I didn't trust these things, was his first, irrational thought. And yet it was only a request for information - the worst he'd expected was a sharp remark about respecting the authority of his seniors.

The message was not from the Gushoushin, but from Watari. The first sentence read I take it Tatsumi's giving you trouble, then? and Hisoka's second thought was a blaze of sudden anger, He did this deliberately.

"Well?" demanded Tatsumi. "Why have you gone behind my back to bring that person into a case that is none of his concern?"

"I didn't," Hisoka said. "I contacted the Gushoushin asking for information about the demon--"

"Demon? So far we have no evidence that there is a demon! So at best you're wasting the resources of our librarians, who are already overtaxed, and at worst you're--"

"Fraternising with the enemy? I thought Shinigami were meant to work together!"

"--using a co-worker to circumvent your own partner, despite having little to no work experience--"

"I see, so now we're partners?"

"--and twisting this investigation into a personal crusade that the Summons Division can hardly afford!"

"Stop putting words into my mouth!" Hisoka yelled. "You heard what Kazusa said, you can't pretend it isn't worth at least looking into!"

"You see?" Tatsumi glared at him. "It comes back to your sympathy for the girl."

"No," Hisoka snarled, "it comes back to whatever the hell happened three years ago."

Tatsumi froze, and Hisoka plunged on recklessly.

"I'm not stupid. Kazusa started to say something about the Shinigami who died, and you didn't want to hear it. And now you won't listen to anything else she says, because that might just make the other part true!"

"Shut up."

"I don't know what happened and I don't care! All I know is that you're the one letting your emotions get in the way of this investigation--"


The shadows knocked Hisoka off his feet. He rolled with the blow, curling automatically around the laptop to protect it, and fetched up against the wall, winded and stunned.

Tatsumi strode towards him, taut as a coiled spring, and Hisoka was certain for one long heartbeat that he was about to feel shadow-fingers on his throat. Instead, Tatsumi bent swiftly, snatched up the computer, and turned away.

"It is not proper procedure to involve a Shinigami from one area in another's cases," he said, his voice tight with forced calm. "It is certainly not proper procedure for you to deliberately go against the course of action I had recommended. I believe it might be best if you returned to Meifu."

Hisoka pushed himself slowly into a sitting position. His whole body ached with the force of his fall, and he tasted furious disappointment like ashes in his mouth. So he was dismissed, was he? It didn't matter that Konoe would likely take his part if he complained. It would just make him a child who'd gone whining to the boss. It would make this assignment the mockery Terazuma had implied it to be.

"At least let me read the message," he said.

Tatsumi spun back. Hisoka half-expected another tirade, but instead the older man threw the laptop in his general direction. He just managed to catch it, wincing as it smacked into his fingers at an awkward angle.

His hands were shaking. Furiously, he clamped them onto the sides of the screen, willed the heat away from his face and the bile back down his throat. It took him a couple of breaths to focus.

I take it Tatsumi's giving you trouble, then? I can't say I'm surprised. I wouldn't normally interfere with a case from another district, but demons are something of a hobby of mine, and there's no-one else who'd know where to start. I'll need a description of its physical appearance, or an object it's touched.

- Watari

p.s. While I remember, I need to talk to you about something else. Come by the lab when you get back.

On a second reading it didn't sound so much like a deliberate attempt to enrage Tatsumi - just Watari's usual barbed comments. The message had been sent to the Second District's general address, which Tatsumi checked as a matter of course. It was possible, Hisoka conceded, that Watari had genuinely made a mistake when sending it. Or that he'd done something wrong. Computers were not his strong point.

Tatsumi had picked up the reports and his coat. The wall of composure he was methodically rebuilding around himself was almost visible, marred only by the jerky way he moved. Hisoka took a deep breath and made one final effort to repair the situation.

"I didn't know Watari-san would get involved. I wouldn't have asked if I had."

Tatsumi held out a hand. "The computer."

Hisoka met his eyes for a long moment, then slammed the laptop shut, rose unsteadily to his feet and handed it over. Tatsumi took it and turned away. Hisoka jammed his hands into his pockets and forced the angry, frustrated waver out of his voice before he spoke.

"This is a mistake. If you ignore Kazusa, you'll get her killed."

"She is not a part of my job." Tatsumi stepped down into the entrance, kneeling briefly to lace his shoes. "However, as you are no longer working this case, you're free to do as you like. Go back to Meifu, go and follow the girl around, I don't care." He straightened up without turning around. "Just go."


He hadn't expected the nun who opened the door to eye him with guarded hostility.

"I'm sorry, I can't let you in," she said flatly. Hisoka was so taken aback that he simply stared at her. "It's the doctor's orders," she continued, gripping the door as if she expected him to force a way past her. "No visitors. It isn't good for her."

Unease prickled through Hisoka's mind like hairs standing on end over his skin. He said, "Could you at least tell her I'm here?"

"No. I'm sorry." There was no softening of her expression: the apology was merely rote. "She won't see you."

The unease became concrete, settled into a weight in the pit of Hisoka's stomach. He cast through several plans of action, finally settling on a curt nod and a step back.

"I understand. Thank you for your time."

He could feel her eyes on him all the way down the path, and the door did not click shut until he'd closed the gate behind him. A far cry from the welcome he'd received before, and Hisoka wondered if it was Kazusa herself who had prejudiced the woman against him. Was Tatsumi - damn him - right after all? Was she just a strange, sad, disturbed child whose whims made no rational sense?

He paused for a moment, checking that no-one was approaching. The doubt was there, but it could not dispel the odd sense of urgency that had seeped under his skin. He let himself fade into spirit form and walked back through the gate without opening it.

He passed other students in the corridors, some quiet and decorous, others giggling and hushing each other, all oblivious to his presence. For the first time since his death, it really hit him that he did not belong in their world any more, and their childish voices seemed jarring, shrill. By the time he reached Kazusa's door he was desperate to return to physical form.

His soft knock received no answer. Nor did the louder one a few seconds later. Hisoka glanced up and down the corridor. He couldn't sense anyone nearby, but he felt uncomfortably exposed, and there was something niggling at the edge of his consciousness that he couldn't put a finger on.

"Kazusa?" he called. No response. "Kazusa, it's-- me, Hisoka. May I come in?"

Still nothing. Perhaps she was elsewhere. He certainly couldn't sense the vivid current of her emotions. Yet some instinct prompted him to try the handle, which turned at his touch, and to push open the door.

The room was dim, the curtains drawn. Kazusa was asleep in the bed, her slow breathing the only sound. There was a familiar, medicinal smell in the air that sent a shudder through him, and the bottles on the bedside table were an alien intrusion into the otherwise homely room.


Nothing. Not a twitch, and though he was picking up her emotions now, they were a foggy blank. A suspicion began to form, growing stronger when he crossed the room without waking her, stronger yet when he leaned over to shake her and caught the sweet scent on her breath. Hisoka snatched up one of the medicine bottles. He recognised the name at once: sedatives he'd been given in the hospital. They'd blanked his mind and conscious control, but left his empathy free to pick up thoughts and hopes and to fill his mind with disjointed dreams, all the more disturbing for their truth. He'd hated the stuff, but the pain had been worse, and he remembered lying awake, fighting himself, forced to chose between burning alive or drowning.

Hisoka shook himself. It was over. Good and over, he thought grimly, over with his death, but over. It was only his imagination that sent phantom pain through his skin to remind him. Only his imagination.

"Damn," he muttered, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "Kazusa? Can you hear me?"

He didn't expect a response, and he didn't get one. The girl was too heavily sedated even to appear peaceful. Apart from the slow, even breathing, she might have been dead. She looked very young, small, defenceless. Hisoka wondered if the demon knew, and the question made a decision for him that he hadn't realised he was even contemplating. He didn't want to try to read her when she was like this, but he needed to know who'd done this to her. He had half a theory, but he had to be sure.

He reached out very carefully and touched her forehead.

It was unnervingly like sinking into deep water. It was horribly familiar. He had to remind himself that he was still awake, that the drug had no power over him. She was deep, deep down, a thin, bright current of self below the banks of fog. Hisoka reached out towards--

"Now tell me, child. What did you see?"

"Tell me."

"What did you see?"

"Kazusa. I am going to put you to sleep. When I come back, I'll let you wake up, and then maybe you will tell me the truth."

"Take your medicine."

"Good girl."

Hisoka jerked back so suddenly that he almost fell off the bed. He could taste the drug forced down his unwilling throat, see the cool smile and false kindness of the man pulling the blankets over him. The image in Kazusa's mind was odd, distorted, overlaid with colours that Hisoka guessed were his mind's interpretation of her Sight. It was, he realised, not much like his empathy after all: a handful of sharp notes that didn't quite form a melody, knowledge about a person's past, future, present that was clearer but harder to understand than his glimpses of their thoughts.

"When I return." It had been a promise and a threat, and Kazusa had been deathly afraid, and Hisoka was almost sure that he'd found his demon. She had not remembered strange, vivid purple eyes, but he had a sinking feeling that they had bored into hers nonetheless. So. The mystery of Tsuzuki Asato was as simple as this. It was strange how he was almost disappointed.

He couldn't leave her here. He couldn't wait for her to wake up, either, or risk Tsuzuki's return. And he doubted he could count on Tatsumi's assistance. There was only one choice left, really. If he could bring himself to touch her again.

Kazusa was far too thin, he thought, as light as a doll in his arms, but it made it easier to lift her, and easier, somehow, to shield his mind. He was surprised by how effortless it was, and pleased with his own strength.

The swathe of light from the corridor outside suddenly narrowed, and vanished with a sharp click. The nagging warning at the back of his mind crystallised into awareness. Hisoka turned as quickly as he could with the unconscious girl in his arms, heart jumping unpleasantly.

Tsuzuki was regarding him darkly from where he leaned against the closed door, arms folded over his chest, long coat enveloping him like furled wings.

"What do you think you're doing, kid?"

Hisoka glanced quickly around the room. He was uneasily aware of how exposed he was: with Kazusa in his arms he couldn't reach his gun, and his unpredictable powers were as likely to hurt her as to strike an attacker. Could he teleport them both to Meifu before the demon had a chance to react? He wasn't sure, and failure could be fatal for Kazusa.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" He'd always hated questions intended to intimidate. "I suppose you're going to try and stop me?"

Tsuzuki sighed tiredly, not even bothering to straighten from his slouched position.

"Try? Believe me, I'll succeed." Those unsettling eyes ran over him in quick assessment, and Hisoka's blood boiled at the negligent dismissal. "I thought there was something odd about you. You even look like him."

That took him aback for a second. "What?"


"So I'm told." Hisoka glanced quickly from side to side, hoping to see something he could use as a weapon. If he put Kazusa down on the bed, he might be able to turn back quickly enough to defend them both. "But I'm no musician."

Tsuzuki blinked, a look of surprise crossing his face, followed by a frown. "No? That's an odd choice."

"If you're trying to get me confused or angry--" it was working pretty well, to be honest, but he stamped it down, "--you might as well give up. I didn't know him and I didn't kill him." Hisoka shifted the girl in his arms. Even her slight weight was beginning to make them ache, and he tried to cover that sign of weakness by adding cuttingly, "You'd know more about that than I do."

Tsuzuki laughed bitterly.

"Yes." There was a paper ward between the fingers of his left hand. The characters glowed faintly. "I know all about it." His voice rose in anger as sudden as nightfall. "And you're just standing there, cool as ice, as if you were his twin! But I'm not going to let you get away this time. This is the last time you ruin someone's life!"

Hisoka tensed. The accusations didn't make sense, which probably meant he was being distracted - but from what, he didn't know. Then Tsuzuki was advancing towards him.

"For the record, kid, if you can hear me - I'm sorry it was you, and I'm sorry I don't know how to kill him and not you--"

He didn't know if Tsuzuki was talking to Kazusa or to him, and he didn't understand either way, and then he was backing up until the backs of his knees hit the bed. Fear cut through him on the heels of confusion.

"Don't you dare touch her!"

Tsuzuki hesitated halfway across the room.


Hisoka drew his self in as tight as he could, gathered his power, and snarled, "I won't let you kill her, demon."

Tsuzuki was staring at him, eyes narrowed. "I know what I am... but what are you?"

Hisoka struck. He'd never even tried this before - all he'd learned about his empathy so far had been defensive - but it was not, after all, so hard to slash through Tsuzuki's thoughts like harsh, unwelcome daylight. Tsuzuki gasped, staggered, and for just a second Hisoka rode it, controlled it, secure in his own shields.

Too late, he felt himself swept up in the attack - too late, he tried to pull back - but he was caught in Tsuzuki's mind like a fly in a web (something's wrong with you, can't you see that?), and there were images flying at him too fast to comprehend (can't you see he's going to destroy you?), mixed up with emotions that turned his stomach (can't you see that's what I want?) and woke some long-buried fear of his own (what have we here, abroad on such a lovely night?), of blood and agony and a cold silver smile...


If this is all there is, then all I want is...


He didn't know who'd shouted, but the connection snapped, and Hisoka came back to himself. He'd fallen to his knees, Kazusa clutched tight against him. Tsuzuki was slumped against the opposite wall, panting, and staring at him wide-eyed. The ward had fallen from his hand, its letters dull ink once more.

"You're not who I thought you were." Tsuzuki raised an unsteady hand to brush hair out of his eyes. "You're not..."

"Neither are you." Hisoka fought to get his voice under control, ashamed of the way it shook. "I thought..."

Tsuzuki started to laugh softly, self-mockingly. "Yeah, me too. So you're not a demon, and I'm... I'm not the demon you're looking for, at any rate. I guess we both feel pretty stupid now."

Hisoka shrugged. He settled back on his heels, holding Kazusa carefully so that her head rested on his shoulder.

"You weren't exactly contradicting me," he said. "You really are her doctor, then?"

Tsuzuki blinked. "Me? No, I'm not... oh, I get it." He let himself slide down the wall and sat cross-legged at its foot. "I work with him. He set me on watch, in case the demon showed up to claim her."

"And drugging her?"

Tsuzuki looked uncomfortable. "It's for her own good. She was too nervous to sleep."

Hisoka snorted derisively. "With good reason, don't you think? And she's not asleep. Not really. She knows she's helpless. All you've done is trap her in her own mind."

"You can't know that!"

"Yes, I can. That's my power." Hisoka looked away. "Besides, I've been where she is. It's horrible, lying there in the dark, unable to move even if you wanted to, unable to speak..." Dark memories rose to choke him; he pushed them back. "You can't imagine."

"Maybe... maybe I can," Tsuzuki said softly. When Hisoka looked up, his eyes were fixed on the floor. "He said the drug would just send her to sleep."

"He was wrong."

Something tightened in Tsuzuki's face. He lied, Hisoka heard clearly, but the other man did not voice the thought, only sighed.

"Alright, you've heard my side," he said. "What were you doing here?"

Hisoka thought quickly. As far as he could tell, Tsuzuki had been honest with him, if not terribly informative. There might be a chance here to find out more about what he was facing.

"I came to ask her questions. I can't find the demon if I don't know anything about it, and she seems to be the only person who can see it. When I realised what state she was in, I decided to take her elsewhere."

Tsuzuki eyed him appraisingly.

"You perform exorcisms?"

"Something like that."

"And you're going after this demon? Do you have any idea what you're up against?"

Hisoka rolled his eyes.

"No. That's why I wanted to talk to Kazusa, only your friend has put her out of commission."

Tsuzuki didn't rise to the barb, his face utterly serious as he leaned forward. Hisoka noticed he was wearing a dark, open-necked shirt beneath the half-buttoned coat, oddly incongruous with the power the man clearly commanded.

"Listen, you need to drop this. We don't know his name, but we've narrowed it down to one of the higher ranking demons. He's way out of your league. You'll get yourself killed if you go after him."

"So what am I supposed to do, leave Kazusa with you and walk away?" Hisoka shook his head. "I can't do that. If nothing else, I need her to track something down, a violin--"

"You know about the violin?" Tsuzuki's voice was sharp, even alarmed.

"I was trying to find and destroy it," Hisoka said cautiously, "but when I discovered there was a demon involved--"

"You mustn't destroy the violin!" Tsuzuki was on his feet in one fluid movement, his agitation obvious. "Whatever you do, don't destroy it!"

Hisoka felt unease settle into the pit of his stomach. Tatsumi was efficient, by all accounts, but he couldn't have found it yet, could he? He rose slowly from the floor, an awkward task with Kazusa still in his arms. He thought he was picking up more awareness from her now. The drug must be wearing off. He faced Tsuzuki across the room, trying to maintain a healthy scepticism.

"Why not? Were you planning to use it for something?"

"Of course not."

Tsuzuki was distracted now, pacing from side to side. The calculating, detached part of Hisoka's mind realised that this would be the perfect time to teleport out. He began to slowly draw energy about himself.

"Then why shouldn't we destroy it? It's killed enough people."


Hisoka shut his mouth and glared, angry that he'd slipped up. Tsuzuki looked at him once and gestured helplessness with both hands before turning away.

"I can't just tell you!" He paused by the window. "I don't even know how far I can trust you. We'll take care of the violin, but we have to deal with the demon first. It would be better for everyone if you'd just leave this alone."

He was scanning the distance for something - or someone. And Kazusa was definitely rising toward consciousness, which meant that the other one, the doctor, was undoubtedly on his way back. That would give him two people to deal with, and a small voice in the back of his mind was telling him to get away now.

"I swear we mean her no harm--" Tsuzuki began, turning back from the window just as Hisoka initiated the teleport. His eyes went wide.


But the world had already fragmented around Hisoka, and although he felt a phantom touch on his arms - as if Tsuzuki had jumped forward to grab him - it was swept away in a rain of bright shards. A heartbeat later, like shattering a stained-glass window in reverse, he was standing on the cherry-lined road that led to the Judgement Bureau.

"I'm sorry," he said half-heartedly, although Tsuzuki was now a world away.

A vague feeling of disquiet prodded him at the thought that Tatsumi was still on the track of the violin. Tsuzuki could have been misleading him, of course, telling him the exact opposite of what was true, but his urgency had struck Hisoka as genuine.

He began to walk towards the main doors. Whether or not Watari had deliberately stirred up the situation with Tatsumi, he was going to need the man's knowledge of demons. He had a nagging feeling that there was something going on here that he had yet to see.

- end chapter 2 -
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