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Miwako Sato

Diaries of Miyano Shiho

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Spoiler

# 1 # How I met him ?

On a masked ball.

'Professor, I'm home !' She yelled as she closed the entry door, took off her shoes and headed to the living room searching for her Professor. As she didn't find him, and she was almost hundred percent sure he was preparing tea in the kitchen after hearing the faint noise the water boiler made. She sat on the couch for few minutes before heading to her bedroom to put on some more comfy clothes.

'Ai-kun, aren't you coming down ?' She heard her Professor yelling. “tea must be ready” She thought, 'I’m coming Professor' she yelled back. She took the papers she needed and headed down quickly.

'That's a very nice mix Professor' she said sipping her tea. 'I found it on your recipe book, and I thought that I must make you something hot and warming to relax after a day work.' Professor replied looking at the pile of paper she brought with her. 'So, any news?' She asked few minutes later. 'Shinichi called today!' He said enthusiastically 'they're doing fine and well. And there is some very good news too' he added trying to add some suspense to his speech. 'Are they any close ?' She asked thoughtfully looking at her cup. 'No, he didn't mention anything about it, but they are expecting a baby' he replied cheerfully. ' well, that is a very good news too.' She raised her eyes to meet his wide smile, 'they must be excited .. For such news' she added in a lower tone. He felt the strange aura that filled the place, tried to change the subject, he looked into her eyes and saw, her sadness. It was never easy to be alone or to feel unloved and he knew, that behind her mask of the strong bossy girl, the intelligent prodigy and researcher, there was something missing, there was a heart that had never tasted life and that had always wished to be loved. He , he is a man who lives alone, but he had a love for her, for the girl who wore the summer hat. But she, she is alone, because she feels so.

Four years had passed, since she had regained her body. After the organization defeat, she could collect some information and she had succeeded few months later to create the antidote for the drug. Soon after, and since three members of the organization could fled and they are nowhere to be found. Shinichi and Ran decided to get married and travel to study in the states. And she was left alone. Her cousins came to visit her and she paid back the visit in summer when they'd be back to Tokyo, Masumi , Auntie and Shukiichi travelled to London because Akai said it was safer, while he remained in Tokyo to keep an eye on his only cousin. Ever since then, Shiho had enrolled, thanks to akai's relationships, into medical school, and she was to become a doctor in few years. Her life, as time goes on went back to normal but she felt too old and too mature to do the funny things people do, she rarely enjoyed going outdoor.

'Ai-kun , kudo-san called in the afternoon ! I almost forgot that call' he said suddenly. 'Ehh? What is it about ?' She asked carelessly not caring to raise her eyes from her papers 'She said that she had got an invitation to masked ball'

How I met him ?

On a masked ball.

The fine sunrays came through the curtain to wake her in the early morning, someone besides was knocking on the front door, she knew that Professor was not home as he had probably went somewhere with the detective league. 'Did he forget his keys or what ?' She thought running down the stairs, 'I told him I was too tired to wake up early on Sundays' . 'Professor, did you forget your driver licence, your keys or you mobile phone ?' she said opening the front door 'take whatever you want and let me go to sleep, I am really tired' she added not looking at the newcomer.

'Good morning Shiho-chan , I'm sorry if I woke you up' said Yukiko cheerfully, 'shall I make you breakfast while you dress up ?' She asked entering and heading to the kitchen, while Shiho was thunderstruck of what have just happened.

'Didn't Professor tell you that we're going shopping, me and you ,  for the party?' Yukiko asked the yet still clueless Shiho who sat to the kitchen island serving her some coffee, 'he must have forgotten, he only told me about the party and the invitation, but mentioned nothing about shopping.' Answered Shiho trying to find an excuse for the old man who had forgotten to alarm her about an early visitor that morning. 'We had received the invitation yesterday, it's Yusaku's friend, celebrating a new night baron book, and he thought of a masked ball, you haven't been to any, right ?' Yukiko explained the facts, 'no, never' replied Shiho. 'That's good, you can come with us then, his friend said we can invited our friends, so we could have much fun' said Yukiko enthusiastically. 'I don't really want, to go, maybe next time' said Shiho trying to avoid a very interesting invitation. 'No, no I won't accept any excuses, Professor has refused my invitation saying that he had promised the detective boys to take them to a science fair or something, but you're free I believe, It's such a wonderful experience, plus, I heard that many singles are attending, we might find him, the long awaited one' said Yukiko almost whispering as if there was someone to hear them. 'Well, if you insist I won't turn you down, but it's not for the long waited one , keep that a secret' replied Shiho , her face turned red that the talk of the long awaited on.

Even though she liked shopping, and that Yukiko-san had a great shopping taste, she felt uneasy, she didn't like to be the freeloader. If she wasn't sure that Yukiko-san really wanted her to come along, she wouldn't give it a single thought. But, Yukiko-San really wanted that.

How I met him ?

On a masked ball.

'You see Shiho-chan, it's a very luxurious mansion' said Yukiko as she first saw the venue of their party. 'The owner of that mansion is one of our old friends, he offered to host the party because we used to meet up there before launching the first night baron book, he was the first editor and the host of the party, was the publisher' said Yusaku who sat to the driving wheel.  'I see, so the night baron is actually some kind of relationship between all of you, not just a character.' Replied Shiho ‘when I think of it, an old mansion, plus kudo's father, there must be some crime soon. He is surely a heavier magnet than his son’ she thought remembering all sorts of cases Shinichi solved and that had a similar start. 'Let me be positive for once and hope nothing bad will happen'. She tried to reassure herself.

The car was parked and the three of them headed to the entry to sign on the guestbook. ''There is all kinds of luxurious cars, it must be a painful party for me.'' She said imagining the bragging show she was going to see inside.

How I met him?

Now that I sit to my diaries to relate the events of that night, I find it hard to remember all the details. Even though I had not a single thought about what could happen or what changes could shatter my life or change to the better, all I know, is that it was a milestone in my life.

When we signed our entry, he was just behind me, I've seen that mask before, I do not remember where or when, we entered, he was alone unlike all the other attendees. He seemed bored for some reason. I still ignore why I kept following him with my eyes on that night.

Then suddenly there was a crime, of course kudo's father was a heavier magnet than his son. At the first yell for help, they both hurried, Yusaku-san and the strange masked man.

He was inspecting so profoundly, he gathered few evidence it seems. He suddenly went out the crowds and went to restrooms, I followed him. I still ignore why, why did I do it.

I was going in when I heard two gunshot fired as one. I hurried into the men's. I saw two people on the ground, and as blood pool under my feet. I heard an order call the inspector fast. But my hands didn't respond as I saw that man, on the floor bleeding. I wanted to help him, but he yelled once more, call the inspector.

I went out, ran to Yusaku-san and asked him to join me, the police officers followed us. As soon as they arrived, they handcuffed the culprit and called two ambulances but he, that man with the strange mask, said he needn't any help.

When everyone left the restroom, leaving the two of us alone, I stepped closer to him, carrying a white cloth. Asked him if he would you let me put the cloth on his arm so it doesn't bleed more until his assistant arrives. I reassured him that I'll try not to bother him much. He smiled back, his face was pale and covered in sweat.

It went like ages before he replied with a faint smile, a smile that was simply charming. I went closer to bandage his arm and then he said something, I still remember every word of it. “I’m sorry if  I ever scare you. I feared he could flee” I put the cloth, around his arm. “it was painful, but it's better now” he said, his face was more calm, he closed his eyes, and a faint smile of achievement was on his face.

I took a handkerchief and I dried the sweat on the appearing part of his face, he kept his eyes closed until I did a stupid move.

Until I put my hand on his mask, and I slowly took it off...

He screamed then,

I saw something ugly under that mask...

He hurriedly put his palm covering his face, stood up fully and screamed.

I was terrified, what happened?

“Why did you do it ... By ...just tell me why I shall see this face again, why would you ever want to see this ?” he yelled , insanely.

I slowly stood up, put the mask on the counter and ran away.

I was going out when an old woman was walking hurried in the opposite direction. I was too terrified to stand there and wait, or to look for Yukiko-san,  I headed to the entrance, slowly, I was terrified, what wrong did I do, why was I that curious, what have I seen, why is it all so confusing and so strange and went out, the breeze that met my face then cooled my fright, I felt better, I closed my eyes, took a deep breath , my lungs filled with cool air, I felt better and I almost forgot what have frightened me. In the mansion garden, I saw a nearby fountain, I sit down on its border and I childishly played with water.

“I have gone beyond the boundaries; beyond the lines I was supposed to stop at. I was supposed to never cross but I went I have crossed.” I thought.

A voice, a gentle voice woke me out of my childish play. ''Good evening miss, I shall on the behalf of my master apologise to you. Even though your deeds were wrong and impolite. I shall present you my sincere apology for frightening you'' and she left. The old woman who was standing close to me, headed to a nice jaguar that was parked there. I saw, that masked man, sitting in the back, waiting for her. At first it was hard for me to conceive the real thing, what she actually said, did she really apologize? She clearly remarked that my deeds were wrong and impolite, I have certainly done nothing but try to dry his sweat.

Yukiko-san, came to cut my thoughts, I saw her approaching me and I remembered why I was there and that I haven’t looked for her after the crime. “Where have you been dear? I looked for you everywhere.” She asked putting a hand on my shoulder. “I was here all the time, I felt suffocated, I came to breath some clean air.” I replied with the best smile I could fake. “We can never get to accustomed to this, I have many nightmares every time a crime occurs. This is truly bad; how could these people live saintly after taking the life of someone” She said before we headed to the car where Yusaku-san was waiting for us.

On the way back home, all I had in mind was that young man with that strange mask, I was thinking why of all people had it to be me, and why of all people had it to be him, the one I had interest in.

Next morning, I was heading to school when I saw Yusaku-san leaving his house. “good morning” I said approaching him “is there any news about the case ?” I asked . “Good morning Miyano-san” he replied “Actually, I am heading to the headquarter right now, Megure-kebu wanted to confirm few facts with me” he added “Is there anything you want to tell me ?” he asked a few moments later. “Actually, I wanted to know the name of the detective we met yesterday, I thought I could tell Kudo-kun that there is a new detective on the loose” I replied with a faint smile. “You mean Hakuba Saguru ? I’m afraid shinichi knows this one. Hakuba-kun is the only child of superintendent Hakuba, he rarely shows up in public. Megure-kebu said he paid him a visit last night at 4a.m to deliver his witness” He replied with a genuine smile “and he is single as far as I know Miyano-san” he added

.

Chapter 1

 

Spoiler

#2# The day I met her, on a masked ball.

“Bochama I’m sorry for disturbing you but dinner is set and it’s almost 8 o’clock, Your father will be very angry with you if you keep him waiting” said Baaya from behind the door of the study, her Bochama hates to be disturbed in the midst of reading, but she had to. Finishing her words, she headed to the dining room where chief superintendent Hakuba sat waiting for his son.

I was reading in the study, something about an old haunted mansion. I checked my pocket watch, it was three minutes forty seconds to eight, I can barely make it on time. My father was waiting and father hated waiting.

“Good evening Saguru” He said as I sat to the dining table. “Good evening Dad” I replied.

“I hope you had a good day, son, I am sorry I couldn’t make it to see you at the airport” he said once we finished dinner. “it’s alright dad, how was your day?” I asked, I knew my father was a good father but not the extent where he welcomes me at the airport, these are Baaya tasks, not his.

“busy but fine, I have this friend, an old acquaintance let’s say, who’s holding a masked party at some gloomy mansion, would you like to go ?” he asked but I knew this wasn’t a question but rather an obligation. It’s simply how things go on when you’re the heir of a family like mine. You have a go to stupid parties and annoying meetings for absolutely no reason whether you like it or not.

“I’d be pleased to Dad, will you be coming?” I replied almost sure of his negative response.

I dressed up, and I put my favourite mask, Erik's mask that hid almost half of my face for two reasons: first it was a masked ball and second it would give the chance to skip wearing the plastic mask I usually wear in public.

I went there, driven by Baaya who waited for me outside as usual “Be good and keep out of trouble Bochama” she said when I got out of the car. “I will do my best Baaya , thank you” I replied.

It was boring, and there was a young lady who kept looking at me, but well, she must have been drawn by the mask. I won’t deny that I didn’t keep an eye on her too. She was beautiful, her red dress and the way she looked totally annoyed in the midst of these people, had totally taken my mind.

The cry for help saved me, I ran upstairs where the voice came from remembering what Baaya had said “Sorry Baaya, couldn’t keep my promise this time as always” I thought to myself.  Yusaku Kudo was there before me, yet I have seen a piece of evidence he overlooked and I got to identify the culprit. I lured him to the restroom, and when I confronted him with my deduction, he took his gun and tried to shoot me. I took my own gun, I fired and hit his leg so that he couldn't move further. His shot only scratched my hand, it was bleeding but it wasn't dangerous. But it caused me weakness. At that moment someone busted in, I shouted “call the inspector”, but it didn't move, I shouted again as I remarked that the culprit was trying to move, she hurried outside and within a few minutes she came back with officers, only then I could feel relieved.

It took few minutes to take that culprit away and get him out of the restroom, they called an ambulance for me but I told them there was no need for it, the last thing I needed is being dragged to a hospital without my plastic mask. Everyone left but that girl, she looked concerned and then she got closer to me holding a white cloth and offered to bandage my arm until my assistant arrived. When she saw my hot sweat running down my face she offered to wipe it, I had no problem with it, she had a great and affectionate touch, she dried my face and I closed my eyes as I felt a little bit tired due to the blood loss.

Then suddenly she did a wrong move. Something I carelessly didn't expected it.

She took off my mask, my Erik's mask.

I suddenly, was like a volcano, I screamed and yelled as I never did.

And she, frightened, ran away as fast as she could.

I took my mask she left on the counter, I broke into tears, because, it's been awhile since he last time I’ve seen this.

Baaya arrived few minutes later, she found me broken, she knew what happened somehow, as she has always done, held back that shattered teenager and brought life back to him.

She helped me get out of that mansion and get into the car, she saw that girl sitting on the fountain border, she walked to her even though I didn’t want things to get worse but Baaya said that no one shall try to break her Saguru 's heart.

It was on that day, that I have felt love probably, for that girl never left my mind since then.

Chapter 2

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Chapter 3

Spoiler

It was almost 2 years ago now, that I have met him for the first time. I know how strange it seems but, he was special and I haven’t forgotten, not for a moment, how we met. I haven’t forgotten his face too. The scary face, that I still wonder about its own story.

I have done my research, and I have tried to follow every move he did but in vain. He is a smart one, and he knows how to hide the smallest details about his life. He became an obsession to me, but yet I have avoided every occasion on which we could have met. I didn’t feel just ready to meet him again and this was the most complicated feeling I have encountered in my life.

A few months ago, I have graduated from the medical school and I have returned to what I loved most, experimenting. Becoming a doctor was never an ambition to me, and I have only did it to please my mother who had said in one of the recordings that she wished I become a doctor.

“Ai-kun” Professor yelled downstairs “there is a phone call for you” he added.

“this must be auntie” I thought since the only phone calls I receive were from her. Auntie was my mother’s younger sister and she is the mother of Masumi-chan. After the defeat of the organization, she had moved back to England, to the house she left at the age of seventeen to marry the man she loved, who was an undercover FBI agent.

“Shiho-chan, how could you forget to call me for an entire month!” she started

“Masumi-chan , I am sorry, I’ve been working on a new drug and you know how I get consumed” I replied.

“Mother wants you to come home, she is ill and she wants you to keep an eye on the business here” Masumi said

“You know can’t live there Masumi-chan, I hate to live in those big houses and I can’t stop my work here” I replied

“No Shiho-chan, you really have to come, Mother thinks we need to be living together now, we can’t live apart anymore” she said

“Okay, Masumi-chan, I’ll pack for a visit now and we’ll talk there. If I really have to stay and I will do.” I replied.

Putting the phone off, I knew that there was something abnormal in this conversation. This might be a warning to leave while I still can, Akai-kun had promised me to warn me if there is any danger around me. The organization defeat was never a sure thing; we knew that they will be coming back for us.

Upon my arrival, I found out that Auntie and Masumi had left to the States, Granma, the Governess of our family house had informed me that they had to leave hurriedly because of the decline in my aunt’s health. Masumi had left me a letter in which she explains that Akai-kun made it clear that it was urgent that I leave Japan, and that I need to settle here until further upcoming news. She had explained as well that my aunt had weakened in the past few weeks mostly out of uncomfortableness in the family house filled with memories of her youth.

I had to accept to settle in England to keep an eye on the business the family ran, I have got for myself a small nice flat with a forest view, having an almost weekly visits of Granma.

Hardly could I get used to this new life, I am certainly not the kind of person who sits on chair a day long signing papers, negotiating prices and getting mad at employees who couldn’t do their job right. But, I had to do it, because family comes first.

Granma was the governess of my family house for decades, she had raised my mother and my aunt after the death of my grandparents. She tells me every now and then, some stories that once happened to my mother, she told me about her wedding and how she married my father and travelled with him to Japan and never came back, she brought the letters my mother sent which were dated to a few months after my birth, “these were the last thing I received from your mother, I feared then that she had died or that something bad had reached you. She had married your father against my will, I knew he was a dangerous person. My dear Elena had loved him so much and I just couldn’t stop her, and I truly wish I did” she said with tearful eyes. “I know Granma, I believe that love makes you take the wrong choices, he was certainly aware of the danger around him and I am sure he did everything he could to protect her. Yet, things happen for a reason and it’s out of our hands to stop them” I replied.

I was in my office one day, when the phone rang, the assistant informed me that Granma wanted to see me and I asked her to let her in. She was wearing her beautiful blue dress with an elegant hat and a cheerful smile. “You promised to come over the weekend, so that we could spend some time together. I even made the apple pie you like but I had to eat alone and raise my blood pressure” she said blaming me for forgetting to call as always. “I’m so sorry Granma, you know, I had so much work and I forgot to call” I said apologizing “but, I promise, I’ll come on Friday and we’ll even make another apple pie together” I added. “No, I don’t think so” she said taking an envelope from her purse. “this came today; you have to go” she said handing me the envelope. “it’s a party, the host are the grandson of a very respected family, you have to go” she said. “but Granma, you know how much I hate these kind of things, I haven’t gone to a party in ages and I am not planning on going anytime soon” I protested “plus Akai-kun needs to know, I can’t go anywhere without telling him or telling Amuro-san at least” I added after examining the letter. “Dear, give yourself a chance, you need to go out and see people your age. You have been working since the day you came here, and I presume that the only person you’re seeing is me, a sixty something old lady. And believe me, you just need to go out and have fun with your life, that’s a golden advice from a woman who knows” she said leaving me with no response.

It was a masked party at some luxurious venue, I got myself ready and tried to fake a good cheerful face, “these aren’t the things you want to attend but you will do just well” I kept thinking to myself.

I went in and the host of the party greeted me warmly. There were several noble families’ sons and daughters, pretending to enjoy a rather boring evening. Getting along people, a social skill that I usually fail at mastering during such gatherings. I avoided these parties for long but I was obliged to, I took a drink and stood almost out of sight, I made sure no one invited me on a dance, I felt my heart unable to make new acquaintances, maybe somehow already stolen.

Fifteen minutes before the last dance session, I was intending to go the restroom to skip this last session. I heard then a Japanese voice calling me “you were skipping all the dances, why would someone, come to a ball but never dance?” I turned around, the young man's face was kind of recognizable. He made few steps to me, and bent taking my hand and kissed it. “Is your heart taken or ...?” that voice and that face were familiar but I never knew where I met them. “if it's okay for you, I might ask you for a dance” as long as he asked questions, I couldn't respond. Something in his voice was manipulating my mind. I nodded after few minutes of silence.

We danced, swiftly, it was rather a dream but I felt lost, it was a stranger to me, and I'm dancing with him, what happened to me, wasn't my heart occupied? He seemed to enjoy the dance, I was on the other hand, thinking hard about what were my true feelings, was I happy or indifferent? How should I feel, what should I do next? He asks a lot, what should I answer him? I knew nothing of it.

''If you keep on thinking, you won't enjoy the dance'' He cut my thoughts suddenly. And I then decided to stop thinking and enjoy the dance as he had suggested.

I suddenly felt his hands grow hotter, his palms started sweating not long after, I took a look at his face he suddenly looked weak and his colour drained. I dared to ask him “shouldn’t you take a good care of your health. I think your pulse is off” I remarked. “Is there a man who can keep his pulse right dancing with a beautiful lady?” He asked with a smile. “Well, I can take this as a compliment, but yet …” I said feeling my face grew hot. “the doctor is speaking now? I should tell you that I have a good record of misbehaviour with doctors. I’m sure Patrick can give you a good account of it” He replied with smile “I used to be a doctor, I’m no longer practicing” I said unsure whether I should have revealed that much about myself. “I think I should be going; I am so sorry” he said, his face has become even paler, he took a step backward, bowed and left me alone disappearing into the crowd of people.

It felt strange, left behind between the couples who danced, I took a few steps slowly, trying to disappear while no one was looking. I headed to the restroom to fix my make-up and avoid having another dance partner. Passing by the men's I heard someone panting, it was something my ears had gotten the habit of hearing. Someone was there and he was in pain, what should I do, will I enter the men's again? The memories of what happened years ago had come to my mind suddenly. I stood behind the door, knocked twice and asked, “sir do you need any help? I can call you some assistance to help you”. But there was no response, he could have said that he needn't any help. Maybe he was just too exhausted to respond. “I am a doctor sir, if you need any help, I might give you a hand. I am coming in is it possible?” I waited few minutes hoping to hear something, but silence reigned. I entered then.

He was there, the same young man who danced with me a few minutes ago was lying on the floor, breathing heavily and almost unconscious. His phone ringing in his open palm, “Bochama are you alright?” the voice on the other end said. “Hello, actually the owner of this phone is not very well. If you can call an ambulance, we will be able to help him” I replied before the line was hung up.

I took a handkerchief from my purse to dry his sweat, “he must have forgot to have his drugs, a weak heart possibly” I whispered to myself, a faint smile appeared on his face, I heard him whisper “you guessed right”. Suddenly, that face and that smile brought back the memory of a few years ago, it was the same face I dried on a masked party, but this face wasn’t distorted, this face was flawless and I was clueless.

 

Chapter 4

Spoiler

I knew, the day I met her, that my life wouldn't be the same anymore. And every time I get invited to a party, I'd simply go hoping to see her. I perfectly know who she is, I perfectly know everything about her, let's say everything since there is no account of her existence for a good time of her life. She is a prodigy, a medical student and a researcher that had accomplished much in very few years. And that she was not into a conventional cursus. The main question remains where have she been for all these years, and why was she the one that neither my heart nor my mind could forget for a moment.

The problem was that she never appeared in parties that followed that one. And I was worried at her disappearance. But tracking her movements relieved and frightened me at once. I felt relieved, she is still in the country and haven't left, or nothing bad had approached her. But I was frightened that the girl I felt close to her, in a way or another was trying not to see me. Maybe she simply hated me, for scaring her twice.

And I knew, that someone who had seen my true face, wouldn’t come hurriedly to me.

Why of people of the world, of all girls that were on this planet should it be her the one that my heart is tied to hers.

One day, I was in my office filling papers of a crime that we have solved recently, when Baaya came in. She rarely spoke to me while I worked and I knew that there was certainly something important to fill me in with. “Good evening Bochama” she said “I brought you some juice and your pills. You’ve been working all day and I knew you have forgot to take them as always” she added putting the tray on the desk. “Thank you Baaya, I should have remembered. I am so sorry, I know I’m causing you much tiredness these days” I replied taking the pills and swallowing them. “It’s nothing Bochama, I’m pleased to serve you and I hope I’d be able to do so till my last breath” she replied. “You have been always here for me Baaya, If I can ever pay you back …” I said with a smile looking at the face of the woman who had taken care of me and my late sister like no mother would do. “Patrick had called today, to remind me of …” she said. “Of my pills, my check up and everything. I’m so tired of all of this” I interrupted her. “No not this.” She laughed “he wanted to remind me of the white roses which came to his office a few days after that party” she added. “White roses ?” I wondered. “this card was with them” she said handing a piece of paper.

‘Your pills will just get your pulse right, don’t forget them’

“It’s her Baaya, It’s her” I said enthusiastically. “Bochama, this girl has taken all your mind and attention” she said. “I don’t know what to do Baaya, you know she have seen it and …” I said and then remembering the events of that night. “We have met that night, I don’t know if she had made a clue about me and him” I added. “If she is the one, she should have known” she said.

“how should I know Baaya? how can I know that she is actually the one?” I asked desperately, “I can’t face her, I’m afraid of her questions. If she asks me about it or even if she thinks about” I added. “Bochama, you will know it, I’m sure you will do” she said raising from the chair and heading to leave.

“Baaya, what do you think of it? what shall I do?” I asked. “Invite her over Bochama. If she has any feelings for you and I think she does. She will come” she replied with a smile. “You have a plan I presume” I wondered “Tell me Baaya what shall I do?” I added. “Bochama, let me solve this for you” she smiled “Don’t worry Bochama” was the last thing she said before she left.

The following day, I found a letter on my desk. The letter spoke of a party in the few coming days celebrating the 50 anniversary of the Hakuba Corporation that will be held at a reception hall in a prestigious hotel. Later at lunch, Baaya informed me that she has sent similar letters to firms we dealt with, a few family friends and some out-of-courtesy acquaintances and that I shall send one for her too.

I was afraid, sleepless and meticulously concerned about every detail.

The party was a topic for newspaper gossip for days, and there were associates from all over the world coming, and she was hopefully coming too.

I was greeting the guests when I saw her, her blue velvet dress flowing as she walked and her face shone bright under the lights. I felt that time has stopped for a moment, “She came” I thought to myself and I felt my face grow hot and a smile drawn on it. She stepped toward me, and I lost words to say. She smiled, a smile that I have scored in my mind “Good evening, it’s a pleasure to join you to celebrate a 50 years of success, our firm wishes you the best” she said while I was caught in the sparkle of her eyes. “Thank you for coming” I said trying to figure what to say next “it’s an honour to have you here tonight” I added before some other firm director came in and she left.

“No drugs can get my pulse right now; you have shaken my world like a sudden earthquake” I thought to myself seeing her mingling within the crowd, I kept following her with my eyes, she stood sometimes talking to people, smiling to jokes they told, and I envied them.

And then, there was suddenly a cry of “fire”, I have felt that I have lost my intuition for once. The crowd has gone mad, and people pushed and ran to get out of the hall. I wanted to know where she was, did she get out of here fine, I asked a few of my subordinates if they saw a woman with strawberry hair and a blue velvet dress but no one assured me of her safety until a waitress said that she had seen her heading to the restroom a few moments before the fire took place.

Hearing that, I ran inside ignoring all orders of the fireman who said that I’ll meet my death if I went in. I tried to find my way avoiding the fire that had eaten everything, and then in the corridor that led to the restrooms, I saw a body laid there. The smoke had made it impossible to see anything, and the hot flames had torn that mask of a handsome men letting a scary distorted face appear, I took her in my arms and headed to the back exit which was fortunately open, we got out of that place and found ourselves in a back garden, I laid her on a bench there and I looked for my phone to call Baaya who promised to come quickly. I looked at her face, which was now covered by smoke, she started coughing and I saw her eyes open faintly. Startled by the fact that she must have seen my true face again, I turned to ran away. The last words I heard were “Don’t ran”. 

 

Chapter 5

Spoiler

The scent was known, the silence that reigned was known, and the answer was then simply known. But she couldn't open her eyes, they were too heavy. She tried to move but her body was heavy too, she could after few attempts move her fingers. She was wearing a breathing mask. She could feel it on her face. she'd like to speak, but whom should she call? She remembers nothing of the recent events, and she feels tired and dizzy.

'Erik' she called as loudly as she could but no sound came out. What if this so called Erik wasn’t there? This would be pretty shameful. She sensed that someone was there beside her but she couldn't guess who. She could recognize a voice speaking on the phone. Few minutes later she felt she was regaining her conscious, her eyes could open a little better and judging by the silhouette and the voice, this was clearly grandma. she tried to call grandma, even though she tried as loud as she could, her voice came out faint and cracked. She tried again but grandma seemed to not hear a word.

There was knocking on the door, a young man, who she knew so well came in, grandma seemed to greet him bowing, an old woman followed him and bowed to grandma in return.

He said something to Granma and she replied him with few words but she couldn’t hear anything, too tired to concentrate. Then he came closer to her bed, he checked her files and then said something to the old lady.

“Miyano-san, miyano-san, are you awake? If you can't open your eyes or if they are just too heavy to be opened, don't worry it’s because you have inhaled a lot of smoke. If you hear me, raise your hand or even your finger, I know you might feel dizzy, you’ll take rest and be well again in no time. they you can just be asleep again.

She tried to do as he said, finally succeeded to move her hand. “she is fine then, she has just moved her hand” he said “You can rest now Miyano-san. When the doctor comes we'll tell him all details and he needn't to check on you by himself” he added later.

Few minutes later she was in deep sleep.

When I opened my eyes next, I was in my bedroom in our family’s house. I felt better and I could move my arms. I checked the time, it was around six a.m., grandma must be awake already. She wakes up usually early. I put on my dressing gown, and descended to the kitchen where I presumed grandma was. She was preparing breakfast. “Good morning Granma” I said taking a seat to the kitchen island. “Oh dear, Good morning, why did you get out of your bed, you need rest” she said drying her hands into a napkin. “I’m fine Granma, if I haven’t felt good I wouldn’t have got out of bed” I replied trying to assure her. “Plus, how could I get any better if I don’t see this smile of yours, and taste those delicious pancakes you’re making, I’m hungry by the way” I added smelling the freshness in every ingredient she used. ‘then I will be setting the table in the balcony, you’ll get some clean air and you will be feeling even better” she said. She was very happy to see me awake and on my feet as she said.

We were sitting in the balcony, eating our breakfast, consumed by the beauty of the nature that surrounded us. “So Granma,” I asked “What happened, tell me. The last thing I remember is going to the restroom because I found a paper in my purse saying that I should do so”. “Oh My dear, there was an awful lot of things that happened that night.” She said, her eyes suddenly filed with tears. “ I was here watching television when Kevin, your driver called me saying that a fire took place where you have been, I nearly had a heart attack, he said he’ll call me back if he ever found you and I was going mad, when I hung up, Tooru-san called and said that there was a fire where you were, and that this must be their doing, he was abroad on a mission, but the men he assigned to guard you had informed him right away. Then, my worries grew bigger, and I spent an hour and a half in a total mess, unable to make head or tail of what happened before I had a phone call from an old lady, was she my age , or a little bit older , I don’t know really my dear but she said that you were taken to the hospital , and that you were fine. When I got there, he was there, that young man, was it Hakuba his name ¸he was there and he spent the whole night by your room’s door waiting till the doctor had affirmed that your condition was stable. I spent the night sitting next to your bed, fearing anything bad from those devilish people reach you. The next morning, he was there again, you were awake for few moments and he spoke to you my dear. The doctor said you were fine, and we had to take you home while you were sleeping so that we didn’t disturb you. And here you are My dear, you’re hopefully fine and well –“

“Granma” Came Kevin’s voice “Good morning Granma, Good morning Miss Shiho, I’m happy to see you fine and well” he added when he noticed my presence. “Thank you Kevin, is there anything wrong?” I replied. “Mr Amuro Tooru is waiting in the study, he wanted to see Granma, but I believe he will want to see you too if he knew you were fine” he said.

“Granma would you please go and see him while I got on some decent clothes?” I asked.

 

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Chapter 6
 

Spoiler

“Amuro-san” I said entering the study of my late grandfather, “Ah, Miyano-san, Good morning” he said putting his cup of tea on the coffee table, “Have a seat please” I said seating myself in the armchair facing the large window.

“So, I hope you are fine, I was concerned any harm would reach you. Akai-kun had entrusted me with your welfare and I wouldn’t bare to lose you the way I lost her” he said his voice cracking at the last part. “You have kept her in her heart for all these years, isn’t painful to hold that memory for so long?” I asked feeling my eyes filled suddenly with tears remembering my only sister. “she was the one person both I and Akai-kun loved so deeply. I loved her and even though she chose him over me, I am still unable to forget her, I might forget my name but would never forget the way she smiled” he spoke slowly, as if trying to feel her presence with us.

“No one knew that someone like you could be broken, I never liked seeing broken men.” I whispered “Now you think that I am weak, and the Bourbon you have always feared and shivered of his presence was a man who loved a woman so deeply, and that broke and shattered to pieces hearing her name.” He said, “Love is something that breaks you and strengthens you at once.” He added

“Because love is such a powerful thing, that leaves you unmasked, sometimes bereaved of your pride. But anyway, gives you a very sensational life, a new heart that beats differently, and new eyes seeing everything in a lovely shade... Love is just so powerful” I said, almost in a dreamy tone.

“Is our little doctor in love or what?” he asked with a smile of someone who knew me so well. “Well that’s something I totally ignore, but” I posed a moment before I added “I’ve have seen him broken once, And I don’t want to break him again, not with this stupid thing we call love”.

“Now, I have taken all details from Detective Peter, and we have-” He added before I interrupted him. “So who’s behind it? I don’t think it’s a mere accident” I asked. “It’s not, I’m pretty sure of it but we have no evidence Miyano-san.” He replied. “Amuro-san, if they wanted to kill me, they would have done it. Why am I still alive? What have stopped them?”

The few knocks on the door before Granma came in interrupted me “Shiho-san , He is here, Hakuba Saguru-san is here and he’s waiting for you in the garden” she said , “Really ? Serve him a cup of tea Granma, tell him I have a meeting and I will join him soon” I replied.

“He” Amuro-san said, “He had stopped them” He added. “What do you mean?” I asked. “I have checked the records with Peter, he said that many accidents had happened while this man, Hakuba Saguru was around, but they never have severe consequences. We are convinced that there is something strange about him, but we cannot say for sure what it is exactly” He replied. “You mean; he might be one of them?” I asked, worried. “No, not to this extent, but he is protected, Like Mouri Ran, you remember when you told me that Vermouth would never hurt that girl. He seems to has the same protection” He affirmed.

He was standing, facing a painting of mom and auntie at a young age, hung in the hall. I coughed to get his attention. “Good morning Sir” I said, he turned around to face me “Good morning Miss Miyano Shiho” He bowed. “I’m sorry if I made you wait, I had a meeting” I said as we shook hands, “It’s okay, I had a nice cup of tea and a stunning painting to enjoy, I’m sorry I came so suddenly I hope I didn’t rush your meeting or something” he apologized with a smile. “No, no it’s an old friend of mine who wanted to make sure I’m fine, would you like to carry on our little talk in the study, we might ask Granma for another cup of tea” I suggested. “Yes, that would be convenient as I think that we have a little talk that keeps getting interrupted every time” he replied

“So, first of all, I am glad you’re fine and sound. I do apologize for what happened that night, I shall express you my deepest excuses for the misadventure you lived attending the party, your life was threatened, I never thought it could turn into such a tragedy and it’s all my fault-“ he said after we seated ourselves in the study “No it’s not,  don’t worry, if we could expect what criminals planned, no murder would had occurred. And I shall express you my gratitude, If you didn’t save me that night, I would have been dead, eaten by the flames. So please let me thank you, Granma spoke to me about your bravery, you put your life at stake to save me” I interrupted him.

“You have saved me a quite number of time and I had never the chance to thank you, so please, let’s get rid of these curtesy. Well, I guess I haven't had the best moment to introduce myself, I am Hakuba Saguru, 25 years old, a detective and I run as you might have seen the Hakuba corporation” He said handing me a business card.

“Very nice to meet you, I suppose you know who I am but there is no problem, my name is Miyano Shiho, 26 years old, a Doctor, a researcher and I, as you might have remarked, run My family ‘s firm temporary.” I replied.

“I’m pleased to meet you too. I thought we would never get to introduce ourselves properly since every time we meet, it ends with some sudden tragic event. Now, I think we be met a couple of times, almost all finishing with a tragic event.” He said putting down his cup of tea

“Nothing would happen here, at least that what we expect. We’d hope that the misfortunes cease” I replied. “You said you were a detective, didn’t you? the first time we met was at the Night Baron celebration after all.” I asked biting my lip remembering that he might prefer not to speak about that time.

“Yes , I am. I am really sorry for that time, I scared you and-“ He said his voice cracked. “No, I’m sorry I shouldn’t have said that. We all hide secrets; I hide my own too. And I think it our right to hide those details that may disturb our serenity once remembered.” I said trying to comfort him.

“You were with The night baron himself then, I suppose you are a friend of Kudo Shinichi aren’t you? I have never met him but he seems to have a quite good reputation” he asked. “Yes, Yes we were good friends, we find it hard to keep in touch these days, we’re both too busy” I replied.

“How probable is it to meet two people who look almost alike? I used to know someone who looked like a twin of Kudo Shinichi” he asked. I gave a small laugh before I replied “Kuroba-kun is actually his cousin, and I believe that he had used this fact quite well while disguising. Yet, we have learned to blow his disguise”. “How is that?” he asked curiously. “Bring him a fish, Kuroba-kun doesn’t get along fish well” I replied remembering all the pranks kudo turned on Kuroba to avenge all the times he disguised as him.

“So let’s go back to the facts” I said putting my empty cup down. “I presume that you know who’s behind that fire” I added. “The police officers said that it was an accident- a cigarette by a drunken man-“ he replied. “No, I’m not looking for the official reports, you, what evidences have you found there?” I asked. “I don’t think you should worry about these things; it is a frequent fact that some innocent accidents happen wherever I be. I am true to you if I say that these are usually threats to me not to anyone else.” He affirmed. “Not this time, trust me” I replied “Please tell me if you found anything strange” I insisted.

“There was something actually” He said after a while. “there was an empty bottle of Sherry” he added.

 

Chapter 7
 

Spoiler

#His

She was a strange person. Perhaps strange isn't the right word that describes her.

I have recently intruded into her life, and maybe it was her the one who intruded into mine. But for some reason I feel her close to me. I feel I've known her for long enough to share with her, her bad moments. Something like a friend, a friend that I’ve lost for so long and that I have suddenly found. I fear anything bad happens to her, I know she’s in danger if she’s being followed by those guys for some reason that I do ignore. I can’t ask her why, we had a promise but she is in danger and she’s avoiding me. Sometimes, she reminds me of my sister, of the way she ran away from her boyfriend, her doctor boyfriend who tried to convince her that she can’t live without going through the surgery. She ran away, we had lost her and she broke his heart. She used to say “Leave me alone, and never follow me again, because I don't want to imagine your eyes filled with tears the day they burry me under earth, and I don't want you to cry on my tomb saying that I was a good person who had always cared for you, I don't want you to feel that you no longer had a sister, I don't want all this, I want you to be happy, to live happy and to get over your loss” and I used to get angry with her, she was the only person who mattered in my life. We grew up with no parents, Baaya always took good care of us. And I couldn’t imagine my life without her, but I lived it all and I survived her loss. But, I can’t imagine losing Shiho, and I know, if they tried to kill her once, they’d do it again, and again, and they won’t cease unless they finish her.

#Hers

It was how I met him, how I met the man who could melt the ice surrounding my heart, who could shatter the walls I’ve enslaved myself within, who brought me back to life; the life I stopped enjoying for so long, and he is the one who made me forget for a while my past. Saguru was someone who turned my life upside down, who taught me to look into the inside of things because, appearances are always deceiving. Because the handsome face he had, covered one of the scariest distortions, and because that scary distortion hid his kind soul and his loving heart.

I could see his heart; the same way he could touch mine.

And I have seen how much he cared for me, and I feared that our love might grow bigger each day, my worries grew bigger each day; Because, I was no innocent, the dark past, the black organization, I never told him about, and I feared telling him that I have killed people on my way through this life, that I have created a poison that leaves no trace of the crime, even a smart detective like himself, wouldn't discover it. It was not easy to admit it, and to see the weight of the crimes I did, unintentionally at times. Will I have to let go the love which made my life flourish? What I feared most was I breaking his heart. I feared breaking my heart too, if he ever left me alone, if he can't simply spend his life with a criminal, I shall put an end to my existence, I feel myself worthless without him.

 

Chapter 8
 

Spoiler

 I was in my office when Anna, my assistant, informed me that someone wanted to meet me, when I asked who it was, she said “A doctor”, I asked her to let him in.

“When Anna said that a doctor wanted to see me, I had a hunch but this is a good surprise” I said when she went in, in her beautiful strawberry hair and a knee length green dress. “I thought it would be nice to pay a visit back.” She replied in her ever charming voice. “Well, please have a seat, would you like a coffee or juice or I don’t know, anything you like?” I asked feeling suddenly tense. “Water please” she said hiding a laugh. “Really, we can have some tea” I said surprised by own voice and behaviour. “No, really, water is fine” she said, her smile widening as if she no longer can hide her laughter. “Okay, then, Anna will bring it in a moment” I replied, trying to get back my composure.

“So, Hakuba-kun …” she said before I interrupted her “call me Saguru please”. “Okay, Saguru I am flying back to japan tomorrow and I don’t know if I’m coming back soon, so I wanted to ask you if you have any clues about that accident. You didn’t call back and-“ she stopped for a moment as if remembering not to say something. “I knew you wouldn’t tell me anything that’s why I came, I hope you’d tell me everything you know.” She added.

“It wasn’t an accident that’s true. You have to pay attention that’s all I can say and If it’s possible, I’d suggest that you cancel this trip” I said after a while, I can’t tell her more, I won’t tell her that I knew who these bastards are. “It’s alright, I’ll be fine, I have someone to secure me a way there, if I get there alive that is” she said sarcastically. “Well, I’d be thankful if you called once you get there …” I said in a little of doubt. “I left you something with Miss Anna, I hope you like it” she said. “Would you like to tell me what it is ?” I asked. “A bouquet, chamomiles, I put along a card, I wrote the number you might reach me on, in Japan. My ‘Baaya’ number” she replied her eyes filled suddenly with a sparkle. “You are making fun of me now, I understand” I said remembering how my sister used to tell me to stop calling Baaya, ‘Baaya’, that I should at my age behave like a grown-up not a child who needs his Baaya.

“If I can ask you another favour, I know I’m asking too much” she said after a while. “what is it ? I hope I can do it” I replied wondering what it could be. “Well, it’s not a hard task. I have a certain detective that doesn’t need to know about what happened here. No threats, no fire, especially no bottle of Sherry, not a single detail” she said in a low voice as if whispering. “Is that Kudo Shinichi?” I asked pretending a surprised look. “Well, he can turn my life into hell and I want to go and have a rest not get followed by some detective” she said in total boredom. “Well, I guess if Kudo Shinichi keeps an eye on you, I’d be sure no harm will reach you” I said in a calm tone. “You have no idea how annoying he is when he has no case to solve. Unless people are dying everywhere, he feels free to play on my nerves.” She said trying to convince me. “Well, I will see what I can do about it” I replied remembering the many pranks Kaito turned on me and thinking how awful it would be if these cousins shared such a hobby.

“Saguru, please We’ve been invited to attend one of our friend’s wedding; Hattori-kun I’m sure you know him. If anyone gets wind of what happened here, they’d get tense and the questions, we had concealed its answers, would raise again.” She said in a trembling voice.

 

Chapter 9

Spoiler

“Hello, professor, is Miyano-san here?” I asked the voice on the other end of the phone. “Hello, who is it?” the voice replied. “It’s me, Hakuba Saguru, I called last week” I introduced myself. “Ah , Hakuba-kun, I’m sorry I didn’t recognize you, Ai-kun is out with her friends now. Shall I ask her to call you back when she comes?” he said. “No, I just wanted to ask you about your address, I’m coming tomorrow and I thought about surprising her.” I asked. “Sure, your welcome. It’s in Beika City, it’s a white house with a dome, just next to Kudo-kun’s” he replied. “So professor, don’t tell her please. She doesn’t know that I am invited as well to Hattori-kun’s Wedding.” I said before hanging up.

“Bochama, your luggage is ready, I’ve packed everything and I packed the present as well.” Baaya said entering the study. “that’s good Baaya, I’ll have to check some papers first and finish some tasks in the office. The problem is Grandmother will be angry with me if I don’t go to the airport to pick her up, and my plane take flight 2 hours before her arrival” I said checking once again my plane ticket. “I’ll explain everything to her Bochama don’t worry. You have to attend the Hattori’s Wedding because your father is too busy with these cases.” Baaya replied. I finished taking my papers and headed to the door, I stopped for a moment then “Baaya, do you think she will like the present.” I asked worriedly. “Yes , she will Bochama” she replied with a smile.

“Professor, I'm home !” I yelled closing the front door behind me. “Ai-kun, welcome back” he yelled “I’m in the kitchen” he added. I went in the house and he was here, I’m sure I’m not mistaken. “Professor, is this house in a total mess or am I wrong ?” I asked putting my handbag on the only clean counter. “Natsumi-kun was here in the  afternoon.” He answered still taken by all the cleaning he had to do. “Oh, I wonder where did this girl get her naughty genes” I said letting out a sigh. “And where is her foolish father who can’t take care of his daughter probably because of a tough case?” I asked a few minutes later. “Right here” came the answer from behind. “Well, welcome back detective” I said as I turned around to face him. “it’s been a while, am I wrong?” I added checking his new haircut and his use of glasses now. “Yes it was, Doctor” He said seating himself on a stool near a counter. “So how are you?” he asked, “I’m pretty fine, but I don’t think natsumi-chan is” I replied hearing the little cries natsumi gave. His face went blank before I hinted him “I believe Natsumi-chan has been playing in the bathroom and she has locked herself in the cabinet door, which professor hasn’t found the time to fix, for two years.” He ran Upstairs hurriedly. “Ran-san will kill him is she knew” Professor said turning off the heat on the tea boiler.

“Good evening Sir” said Masako, the governess’s daughter giving me a pair of slippers. “Good evening Masako-san, You’re not in college?” I wondered knowing that she should be in the college this time of the year. “My mother was ill, so I came.” She answered “Superintendent Hakuba is in his room, and the Lady is waiting for you in the study. Dinner should be served in half an hour” she added checking her watch. “Granma is here? “I asked suspiciously. “Yes, sir , and she wants to see you” she replied.

“Come in son” came the faint voice behind the door after I knocked for the third time. I pushed it open and went in, she was standing by the chess set. “Granma, welcome back, you asked to see me ?” I said making a few steps toward her. “Your manners Young man, watch them” she said in an unheard voice. “I presume you’re mad at me, I can guess the reason, Yet I wouldn’t spoil this beautiful moment making deductions” I said waiting for her to turn around and face me. “I am very disappointed by your behaviour. I always knew you were running through danger and I have forbidden you playing this detective game.” She said still turning her back to me. “I have warned you Saguru” she turned around “thousands of times Saguru, I told you thousands of times that I hated seeing that woman. She came to tell me that my only grandson is trying to get himself killed because of some girl” she added, her eyes were furious. “You’re running through the most dangerous men, you’re one of their targets because of that girl” she slammed the table so hard, some pieces of chess fell to the ground.

“So she came, here after 25 years. Let me guess, she remembered she had a child, a child that she, by her own free will abandoned?” I made a few steps toward the windows. “and how surprising of you Granma, why did you accept to see her, talk to her and she even got to convince you, didn’t she?” I added.

“Why are you breaking my heart son? just let that girl alone and go back to London. You don’t need to get into this” Granma said rather pleading. “I wouldn’t believe her but you know… when it comes to dangerous men , she knows best” she added a few minutes later.

“Granma” I said turning to face her, and tearing the mask that covered my face.

She gasped.

“see, you couldn't bear seeing this face, but she did, she stared at it, touched every single part of it, passed her gentle hand over it, but she wasn't scared of it. Do you see why I would rather die saving her than living without her, without the one that unlike my mother didn't feel terrified looking at my face, unlike the mother you are, who left her son because of his ugliness.” I said looking deep into her eyes, into the eyes of the woman who was my mother and to whom I had no love. She started to gather her composure when I said “Grandma called me this morning saying her flight is postponed to the early dawn, and Baaya sent me an email a few minutes ago saying that Granma had arrived London and that her health has improved. I think you can go; you have done what it needs to be done. You came to warn me and It didn’t work. I guess this is goodbye.”

“Do you know? throughout my life I have had so many enemies, more than you can imagine, but I have never felt such hatred, your life must have been painful.” She said after a while. “painful is the least to be said, but, your words will never change a thing for me. Every time and then, I discover more shocking deeds of yours, and I feel thankful because I don't feel the thinnest relation of mother and son between us, and one day, I'll be one of two men; either the one who puts cuffs on your hands or the one who'd shoot you dead, and in both ways, I'd be happy to put an end to your existence and my pain.” I said heading to the door to leave.

“oh, dear, you know nothing of this life. I'm the ghost haunting so many people, even him couldn't dare to kill me. Speaking of the devil, he wants to see you.” She said in her own voice. “Now we're speaking of my cherished father aren't we?  What does he want exactly? Is he afraid that his men might kill me because of the girl I love?” I asked with a heavy sarcasm.

“He wants to name you; you have to take over” she replied. “You're insane, aren’t you? Why would I join you? I am becoming a first rank detective in few months, am I mad or something to join some organization like yours?” I asked furiously. “We pay for everything; we're paying you the highest. We need you as bad as you need us” she said in her ever cold tone. “Why would I need you? You’re going to pay me to become a criminal?” I asked.

“The Hattori wedding you’re attending tomorrow, I don’t know if all those people mean a thing for you because, there will be a catastrophe there. I have snipers all over the place, I might decide to poison the cake or the wine, I thought as well of exploding the bride’s and the groom’s limo. I can think of numerous accidents and it takes me a phone call to execute them” she after seating herself in front of the chess set. “So, you can come with us, and bring her along or you can carry the weight of that catastrophe for the rest of your life, and then I might attend the wedding and kill her with my own hands” she added while she moved the childishly the pieces.

“Am I supposed to believe you? You're not trustworthy, what if you kill her after I join you?” I asked trying to calm my nerves.

“Well, I can't do anything about it. She might accept working for us again and thus you keep an eye on her. We can feel dependent to her, we might let her live.” She added still moving the pieces and getting on my nerves.

“When am I supposed to respond?” I asked a few minutes later.

She rose from the chair, took her purse and headed to the door. She stopped before opening it “A black Porsche will come to take you at 3a.m. Call her, and tell all your friends that you had some urgent work at London and that you went back. I hate intruders, don’t bring along any phones or gadgets. Gin won’t be nice to you even if you’re the heir” she said before leaving.

 

Chapter 10

Spoiler

“Saguru, what’s wrong?” called my father for the fifth time that evening, I was speechless and I couldn’t eat a bite. Her words had taken all my mind, what will I do and how will I ask Shiho to come along to that place. “Son,” he said touching my hand, “I don’t know what she told you but I am sorry for everything. She sounded very upset when she spoke to me, saying that protecting Miyano-san will only get you killed. I’m truly sorry because I can’t help but son, this life in unfair and you know that very well. I loved your mother, and I still love her but she, she is different and she can’t love back. She won’t love me back, that’s a truth I’ve known for thirty years. She is possessed by that man like a ghost. -“He said before I interrupted him. “In twenty-six years, this is the first time you spoke of her. Why is that? why did I grew up ignoring the woman who was my mother and why should I listen to her?”. I looked at him, my father was for once different, not the strong father that wouldn’t get moved by anything, his eyes were blank somehow as if remembering something. I rose from my chair, I knew that I had to go and see Shiho, we had no time. “I just wonder …” I said taking a few seconds to think of the best way to say it “how could you marry someone like her, you’re a man of justice and she, she is a very dangerous criminal?” I paused a few seconds then headed to my bedroom, I was climbing the stairs when I heard him whisper “I loved her too much”.

It was a few minutes past nine, I took my phone for the fifth time and I wondered how can tell her to join me on such a crazy journey. It hurts, to take her back to that place, knowing what she went through there but, hundreds of lives would depend on this decision. I felt exhausted, i can’t drag her back to that old, Tooru-kun told me a lot of things about her, and I felt it was some kind of betrayal; that life hurt her so much and she didn’t deserve this, didn’t deserve to go back to that hell.

I made a cup of tea to relax, I bought some novels that I hadn’t the time to read in England, and on this nice starry night, it felt so right to read under the moonlight. I read a few pages, the house was quiet, Professor was attending some inventors’ ceremony and I have just finished packing for the trip to Osaka where the wedding was to be held.

The phone suddenly rang. And no feels good about a phone that rings suddenly.

“Hello” I said wondering what bad news was I expecting. “Shiho-chan, it’s me” said the voice on the other end.

“Saguru-kun, it’s been a while, how are you?” I asked, half relieved that this wasn’t that crime magnet calling to inform me about some disaster. “Fine, and you?” Saguru asked. “Fine actually, Granma said that you had heavy rain in London, you are not wearing thin aren’t you?” I asked knowing his bad habits of neglecting his health. “Well, I’m fine, I’m not actually in London” he replied. “Where then? Business trip?” I asked. “No, actually, Hattori-kun invited me to the wedding, So, would you open the door please?” he replied. “Are you standing by the door?” I asked in disbelief, and headed to the front door to open it. “Thank you” he said entering, “what a surprise” I closed the door and walked him to the terrace. “Shall I make you a cup of tea?” I asked still under the effect of the surprise. “No, we need coffee, really strong coffee because unfortunately I’m not bringing good news” he replied, his voice cracked and his smile suddenly vanished. And then, I was just uneasy.

Back with coffee, he was still seating still, his head rested in his hands, covered by his palms, he lifted his head slowly looking at me with blank eyes, I sat facing him, searching for the words to say. It felt hard to see him like that and I simply didn’t know what to expect, what bad news will he speak.

“Saguru ..” I said, I heard my voice weak tone and it scared me “please say it straight, whatever it is, I have no nerves to hear a long introduction” I said trying to control my voice and my nerves as much as I could.

“Shiho, there is no other way to say it, my mother came today and she wants us” he said trying to make no eye contact.

“Your mother?” I wondered “You never spoke of her, and what does she want from us?”

“You know her very well, maybe if I said Vermouth you’d recognize her.” He said. I was suddenly speechless, I remembered it all, all those years in that hell. The days I could never forget, the days that were so dark and the days which stained my memory. “I’m sorry…” he added “I should have told you this but, I just couldn’t know how I’d do it.” He said, his voice cracked and he looked suddenly paler.

“I don’t understand, just tell me what does she want from us?, wasn’t she trying to kill me two months ago?” I asked feeling lost.

“she said that if we don’t join them, she would do all kinds of ‘incidents’ tomorrow at the wedding, and she would kill you on the spot” he replied, his eyes fixed on the cup of coffee that no longer produced steam.

“You mean we’re left with no good choices.” I paused a moment, trying to find the courage to tell them about it all, about all the reasons that make me unable to go back there. “Saguru, I never told you about this but, …”he interrupted me. “Shiho, you don’t need to. Tooru-kun told me about it all.”

“Tooru-kun?” I exclaimed. “he came to my office a few days ago, saying that based on his experience, I should follow you at once because you’d ran away and you’d never be back to London. Because you are scared of your past, and he said that whatever you lived isn’t something that one should remember.” He said looking into my eyes, I felt my face grow hot and my tears running down, the memories I kept hidden for years had come to light, and I felt out of words, somehow chocked or out of breath. the memories were coming back and everything, the voices, the smells everything suddenly felt so true.

“Shiho, are you alright?” he said numerous times but I couldn’t respond, he stood up and hurriedly came back with a glass of water and gave it to me.

“Are you better? I’m sorry, I really am.” He said seating back in his chair. “it’s alright” I replied, hardly finding the words. “So, we need to go I suppose, we can’t risk the lives of all these people. And at worst, they’d kill me, I’m sure no harm would reach you and this is reassuring” I said a few minutes later.

“No, I wouldn’t accept this. I’ll find a way and we will be both fine” he replied and I felt his doubt in his voice.

There was silence that fell between us. And time went on very slowly. We sank in ours thoughts for a while, and I could see him broken as much I was. But there were no words to ease our fear, and there was no way to escape our fate.

“Shiho,” he said suddenly. “What it is Saguru?” I asked trying to smile. “I brought you this, this a promise that no harm shall reach you.” He said putting a ring box on the coffee table. I took it and opening it, there was a beautiful golden ring with an emerald stone. “I can’t take it Saguru” I said putting it back on the table. “I’m not the right person for you and you know that. And I wouldn’t let you make a promise that you can’t keep. Once we’re there, our lives will depend on a single order from some psychopath…  my safety is just beyond your control.” I added my voice becoming weaker with every word. “What we are about to do, is the only choice we have, don’t be sad and don’t cry over my tomb, if I ever got one, saying that you loved me because it will only add to your grief. Live well and get a girl who doesn’t have a torturing past like mine, you have a good heart and you deserve all the best. My days have become numbered and I must be lucky to have lived until now…-“

“Stop this Shiho, I am sorry I dragged you into this but trust me, I’d anything, literally anything to assure your safety” he interrupted me.

“You know nothing of that place… no one leaves alive, that’s the first thing they tell you there.”

 

Chapter 11

Spoiler

She was shaking like a leaf, and it hurts to see her like that. We were at my home, in the study waiting. The clock showed 15 minutes past one. She was writing some papers and I pretended to read some book. I heard her sighs and her sobs, she was hurt and if it wasn’t for the safety of all these people, I wouldn’t put her through this, but I had no choice, and it felt truly unhuman. She rose her head sometimes, looked at me for a few minutes, her eyes were sad and pleading, and I felt my heart bleeding, why, why did this woman come back to ruin my life, our life.

“I’m done,” she said raising from the chair and approaching me, “I’ve written to Masumi-chan, Kudo-kun, Granma, Tooru-kun and Akai-kun. Along with the one we left at the professor’s, we can say that we had assured them of our whereabouts. I mentioned that we travelled back to Australia, because your grandmother was ill, very ill and we don’t know when we will be back. And I added in invisible ink that if they have fears that we’re lying to them, they shouldn’t believe it. Unless they want us to be gone forever that is.” She said putting the letters sealed on the table. “you can put off that book and stop watching me” she added seating herself.

“I’m sorry” I put down the book, and looked in her deep eyes which no longer shone. “Shiho, whatever what happens, I need you to know that I do love you. I’m sorry, but-“ she interrupted me. “Saguru, whatever what happens tonight, you need to know that it’s not your fault. This is what my parents started, and how it ends for people like me. I was one of them, I hadn’t a choice then too, I really didn’t. I was living in my father’s friend house, and they came and took me. They left me for weeks in a cell or something, and one night,-“ she paused for a moment, then I saw tears on her face, she wiped them with her bare hands and said in a cracked voice “ ‘whatever what happened that night,  it’s not your fault.’ That’s what Akemi-chan always said. Trying to make it easy for me, after that, I had to work day and night, I carried on the researches of my parents after their death. And I grew heartless, because tears were not enough, and sadness wasn’t a relief. I worked hoping that maybe someday, they would –“ her sobs grew heavier and her tears ran like drops of rain. “Shiho, please “I pleaded her to stop, I saw her fighting her memories, the memories I brought back.

“then when Akemi-chan was killed” she said a few minutes later “I had no hope of leaving that place and I tried to commit suicide because I was alone, and death was way better than remembering that night”.

“This won’t happen again, I promise” I said touching her hands, which were shaking, “I’m here now and you’re not alone, keep that in mind”.

“This is a moment to be cherished, to see the son in person, and my long not seen niece.” He said, his face was shadowed but his devilish smile was wide. We ended here, in his office after a two-hour trip, we stood for a few minutes before he gestured us to sit down. She, my mother was there, standing by the window, a glass of wine in her hand. Her face wasn’t the same ageless face I saw last time, she was for some reason worried and it kept me uneasy. Shiho, as well, who sat facing me, was worried, I saw her hands shaking a bit and her eyes, were just different. “I can't feel the same, we are both dead for you, aren't we?” I said, trying to sound as strong as I could, I was afraid because I couldn’t predict his actions, and I had to protect my love for whatever cost.

“if you got the chance to live again, then you might deserve it.” He said giving her a signal to leave, but she didn’t.

“I don’t feel you’re entitled to judge whether I deserve to live or not. You are a heartless man who judged my existence of no use. I haven’t come here to hear anything from you, I have come here to avoid a disaster planned and executed by some psychopaths.” I replied looking fiercely into his eyes.

“So you found a psychopath to love? Won’t you speak my beloved niece?” he asked turning his gaze to Shiho who rose her head to face him. “You have no business with her” I said firmly “and you have no say about who I love.” I added when he looked at me.

“The only mad man here is you” Shiho said, her voice was suddenly cold “Isn’t it madness when you kill your own brother, the one who sacrificed his life to cure you” she added when his eyes pierced into hers.

“You’re getting trouble for yourself” Vermouth said then, I saw him touching some keys on his keyboards and in seconds, two huge men came in, and dragged Shiho out of the room, she gave in and made no sound, I rose to follow them but vermouth put a hand on my shoulder and said “if you make another step, I’ll make sure she dies before they get to her cell”. I sat back, thinking of Shiho, feeling that I have betrayed her, and we only were here for a few hours.

“Now, follow me” she said when he made another signal to her.

We left the room and went down a corridor, and then we headed to a lower floor. There were many doors, she stopped in front of the fifth one and said “this will be your room, hers is the next one”. She opened the door and we went in, there was a single bed, a closet, a desk and a chair. “sit down” she motioned to the bed. And I did as she said, she leaned to the desk and lighted a cigarette.

“Saguru, I’ve never been sorry for anything, anything but letting you away” she said her eyes were blank for a moment. “But, a secret makes a woman, woman and this is a secret you should keep if you want to leave this place alive” she added making a few puffs from her cigarettes.

“We will leave alive” I said.

“Look, tell her to behave, because he gets angry easily and Gin, hates you both. And I can’t stop Gin” she said, her eyes grew alive suddenly.

“Why are we here?” I asked firmly.

“He is dying, and she is the only one we trust to complete the drug before he’s gone. If she does, you will be free, both of you. Else, I can’t guarantee, which of us, Gin or me will take her life first” she replied, straightening herself “and I hope your friends won’t pay us a visit, the last time they did, we hadn’t a great time” she added.

“We did as you asked, we told them we left to Australia, but I needn’t to remind you that you too should behave. You’ll ask your men to bring her here immediately” I said.

“You’re not threatening me, are you ?” she said almost laughing. “Trust me, it’s for your benefit” I replied. “If she works faster, you’ll be sure he is saved.” I added. “Tell her to work fast then, I suppose you have a wedding to plan.” She replied smashing the cigarette with her shoe. “You gave her a promise ring, but she refused it” she said looking deep into my eyes. 

“Why am I here ?” I asked a few minutes later, “You could have kidnapped her and it would be less trouble for you” I added.

“I thought you were smart enough to know why” she gave a big smile, devilish. “I see very well that she loves you, and I thought a little pressure won’t hurt. If she knows you’re in danger, she’ll work even faster” she said before she turned her back and left.

Chapter 12

Spoiler

#12# Confession

A secret, makes a woman, woman

And that secret I hid for long, was the worst of all.

I has just arrived from New York and I went to see him, his health is becoming worse every day and I had no idea what could we do, to heal him. Years ago, this was what his younger brother did, he worked day and night hoping to develop a miracle drug, but he failed, and that person was so enraged that he ordered to kill him, and the daughter started working on it, and she could do better than her parents.

“They found Sherry” said that person when I entered his office. “She will be here tonight” he added. I asked for details. A perfect plan, the venue of a party, we will cause a fire and kidnap her, and while everyone will think that she was cold dead, she will be here, working for us.  

It was almost time, to carry on the plan, I was proof checking the plan looking for any weak point, when I suddenly reread the name of the host, Hakuba Saguru.

'Abort' I ordered everyone.

He was in his office, working on some case as usual, the governess was here, I asked her to tell him I was there to see him. A few minutes later she came, saying that he will meet me in the garden. I headed there, and he was standing by the fountain, waiting for me. I put a hand on his shoulder, he turned to face me and gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead.

“You’re back finally” he asked in his ever gentle voice, gesturing me to sit down next to him on the fountain.

“I am here to tell you something dear” I spoke, a few minutes later. “What is it?” he asked, I heard his worry in his voice but his face didn’t give in any emotion.

I bit my lip, I felt broken a first time in so many years. I didn’t love him but I knew he did so much, and it hurts me to break him again. “I am pregnant, 13 weeks already, and it’s a boy” I said finally.

“And he’s not mine I suppose” he replied a few minutes later, who went on like ages. His face grew older suddenly and sad. “Yes, and HE doesn’t want him” I replied sorry for the truth I spoke and blaming these maternal hormones which ruined me. “I thought you’d like to have an heir to carry on your work” he said.

“He had ordered me to abort him, but I thought of you and ..” I said biting my lip again, this would break him even more. “You thought that I might adopt him, and it would be great for me because I couldn’t have children of my own?” he said looking into my eyes, in a sort of blame. “And You’ll be spending the remaining months of your pregnancy here in Japan, to prove that he is our son.” He added before I could speak a word.

“Exactly” I said.

“If I am ever accepting this, you need to know it’s out of pity for this pure soul you’re carrying, he doesn't deserve to lead the life you live or to sink into these dark crimes you commit. My son, shall be a correct person, who might one day, fight the criminals who brought him to life.” He said turning his gaze from me, I felt his despise for once. He always showed me how much he loved me, and the only thing I could do for him is to accept to be his wife.

“I shall someday tell him how much I love him, but until then, you know well that a secret makes a woman, woman.” I said trying to ease his anger. “I know how much you love me, and I am sorry for not loving you back” I added.

“Be sorry for not giving your son the love he deserves. I have grown old and I have learned the truth about life. But, he will come to life not knowing the true love of a mother.” He said before he left me, broken.

 

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