Chapter 14: A Double Life
"Good morning, everyone."
This morning's just full of surprises, isn't it?
Such were Yukiteru's thoughts as he gazed at the man in front of them, who for today had seen fit to trade in his police uniform for a crisp business suit. After yesterday's encounter as well as the subsequent ramen dinner, he didn't think the two of them would cross paths again so soon, let alone in this specific scenario. I wonder if he decided this himself, or if he was asked. Was it Lorenzo who put him up to this, or did my sisters call him in as a favor?
"My name's Itachi Yukishiro, and I'll be your substitute homeroom teacher for today," he introduced himself, sitting down as he addressed the students before him. "Unfortunately, Mr. Hiyama had a bit of a mishap after school yesterday, so I've been called in to cover for him."
Yukiteru rolled his eyes as he made eye contact with Itachi.
Technically speaking, he wasn't wrong, though it had obviously been necessary to gloss over some of the more unsavory details of what happened. After all, of everyone currently in the classroom, only the two of them knew the truth of what happened yesterday. For that matter, no one else knew that the late Takao Hiyama, while undeniably dedicated to his teaching career, had nevertheless been living a multilayered façade, a double life not unlike that of a comic book superhero.
Hell, come to think of it, that statement could just as easily go for me.
Needless to say, thought Yukiteru, yesterday's events were a secret shared between himself, his older sister and Itachi.
And along with that, they both knew that they needed to make sure it stayed that way.
Not just for their own sakes, but for everyone else's as well.
"Still, I'm pleased to meet you all, though I know the circumstances could've been better."
It was right then and there that the bell rang, signaling the end of their homeroom period and the start of recess.
"Anyway, guys, I'll see you all again tomorrow, alright?" said Itachi as he got to his feet. "Class dismissed."
With that, Yukiteru sat and watched as, following their new homeroom teacher's dismissal, most of the class trooped out of the classroom to either buy snacks or otherwise play outside to pass the time. Seeing that Yuno was among them, though, he quickly went up to her, gently tapping her on the shoulder as she was about to leave.
"Yukki?" she smiled sweetly as she turned to face him, "What is it?"
"Hey, Yuno?" Yukiteru began, only to lose track of what he wanted to say as that annoying voice at the back of his head began to tease him again. Isn't this something, Yuki? You've got the skills of a Master Assassin, yet you can't even talk to your sweetheart properly?
"About earlier…" he stammered as he tried to get the words out, "Well… I mean…"
"Oh, that," Yuno giggled. "I was just about to go buy some food, but we'll talk about it when I get back, 'kay?"
Real smooth, dude. Real smooth.
Yukiteru silently cursed the voice as he stood there with his mouth hanging slightly open. He had the distant sense that he must have looked completely silly at the moment, but he couldn't bring himself to care just then. To him, it was as if all his other sensations were overridden by an overwhelming feeling of embarrassment that made him feel as though his entire body was burning up. What he wouldn't give to be back in the Animus right now-
"Excuse me, but this is Mr. Hiyama's class, right?"
The voice, unfamiliar and unmistakably a woman's, was what brought Yukiteru out of his daze. As he turned towards its owner, his eyes fell upon a fairly attractive young woman with purple hair, wearing a black leather jacket with matching black pants and boots. Looking at her, the teen privately thought she fitted the image of what the quintessential biker babe ought to look like.
"Hey, kid? Did you even hear me?" she spoke again, though this time in her friendly tone was laced with an undercurrent of irritation and annoyance. "Mind pointing me towards the faculty room? I was hoping to have a word with your homeroom teacher, but it looks like he just left."
"Hm. Go back the way you came, the faculty room's on the ground floor beside the stairs," said Yukiteru as he pointed behind the newcomer, towards the stairwell she had clearly taken. "Mr. Hiyama's not in today, though, he-"
"Died? Guess it's true what I heard, then…"
Wait, how'd she…
Yukiteru froze as she cut him off. Hiyama's fate wasn't supposed to be known to just anyone, much less this woman who he was sure he'd never seen anywhere in his life before. Of everyone currently present here at Sakurami High, the only ones who were privy to that information apart from himself were Minerva, Itachi and his companions.
"…Though I suppose it's not that surprising, right?" she went on in an eerily casual manner. "I mean, the guy did go moonlighting as a serial killer by night."
As he closed his eyes at those words, Yukiteru couldn't help but find this particular remark to be even more disturbing than the first. From what Itachi told him about his departed homeroom teacher, Hiyama's masquerade as the Night Stalker of Sakurami was all part of a mission assigned to him by the Assassin Order itself. Under the guise of a serial killer, he had been given a list, containing the names of all those who had been part of the Future Diary Project, as well as orders to work through that list until all those names had been crossed off. And given that the creation of the Future Diaries had been commissioned by no less than Mayor John Bacchus himself, it was safe to say that everyone who had been involved in the endeavor had been high-ranking Templars themselves.
And if this woman happened to know about all that, then…
Let's have a look at you, shall we?
Breathing deeply as he slowly opened his eyes, Yukiteru gazed at the woman in front of him, seeing her form glow a bright red against a dark background-
As the world before him returned to its usual colors, Yukiteru had just enough time to notice Yuno charging towards them with a fire extinguisher in hand. Unfortunately, however, she missed her mark as the woman jumped back at the last second, resulting in Yuno hitting nothing but air with her improvised weapon. And before the rose-haired girl could get another attempt, the woman in black was on the balcony, preparing to leap over the edge.
"Sorry, but I won't be easy to kill," this in the air of a teacher chastising her student for making an obvious mistake in class. "Good try, though!"
Yukiteru heard the telltale notification tone of his phone as the woman took her leave. Withdrawing it from out of his jacket's inside pocket, he quickly unlocked the touch screen as his eyes scanned the update:
[E:/Assassin's Diary/Personnel files/Minene Uryuu]
Equally notorious as a terrorist as well as a mercenary, wanted for multiple crimes in multiple countries. Best known for her preference for explosives in general, while also being highly adept in hand-to-hand combat as well as marksmanship.
No sooner had Yukiteru read the update, however, than something impelled him to push Yuno away from their classroom in a diving tackle. And as it turned out, his instincts were dead on; not five seconds after he did so, he heard as well as felt the entire classroom explode violently behind him, his head slamming hard into a wall even as he managed to shield her.
Yukiteru tried to get up, but to no avail; not only was his head still spinning from the earlier only that, it was just his luck that someone, somewhere, had decided that now would be a good time to have some ghosts from the past come pay him a visit, whispering words in a voice unknown to him, yet strangely familiar at the same.
Tu sei un Auditore. Sei un combattente. Perciò combatti!
Yukiteru only barely registered those words, but there wasn't much he could do to act on them right now. Just staying conscious seemed a daunting task to him right now, never mind fighting back as the voice had instructed him to do.
And so it was that before the world completely faded to black, he heard someone's voice coming from somewhere on the school grounds outside.
At the same time the explosion occurred and the terrorist made herself known, Minerva was in her office in the guidance center, checking her gear and gearing up for the battle that was sure to come.
When she first began working here at the school, one of the very first things she did was outfit her office with a moderately-sized safety box. From there, she'd proceeded to stock with as much arms, ammunition and equipment as she possibly could without being spotted. With the recent turn of events, she'd seen fit to extract some of her weapons from her cache.
Sometimes, I hate being right.
After yesterday's incident, Minerva herself saw fit to contact Itachi and call in a favor. And in turn, he went to his immediate superior in the police department to ask that he be assigned to Sakurami High School for the time being. It wasn't like there wasn't a good enough reason, anyway; after all, a serial killer doing his dirty work in a school would have been enough reason for the police to have one of their own look into it. That way, he'd be able to help out in case something happened. Needless to say, her troublesome intuition was correct.
And needless to say, it was times like these where she wished she would be wrong for once.
"Did you feel that? It looks like she's at it now," interjected a male voice all of a sudden.
"How'd she even get here, anyway!?" she replied as she inspected her hidden blades, as well as their respective upgrades. The left was equipped with what their friends in the French branch referred to as the Phantom Blade, a dart launcher that could be made to fire either poison or tranquilizer darts. Meanwhile, the right had the Hidden Gun, made famous by none other than Ezio Auditore himself. Unfortunately, they still haven't thought of a way to outfit it with a silencer and STILL keep it hidden.
That aside, though, she couldn't deny the effectiveness of the Hidden Gun, not least because she herself had been saved by it many times in the past. And given how both enhancements had proven equally useful and reliable in their own right, she saw absolutely no reason why she shouldn't keep them close for this latest threat.
Finally, having finished her inspection, Minerva turned to face her colleague.
"You're not telling me the guards just let her walk right into the school, did you?"
Itachi's face remained impassive, though his eyes narrowed just slightly enough as he gave his reply. "From what they told me, that was exactly what they did when she told them she was here on an errand for the Mayor. Even made a phone call to his office to prove it, apparently."
"And don't look at me like that," he added as she gave him a stony glare, "I know it sucks, but they can't be blamed. It's not like they'd even believe us if we told them the Mayor was a raging megalomaniac who happens to be part of some ancient conspiracy, right?"
She snorted. "Never mind that now, though. Any word from the police?"
"They're already on the scene," Itachi assured her, though the dubious expression on his face was hardly encouraging. "They've been told to stand down for the moment, though. She somehow managed to set traps all over the place, so it's not like they can just charge in either."
…Figures. Even among the Assassin Order, Minene Uryuu's exploits were well-known. For the most part, she fit the profile of the stereotypical mad bomber, albeit one who seemed to have made it a point to target churches, mosques and other places of religious significance. Once she'd chosen a site, she then proceeded to plant bombs, mines and otherwise all sorts of explosives all over the place, the better to maximize casualties and property damage. Targeting a school seemed out of character, even for her; then again, though, given that it was Mayor John Bacchus who put her up to this…
"So what then?" Minerva asked. Though she knew perfectly well that she needed to stay calm right now, it was easier said than done considering that her little brother was being targeted by some ax crazy terrorist. "
"For now I've got Ami and Tsuki minding some of the kids, but not even they can keep watch over everyone at once," said Itachi grimly. "We should probably do the same for now. It's what Yukiteru would want, right?" this he added as she stared reproachfully at him.
"Yeah, but what about Yuki-kun? We can't just let her have him, either!"
Minerva was astonished when Itachi chuckled at this, his mouth curling upwards in a thin, determined smile.
"He can handle himself. Apart from the Animus training he had, I know for a fact that you and your twin taught him well. Right?"
Minene Uryuu stood on the field in the middle of the school grounds as she looked around at the buildings.
"Dear students, faculty and staff, my name is Minene Uryuu," she began, speaking into the black megaphone she'd seen fit to bring with her, "And as of this moment, you're all my hostages."
She wasn't surprised that she received no response – at least, none she could see or hear from where she was standing. Heh. They're all probably huddled up in their classrooms after that first one went off, I'm sure.
"Just for your information, I've managed to rig all hallways and stairwells with motion-sensitive bombs. So if any one of you even tries to step out of your classrooms, well…" she left the sentence unfinished, as if to emphasize her point.
And after a few moments, during which she'd decided her point had been made, she went on:
"But since it's not really my style to hurt or kill kids, I'm willing to make a deal with all of you. In exchange, I'll deactivate the bombs and leave you all in peace. I'm sure you all know what's best, right? What's best is that all of you comply."
At that point, the terrorist took just a second to take a breath, before laying down her demands.
"Give me Yukiteru Amano and Yuno Gasai, and I promise that you can all walk away from this."
And as she laid them down, she watched and waited for what would happen next…
A/N: Hey, guys. Do excuse the sporadic updates - hopefully I'll be able to post more often from here on out. For now, I do hope y'all enjoy this one - you can give me feedback through a review or even a private message if you want.