Chapter Thirteen: Walking Zero:
October 7th, 2009.
Now, there is a bigger problem. Tsuzuki and Anna walked into Ju-Oh-Cho and came to the Chief's door. Anna glanced at her man.
"You sure you don't want me in there with you?" she asked.
"Yeah," Tsuzuki replied. "It will be easier if I do this alone. However, I will have someone stay out here with you."
"Who?" Anna asked with an eyebrow raised. Her boyfriend looked around.
"Uh…" he said. The man looked around and happened to spot Wakaba walking down the hall. Tsuzuki smiled as he flagged her down.
"Hey Wakaba!" he called. The shinigami looked up, puzzled.
"Tsuzuki?" she asked as she walked over. "Tsuzuki, what is this?" The older shinigami grabbed her by the hands.
"Oh, I'm so glad to see you!" he said. The girl blinked.
"Okay…" she said. The older Shinigami calmed down.
"I need your help," he said.
"Okay…" Wakaba said. "What is it?"
"Could you watch over Kimoto-san for a couple of minutes?" Tsuzuki asked. "Just make sure she's okay out here, please?" His friend blinked.
"Uh…" she said.
"Please?" Tsuzuki pleaded. Wakaba looked at Anna. The woman still looked so pale. She could pass out at any moment. Wakaba pressed her lips together.
"Alright…" she murmured. Tsuzuki breathed out.
"Thanks, Wakaba-chan!" he said. He turned to Anna.
"I won't be long," the man said. He turned back to Konoe's office and knocked on the door.
"Enter," the boss said. Tsuzuki took in a deep breath and opened the door.
Konoe waited at his desk for him. Tatsumi stared him down as Tsuzuki waited.
"The merger has begun, right?" Konoe asked.
"Yes," Tsuzuki replied.
"How bad?" the boss asked. Tsuzuki swallowed bitterly.
"It's hard to say now," he said. The man drew in a breath. "I need to stay with her," the shinigami said. "I'll accept any punishment later. Just please!"
"Tsuzuki-san," Konoe said.
"She needs me with her!" Tsuzuki pleaded. "She could die if I'm not there to help her!"
"Kimoto-san will die because you put her in that situation," Tatsumi argued back. Konoe waved for him to be quiet. The secretary closed his mouth. Tsuzuki fought back guilt long enough to keep his case.
"This case is mine, right?" he asked.
"Yes," Konoe replied.
"And Anna's well-being is my responsibility, right?" Tsuzuki challenged.
"Yes," his boss said again.
"So, I have to stay with her this month."
The man shook his head. "You even said that if she died it was on me, right? Right?"
"So, I need to stay with her until Halloween! Please?"
Konoe and Tatsumi saw it in his eyes. The eyes of a desperate man begging to spare the woman he loves. It became clear that love pushed him to keep fighting. So much put Tatsumi and Konoe in a difficult position to decide the couple's fate.
In the hall, Anna and Wakaba stood waiting. Neither one could think of anything to say. Anna didn't even try to look at her.
"Uh…" she said. Wakaba glanced at her. Anna quickly faced forward. She looked for a clock. The silence became more uncomfortable when none was to be found. The woman breathed out. Socializing didn't work for her. It used to. Ten years in the glass box crippled her social skills. Wish this could be easier, Anna thought.
Wakaba couldn't get rid of her uneasy feeling about this. Anna wasn't the enemy, but this whole mess didn't sit well with her. Terazuma constantly complained that Tsuzuki got off too easy on this case.
"He should be fired," her partner groaned. "Why is he keeping her alive?" Usually, Wakaba ignored Terazuma's complaints about Tsuzuki. This time, he did have a point. Everyone in Ju-Oh-Cho knew this. Thinking about Terazuma's words made the current situation rather rocky. Wakaba's eyes trailed to the ceiling. Anna's probably a nice person. Yet, it was kind of hard to strike up a conversation like this. Both women stared at the door.
Are they done in there yet?
Finally, the door opened wide. Anna and Wakaba nearly jumped. Tsuzuki stepped out and exhaled heavily. Anna walked over to him.
"Well?" she asked. Tsuzuki gave her a tired smile.
"You're staying with me," he said in a low voice. Anna's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.
"I'm relieved," she breathed. Tsuzuki turned to Wakaba.
"How was she?" he asked. The girl quickly nodded.
"Good," she said. "No problems at all."
"Great!" Tsuzuki cheered. He put his arm around Anna.
"Ready to go home?" he asked.
"Yes," Anna murmured. The couple shared a little smile before heading home. Wakaba watched them leave. Maybe they could make it, maybe…