Together In The Dark

Chapter 15

Takano couldn't breathe as he remembered Ritsu's face before the lid of the box slammed down. He heard a voice calling his name. In the back of his mind, he realized he was having a panic attack, as he slid to the floor and landed on his knees.

"Takano san, please calm down," Shuusei said as he knelt down next to Takano. "Deep breaths." Saya was already running off to grab an oxygen tank and mask. Shuusei reached his hand out to rub circles on Takano's back. Luka just stood awkwardly to the side, unsure of what to do.

Saya came back then and helped Shuusei put the mask over Takano's face. "Just breathe," she said quietly.

Takano breathed for a few minutes and seemed to calm down then. After a couple more breathes, he took off the mask and nodded his head to signal he was alright.

Shuusei quickly stood up then, "How much air does Onodera have?"

"I don't know," answered Luka. "He's not going to be using his air as efficiently as he normally would because of the infection in his leg, and I can't tell the dimensions of the box without at least one known vector, and…"

"Ritsu…" Takano interrupted, causing Saya, Shuusei, and Luka to turn to him as he stood up.

"What about Onodera," Saya asked.

"The video pans so you can see Ritsu's entire body in the box. Ritsu's shoe size is 26.5 cm. There's your one known vector," he answered. Saya, Shuusei, and Takano looked at Luka.

Luka chewed his lip as he turned back to the video and started crunching the numbers. Luka sighed as he turned back, "I give him three hours, four max. The video shows some of the topography of the area of the forest they're at. I can use satellite imagery to try and find where, but it's going to take some time."

"How do you know that they were in a forest," Shuusei asked.

"The video doesn't have any traffic noise. They were surrounded by oak trees and because they were going to bury Onodera, they would also want privacy. These things add up to…"

"To them being in a forest," Shuusei finished. He turned to Saya, "We've got to talk to Damon Wes and get him to tell us where they are. If that doesn't work then we are going to have to rely on the satellite imagery. Luka do you have a clock going for his air supply?"

"Yah, the three to four hours guess I gave, did take into account when you guys found the video, we are now at two hours and forty-three minutes." Shuusei nodded as he and Saya quickly turned and walked towards interrogation.

Takano's mind kept replaying that scene from the video, over and over again. Ritsu looked so pale, like he was already wearing a death mask for his funeral. "I should have tried to carry him with me. I should have known they would be watching the cell! I should have… Oh god Ritsu, I'm so sorry! If I lose you again, I don't, I don't know what I'd do," Takano thought as tears began to fall from his eyes. Normally he would have wiped them away and tried to have pretended that he was alright, but right now, with everything that had happened, he really didn't give a rat's ass who saw him cry, and if they didn't like it they could go shove something sharp up their asses and fall off a cliff.

"There is no shame in crying for someone you care about," Takano realized. After everything that had happened since he and Ritsu first dated, to when they met again, and up until this point it was always Ritsu, or the thought of Ritsu that kept him going. Yokozawa may have taken care of him in college, but it was the small hope of seeing Ritsu again that fueled Takano's effort to get his life together. Even when they were in that cell together, Onodera should have been freaking out about getting shot, but instead he focused on getting them out of there. He had given Takano hope in a very dark situation. If Onodera hadn't been there… Takano didn't know what he would have done, but he knew he would not have been as calm as Ritsu.

"Hey, he's going to be okay," called Luka. "Shuusei and Saya, they're good at what they do and they will save him in time." Takano nodded his head, before putting it into his arms and breaking out into terrified and pained sobs for Ritsu.

"Let us be perfectly clear," Saya said as she slammed her hands down onto the table. "If Onodera dies, you can forget all about the little deal Shuusei promised you because I will make it my life's mission to make your life a living hell, and I am really, really good at raining down hell."

"It sad but true," Shuusei quipped. "I pissed off our boss a couple years ago and my punishment was her for a partner."

"Officers," the councilor cut in. "My client has already agreed to the plea deal you previously gave him, and has told you everything he knows. Now it is my understanding that one of the men has returned, therefore, my client's part is over. So, instead of trying to scare him, why don't you go and do your jobs."

"The deal was, he flip on his friends. Flipping on friends generally means you spill your guts about all of their dirty little secrets," Shuusei shot back.

The councilor didn't respond to this, so both Saya and Shuusei turned to Damon and waited for him to speak. "I only had two partners, Conner Johnson and Ethan Smoake. Ethan's just a kid, barely twenty-seven and Conner is… a little intense," Damon said.

"Conner Johnson? Bell Industries' CEO is name Abel Johnson. Are they related," Shuusei asked.

"Conner is the younger brother of the CEO of Bell Industries. He was in the army and he specialized in survival of hostile environments."

"So he would do well in forests," interrupted Saya.

"Yeah, anything like that," Damon nodded.

"Were there any forests around Tokyo that he liked to visit when you guys were staking out the kidnapping," Shuusei asked.

"I… I don't know, he mentioned a few forests around Tokyo but I never notice him going to see one or liking one in particular," Damon paused. "There were a couple of times last week where he would disappear for a few hours on end."

"When was this exactly," both Shuusei and Saya asked at the same time.

"Listen, Keisuke. You owe me," Luka yelled into the phone. "You either get the Americans to extradite Johnson Abel to Japan and get him to tell us where Onodera is buried, or so help me, I am going to go to your home and I am going to tell your wife exactly what we did for your bachelor party!" Luka paused a moment and listened to the voice on the other end of the phone.

Takano watch Luka listen for a few more seconds before looking back down at the photos Luka had printed off from Ritsu's burial video. Takano had visited a few of the forests surrounding Tokyo at one point or another, so he had hoped that if he looked, he might recognize the area. While it did seem familiar, Takano had no idea where the area or Ritsu were.

"Well, I don't give a flying rat's piece of shit, about the politics! Get it done," Luka screeched as he slammed the phone into the receiver. "Well, anything," he asked Takano nodding towards the photos.

Takano shook his head, before looking back up at Luka, "Are you having any luck with that satellite thingy?"

"Satellite imagery? No, it would help if I could narrow down the area of where to look."

Takano nodded before asking, "The detectives said that these kidnappers were after Miroku. Where is he?"

"After we found out the gist of the kidnappers demands we placed him in protective custody."

Takano nodded before looking at the pictures again. "I feel like I should know this. The eerie atmosphere, the weird fungi growing on the trees, and all the Japanese oak trees, I should know this."

"What did you just say," Luka asked.

Takano looked at him, "What?"

"What did you just say?"

"I should know the area…" Takano answered slowly, questions in his eyes.

"No, no when you were describing the forest. Describe it again!"

"The atmosphere is eerie, there's weird fungi, and a lot of Japanese oak trees," answered Takano.

"Why didn't I realize that," Luka said, smacking himself in the head.

"Luka," called Shuusei as he and Saya made their way towards Takano and Luka. "I need you to run a trace on the phone number XXX-XXX-XXXX during the hours of one to four o'clock in the afternoon of last week."

"Little busy now, trying to save a guy's life," Luka answered back while typing away on the keyboard.

"So are we genius," retorted Saya.

"Really? It's not that hard to type on a computer folks."

"LUKA," Shuusei and Saya shouted.

"Alright, geez," Luka responded turning to his laptop that was lying next to the keyboard. "There, got the trace going, it'll take a few seconds, so now back to my idea. Takano described the forest and his description reminded me of how most people describe this one particular forest near Tokyo. So I'm narrowing down the satellite imagery to just examine this forest and hopefully we'll be able to cut down on the time it takes to find Onodera and save him."

"What forest are you talking about," asked Shuusei.

Just as Luka was about to answer, his laptop started to beep. Luka looked at the screen and smiled. "Takano and I were on the right track."

"What forest," asked Saya.

"The Chichibu forest, more specifically, Onodera is in one of two areas. Either the Oku-Tama or the Oku-Chichibu areas," answered Luka.

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