Together In The Dark

Chapter 18

Takano didn't realize he was holding his breath until he almost passed out while watching the police officers exhume Ethan Smoake's body in order to get to Ritsu. He glanced down at his watch once more to see Ritsu only had 5 minutes and 4 seconds left.

"How pissed is the Medical Examiner going to be that we moved the body," called one of the cops digging in the ground.

"Less than me, if you don't shut the hell up and get back to work," Saya hissed as she pounded the shovel into the ground as well.

"We've got most of the dirt cleared around the body, someone snap a few photos for evidence before we move it," another officer called. Another cop ran up then and took some photos.

"All right people," called Saya, "On the count of three we'll move the body out of the hole and onto the gurney. One, two, three!" With that, Smoake's body was out and whisked away. "Okay Takano, now you can help," Saya called to him.

Takano grabbed a shovel and started digging like a mad man alongside the police officers. Ritsu didn't have much time left.

"Smoake's body was only buried a foot down into the ground, so Onodera shouldn't be much further," said Saya as she shoveled beside Takano. Takano said nothing but dug faster. Images of everything he and Ritsu had been through since they met again, flickered through his head.

Takano remembered meeting Ritsu again. A smile flickered across his face at the thought of that kiss they had shared in front of the mangaka. Ritsu's face had been priceless. Or when he had tried to cheer up Ritsu right after and ended up thinking, screw it and decided to further infuriate Ritsu.

Takano still remembered how horror had filled his entire being when Ritsu had almost cracked open his skull on the steps at the library or when he learnt Ritsu had collapsed. The way Ritsu moved and fought back, always made Takano think the younger man was a lot stronger than he seemed, but then those events had happened.

The thought of when Ritsu had finally said Takano's name while he slept, still filled Takano with joy and hope that maybe it wasn't too late for them to be together. Takano would never tell anyone, but every night, he would wish for that to come true. Takano was so happy with his life, the last time he was this happy was when he and Ritsu were together in high school. The only thing that would make it better would be to possess both Ritsu's heart and body.

The medic who had been working on Shuusei came closer, ready to jump in and help with his expertise. Shuusei, meanwhile, walked away to meet with the ME, who's van had reportedly finally arrived.

"I hit something," called the cop named Mikihisa. He bent over and brushed some dirt away. "I think I've found the box!" Takano ran towards him and helped to brush away more dirt. "We need to clear the dirt on the other end of the box so we can open it," Mikihisa said. Even more cops swarmed the area to help out then.

Saya stayed right alongside of Takano as they both dug out the other end of the box. She worried how Takano would take it, should the worst happen. Luka had said his calculations were a very rough estimate. What if Onodera had already run out of air? Or what if the infection in his leg had gotten worse, causing his fever to rise and kill all the cells in his body?

"Thunk," went both Takano's and Saya's shovels. Takano was the first to bend over and start brushing away the rest of the dirt. It didn't take long.

"This end is clear," called Saya. "The whole things clear." With that the box was lifted out of the hole. Saya and Mikihisa popped the lid as Takano stood by the medic. Ritsu laid there so still. He had bags under his eyes and there was a sheen to his skin. The make shift bandage that Takano had made for Ritsu's leg was still there, but clearly had been dirtied. "Is he breathing," Saya asked the medic as he started strapping on an oxygen mask over Ritsu's face and moving him onto a stretcher.

"Not exactly, we have to resuscitate him. You," he pointed at Takano, "I need you to squeeze and release this bag repeatedly to get the oxygen into his lungs," the medic referred to the bag attached to the oxygen mask. Takano bent down and grabbed the bag and began to squeeze and release while the medic moved down to Ritsu's leg and ripped Ritsu's pant leg to take a better look.

"Um, problem," Takano said.

"What," asked the medic.

"I can't squeeze the bag, it won't move."

"What," the medic move to see. "Oh that is beautiful, he's breathing ever so slightly. Ok you need to breathe with him. Start squeezing…now." Takano obeyed and found he was able to push the air in.

"How is he," Saya asked.

"His leg wound is what's concerning me, we have to get him to the hospital immediately," the medic answered.

"The other medic took Johnson to the hospital via a patrol car so you should be able to use the ambulance. Shuusei's already at the road where you parked so you can take both of them back at the same time," Saya replied.

"Alright," answered the medic. "You," he said to Takano, "we're going to move him, I need you to continue what you're doing while we move." Takano nodded his head as he reached down to grasp Ritsu's hand.

"I'll drive the ambulance," Saya said to both of them.


Once they had loaded Onodera in the back, the medic, Shuusei, and Takano climbed in after him. Saya hopped into the driver's seat and flipped on the siren.

The medic busied himself by attaching wires and monitors to Onodera. "I need to remove the bullet from his leg," the medic said to Takano.

Takano nodded his head as he glanced over at Shuusei, who was currently sitting in the corner out of the way. Shuusei would occasionally reach up to rub his shoulder where he had been shot. He had earlier stated not to make him laugh or encourage him to breathe to hard. The medic had told him that he had quite a few cracked ribs.

Hachi was still back at the area where they had found Onodera. He was going to ride back with Mikihisa after they were done collecting evidence and doing a thorough search of the area.

Takano looked back at Ritsu. The brunette still had not opened his eyes since he had been found which concerned Takano more than anything. The medic attached an IV to Ritsu hand in order to help get some fluids and some antibiotics in him. The medic then grabbed a scalpel and went to work.

Takano brushed some hair out of Ritsu's face. Under the lights he noticed a few scrapes along Ritsu's face, and neck. They were all on his left side, as though he hadn't been so much as place in the box but rather dropped in. Takano clenched his teeth at that and thanked whatever powers that be that all the culprits were now dead or under arrest… well most of the culprits.

Luka had told Takano about trying to get Abel Johnson, an American citizen extradited from the US to stand trial in Japan for plotting the entire kidnapping. Now that one of the conspirators was dead, the charge of accessory to murder would probably be added. Takano knew he wanted justice, but he also knew that so long as he had Ritsu and Ritsu was alive, then everything else could fall to the wayside for all he could give a damn.

"Dammit," cried the medic, cutting into Takano's thoughts.

"What is it," Takano asked, fear filling his heart as blood began to pour out of the gunshot wound.

"The bullet nicked his femoral artery. Luckily you made a good tourniquet, but now it's bleeding profusely. I need to clamp the artery."

Shuusei watched the medic fast and precise movements as he worked on Onodera. Looking at the wound, Shuusei knew Onodera would be in for a long recuperation. Takano brushed some more hair away from Onodera's face. "Wow, those two seem close," Shuusei thought as he continued to watch. "Really, really close."

Suddenly there was a rapid beeping from one of the monitors. "What's happening," cried Takano.

"His body is going into shock from… well everything," answered the medic.

Then, the only sound that could be heard was the monotone long beep."Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…"

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