A Proud Himedere
Shino and Achille (Nron and IntenseInsanity)
Tsuitō City Eastern Apartment Complex
Droplets of water clung to the warm window of an apartment, staying still until knocked downwards by another drop. The rain was loud and plentiful, and it sent shadows across the carpeted floor of the second floor room. The perfect ambiance for a late-night novel and snack. Ms. Fuyuhashi Chihiro, age thirty-four, snuggled up comfortably in an arm chair, staring curiously at the thick book in her hands. The glasses that perched upon her somewhat dainty nose could barely help her see in the half-darkness of the small living room, but she was either to lazy or content to get up and move. Chihiro decided that the small lamp light was just enough for her. She let her eyes wander to the wall, smiling as she realized what was going on in her life; she, a somewhat famous talk-show host, had been caught in a scandalous affair with a politicians husband, and was now hiding out in a small town, free of the paparazzi’s glare. After a quick sip of a bland, way-too-hot tea and childish nibble of a cookie she returned to her book, moving it closer to her face so her eyes could form the simple characters into words. Her mind soon began to delve deeply into the book, and the world around her became a simple blur for what seemed to be an hour.
Or maybe just five minutes. Chihiro was soon forcefully ripped from her book by a loud crash coming from behind. Shard of rain-soaked glass shattered just over her head, some shards landing on her arms and shoulder and lap. A cold, unnatural breeze wafted through the room, and Ms. Fuyu froze up, her book falling onto her lap with a sudden clap. Another breeze, and then the crackling of glass underfoot made Chihiro leap up, wincing as her feet were quickly punctured. The woman leaned forward, glaring at the window with hidden fear and anxiety. Her eyes met nothing more than a shattered window, and with a forced sigh of relief, she rounded the arm chair and inspected the damage. The glass clung to the ragged carpet, soaking wet from the night’s rain fall. A large rock sat in the middle of the dangerous chaos, most likely the cause of this mess. Another sigh escaped Chihiro’s lips and she kneeled forward to lift up the rock, wary of the glass underfoot. As soon as her hand gripped the cold, also wet stone, Chihiro flinched. She felt a presence behind her, and that presence soon turned into a force on the back of her head, and soon everything erupted into a vivid red. The force soon lifted and Chihiro raised her head from the carpet quickly, and then crumpled up into a ball, her face cupped gently into her hands. The presence soon returned, standing up right and stiff, as if it was confused on what to do next. This gave Chihiro enough time to semi-recover enough to see. She slowly removed her hands from her face, staring at the blood and small glass shards that had clung to the rough flesh with fright. In a flash she spun onto her back, giving her attack a quickly kick to the shin. The person backed away suddenly, a quick intake of breath signifying pain, and Chihiro soon rose up, gasping as more glass dug into her hands and knees and ankles.
“Stay down!” came a booming voice, and soon Chihiro found herself under the arm chair and table, hot tea and cookie crumbs falling over her head with a loud crash. The perpetrator was pushing down on the chair with its foot, and hard at the. Glass dug into her stomach and chest and arms and neck and burning hot tea clung to her face, causing Chihiro to let out an array of different cries of pain. The person moved quickly away from the chair, all the way over to the large rock besides Chihiro’s head. A small gasp escaped her throat as she saw the rock raise high, and then collide with her head. Pain and darkness bloomed together in front of Chihiro’s eyes. She thrashed and shrieked between strikes, blood and tears and sweat and saliva mingling in streams down her face. The bashes continued, splaying blood across the carpet, until the thrashing of her body ceased. The attacker soon rose up, gasping, and with the rock, escaped through the window.
Tsuitō School Dorms
Soft, warm light hurried into the semi-empty dorm of Kurosawa Shino. The crossdresser’s dorm mate had already gone home with her brother for the summer, and without the somewhat jumpy red-head the room seemed a bit emptier. Light continued to filter down into the room, brushing against Shino’s face ever so slightly, and yet she barely reacted. Sleep had been difficult to find last night for the young girl, as she had spent a large amount of time finishing up a mystery novella which she had started the morning before. It was a boring summer vacation so far, as Shino only seemed to have enough energy to start and restart books. So, sleep seemed to be the best thing to do right now. That was, until, she was awakened by the pale blue phone that had been pressed lightly against her cheek. She nearly leapt out of bed as the loud ring filled the desolate room, but she quickly calmed herself and answered the phone with a new grogginess.
“’llo?” she murmured. The rushed, familiar voice made her flinch a bit, but she quickly regained her sleepiness after a moment, “Yuu…? A case…? They need me? I… Okay. I’ll be there in a few.” She grumbled. The voice subsided and then a click alerted that the call had ended. Shino snapped her phone shut and stretched, a noise similar to a puppy yelp emitting from her throat. In a moment or two she was out of bed and out of the dorm, bringing the necessities for a shower only. The halls were empty, most dorms quiet, and to tell the truth it was kind of eerie, but at the same time a blessing. It gave Shino the freedom to wander around the girl dormitories in only panties and an oversized t-shirt. With a short trek she soon approached the showers and entered, only to quickly retreat back outside. The tiled room had been freezing, probably due to the fact that it hadn’t been used for a whole night. That would also mean the shower head would spew cold water out first. With a groan of annoyance, Shino quickly jogged in place and then pulled open the door, vanishing into the room.
Finally finished with her shower, Shino walked out of the dorms and into the lounge area, placing her usual hat right over her still sopping wet hair,
“Better see if there’s anything I can steal from the kitchen before heading out…” she muttered to herself.
The kitchen was, much like the dorms, all but empty that morning. The majority of the students who resided at Tsuitō were not foreigners after all and when summer break had come around all but a few vanished, off to enjoy themselves in a variety of ways. Even most of the students who came form other countries had returned home, or at least gone along with their schoolmates. Those who were left were few. Achille Moretti happened to be one of those 'unlucky' few, though he found nothing wrong with his situation. With everyone else gone he was able to read his books in peace, spending full days in his room or in some secluded corner of the campus doing nothing but reading, researching and avoiding interruption. He was able to sleep as long as he liked (and for someone as unmotivated as Achille, who found it difficult to even get out of bed in the morning, that was a blessing) and cook whatever he desired. As far as he was concerned, summer break could last forever if things kept up the way they were.
At the moment Achille was tending to a pan of sizzling bacon that had been stocked in one of the seven or so fridges that lines the large kitchen (students were expected and encouraged to cook their own meals whenever they desired, ingredients being provided by the school thanks to numerous donations and funds set up by supporters.) There was a mountain of dirty pans, pots and utensils piled nearby and a mountain of food nearly as large next to that. Cheese covered scrambled eggs, french toast, bagels slathered in cream cheese, muffins, dry cereal awaiting a dousing of milk, and numerous other food items all arranged on several large plates. From the sheer amount of food present one might assume that Achille was cooking for a group of six. In reality he was cooking just for himself and he had little doubt he'd be hungry afterward. Despite rarely doing anything Achille was possessed of an almost frighteningly fast metabolism that had long been an annoyance to his parents and anyone unfortunate enough to receive and order from him in a restaurant.
It was just as Achille had finished turning off the burner on the stove that Shino entered the kitchen, her presence attracting Achille's attention almost immediately. When the two had first met almost a year ago Achille had been confused by Shino's existence, her boyish clothing and manner of speaking making him second guess what his mind told him was a girl (Achille was something of an expert on most matters of human anatomy and he was more than slightly upset when Shino had come out of the blue and made him question his own knowledge.) He had hounded her for several long months in an attempt to learn her true gender, suffering all forms of injury to both his pride and his body before he had eventually gotten her to tell him her true gender. Afterwards, Achille's sour attitude towards her had dissipated, but, there remained an obvious rivalry between the two intellectuals and Achille always found himself oddly motivated to try and outdo Shino whenever she was around. His research into this odd phenomenon had so far told him nothing.
"You look like a tired, wet dog." He said to her, his voice sounding as deadpan and bored as usual. While he face remained emotionless there was a glint in his eyes that spoke of joyful anticipation. "Where are you planning to go looking like that?"
A Proud Himedere
Shino wandered into the cafeteria deep in thought, her eyes pinned to the ground that moved as slowly as she did. Her hands clenched and unclenched in her jacket pocket, feeling a bit anxious over the call. Shino wasn’t normally called in unless it was a serious crime or if they were short on a few detectives for the time being. She mentally kicked herself when she realized that the story could’ve been on the news, and it would have been a good idea to study up on the case before hand. She slowly lifted one hand up, pulling her hand over her eyes briskly as she slowly became lost in worry, until she was pulled from her thoughts by the smell of great food and Achille’s teasing. She grinned at the boy before her, then quickl walked pass the taller male, towards the mound of food which had been prepared by him. She helped herself to a handful of anything she could grab. In another instant she returned to the boy’s side, nibbling delicately on a muffin before answering,
“Work, gotta dress up to see some crimes, ya know.” She purred, flicking a few crumbs towards Achille. Her eyes then wandered to the clock, nodding at the time. Okay, got a good thirty minutes. I can hang out here for a bit Shino pulled over a chair and took a seat beside the standing Achille, quickly gulped down the rest of the food that she had before pulling out a small book from inside her jacket. She slowly bent the spine before opening it to what seemed to be a marked page, eyes dashing across the paper with what seemed to be an outburst excitement. Her mouth would sometimes open and close, as if she were gasping, and it only stopped when she began to speak again,
“So what are you doing up so early?” she questioned, glancing up at her book momentarily.
"Ah yes. The crime solving thing."
Achille almost thought of reaching over and slapping her hand away from his food, but thought better of it at the last moment. He had more than enough food prepared as it was anyway. Shrugging, he extracted the bacon from the cooling pan, placing it gingerly on the plate of food before dumping the pan itself into an empty sink. Someone would eventually clean it up after all. No point in wasting his own time and energy on it. He glanced over as Shino as he was washing his hands, noting the book she had extracted from her jacket with vague interest. It looked like something he had read before so he wasn't too concerned with the contents. With his hands clean Achille dug into his breakfast, practically inhaling his food.
Shino's question caught him with quite a bit of food in his mouth and it took several long seconds before he was able to wash it all down well enough to respond. "I didn't sleep last night, if you must know. Not a wink." He paused to let loose a yawn. "I've been cooking for several hours now just to pass the time." He shrugged and went to scoop another helping of his breakfast into his mouth before he paused, suddenly finding himself curious about something.
"This crime thing you do. What exactly does that entail?"
A Proud Himedere
"Sleep is healthy, you should get some." Shino scolded, glancing up from her book to glare at him before vanishing into silence once more. Tick took tick tick. She sat in silence, obviously eating away at the book with hungry eyes until Achille began to grow curious about work. 'And in a flash the killer was upon us... Eyes filled with hunger and fear. My feet carried me quickly, but not quick enough. I-' A soft sigh escaped her lips before she glanced up again, leaving the scene of distraught panic in the book behind,
"Well, depends on the crime. Could be theft, murder, assault, anything really. However..." Shino let her mind wander back to the call, where her helper Yuu was frantically speaking. His voice had been somewhat... Raspy. Almost sickly. Maybe he had been up all night just as Achille had? Or was he simply sick? He seemed as energetic as ever, even over the phone, *and just as forgetful. Shino tried to remember a time when Yuu had actually been decisive and easy to understand... But it was hard to come by one. She had no evidence on the case at hand except for the frantic voice of her helper.*
"I suppose what I *am about to see will be a scene of utter chaos." she mumbled, slowly standing up while stealing a glance at the clock, exactly 9:02,*
"Oh dear, don't want to be late. See ya, Achille." she called over her shoulder, slipping the unfinished book back into her jacket before exiting the kitchen, rediscovering the half-empty lounge. A wave of nauseating sadness rushed over her quickly and left without sudden warning, this lounge used to be full of people, adolescents, hanging out and having a good time. Now only few remained for the summer. What a lonely thought.
*"I wonder how the others are doing..." Shino wondered out loud, brushing pass the way-too-comfortable arm chairs, walking slowly towards the sun-drenched doors. The air outside was somewhat... Unbearable. Just too hot for comfort so early in the morning. The wind held a scent of moisture, as if rain had just left or was on its way. A quick glance at the sun gave her enough motivation to simply continue walking without going back for an umbrella. Shino silently worried about getting a sun burn, but the thought soon vanished when she realized how much skin her attire covered. Thanks to the new city and lack of parents/friends with cars, Shino would have to walk to the station. The asphalt underfoot was steaming already, a faint water-vapor mist making the world around seem somewhat distorted. Shino walked slowly out the open gates, head lowered in thought.
She had only been to the Tsuito Police Station once or twice before, mostly on her own (and Yuu's) will. She liked hanging around other detectives and easily found herself to be acquainted with the workers there, acquainted enough to start working as an in-case-of-emergencies-detective. She was well known around the world of crime as a smarty-pants boy. *Yuu, who was from the same hometown as Shino,*was normally working at the Tsuito Station as well, mostly because of Shino's overprotective parents. He was like a body guard to her(a nosy, annoying one at that). The sudden sound of chatting made Shino glance up from her thoughts of work and she discovered herself in a familiar neighborhood, just a few blocks from her work place. Perfect. She walked with her head high now, examining the rather loud street before her. Housewives chatted over fences, dogs walked their owners. Same as any other normal neighborhood. A soft sigh of tranquility escaped from the quiet Shino, which was quickly disrupted by a sudden, hard pat on the back,
"Hey, kiddo!" came a familiar voice. Shino lurched forward, clutching her chest in slight surprise. She slowly straightened and turned,
"H-hey, Yuu." she greeted, bowing slightly, still a bit stunned by the sudden appearance of her helper. Yuu was a tall, lanky man, age twenty-three. Works for the Kurosawa family. Overly childish, forgetful, and a bit slow, but nonetheless a good man. Yuu grinned his normal cheesy grin, "Heading to the station I bet? So-" he cut himself off with a loud sneeze, "-Am I. Shall we go together?" he offered. Shino simply nodded, taking note of his cold symptoms, and the two began their slow trek to work.