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Walking With The Dead
They sat him down and plagued him with the same questions over and over and answered none of his. He was angry and belligerent because of it, which didn't make the country law any fonder of him than they already were. Rowan was so frustrated he wanted to scream. He wanted to smash something. He wanted to get his hands around a certain pale throat. Only there was a problem. What if something foreign was behind those icy blue eyes? Where did that leave them? Where the hell did that leave Seiji?
God, he wanted it to be so. He wanted the notion growing in his mind to be reality, because if it wasn't -- then the pain of such a betrayal would hurt too much. If she'd come through that portal still lurking about inside of Seiji, then so many things might be explained.
Of course he couldn't tell the sheriff that. He couldn't mention that whatever Seiji had told them had been a ruse to get rid of him by a millennia dead, displaced soul who had taken up residence in his friend's body. They'd condemn him for sure then. They weren't men with vast imaginations. They saw the things in front of their noses. They saw his interest in a man that turned up missing the very day Rowan had confronted him over the supposed shooting of a dog. They listened to a report of his guilt made by someone close to him. The didn't have a whole hell of a lot else to go on.
Which Rowan pointed out.
"You have no evidence. You can't arrest me without evidence. Don't you guys ever even watch cop shows on TV? Where's the body? Where's the murder weapon?"
"Shut up, boy." Deputy Benson snapped.
"Don't call me boy, you tight assed country prick." Rowan had been called boy once too many times this afternoon. Rowan's ass hurt from the stiff backed wooden chair he'd been sitting in for the last two hours. Rowan's hand was still throbbing. He was damned upset that nobody had showed up to back him up. He was worried as hell over his suspicions over Seiji.
One of the cops bent down and grabbed him by the lapel, jerking him up to enjoy the full flavor of the man's stale breath. "You shut your smart mouth, or it'll get shut for you."
"Oh, police brutality --" he started and got slammed back into the chair before he could finish.
"Should've known there was something strange going on with you boys. Ever since you moved into that old house, all sorts of weird things have been happening."
He supposed they had a point. Their presence -- the presence of their armors -- attracted -- unusual things. He turned his gaze away from their stares and stated flatly.
"I want my lawyer."
"You had your call -- boy." Deputy Benson reminded him. "You only get the one."
"But, nobody answered --" he complained. He'd tried to call home to find out why the hell no one had followed him down here. He'd love to know what they were doing. He was vaguely concerned that maybe Seiji had done something.
They put him in a cell. There were only two in the back of the sheriff's office. There was a snoring drunk in one of them and what looked like a reject from some old biker movie in the other. He got to keep company with the Hell's Angel. He was thrilled.
He sat down on the unoccupied bench and shut his eyes, trying to reason things out in his head. Tried to pin point the clues that led to what he wanted to believe. Too many weird things had been going on. When had it started?
Seiji had been upset since they'd gotten back from hell, but mostly it was out of guilt. A guilty Seiji, though annoying, still operated within the bounds of the Seiji Rowan knew. The mad spending, the staying out all night, the cruel treatment of Ryo and god, going after Sai, those were anomalies. The pain pills --- Ryo had remarked about Seiji finishing them off and come to think of it, Rowan had noticed the change right about the time Seiji had passed out in the kitchen that morning weeks ago. And not long after he'd started popping the pills.
But when had it started? Then it occurred to him. The night Sai had overdosed Seiji with the pain pills. The night Seiji had been so fucked up he'd passed out on the couch, while Rowan and Ryo were out hunting hell beasts. White Blaze had known. Sai had said the tiger had flat out attacked Seiji in the hallway upstairs. And Seiji hadn't remembered a bit of it. It was like he'd been sleepwalking.
Maybe he had.
The sun came up and Ryo didn't want to go home. He sat against the tree he'd used for a chopping block the previous day and wished it were still night. Wished the dawn didn't bring responsibility he didn't need and didn't want. He hadn't slept all night. Had sat out listening to the crickets and the night birds and the rustling of wind in the leaves and tried to blank his mind of everything. He didn't know how to deal with it. He could not begin to understand what had gone wrong. It hurt and he could not get past the pain. It blanked his mind and his reasoning. It felt like somebody had jammed a hot blade into his gut and left it there.
He didn't want to face it. Seiji. Sai. Rowan. He wanted to run away from it and he never ran away from things. The fear confused him. He wasn't used to it. He wished there was a foe he could fight. Something he could sink his teeth into other than the insubstantial claws that ripped open his heart and trampled it.
But of course he had to go back. He might be afraid, but he wasn't a coward. So he pushed himself to his feet, picked up the sheathed katana and walked with the rising sun back to the house.
The jeep was gone. He faltered in his walk through overly tall, dew moist grass and stared at the place in the driveway where he had left it sitting yesterday. One of the guys must have taken it since Kento's car was still in pieces around back. He felt in his pocket and heard the jingle of keys and wondered in a bland sort of way how they'd managed to start it. He was too drained and tired to offer up much curiosity.
Seiji's car was there. He tightened his lips and climbed the steps to the back porch. He put the katana in its place in the laundry room and stood there for a moment, hoping Seiji wasn't up and about, then called himself a fool for even worrying. Seiji hadn't been up with the sun in weeks.
As silently as he could, he went upstairs. By passed Seiji's closed door on tip toes and retreated to the far bathroom to let the shower wash away the sweat, dirt and grime from spending a weekend and an unexpected day and night in the woods. He stood there for the longest time, shoulders pressed against the tiles, letting the warm water beat down on his face until it begun to cool, having taxed the hot water heater to its limits. Then he pushed himself up and shut the water off with a sigh of fatalism. The good things never lasted. He ought to have learned that life lesson by now.
He squeezed the water out of overlong hair, then tossed it back and let it drip down between his shoulderblades. Dried himself off and slipped into a pair of clean sweatpants and a tank top that he'd snagged from his room on the way here.
Back out into the hall, a towel draped across his shoulders to sop up some of the water from his hair and it occurred to him to wonder where the rest of the guys were. His frame of mind was a little better now, after a cleansing shower, than it had been walking back home from the woods. Sai's door was open, room empty. The same with Rowan's bedroom. If Kento was around, he would have heard him. Kento stomped about like a water buffalo. The only room that hinted at occupancy was Seiji's and Ryo had no intention of going there to inquire where the others were.
He padded down the hall towards his own and stopped as a muffled thud sounded from behind Seiji's door. Another one and something sounding like glass fell onto hardwood flooring and rolled.
He stood there with his mouth open, breathing hard, fighting with this current distaste of all things Seiji and the instinct to go and see if something were wrong. He might cringe at the thought of what Seiji had done, but -- god, god -- he couldn't make himself renounce concern. He couldn't stop the sudden start of fear when after another faint scraping thud, he thought he heard a stifled cry.
"Damn." He said softly, and went for the door, trying the knob and finding it locked.
"Seiji?" He rapped on the door. "Seiji, are you okay in there?"
No answer. No anything. He imagined bad things. He imagined Seiji more seriously hurt from the hit and run by Rowan than they'd thought last night. Passed out maybe. Or hemorrhaging from some internal bleeding or broken bones that he hadn't admitted to when Ryo had tried to clean him up. Seiji was like that. He didn't confess to pain or injury if he could help it. Stoic and honorable to a fault. Or he used to be.
Ryo drew in a hissing breath and knocked louder.
"Seiji? Answer me, Damnit!"
Nothing. With a whispered curse, he drew back and kicked in the door, sending splinters of wood from the frame into the darkened room. The door slammed against the inside wall and bounced back towards him. He caught it with the heel of his hand and stepped in.
The shadows ate up everything. The shades were pulled. The bed was unmade. Rumpled. He didn't see Seiji. Then he noticed that the end of the bed was crooked, pushed away from its usual perfect perpendicular alignment with the wall.
There was a sound. A muffled almost sobbing breath. Ryo lunged around the end of the bed and saw him in the shadows, lodged in the space between bed and wall, back pressed into the corner, legs splayed out before him as if he were trying to hold the walls up.
"Seiji - - -" Ryo whispered and he looked up.
Wild eyes. Panicked eyes. Not quite sane, if Ryo were any judge. And scared. That was there too. Fear and for one brief second something flickered through those shadowed blue orbs that was almost a plea for help. Then Ryo saw the syringe in Seiji's shaking hand. Saw the thin plastic tube with a single drop of crystalline liquid forming at the tip of the needle at its end. The tip which was poised over the exposed flesh of Seiji's other arm. It was like he was fighting with himself over the act of plunging it in.
"What are you doing?" Ryo cried, not thinking, just darting forward and knocking the needle out of his hand. It hit the floor and rolled against the wall. He loomed over Seiji, shocked, enraged, completely bewildered.
"No --" Strangled denial from Seiji. Then louder. "No -- damn you!" Seiji launched himself at Ryo's knees, knocking his legs out from under him, toppling him backwards. His elbow caught the bed on the way down, saving him from cracking his head on the wood floor. But there was damned little maneuvering room, cramped between the bed and the wall, and Seiji had lost his grip on sanity altogether -- was screaming unintelligible words at him, as he crawled up Ryo's body, slamming a knee into his groin, which took the breath from him and sent red hot slivers of pain racing through every nerve in his body.
"Stop! Seiji -- stop it!" He cried, trying to get leverage, trying to fend off Seiji's fist as it flew at his face.
Seiji missed. Seiji's hand hit the floor and Seiji hissed in pain. Ryo squirmed out from under him, kicked him hard in the shoulder sending him against the wall. Seiji's head cracked against it. Seiji mouthed a silent curse, even as Ryo was scrambling for his feet, warily trying to put a little distance between them.
"Stop it ---" A low growl. Seiji ground the knuckles of one hand into his eye socket. "Stop it --" he screamed.
"Stop what?" Ryo pleaded, reaching out, desperate and frightened. What had been in the needle? He needed desperately to know what Seiji had been attempting to plunge into his veins. "What was in the syringe, Seiji?' he whispered.
A low laugh. A desperate, shaky one. Seiji looked up from under a silken fall of hair, pulling back his lips in a wolfish grin.
"Let me show you --" He surged towards Ryo. Something sharp stabbed into his thigh. He hissed and took a staggering step backwards, staring down in shock at the needle still protruding from his leg. With an in-drawn breath, he knocked it out. Stared at it as it hit the floor and rolled, empty of whatever it had contained.
"God - -" he said softly, just before Seiji launched himself up at him. They hit the end of the bed and rolled, hit the floor with Seiji on top and Ryo's body starting to feel curiously -- languid. It hardly hurt at all when his head hit the floor. It hardly hurt when Seiji backhanded him. Once, twice, maybe more. The taste of blood became a strange and curious thing. Seiji's shrieks did.
"Stop it! Stop it, damn you. Don't fight me or I swear I'll beat him to death."
Ryo couldn't fathom who he was talking to. But he punctuated the words with blows. It hardly mattered. Everything felt -- distant. Lethargic. Hazy and warm. Like floating in heated, sweet water.
Fingers went around his neck. Seiji pressed down, face lost in the fall of hair and shadow.
"You can't stop me. You know you can't. I'll kill him."
Ryo couldn't draw air in. The lack of breath should have been disturbing, but it wasn't. He could not find the energy to care. He shut his eyes and slipped towards blackness. Then of a sudden the pressure let up. With a sigh, Seiji sat back, fingers releasing their chokehold, trailing down Ryo's chest.
"That's a good boy." Seiji whispered. "That's a smart boy."
Ryo's lids were too heavy to open, so he lay there, sprawled on the floor at the end of Seiji's bed while Seiji got up and rustled around in the room. After a while he came back, laid hands on Ryo and hauled him up bodily; heaving him onto the bed. The mattress depressed with Seiji's weight. Knees straddled his hips, there were hands on his face that turned his head from side to side. A thumb lifted one listless lid and he saw the hazy silhouette of Seiji.
Seiji let the lid drop and leaned close, warm breath a tickle against his lethargic flesh. His tongue flickered out to taste a trail of blood leaking from the corner of Ryo's mouth.
"You shouldn't fight me either, sweet. Him, I expect if of, but I thought you knew better. I'll have to teach you both a lesson, so you don't make the mistake again, humm?"
The lawyer met them at the sheriff's office bright and early. He was a friend of Mia's. Seiji had refused the use of his corporate lawyer. Seiji had refused the use of anything his, so they'd stopped talking to him at all and let him stew upstairs in his room. Kento had come up with the notion of calling Mia, who had contacts through the college and an array of social dealings that they did not. Sai had jumped head first at the notion and been on the phone all evening trying to track Mia down, then trying to track down her lawyer friend and tell him the situation. He agreed to make calls and see what he could do. One got the notion that for Mia, he would have done quite a lot. Another of her admirer's then.
Ryo didn't come back and Sai stalked around the house muttering darkly under his breath until Kento offered to try out his hand at the larcenous skill of hot wiring the jeep. Sai had no problem with that. Sai was so nervous his hands were shaking. Fear over Rowan hating him for having sex with Seiji had dwindled in the face of simple fear for Rowan.
So they got to town as the sun was easing over the horizon and the early rising townsfolk who catered to the outlying farmers and ranchers, were just starting to go about their business. Sai descended on the sheriff's office with a vengeance, pounding on the locked outer door until someone came and unlocked it and glared indignantly at him for his persistence. They wouldn't let them see Rowan.
"Too early for visiting hours."
"What do you mean too early?" Sai explicated his exclamation with a stabbing finger.
"You his lawyer?"
"No, I'm not his lawyer."
"Then you can't see him period."
Kento put a hand on his shoulder and kept him from getting up in the sleepy looking deputy's face.
"We've got a lawyer coming." Kento said. The deputy shrugged.
The lawyer showed up not twenty minutes later and the deputy summoned the sheriff, the both of whom gathered in a corner and consulted with the lawyer, who exuded a big city confidence. Sharp and shiny and in the know. Sai barely heard what they were saying, but the sheriff was glowering and the deputy frowning and tapping his foot. There were papers exchanged. The lawyer got somebody on the phone to talk to the sheriff, then he disappeared within the bowels of the jail, supposedly to go and talk to Rowan.
Sai shifted from foot to foot in impatience. Time passed. The legal system was a miserable, miserable thing, he decided. Eventually the lawyer came out. Did some more talking on the telephone, some more legal maneuvering with the sheriff, then glanced towards Sai and Kento and nodded once, as if to say things were looking good.
Sai almost went light headed with relief, and clutched Kento's arm so hard Kento winced.
"What do you think that meant? Are they going to let Rowan go now?"
"How should I know. Geeze Sai, that hurts. Let go."
Not long after that Rowan came out. A disgruntled, angry looking Rowan who started to make some comment to one of the deputies, but the lawyer caught his arm and led him away from the cluster of policemen and towards Sai and Kento.
Sai lost his nerve of a sudden. All afternoon, night and morning he'd been hot to see Rowan free and now that he had it, he very badly wanted to be somewhere else. He wanted to slip behind Kento's girth and not have to meet Rowan's eyes. Without actually stopping to think about it, he did sort of slid behind one of Kento's broad shoulders, reaching up and clutching the back of Kento's shirt very much like he thought Rowan was going to assault him.
Kento let out a pained breath and greeted Rowan with the obvious. "They let you out."
Rowan lifted one ironic brow at him. "You are so swift on the uptake, Kento." He had that quality of annoyance in his voice that he generally exhibited during the throes of a major hangover.
"They had no evidence to hold him on." The Lawyer said. "They were basing the arrest on a report from a source that had a conflict with him to begin with. He's not to leave the area, but he's free for the time being."
"A source with a conflict?" Kento asked.
"Seiji." Rowan said bluntly.
Kento blinked. Sai did. "Seiji?" Kento repeated slowly. "Seiji called the cops on you? Why, because you kicked his ass?"
Rowan smiled slowly. A humorless, grim smile. His eyes drifted past Kento to Sai. Sai felt heat rising to his face and looked away, staring at the pattern of Kento's shirt.
"No. Not because of that. Look, can we get out of here?"
They did. The lawyer gave them his pager number and the instruction not to venture far from town until the sheriff's department was through with its investigation. Sai thanked him, profusely. It gave him something to do other than have to endure Rowan's uncomfortable presence.
"Why would Seiji tell the cops that you killed that guy?" Kento asked when the Lawyer was in his car and pulling away. It was almost noon. They'd wasted that much time. Rowan was stalking towards the jeep.
"Because its not him." He said shortly, over his shoulder, like he was remarking on the state of the weather.
Kento let out a little laugh. "Yeah, well I know what you mean, he's been like totally PMSing or something. But that doesn't answer the question."
Rowan whirled, stabbing a finger at Kento's chest. "God -- is everybody but me blind? You are such a moron."
Kento swiped the hand away. "I know you've had a bad night, but don't get snippy with me, Rowan."
"Bad night? Bad night. I spent it in a jail cell, dumbass. I had to deal with ass hole cops all afternoon. I had Bo Bo the biker hitting on me all night. Bad night is not even close to covering it. And what I mean is that it's her. Her. That bitch from hell that obviously came through with us. Seiji's a bitch, but he's not this much of a bitch."
There was a moment where all Kento and Sai could do was stare and try to make sense of what Rowan was saying.
"Her?" Kento asked slowly. "As in --- her?"
"A biker hit on you?"
"Goddamnit, Sai!" Rowan threw up his hands and jerked open the door to the jeep. "Get in the jeep. We're going home."
He stared at the mangled remains of the ignition and the screwdriver that Kento had used to start the jeep once he'd popped the lock off.
"Where's Ryo?" Rowan neglected to comment directly on their method of starting the jeep.
"Home." Kento said worriedly.
"Okay. Then that's where we need to be. Get in."
"Rowan --" Sai climbed into the back seat. He didn't understand. He didn't understand anything. He was starting to feel sick.
"What Sai?" Rowan asked calmly when Sai didn't finish. "How could it -- not be Seiji? He said that -- she -- couldn't pass to this realm -- didn't he?"
"Obviously he didn't know what the fuck he was talking about. Obviously things can pass through. Hence the hell beast. Hence the psychotic bitch that's currently living in our house. Currently fucking Ryo -- among other things and currently wrecking our lives."
Sai sat back and snapped his mouth shut, stricken. He didn't know what hurt more the among other things comment or the notion that not only had he let himself be taken advantage of -- he'd let it happen with an ill tempered, body thieving spirit who'd already broken his wrist on an earlier occasion.
"I didn't know. I didn't know." He whispered. Kento looked back at him in concern.
"Would it have made a difference?" Rowan asked from the driver's seat, not bothering to turn his head. There was scorn in his tone.
Sai shut his eyes, very much wanting to melt away. Very much wanting to die. It occurred to him, through a haze of self-pity that it had only happened to him the once. How was Ryo going to take the revelation that it might not have been Seiji he'd been sleeping with?
"That was nasty, Rowan." Kento said quietly. "And you know better."
Silence for a while from Rowan. Then just as quietly. "I know."
It was quarter past one when they got to the house. Seiji's car was gone. They had not talked a hell of a lot, each of them lost in their own dark suppositions about the whole situation. He wasn't certain they believed him one hundred percent. But Rowan was certain. So sure it made his teeth hurt and his balls ache with the desire to get home and face the demon down. Only the demon wasn't there. Just an empty house.
Just Kento's angry presence behind him and Sai's quiet, hurt one. Sai wouldn't look him in the eye. Sai was afraid and miserable and thinking dreadful thoughts and dredging up dreadful memories.
"Sai --" he caught Sai's arm while Kento was bellowing Ryo's name and getting no response. Sai stopped, trapped between the hallway and the den, staring at his feet.
"I've had a really shitty night. I'm not feeling really -- pleasant -- right now."
"I understand." A murmur from Sai.
"No. You don't. Kento was right. I do know better. Its not your fault, all right? He -- she -- whatever used you to get at me."
Slowly Sai looked up, liquid green eyes desperately searching Rowan's face. "Why? Why would -- it -- want to hurt you?"
Rowan shrugged. "Maybe she's holding a grudge. Maybe she didn't like it when I knocked her out of Seiji the first time. I dunno. I don't care. I just want to do it again and bad."
"It didn't work yesterday morning." Sai reminded him slowly.
"Yeah. I know."
"Guys! Guys! Get up here." Kento was yelling from upstairs. A panicked Kento. Rowan swore and they both darted for the stairs.
It was Seiji's room Kento was in. Seiji's room that Rowan had a sudden fear of going into. But he forced himself anyway.
It was in a shambles. There was blood. Mostly on the bed. A lot of it on Ryo, who was also on the bed, who wasn't moving, who was sprawled naked in the midst of beige designer sheets, his wrists locked in the embrace of handcuffs looped around one of the curls of wrought iron in the headboard. Kento crouched over him, one large hand on Ryo's neck, searching for a pulse, fear in his eyes.
"He's hardly breathing."
Rowan squeezed in beside Kento, pulling uselessly at the cuffs. "Find the keys, Sai. They're bound to be around somewhere."
Sai nodded frantically and went tearing through Seiji's dresser drawers. Rowan searched on the bedside table. And found something more distressing than handcuffs and sex toys. He found a used needle. He found a dusting of yellow powder in a small glass vial.
"Fuck. Fuck." He whirled and smashed the bottle into the wall, startling both Kento and Sai.
"What?" Sai cried.
"She's been shooting fucking heroin. She ran out of the pain pills so she's been scoring something stronger."
"But --why?" Sai was still frantically tossing aside Seiji's carefully organized junk.
"To keep him down." Rowan guessed out loud. "Because he'd be to strong for her to handle if he wasn't sedated."
"I think he -- she -- gave Ryo some too." Kento growled. He pointed out a bloody pin prick on the inside of his arm.
"Keys." Sai found the set of handcuff keys and hastened over to unlock the bracelets. Ryo was unresponsive. All limp limbs and shallow breathing when they got him up. Rowan slapped him not ungently on the cheeks trying to rouse him. It looked like he'd already seen rougher abuse than that. His head lolled back on Kento's shoulder.
"What's wrong with him?" Sai hovered, wringing his hands. Naive Sai, who loved prescription drugs but wouldn't touch a joint if it walked up and bit him, who thought Ecstasy was something achieved in bed, and who had not the smallest notion of what something like heroin -- over a period of time - would do to a body.
"He's OD'd." Rowan snapped, motioning Kento to help him haul Ryo to his feet. He didn't know whether the bitch had done it on purpose or not. She had a fixation on Ryo thanks to Seiji, so he doubted she'd meant to kill him. But one never knew. Maybe it was too much of a fixation. Maybe she'd just as well live in Seiji's body without it. Stranger things had happened.
They got him into the shower. Wedged him into the stall and turned the water on full blast. It was cold as hell. Rowan who was half way in the stall himself holding Ryo up, shivered at the shocking impact of the frigid groundwater that fed their well. Ryo sputtered and blinked into semi-awareness. Tried to thrash his way out of the shower. Rowan held him fast, leaning his weight into it, wrapping his arms around Ryo and turning his face against the wall to keep the water out of his eyes.
Ryo wanted out. He was sobbing, shuddering, pushing ineffectually at Rowan. Strengthless. He would have sank down and drowned in the heady rain of water had Rowan not been there to keep him up.
Kento was there with a blanket when Rowan decided Ryo was awake enough to let out of the shower. Rowan stripped off his soaking shirt while Kento bundled Ryo. They got him downstairs on his own two feet. Mostly. They poured black coffee down his throat, which he hated and complained of bitterly, albeit dazedly. It was a long time before he was coherent. He kept wanting to slip back into a slumber that they couldn't afford to let him enter.
Finally, nestled between Kento and Sai, he began to regain a semblance of true awareness. Rowan, who'd been pacing the entire house, crouched before the sofa and stared discerningly up at Ryo. Faint bruises were starting to form on his face. He had more on his body. He was one of those people that didn't show damage easily. It took a lot for him to look like he looked right now. The blood had been washed away by the shower, but the pain was still there. It lingered in his eyes.
He didn't know yet. They hadn't bothered to tell him when he wouldn't have fully understood.
"Sai?" Rowan asked, feeling drained himself. "Do you have your power thingimigiggy?"
Sai stared at him in confusion, knees curled up under him on the couch, leaning up against Ryo who was nestled within the crook of Kento's arm.
"Do I --? Not on me."
"Go up to your room and see if it's there." He instructed softly. "You too, Kento."
They both looked at him worriedly, but eased out from under Ryo nonetheless to do his bidding. Which left Ryo staring at him, bruised and battered and full of unasked questions.
"He's not coming back." Rowan whispered. "He wouldn't have done this and planned to come back."
Ryo stared silently, clutching the blanket edges.
"You do know, that it wasn't Seiji, don't you? You do know that he wouldn't have done this to you? To us?"
"I don't know anything." It came out a hoarse whisper. Like he'd screamed himself raw and hadn't recovered from it. Maybe he had, in-between doses of drug, when Seiji -- or whatever inhabited his body -- had had all morning to play with him. Because Rowan had been in jail and Sai and Kento had gone after him and left Ryo alone with it.
"It's her, Ryo. She came through after all."
Ryo stared at him, uncomprehending. Not wanting to comprehend, because such a thing was unimaginable.
"She wanted a life again. She wanted a body to have it in. She got one."
Ryo looked away. Laid his cheek on the back of the couch and zoned out. Rowan leaned forward and caught his chin, forcing him to focus back on him.
"Ryo, am I getting through to you? Do you understand?"
"No." Ryo whispered. He was dry eyed, his voice sounded like he wanted to shed tears.
Rowan sighed and sat back on his heels. Sai came down stairs with a harried look on his face. He didn't need to speak for Rowan to know the answer to the question he'd sent him up to find out.
"Its gone." Sai exclaimed. "It was right on my dresser where I always keep it and its just gone."
"Mine too." Kento added his voice to the dreadful news.
"Yeah. I figured as much. He took mine, too. Probably got Ryo's as well."
"This is terrible. What are we going to do?" Sai leaned on the back of the sofa, staring at Rowan as if he expected him to come up with an answer.
"If -- if this is true --" Ryo asked softly, pulling his knees up closer to his body. "-- what's gonna happen to Seiji?"
Rowan wished he had the answer to that one too. Unfortunately nothing came to mind.
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