A High Price

Chapter 4

By Lizard


Tatsumi closed his cerulean eyes, beads of sweat lining his smooth brow, and attempted again, to manipulate the shadows. He strained until he felt the blood pounding in his head, a small vein pulsing in his temple, and dizziness threatening to overwhelm him, but he was rewarded with nothing more than an aching skull, and finally had to admit defeat, slumping back in the chair exhausted, panting for breath. Whatever dark magic Muraki had worked to eliminate his abilities in this room, was too powerful for him to conquer alone. Tatsumi was not accustomed to defeat on any level.

His thoughts fled again to Tsuzuki. He had left with the doctor just over an hour ago. Who knew what torture might have been inflicted on him in that amount of time? Such thoughts made him strain at his bonds again, thrashing desperately with no success. How glad he was that the others could not see him in such a state, in complete disarray and incapable of defeating even the chains that kept him held in the chair. His limbs were cramping painfully, his shirt drenched with sweat. How much longer till Hisoka and Watari found him? Or was he expecting too much of them?

Voices in the hallway, one soft, deep, but immature, the other finding it a strain to keep to a whisper. He would have to lecture Watari-san on how to remain stealthy. However, it seemed his prayers had been answered, and he sat up, looking expectantly at the door. He could see the shadows of two pairs of feet, hear a soft exclamation from the quieter of the two voices.

"Watari-san. Tsuzuki has been here." Hisoka's murmur was filled with anxiety, and who could blame him? In the Shinigami he had finally found a group of people he could feel safe amongst, consider as family, and now two of them were missing. Tatsumi knew that the disappearance of his partner in particular must have been a blow to the boy.

"Are you sure, Bon?" Watari's tone was now more subdued, as if he were unwilling to let himself get excited, just in case Hisoka had made a mistake.

"Hai, not long ago either. And, Muraki." This last name the boy said bitterly. Tatsumi wondered why the boy had yet to detect him.. Afterall, surely if he could recognise Muraki, he should be able to sense him too. Tatsumi immediately chided himself for such thoughts. Of course he would recognise his killer first, how could he help it? That perverted creature had cursed him to be marked in the afterlife, just as he had been when alive.It was a constant reminder of the attack.

There was a moment of silence, and Tatsumi remained silent, the suspense only making him more aware of his laboured breathing. Finally, there came a loud bang against the door, and he saw it shake, the wood at the centre slightly misshapen. Another, this time causing the metal hinges to groan in process, and then one more. The door came away from the frame and fell forwards to land on the bare floorboards of the room. Tatsumi squinted over the frames of his glasses, the light from the hallway enough to momentarily blind him as his eyes adjusted.

"Ta. Tatsumi-san!?" Hisoka's voice was at once shocked and full of concern, the latter being something the secretary was beginning to hear more often, though Hisoka did his best to remain calm and apathetic.

"Kurosaki-kun." Tatsumi managed the faintest of smiles. He didn't want them fussing over him if possible, that would be most undignified. "Do not be alarmed, but help would be appreciated."

As one, both of his saviours attempted to rush through the opening to help him, and both fell sprawling. For a moment Tatsumi thought they had been unable to fit through the doorway together and had knocked each other over. He almost gave an exasperated sigh, but when Watari got to his feet and tentatively reached towards the doorway, he realised the situation was quite different. He watched as the exploring hand pressed firmly against something that simply wasn't there, as if a flawless pane of glass was spanning the opening. The blonde scientist gave a grunt of annoyance, pressing both hands to it and shoving as hard as he could. Nothing happened.

"It would seem Muraki has gone to great efforts to stop us from entering Tatsumi-san. And judging by the fact that you're stuck in a chair I'd guess he's put a stop to your abilities too." Watari was rewarded with a nod from the captive. How on earth had the doctor mastered magic this powerful, and so quickly?

"Tatsumi-san, where is Tsuzuki.?" Hisoka asked, looking rather dazed from the collision still, but managing to compose himself again. The boy did not fail to notice his hesitation, and his stern expression was replaced by one of pure anxiety before the secretary even had time to answer.

"Muraki has him."

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