A High Price

Chapter 12

By Lizard


Tsuzuki and Hisoka seemed so peaceful together of late, Tatsumi mused, watching the two from his office, as they sat outside on their lunch break. It almost made him jealous, that they could just sit quietly like that, enjoying their companionship without the silence feeling awkward. He wasn't sure what had brought about this change, though it was irrefutably linked to the evening with Muraki. The catfights they'd once had so frequently were non-existent, Hisoka had stopped calling Tsuzuki "baka" every other sentence, and the boy was much more physical with him. Not in any kind of intimate way, but in a gentle fashion that seemed to provide comfort to his partner. This latter change bothered Tatsumi the most. The boy was an empath, if anything he should have been refraining contact with Tsuzuki.

The secretary sighed, slumping back down at his desk. The paper work was piling up, and for a change, he didn't feel any compulsion to try and reduce it. His thoughts were centred too sharply on Tsuzuki, and had been for two weeks now. Watari had been the first to notice of course. The scientist had been nervous around him ever since he snared him with the shadows in the corridor. Had he an inkling of what Tatsumi was currently feeling, the violence that erupted in him the moment he thought of Muraki, the regret whenever he remembered opening that damn letter?

Sapphire twins closed briefly, brow resting on the heel of his palm. He had to try and get rid of this guilt somehow, he had to or he'd end up having a nervous breakdown.


Hisoka leaned towards his partner, gently plucking a sakura petal from dark, tousled hair and smirking as Tsuzuki gave him a little smile. His partner was changed, not so often playful or excitable and certainly more responsible. He missed the old Tsuzuki, though he hated to admit it. This one was too fragile, too like himself in some aspects, which saddened him immensely.

The boy was the only one Tsuzuki had talked to about that evening and it had tightened their bond, knowing that they shared the same torment now. Hisoka knew, every time Tsuzuki's face went blank, where his thoughts had strayed. How could they not? Muraki had stamped himself too deeply on their minds to be forgotten, there was never really any "getting over" the experience.

He recalled how the amethyst eyed Shinigami had spoken so shamefully of it, freely surrendering the information, admitting that he had enjoyed what the doctor did to him and that he felt something for the killer that he couldn't put into words. "I feel so.stained." Tsuzuki had whispered, trembling, eyes closed. "Hisoka, I wanted him to do it, I enjoyed it." Muffled sobs and tear stained cheeks.

"Tsuzuki, don't feel ashamed, because you see, I felt the same way." Hisoka's words had clearly shocked Tsuzuki, who had sat up in astonishment, eyes glistening. Hisoka was never usually that open, or eloquent. "I don't claim to have felt for him what you do, I truly despise him with all of my being, but that's because of how he made me feel. I enjoyed it, and that made me feel guilty. Well now we both feel guilty over it, and it isn't our fault.

How good it had felt to finally divulge such a secret, to let down that last barrier he had so determinedly kept in place between them. Now there was understanding, not the accusation or disgust he might have been faced with under different circumstances.

"Hey Hisoka, do you think Chief Kanoe will ever send us out on another mission?" Tsuzuki asked, breaking the boy's reverie. He had his mouth half full of apple pie, though he seemed to eat with less enthusiasm these days. "We've been doing so much paperwork I'm even seeing numbers in my food."

Hisoka grunted. Tsuzuki wasn't complaining about nothing for a change. He was fairly sure Kanoe was keeping them cooped up until he could be sure Tsuzuki was stable enough to do any fieldwork, but in the meantime, they were tortured with file upon file of reports and other menial tasks. Despite Tsuzuki's more serious attitude, Hisoka had spotted him napping several times over the past few days.

"I dunno, things have been pretty quiet." Hisoka murmured, his lunch finished long ago, but then his meal had been about half the size of his partner's.

"Maybe I'll ask Tatsumi about it, he always seems to know what's going on."

Hisoka gave him a sidelong glance. Like Watari, he had seen the subtle change in the secretary's usual demeanour, but had avoided discussing it with anyone just yet. He shrugged in response, and they returned spent the last 10 minutes of their break in silence.

The answer had been so simple all along, how blind of him not to have noticed before.

Tatsumi smiled, pen in hand, the sheet of paper before him full of his usual, neat writing, figures balancing perfectly. Once he had come up with the solution, he had been able to continue working automatically, his thoughts flowing as normal. Almost.

He was keenly anticipating the coming evening, and his eyes continually flicked their gaze upward to glance at the clock on the wall. In two hours, he'd have paid his debt to Tsuzuki.

And Muraki would be dead.





Author's note: Not the most enthralling of chapters, but these bits needed explaining to move the story along and answer a few questions about the characters' emotional states. I'm not entirely sure whether anyone reading this will like my idea on Hisoka's feelings, but what the hell, I can't have everyone being angsty now can I?

Now to answer a few questions regarding chapter 11:

How did Tatsumi see Tsuzuki's tear in the dark? Well it wasn't pitch black you see, and as tears tend to be shiny and reflect whatever light there is easily, be it faint or not, Tatsumi caught sight of its gleam upon Tsuzuki's cheek. Lame answer? Yes.

Would Tsuzuki actually have kissed Muraki when he told him to? Well he was doing as he was told to save Tatsumi you see. I know he didn't exactly protest about doing it, but his friend's life was at stake. Of course he was curious too.who wouldn't be? >]

Is there a love conflict between the 4? Unfortunately, no. Watari was looking suspicious because of Tatsumi's odd behaviour in the corridor, and Hisoka was just plain confused.

There we go. Thanks again for the reviews ^^

~ Lizard ~

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