Illuminating the Darkness

BY : LucyMay
Category: Descendents of Darkness/Yami No Matsuei > General
Dragon prints: 2632
Disclaimer: I do not own Descendants of Darkness (Yami no Matsuei), nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

A/N: Well, well, well, look who just decided to wander back in as if nothing ever happened. I'm so sorry that it's been so long. My computer crashed way back in December last year (yep, it's been that long), and I just couldn't get myself to rewrite everything I'd lost. Starting over is never easy, especially when you're prone to writer's block as it is. But enough whining... I hope you're still interested! Love, Lucy May

Tsuzuki and Hisoka reached the lobby, where the others sat waiting for them on a row of seats near the check-in desk. Alain was not with them. Finch studied a long sheet of well creased paper, his lips bloodless as he bit them in an expression of deep concentration. His hazel eyes rolled up slowly at their approach.

“Are you well enough to continue?” Finch asked, looking so exhausted that he seemed scarcely able to answer in the affirmative to his own inquiry. Tsuzuki nodded.

“Good,” Finch said, folding the paper back deftly and standing. “I have acquired evidence at last of something I have suspected for years. We have no time to waste.” He strode out to the street briskly, leaving the others exchanging looks of confusion before following.

The sidewalk traffic was heavy, and the men struggled to keep Finch within their sight as he effortlessly wove around the throng of early commuters on streets he knew instinctively. Hisoka shivered, feeling something distinctly odd, though he could not quite place it. It seemed that there was an urgency to the rate at which they traveled, and it unnerved him.

“I saw Finch and Alain leave the hotel last night when I was out for a smoke,” Hy called from behind Tsuzuki and Hisoka, lagging slightly behind. “I asked where they were going, but he was just a smartass to me as usual. He came back alone this morning.”

The almost comically single file of shinigami, nearly breathless from pursuit, nearly marched into one another as the one that led them came to an abrupt halt before an alleyway. Finch glanced back to where Hy was stumbling to meet them, his expression unreadable, and slowed his pace before stepping into the shadows ahead.

“I visited the office of Dr. Henri Romaine, a known associate of the Vemulakonda family last night. He had been murdered,” Finch said quietly, leading them through an odd labyrinth of alleys and less occupied back streets. “I found this map hidden in the bottom of a locked drawer in his office, and an appointment book with a vague reference that seemed to be about a delivery. Alain found -- there was also, this.” Finch stopped, reaching into his jacket and pulled out a torn, muddy scrap of paper in a plastic bag.

“Why didn’t you just tell us this back at the hotel?” Watari asked, taking the bag from him with interest and holding it up to the ray of sunlight that filtered weakly between the buildings they stood between.

Finch opened his mouth to speak, when his cell phone rang. He hastily answered, turning his back to them.

“Did you lose them?” Finch asked in English, before conversing in French.

“Because we were being followed,” Hisoka said. They watched in tense silence as Finch’s voice rose argumentatively, and he at last hung up the phone, shoving it into his pocket with an exasperated look that broke his usual composure momentarily.

“Where is Alain?” Tsuzuki asked.

“I sent him back to the office. His business is no longer in the field,” Finch said.

“Who did he lead away from us?” Hisoka asked firmly. Finch looked at him irritably, and sighed.

“I do not know. He sensed we were being followed last night, though I never saw anything. He has always been very sensitive to spiritual forces, and I do not believe our pursuers were human,” Finch said. “He says he no longer felt any presence when he reached the Ministry.”

“You were worried about him, weren’t you?” Watari asked. Finch gave him a withering look before glancing down at the bag the scientist held.

“What do you make of that?” Finch asked. Watari shook his head.

“I speak Romanian, but I’m afraid when it comes to reading it --” Watari stopped in surprise, as Michael snaked a pale arm around him and snatched the bag, giving him a sheepish half-smile.

“So, does that mean Alain is an empath, like Hisoka?” Hy asked, while Michael studied the ruined parchment.

“Empaths are attuned to the emotions and thought patterns of humans,” Finch explained. “Alain’s gift is different.”

Hisoka’s eyes sought Tsuzuki’s, who looked at him quizzically.

“No,” they heard Michael gasp softly, distracting them. The boy’s shaggy dark hair shadowed pale blue eyes that were tearful, as his knees seemed to weaken. He fell back against the wall, shaking his head.

“What is it Michael? What’s wrong?” Watari asked gently, steadying the boy with a hand on his shoulder. Hy looked on, biting his lip, and looking torn.

“This is a document from the Romanian sector of the Ministry,” Michael said, placing a finger to the bottom of the page. “I can make out my mother’s own seal, just there.”

“How would a mortal doctor have gotten such a thing?” Watari asked in wonder.

“What kind of document is it?” Hisoka asked. Michael frowned deeply, letting the parchment slip from his shaking fingers.

“From what I can make out, it looks like it concerns the death of a shinigami by the name of Viorel Lior. I knew him,” Michael said, gazing at where the page had fallen to the ground.

“That name sounds familiar, somehow,” Tsuzuki said, his brow furrowing. Michael looked up at him with confusion, his eyes shining.

“It shouldn’t. He died over forty years ago,” Michael whispered.

“Perhaps I’m mistaken,” Tsuzuki said, looking at him sympathetically. “Was he a friend of yours?”

Michael shook his head, avoiding Tsuzuki’s eyes by gathering the sheet and handing it to Watari. Hisoka glanced at Hy, a succession of conflicted emotions playing across the young man’s face.

“We will not find any answers here. Come,” Finch said impatiently, and led them from the alley.

XXXX

“What is this map of?” Tsuzuki asked, as they followed Finch onto a deserted street, in a neighborhood that looked all but abandoned, the buildings in ill repair, and many of the windows broken or boarded up.

“The catacombs,” Finch answered, heading into an overgrown path beside an empty building. He glanced back with a frown. “Watch for roots, Hy. It would be inconvenient if you were injured.”

“Don’t worry about me,” Hy grumbled, looking embarrassed.

Finch dove into the thigh high grass and brambles, making his way to a rusted gate blocking the back yard, and kicking it with a curse. Watari made his way to the front of the group, inspecting the padlock.

“Um, this one isn’t booby trapped is it?” Watari asked with a nervous laugh, fishing his tools from his lab coat. Finch shook his head.

Watari made short work of the weathered lock, stepping aside and allowing Finch to pass. They followed him into a small yard behind the building, as Finch made his way towards a dilapidated tool shed.

Finch darted into the old wooden building, the others rushing forward, as what sounded like a scuffle came from inside, a surprised high pitch yelp echoing off the surrounding buildings. They stood back with surprise as Finch drug what appeared to be a very dirty young boy in ragged clothes from the shack by the ear.

“Ow! What the hell, Finch?” the child screeched in English, squirming indignantly, and letting off a stream of what were no doubt curses in French.

“You’re coming with us, Sophie. I need your help, and you owe me,” Finch said, releasing what, on closer inspection, was indeed a girl.

“Yeah, yeah, what is it this time?” Sophie grumbled, stopping her protests with a startled look as she spied the others. “Who the heck are they?”

“They are the same as I. We need to get into the catacombs,” Finch answered. “I have found a map.”

“A map?” Sophie said, her piqued interest taking her attention from the others. “Let me see it.”

“No,” Finch answered, crossing his arms across his chest and smirking. Sophie pouted, tugging at the filthy newsboy hat the concealed her hair.

“Where’s Alain? I like him better. He’s nice,” Sophie muttered.

Finch ignored her, taking her arm and leading her towards the street.

“Sophie knows the catacombs. She will guide us,” Finch said.

“I’m not going anywhere until you feed me,” Sophie protested. “I haven’t had anything to eat in months!”



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