Moon Phase: Waning Below Half

Journey’s End

 

Naoki stayed with his brother throughout the bulk of the day, but he had to go home eventually. His ruse likely hadn’t even lasted this long. Unfortunately, the faerie glen had no cellphone reception for him to feed his mother excuses.

He also couldn’t figure out what to do with the damaged uniform, horn, and glowing marks. They’d stayed strong after the fight and he was getting concerned.

Leanan Sidhe came over to him. “Pixie has informed my lord and lady of your situation.”

Oh yeah, she had gone to talk to them. Couldn’t imagine her desiring an outcome that ended with this beautiful faerie speaking to him.

“It seems you cannot resume a more normal human form on your own.”

He shrugged. “I’ll figure it out.”

“Why struggle? To show what we are inside/never a lie. To embrace deceit/to never retreat.”

“What are you getting at?”

She chuckled, hovering just slightly off the ground. “I can allow you to change your form into that of other humans. Usually, I’d need something from them, but since I merely change you to you it will not be difficult.”

“Clothing too?”

“No problem.” She struck a pose then, hands on hips, hair swung around.

“Sidhe!”

“Oh my, seems we have a pixie in the vicinity.”

Sure enough, Pixie came charging up. “What are you up to?”

“Merely what was commanded of me.” She pouted her thin lips. “Do you not trust your elder fae?”

“Get away from him.”

“Pix, I need a disguise.”

Pixie hovered there a moment, wings fluttering furiously.

“You see, dear. I’m just trying to be helpful.”

“You are never just trying to be helpful.”

“Well,” Leanan Sidhe winked at him, “there are sometimes perks.”

“Not interested,” he quickly explained, “but the disguise would be appreciated.”

Pixie seemed to calm down. “Guess if I came with you it might be okay.”

Dante wandered over from a nap he’d been taking under the trees. “What’s with all this commotion? Lover’s spat?” He yawned.

“Leanan Sidhe says she can disguise me.”

“That’d be helpful.”

“Dante,” Pixie shrieked.

“What? It’s a good plan.”

“Thanks, Dante.” Naoki checked the time. “I should leave soon if I want to get home at a good time.”

“Very well.” Leanan Sidhe hugged close to him. “Just think about what you need to look like. Think of your hair, your uniform, your arms…everything. Now, close your eyes.”

Naoki heard Pixie groan, but went ahead and closed his eyes anyway.

“Open.”

He opened his eyes and looked at his arms. The uniform appeared completely intact now and no glow emanated from his hands.

“You look weird,” Pixie commented.

“Downright normal,” Dante added.

“Guess that’s good right now.” He looked up at Leanan Sidhe. “We ready?”

The faerie grinned and nodded. Pixie grumbled a bit, but nodded as well.

Naoki turned to Dante. “Protect my brother.”

“Will do. But I can only sit around so long, you know.”

“I understand. I’ll come back as soon as I can, hopefully with more information.”

“The other faeries are looking into it too,” Pixie reassured him.

“Thanks.”

“Are we ready?” Leanan Sidhe pressed.

Naoki nodded. Time to face his parents.

 


 

 

Naoki had walked through the door fully braced to see a scowling mother. He hadn’t expected her to be sitting across from Detective Sakamoto.

They both looked up at him when he came in.

“You weren’t at school.” His mother shook and he could see moisture around her eyes. Could it actually be for him?

“Sorry. Things came up.”

“You lied to me.”

“Yeah.”

She stood up then. Naoki honestly wasn’t sure if she was going to hit him in anger or hug in him relief. Weird to think she cared.

“Miss Kashima,” Detective Sakamoto said softly. “Please, if you would have a seat. You as well, Kashima-kun.”

Naoki sat down on the side of the table between them.

“Your mother was very worried when I told her you didn’t attend school yesterday. Apparently, you told her you’d be staying with a friend to study the night.”

“Correct.”

“And you lied?”

“Yes.”

“Why?” his mother breathed. “Why would you make things worse than they already are?”

“I didn’t want to worry you.”

“What did you expect? That no one would say anything? You get in trouble all the time and we let it slide, but your brother is missing and-“

“Miss Kashima,” Detective Sakamoto snapped, “if you would leave your son and I alone for a moment.” She stared at him. “You said you needed more milk, correct? Why don’t you go get it? My assistant will make sure you’re safe.”

She slowly nodded.

“Thank you.” The detective waited for her to leave before turning back to Naoki. “You had us worried.”

“Sorry.”

“Why did you lie to her?”

Naoki shrugged.

“Were you searching for your brother?” the detective inquired more quietly.

Naoki thought for a moment. A part of him knew he had to hide everything. That there was no way this man would believe him and it would only make things harder for both of them. The other part wanted desperately to tell him. To try and find some support from someone who seemed to have a decent grasp on the situation. Someone who could deal with his parents.

He answered slowly, watching the detective’s reactions as he spoke. “I found him.”

“What?” Sharp surprise, but nothing worse.

“I found him,” Naoki repeated, “and I got him out.”

“Why haven’t I heard about this?” The first hint of anger, mixed with confusion and some relief.

“He’s badly hurt,” Naoki explain.

“Then he needs a hospital.”

Naoki shook his head. “Not good.”

“Why not?” he demanded sharply. The detective stared at him a moment before letting out a deep breath. His body seemed to deflate a bit as he calmed himself down. “Kashima-kun, I need you to be upfront with me.”

Naoki glared at the man. “I could tell you everything and you wouldn’t believe a word.”

“I don’t just handle homicides and kidnapping, Kahsima-kun. I handle the cases that simply don’t make sense. I stumbled into your case because of you and your markings.”

Pixie whispered in his ear. “He’s baiting you. He can’t see Sidhe or I.”

“Obviously. Leanan Sidhe, drop the disguise.”

“You sure?”

Naoki nodded. No slow metamorphosis, just an illusion dropped. Naoki’s markings glowed furiously through his tattered uniform. His eyes shined yellow and his horn prominently stood out from his hair.

Detective Sakamoto’s eyes widened a moment, but then he leaned back, clearly contemplating something.

Not the reaction Naoki had been anticipating.

“Kashima-kun?”

“Yes?”

“Are you the demifiend?”

Naoki jumped. If there had been one question he hadn’t been expecting, it had been that. “I…How do you know?”

“Have your demons put the disguise back up. Your mother will be home soon.”

Leanan Sidhe complied before Naoki even said anything.

“Thank you for being honest with me.”

“But how? How do you…?”

The detective pulled out his wallet, flipping past his badge and to a separate sheet. He held it out for them to see.

A pentagram with a three legged crow in the middle, against the backdrop of a shining sun, like the old Japanese flags. Leanan Sidhe backed up, eyes widening, and pixie fluttered nervously.

“I’m with the Kuzunoha,” the detective explained. “While I don’t have the power to interact with demons myself I act as a liaison.”

“Kuzunoha? Like Raidou Kuzunoha?” Naoki asked hopefully.

“You know Raidou?”

Naoki nodded. “Yeah. He was trying to figure out my Reason. Left when he thought I was alright.”

“Strange. He never mentioned you. When was this?”

“No idea,” Naoki admitted. “Time passed oddly there. When I came back I was human again and right where I was before I got mixed up in it. I’d never seen him before.”

“You don’t want to get mixed up with Raidou,” Leanan Sidhe warned.

“Why not?” Pixie asked. “I get that he’s dangerous, but he’s a friend of ours. We need to get in contact if we’re already dealing with the Kuzunoha.”

“This one is no one’s friend.”

“Will you tell me what happened to your brother now?” Detective Sakamoto asked.

“Angels kidnapped him,” Naoki admitted.

“And brought him to St. Mary’s Cathedral,” Detective Sakamoto surmised.

“Yeah.” How did the detective know the location? “He’s badly hurt though. They did something to him.”

“Such as?”

“He’s growing wings.”

“Where is he now?”

“Don’t tell him our location.” Leanan Sidhe warned.

“He’s with a friend of mine. We’re worried they’ll come after him again.”

“Understood. Do you think you could get him to Shinjuku’s central hospital?”

“It’s straight on the trains, so it might be doable.”

“I know a doctor there who specializes in demonic possessions and parasites. I’m sure he could help both of you.”

“I don’t need help.”

“You need control,” the detective countered.

“He’s good,” Pixie whispered.

“I can take you straight to the hospital. Your friend could meet us there or we could pick him up from Shinjuku station.”

“Too big. He needs to come in on a smaller station.”

“I can borrow a car so we could simply go and pick him up.”

Naoki turned to Pixie and Leanan Sidhe. “What do you think? Could we just ask them to stay somewhere more accessible for a bit?”

“I could relay the message once we have somewhere to meet.”

“How far are we from the shrine visitor center?”

“However far we want to be,” Leanan Sidhe grumbled.

Naoki turned to Detective Sakamoto. “How about the visitor center for Meiji Shrine? Even my friend can find that.”

“Very well.”

“I’ll go get them,” Pixie announced. She quickly fluttered away.

“I’m glad we’ve reached this understanding,” Detective Sakamoto said. “I’ll call Doctor Yukimura.”

“Thanks.”

“It’s my job to help people, no matter how strange their situation.”

“I’m still grateful.”

Detective Sakamoto smiled kindly.

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