For an entire month, days hadn't been any different. They all held the same thick feeling of sadness that seemed to be unfixable to Jodie. Every day she wakes up, the first thought to come to her mind was that he's gone, that life goes on for her, for all the people, only that Shuichi isn't part of it anymore. Life does not go on for him too.
It made her angry at first thinking how he'd just left, so fast, unannounced, and so carelessly for a very careful man. Over time, all the anger had evaporated leaving place to the sadness and tears. She was so exhausted both mentally and physically. And every night she got the little dose of interrupted sleep, she woke up even more tired.
As her blue eyes widened, her heartbeats grew in a second too fast and strong she could feel them in her neck. The tall man with the black umbrella and dark clothing took away all her mind within catching her eye. Jodie just left the Liquor store yelling that he's dead, but now he was there, crossing the street, and he didn't disappear when she blinked her eyes in disbelief.
A loud bang of a gunshot echoed through the bank walls. Jodie woke up from her unconsciousness. All she saw before her were people running in different directions, all bumping into each other with their eyes blindfolded in an ugly gray duct tape. The security guard had taken a shot against one of the criminals causing chaos and terror to erupt in the hostages who couldn't see what was happening.
It didn't take long for Jodie to regain her sharpness as she got up from the floor and joined the people. Shuichi was all that's on her mind upon waking. She needed to find him fast and take him back to their side. Luckily, a man of his height and unconventional features was easy to spot in the crowd.
Jodie rushed her way through the chaos and noises to where she spotted him taking small aimless steps. Her warm hand landed on his shoulder to prevent him from taking another step forward.
"Shu." She called, feeling the heat move from his sweater onto her hand. She needed that sensation to confirm what her eyes were seeing.
Shuichi stopped in his tracks yet didn't turn to her, only when she forced him around with her hand that he did.
Jodie let out a deep breath. Her eyes examined what still appeared from his face under the gray tape. His dark curls that still lay beautifully even when he doesn't take care of them, his warm skin that had an unfamiliar patch on the left side. It must've hurt him so bad, she thought as her eyebrows drew in the middle. Then was his neck, his collarbone, his chest that she'd been thrown onto more times than she could count. He was definitely Shu! She knew him too well to confirm it. Every detail in him she knew and memorized yet she still couldn't fully grasp that he's actually there and alive.
Jodie took in another deep breath and a step closer to him. She placed her hand on the gray duct tape and removed it from his mouth. These were unmistakably Shuichi's lips too, she could never mistake them. And then his eyes, exposing his usual greens, which had lacked their usual sharpness. Instead, they stared at her with softness and innocent curiosity she hadn't seen before on this man's face.
Although everything felt too slow to Jodie, it was happening fast in there. The bank doors had all started lifting up as police forces infiltrated the area. She knew that they needed to leave now before any media coverage takes place and exposes Shuichi to the dangers of the organization again. She hadn't any time to spare on her emotions with their danger lurking. Jodie placed her hand on Shuichi's elbow firmly.
"We need to leave." She said as she turned towards the doors and tried to drag him with her, but she was faced with resistance. The man had stood in his place, unmovable like a mountain. His eyes looked less soft when she turned to him this time, as though distrust seeped through them.
"Shuichi, we need to go now. This place is dangerous. There are some people that might try to hurt you if they find out you're here."
A loud bang was heard. Jodie took a look around the place. She found that the number of Police officers had doubled inside the bank till they outnumbered the civilians. There was only one corner at a side door from which they could leave before getting caught. They needed to move immediately if they were to escape being witnesses to the case without being suspicious. Except that Shuichi was still standing in his place. He kept on eyeing her for the whole time undeviatingly, gaze sharp as she knew it to be.
Jodie knew it's hopeless to try to force him to walk with her, but then he didn't leave or turn away from her, and his fixed gaze indicated interest, maybe he needed a little more convincing. He'd always been a stubborn man, she thought as she considered her options. But there comes an officer towards the corner where they're supposed to leave through... They needed to move immediately.
Hurridly, she turned back towards him and tightened her hand around his elbow. "Let us go now and I'll tell you everything later, just please trust me now."
After few intense seconds had passed with him standing undeviatingly, Shuichi moved. He withdrew his arm from Jodie's grip at first then stepped in the direction she tried to drag him towards.
The snowy-coated streets looked so much like New York on a January. A chilly breeze stung Jodie as she walked her way to the store where she left her FBI friends. Her paces were getting faster every minute, wanting to show Shu to them and to hide him from any potential threat.
Shuichi was sticking to her side, keeping up with her steps without knowing where she was taking him. Jodie kept glancing his way with each step, she still found it hard to accept that he was there with her, he was alive, back to her. She feared losing him like a shadow, so she needed to make sure he still stood there every second. She wished to be able to hold him again to make sure he doesn't fade away or be taken from her side again but she didn't.
"Shu." She called, but he didn't turn her way.
"Shuichi." Jodie called again. This time, it earned her a glance, but he soon lost interest and got back to the street.
Jodie's legs lost their strength to this realization. She was happy he was back, but he isn't alright, he's too far from being alright. Her paces slowed down, earning her a questioning look from him.
"Shuichi, is your name. Shu is short for Shuichi."
Shuichi eyed her again with a long stare that doesn't deviate, as though it took him long to process her words.
"Do you really not remember me?" Jodie sighed with a hint of pain. Her heart tightened to seeing him like this.
All she got back from him was the long stare, but no sound would escape his lips.
"It's okay." She whispered, tone full of held-back emotions.
Jodie looked away from him to the street ahead when she saw James and Camel coming their way. For a moment, she forgot about Shuichi's condition and celebrated finding them with a smile of relief.
Shuichi, however, had a whole different reaction to seeing the two well-built men approach them. He frowned. He didn't like the way they were staring at him and eating him with their eyes, especially the giant one with the long hair. Shu suddenly stopped in his tracks, feeling a sense of danger.
"Akai!" Both men said in bewilderment.
"James, he's alive." Jodie started. She stopped talking when she sensed Shuichi not by her side anymore, not keeping up with her steps.
"This is unbelievable." The old man muttered as Camel stood behind him not less astonished.
"Shuichi, these are our colleagues. We're FBI agents. This is James, our boss, and That's Andre Camel… And I'm… Jodie. Do you remember any of us?"
Not moving from his place, Shuichi lowered his head down, keeping but a thin narrow space to beep through his cap with a dark narrowed gaze.
"Jodie, does that mean...?" James asked with a frown concluding all the right things from Jodie's words. She nodded, earning a gape from the old man. With his experience, James got himself together and organized his priorities.
"We better take him to my car lest some people see him. We should get him out of here as soon as possible."
"We could take him to my apartment, it's the closest to here." James added hurriedly as he grabbed his key outside his pocket and turned towards the parking on the side of the street.
"Let's go." Softly, Jodie called for Shuichi. A caring gentle look drew on her face, inviting him to follow them.
Camel stood near her, observing Shuichi as she did moments ago, unable to grasp the thought himself. He was still in that sweet zone of happiness and denial when he saw Shuichi turn around and walk back in the opposite direction. He turned to Jodie questionably but found her staring at Shuichi walking away. Jodie stepped forward and called his name but he didn't respond. Camel stepped behind her and grabbed him by the arm.
Shuichi flicked the hand off with a tough motion, steps fastening even more.
"Wait, Shu." Jodie called.
Shuichi kept walking back regardless ignoring her calls when Camel's hand laid on him again by order of James, this time firmly enough to not let him move forward.
Feeling the sense of danger grow even more, Shuichi turned around to face Camel with a fist in the face that the man took unexpectedly. He let go of Shuichi in reflex who got to his feet at the fastest speed.
Both FBI agent's eyes grew wider before they could make any move. Only when James called from behind them that they did.
"Move it, Don't let him run away." The old man said as he chased behind the two faster, younger agents. They were all chasing behind Shuichi who continued running and taking turns. He ran into an alleyway where he thought he could lose track of them but they stubbornly cached up.
After only a short distance, Shuichi felt his body tiring and slowing. But the amount of adrenalin inside him gave him the energy to turn into yet another alleyway. He didn't know where to go, only that he wanted to be away from those men who looked and sounded suspicious.
With shu's low lung capacity, Camel's training came in handy when he reached him in the alleyway. He extended a hand and grabbed him by his shirt. Without a warning, Shuichi turned around and punched him on the chest. He let go of Shu in reflex when Jodie reached and grabbed him.
"Shuichi calm down. Shu, please."
Shuichi didn't seem to take her advice as he tried to jimmy himself outside her grip, luckily not using the hash method with Camel on her. His eyes were wide, reflecting a terror that she again had never seen on his face before.
"Shu." Jodie yelled when she felt him winning over, his shirt was almost fully out of her fingers. Her voice broke through his loud repetitive pants. She understood that he was scared, maybe reasonably when he didn't know who they were and who to trust. But she felt like if she let go of his shirt, he'll run away and she won't find him again, just like his shadow earlier on the street. She had to hang on to him for all costs.
Just when she was about to lose the grip, Camel's grip was back to support her. Shuichi tried hurting him again. The agent was pushed a bit back but he didn't let go regardless, instead, he tried to reach for Shuichi's left hand which was causing all the damage, but it was hard to keep that under control.
Camel never wanted to use his restrain training on his boss, but this time he found himself forced to, to his boss' own safety. In a fast movement, he grabbed Shuichi's wrist then forced him around, locking his arm behind in a way that paralyzes his movement.
"I'm so sorry, Akai san." Camel muttered repeatedly as Shuichi tried to free his hand from him with frustration, but no one could escape that lock.
Shuichi's pants were too loud and fast, half for the tiring run half for the fear of whatever was happening. Getting chased then locked in an alleyway could never mean good, those people couldn't be any good to his mind at the moment. With a helpless attempt, he tried to use all his force to get out of this jam, giving rise to a groan in the process, but it was all for nothing.
Jodie moved back, eyebrows drawing together to the sight as she saw Camel drag Shu back to where the car was like they force criminals. She could see the fright and distrust in his green eyes, and she wished if she could take those feelings away in that moment, to make him feel safe, but who knows if he'd trust her or feel safe by her side again after what just happened.