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Natsuo looked up to the other male when he came back into the living room, telling him that the food he'd smelt cooking was finally ready. He nodded, seeing him smile, than walk away. Looking down, Hunter, who was still lying on him, looked up to meet his eyes. Natsuo gave a soft smile, rubbing behind his ears gently. His tail wagged twice, then ceased. Please don't be upset with me for too long. he thought, then stood, Hunter forced to get off of him. He walked slowly out into the kitchen, finding Mark already sitting at the table and eating. He sat down as well, a burger already on his own plate. After finding that there wasn't much on the table to dress his burger with, he stood and went into the fridge, pulling out a bag of lettuce, a tomato, a bottle of mustard, and a bottle of mayonnaise. After he'd cut the tomato relatively well, he put two slices on his patty, covered it with lettuce, than squirted the mustard and mayonnaise on the underside of the top bun. He set everything back in the fridge when he was done, the tomato now in a sandwich bag to help it last longer, than brought his plate with his burger on it back to the table.
When he sat down, he saw Hunter was still lying across the couch where he had been before, but he'd turned around to watch the raven haired male. It wasn't like he was watching for food, or begging. Instead, it looked more like he was keeping an eye on the male, making sure he didn't leave. As Natsuo bit into his burger, he glanced up and eyed Mark across the little table from him. After a moment, he set the burger back down on the plate. He chewed the inside of is cheek, but knew that Mark should know.
"When I was outside...I saw him." he paused, looking back up to meet the other's eyes. "I saw Sean."
With it almost being mid winter now, he didn’t understand how Nat could stand out there for so long without getting really cold. Mark had knelt by Hunter when he’d gotten inside the door but the dog’s tail didn’t wag as he scratched the back of his head. “Go on boy.” He said and the dog lifted his head before standing up and going to Nat’s heals when he came in and went to the couch, jumping up he laid down with his head on his lap, a little whine coming from him, asking if he was going to leave. Of course Hunter would follow and try to get him to come back but he knew when it had taken long enough to try and he would come home...
Mark had gone into the kitchen making dinner, something simple since it was already about 6 and he still had to look at the other cases in his bag. When he’d finished making the hamburgers he walked in when the Natsuo was watching a movie, more than half way through he guessed. Seeing the image on the screen reminded him of the night before, how he’d carried Nat to bed and tried to lay him down but ended up being stuck, not wanting to wake the boy up. But that wasn’t because he was hurt like the woman being carried. He went over to him and said: “Dinner’s ready.” Then offered a smile, going back to eat his own burger. Mark put ketchup on his, he didn’t mind having other things on it as well, but he preferred just ketchup. Taking a bite, he looked to Nat through his bangs, how come he seemed so much more… solemn than before. And the older man felt somehow it was his fault.
Natsuo jumped when he heard Mark's voice, so high that he thought he'd hit the balcony above them. He turned around to face him, blinking up at him. It took a minute for his words to register in his mind. Was he...apologizing? No...no, he shouldn't be doing that. Don't do that... he thought to himself, though nothing came out of his mouth. After another moment, the older man had returned back inside where it was warm and homey. Natsuo turned to look back out over the parking lot, down the road he'd seen the Cadillac turn off of. There was no mistaking it; it had been Sean. He'd seen him the other day at the police station, and now he was there...at the apartment building. He'd found him. It was only a matter of time, now...
With the cold air biting, Natsuo turned and padded back inside of the apartment, shutting the door tightly behind him. He took care to lock it generously, stepping back slowly at first, then turning and heading into the living room. Sitting down on the couch, he pulled his legs up to his chest, wrapping his arms around his shins. He rested his chin on his knee caps, staring at his reflection in the mirror-like TV screen. After a moment, he picked up the remote and turned the TV bake on, scanning through the channels. After a couple of minutes, he decided on a title he'd never heard of before. When the movie came up, it was half-way through. There was a man walking down the street, carrying a woman who looked badly bruised. She was passed out in his arms, unmoving, except for her breathing. Natsuo felt a vague sense of familiarity to that...though he couldn't remember every carrying someone like that...or carrying someone like that, either.
Mark had heard the door open but it didn’t close. Hunter went to the door and sat far enough in so he wasn’t blocking it or bothering the boy outside. The man knew that it was obvious he had been annoyed a bit, the boy had lied, and with lies came trust issues. He trusted Nat, for the moment but if he kept up lying about who he was and why he’d run away then there was no way to help him, he was stuck… what was he supposed to do?
Standing from the seat he saw Hunter waiting, now laying down. He smiled seeing his partner like that. He considered Hunter his partner, loyal and trustworthy, he deserved those titles because he was. Even if he was just an overgrown pup. Going to his bedroom he changed into some loose sweats and a regular t-shirt and then went to the bathroom. After washing his face and getting his hair back, the annoying part of having long hair, he walked out and went to the door still partially cracked open. Opening the door quietly he stood there, seeing that Nat was still there, he smiled and walked down the steps also barefoot. Nat had been staring at something. “You should come inside.” He said quietly and when the boy turned around he smiled. “Sorry, the case is frustrating enough, I didn’t mean to accuse you.” Mark wasn’t sure what to say though words kept coming. “I thought I’d put things together but if I’m wrong, I’m wrong.” That came with a shrug. “But I know that Hunter and I, have gotten used to you being here already.” Another smile. “So don’t go running off without telling us.” Going back to the door where Hunter could be seen further inside his tail not moving his head on the ground as he waited for the two to come back inside…
Natsuo sighed again as he leaned back in the couch. He felt like he was trying to push himself into it; to disappear in among the cushions. To not have to put up with anything any more. He could tell Mark was feeling agitated with him...even if it was only a little bit. He could feel it before he'd left the living room and retreated back into the kitchen. He'd seen it, too, in his eyes. When he'd spoken. He could see that, right now, Mark had no intention of giving the raven haired male back to his brother. But he had superiors in his line of work...many superiors. People who could over-rule his thoughts and his actions, who could easily make up their own minds about this situation and decide to side with Sean because it seemed more "logical".
Pushing himself off of the couch, Natsuo left the living room behind after setting his mug of now-cold tea on the coffee table, and walked to the front door. He paused, before reaching out and opening the door. He looked down to his bare feet, then shrugged to himself, stepping out onto the cool cement-block steps just outside of the door. He stepped down and onto the pavement that ran out to make the parking lot ahead of the apartment building. He let the door slowly close behind him, though it stayed open a mere crack. He looked up, the balcony overhead covering his view of the sky, though he knew there was an overhang above that, too. He shook his head, running a hand through his hair. When he turned back to face out of the parking lot, he caught sight of a silver Cadillac with a small blue bumper sticker on the left side, turning a corner. And then it was out of sight. But the image didn't fade. Natsuo knew that car...he'd never forget it.
Hearing the other’s words he sighed and shook his head. Well, even if he had made it too the point where he’d figured it out and was no longer having to really search, the boy still didn’t like the idea too it that he could have helped with getting the boy away from his brother. After all the government was on his side, they knew how good of a job he did normally. Everything happened for a reason, everything would always come together in the end. Being almost what, 8, 9, 10 years older than Natsuo made it harder for him to trust the adult compared to when he talked to someone his own age.
Anyone else who’d found that out would turn around and dial the police department and say, I found him or her or whatever. There was no hesitation to what the others might have done. Mark though, people knew when he knew something but he was stubborn. He’d never tell when he found something out. Now here’s the trick. Easily he could go looking for trouble with the boy, dig out old case’s and show that there was no one looking for a kid runaway on the opposite side of town. And to say there weren’t many missing people’s cases, wouldn’t be the complete truth but they were all found, dead or close to it. If Nat was telling the truth then the other kid might be dead already.
You could never really tell who was who anymore, so many ways to change completely. Change who you were, name birthday and such. It was all much to complicated. Hunter beside him he sat back at the table with the dog’s chin on his lap, going through different cases people personally requested him to take up. Who knows, in a couple days, this missing person case will go out the window and that was that.
Natsuo sighed at Mark's words, shaking his head. It wasn't like he was serious when he said that; it was just an example. Though, a pretty crappy one. At the question, he looked up, meeting Mark's eyes. He didn't answer, though. Good thing, too, since he kept going. That was it, then. He knew connecting the dots wasn't exactly that difficult, and that most of the time, all people needed was that little push to figure things like this out. But he hadn't wanted to be the person to do that; he hadn't wanted to give himself away. But he'd went and done it anyway. He knew though, deep down, that Mark would have found out on his own eventually. A boy in a report who's face had never been seen by his own neighbor; Natsuo, a boy kept captive in his own living space, unable to ever leave. But he had left...around the same time that boy had gone missing. Their addresses were close, but both had disappeared without a trace. Well, not anymore.
When Mark got up and left the room, Natsuo dropped his eyes to his hands. But you don't have a say in it. he thought to himself. Somehow, Sean always finds a way to cover everything he'd ever done to me. He'd invite friends over, and they wouldn't have any idea. No clues around the apartment. Just his word against my own. He looked back up, staring after the way the other male had gone. And who would take the word of a boy who was barely nineteen years old, over the word of a twenty-four year old, successful and capable man? He sighed again, running his hand over his face, then up through his hair. "I appreciate that." he finally said, leaning back in his seat. "But that doesn't really matter. Besides, I saw the address on the paper of where the boy used to live. Wrong side of the city for it to be me." Another lie.
With a sigh he took his hand and ran it through his bangs holding them out of his eyes, he looked at the other knowing that he’d offended him or something. Accusing him? Of what? Knowing something? No he could just see he knew something about the case which was the first thing that got the ball rolling, how else could he have known anything about the case. Or was it of disappearing? He had so he guessed that was alright but still. He listened his smile after putting things together, being blind to it before, he could tell that the reaction to those things had struck a chord with Nat. “She said he disappeared. Kidnapped or a runaway.” He said correcting him. “I don’t know what you think, but I wouldn’t be able to pull off a kidnapping.” He shook his head lightly. At the last words Mark could definitely hear the venom in his words. Letting them hang in the air he sat there watching the other man. Natsuo’s eyes had a fire to them a bright life that showed that he was leaving no room within the subject.
“Do you think I’m going to send you back?” The question was supposed to end the silence but before the boy could answer he added on. “Do you think, that as terrified as I’ve seen you of your brother that I’d send you home?” A slight pause. “I’m not going to throw you out or make you do anything just because you’re in some old ladies case.” He sat there for a moment longer before ruffling the boy’s hair and standing from the couch. “I’m not making any move until I have more information on the subject.” With that he turned to the kitchen. “Trust me. You aren’t going back there if I have a say in it.” Leaving Natsuo on the couch he went to the kitchen, Hunter stood as well whining slightly before following Mark to the doorway then stopping. The German Sheppard whined to the man picking up the cup of cool tea from the table and putting it in the sink, letting it drain before putting the mug in the dishwasher. Turning to the dog he knelt down and called him gently and when he came he scratched behind his ears and on his sides making his tail go crazy. Some people needed to trust the right people more. Though he understood why some people wouldn’t even do that. Just go on without trusting anyone…
Natsuo listened as Mark went on a bit about the missing person's case, about how there had been no description given of the boy reported to be missing. How there were two boys in that apartment, and then suddenly, just one. Natsuo could see it in Mark's eyes that he was processing. Processing...he was god damned processing! He'd said too much, given away too much. It was no wonder Mark was catching on faster than he'd thought he would. An elite detective who'd risen through the ranks faster than anyone that force had every seen. He was smart, a quick thinker, and apparently good at putting puzzles together. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw Mark was smiling. It was weird, to see him smiling like that...it wasn't the same as before. He didn't know how to describe it, but it didn't look good on the older male.
Natsuo dropped his eyes, staring into the murky brown liquid that still sat in his mug; he'd hardly drank any of it. He'd heard enough. He didn't want Mark to keep thinking about this, to keep putting pieces together and discovering new things. The words he'd spoken about not sending Natsuo back barely hit his hears. "Don't accuse me of things like that." he said, his voice quiet, though still biting. "I saw on the report...the lady said the boy was kidnapped? If I were him, then you would be my kidnapper, right?" He looked up from his mug of tea, the brown liquid cooling faster than he could drink it. He looked to the male beside him, seeing slightly shock at his outburst. Not that he blamed him. He hoped Mark would just put it to the fact that it was a touchy subject. "I wasn't taken away from my home. I left. And I'm not going back."
And there was the truth. He understood that more now, seeing people just up and disappear that were close to your age but no one knows about them anyway. “Because you are technically a runaway?” The boy was running, from his brother and that was awfully strange, not that he was running, the fact that his brother was trying to get him back. He sighed lightly running a hand through his bangs as the boy looked back at the screen for a while. “More serious than others. There’s no description of the person, only that a neighbor knows there were two boys, living together and one just disappeared.” He leaned back in the couch, looking over at Nat, his eyes telling a bit of a story. They were nervous and had little shreds of light dancing in them, his mouth pulled into a straight line, he seemed to nervous about seeing the case.
“You know something…” He said quietly not trying to scare the boy beside him. The mention of the woman the case listed as the one who’d turned it in, the one overly concerned, the mention of the neighbor being restless, it seemed to click into place but there was one missing piece. Was it possible that Natsuo was the one in the case? No, that wouldn’t make sense, but it would… wouldn’t it? No description of who the boy was. Sean had it stuck in his head that I belong to him. I’m not his little brother. I’m his possession. Wait a sec… Even after I’m legally an adult, Sean will still think that he owns me. That I have no right to be out on my own, or have friends, or even be outside. Never aloud to leave. Always in the apartment… Sean does not believe I have the right to be free. Unless this was some kind of freak thing and he hoped it was, then everything fit. He just didn’t know if the addresses matched. He laughed. It wasn’t a funny matter but he laughed. “You completely disappeared. Unless I’m wrong and I hope I am. You went off the charts completely.” That was still funny to him. How a boy could be found by him off the streets and it turns out to be the missing kid.
He didn’t plan on giving the police this information until he had the whole story. He put a hand over his face, covering his eyes as his smile faded a bit. “I don’t think, if you are that kid, you are going back to that apartment building.”
Natsuo had to keep himself from looking up at Mark as he heard him entering the living room, instead keeping his eyes glued to the television. Though, when the other male sat down next to him, he started chewing the inside of his cheek, an old habit of his when he got nervous. He couldn't remember how it'd started, but he'd been doing it for as long as he could remember. When the TV was turned off, he gave a soft sigh, thinking of things he could possibly say to Mark. But fessing up to him being the boy in that report wasn't one of them. "I saw the missing person's report on your desk. I guess it just...threw me off." he said, and that part wasn't a lie. "I got a bit nervous...because of the whole runaway thing, and all.." This time, he did lie. He started chewing the inside of his cheek again, and averted his eyes.
He paused, glancing up to the television's blank, black screen. It acted as a mirror, letting him see the reflection of Mark and himself on the couch, then Hunter trotting into the room, tail wagging behind him as his tongue protruded from his mouth, slightly over his bottom lip. He sighed inwardly, then dropped his eyes from the TV screen. "Is it serious? The case, I mean. The person who went missing...is it really serious?" This time, he did look back to meet Mark's gaze. That...he really did want to know. It had said that an old lady had reported the boy - him - missing, and was very concerned. But the two of them had never even met. They'd never even made eye contact! Let alone spoken...
The relief was, though, that Sean hadn't been the one to put in the report. That could have gone...really badly.
When Natsuo started saying something about going into his office, he didn’t look up, as long as he didn’t go through the files in his desk he didn’t mind the boy looking around. Looking up when he had finished his sentence about the books not being interesting. Of course they weren’t it was stuff related to his job, being a detective and a policeman. He didn’t really find them interesting but they were helpful so he would read them from time to time if he was bored. Raising an eyebrow as the boy started, stopped, then excused the thought. When the boy left, Mark looked to Hunter and the dog looked at him, tail wagging when their eyes made contact.
He sighed and got up from the table as well, going to the living room but not taking his cup as Nat had. “I don’t mind you going in there. As long as you’re not going through any of the drawers.” He said leaning on the back of the couch. His desk had the missing person’s case right on top so if he had seen it, it was possible it could have pulled up something, maybe he knew the other boy. Moving around the couch to sit next to the boy who watched the movie in silence but he wondered why he had a look on his face, as if he knew something, was hiding something behind those eyes. He could tell something had… thrown him off guard, he looked troubled to say the least. Reaching to pause the movie he put the remote down. “You didn’t lose your train of thought. Did you?” Mark said quietly, his eyes meeting Natsuo’s. “What’s up?” He leaned back into the cushions and looked at him, a calm look to him. “What did you see? You’re not going to be in trouble.” With the assurance he wanted to at least make the other feel more comfortable in telling him.
Natsuo nodded his head, watching the male across from him carefully. He wondered, if he brought up the missing person's case, would Mark make the connection? Probably not right away, but if he did...would he confront him? Of coarse he would. He was a highly trained detective, and it was his job. But, after another moment, Natsuo found that he couldn't keep his thoughts to himself. "This morning, I was looking around for something to read," he paused, looking up to check to see if Mark had looked up. He hadn't. "I know I probably shouldn't have, but I peeked into your office for a minute or two, because I'd noticed a bookshelf in their earlier. Though, there wasn't really anything I found interesting." he chewed the inside of his cheek, dropping his eyes to the brown liquid in his mug, still holding it in his hands. The steam wafting off of it was caressing his face, almost calming him. Almost. "On my way out...I saw..." He couldn't get the words off of his tongue. It felt wrong, like he was exposing himself. "Mmm...never mind. I lost my rain of thought." he lied, standing from the table.
Natsuo walked back out into the living room, mug still in his hands as he sat down on the couch. He grabbed the TV remote, using one of the buttons on it to resume playing the movie he'd been watching before Mark got home. Not only did he feel like he was giving himself up to Sean, but he also felt like a snoop. He shouldn't have seen that...and it made him angry at himself that he had. He knew that he was going to act more cautiously around Mark now, and he knew the other would notice it. But he also knew that it was sort of a good thing. At least, if Mark did figure it out, it wouldn't be a total surprise for the raven haired male.
Mark looked up when he heard Natsuo come in and ask a single word question. He smiled and shrugged. “I suppose.” He said as the boy got himself a cup. He took another sip from the mug looking at the rim of the cup, thinking still but who knows, maybe the edge had some secret in it. At the question about work he smiled. He hadn’t been asked a question like that in a long time. With a sigh he put the cup down on the table and crossed loosely over his chest. “Not many. Most are pretty simple if you use common sense.” That didn’t apply to everything though. Disappearances were especially difficult. He had sent out a couple searches but nothing came up, well he sent out one search but there was nothing to go off of. Running a hand through his bangs he sighed lightly letting them fall back across his forehead.
He studied Natsuo for a moment, the boy was said to be about his age, height or at least from an old woman’s perspective. Shaking his head, he wasn’t going to question the boy on something making him uncomfortable. It would come as a slight surprise if Nat was the one in the report. One of the lines he had been taught was not to put any possibility in the impossible list. Though his job came first in one case, it didn’t in another. He had a way looking through the case before closing it… Feeling his phone vibrate in his pocket he sighed again and pulled it out, picking up his cup as he looked at the lit up screen. It was the woman he’d worked with earlier. How’d she get his number? The boss must have given it to her…
He sighed looking at the message. Hey there, I was wondering if you’ve found anything on what the missing kid looks like. He sighed and typed back quickly before setting the phone down. If I knew then it would be easier to find him. Besides it’s not your case to worry about. If Nat tried to he would be able to see the screen, though that didn’t cross Mark’s mind at the moment…
Natsuo jumped when he saw Mark out of the corner of his eye, not really sure what he was seeing at first. When the other's face registered, he let out a low breath of relief. "You scared me." he breathed out, running a hand through his hair as he brushed his bangs out of his face. "I didn't hear you come in." he said as he watched the other go into the kitchen, and he could hear him moving around. When he heard water boiling, he understood what the other male was doing. He stood from the couch and walked into the kitchen himself after putting the movie on pause, finding Mark now sitting at the table, teacup in hand. "Comfortable?" he asked, going over to the teapot and grabbing himself a teacup, then pouring some for himself.
He blew the steam away from the liquid before putting his lips to the edge of the cup gently, taking a sip. The warmth of the tea seeped through him, heating him from inside out. He hadn't known he'd felt so cold until this. When he turned back to look at the older male, he eyed him curiously. He could tell, however, that Mark still hadn't made the connection of him being the boy in the missing persons case. "How was work?" he asked as he sat down at the table across from him, watching him intently. "Any new leads in any of your cases?" He knew he probably shouldn't pry to much, because it wasn't any business of his, but he wasn't asking for any details, really.
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