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Moonrise

Chapter 1: Part One

by isilelensar

[Kaashi, we’re coming to meet you]
[Bo? Why? Thought we had to stay separated?]
[Just got new orders, but… I’m going to modify them]
[Bo, last time you modified orders…]
[I KNOW! I’m reminded every payday]
[So, then why…?]
[I need a better idea of who we have, and I’m sorry, but larger groups do not make sense, no matter the specialties. That’s just asking for trouble]
[Understood. So, you want us all together?]
[Yes. Like in Himeji]
[But Bo..]
[I know. We got caught, and I’m taking a huge risk again. But I can’t help thinking larger groups will be worse off for us]
[Even if the order comes from the top?]
[Yeah. Even then. We’ll head your way, and then we can go to the villa]
[We’ll wait…]
[Okay. But we’ll have to split up from there. Too many to go all together]
[Right]
[Love you]
[Love you too. Be careful]
[Yeah. Same]

Akaashi shut the phone, stuck it in his pocket, and turned his attention to the group around him. They had been staying in a cabin in the farthest part of a campground in Saitama. Just yesterday, their number was expanded by one; So Inuoka had been sent by their Superior, and was currently chatting excitedly with Kuroo.

“We’re heading to the villa,” he said unceremoniously. That got their attention, especially Hoshiumi, Inuoka and Atsumu.
“But wait. I thought we were to stay in place until…” Atsumu said.
“Bokuto is modifying.”
“Like that went so well the last time,” Hoshiumi replied sarcastically.
“Yeah, well, the original orders aren’t sitting well with him, especially because we have more people being recalled to help. He wants to see us all and figure out who goes where.”
“He’s gonna be in so much trouble,” Eita added.
“Hopefully not. Even so, I understand his reasoning.”
“So, we’ll all be together again, just like in Himeji?” Aunt Yui asked, her arm looped through Kuroo’s.
“Yes, but hopefully not for long. As soon as Bokuto gets an idea of who we have, we’ll go from there. Besides,” he looked at Kuroo. “This will be beneficial for a few of us.”
“Damn right,” Kuroo replied quietly.
“All of us,” Aunt Yui added. “I know a pair of brothers who are probably itching for a good scuffle.” She glanced at Atsumu who grinned back at her.
“Anyway, we’ll leave in the morning. Early. Everyone get some rest.”
“Right!”

Nearly everyone left for their futons in the two bedrooms, except Akaashi, Kuroo, and Aunt Yui.

“Do you think it’s wise?” Aunt Yui asked seriously, this time. “We got caught in Himeji. I can only assume being caught at this… villa… would be much worse.” She almost said it like she knew what she was talking about. Tetsu glanced over at her, but said nothing.
“I agree,” Akaashi said quietly. “And it would be much worse. But Bokuto has a plan, and I think we should at least hear him out.”
“Do you think…?” Tetsu asked, but Akaashi shook his head.
“No. We can’t. Being able to keep both of you safe means splitting you two up. If you were together…”
“It'll make it easier for them to find us, I know.”
“I’m not going to say don’t worry, or that everything will be fine. Things have already gone sideways more than they should have,” Akaashi said gently. “We’re doing our best so that you two can be together again. Forever, if that’s what you want.”
“I’m guessing that’s what you want, too?” Tetsu asked softly. Akaashi just nodded.
“I like that idea,” Aunt Yui chimed in, nudging Tetsu. “I would have two sons to spoil rotten…” her voice faded away for a moment, and a strange emotion flashed over her face. Fear, maybe? Whatever it might have been, it was gone so quickly, it left the other two wondering if they’d even seen it in the first place.
“We’ll see,” Tetsu said slowly. “I like the idea, too, but… Well, we’d have to discuss it first.”
“Of course! Duh!” Yui exclaimed with a little nervous laugh.
“Okay. What now?”
“I’m sorry?”
“You look like you have something you want to talk about. Also, something up your sleeve. I’m not sure if I should be nervous… or scared. Or both.”
“Who me? Sweet, little, innocent ole me?”
From somewhere in the cabin:
“Did she just say sweet?” asked Eita.
“Did she just say innocent?” asked Atsumu.
“About the only thing that rings true in that entire statement is the ‘little’ part,” Eita said wryly.
“If you’re going to start accumulating children, Auntie, maybe you should also consider those two.” Kuroo jumped in with a smirk.
“Why not? I don’t have any that are rude, crude, and socially unacceptable. Could get interesting at family reunions.”
“Why did you even stick us with her, Akaashi?”
“She knows how to handle problem children.”
“Turncoat!”
“Go to sleep!”
“Yes, dad,” they both said at once.
“Anyhow, I suggest you two also try to get some sleep. Bokuto and his people should be here in the next few hours.”
“And you?” both Tetsu and Aunt Yui asked, concerned.
“I’ll get what I can,” he assured them. “You two try to do the same.”
“Right.”

Tetsu helped Aunt Yui to her feet and they found their futons ready for them. They settled in as quietly as they could, and then simply stared at each other for a few minutes. Then, Tetsu leaned over and kissed her on her forehead before turning over to go to sleep. Yui smiled softly, touched the spot he kissed, and turned the other way.

She had to figure out a way to tell him everything and hope he wouldn’t be too angry with her when she did.

~*~

“Do we have enough provisions for everyone?” Narita asked quietly. Nearly everyone was asleep already, except Kinoshita and Sugawara.
“I’ll go over everything again, but we should have enough to get through the next couple days,” Suga replied. “Didn’t expect Kawanishi to show up, to be honest.”
“Yeah, well, apparently things have gone sideways again, so our boss changed plans to hopefully get things back on track. That was a couple days ago.”
“So, what? Are we gathering in the same place? Again?” Kinoshita asked. He looked up from his latest project.
“We are. Bokuto is modifying.”
“Oh geez,” Suga said as Kinoshita groaned.
“Yeah, well, if what Akaashi told me is right, I think he has a point. We can’t have everyone traveling together, even if we split up and reform somewhere else.”
“So what’s his plan?”
“I’m not sure, but I have a hunch. We’ll see when they get here.”

A tiny click could be heard in the silence left when Narita stopped speaking. Kinoshita straightened up from the island they were sitting around, and was smiling happily. When he realized he had Suga’s and Narita’s attention, he picked up what looked like a pair of Crow earrings.

Narita lifted an eyebrow. “Are those…?”
“Tracking devices. For Kei and Kuroo.”
“Nice touch. I like them. But, how?”
“I modified,” he said with a grin. “Kei gave his phone to Shoyo after doing a factory reset. Sho gave it to me.”
“But that phone was supposed to be destroyed.”
“It was. After I salvaged the SIM card.”
“Okaaayyy… that still doesn’t explain…”
“I took info from the SIM card and loaded that info onto the microchips. If anything happens, we’ll be able to locate them.”
“Good idea. How far is the range?” Suga asked.
“I should be able to pick up the signal within a five mile radius, but I won’t know for sure unless…”
“Yeah, well, let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.”
“Right.”
“People should be drifting in tomorrow. You can give those to them, then.”
“I will.”
“Well, let’s go get some rest. Tomorrow’s going to be interesting.”
Suga snorted as he slid off the barstool. “That’s putting it mildly.”
“Truth.”
They went upstairs and parted ways, Narita and Kinoshita going to the room they shared, and Suga going to the one he shared with Hinata, Tsuki, and Noya.

~*~

“Nagoya Port,” Oikawa said as he lined his speedboat up to the dock. “We have time for a short break and then another several hours to get to Miyazaki, sir.”
“Right. We’ll rest here for a bit and then get moving.”
“That’s fine. I need to gas her up and then I’ll go pick up some food. You want anything?”
“No.”
“You sure? I know you didn’t eat before we left, and that was at least six hours ago.”
“If you insist, then I’ll have a rice ball or something. Maybe some takoyaki.”
Oikawa snorted. “I’ll think of something.”
“Alright. I’ll be around here, somewhere.”
“Don’t worry. I’ll find ya.”
“Right.”

The blonde man started walking toward the nearest staircase, and up to the pier. He didn’t intend to go far, but he wanted a little peace before getting back into the boat. Oikawa was a speed demon, and he had a nasty habit of jumping waves. Even more so now that he knew he was going to be doing more to help out. Shaking his head, he sat down on a bench near the end of the pier and looked out over the bay.

It was night time, and not nearly as busy as it was during the day, so he had a modicum of quiet. The moon was merely a crescent in the sky, reminding him of the little moon toys he’d get for his boys when they were young. Those years were some of the happiest in his life.

Tucking away those memories, he pulled out his phone and looked at the latest message he’d sent. Akiteru still hadn’t replied, and he was starting to worry. Not only because it had been over a week ago since the man had gone dark, but because he needed Akiteru’s help with the operation.

He sent another message, hoping maybe this one would get a reply. He stood up and started pacing, thinking as he did so.

They were headed to the villa, seeing as how everyone else was going to be there, too. He chuckled a bit. Bokuto had a good head on his shoulders, most of the time, and he had called an emergency meeting of the entire team under the guise of “modifying” his orders. After fuming about it for a day or two, he had to admit, his advisors and Bokuto were right. Smaller groups would be easier for travel and concealment, as well as distraction and diversion.

If he had any sense at all, he’d guess Grandmother had already given orders to send out the Specials, which meant time was against them. The last intel he had from Akiteru on the Specials was that Tendo was the team lead this time, which meant they really had to be on their toes. The man had an uncanny ability to guess where they’d be next, and, on previous missions they’d only just managed to make it out before being caught each time.

Sitting down again, he checked his phone, even though he knew there was no reply.

“Dammit! Where is that boy?” he asked himself, his voice riddled with frustration.

Suddenly, a cardboard tray with a skewered ear of grilled corn appeared in front of his face. He looked up and saw Oikawa grinning at him. Huffing, he took the tray as Oikawa sat down beside him with his own corn. He set a bag between them, and also a modified drink carrier that held two crepes.

“Quite the feast,” he said as he took a bite of the grilled corn.
“It’ll do until we get to the villa,” Oikawa replied. They sat there for a few minutes eating, when Oikawa spoke up again. “Is that something you need me to find out? Where Akiteru is?”
“Yeah. And his mother.”
“His mother? Why?”
“I got a weird message from Yui. Hotaru hasn’t been in contact, or answered her texts, either.”
“Okay, so find out what happened to them,” Oikawa repeated. “What else?”
“Anything regarding the Specials, if they’d been released into the wild, or if they’re waiting for the order to go. And anything else you think might be important to us.”
“Tall order.”
“Yeah, but it’s something you’re good at. Report back to me as soon as possible.”
“Yes, sir,” he saluted with a wink, took the empty tray, and handed over the strawberry cream crepe, while he took the chocolate banana one. “Mind if I call in my own help?”
“If you’re thinking about Iwaizumi, then no.”
“But, sir!”
“You know why I want pairs to split up.”
“Yeah, but…”
“If you’re going to bring up the Tanakas, you know damn well they were married before they were asked to join us. Part of their contract states that it’s up to them when to separate and when to be together.”
“Yeah, but…”
“And you also know that they are apart more than they are together, so it works out.”
“I know, but…”
“Narita and Kinoshita are together by sheer virtue of both belonging to the same team, so consider that a happy accident.”
Oikawa snorted, aggressively biting into his crepe. “Not fair,” he muttered around another bite.
“Talk to Bokuto and Akaashi about unfair,” the man fired back. “And, even though they are recent additions, talk to Kei and Kuroo about unfair.”
“Hmmmm.”
“Tooru, if, no when, we are successful in bringing Grandmother down, then you and Iwaizumi can be together for as long as you want. Forever, if that’s your choice. But until then, I need you two to fulfill your duties. Separately.”
“Fine. But the very second this is all over…”
“You may take off, and with my blessing.”
“Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Now, thanks for the food. Is she ready to go?”
“She’s as ready as she’ll ever be.”
“Right. Let’s get going.”
“Yes, sir.”

They made it to the speed boat, and were in the middle of boarding, when the man’s phone buzzed. Quickly, he dropped into the boat and sat down in his seat, buckling up before grabbing his phone and opening it. He heaved a sigh of relief, and Oikawa turned to face him from the cockpit.

“Akiteru?”
“Yes,” the man muttered absentmindedly as he typed a reply.
“Well?”
“Just go. I’ll tell you on the way.”
“Alrighty, then,” Oikawa turned back and revved the engine, taking it slow until they were in open water, and then opened it wide open, racing along the coastline, heading for Miyazaki.

~*~

*the text*

[We’re coming]
[Aki? Where the hell have you been?]
[Grandmother had our rooms searched. Found Mom’s phone]
[Shit]
[Exactly. She had Mom moved to her suite in the residence, and added more guards to ‘protect’ her]
[What about you?]
[Grandmother sent me on a scouting mission. To Karasuno, of all places]
[Karasuno? Why?]
[She’s under some mistaken impression that she’d be able to get people like our Crows to work for her]
[That took you a week?]
[No, a day. Ironically, no one accepted the ‘offer’ I made]
[So, then why…?]
[I had to get Mom out of there!]
[For a week? And no word to me?]
[I had to do it at a time when her guards were low, and use what influence I had to get rid of the others. Any communication would have been noticed, and caught. I couldn’t take the chance.]
[Understood. Well, then, see you at the villa?]
[Yeah. We’ll be there]
[Aki?]
[Yeah?]
[How is she?]
[She’s fine. Determined to keep up with the pace I’ve set.]
[Don’t overdo it.]
[We won’t. We’re not stubborn like you. Or Kei]
[I wouldn’t say stubborn…]
[Single-minded?]
[Stubborn somehow sounds better]
[Gotta go, sir. See you at the villa.]
[See you at the villa]

Oikawa careened through the water, and jumped another wave. Once he got the boat back under control, he glanced back at his passenger. What he saw made him smile. The man had slumped back in his seat, head against the hull, eyes closed, and a solitary tear trailing down the side of his face. The phone was still clutched tightly in his hands. He looked so relieved that Akiteru had finally contacted him; it was almost like a father finally hearing from a long lost son.

Redirecting his gaze forward, he kept his silence. For once. He knew the man’s secret, after all.

The only one who didn’t… was Tsuki.

~*~

“GONE?! WHAT DO YOU MEAN ‘GONE’?!” a shrill voice echoed in the boardroom. Five people flinched; the three men at the table with her, and the two standing behind her. “SHE WAS MOVED TO MY SUITE! I PUT AN EXTRA GUARD ON HER! HOW IS SHE GONE??”
“We are still interrogating the guards who were supposed to be watching her, ma’am,” Washijo said calmly.
“So far, all we’ve been able to get from them is a bunch of denials and deflections,” Irihata reported.
“Are you applying enough pressure?”
“If by ‘pressure’ you mean torture, then yes. But these men were hired by us, so they also know how to keep quiet even under… ‘pressure.’”
“Keep doing it. Eventually, one may crack.”
“Yes, ma’am.”
“What about my grandson? Where is he?”
“Also missing, ma’am. He went out for that scouting job, came back and reported to us. The next day, he was gone.”

The silence in the room was deafening. No one looked at anyone else. Because it was then they all realized: Akiteru and Hotaru had escaped together.

“They turned on me?” the elderly lady’s voice was thready.
“It appears that way, ma’am,” Washijo replied carefully.

The woman made a feral growling sound that would have turned into a scream if she hadn’t lost consciousness. Her body slumped forward, and her head hit the table with a heavy thud. The doctor and nurse came from their place behind her and checked her over.

“I-is she…?” Washijo whispered, looking sticken.
“No. Her pulse is faint, but it’s there,” the doctor reported. “We need to get her to her room. Now!”

The nurse carefully maneuvered the old woman back into the chair so that the doctor could pick her up. He carried her through the door they often hid behind, and then through another door into a secret hallway. No one else needed to know about her passing out. And no one needed to know that she was likely about to die from the long-term illness she’d been ignoring for years.

Chapters

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Chapter name
Part One
Created
13 Jan 2022
Last Edited
13 Jan 2022
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67
Words
3196