"You owe me a new one."
"I know. I’ll take care of it. Did, uh..." Hei gestured vaguely towards the mess. "Was that one a particular brand you’d like to stick with, or...?"
Somehow, that answer – reasonable, contrite, agreeable, sheepish despite the methodical thinking underlying it – was not what Misaki had wanted, she realized. She glared at him.
He shrugged apologetically. "I just thought now might be a good time to upgrade, if there was anything about this one you weren’t satisfied with."
Taking off her glasses so she could massage the bridge of her nose, Misaki said: "Could you not be so reasonable for once in your life, please?"
"I am a very unreasonable person," Hei said reasonably, despite his obvious confusion.
"Oh, sure, to Contractor standards, but not for – ugh, never mind."
Taking a deep, bracing breath, she put her glasses back on, crossed her arms, crossed her legs, and sat back to watch the crime scene team comb through her apartment. She could feel Hei studying her, and ignored him. So what if he could see the tension in every line of her body – every molecule and electron, probably, his power being what it was. She had it under control.
"You’re not waiting for my permission to freak out, are you?" he asked, quietly, so nobody else heard.
Annoyed, Misaki opened her mouth – and realized that actually, yes. In a way, she was doing exactly that. She wasn’t letting herself have the appropriate emotional response to this situation until he did.
For someone so oblivious to what went on in his own brain, Hei could be surprisingly astute about the people around him.
Misaki never wanted to be the most emotional person in a room. Occupational hazard; she never knew when a man would see her human and vulnerable and decide it made her unfit to be a cop, to be his superior officer, to be his highly decorated peer in their shared field. Her choice of career demanded an iron stomach and a stone face, and her career was everything to her.
Tonight obviously took the cake, but come to think of it, it had been a minor issue in their relationship a few times before. Hei – that repressed, stunted, ‘well, I guess I just didn’t notice I wasn’t really a Contractor for five years’, paranoid ass – was the absolute last person she should be waiting for the go-ahead to emote from.
Making a decision, Misaki stood and beaconed. "Come with me. Officer, my friend and I are going to get some air. We’ll be back shortly."
"Of course, Chief Kirihara."
Hei following docilely, Misaki marched out of her apartment and straight into the nearest elevator.
"Where are we going?" he asked.
"Somewhere with at least an illusion of being soundproof," she said, hitting the button for the basement.
Hei shot her a worried look.
"Don’t worry, it’s no place to hide a body," Misaki said dryly. "You’re safe from my wrath, at least."
"Oh, thank goodness."
Once the elevator stopped, Misaki marched out, let the doors close behind them, took a deep breath, and screamed.
"Goddammit," she growled, stomping one foot, and screamed again.
Panting, she rounded on Hei and pointed an angry finger at him. "You. You beat a Contractor unconscious with my Hitachi Magic Wand."
After a moment of frantic consideration, Hei folded his expression into something heavy and solemn, and nodded. "Yes."
"He was trying to kill us both."
"We were using that Wand!"
"And now it’s broken!"
"Yes." His mouth twitched, just once. "I’m so sorry for your loss."
"Good. This night started out so well and now it’s ruined. Ruined!"
Misaki kicked the wall (carefully; she was wearing her indoor slippers), stomped around while huffing and puffing some more, and then let out a deep, deep breath. Her shoulders sagged and all the tension drained from her body in one long go.
"Phew. Man, that felt good," she said, eyes closed and head lolling back. "You should try it some time."
Hei’s arms wrapped around her waist, and he pressed up against her back, warm and solid. "I’ll keep it in mind," he said, resting his chin on her shoulder.
Finding his hand and squeezing it, Misaki turned her head and pecked him on the cheek. "Thanks, though. That was some quick thinking."
Hei gave her a crooked smile. "For what it’s worth, this is probably the second most mortifying thing that’s ever happened to me too."
"And if you love me at all, you won’t ask what the most mortifying thing was."