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Into the Open

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Of course it’s awkward when it comes out, at least at first. It’s been about four months since that late night confession that led to the new arrangement, but in truth, little changed for them; at least, overtly. Miyuki and Ken still had their occasional dates, walking through the park under the sakura trees or spending an evening at Daimaru’s shop working on motorcycles with Sena popping in every once in a while with snacks and tittering encouragement. But though there still was the shyness and stuttering and solid red faces involved, they had reached a new understanding, and it was a little easier to hold hands or share a bench.

Dates with Natsumi were of a similar frequency to those with Ken, but different in that distinctly Natsumi way that Miyuki loved so much. The two would go on shopping sprees, or drives along the ocean, leaving Natsumi’s loud laughter in their wake. The transition between their usual partnership and this new thing was simple and natural.

 

They had told Ken’s parents three months in. The three of them knew that they couldn’t hide their relationship forever, so they decided to start with Daimaru and Sena. Fortunately, it went over as well as they expected: once they had been reassured that Miyuki and Ken still loved each other, the two were overjoyed for the trio, with Daimaru excitedly declaring Natsumi his second future daughter-in-law.

 

Of course, despite the trio’s best efforts, there was no stopping the one woman gossip mill that was Yoriko Nikaidou. It’s only a matter of her catching Miyuki and Natsumi in the middle of a kiss before the news of Miyuki’s ‘betrayal’ has spread throughout the entirety of Bokuto Station.

 

Walking in those front doors the next morning is probably one of the most daunting things Miyuki had ever done. A panicked phone call to Ken shortly after Yoriko caught the pair on their day off leaves them with a hasty plan: they’ll act like it’s business as usual, and unless the issue forces itself, the three of them will do their best to let it blow over. They don’t know what the effects of their unusual-to-say-the-least relationship would be, and none of them want to test it.

Unfortunately, this plan falls apart the instant Miyuki and Natsumi step into Traffic. Aoi and Yoriko are at the door, Aoi holding a handkerchief and giving the pair her best puppy-dog eyes, Yoriko wailing “Miyukiiii, Natsumiiii, how could youuuuu?!”. The Chief stands up from his desk and yells “Dammit, Kobayakawa, I’ve been trying to get you two together for years and you ruin it!” across the room. Ken is already there, hiding in a pile of reports while a throng of sympathetic patrolmen crowd around offering consolations.

The pair freeze in a moment of panic. The room falls almost silent. It’s Ken who breaks it, standing up and loudly dropping his reports on the desk. Sweat pours down his face as he turns, says “Good morning, Miyuki, Tsujimoto,” and almost runs out the door.

To the two policewomen, that was Ken doing his best to act natural. To the rest of the station, it’s obvious that poor Kenny is barely holding on after such betrayal. The collective Traffic Division turns as one to look at the pair. Without a word, Natsumi dashes for the desks and scoops up her and Miyuki’s reports. Miyuki grabs a stack of folders from Chief’s desk and with a short “Gotta run” from Natsumi they’ve gone.

“What are we going to do, Miyuki?!” Natsumi shrieks says. The pair had peeled out of the motor pool in the beloved patrol car as fast as they could without nitro. Now, they were running their usual patrol. The radio had been turned low; its quiet chatter a reassuring white noise.

“...Let’s see if we can meet up wi-”

The radio blares, breaking the tension. The duo share a startled look before Miyuki turns the dial back up.

“-- suspect is fleeing in a blue Mitsubishi Galant VR4 from Kameido Bank. It appears he is heading towards Shuto Expressway No. 6. Suspect may be armed --”

“Do you have your good shoes on today, Natsumi?” Miyuki asked, already revving the engine.

 

“Geez, this guy is nuts!” They had been first and so far only patrol to catch up to the bank robber and stay on him. The driver of the blue sports car drove like a maniac, weaving in and out of oncoming traffic, the dial almost certainly never dropping below 90 kph. They hadn’t managed to cut him off before he reached the expressway, but it a few strategic roadblocks had managed to keep the expressway almost entirely empty.

“-- Tsujimoto, Kobayakawa. We have a roadblock set up before the on-ramp for National Rt. 6. If you guys can keep this guy on the expressway until there, we’ll have this guy in the bag. --”

“Got it, Yoriko. Any backup?” said Natsumi.

“--I don’t know if anyone’s close enough to catch up to--” The radio sputtered with interference for a moment.

“-- I have you guys in sight, Tsujimoto! --”

“Kenny!”

“-- Nakajima! Uh, you --”

“-- It’s fine, Nikaidou. --”

The famed White Hawk of Bokuto pulled alongside the patrol car for a quick salute before Ken raced ahead to close in on the Mitsubishi. Miyuki took a moment to watch him depart, with a slight hint of apprehension. Natsumi gently knocked her shoulder.

“...thanks.”

“Aw, it’s nothing.”

“There’s a curve coming up; get ready for the nitro. I have an idea.”

Natsumi grinned.

In the far distance, Miyuki could see the flashing lights of the squad cars at the roadblock on the other side of the curve. She glanced at her partner and nodded.

Natsumi lifted the radio to her mouth. “Ready, Nakajima?”

“-- Ready! --”

“Nitro, on!” The Honda Today jolted, then sped forwards toward the curve. Ken pulled away into the far left lane, out of the way of the souped-up patrol car. Miyuki cranked the wheel and the car swerved into the lanes where oncoming traffic would normally be. The Honda approached, then evened up with the Mitsubishi, forcing it to pull towards the left. “Get ready, Natsumi!”

Natsumi braced as the patrol car raced forwards, ramming the front right corner of the blue sportscar. Startled, the driver jerked his ride to the left. The tires skidded with a horrendous screech and he lost control of the Galant. The blue car spun once, twice, before crashing into the concrete barricades of the road block.

Natsumi opened the door and braced her legs against the road, Miyuki pushed the brake into the floorboards, and the patrol car slowed to a crawl meters before the roadblock. The duo quickly got out and approached the blue Mitsubishi. The man inside seemed dazed but otherwise alright. Inside the car, the suspect looked up at the pair and glared.

Ken pulled up alongside the suspect’s car and dismounted. “That was great, you guys!”

There was a sudden movement. The bank robber slammed the door of his car open and leapt towards the patrolwomen. He grabbed Natsumi and pressed a large knife to her throat.

“Natsumi!”

“Tsujimoto!”

The robber backed away, dragging Natsumi with him. “Give me free passage to Okinawa and I’ll give her back!” He yelled. Sweat glistened on his high forehead.

Behind the barricade, the Chief grimaced. “I can’t get a clear shot in, he has Tsujimoto in front of him.” Raising his voice, he told the other officers behind the barricade to hold their fire.

Natsumi and Ken’s eyes met. Ken nodded, almost imperceptibly. Natsumi suddenly stomped on the robber’s foot, then slammed the top of her head into his chin in one smooth motion.

Startled by the pain, the suspect loosened his grip enough for Natsumi to duck out. He lunged forward with the blade, only for the full weight of the White Hawk to slam into him in a tackle.

The knife skittered across the pavement. Its blade glistened with blood.

“Kenny!”

“Ken!”

Ken shifted on top of the suspect. “We’re going to need some medical assistance over here!”

“Are you okay?!” Miyuki yelled as she ran up to the men on the ground.

“I’m fine. This guy cut up his hand when you hit him.”

A few officers ran over from behind the barricade with handcuffs and a first-aid kit. Ken eased off the suspect and stood up. Natsumi threw her arms around his neck in a hug.

“That was great, Kenny! You really had me worried for a second there!”

“Ah, it was nothing,” he said.

“It was really great, both of you,” Miyuki said. Natsumi and Ken blushed lightly. “I was worried, for a moment, that you had gotten hurt, Ken.” Ken blushed harder.

“Hey, weren’t you worried for me, Miyuki?” Natsumi whined said.

“I knew that you could take care of yourself, Natsumi.” Natsumi blushed harder at Miyuki’s confidence in her.

“I’m sorry for worrying you, Miyuki.” Ken leaned down and kissed her lightly on the cheek. The two blushed a bright red- not as bright as they once would have, but still a testament to their mutual shyness.

Unfortunately, this kiss happened in front of the Chief, Yoriko, and Aoi, who had approached the trio to check on them.

“Aughhhhh! What are you doing?! I thought that you guys were over!” Yoriko shrieked, in a pitch that could probably break glass. The Chief and Aoi were plainly similarly flustered, if not as vocal about it.

“Ah…”

The trio exchanged glances. There seemed to be a silent debate before Natsumi exclaimed, “You two! I’ll do it then!” She turned towards the others. “Ah…” Behind her, Ken and Miyuki were a brilliant red and seemed on the edge of petrification. “Well, you see… we… uh…” Despite her bravado, Natsumi’s face was rapidly reddening as well. “We have an arrangement. We’re bothdatingMiyuki!”

If the trio weren’t as anxious as they were at the moment, the faces of their fellow officers would have been picture perfect. The Chief was the first to recover. “Ahhhhh… that, uh, makes sense. Um… congratulations.”

“...Thanks.”

“Congratulations as well.” Aoi’s face was red, but it seemed that she had recovered admirably. Yoriko on the other hand appeared to have hit a temporary blue screen.

“...It appears that your patrol car will need some repairs, Kobayakawa. How about you take the rest of your patrol off, all three of you. Futaba and Nikaidou can cover your patrol.”

“Uh, thanks, Chief.” At this, Miyuki and Ken unfroze.

“Ah, thank you, sir…”

“Thank you…” The three slowly walked towards their vehicles, stopping for a brief exchange of words before they pulled out and drove off in the same direction.

Yoriko rebooted at this moment. “WHAAAAT?!!”

The next few days were awkward, at least at first. The next morning when Miyuki and Natsumi arrived at Traffic Division headquarters, the room quieted before bursting into a flurry of whispers. But the Chief gives the group officers a glare and the whispers die out for the most part. Aoi comes over with tea and a few books on the subject of polyamory. The tea is accepted, the books politely but firmly denied.

Yoriko is, as expected, a loud, nosy, nuisance. It takes several days and close to outright threats from Natsumi, but she eventually shut up about it. This isn't really a sign of progress, though, as she switched from prying to giving the trio the cold shoulder.

 

It's about a month later, when Miyuki is on a date with Natsumi, that things change. The duo had run into Ken towards the end, and now the trio walked together. Natsumi had slung an arm around Miyuki's shoulders; Ken was on her other side, holding her hand. Natsumi had been enthusiastically recounting her latest encounter with Strike Man to Ken. Miyuki was in the middle, listening contently and occasionally throwing in the details that Natsumi left out, when she had felt someone watching her. She had glanced behind her to see Yoriko. The shorter officer was obviously out doing her shopping and had accidentally crossed their path. Miyuki snapped back to facing forward, but not before noticing something different in Yoriko's eyes... something almost like a discovery. 

The next morning, she's at her desk when suddenly a schedule is slammed down on top of her neat stack of reports. "Geez, Miyuki, do you know how much work it is to change schedules?" Miyuki blinks and looks up at Yoriko. "I hope you're happy!" she declares before turning sharply and going back to her desk

Miyuki had looked down at the station's monthly schedule. It had taken her a second glance, but the realization that Natsumi, Ken, and her now all had the same days off stunned her. She sat up and turned to look across the station to Yoriko. The bespectacled officer had looked away, but with a small smile. It seems that things had finally changed.

 

It was always going to be awkward. But now, this awkward discomfort has begun to fade away. And all is well.