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For Better or For Worse

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000 hated the formality of suits, making the tux he wore a special level of hell.  He avoided weddings for this reason (granted he got invitations to very few, typically just junior agents trying to kiss up to their superiors).  Granted, this was an extra special level of hell, since he'd been assigned as the groom and due to a cited list of safety hazards ("gunfire", "smoke bombs"), this wedding had to take place outside in the July heat.  For the sake of visibility, he'd had to book the venue through the afternoon, and he'd been standing on this altar waiting for the bridal party to get their shit together for an hour. The agent sweated straight through his dress shirt out of misery, not nerves like most grooms.

In fact, this whole mission was a special level of hell.  He'd spent the last five months infiltrating the highest levels of the remaining Team Rocket executives, all in hiding since the disbanding of Team Rocket and the disappearance of Giovanni.  The original objective was to determine the location of Giovanni, which proved to be a pointless endeavor since they didn't have a better guess than the International Police did.  Somewhere along the lines, the objective changed to arresting all the remaining executives, which was an even more pointless endeavor since they all had the ability to go deeper into hiding at the first whiff of something afoul.  They never met as a group to avoid this very possibility.

000 had wanted to leave- fake his death and come up with plans to do a sim-ops attack in a few months.  To his misfortune, somebody in the brass been watching a few too many mafia movies and came up with the perfect way to assemble the remaining executives in the same room.  The IP's most trusted agent and current attache of Team Rocket, 000, would have a wedding.  Before the field agent could protest, the global section Chief had sent along a suitable agent to pose as his soon-to-be-spouse to introduce to Nanu's little group.

'Suitable'... she sent him 100kr, a fresh male new hire who had gotten as few details of this mission as 000 had gotten notice of his arrival.  As the newest recruit, 100kr was the only feasible bride, since every other available agent needed to be on offense for the ambush.  After an hour of screaming on a conference call because 000 assumed he'd be sent a woman and had told their targets he would be marrying a woman, the brass band-aided the problem by deciding the poor new hire could pose as a woman while they planned the wedding.

In retrospect, this wasn't the worst idea.  Despite being a good bit taller than 000 and requiring a shave every two or three hours, 100kr had a knack for makeup and could walk in heels.  The wasn't the worst looking agent who could have played the part.  The shotgun marriage required little explanation when 000 introduced his fiance.  The Team Rocket executives assumed their associate had knocked up a Kalosian model, and 000 earned a round of high-fives for his little whirlwind romance.

His croagunk seemed a little less elated at the idea.  Somewhere along the lines of determine a cover story, the brass decided that a pokemon that regularly eats its own moltings might be a little less than convincing for a glamour model.  The poor pokemon wound up staying at 000's apartment for the majority of the mission, aggravating Sableye in frustration and threatening to spray acid at 000.  He did spray acid at 100kr, resulting in a surprising portion of their budget going to wigs.

The wedding ceremony could not get over with fast enough.

The bride's side of the family appeared to be the entire Kalosian section of the IP, the agent noticed from his position at the altar.  Nanu spotted at least three women who would have made this less awkward than 100kr.  None of them were as attractive and could never have pulled off the wedding outfit though, 000 decided as Wagner's Bridal March started and his partner started down the altar, escorted by the Kalos section lead.  The senior agent had to hold back a laugh as he went, since 100kr could barely pull off the bridal outfit.  Someone at the IP must have provided it, since the new hire wore a tight, mermaid-style thing that looked ridiculous given his utter lack of curvature.  The flower crown just added to the ludicrousy.

He tried to pass off his amusement as elation at seeing his bride, but failed and just wound up in a coughing fit that disrupted 100kr's entrance.  The best man, the executive over ballistics, wound up pounding him on the back and the music stopped for him to finish.  000 would've felt bad, but any minute now the IP would get the go-ahead to start arresting everyone.  Hopefully 100kr could run in that getup, since 000 didn't feel like covering him in the event of a firefight.  He felt too stiff in the tux for a shootout.

100kr looked about ready to pee himself when he reached the altar, keeping his cover by pure coincidence.  His first mission was about to come to a head, and the poor bastard was stuck in a wig and a white dress.  000 shook the section lead's hand before taking 100kr's hands and letting the pastor get on with his spiel.  At least the other agent wasn't sweaty.

"Don't worry," he mouthed.  Thankfully, the Venn diagram of reassurance for weddings and reassurance for mass takedown on all high ranking members of the world's most powerful crime organization had a good deal of overlap.

100kr nodded, side eyeing the crowd between trying to keep focus on 000 like a bride was supposed to.

The ceremony droned on.  The pastor went into some bits about the divine grace of Arceus, and 000 had to not laugh at the irony that he didn't believe in Arceus anyway.  Some IP members did a few readings on love and happiness.  No one made any move to wrap up the charade like 000 had expected, and he wound up flubbing through the vows he'd never bothered to memorize.  100kr belted his, almost forgetting to keep his voice at a convincing octave.  Rings were exchanged, and 000 had to thank his lucky stars that 100kr's fit because he never bothered to check beforehand (he didn't think they'd make past the Bridal March, let alone this far).

By the time the pastor got to pronouncing them man and wife, 000 had sweat clean through his dress shirt and looked as nervous as 100kr.  They should have started the ambush by now.  Something had gone wrong.  Someone had spilled on the whole false wedding and the International Police were letting it ride out to try to save the charade.  He was two steps from a counter ambush.  Sableye's ball was in his pocket and he stashed his pistol in his cummerbund, but from the altar, he and 100kr were easy targets.

"I said, you may kiss the bride," the pastor repeated, bringing 000 back to the moment.

100kr looked white.  His hands shook and 000 had to grab them harder to keep it from being noticeable from the crowd.  This was supposed to be the good part of the ceremony.

"Uh, right," 000 mumbled, turning back toward his bride.  He leaned in and grabbed the other agent behind the back of the head lest he try to wiggle out of it (not that 000 would blame him).  Their lips met in what 000 had to rank as the single most uncomfortable kiss he'd ever been apart of.  100kr clearly had no skill in this department, as his arms went slack and he froze in place.  He didn't move his head at all, leaving the senior agent to try to make it look somewhat authentic.

"EVERYBODY FREEZE, YOU'RE UNDER ARREST!"

000 started to breathe a sigh of relief, but before he could break out of the kiss, 100kr lunged.  His elbow struck 000 in the face, knocking him to the floor.  The junior agent pulled a gun out of the brassier of his dress and aimed it at the groom's party as he stood over 000.  The dozen or so Rocket executives put their hands in the air, outnumbered by the bridal party, the catering staff, and a few janitors that all turned out to be well-armed members of the International Police.  The last of the Rockets didn't put up a fight.

--

000 sat on the steps of the reception hall with an icepack on his bruised eye, tie undone, and cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  At least he could put this hellish mission behind him and get on with his career.  He'd have a million reports to file, not the least of which would be a detailed essay on what a stupid idea having a fake marriage was and why the International Police should never engage this tactic again.  Hell, he'd present on the matter at the next lunch-n-learn.

"I apologize about your eye," 100kr said, looming over him while still in his dress, though the wig he'd been wearing for the better part of a month had been discarded.  He offered a glass of punch in the other agents direction.

000 took it.  He needed something stronger than punch, but close enough.  "Don't worry about it, happens all the time."

"I suppose.. I did not mean to be quite so rough," he sat down on the steps next to him, trying to keep his dress from riding up as he pulled a pokeball from his fake cleavage and released his croagunk.  The pokemon squealed and climbed into his trainer's lap for a hug.

"Cripes, just what all are you keeping in there?"

"I mean, I had nothing else to fill the space with with," 100kr chuckled.

"Toilet paper like every other woman," the voice of the global chief recommended from behind the two agents.  "I thought you were trying to be convincing."

000 cocked his head back.  "Nice to see you join us."

"I had control of the backup.  Are my two stars holding up?" she ruffled the two agents on the head, tempting 000 to blow a smoke ring in her face.

"I'll be better when I can lose the damn tux," 000 grumbled, "Everybody in custody?"

"On their way to the federal penitentiary now."

"Great, let's never do this again," he snorted, taking a swig of punch.

"Are all missions like this?" 100kr asked, trying to steady his glass of punch before Croagunk could flail and spill it on his dress.  "This seemed rather… unconventional."

"Think of it like hazing," the Chief told him, pushing past the two, "Where'd your marriage certificate go?  I think the kid earned himself a souvenir of his first mission."

000 shrugged, "Pastor had it.  He had us pre-sign it last night in case the ceremony ran late or something."

"I believe he signed it and sent it along to the courthouse so he could have that wrapped up for us before the end of the reception," 100kr recalled, putting his punch out of reach of Croagunk's grabs, "He handed it to a grunt while I was in the dressing area inside with that explanation, in any case."

"Lazy son of a bitch, he just wanted to stick around for free cake," 000 grunted, lighting another cigarette off the butt of his first.

"I suppose he assumed that's what I had been nervous about, since you spread that delightful little pregnancy rumor," his tone sounded less than amused, even if 000 thought the assumption had been hilarious.  The servers at the rehearsal dinner had been barred from giving the junior agent any wine, "Quite a shame he had to be arrested as well, he was quite thoughtful."

"Fuck, courthouse is going to be surprised when a forged wedding certificate shows up," 000 chuckled, draining the rest of his punch glass.

"Forged?  You think we wasted prop money on that?  We just grabbed a real one," the Chief informed him, rolling her eyes and checking her pager, "Procurement doesn't get this crap for free and believe it or not, weddings are expensive to begin with.  Even fake ones."

000 heart stopped, "Why the shit would you use a real wedding certificate?!"

"Because you two have a pile of false identities," she reminded him, through she cocked an eyebrow at 000.  000, famously, never used a fake identity in undercover missions. He hated keeping up with them.  He'd been Nanu more times than he ever should have been, legitimate Alolan passport in tow.  The chief gave him a bye because he had the rare ability to not suck at his job.

"Seven months is a long time to pretend to be somebody else," 000 shot back, "What do you think?"

100kr turned white as a sheet and started to stutter without any coherence or identifiable language.

"Please tell me that that isn't your actual name and you aren't from Lumiose City," 000 said, keeping himself from screaming.

"I-i-i-i had difficulty with k-keeping track of f-fake identities in t-training," he stumbled for the explanation, "M-my l-l-legal name is neutral and I s-s-supposed th-that perhaps-"

Before he could finish his sentence, 000 grabbed him by the wrist and dragged him to standing, forcing him to grab Croagunk before he fell.  The cigarette was discarded haphazardly, the Chief stomping it out for him.

"Where are you two going?"

"COURTHOUSE!" he yelled as he dragged 100kr toward the street, wedding dress, Croagunk, and all.

--

The courthouse had closed by the time they arrive.  000 banged on the windows in vain, hoping that someone would still be in the building.  No such luck.  It was 5:05 at a government workplace.  Not a soul would be left on the property, and certainly not one that could fix this snafu.

"Fuck!" he banged on the window again and kicked at it for good measure, "Fuck fuck fuck!"

"Oh dear," 100kr whimpered, finding his voice after a ten block jog in high heels.  He'd managed to reball croagunk at a crosswalk, at least.  "Oh dear…"

"This can't actually happen," 000 mumbled, pulling another cigarette from his jacket pocket and lighting it.  "We didn't mean for it to happen."

"We… we did not, no."

"Exactly," he took a long drag and exhaled a cloud of smoke, "We're two guys.  That's not a thing in Kalos."

"Well, it is a civil partnership here," 100kr explained, "With similar benefits… but upon return to Kanto, it will likely be recognized as a marr-"

"Fuck, seriously?!"

"Ah, there was a legal proceeding five or somewhat years ago with a similar issue and I believe the ruling was yes," he recalled, "It was a reading in a school class, but it will be recognized as a proper marriage in Kanto, Johto, and Unova, if I am remembering with accuracy."

000 sat down on the stairs to the courthouse, head in his hands.  He was married.  To the new-hire agent 100kr, a coworker he'd known for all of three months. In the name of completing a mission.

"I-it is not to bad," 100kr babbled, determined to positive, "If we move in together rent will be much cheaper.  And married people live longer, as research shows."

000 mouth hung upon so wide his cigarette hit the concrete and he stared at 100kr as if he'd turned into a Croagunk himself.  "We're not moving in together, fool!  We're coming back here tomorrow and figuring out how to fix this!"

The court system had already processed the wedding certificate, the two found out the next morning, with the details automatically forwarded to their region of residence.  000 and 100kr were, by law, husband and husband, a fact that sent 000 into a stream of Alolan curses.  100kr held him back from the clerk with one arm while taking her packet of printouts about legal annulments with the other.

--

"000, it's not a simple matter of filing the annulment paperwork," the Chief told him, checking email instead of making any kind of eye contact that would indicate she cared about his predicament.  "We can't release this info."

The senior agent crossed his arms, his technically-regulation red sneakers propped up on the lip of her desk, "So I'm getting fucked because you don't want to admit your fuckup?"

"It's not a matter of admitting we cheaped out on props either, though yeah, we're filing under a lessons-learned," she sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose, "You need documentation of why the marriage should have never happened in the first place.  Everything in that regard would be strict references to the mission.  That mission is classified, you can't just mail the reports to a Kalosian courthouse."

"I am married to another agent on accident, does that not count towards granting some kind of emergency reduction in mission secrecy?!"

"I'd like to point out, it was you and your new husband that decided to sign your real legal names instead of any smattering of fake identities you have been provided with," the Chief grumbled, "You could have been removed from duty for being this stupid."

"Like I'd be that lucky," 000 grumbled under his breath.  How was he supposed to know 100kr used his legal name as a fake identity?  The rules prohibited disclosure their legal names at work.  He'd have thought the IP would have taken every step in their power to ensure the marriage ceremony was fake, and they handed him the certificates and the marriage license.

"But, if you must continue insisting, I did request a civilian-approved release from the legal team.  I have no promises that you'll get it and less that it will have anything about your little marriage conundrum if you do, but maybe it'll help," she informed him, looking back at the computer monitor and continuing typing, "Happy?"

"Quite," he grumbled as he stood up. He wasn't, but this is the best he would be able to procure at the moment.  The agent couldn't undo time, no point in digging a hole with the Chief to spite that fact.

"It's not the worst you know," the Chief commented as her subordinate headed back to his cubicle, "100kr isn't a bad looking guy.  Half the department would kill to be in your shoes."

"Clearly you've never been in a car with him for more than half an hour," 000 grunted, slamming her office door behind him on his way out.

--

The divorce paperwork had been sitting on 100kr's desk for almost a year, untouched, 000 noticed as he passed the junior agent's cubicle on the way to the break room.

The two long passed the time limit for an annulment.  They'd eventually managed to fill out all the paperwork together, attaching a very blacked out but still viable copy of the mission details along with a personal note from the Kalos section lead as to why their marriage was legitimately illegitimate.  000 had balked at the cost of sending it certified mail to Kalos and the two decided to wait until one of them had to travel there for work.  Someone would wind up there eventually, saving on the courier service.

Neither wound up assigned to a mission to Kalos.  They had also forgotten up until the day it would have been due.  In a fit, 000 dragged his husband up to the Kalosian consulate on his lunch break, demanding he request divorce paperwork.  If they couldn't get the marriage annulled, they would just get a regular divorce and let 000 be done with this marriage business altogether.  It was close enough, and it's not like things would get messy between two coworkers who never wanted to be wed in the first place. They took their copies and agreed to fill them out to the best of their knowledge, and compare notes in a few weeks (which turned into a few months, which turned into the rest of the year, since 000 couldn't seem to find himself at headquarters at the same time as the other agent).

He couldn't fault 100kr for ignoring the paperwork. 000's half was less than complete- he had to stop when he reached the part detailing deviation of assets (or at least, he thought it did; the paperwork was in Kalosian).  He had no idea what assets 100kr brought into their sham marriage.  He didn't seem to own a vehicle or a home, but since they spent no time together outside of work, 000 had no real idea.  The senior agent could make a guess at his retirement account (shitty, because the IP provided it), but this hadn't been his first job and the Tapu only knew what holdovers he had from his previous life.

100kr had been in and out of the office, so he hadn't been able to flag him down.  Granted, he hadn't worked on it at all , which infuriated 000 as he sat at the other agent's desk and invaded his privacy.  This was turning ludicrous.   They weren't married and their legal status was effective fraud.  The fact that 000 seemed to be the one single person in the entire IP that gave a shit about this was starting to be concerning.

"Why are you at my desk chair?" 100kr asked, appearing at the entryway to his cube with his roller bag dragging behind him.

000 ignored his confusion. "Why haven't you fucking filled any of this out yet?" he waved the other agent's half of the divorce petition to drive in his point.

The junior agent shrugged, "I haven't had a resounding amount of free time as of late.  The paperwork filling is on the to-do list."

"Bump it higher on the damn list, fool."

"Please stop going through my belongings when I am absent, it is very rude," 100kr chastised him, as if 000 did this often.  He only went to 100kr's cube for gum and staples.  And the three-hole-punch.  And batteries, but 100kr kept a decent selection batteries for no well specified reason.

"It is 'very rude' to keep me trapped in this sham marriage.  Fill out your half of the fucking paperwork!"

"I will get to it, I assure you.  Now please move, I need to finish my report-"

"Tonight, fool.  We're finishing these tonight," he hopped out of the other man's desk chair and pushed past him.

100kr shook his head, arranging his coat on the back of his chair.  "Fine, as soon as I finish-"

"Come by my place at 6, we're going to woodshed this," the senior agent informed him, continuing his trip to the break room, "Consider it an order from a superior."

In the end, 000 got a notice in the mail close to the New Year from the Lumiose City municipal court.  After hunting down 100kr for a translation, the two discovered that the version of the divorce petition they filed had not been valid since the previous February.  They needed to obtain the new version from the consulate and submit it a second time.

000 wound up spending a fine weekend at 100kr's repairing a hole he'd punched a wall at that discovery while the other agent hovered behind him, deliberating if the paint color matched.  Three trips to the hardware store later, 000 repainted the whole living room just to shut him up.  He had to repaint in the next weekend as well, since for some unfathomable reason, Croagunk kept licking that particular brand of paint.

--

000 groaned, throwing his Rickey Rattatta calculator at the kitchen wall, the resulting dent obvious in the terrible paisley wallpaper.  Despite how he worked it, his taxes came out in a jumbled, expensive, and unfixable mess.  The IP failed to reimburse him for any of his expenses since May.  He was stuck itemizing to recoup, but regardless of what he insisted was a "business expense" (coffee counted, right? He couldn't work without a pot of coffee in the morning), he couldn't hit the minimum.  His medical was a bigger mess, spread out over five regions with bills under questionable names.  The mileage counts made no logical sense to anyone who wasn't a member of the International Police.  The Tapus help him if he had an audit this year.

Kanto was stupid.  Their tax brackets were stupid, since the agent was pretty sure he was making less despite his recent promotion.  Somehow the amount pulled wasn't enough -he owed a ridiculous amount of money, enough where he had to pay a penalty for too few withholdings.  To add to his predicament, a recent promotion placed the agent in a bracket that would require he refile in Alola as well.  He almost turned over his kitchen table, renounced his citizenship, and gone to bed over that matter a few hours ago.

An idea hit him as he dug in the fridge for a much needed beer or three, in hopes the alcohol would at least calm how angry he was at his civic duties.  Slamming the door, he grabbed the kitchen phone, dialing in haste.  The agent he sought was, to his luck, at home.

"Hey, 100kr, you started your taxes yet?" he balanced the phone on his shoulder as he spoke, prying the bottlecap off with a screwdriver keychain, "Good.  Bring your stuff over, I'm working out mine right now.  I'll get yours too while I'm at it... it's not big deal, just come over."

As it turned out, married filing jointly fixed his tax problems quite well.  000 owed less than he ever had, and it kept him below refiling in Alola.  100kr got a little screwed, yeah, but after two hours of sorting through all his paperwork 000 concluded that he had no head for this anyway and would never know.  The junior agent seemed grateful someone figured this out for him and didn't give him the opportunity to screw up.

Marriage, perhaps, wasn't the worst thing that had happened to either of them.

--

The years trudged by without any success in divorce, leaving 000 to keep filing their taxes together and saving himself a financial headache.  The paperwork requirements seemed to change every time the two managed to figure it out, invalidating a few weeks worth of work and encouraging them to throw in the towel for another six months.  100kr came into an inheritance that became too confusing to sort out without legal aid, since it became a marital asset.  They became roommates for a year or so when a Saffron City rent hike came in conjunction with an International Police pay slash, making it difficult to confirm 'separation'.   A government worker strike one summer resulted in a rare completed petition being torched in a riot, and it took another nine months for either to get notice of the little snafu.  000 confused which region they'd married in and sent paperwork to the wrong courthouse. 100kr lost his Kalosian identification cards and couldn't find time for a trip home to replace them (and never kept any copies that could be stapled on in a pinch).  The day they married wasn't recalled correctly, several times.  The reasons for failing to file went on and on, year after year.

Eventually 000 gave up.  The agent had no intention of marrying with any legitimacy anyway.  Being married meant 100kr had to pick his ass up from the hospital on occasion and 000 could use the "citizens and family members" line in passport control at the Lumiose City airport.  The benefits, however small, outweighed the repercussions.  Really, the one negative of being married to bumbling agent 100kr was that he had to admit he was married to bumbling, overzealous, loud agent 100kr.  The junior agent seemed to not mind the arrangement (though he also seemed to forget about it more often than 000).  

For better or for worse, the two stayed married.

--

Three days into his return to Alola as a disgraced civilian instead of an agent of the International Police, Nanu realized he had never successfully filed for divorce from his former colleague.

The freshly appointed police officer laughed at his desk, startling the meowth that had followed him into the Po Town station (Hala hooked him up with the job, he'd started the day before in hopes to distract himself from the reality of his situation).  100kr could request a petition for uncontested divorce on grounds of AWOL spouse, and honestly, he might have better luck there than trying get a joint petition together.  It would take a year or so and some proof the agent had no idea where Nanu absconded to, but he could be single again if he wanted it.  At some point, he'd have to.  His career wouldn't progress much if he stayed legally married to a senior agent who had to be escorted out of headquarters for "insubordination" and "raising too many questions" (the situation had been more 'calling out the entire staff of brass for cowardice in a board meeting in front of some government officials'... not Nanu's finest hour but he could at least be proud of why he'd been canned).

Nanu realized he should have at least left the poor man a forwarding address.  He hated the International Police, not the agent (loathsome as he may be).  100kr had his ways of tracking folks down though, the divorce petition would show up sooner than later.  The now former agent would cooperate and sign it when it came.

--

"So what's new in your life, Nanu?" Olivia asked kalf out of the sake of pleasantry and half to be nosy, at the Kahuna meeting they'd managed to get him to attend.  

The important topics had been covered and the weekly meeting degraded into smalltalk.  Nanu needed to excuse himself and go find Looker.   They had only gone to Melemele for the sake of hitting up the immigration office for a visa extension Looker wasn't qualified for.  Hapu and Acerola had spotted them at the docks, and Hapu made the point of mentioning there was yet another weekly meeting he should be attending.

Looker didn't give him much opportunity to protest.  Before the Kahuna knew it, he'd been shuffled off to his official Kahuna duties and Acerola had disappeared with Looker.

"Nothing," he grumbled, standing up and stretching.  He hadn't need to be in the meeting, and they needed to get to the immigration office before they rolled up the sidewalk at 4:26.   That had been the bane of their existence the previous week, since, as of late, neither man ever felt like getting out of bed until 3 or so.  No need to, Nanu had everything he cared about lying next to him.

"Who's the guy always hanging around you?" Olivia continued to be nosy.

Nanu snorted, and headed for the door.  He'd been getting that question often since Looker started staying around Alola.  His desired response was 'none of your business', but that wouldn't do more than raise additional questions.  "Old friend."

The other Kahunas followed suit, Hapu in particular on his heels.  "Acerola has been wondering about him," she mentioned.  Hapu tended to not gossip, but if Acerola had been curious about something, she would chase it down.

"Oh, I know."  In all reality, he expected Acerola to just figure out the situation by now.  A man moved in with her crotchy, antisocial uncle, only so many conclusions could be made.  The girl was smarter than that.  And if not, her girlfriend certainly was.

That being said, perhaps it was unbelievable given the Kahuna in question. Nanu didn't believe himself that (...former) agent 100kr was the one dozing next to him when he woke up in mornings (well... afternoons).  He didn't believe it so much they'd forgotten the nasty little legal matter of how Looker would stay dozing next to him in Alola.  His extended visa was due to run out in a month and they had no plan B.

"So really, why the hell is he sticking around you of all people?"

"Let's not bug the poor man about his personal relations, shall we?" Hala butted in, making Nanu want to facepalm.  He meant well.  His execution screamed otherwise.

Nanu had half a mind to make a snide comment about having more romantic success than her, but he caught his tongue at the last second, instead B-lining for the staircase to the lobby of the community center they held their meetings in.  It would be best to not.  Nanu wasn't embarrassed of Looker and their relationship wasn't some huge secret.  The Kahuna just didn't know where everything stood in his life right now and couldn't bring himself to divulge the precarious state of things with Looker, let alone everyone else.

The last few... well, months had been a whirlwind.  First the ultra beasts returned and he found himself face to face with good old agent 100kr and Anabel, trying to straighten out their terrible battle plan before this turned into one giant repeat.  Then he had to go face off with UB-05 with the champ, since nobody else could.  A few drinks at the post-mission dinner and then a few more drinks at the post-post-mission-dinner bar session and he wound up in the IP agent's hotel room, successfully completing his second first kiss with the man and then some.  A few heart-to-heart discussions (and a few somewhat more carnal activities) the next morning, they had at least caught up on each other's lives and come to some uncomfortable conclusions about everything that had happened in the aftermath of UB-05.

Nanu had never been one for cuddling, but he spent a lot of that day wrapped around Looker.  Nanu talked about his expulsion from the IP and his job in the Alolan PD.  Looker talked about Croagunk's death in Unova.  They talked about the Faller, the terrible excuses the brass had given them separately about her death (Looker's more excuses, Nanu's a 'suck it up, agent'), the days they'd spent separately locked in their apartments, unwilling to face the world.  They talked about the nightmares they both suffered from.

Most of all, they'd talked about Anabel.  The two let her situation marinade for far too long.  Nanu had never had the heart to tell her about her past while still in the International Police (she enjoyed her job, even if her employer planned for her to die), and Looker hadn't had the courage.  Considering how the IP seemed determined to handle UBs, they agreed she had a right to know and came up with a half-baked plan to explain themselves.

That had been a night Nanu never wanted to repeat.  The look of betrayal on Anabel's face would be forever burned into his memory.  She stayed quiet through he and Looker's bumbled explanation, but her face said everything.  They should have told her years ago.  She trusted them to be honest, and instead they let her get up close and personal with an Ultra Beast.  The woman thanked them quietly for the information at the end of dinner, and left Alola the next morning without a word.  Looker left a day later, feeling he'd had enough vacation for one lifetime.  Their goodbyes at the airport carried an implicit, but mutual, "forever" attached to them.  It was for the best.

Forever turned out to be about a month and a half.  Nanu found Looker on his doorstep one morning, relieved from duty in much of the same manner as Nanu.  Their confession to Anabel had come to light and being the one left in the IP, Looker took the blame.  Despite years of service as the best agent of the International Police, the man got canned.  Having no earthly idea where to take his life, Looker went to the one person who didn't seem to hate him these days.  

Despite his brain screaming with better judgement, Nanu took him in.

Between Looker's rather delicate mental state at the time and a desperate need for a home for both of them that wasn't the police station and the reorganizing of the rest of Looker's life (his finances alone took a week to sort out and shipping his things to Alola hadn't been simple either), Nanu hadn't had time to think in any kind of romantic terms.  He still didn't- he had two weeks to figure out how Looker was going to stay in Alola because Nanu couldn't abandon his position as Kahuna to wherever the other man could be deported to.  The last few months had been exhausting at the very best, and this was on top of his regular work scope.  The only real saving grace had been Hapu's appointment to Kahuna so he could stop watching over Poni Island along with Ula'ula.

Was he in love with the man? Probably.  It didn't matter if he was or wasn't, the Kahuna wouldn't be throwing him out in the cold anytime this century.  On his good days, he was a fine companion as any and on his bad days Nanu didn't mind holding him and trying to make everything easier.  Whether or not Looker loved him back was an even more unfathomable question.  He'd come face to face with his biggest demons and then found the rest of his life ripped out from under him.  It was a question Nanu couldn't in good conscience entertain.  He might stay when everything evened out, but he might leave just as easily.  It wasn't Nanu's business to be concerned with, not at the present moment.

Either way, he wasn't discussing it with his colleagues, who followed him down the stairs instead of the elevator.

"Hapu! Uncle Nanu!" Acerola called when he exited the stairwell.  Looker stood behind her, looking white faced and rather relieved to see the man.

Nanu shook his head.  He'd told Acerola under no uncertain terms was she to pester Looker the way she pestered him (and reiterated the point to Hapu, who seemed to be the responsible one in that relationship).  She appeared to have done just that and he can't imagine the afternoon had gone well for him.

Maybe the immigration office was out of the question today.  Any lingering with his coworkers was.  Perhaps tonight instead called for a the largest box of takeout that Sushi High Roller could over them and an evening on the couch.  Guzma had the rounds tonight, he could knock off early (as if he even needed to, he did everything else in the world while he was on shift).

"Oi, no need to be loud," Nanu grumbled, though it was somewhat hypocritical given Looker's average decibel level.  Why his life involved so many loud people, Bulu only knew.

"We obtained malasadas, if you would like one," Looker informed the group, holding out a box.  Of course they did.  Acerola hadn't needed to pester him much for those.  "There are certainly enough for everyone."

The six all took one from the box, freeing Looker from an obligation to hold it, and stood in the lobby snacking.  Hapu detailed the required preparation for the New Years festival to a disinterested Acerola, who asked Olivia about her outcome with a challenger she'd sent on the ghost challenge that morning.

Hala made polite smalltalk with Looker as Nanu tried to inhale his malasada and get the two away from the group as fast as possible.  "So, did you have any plans for the afternoon?"

"Ah the immigration office again.  Still have the pesky issue of my visa," he shrugged, talking with his mouth full.

"You trying to stay?" Olivia butted in, "Figured you'd get sick of Nanu by now."

"Unlike yourself, I know how not to scare a man off." The quip slipped out on accident.  He can't help it, he's tired of being insulted this afternoon.  Having Looker around gave him some motive to be more polite and the Akala Kahuna had been taking advantage of it.

Looker giggled, taking another bite of malasada, "He is quite charming, I must say."

Acerola gave Nanu a sideways glance, unable to determine if the words are a joke or not.  Nanu really thought her intuition was better.  Hapu overheard and brought her attention back to the matter of which one of them will be procuring lights for the festival.  Acerola in theory, but Hapu in practice.

"What's the plan for the visa this time?  Have you managed to find a job yet?" Hala asked, polite but inconsiderate as always.

"Er, not yet.  Still looking," Looker fumbled, biting off another piece of fried dough and avoiding further elaboration.  He wasn't in any sort of state to be working again.  Nanu made that mistake when he'd been released from duty, and wound up a wreck.  The Kahuna refused to let the other man suffer the same fate.

"Shame," Hala noted, "If you've gotten two extension already, they'll likely only grant you another if you're working."

"Or if you get married to another Alolan," Olivia snorted, reeling for another retort in Nanu's direction.  Really, she had taken too many liberties lately.  Just because the Ula'ula Kahuna had better things to think about than their verbal jousts didn't mean she could continue without him.

"Oh, I suppose that might be possible," Looker said, genuine happiness in voice, "We are married I suppose."

Nanu choked on his malasada.

"Really Uncle Nanu?!" Acerola exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air.

Hala smacked Nanu on the back before he could turn blue, dislodging the food from his windpipe.  The two had never filed for divorce.  He get Looker a Tapu-damned green card and he'd forgotten about it.

"Cripes, I'm an idiot," he grumbled, wiping his mouth.

"I'll say, you got married and didn't invite any of us!" Acerola scolded him, pointing a finger that Hapu immediately grabbed.

"It was before you were born , kid," Nanu shot back, turning to Looker, "I can't believe I forgot."

"I forgot myself, it has been years," Looker said, laughing, "To think, we could have fixed this weeks ago."

Nanu had to laugh himself.   Five years of trying to file a divorce petition, only for the lack thereof to save the two of them at the eleventh hour.  Moreover, this would be a cakewalk with immigration since they had married fifteen years ago and even shared an apartment at one point.  No one could accuse a marriage that long of being the sham it was.

Or well, had been.

That was a question for when Looker improved.  Nanu put the thought out of his mind.

"You realize, Nanu," Hala said, his tone less than amused with the revelation, "That our traditions dictate the spouse of a Kahuna is formally approved by the Tapu, as marriage is a sacred partnership.  Since your marriage wasn't obvious when your tenure as a Kahuna started you're going to have to-"

"Yeah, Looker's been here for a couple months.  Bulu would have struck me down by now if he gave a damn," Nanu rolled his eyes.  Bulu wouldn't give a shit, and as Kahuna of Ula'ula, Nanu had the right to consider himself the expert when it came to Tapu Bulu.

"Wait are you two going to explain some of this?" Olivia demanded in confusion, cutting Looker off, "Are you actually together?!"

"No, and yes," Nanu smirked, grabbing Looker by the hand, "Hate to run but we need to get somewhere before it closes."

He dragged the man out of the lobby before either suffered an inquisition session at the hands of the rest of the Kahunas.  Looker's fingers closed around his as they hurried along, hand in hand.  They even kissed before heading into the immigration office, like the married couple they'd been for a decade and a half.