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Hot Damn

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Officer Tsukasa walked through the streets of late-night Tokyo. The cold and windy weather only made her more determined to get back home and snuggle up to all the plushies on her bed as soon as possible.

It seemed like that appointment would have to be slightly postponed, if not cancelled, as Tsukasa walked past a convenience store and noticed a friend with her back up against the wall, mumbling something under her breath.

“Kairi, you stupid--stupid… whatever…”

It was Hayami Umika. The usually (or perhaps, unusually) peppy and cheerful Jurer waitress at what seemed to be her lowest, almost unconscious and shivering with cold, saddled up next to a garbage can. Tsukasa couldn't help but feel concerned for her and walked up, trying to figure out how to help.

“Umika? What are you doing here? Are you okay?” she asked with a concerned, almost motherly tone.

“H-huh?” Umika slurred with a flighty voice “Officer Tsukasa? I didn't expect to see ya here~. Do you wanna join me?”

Tsukasa noticed a faint smell of alcohol coming from her breath, only intensifying her concern. “Do you need me to help you up?”

Umika grunted as Tsukasa lifted her up by the shoulders “Ohh, you’re so strong, officer Tsukasa~.”

“Come on, Umika.” she faintly heard while she wrapped her arms around the police officer. “I’ll take you to my place. It's closer than Jurer.”

“A… sleepover with Officer Tsukasa~??? Yayyyyyyyy~.” Umika mumbled.

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Tsukasa turned on the lights in her apartment and carried Umika in, placing her on the sofa. The barely conscious waitress almost fainted, but Tsukasa caught her and held upright right before she lost her consciousness.

“Hey, it's all right, it's all right.”

“Is~ it~?” Umika slurred, barely holding onto herself.

“I’ll get you some water, I will be right back, okay?” Umika nodded faintly and Tsukasa went to the kitchen.

Tsukasa’s apartment seemed like it was spinning, as Umika attempted to look around for a few seconds. The police officer promptly returned and gently put the glass of water into her hands. Before Tsukasa could tell her anything, she had already finished the glass.

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, man, that's so good~.”

“Okay, Umika, can you--” Tsukasa searched for the proper question to ask “Can you tell me what you were doing out so late and so far away from home?”

“W--well, I, uhhhhh” Umika stammered “I wanted to have some~ fun~. I’ve been feeling kind of lonely lately~.”

“What do you mean?” Tsukasa inquired “What about Kairi or Touma?”

“Wh-what about them?” Umika’s expression turned stern, or at least, what she imagined stern could be on her face “They don’t. Want to talk to me.”

“Why wouldn't they want to talk to you?”

“Well, you--” Umika hiccuped “You know, off--offic-office~r, uhhh…”

“You can leave out the ‘officer’ part.” Tsukasa attempted to smile “Just Tsukasa is fine.”

“Tsukasa, I…” Umika wasn't sure how to put this “I wish I had a girlfriend.”

“Oh?” Tsukasa leaned in closer.

“I had a, um, a thing with someone in high school, but we’re, uh, not together anymore.” Umika rested her head on the sofa “I guess I can't get over her.”

“So what do Kairi and Touma have to do with this?” Tsukasa asked.

“Well, it's like--” Umika stopped for a second, blankly staring at Tsukasa's fish plushies “Oh, your plushies are nice. Uhhhhh, anyway, it's like, you have a problem and you tell your friends to get it out of your system and you hope they’ll help you, right?”

“Right.”

“Well, not right. I guess not.” Umika shifted around on the sofa “Touma won't talk to me about it for longer than two minutes and Kairi’s just… he’s just an asshole. Like they both support me but they just don't want to talk to me or help me with it.”

“Do you think it's because they’ve had bad experiences with their partners too?” Tsukasa asked to work out a way to help all three of them

“I guess? But--” Umika hiccuped again “But like, that doesn't mean they have to treat me like crap when I need their help, you know~?”

“I suppose that makes sense.” Tsukasa hummed “Why didn't you go to us then?”

“Uhhh, us?” Umika asked with great confusion “Oh, like Keiichiro or Sakuya? Sakuya is… y’know and Keiichiro can't even talk to girls! What use would that be~...”

“I understand, but…” Tsukasa paused “Why didn't you talk to me?”

“That’s…” Umika raised her eyebrow “That's what we're doing right now, right?”

“Well, yes.” Tsukasa chuckled lightly “But there are easier and better ways to start a conversation with me than getting drunk at 1am, you know?”

“I know, I know~” Umika purred “I didn't even mean for that to happen, I know I’m still a year off from being able to drink, but I just took one shot and here we are~. Guess I’m not strong enough for that stuff…”

“Don't worry, I won’t bring you in.” Tsukasa smirked “This time.”

“Hehe, thanks, Tsukasa~!” Umika finally sat up and smiled before dropping her head again out of dizziness “Hey, uhhhh, can I…?”

“Hm? Can you what?” Tsukasa held her still

“Can I… use your shower?” Umika asked shyly

“Oh!” Tsukasa jumped up “Sure, of course, you need any help?”

“I know how to shower, Tsukasa~.” Umika cooed

“Hah, well, that's good to hear” Tsukasa laughed “I’ll leave some clothes for you in there.”

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Tsukasa moved all her plushies from the bed to the couch, both for Umika and for herself. Umika stepped out of the bathroom in her pajamas and headed to bed.

“Hey, Tsukasa?” She asked with a more upbeat but very sleepy voice “How come you had yellow-colored clothes for me?”

“What do you mean?” Tsukasa downed a can of tea and nestled into her sofa “I don't exclusivity wear pink, you know. Have you ever seen a cop who wears nothing but pink?”

“Yes, you.” Umika said and stuck her tongue out. “Hey, aren't you going to bed? It's like 2:30am. It's not like you're still catching any midnight dramas~.”

“You’re sleeping in my bed, so I’m sleeping on the couch.” Tsukasa remarked “I have a day off tomorrow so don't worry about making me stay up.”

“Your bed can fit two people, though!” Umika dropped her head slightly “Do you… not want to sleep with me?”

“Uh, um, well...”

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“Umika?”

“Yeah?”

“You can't sleep, can you?”

“Nope~.”

“I just realised we didn't finish our conversation.”

“Conversation? Which conversation…?”

“The ‘girlfriend’ conversation.”

“O-oh.”

“I just want to help.”

“I know, but…I feel kinda--I don't know if I can tell you, Tsukasa.”

“You can tell me anything, Umika.”

“There is… a girl I like.”

“Uh-huh.”

“She’s like hella strong and really cute and so very kind to me~. And she's super kind to everyone else too! She works really hard to make everyone smile! She works great in a team, she always keeps a cool head and is so gosh darn smart! I… really love her~...”

“Mm, I think I understand.”

“You do?”

“Mmhmm, I do.”

“Oh. Oh!”

“Do you feel better now?”

“Yeah, yeah, I do. Thanks.”

“No problem.”

“Good night, Tsukasa.”

“Good night, Umika.”

“...”

“...”

“...”

“...”

“Wait!”

“Huh, what, what?”

“Is it all right to just sleep after getting drunk? What if I throw up?”

“I’ll help you.”

“But what if you won't hear?”

“I will.”

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After letting Umika spend the night at her place, Tsukasa contacted Touma and Kairi to come pick her up the next morning. Before Umika woke up, she urged her two friends to talk to her about her problems when they get back to Jurer. They arrived around 10 in the morning, few minutes after the hungover waitress woke up. Tsukasa escorted Umika to the car and bid the three goodbye.

“So, uhh.” Touma stammered “Kairi and I have talked.”

“Oh?” Umika blinked “About what?”

“We… should’ve helped you out.” Touma sighed “Right, Kairi?”

“Riiiiiiiiight.” Kairi said as if he himself wasn't sure if he was right or wrong “We were assholes.”

“Y-yeah, kinda.” Umika mumbled

“But we’ve got something to make it up to you!” Kairi exclaimed “Tell her what she's won, Mr. Driver!”

“We’ve set up a few speed-dates with some of our regulars.” Touma said in a completely deadpan tone “How does that sound?”

“W-well, actually.” Umika whispered “That won't be necessary anymore.”

Kairi and Touma raised their eyebrows and leaned in slightly towards the backseat.

“I, uh, found the girl I was looking for last night.” Umika announced proudly

“Oh.” Touma remarked “That's great, we’re really happy for you. Aren't we, Kairi?”

“Yeah, yeah, totes” Kairi suddenly felt the cogs turn and the lightbulb come to life in his brain “Wait, are you--did you--have you really just…?”

“Well,” Umika paused “Yeah.”

“You and Tsukasa?” Touma inquired.

“Yeah.”

“Oh, you two are a pretty good fit.” Touma stated

“Yeah.”

A brief silence reverberated through the car, as Touma drove back to Jurer, Kairi felt his brain being blown to bits and Umika just sat there in the backseat, proud of herself.

“Hot damn.” Kairi said

“‘Hot damn’ is right.” Umika responded.