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Kaede’s at the counter collecting her coffee when a quiet ring of the doorbell signaling the opening of the door breaks through the murmur of people talking and coffee machines whirring to life. Her head turns just in time to see Kaito as he enters the cafe, wide smile on his face and a NASA T-shirt clinging neatly to his chest. His eyes search the area for a few moments, looking for a familiar face, until they finally land on her. Kaede beams at him and waves with her free hand in a silent greeting. With a sharp jerk of her head she points to the booth in the far corner of the cafe where Maki’s already sitting, waiting for them. Kaito seems to understand because he sends her one last smile and heads in this direction.

 

When Kaede finally manages to take her coffee and sits her butt in the booth across Kaito, she immediately turns to him with a blinding smile and bright curious eyes.

 

“So,” she starts conversationally, reaching out for a small packet of brown sugar that she snatched from the counter along with her coffee and tearing it off with her teeth. She doesn’t even glance at it as she dumps the whole thing into her coffee and starts stirring it with a spoon. “I’ve heard that you’re getting a new mission soon!”

 

Kaito beams at her from the other side of their booth. It’s a stark contrast with how he was the last time she saw him and she can feel her heart clenching painfully at the mere memory of that, glad to see that those times seem to be in the past now.

 

“Yeah!” his voice is dripping with enthusiasm and the corners of Kaede’s mouth tug upwards unconsciously. Kaito’s smile is as contagious as ever. “I have a meeting with Tojo in less than an hour!”

 

“That’s great!” Her enthusiasm matches his, knowing how much it means to him. She takes a sip of her coffee, wrapping her hands around the mug and reveling in the pleasant warm feeling that spreads over her skin. “You’ve been waiting to go back to the field for so long Momota-kun. We’re all very happy for you.”

 

Kaito laughs unabashedly, his loud voice carrying through the small cafe and attracting the attention of other customers who glance in their direction curiously.

 

“Thanks, Kaede! Man, it’s been so long, I can’t wait to go back into the actio-”

 

“What about your leg?” speaks Maki for the first time since they came here, interrupting him in her usual monotone. She’s sitting next to Kaede, the tips of her recently cut hair brushing against her cheek. She keeps brushing them aside and tugging behind her ear but they stubbornly come back no matter how many times she does that.

 

Kaito’s smile falters for a second but then he’s smiling even wider, waving his hand dismissively.

 

“It’s fine! You don’t have to worry, Maki Roll!”

 

Kaede frowns slightly, concern instantly bleeding into her violet eyes.

 

“Are you sure?” She asks, chewing the inside of her lower lip and cheek. Now that the thought has been planted in her mind she can’t help but worry. “Maki’s right, you know. It’s been a while since your last mission and your leg was in a really bad state when…”

 

She trails off, her eyes dropping as she nervously starts tapping against the side of her mug with her spoon in the rhythm of some melody only she seems to know.

 

“Hey,” she lifts her head and her spoon stops mid-tap when she feels a big warm hand rest on her shoulder. Kaito’s eyes are bright and warm, and Kaede can almost pretend that the she’s only imagined that his smile turned a little strained at the corners. “I’m Kaito Momota, Luminary of the Stars! If I say that it’s fine then it’s fine!”

 

Kaede stares at him with concern laced with scepticism for a little longer, searching his eyes as if she’s hoping to spot a lie in them. She knows how stubborn her friend can be and his constant refusal to admit that there’s something wrong with him is infamous among all their friends. He could spend hours upon hours helping others to be more honest with themselves but the moment it’s about him suddenly there’s no problem and any attempt at communication feels like talking to a wall.

 

Kaede sighs internally, knowing that there’s not much she can do. She can only hope that Kaito’s right.

 

“Cocky as ever,” mutters Maki into the cup of black coffee that she’s nursing in her hands.

 

Kaede laughs openly, leaning in to press a quick kiss on her girlfriend’s cheek, giggling quietly at the rosy blush that spreads over Maki’s scrunched up nose. She instantly wills her expression to go back to her normal deadpan but the blush stays and the fact that she reaches for the no-longer-there long pigtails that she used to stroke and hide behind when embarrassed betrays her. She finally settles on pressing her hands against her sides, a small pout tugging at her lips.

 

They talk for a little longer, which mostly consists of Kaede and Kaito gossiping about their friends and Maki rolling her eyes in silence and only contributing to the conversation with occasional comments of her own. Kaito listens with earnest interest to what little information they can share with him about their last mission that they just came back from and in turn he updates them on how Rantaro and Shuichi have been up to lately. At some point he goes to order a coffee that he downs in only three gulps, much to Kaede’s horror. By the time he realizes that he should be going he’s already late and after a quick goodbye he rushes to the headquarters, grateful that Kaede and Maki agreed to meet in a cafe only a few blocks away.

 

He gets there half-walking and half-running and by the time he enters the building and flashes his identity card in the direction of the receptionist he can feel the familiar spark of pain blooming in his leg. He chooses to ignore it and heads straight to Kirumi’s office. Just as expected, Kirumi is sitting at her desk, a pile of documents next to her. She raises her head when he knocks and then walks in before she can even answer. He flashes her an apologetic smile.

 

“Sorry about that,” he says sheepishly, scratching the back of his neck. “I went to grab some coffee with Kaede and Maki Roll and didn’t notice it was so late.”

 

Kirumi nods her head in understanding and puts the documents she’s been going through aside, giving him her full attention.

 

“It is quite alright,” she smiles gently, politely, the very picture of good manners paired with professionalism. “I hope they’re both doing okay?”

 

Kaito grins, plopping down in an armchair across from her.

 

“They’re both fine! Kaede asked to tell you ‘hi’ from her. She says she almost never sees you these days.”

 

A shadow of a smile passes through Kirumi’s face.

 

“I’m pleased to hear that. I’ll make sure to contact Akamatsu-san soon.” She clears her throat, straightening her posture slightly. “For now, however, we should focus on more urgent matters.”

 

Kaito leans in in his seat, eager to find out what the mission is gonna be about.

 

“As I was informed you are free to come back to active duty, is that right?”

 

“Yeah, doc says that it’s fine. I submitted my documentation to the headquarters a few days ago.”

 

“Good,” Kirumi nods her head approvingly. “You’ve already been told that we have a mission for you, I believe. Everything I intend to share here with you today is confidential. I do apologize for bothering you so soon after you’ve finished your recovery, but it is a mission of utmost importance and we need the best among the best working on this case.”  

 

She nudges a big envelope full of documents in his direction with her hand and he leans in to snatch it from her desk.

 

“Read these files,” Kirumi instructs him, “they contain all the information that you’ll need in order to complete this mission.”

 

He nods his head, excitement bubbling in his chest as he takes the files out of the envelope, papers heavy in his hand. It’s been too long , he thinks wistfully. There’s an itch under his skin that’s been growing more and more insistent over the past couple months and he’s practically vibrating with excitement at the thought of finally returning to active duty. He opens the envelope and various documents, photographs and recording devices spill over his knees.

 

He listens while flipping through the files when Kirumi proceeds to explain his mission in more detail.

 

“Your objective is to infiltrate the organization that belongs to a certain businessman. Ouma-san has been assigned as your partner for this mission and in order to achieve your goal you are going to pretend to be a couple and get close to our suspect’s spouse. We have reasons to believe that our suspect has been dealing with human trafficking and is responsible for a series of murders that indirectly contributed to the success of his company. We lack any concrete proof but we do have reasons to believe that he’s a dangerous man who will stop at nothing to achieve his goa-”

 

It’s only then that she realizes that he’s no longer listening, instead staring at her with wide eyes and his mouth ajar. Kirumi looks at him, a small frown on her face. “Is something the matter, Momota-san?”

 

“But I’m not gay!” he blurts out childishly before he can stop himself and instantly feels the embarrassment and regret wash over him when he realizes how ridiculously nonsensical that sounds. Kirumi’s gaze hardens and she sends him what only can be described as a disapproving stare. Despite that, her tone remains as professional as ever.

 

“Oh? I was not aware that it would be a problem.”

 

Kaito shakes his head vigorously, shame burning the tips of his ears and tinting them red.

 

“Look, I’m okay with gay people.” And he really is. He doesn’t truly understand why he feels so defensive about it. He swallows thickly and then continues. “You know that I’m friends with Kaede and Maki. Shuichi’s gay, too. And besides,” he can’t help the grimace that twists his face into an expression full of distaste. “Ouma? You seriously want me to pretend to be in a relationship with Ouma of all people!?”

 

Kirumi doesn’t even blink, her voice a perfect deadpan when she answers him. “Yes.”

 

"Why me though,” protests Kaito weakly, even though he already feels that he’s fighting a losing battle. Kirumi never was one to relent easily. “Can’t you send someone else? Like Shuichi? And why do we even have to pretend to be a couple?”

 

He feels the pang of guilt about throwing his best friend under the bus that way but he also knows that what he’s saying is true. Shuichi is the type of guy who gets undercover missions and plays pretend to get out as much information as he can in order to incriminate their suspect. Kaito is that guy who bursts through the window in a sprout of dramatic heroism, finger pressed against the trigger as he yells ‘on the ground!’. He’s the guy who lets his fists do the work for him. Sharing drinks with the bad guys and trying to sweet talk them into getting the information they need the subtle way is not for him. He knows what he’s good at and that is not it.

 

Kirumi shakes her head.

 

“Everyone else is busy and Saihara-san has already been assigned a mission. He won’t be back from Europe for at least another week,” informs Kirumi, hands folded neatly in her lap. “Only you and Ouma-san are available and have both the experience and qualifications required for this sort of mission. And as for your other question, Momota-san,” Kirumi takes a deep breath and pushes her glasses higher up her nose. “Our suspect is a gay man and he often attends parties and banquets along with his partner. We do not know how much his partner knows about the schemes, there is a high possibility that he is unaware of what’s going on. Your job is to befriend him and find out how much he knows. We also need to find a way how to get you on one of these banquets. The preferable option is to find a way to get an invitation, but,” the corner of Kirumi’s lips twitches, “if it is necessary we can always resort to different methods of getting in. It should be easier to gain his trust if you two pretend to be together since he spends most of his time at a local gay bar. As you can see, it is crucial that both you and Ouma-san are able to blend in and not attract too much attention.”

 

Kaito groans inwardly, running his hand through his hair. This mission sounds more and more complicated by the minute. He can feel resignation slowly settling in his veins as he realizes that there’s little he can do in order to change Kirumi’s mind. His former enthusiasm is now tainted by the memories that flood back into his mind uninvited. He waited for so long to be back, his heart beating faster at the prospect of getting a new mission and now that it’s finally within his reach he almost wishes it hadn’t come.

 

“You know how my last mission with Ouma went,” Kaito points out in a desperate attempt to make her reconsider her decision. Kirumi is a reasonable woman, after all.

 

A small grimace that looks nearly out of place on her usually stoic features flashes across Kirumi’s face. It’s gone in a blink of an eye, however, and she clears her throat before she opens her mouth to speak again.

 

“Yes,” she says slowly looking in straight into his eyes, steel gray meeting the mauvish red. “I am aware. Nonetheless, it is crucial that all our agents cooperate well and as of now you and Ouma-san are our only options, Momota-san.”

 

“It’s not gonna work. Come on, you’ve known us both for years, you know how he is. I don’t get how you or Shuichi can put up with him.”

 

Kirumi lets out a quiet sigh. She pushes her chair back and stands up, her eyes never leaving his.

 

“Ouma-san can be… difficult.” She makes a face, seemingly displeased with this choice of words but unable to come up with anything better to describe Ouma. “He doesn’t have the best record when it comes to working with partners and many people would argue that he’s insubordinate. But he’s also a valuable member of our organization. He’s our first choice for undercover missions and he can handle even high-risk cases, acting quickly and efficiently, albeit not always in the most conventional manner.”

 

Kaito still doesn’t look convinced.

 

“We’re going to kill each other.”

 

“I do understand where you are coming from, Momota-san and I do not wish to dismiss your concerns,” Kirumi’s voice is stern and not for the first time Kaito feels like he’s back at school, being scolded by one of his teachers. “However, you must realize that teamwork is one of the most important qualities that we look for in our men.”

 

Kaito bitterly thinks that it’s not the teamwork that is the problem here. He’s never had problem with teamwork before and he’s not about to start now. It’s not his fault that Ouma is just so goddamn… difficult, as Kirumi put it.

 

He doesn’t say anything out loud in response, though, biting his tongue before any of his thoughts could find their way out of his mouth. He watches as Kirumi walks around her desk only to stand in front of him, looking at him intently.

 

“Is that understood?” she asks when it becomes clear that he has no more arguments and the tone of her voice leaves no doubt that she considers this discussion to be over.

 

Kaito straightens up his back and swallows the protests forming at the tip of his tongue. He knows that there’s no way for him to win this argument. And regardless of the fact Ouma will be there, he needs this mission. He couldn’t stay one more day cooped up in his apartment, flipping through channels mindlessly. He misses work, he misses action and people and the adrenaline pumping in his veins.

 

“Understood.”

 

“Perfect,” breathes out Kirumi, visibly relieved that they’ve reached an understanding. She goes back to her seat. “You are one of our best agents, Momota-san. The success of this mission depends on you.”

 

Kaito can feel a flutter of pride in his chest.

 

He knows he’s good but hearing it from Kirumi is the highest form of praise anyone in this line of duty could hope for.

 

“Besides,” she starts carefully, as if in deep thought. There’s an uncharacteristic mischievous glint in her eyes. “I never took you for a quitter.”

 

The words have immediate effect on Kaito.

 

“I’m not!” He protests loudly, almost jumping out of his seat as a spike of anger goes surging through his veins. He sounds absolutely offended, as if he couldn’t believe that she would even imply such a thing. He bumps his fists against each other, determined look on his face as he flashes her a confident smile. “Kaito Momota is no quitter! This mission is going to be my biggest success yet, I’mma show you all how it’s done!”

 

She hides the subtle smile playing on her lips behind a gloved hand.

 

“I’m glad to hear that. Now, do you have any more questions, Momota-san?”

 

He slumps back in his armchair shaking his head no. He’s pretty sure that all he knows is in the files she gave him. All he needs know is go back home and go through them in the comfort and privacy of his own apartment.

 

Kirumi nods approvingly, reaching for the files she was reading earlier.

 

“Excellent. The mission starts in three days. Get some rest before that and take your time to memorize the details concerning the identity you’ll be using when undercover. Dismissed.”

 

He nods and hurriedly throws the files back to the envelope that he tugs under his armpit when he stands up. His hand is already on the handle and he’s about to leave when suddenly Kirumi’s voice reaches his ears again.

 

“Momota-san.”

 

He turns around, surprised. She looks hesitant for a moment, her features softening.  

 

“Good luck,” she says finally and it sounds suspiciously like ‘be careful’ in his ears. He can’t help the prickle of irrational irritation burning under his skin. He can’t wait to prove everyone that he’s just as capable as he was before the… incident.

 

Some of the annoyance must show on his face because he can see the flicker of understanding flickers through her face. She smiles, one of those rare genuine smiles of hers that aren’t just for the sake of being approachable and professional.

 

“It’s good to have you back.”

 

He smiles.

 

“It’s good to be back,” he says sincerely.



Chapter Text

The next two days pass by in a blur, consisting mostly of some last minute arrangements, analyzing and memorizing the files Kirumi handed him and visiting the headquarters for a quick physical check up to ensure that he’s in top condition. They give him his gun back, the familiar weight of it in his hands weirdly comforting, even after everything that happened. There’s a sense of detachment as if the idea that he’s back to active duty hasn’t really had a chance to sink in for him yet, even though it’s been everything he could focus on these last few months, the thought enough of a motivation to help him push through the pain and doubts rooted somewhere at the back of his mind. For the most part he chooses to ignore them, refuses to entertain them with his attention out of sheer stubbornness, no matter how persistently they keep creeping into his consciousness.

 

The day before the mission the familiar tone of his phone ringing right next to his ear pulls Momota out of sleep abruptly. His eyes snap open at the first tunes of the default ring tone and in his desperate attempt to untangle his body from the sheets he falls out of bed with a surprised yelp, landing on the floor with a dull, heavy sound. He sucks in a hiss, a quick surge of pain spreading through his leg at the impact. He ignores it, trying to focus on the task at hand. He frantically tries to localize his phone buried somewhere in the piles of blankets that slid off the bed when he fell. He scuffles with the sheets for a while before his fingers finally brush against the plastic case of his phone and he pulls it out from underneath the bedding hastily.

 

“What is it?” he groans into the phone only to immediately realize that he’s holding it upside down. “Oops.”

 

He hurries to turn it around, snatching a quick look at the caller ID in hopes of at least finding out who is calling him at such an ungodly hour. It doesn’t turn out to be very helpful. Private number.

 

“Hello?” He asks again, words slurring into a yawn halfway through.

 

“Nishishi.”

 

Momota’s eyes widen. Oh no.

 

“Good morning, my beloved Momota-chan,” comes Ouma’s cheery voice from the other side of the line. Momota can already feel the familiar weight of a headache slowly blooming in his temples. He’s suddenly wide awake, Ouma’s voice more effective than any amount of coffee ever could be.

 

“What do you want, Ouma?” He grumbles tiredly, hoisting his body up back onto the bed with a grunt and sits down on it.

 

“Weeell, since apparently Momota-chan and I are so in looove now I can’t let him ruin my reputation of the best dressed man around, can I?”

 

Momota eyebrows crease in confusion, his grip on the phone tightening and a horrible sinking feeling in his stomach suddenly makes itself known. It’s not a good feeling and he always believes in his hunches. He’s gonna regret ever picking up the phone.

 

“What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“No time to explain, Momota-chan! Time is money after all. I'll be at your place in ten!” sing songs Ouma.

 

“Wait, wha—?”

 

But Ouma’s already gone, his dripping with sweetness voice replaced by the static of the ended call.

 

-

 

To be fair, Momota didn’t actually expect to see Ouma at his doorstep merely eight minutes and fifty-three seconds after the phone call. In fact, he didn’t expect to see him at all as he has absolutely no recollection of ever sharing his address with the other agent. And yet there he is, leaning against the wall and inspecting his fingernails with a bored expression on his face. When the door creaks open he lifts his head up, face spltiting in a wide grin that can’t mean anything good for Momota.

 

“Momota-chan!” He exclaims boisterously, sending another pang of pain through Momota’s head, making him cringe at the volume. “Long time no see!”

 

All Momota can do is grunt in silent acknowledgment. It’s been a long time, hasn’t it? He hasn’t seen Ouma since the day after the incident… The ever-present dull pain that sparks through the length of his leg whenever he puts too much pressure on it that he’s got used to over the last few months is a constant reminder. Now that it’s been brought to his attention though, he realizes how long it’s been, especially given that they definitely had several occasions on which they should have bumped into each other and yet somehow… hadn’t.

 

If he didn’t know better, he would have thought that Ouma had been avoiding him.

 

“Why are you here?” He asks finally instead of a greeting.

 

“Nishishi, wouldn’t you want to know!”

 

Momota drags a hand through his hair with a loud groan, his patience already growing thin. “Yes. Yes, I would. That’s why I asked.”

 

Ouma cocks his head to the side, mischievous sparks dancing in his eyes.

 

“Well, aren’t you gonna invite me in first, Momota-chan? That’s awfully rude of you to keep me at the doorstep! And after I went through all the trouble to come and visit, too.”

 

Momota scoffs. He hasn’t seen Ouma in a while but he sure as hell didn’t forget how annoying the little shit can be. This is the part that he remembers with vivid accuracy and he certainly hasn’t missed it. “I don’t remember inviting you.”

 

Despite the harsh note in his voice he pushes the door a little wider.

 

Ouma bares his teeth in a smile that borders on predatory and dives in under Momota’s arm before he can get out a word of protest, entering the apartment like he owns the place. Momota closes the door after him with a loud suffering sigh, wondering quietly how the hell is he going to survive weeks, maybe even months, during his mission with Ouma.

 

“How did you even know where I live?” Momota asks, eyeing the other man wearily. It’s too early for this bullshit. Actually, scratch that, any time is too early for Ouma’s bullshit.

 

“I have my ways.” Ouma presses a finger against his lips mysteriously and looks at him through half lidded eyes.

 

“Ouma, I swear to god if you don’t tell me this instant!”

 

“Momota-chan is not fun,” complains Ouma, the pout audible in his voice. “Fiiiiine, I’ll tell you. If you have to know Saihara-chan invited me the last time he was taking care of your dumb plants when you were on a mission in America.”

 

“So, what you’re saying is that you followed Shuichi here,” clarifies Momota with a scolding scowl. Then, a new realization hits him. “And it was over a year ago!”

 

“Details, Momota-chan, details,” dismisses him Ouma, already crossing the apartment and inviting himself into Momota’s bedroom. With a bad feeling swelling in his gut Momota hurries after him.

 

He finds Ouma with his head stuck in his wardrobe, flipping through the piles of clothes and inspecting each piece with excessive scrutiny. Momota crosses his hands over his chest, deep frown ghosting over his features, confusion painted all over his face. He can’t help but be curious.

 

“What are you doing?”

 

Ouma’s head snaps to face him, expression turning into that of mock horror. “It’s even worse than I thought, Monota-chan.” He whispers with grim seriousness.

 

Momota pinches the bridge of his nose, briefly wondering if he has some painkillers left. He’ll definitely need them, he forgot how exhausting Ouma and his constant mind games can be. “What is?”

 

“All Momota-chan owns are galaxy prints and… whatever this is,” Ouma’s nose scrunches in distaste as he ostentatiously takes one of Momota’s sweaters out of the wardrobe - the oversized and weathered one with a visible hole in it that belonged to Momota’s grandpa - holding it between his fingers as if afraid of touching it with his bare skin.

 

“Where did you find it? In a trash bin?” Teases Ouma mockingly.

 

“Hey,” protests Momota, suddenly defensive. “Cut it, it was my grandpa’s!”

 

“I can’t date a man who looks like a walking disaster, Momota-chan,” tuts Ouma disapprovingly. “We gotta make a good gay out of you!”

 

Momota’s frown deepens and he shrugs.

 

“We’re not dating for real anyway. Stop touching my shit.”

 

Ouma lets out a loud indignant gasp and turns away from the wardrobe to look up at him with teary eyes.

 

“How dare you, Momota-chan!” wails Ouma. “And here I thought that what we have is special!”

 

All Momota does in response is roll his eyes, already tired of Ouma’s dramatics. He reaches out to grab at the sweater but Ouma turns out to be faster, drawing it close to his chest and taking a step back. His lips are pulled down in a deep offended pout.

 

“We shouldn’t keep any secrets from each other! What’s yours is mine, yada yada yada. Unless...” Ouma squints his eyes, looking at Momota with suspicious. “Say, Momota-chan, there's no secret gay lover inside here, is there? Is that why you don’t want me to look there, hm? Hmmm? Is it?”

 

Momota’s eyes grow comically wide and he splutters in his hurry to deny the accusation, letting out a series of short choking sounds as he struggles to breathe, Ouma staring at him the whole time with impassive, unblinking eyes.

 

“What the hell, man?!” Momota finally manages to rasp out almost a solid minute later, staring at Ouma incredulously. “Where did that come from?”

 

Ouma continues to stare at him for a moment longer until he lights up, pensive expression blending into another one of his grins. Momota doesn’t trust it one bit.  

 

“Don’t worry, Momota-chan! Now that we’re together I won’t let you ruin our reputation with your horrid fashion choices. I’m gonna save you from yourself!”

 

He fishes a pack of matches out of his pocket and swiftly lights up one of them, the sickeningly wide smile not leaving his face even for a second as he lifts his head up to look Momota in the eyes. He instinctively reaches his hands out, before his brain could even truly register what the hell is happening, but it’s already too late.

 

Momota sees it happen as if in slow motion.

 

The match falls down, the flame dancing and flickering in the air, the time slowing down enough to let him see it happen in excruciating detail but not slow enough for him to stop it. And then it lands on a pile of clothes, catching fire as soon as it makes contact, flames spreading and consuming everything on their way.

 

And for a long moment all Momota is able to do is stare before the reality finally catches up with his brain and he lets out an embarrassingly undignified shriek and runs out of the room.

 

-

 

“That went well,” chirps Ouma cheerfully ten minutes later, staring at the — still smoking slightly — remains of Momota’s wardrobe.

 

Momota grits his teeth moving the fire extinguisher to the side to prop it against the wall with a resigned sigh. He runs his hand through his hair tiredly, pulling at the long strands as the headache from before went from mildly annoying but bearable to the pounding pain in his temples that threatens to split his skull into two.


“Yeah, no kidding.”


At this point he is too tired to yell. He did his fair share of shouting when the flames started to consume his wardrobe, Ouma giggling like a madman in the background the whole time, watching his futile attempts at saving it with an amused look on his face.

 

“So,” starts Ouma, sneaking closer to Momota, bouncing in place, “now that this has been taken care of we can give Momota-chan his much needed makeover!”

 

He throws his arms into the air in a gesture of victory, as if he’s just informed Momota that he won a lottery and not a fashion advice from a resident street rat that just burnt his entire wardrobe to a crisp and then expected Momota to thank him.

 

“My clothes are fine,” he grumbles angrily, hands twisting into fists at his sides. He’s doing everything in his power to stop himself from strangling Ouma right here and now. His eyes shift back to what was left of his wardrobe and he corrected himself. “Were fine.”

 

Ouma waves his hand dismissively.

 

“Nonsense, Momota-chan. It’s about time that you stopped looking like a space hobo!”

 

Momota’s blood boils.

 

Without thinking he snatches the fire extinguisher once more, this time aiming to use it at Ouma’s face before he could even realize what is going on or try to object. More foam shoots out from the end of the extinguisher only to hit Ouma right in the face, leaving the smaller agent wide-eyed and spluttering, trying to spit out the foam that got into his mouth.

 

“Waaah, Momota-chan is a bully,” Ouma fake-cries pitifully, big fat tears rolling down his cheeks, lower lip trembling.

 

Momota rolls his eyes. “Deal with it.”

 

Ouma sniffes. “How cruel.”

Momota ignores him in favor of taking a good long look at his room and the state of complete and utter mess it was in. He’s just glad that the sweater his grandmother knitted for him was safe in the basket with dirty clothes, safe and sound and far away from Ouma’s... more destructive tendencies. He intended for it to stay that way.

“Ready for some shopping?” sing songs Ouma questioningly, his face suddenly way too close, his breath ghosting over his neck. He stands there rocking on his heels, lilac eyes boring into Momota mauve ones earnestly.  He completely ignores the nasty glare that Momota is sending him, instead opting to cling to him like a koala, crushing his arm in a vine-like grip.

 

“Why so blue, Momota-chan? I’ll have you know that I’m a wonderful stylist. The very best!” He beams at Momota. “In fact, I am so good that the best stylist in the world gave up his title because he realized he would never be able to beat me. Nishishi~!"

At this point Momota is really tempted to drag Ouma out of his apartment, slam the door in his face and then look for a new place to live while he’s at it. The thing is, thanks to Ouma’s little stunt, he really is in a desperate need of some new clothes and he can tell that Ouma isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Which leaves him with only one option. One dreadful, horrible option.

 

“Fine.”

 

He pulls his arm out of Ouma’s grip and turns in the direction of the front door, determined to get it over with as soon as possible and get rid of Ouma so he doesn’t lose his mind before the mission even starts.

 

“Hey, Momota-chan,” comes Ouma’s chirpy voice from behind him when he’s already at the door, fingers wrapped around the knob and ready to turn it. “Maybe put some pants on before we go, eh?”

 

Momota opens his mouth, ready to say something along the lines of “ha ha, very funny, nice try, Ouma” but when he looks down he quickly realizes that for once Ouma is telling the truth. He’s standing there in nothing but his boxers and a thin T-shirt with a cartoonish alien surrounded by the crudely drawn stars and flashing a peace sign. He can feel the heat creeping at the back of his neck and tinting his ears red.

 

Ouma skips closer to him, batting his eyelashes in a way that doesn’t look nearly as seductive as he probably thinks it does.

 

“Aww, don’t be shy, Momota-chan. Now that we’re together we should be getting used to seeing each other in a state of undress. That makes the bond stronger!”

 

With an irritated huff Momota proceeds to ignore him pointedly and snatches the jeans he dropped on the floor the night before, never before so happy that he was too lazy to do his laundry, considering that otherwise he wouldn’t have anything to wear. He pulls them on, gritting his teeth and trying to tune out the sound of Ouma’s obnoxiously shameless giggling. He doesn’t bother to change his T-shirt and after patting the jeans to make sure that his wallet is still in one of the pockets he stomps out of the apartment, dragging Ouma out by his bony wrist.

 

He lets the door shut after them with a resounding slam.