Shuichi leaned against the kitchen counter, smoking, while he waited for the coffee to run through the filter. He crossed his legs and was looking down at his feet deep in thoughts; Jodie sat at the tiny table across from him, slumped down, staring at the wall.
They had only barely escaped a catastrophe. In fact, it was all due to this little boy and his friends that they cheated death today – and Jodie’s acting. Shuichi felt a good deal of contempt for her performance as a stupid blonde with a terrible accent, but he couldn’t fail to admit how useful her show had once again been. It wasn’t the Jodie he knew – but maybe it annoyed him all the more because she wasn’t the Jodie he loved and who deserved more than he could give her right now.
“Don’t worry too much,” Shuichi finally advised his ex. “We’ll get this witch, even if these hijackers got in our way today.”
Shuichi took one more deep drag of his cigarette and put it aside for the time being – the coffee was finally done. He poured them both a cup and put one of them down in front of Jodie’s face. She lifted her head with a sigh. For a moment he stopped next to her and placed his hand on her shoulder, squeezing her slightly.
“She cannot escape us. It’s only a matter of time before we get our hands on them.”
“I wish I had your confidence,” Jodie muttered, sounding as tired as she looked.
No surprises. After all, they had sat on today’s report for quite a while and Jodie also had to make a statement at the police station. He kept quiet, not replying anything to her. In the end, the hope of getting this pack has been her only drive to carry on for all those years. They had experienced too many personal and professional setbacks that couldn’t make them give up just yet. Least of all because of two uninvolved idiots that delayed their investigation. Still, it was tiring work.
Shuichi only pulled his hand away from her shoulder when he got plagued by an initial harmless cough that felt as if his body was shedding his entire lung in the next moment. In a reflex, Shuichi covered his mouth with his hand and grabbed his chest with the other. The rough cough left him with a sore throat and caused him to draw his eyebrows deeper in his face.
Granted, he’d felt better in the past, but, unfortunately, their enemy didn’t care much about their condition.
“You should have rested today,” Jodie remarked with a concerned look in his direction.
Shuichi snorted. “And leaving you alone with Vermouth if she really is behind Dr. Araide?!”
“I can take care of myself, Shuichi!”
He didn’t doubt that at all. Still, he was better safe than sorry. He didn’t want to leave her alone with this woman who murdered her parents. They were a team, even if it felt a little uncomfortable at times in contrast to their former relationship. Not all situations and issues that reminded them of their shared past could be avoided, but they were both good at covering those feelings with professionalism.
That was also something he liked about Jodie and what her role as a freaky English teacher lacked – her sense of personal space and privacy. Their separation had shaken her – and it would have surprised him if not – but she had never held grudges against him or obstructed their work. He was aware and saw that she was still suffering from their break up until this day but she let him do his work regardless, without clinging, without a word of contempt and tried to be on friendly terms with him when she was sitting at his kitchen table.
However, he wouldn’t mind if she were less professional in some ways. And again, he was shaken by a persistent coughing fit – it would probably jeopardize their friendship since he couldn’t give her what she needed until they both got what they wanted. It was too dangerous, too risky, and he couldn’t guarantee not to break her heart again in one or another way.
“Anyway,” Jodie sighed, eventually, and Shuichi remembered that he didn’t answer her at all. “You really look like shit.”
The dark, brief laugh that escaped Shuichi’s throat was drowned out by a cynical snort. “I remember times when you couldn’t keep your hands off me because you were so attracted to me.”
Jodie shot him a sharp look. “That was before you ended things,” she uttered angrily.
“Sorry,” Shuichi muttered. He noticed far too late that he’d got on the wrong side of her.
“Sorry that I worry about you when you’re looking all sick and you’re coughing your lungs out!”
“It’s okay, Shuichi.”
He knew better than to say any more that would have further affected her mood. Even after all these years he had a knack for hurting her with harsh remarks.
Shuichi averted his gaze from her by picking up his cigarette and swallowed every other word lingering on his tongue with coffee. It wasn’t even as bitter as his life has become in recent years. Everything that was important to him and meant something ran through his hands like fine sand – continuously, unstoppable.
Jodie was equally as silent. She hung over her coffee while the air around them got thinner. What lay between them was not the usual silence from the past, in which they both had felt comfortable when there was nothing to talk about, but something uncomfortable, unspoken. There had been few situations like this in the past two years despite their separation, because they had managed to build their relationship upon trust and forbearance on friendship. It was less than either of them wanted, yet the only thing Shuichi could serve at the moment.
And knowing that there was someone waiting for him to defeat all of his demons was a comforting thought – Jodie was the promise at the end of the path. Between all the setbacks, drama and losses, she was a bit of luck in his life that he wouldn’t lose to this witch – Vermouth .
“Shuu…” Shuichi blinked when Jodie suddenly stood in front of him, laying her hands on his chest. “I missed you, Shuu.”
He swallowed hard, looked down at her, and shuddered at her touch as she slipped her hands from his back to the back of his neck. Her fingertips, which gently combed through his hairline, triggered a comforting feeling of familiarity, and made him sigh softly. Involuntarily, he bent his head a little forward to enjoy her caressing more consciously.
I missed you, too, he thought to himself, but didn’t express the thought.
A dark hum slipped over his lips as soon as Jodie stepped closer and pressed her boobs against his chest. He didn’t move, just put his hands down on the countertop as his mind tried to process what was happening.
Jodie’s warm breath brushed his ear and sent a tingling sensation down his spine.
“Let’s forget about our problems for one night,” she breathed in his ear in a husky voice.
The statement alone made the gear in his mind grind hard, but the hand that suddenly grabbed between his legs with great force ended the debate before it had even started. Although one night stands weren’t his style, he sensed the charm of the situation with the woman he loved, the woman he missed and who seemed like she never forgot where she needed to work her hands to keep him compliant.
In his neck. Her fingers gently scratched his hairline, making his flesh crawl. Every now and then her fingernails scratched his skin, sending hot impulses through his entire body. He cursed the pleasant tingling on his skin and the release of tension her tender treatment caused - sooner or later this argument could convince him of anything, as long as he didn’t stop caressing him.
Shuichi tilted his head to one side before he pressed his lips on Jodie’s in silent approval, feeling like the five years of separation never happened. At first, tentatively and gently, until seconds later they both discarded their worries. The kiss got deeper, more passionate and a bit more desperate.
Jodie’s fingers fumbled around impatiently with his belt; she didn’t bother with trivial matters and Shuichi didn’t want to complain when seconds later she was holding his hard cock in her hand. She broke the kiss, letting him slump against the kitchen counter.
His head felt heavy, but he couldn’t tell whether his flu or his lust clouded his mind. It didn’t matter anyway, because Jodie was there and she pulled her hand away, letting it trail down his neck to his chest and deeper.
“Hmm,” Shuichi hummed. He initially closed his eyes in pleasure, just to open them again a moment later, staring down at his partner with open mouth when she crouched down in front of him.
“Hoo sh–“ His voice broke.
Shuichi took a deep breath, in and out. A tingling sensation ran through his body as he saw Jodie tilting her head, knowing just too well what was going to happen. Despite this knowledge, however, he let out a rough, low moan the moment her tongue touched his heated skin. His hands reflexively buried themselves in her hair and his head fell back with his eyes closed.
Shuichi felt an enormous heat rise within him, embracing him. Her mouth was warm and inviting and she knew how to use her tongue in an unerring manner. Shuichi combed through her hair with his hands and felt the soft strands slide through his fingers.
One day this woman would drive him crazy, Shuichi was sure of that. She turned him into a hot mess no matter what she did. She could get too convincing if she wanted to.
So it wasn’t a surprise to him either that it wasn’t long until she pushed him to the edge. His initially silent pleasure expressed itself more and more through short, irregular breaths and a firm grip on her hair, while the tension in him grew, making him long for his climax eagerly.
Shuichi gasped roughly and the next moment he uttered a confused but no less frustrated, low moan when the lips suddenly disappeared, leaving him burning with lust and want.
Blinking, he looked down at Jodie who just grinned up at him. She straightened up and it took his mind a moment to follow her on eye-level.
Shuichi wanted to complain, about to ask Jodie to continue, but when he found himself in the bedroom a little later, the disappointment that had grown in him since Jodie had let go of him, also died down. He stretched his legs expectantly as soon as Jodie crawled on top of him. She bent down for a kiss that Shuichi only returned for a moment. His attention was currently lingering on other things – her breasts or the cozy curves of her bottom that he felt under his hands. Every now and then his fingers brushed the fabric of her underwear, which had their own charm.
Shuichi got lost in this feeling with ease. The soft mattress underneath him, Jodie on top of him, his fingers on her skin and her hands under his sweater. There were alternating kisses, tender and fiery – and impatience. He no longer wanted to be put off by Jodie who seemed to want to play with him to her heart’s content. He was breathing heavily under her as the sweat ran down his face. His hair was sticking on his forehead and neck, uncomfortably, but that didn’t matter.
The more important thing was to finally get what he longed for – and Shuichi groaned softly when Jodie suddenly granted his silent wish. He closed his eyes benevolently and enjoyed the moment Jodie slowly sank down on him. He withdrew his hands from her butt and placed them on her bare thighs instead.
Shuichi responded to his name by poking his hip up, making her gasp. She didn’t seem to need any more emphasis to finally pleasure him again. She propped herself up on his chest and began to move up and down in a good rhythm.
“Hm,” Shuichi grumbled, being carried away on a wave of lust. Don’t talk, he thought, unable to think of anything but the soothing tightness around his penis that accompanied him, deliriously.
Shuichi let out a quiet breath as the mattress sagged next to his head. Jodie had taken his hands off his chest and was propping herself up next to him. He barely managed to open one eye to look at his partner who was so close to his face, her hot, trembling breath hitting his skin. Her cheeks glowed red from the exertion and her teeth pressed into her lower lip without smearing her lipstick. Shuichi swallowed hard at the sight and the desire to kiss her. Eventually, he gathered all of his will and strength to move towards her to replace her teeth with his lips.
Jodie returned the kiss but stopped riding him and seemed to be thankful for the little change in pace. Her fingers found their way into his hair, toyed with it, tousled it, and eventually, pinned him back down onto the mattress. Shuichi uttered a dark hum that got lost in their kiss before he felt a cool hand on his forehead.
He closed his eyes to the touch. Just for a moment.
When he opened his eyes again, Jodie was gone and he wasn’t in his bed either. Confused, he blinked at the fog that clouded his mind and weighted down his head. He was hot – and not because of his dream of a rendezvous with Jodie and the aftermath he could clearly feel under his pants.
He was sweating. His forehead was hot – something he felt through Jodie’s comparingly cold hand on his skin. It was soothing, eased the pain a little. Still, it wasn’t enough to fight the pounding in his head. He didn’t want to start with the sore throat that slowly crept into his consciousness, and – shit – the memories of his dream forced themselves on him. Even without the feeling of her closeness, her lips on his own and her hot body, the chais in his head was too huge to keep longing for it with full consciousness.
“Fuck,” his lips formed quietly. He closed his eyes in surrender.
He felt as if he had been run over by a truck.
Shuichi only opened his eyes again when Jodie took her hand off his forehead. He sighed slightly and turned his head to look at his colleague. Jodie crouched next to him with a concerned look on her face.
“Why are you still here?” He asked in a scratchy, hoarse voice that caused both pain and a coughing fit. All he could remember was standing in the kitchen with her after stepping on her toes.
Shuichi rested one arm on the back rest of the couch and reached to grab the blanked with his other hand on crotch-height. This way, he heaved himself up in a sitting position and prevented the fabric from sliding down at the same time. They were far from leaving just any kind of unpleasant situation behind them, despite their ongoing friendship. He wasn’t eager to explain the content of his – extremely hot – dream to her. He just hoped he hadn’t given her any chance to grasp an idea of what he dreamed about, although the worried look on his friend’s face hadn’t indicated that.
Jodie sighed in front of him and sank down on the empty coffee table.
“Don’t blame me but I don’t think I could leave you alone.”
Shuichi raised an eyebrow, skeptically, but the throbbing in his head quickly made him change his features to a more relaxed expression.
“You just put your lit cigarette on the sideboard and then lay down on the couch. You didn’t even bother to take off your clothes.”
Ah– yes. He remembered. Shuichi growled, low and disgruntled, before he rested both arms on his knees and let his head sink into his hands.
“You also didn’t sleep for long.” Jodie tried to ease his mind.
She got up from the table and slumped down on the couch next to him. When the padding gave way, Shuichi leaned away from her to not bump into Jodie.
“You became quite restless in your sleep. I’m just a little worried because of your high temperature – you do realize that yourself, don’t you?!”
If he wasn’t in so much pain, he would have rolled his eyes at her – no need to get all sarcastic at him. Still she was right, he knew himself that his temperature wasn’t healthy.
“How do you feel?”
The question finally made him lift his head and look at her with his head crooked.
“I’m okay,” he muttered, before he was shaken by yet another rough cough.
It was less her concern that bothered him than their current situation that lingered between them; his problems and dramas he didn’t want to drag her into, even though they were sitting in the same boat.
“I can see that,” she replied ironically. “Maybe you should go outside a little more often.”
“Ah,” Shuichi uttered humorlessly. He sank back against the backrest. “I like it when you are nicer to me.” He would never leave her alone with this witch – no disease in this world would be able to stop him. Especially not the flu.
“You have to earn the nice treatment first.”
The corners of his mouth curled up in an ironic smile.
“Anyways,” Jodie sighed next to him. “I’ll see if I can find you something that will lower your fever or do something against your sore throat. In the meantime, you better drink a lot. I’ll go get you something.”
Just a moment later she brought him a bottle of water.
“I’ll take your key with me. Behave and please don’t touch anything. I don’t want your place to be on fire when I come back.”
“Yeah, got it,.” Shuichi growled. He rolled his eyes at her.
Jodie just stared at him for a moment- Then she turned around and left the living room with a wave of her hand.
“Jodie,” Shuichi called her, just loud enough to avoid another cough. He heard the rattling of his keys and the creak of the door handle before it went quiet – she seemed to be waiting. “Thank you,” he croaked.
A melodic hmm echoed through the hall, carried to his ears, followed by a happy see you later, which made him smile – a weak but much more genuinely smile.
Ultimately, they were there for each other, no matter how difficult it was between them. Shuichi closed his eyes and allowed himself another moment of reverie. Their past stood in their way of a pleasant company at times, but it never broke through their ground of friendship and trust.
And maybe that could even be the ground for a better future. Sometime.