Kiki yawned, sitting up as her eyes fluttered open. “Alright, where’s my…” The teenage girl trailed of as her vision came into focus and yesterday’s events flashed in her mind. “Oh, that’s right…Mom confiscated my detective books…” Kiki sighed dejectedly as she swung her legs over the bed and stood up. “Were my words able to reach her? Did I manage to sway her even a little?”
Groaning, Kiki rubbed the sleep out of her eyes as she walked over to the door.
“I can’t be this worried so early in the morning…I need breakfast…” She muttered as she opened her bedroom door and walked towards the kitchen.
“Ah, good morning, Kiki.” Kyoko greeted as she gave Kiki a plate and silverware. “Here.”
“Oh…th…thanks, Mom.” Kiki muttered awkwardly as she took the plate, causing Kyoko to frown.
She placed her hand on her daughter’s shoulder, causing her to look up at the small smile on Kyoko’s lips.
“Let’s sit out on the porch, shall we?” Kyoko suggested.
“Oh…s…sure…” Kiki reluctantly followed her mother out of the kitchen, morbidly curious about the conversation that would undoubtedly ensue.
Kiki ate her breakfast nervously, occasionally stealing quick glances at her mother to try and read what she would say.
“…Kiki…” Kyoko at last sighed, breaking the silence. “You know that everything I’ve done as your mother has been to protect you, right?”
Kiki nodded; she had enjoyed a close relationship with her mother for years. Even if the two occasionally butted heads, she never doubted that the former detective had her daughter’s best interests at heart.
Well, except for the Mukuro Ikusaba incident… Kiki amended in her mind, frowning as she recalled how she had shouted at her mother and outright said to her face that she hated the woman who raised her. I was just angry back then, and I let my temper get out of control…
“That being said, Kiki…” Kyoko’s voice shattered Kiki’s thoughts, attracting the girl’s attention as she looked at the woman’s remorseful eyes. “I’m not a perfect parent, and I’ve never pretended to be. And so…I can admit that I reacted a little too harshly last night.”
“I just…I figured convincing you would be difficult…” Kiki admitted. “I got the feeling from your stories that…what happened with Dad back in the Killing School Life made you ashamed to be a detective…so I…I just wanted to build up my case before I brought it up so I’d have the best chance of overcoming that shame.”
I see…she’s not wrong…my experiences have tainted my view of the craft. Is it really fair to apply that taint to my daughter? “Let me ask you one more time, Kiki. Do you really want to be a detective?”
“Yes, I do!”
“…Very well, then let me give you a test, to see if you’re prepared.”
Kiki stared up at her mother, hope and surprise sparkling in her eyes.
“Tonight, after everyone’s asleep, you and I will study together from those books you brought home. I’ll read you example problems, and your job will be to answer them. We’ll keep going until morning. If you can stay awake, then regardless of accuracy, I’ll train you myself. But if you can’t, then you’ll need to find a different career path, one that’s compatible with your sleep schedule.”
“Deal!” Kiki exclaimed in a heartbeat. “I promise, I’m not gonna fail!”
Kyoko chuckled in proud amusement. “I see…then once you finish your breakfast, go and see your father; he’ll have your library books. Spend your day studying so you’ll be prepared.”
“You got it, Mom!”
Kyoko smiled as Kiki began to ravenously devour her breakfast, reinvigorated by the challenge.
I can’t believe I’m saying this…but for once…I hope she proves me wrong.
“Here you go.”
“Thanks, Dad.” Kiki grinned excitedly as she took her books back. “Well, I gotta go study, see you later, Dad!”
Before Makoto could say another word, his daughter zoomed back to her room in the blink of an eye. He blinked, before smiling at the ecstatic determination radiating from her aura.
“Ganbatte, Kiki…I know you’ll be a great Kirigiri Detective!”
Kiki sighed in relief as she closed her last textbook. She glanced at her notebook, scanning every single word on the open page.
“Come in!” Kiki called over her shoulder as she hurried to review the last of her notes.
“Kiki, you ready to begin?” Kyoko asked as she approached her daughter.
“Yeah, I’m ready to go!” Kiki’s eyes flared with determination as she stood up and handed Kyoko her library books and notebook.
“You can keep your notebook with you.” Kiki’s eyebrows furrowed as she took the notebook back. “A true detective doesn’t have everything memorized by heart. They keep a summary of the evidence to refer to as they test their theories. So, you may refer to your notes during this study session. Remember, this test is to evaluate your capability to stay alert and focused during the late hours of the evening, not how accurately you learned the material.”
“Okay…” Kiki nodded, slightly relieved that she didn’t have to worry about grades.
“Well then, shall we go?”
Kiki had to suppress a yawn as she and Kyoko sat down on the couch in the living room.
“Tired already, sweetie?” The former detective asked knowingly.
Kiki knew this was about the time she would normally be winding down and going to bed. And with how much energy and effort she had put into studying all day, she couldn’t deny with a straight face that she was feeling the slightest bit drowsy. Despite her obvious fatigue, Kiki shook her head defiantly.
“No, I can stay awake! Give me everything you’ve got!”
Kyoko raised an eyebrow but shrugged and opened the first book. “Alright, let’s see…The Detective’s Handbook. Let’s start with Chapter One’s End-Of-Chapter exercises…”
As Kyoko closed the book, Kiki blinked, fighting off her impending drowsiness.
“Need to close your eyes, Kiki?” Kyoko asked as she picked up the second book.
Kiki shook her head, albeit slower than before. “N-No…I can do this!”
Kyoko gave an impressed stare at her fatigued yet determined daughter. I know she’s tired, but even so, she’s fighting so hard… “Very well, let’s continue then, shall we?”
Kiki nodded, fighting back a yawn as Kyoko opened the book. “Techniques of Crime Scene Investigation. Chapter One…”
Unable to even pretend to hide her fatigue any longer, Kiki let out a yawn.
Even I’m feeling tired at this point… Kyoko admitted as she suppressed a yawn of her own. I must be really rusty if I’m having trouble staying awake by this point. And yet…despite the fact that she’s completely inexperienced, Kiki’s somehow managing to stay awake long past her usual bedtime. And she’s barely looked at her notes when she’s answered the questions, with startling accuracy!
“So…Mom…” Kiki blinked, fighting off her impending slumber. “Are we gonna continue studying?”
“Yes…let’s…” She drowsily agreed as she opened the third book. “A Detective’s Guide to Interrogation Law…Let’s…let’s get…started…”
“Kyoko? Honey?” Makoto yawned as he walked down the hallway. Kyoko didn’t come to bed last night…did something happen during Kiki’s test? “Kyoko? Kiki? Where are you…oh!”
Makoto stopped in his tracks as he spotted the mother and daughter, laying haphazardly on top of each other as they slumbered. Books and notes laid on the floor in front of the couch as Makoto made his way to pick them up. Once he held them in his arms, Makoto couldn’t help but smile at the cute scene in front of him.
They must have both fallen asleep studying all night. I hate to wake them…but if I don’t the other kids or Hogo will. He knelt down and, once he had placed the books by his side, gently shook his wife and firstborn daughter by the shoulders. “Kyoko, Kiki, wake up…”
Both women yawned as they gradually sat up, untangling themselves from each other. They then rubbed the sleep out of their eyes before Kyoko spoke first.
“Makoto…what time is it?”
“About 8 a.m. I found you both out here asleep on the couch. I’m guessing you both got so drowsy, you fell asleep.”
Now wide alert, Kiki’s eyes seemed to bulge out of her head. “I FELL ASLEEP?!”
“Well…you both did…” Makoto answered, scratching his cheek before Kiki groaned into her palms.
“Noooo! I couldn’t stay awake! Now I can’t be a detective like Mom!”
Kyoko frowned as Kiki began to cry into her hands. Makoto swiftly sat by her side, rubbing her back and soothing the detective girl.
“Shh, it’s okay, pumpkin.”
“It’s not okay! I failed…”
“…You didn’t fail.”
“Huh?” Kiki lowered her hands, turning to stare at her mother with teary eyes.
Kyoko gently wiped the tears from her daughter’s eyes. “We both fell asleep, remember? That means you outlasted me. I may have been rusty, but the fact that you lasted as long as you did was impressive, and your accuracy was equally so.”
“For your determination and resolve, how could I ever say you failed? I will train you properly.”
“Mom…” Tears of joy streamed down Kiki’s cheeks as she tackled her mother in a bear hug. “MOM!”
Kyoko smiled, allowing her daughter to cry against her as she returned the embrace and rubbed her back.
“Your great-grandfather would be proud of you.” She whispered in Kiki’s ear. “It would make him so happy that one of his great-grandchildren wants to continue the line of Kirigiri Detectives.”
That only made Kiki cry harder as the teenage girl was overcome with emotion. Once she finally calmed down, Kiki sniffled and untangled herself from her mother.
“…I’m okay now…”
“Good, why don’t you go get some proper sleep on your bed?” Makoto suggested. “I’ll come and wake you when it’s time for lunch.”
Admittedly still fatigued, Kiki yawned before she got to her feet and lumbered down the hallway. “Are you doing okay?” Makoto asked as he sidled next to his wife.
“…I’m still worried…but that’s more me being a mom than anything else.” Kyoko admitted. “I don’t want her getting into any trouble. I don’t want her making the mistakes I made. But…I can’t deny she has talent…she has real potential to be someone Grandfather would have been proud to call a Kirigiri Detective. It’s just…going to be hard watching her tackle cases alone-”
“What if she wasn’t alone?”
“Hm?” Kyoko looked curiously at her husband.
“Why don’t you teach her and another junior detective? Someone her own age who can learn and grow with her?”
“…Makoto…” Kyoko gasped, her eyes widening in realization.
“You’re not suggesting…?”
“Well, Dad, looks like you’re getting your wish, even if it’s a couple decades late.” Jin smirked teasingly at Fuhito from the Afterlife Theatre. “Your great-granddaughter is on track to become the next Kirigiri Detective.”
“…No.” The elder detective shook her head. “No, she won’t be a Kirigiri Detective. That legacy is dead, and it should stay dead. Kiki’s going to start her own legacy. She’ll be the first Naegi Detective. And unlike the legacy I foolishly tried to continue at all costs…hers will be one that doesn’t attempt to sacrifice her humanity.”
“…You’ve changed, Dad.”
“…Yes, I suppose I have.” Fuhito admitted before he gradually stood up. “Come, let’s leave them to rest.”
Jin smiled and stood up before he snuck one last proud glance at his slumbering granddaughter. “Good luck, Kiki.”