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i’d probably still adore you with your hands around my neck, or i did last time i checked

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  1. just another normal late afternoon meeting at the organization (or is it)

It’s past dinner time when the meeting ends.

Curacao turns off the computer used in communication with Rum during the meeting. Chianti stands up and stretches, loudly asking Korn what he wants to have for dinner. Irish glances at his watch, and then says, “So I’ll meet you at the airport tomorrow, Bourbon?”

“Sure,” Bourbon smiles his usual charming smile.

“Bring me a souvenir back from Iceland, gentlemen,” Vermouth drawls lazily from her seat. She’s in no hurry to stand up, having sat on the most comfortable chair in the meeting room the whole afternoon - the fancy, expensive looking three-person sofa which is a sharp contrast to all the other metal chairs in the room. Well, perhaps “sit” isn’t exactly the right word. Kir, who’s with her on the sofa, is sitting, but during the meeting Vermouth’s posture is closer to half-leaning against Kir with her legs stretched out, hanging on the armrest. No other member can probably get away with doing so at an organization meeting, but Vermouth is no ordinary member. With her connections to The Boss - even though nobody knows what exactly those connections are - no one dares have an opinion out loud. So Vermouth is free to lounge comfortably as she wishes, and invites Kir to join her as she pleases. 

After the meeting ended, she went from half-leaning on Kir to completely lying down, head resting across Kir’s lap. She’s propping herself up a little now, grinning at Bourbon and Irish.

“I might get you a block of ice,” Bourbon says with an amused smile, “although I’m afraid it’ll have melted by the point we’re back.”

“I’m thinking more in the direction of skincare products, actually,” Vermouth tells him sweetly. She tilts her head to look at Kir, “What do you think, darling?”

“I do hear they have pretty famous brands,” Kir agrees, smiling. She runs a hand through Vermouth’s hair affectionately.

“But you two ladies hardly need any,” Bourbon says with a cheerful sincerity. “You two look beautiful just the way you are.”

“Flattery’s not going to get you out of this one,” Vermouth sniffs. “After all, action speaks louder than words, Bourbon.”

“Well, if the beautiful ladies insist,” Bourbon drawls. He heads for the door. “See you tomorrow, Irish.”

Irish, Curacao, Chiani, Korn, and the others soon leave, too, and then it’s just Vermouth and Kir and Gin and Vodka left.

Vermouth finally sits up, feet sliding back into the high heel boots she kicked off at the beginning of the meeting. “Dinner?” She asks perfunctorily to Gin, as she usually does, inviting Gin and Vodka to have dinner with her and Kir after a late-afternoon meeting. She’s not actually expecting him to agree to it, and she’d rather have dinner-date alone with Kir than have Gin and Vodka tagging alone. But it’s like a routine between them - she asks, he declines, unless there is something absolutely important he needs to discuss with her, in which case he will say yes and she will know it’ll be work night again.

“No,” Gin rejects, as Vermouth predicted he would. She nods in satisfaction, and smiles at Kir, “Well, looks like it’s just you and me.”

“Vodka can drive you two there,” Gin interrupts.

Kir blinks in surprise.

Vermouth raises an eyebrow, “What?”

Vodka looks bewildered, “Aniki? You don’t need me to drive you back tonight?”

“Kir and I came on my motorcycle,” Vermouth says.

Gin frowns, and Vermouth notices that he seems a bit distracted. As if physically he’s here but mentally he’s somewhere else. “Did you?” he asks mildly. “Whatever, then. I don’t care.” He turns to Vodka. “There is something I need to take care of alone tonight and the next couple of days. You can take the time off.”

He turns around and walks out, leaving Vermouth and Kir and Vodka staring bemusedly at each other.

“What’s going on with him?” Vermouth asks 5 seconds later.

“I don’t know,” Vodka says, sounding a little nervous. “I mean, I know Aniki hasn’t exactly been his usual self after … after … you know,” he swallows. “But he’s never asked me to take some time off before.”

“You can say his codename now that Gin’s not here,” Vermouth says drily. She knows that Gin gets mad when others bring up the forbidden name that mustn’t be mentioned in his presence and that Vodka bears most of the brunt of Gin’s anger, but still, she thinks Vodka’s nervousness is a bit of an overkill. “Scotch.”

 


 

  1. Gin doesn’t remember the name of ghosts (or does he)

They used to go to dinner after the meetings, all of them. Gin used to respond yes when Vermouth asked if they wanted to have dinner together. That was when Scotch was still around. They’d get a chair added to the usual four person table and Vermouth and Kir would sit on one side and Gin and Scotch would sit on opposite of them and Vodka would sit in the additional seat as the fifth wheel. Vermouth would usually play footsie with Kir under the table, and Gin liked to caress Scotch’s thigh when he’s thinking about something. One time Vermouth accidentally touched Gin’s leg instead of Kir’s and in revenge Gin scowled and kicked her in the ankle, which prompted Vermouth to ask Scotch “ by the way didn’t you mention once you thought Bourbon looks cute, do you still think so ”, and then Vodka stood up quickly and announced he’s going to have a smoke outside.

That was when Scotch was still around. Before his cover was exposed.

Gin has always been someone who gets what he wants, and will destroy something if he can’t have it. What he sets his eyes on, he must have. If he loses that, nobody else can get to have it, either. Vermouth has seen him do it with his favorite weapons, his prized Porsche 356A, and then - Scotch. The calm, talented sniper who caught Gin’s eyes and ignited his possessiveness with not only his shooting skills but also cooking and music skills and pretty eyes.

What Gin wants he gets, and what he gets he keeps as his, and what he can’t keep he destroys -

Scotch was the exception. No one else has ever gotten away with betraying Gin and continued to live. The chances of betraying the organization and continuing to live are already slim but not impossible - Akai Shuichi comes to mind, and Vermouth has a few suspicions about the Miyano sisters she never told Gin, but that’s another story - but betraying Gin personally is a different story. There’s really only one ending to that fate and it’s death.

Theoretically, that is.

Because Gin took Scotch being revealed as NOC personally, not just as a betrayal to the organization but also a betrayal to Gin himself. Because he hates Scotch, loathes Scotch for using him, getting close to him only for the purpose of stealing information about the organization. And yet - Scotch is still alive today. He has a new boyfriend, even, Vermouth has found.

Nobody betrays Gin and then lives , Vermouth thinks. With one exception only.

Vermouth and Kir get dinner by themselves at a spaghetti place. In the background, the restaurant plays Katy Perry’s The One That Got Away .

“This is unlike Gin, isn’t it?” Kir asks, taking a sip of her coke.

“To ask Vodka to take some time off? Yeah,” Vermouth says. She suddenly has the feeling that something’s brewing, that something big is coming up. A change is coming to the organization soon. Why now , she thinks, and then realizes immediately - Irish is out of the country. Irish, Gin’s biggest rival in fighting for the position of the third in command of the organization.

Gin’s absolutely planning something, she frowns. She hopes this doesn’t affect her pre-planned spa date she and Kir scheduled this week. It’s a very high end place that doesn’t do refunds if she cancels at the last moment.

The thing about Gin is that he claims he doesn’t remember ghosts. That’s certainly true in most cases, at least when it comes to people he’s killed - too many people to count, or people he thought he killed - Kudo Shinichi, for example, or people he’s instructed others to kill and the collateral damage that came with it - like Miyano Akemi who he told Bourbon to kill off after she wanted to leave the organization, or Sherry, who, according to Bourbon, committed suicide afterwards after learning her sister was killed. He barely thinks about them and doesn’t take time to memorize most of his victims’ names. He asked blankly “Who’s Kudo Shinichi?” when Vodka asked about the high school detective, and he barely cares about how Sherry’s death has affected the progress of APTX4869 research - “you and Irish are in charge of the biology labs, Vermouth, what do I care? I’ve been saying for a long time that research isn’t going anywhere.”

Gin doesn’t remember ghosts as in people he knew or thought died. But he remembers too clearly the ghosts that live, that left physically but still haunt him in his mind. Vodka has had to clean up all the smashed Scotch bottles at Gin’s kitchen after Scotch escaped when he was exposed as a NOC.

“Stay low for a little while,” she says suddenly to Kir. “There’s a storm coming.”

 


 

  1. if i can’t have you i’ll find a way to / opportunities comes to those who are prepared

Gin inhales, and then blows out a puff of smoke, then sets his cigarette down in the ashtray. On his desk lies a USB with information about The Boss and his list of secret hideouts and access codes to organization’s weapon factories all over the world, and incriminating evidence that can put The Boss and Rum behind bars for decades. Beside the USB are two pictures, clearly taken without the knowledge of the people in the pictures.

One of them is Scotch with a tall man shoulder-length hair and the most annoying smile Gin has ever seen - and Gin deals with Bourbon and Vermouth on a weekly basis, so that’s saying a lot.

The other picture is just the tall man with shoulder-length hair by himself. Gin has written his name with a red pen across the picture.

Hagiwara Kenji .

Irish is halfway across the globe and would remain hard to contact for about a week or two. There is no better timing than now. Opportunities come to those who are prepared, after all.

Gin smiles darkly, and then dials a number.

“Hello, Scotch. Or should I say Inspector Morofushi? I’m about to make you an offer you won’t refuse.”

 


 

  1. it’s when people who don’t usually fight get into a fight that the situation gets really dire

“Let me get this straight,” Hagiwara says coolly. “Your sadistic criminal ex-boyfriend offered you a surefire way to take down the organization he’s supposedly staunchly loyal to, if you agreed to commit double-suicide with him …… and you … believed him? And you have no plans of telling me, I had to find out from Kazami-kun who accidentally let slip of the information? By the way, you may have fooled him into thinking you’re planning to trick and double-cross Gin, but I took a look at the plans and the details don’t add up. And you wouldn’t need to keep this from me if that’s your actual plan, would you?” 

Morofushi’s expression changes from wariness to a brief moment of guilt to cold determination. “You’re very smart, Hagi, so I hope I only have to say this once. Stay out of this.

“Yeah right, as if,” Hagiwara sneers, he reaches out and grabs hold of Morofushi’s wrist and then pins him against the wall. “What were you thinking ?”

Hagiwara stares down at him, and Morofushi glares back up defiantly, their eyes only centimeters away from each other. Hagiwara’s fingers tighten around Morofushi’s wrist - he doesn’t feel any struggle there but he doesn’t want to drop his guard. He’s long known Morofushi to be the type to pretend to be harmless and then suddenly reverses the situation.

“You don’t understand,” Morofushi begins. “This kind of chance may never come again -”

“I don’t understand? Weren’t you just calling me smart one sentence ago? Which one is it? Make up your mind,” Hagiwara retorts.

Annoyance flashes across Morofushi’s face. “God, Hagi,” he snaps. “The fact you don’t realize how big an opportunity this is shows that you don’t understand. The organization has been -”

“Don’t patronize me,” Hagiwara interrupts with a half-snarl. “You’re not the only one who’s a police officer here.”

“Look, I don’t have time to argue with you now -”

“Inconveniently for you, I happen to have a lot of time,” Hagiwara sneers. “So as much you seem to be eager to go act out some third-rate cliche romance story tragic ending with your ex-boyfriend -”

“See, you’re not objective in this, which is why I -”

“- didn’t think it’s important to discuss your current dilemma with me and decided that you get to call all the shots here, without needing any of my input? Really ? I’ll chain you to my room if I have to, you know,” Hagiwara threatens.

Morofushi meets his gaze evenly, calm and almost cold. “For your sake,” he says coolly, “I would really recommend you against trying anything like that.”

 


 

  1. stun guns attack from the back might be the best way against a cautious ex-NOC (spoiler alert: it works)

Furuya’s out of the country, according to Kazami. What kind of horrible timing is this , Hagiwara thinks.

He needs a plan, and quick. He grabs his cell phone and dials a number.

“Squad Leader,” he says. “The Edogawa kid you mention that appears at murder scenes all the time, you said he has a stun gun he likes to use, right? Do you know where he gets those from?”

Luckily, Date does know, and tells Hagiwara that Edogawa Conan’s stun gun provider is Professor Agasa who lives next to the Kudo Mansion - the famous Kudo family, Date says, you must’ve heard of their son Shinichi.

“I know the Kudo family, I was a fan of Fujimine Yukiko before she retired early - still is a fan, actually, but anyway, thanks, Squad Leader.” For being 100% more reliable than Furuya-chan who just happens to be out of reach this week. Seriously, what kind of terrible timing is this?

Morofushi warns him against chaining him to their apartment. Well, Hagiwara will respect his wishes, then. He rules handcuffs off too -  it’s not like he’s going to risk Morofushi getting out of the handcuffs in some way.

No, he needs a better way to ensure Morofushi won’t go meet Gin.

So he makes a few more preparations before he goes and finds Morofushi again.

Morofushi is fast to whirl around when he hears the footsteps, but Hagiwara is faster, even though his hand is shaking slightly when he fires the stun gun. You’re not even as capable at this as an elementary school kid , he thinks to himself.

He glances at the clock. He doesn’t have long, according to the time Professor Agasa mentioned. But he doesn’t need long, because he’s very good at what he does.

Too good, almost.

 


 

  1. Morofushi Hiromitsu: “Get. This. Bomb. Off. Me.” 

Morofushi wakes up to an odd feeling that there’s something around his neck. His eyes shoot open in alert. “What the -”

“Careful,” Hagiwara says in a cool, flat voice. “Don’t hurt your neck.”

“What the hell is this thing?” Morofushi demands.

“A little something that will explode and also activate a remote bomb at the same time, if your heart stops beating,” Hagiwara replies. “An insurance for me, to stop you from doing anything stupidly self-sacrificing.”

Morofushi stares at him, stunned and speechless for a moment.

Only for a moment.

“Get. This. Bomb. Off . Me.” Morofushi says through gritted teeth, eyes colder than Hagiwara has ever seen before. “And deactivate whatever sensor that is.”

Hagiwara doesn’t back down, he merely looks at him coolly. “And then watch you head straight to Gin’s location? I think the fuck not.”

“This is insanely irresponsible,” Morofushi snaps. “What were you thinking ? What if I die of something else - some other unrelated accident? What then?”

“Don’t die, then,” Hagiwara fires back. “It’s that simple.”

“My point is even if I’m careful, there is no guarantee and - how could you? You’re a police officer, for god’s sake!”

“I will deactivate it once you calm down and once I can be sure you’re not going to walk into Gin’s trap,” Hagiwara says evenly. “But don’t for a second think that you can lie to me and still go with your original plan behind my back.”

They glare at each other.

“Get this off me and dismantle the remote bomb - whereever that is - now ,” Morofushi says again.

“And you’ll stay here and not do anything rash?” Hagiwara raises an eyebrow.

Morofushi looks frustrated for a moment. “Yes.”

Hagiwara studies him. “I don’t know if I can trust your word.”

“You’re the one who strapped a bomb to my neck, and you say you don’t know if you can trust me ?” Morofushi asks incredulously.

“I have a very good reason for doing so,” Hagiwara doesn’t back down.

Morofushi narrows his eyes, as if contemplating something. “There’s no actual bomb - remote or here,” he says flatly. “You wouldn’t dare use an actual one.”

Hagiwara stares back evenly. “Oh, are you willing to bet on that?” he asks darkly.

Morofushi closes his eyes. “This is insane.”

“Desperate times, desperate measures,” Hagiwara replies coolly. “Live with it.” He stands up. “I’ll go make lunch.”

Morofushi’s dialing Matsuda’s number the moment Hagiwara leaves, but the phone rings and rings and no one picks up. Then he remembers that earlier Hagiwara mentioned Matsuda’s on a vacation with Officer Sato from Division One. Of all the times to be unreachable , he thinks bitterly. It has to be this week.

 


 

  1. Hell’s Angel’s legacy: the silver bullet / Vermouth does remember ghosts from the past, or at least, a specific one.

“My plan was to wait for you to actually tell me, as much as I realize that it might be a very long wait,” Vermouth says. “Normally I’ve got a lot of time and don’t mind waiting, but Gin surprised me with his … stunt. And if Gin is revealing his cards now, I might as well.”

Kir looks alert. “What are you talking about?”

Vermouth knocks on the table, and Kir’s expression goes blank, carefully neutral. “You’re from The Company,” Vermouth continues.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Kir says.

“Really, Hondou-san?” Vermouth raises an eyebrow. Kir freezes. “I did a little digging into the agent you killed and found the most curious thing.”

There is a long moment of silence. And then suddenly Kir’s pointing a gun at Vermouth. Vermouth holds up her hand easily, gesturing that she has no intention of harm.

“How long have you known?”

“Know? Just now that you basically confirmed it. Suspected? A while,” Vermouth replies. “Relax, I don’t see you as an enemy. I want to see the organization burn down to pieces, completely and utterly destroyed.”

Kir doesn’t relax, nor does she put down the gun.

“Fine, I understand your wariness,” Vermouth shrugs. “But I need you to listen to what I’m going to tell you next.”

“I’m listening,” Kir says coolly, gun still pointing at Vermouth, her hands steady. Vermouth wonders if she should point out that the gun’s safety isn’t off. She decides not to.

“Turns out that while Gin may not want the same thing - the organization to burn - as me, but he is willing to burn it down himself if he can get back what he lost. He has information that even I’m not privy to and that would destroy the organization if it falls into the wrong hands - or the right hands, depending on how you look at it - and he’s offering them to Scotch. On one condition.”

“He wants Scotch’s life in exchange?” Kir guesses.

“Not quite, it’s more romantic than that,” Vermouth says, “he wants them to die together. Gin has always been more old fashioned and cliche than he looks.”

Kir thinks about Gin’s Porsche 356A. “He looks old fashioned enough.”

Vermouth’s lips pull up into an amused smile. “Well, exactly.” She turns serious again. “Apparently, he contacted him three nights ago and made an offer. Scotch hasn’t come to meet him yet, though, and I have to assume his colleagues were stopping him from doing so, or maybe planning something. The thing is, this is a rare chance that might not come again, if I want to see the organization taken down.”

“You want to remove the obstacle that’s blocking Scotch from coming and persuade him to sacrifice himself?” Kir asks.

“I may not know Scotch that well, at least not as well as Gin, but I trust Gin’s judgment on Scotch about this, so I think Scotch himself may not need any persuasion is all. My guess is that if it’s only up to him, he would’ve been here already. They would’ve had their tragic drama ending yesterday, probably.”

Kir looks conflicted. “You want us to find a way to remove those obstacles and get him to come here.” She looks like she’s contemplating the possibility, and Vermouth knows that Kir wants the organization destroyed as much as she does. Losses are almost unavoidable, and this might be the one choice that might minimize it. But is Kir the type to agree to these kinds of sacrifices? But if Scotch himself wants to, would it even be worth it to stop him?

“You’ve heard about the silver bullets story in the organization, I assume,” Vermouth says.

“You meant how The Boss said that it’ll be a silver bullet that can make or break this organization?”

“Something like that, there are many versions to it,” Vermouth waves airily. “Some say what he said was that it’ll take a silver bullet to destroy the organization. Some said a silver bullet is what is required to grab us even more power than ever - there was a research led by Sherry titled that, if you recall. The previous Sherry, I mean. Well, and her husband, but I usually like to forget about him.”

Miyano Elena , Kir realizes. The woman that Vermouth still keeps a framed picture of on her bed.

“There are several people and things that have been called the silver bullet, throughout the years. Sherry’s - the previous Sherry’s - research project. Akai Shuichi, the man The Boss feared would be capable of ruining the organization. And my personal favorite, Kudo Shinichi.”

“The high school detective Gin killed.”

“He’s alive,” Vermouth says. “But that’s a story for another time.”

“... don’t tell me …. Edogawa Conan?”

“As I said, that’s a story for another time. But essentially, yes.” Vermouth replies. “But Kir, do you know what’s the recipe for Silver Bullet? I’m referring to the drink.”

Kir pauses, and her eyes widen. “A combination of Gin and Scotch.”

“Funny how fate works, doesn’t it?” Vermouth drawls. “Sometimes I swear the whole universe runs on irony.”

Kir still looks stunned. “If our life is a movie, this would be some kind of pun or metaphor in the script.”

“If Yukiko’s husband ever makes one after this is all over, he would probably include it,” Vermouth agrees. “Now, listen closely, we’re getting to the important part.”

“We haven’t gotten to that yet?” Kir raises an eyebrow.

“Not yet. Now pay attention,” Vermouth says, “During the days of the previous Sherry’s research, I took a few earlier versions of the pill named Silver Bullet.”

Kir frowns, “I’ve heard that ultimately that research is supposedly for … extending life or something?”

“Hmm, yes, stay young forever and all that,” Vermouth says. “With certain side effects that makes one wonders if it’s worth it at all but still, even the earlier versions achieved some of the effects Sherry wanted. But the one that matters right now, is that I can’t be poisoned. The silver bullet pill inside me can essentially counteract whatever poison I consume. I mean, if someone were to put a bullet through me I’d still die, but when it comes to poison, I’m basically invincible. I can’t die of poisoning.”

“Are there still side effects when you consume poison?”

“Well, there will be some pain when I take another drug to clear it out of my body, but after a day or two I’d basically be back to normal,” Vermouth says. “I know you and Scotch were friends, back then, and I suspect you have kept in certain contact with him after he was exposed and escaped. And I think you’d rather not let him die, despite wanting to destroy the organization. Since he and you are friends, sort of, I have a proposal.”

“You want me to contact him and have him persuade Gin that they should commit double suicide by drinking poison, and then you going to disguise yourself as him and go drink that poison with Gin,” Kir says.

“Got that right in one, darling.”

Kir pauses for a moment. “I thought you and Gin are also friends, sort of.”

“Letting him die, thinking he died with Scotch, might be the biggest kindness I can do for him at this point, and I’m doing this for him because we’re friends,” Vermouth shrugs. “Besides, we have to do this Gin’s way or not at all, because he’s not going to give up that information easily any other way. I know he won’t. He is too stubborn.”

 


 

  1. Vermouth: “Miyano Elena’s the type of person that leaves behind a trail of broken hearts.”

A few days later, Kir and Scotch meet up discreetly, a few streets away from the PSB headquarters. Kir notices there’s an odd looking scarf wrapped around Scotch’s neck.

“Hondou-san, thank you,” Scotch says formally and sincerely as he takes the USB from her. “And please pass my thanks to Miss Vineyard too, if you’re able to. Once this is all over, I promise we can work together on clearing her records, if needed.”

“Thank you, I do appreciate that, let’s arrange to meet again to discuss it once this is all over,” Kir says. She pauses. “Actually, Vermouth has a message she wants me to pass onto you, too. She insisted.”

“Whatever it is, as long as it’s legal, I’ll see what I can do,” Scotch says immediately.

“She says Gin and you essentially ruined our spa date this week and she wants compensation,” Kir answers.

Scotch blinks. Then he smiles wryly, “Well, I have a colleague who has a way of getting VIP passes to that newly opened beach resort, perhaps I can arrange something.”

“That colleague wouldn’t by any chance be Bourbon, would it?” Kir raises an eyebrow.

“Actually, yes,” Scotch says. “By the way, you said Vermouth found out about you, do you know if she found out about -”

“Inspector Furuya? I’m not sure,” Kir frowns. “We never talked about that. Then again, I think she always suspected that Bourbon saved the Miyano sisters. But she didn’t suspect him for being a NOC for it, because Bourbon’s backstory was he was following in Miyano Elena’s footsteps and joined the organization because he wanted to be part of the organization like her, so she only suspected he saved them out of a childhood crush. She said it’s not surprising that Miyano Elena’s the type of person that leaves behind a trail of broken hearts, or something like that.”

Scotch has a complicated look on his face. “Did Vermouth have a crush on Hell’s Angel?”

Kir shrugs. “Might’ve been an affair, even.”

Scotch chokes a little. “Well, thank you for the information, but I have to get back.”

Kir nods. “Of course. Take care.” She glances at Scotch’s neck. “Is your neck alright?”

Scotch makes a face. “Oh yeah, that’s fine. I’ll take care of that. It’s just … my boyfriend got a little angry at me.”

“Oh.”

“And I realize how that might sound but I promise you, the situation is actually vastly different from whatever you’re imagining right now. Maybe I’ll tell you the story someday.”

Kir raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t press him. “Alright. Someday. Well, I’ll see you around, Morofushi-san.”

“Goodbye, Hondou-san. And thanks again.”

 


 

  1. “you manipulated me, basically” “and you were ready to walk to your death without informing me anything”

After working with his tools for a while, Hagiwara finally takes the thing off Morofushi’s neck.

Morofushi grabs it immediately after Hagiwara puts it down. He studies it with narrowed eyes. “It was a fake. There was no bomb.”

“Well, no,” Hagiwara admits. “I can’t actually risk accidentally killing off the innocents, there were too many factors at play. You lead a dangerous life, even if you’re not going to walk into Gin’s trap, you’re still in a fairly precarious position, considering your job. I can’t actually set a bomb to go off if your heartbeat stops. That’s something more like what your ex boyfriend might do, actually.”

“You lied to me,” Morofushi says flatly.

“Oh come on, it’s not like you’d rather that have been the truth ,” Hagiwara retorts. “It’s not like you actually wanted this to be real, or for there to be an actual bomb that will explode.”

“Of course I don’t want that, but … you manipulated me, basically. In an attempt to stop me from doing my job.”

Hagiwara looks back at him unflinchingly. “And you were ready to walk to your death without informing me anything. By the way, dying with your ex boyfriend is not part of your job, I think.”

Their eyes meet. “You don’t get it. The chance is too rare to pass up.”

“And Gin is a man with honor whose words can be trusted?” Hagiwara challenges.

“I know he wouldn’t lie about this,” Morofushi says. “He’s … got certain principles on certain things and he’s too proud to lie about this.”

“You’re absolutely unbelievable, but let’s say, hypothetically, that you are right. That actually changes nothing.” He pauses. “Look, I’m sorry I lied to you and maybe psychologically manipulated you. I am really, really, sorry. But you know what our difference is? I’m sorry that I lied to stop you from dying, but you don’t seem sorry at all for what you did. From the sounds of it, if Vermouth didn’t come up with this plan, you’re going to find a way to go through your original plan, and you won’t even regret it for a moment. You won’t even consider how I’d feel for a single moment.”

Morofushi is silent for a very long time. When he speaks, his voice is raspy. “I would have thought about you.”

“And still make the same choice?” Hagiwara guesses shrewdly.

An even longer silence resumes.

“I’m sorry,” Morofushi says, voice breaking. “I would still have to make the same choice if it comes down to that, but I’m always sorry when I have hurt you.”

“You might’ve meant that to be comforting, but let me assure you,” Hagiwara says. “It’s really not.” He closes his eyes. “You know what? I think we should take a break. On us, I mean.”

 Morofushi swallows. “Alright,” he says. “I’ll move out -”

“No,” Hagiwara interrupts. “You’re going to be very busy with the operations of taking down the organization. You stay here. I’ll go live with Jinpei-chan for now.”

“I thought he’s out on vacation right now.”

“Oh that,” Hagiwara says. “I made that up when I anticipated I might have to get him to not take your calls, because he’s such a terrible actor I don’t think he can keep up with my lie. Sato is on vacation, but it’s with Miyamoto from the traffic division.”

 


 

  1. Miyano Shiho: “it’s like what they say about buses.”

“Things were pretty quiet in Tokyo for a long time and then I left for two weeks and literally everything happened during this time period? The organization is taken down. Gin is dead. The Boss and Rum are arrested. Vermouth’s records are cleared. And something happened between Hiro and Hagi that neither of them is willing to talk to me about.” Furuya Rei says. “I mean, seriously?”

“It’s like what they say about buses,” Miyano Shiho says wisely. She’s finally able to get out of hiding after being kept in NPA’s protection for the longest time, after Furuya helped fake her and her sister’s death to the organization. “You wait ages for one, and then three comes in a row. In this case, though, you left before the three buses arrived.”

“........... thanks for the illustrious metaphor, Shiho,” Furuya rolls his eyes. “By the way, do you know what happened between Hiro and Hagi? Apparently Hagi moved out of his own place and is living with Matsuda now. And Matsuda’s not telling me anything.”

“I think if it were up to Matsuda-san, he would’ve told you by now. He told me he and Hagiwara-san had a row about it - he thinks you deserve and frankly need to know that something that big happened, Hagiwara-san said he doesn’t disagree, but he thinks he should let Morofushi-san open up the conversation himself when he’s ready. And then Matsuda-san said something like ‘why are you still this considerate to him after what he did to you’, or something.”

Furuya facepalms himself. “I leave for two weeks … two weeks! That’s 14 days. That’s not a very long time.”

“You’re a spy, you know that’s long enough time for a lot of things to happen.”

“I know that , I was referring to whatever caused Hagi and Hiro to … I mean, they’ve never fought like, ever, not in my memory. Between the five of us, it’s always me and Matsuda who fight.” He sighs. “By the way, do you have the APTX4869 antidote ready? I need to schedule something with the Kudo family once you have it all prepared.”

Shiho nods, “Yeah, I’m ready whenever.” She pauses. “By the way, I’m meeting Hondou-san and Vermouth later this afternoon for afternoon tea. Do you want to come? Hondou-san seems to hint she might have an idea of what went down between Morofushi-san and Hagiwara-san.”

“I’m coming with you,” Furuya says immediately. He grabs his phone and begins texting, “I’ll get Kazami to cancel all my afternoon meetings.”

 


 

  1. Vermouth: “Sherry, you have your mother’s eyes.”

“Hello, Bourbon, how was Iceland? I hope you got us our souvenirs. And hi, Sherry, you have your mother’s eyes.”

“Vermouth, that line gets old really quickly, you should learn to think up a new greeting,” Miyano rolls her eyes as she sits down. “By the way, Furuya-san, you got souvenirs for them? Where’s mine?”

“Also, before I forget,” Kir says. “Scotch said you’ll be able to get us VIP passes to the newly opened beach resort.”

Furuya sighs good-naturedly. “Of course, of course, I have that here for you ladies. And here’s some stuff I got at duty free - and Shiho, you know I already gave you yours yesterday.” He fishes out the VIP passes, “Before I can hand you this, though, I really need to know the circumstances to which that led to him asking me to give this to you, because he’s not willing to share the details with me.”

Vermouth and Kir exchange a glance. “If you’re asking about what happened between him and his boyfriend, we aren’t sure of the details,” Vermouth says. “What we can tell you is what Gin told him. Why don’t we order something first? The scones here are excellent.”

 


 

  1. Hagiwara Kenji: “I’m going to need that promise now.”

“I have to admit, I thought about proposing that we just … end the relationship, once and for all,” Hagiwara says quietly. “Because honestly, I can’t go through that again. I know the organization is taken down now, but if you keep up your way of thinking, who’s to say we won’t end up in a similar situation again, and you’d still keep the secret from me and go and do whatever you think is correct alone?”

“Hagi …”

“And then two days ago, Furuya-chan came to talk to me. He says he’ll absolutely understand if I say no but he asks if I’m willing to give you another chance if he can get you to promise to me to never do something like that again. So, I’m going to assume he talked to you.”

Morofushi swallows. “Yeah, he did.”

Hagiwara studies him. “I see.” He says. “Well, then I’m going to need that promise now. I can’t move forwards - we can’t move forwards - without it. I really don’t think that’s asking a lot.”

Morofushi reaches out and grabs hold of Hagiwara’s hands. “I - Zero talked some sense into me,” he says quietly. “I promise, okay? I won’t ever do something like this again.”

“And if there’s ever any indication you’re going to do so, I reserve the right to confront you immediately,” Hagiwara says.

“Of course,” Morofushi says. “That’s totally fair.”

Hagiwara studies him, then finally nods. “Okay,” he says. “Let’s try again, then.”