It was supposed to be another normal day at D-Agency.
As usual, the kitchen area was where the spies went after reporting their duty to Big-Boss Yuki. So far, there’s only Odagiri, Kaminaga, and Fukumoto who’s currently present, with the first two playing cards as the latter cooking dishes.
Being the one standing near the door, Fukumoto could hear footsteps coming from the entrance. He recognized them as Amari’s, but then his ears caught another person’s footsteps as well—small, timid, and strangely gave out immature feeling.
It was bizarre enough that the probability of Amari let a woman tailing him was present, but then again the guy was known as the ladies-man in their group.
Amari’s head appeared from the other side of the door as he slowly walking in. A wide smile showed up on his face as he greeted his fellow spies, despite the fact that there’s a little girl who nervously hid behind his legs.
There was a moment of silence filling the room.
Kaminaga didn’t react even when the burned tip of his cigarette starting to fall down onto the table. Odagiri calmly stared and Fukumoto blinked slowly, trying to comprehend the situation.
Amari cleared his throat. “C’mon guys, don’t I deserve a better welcome than this? …Anyway, Fukumoto, could you give me a glass of water?”
Fortunately Fukumoto understand and poured water on a glass, giving it to Amari in case the girl would get scared of him. As expected, Amari kneeled down and gave the glass to her. She drank it slowly, muttering a small thank you to him.
Kaminaga immediately put down his cigarette when the girl fearfully looking his way. She then wandered her gaze to the ever silent Odagiri.
“Um, hello there, welcome back,” Kaminaga gave a kind smile to calm the girl. It worked, somehow, as the girl slowly popped out her head a bit to glance back at him.
“…—ello.” She squeaked out before hiding back.
Amari laughed a bit, patting her head. “Now, now, don’t worry. If something happens, Papa will protect you from bad guys.” The girl nodded her head, seemingly happy.
It seemed like forever when Amari stood and murmured something about reporting back to big boss Yuki, with the girl following behind him, and closed the door with a low click.
Fukumoto found himself holding his breath for a moment there, and heard a loud sigh from Kaminaga.
. . .
Amari was thankful that the other members were still on the job when he came that day.
The path to Lt Col Yuki’s office was as dim as he remembered. He felt Emma’s hand grabbing his coat tightly, probably afraid of the dark, and kneeled in front of the girl.
“Emma, are you scared?”
Emma nodded. Amari smiled at her honesty.
“We’re going to meet with Grandpa Yuki. As long as Papa is here with you, there’s nothing to be afraid, okay?”
Emma beamed. “Yes, Papa. …Um, is Grandpa Yuki a scary person?”
Yes, he is the Demon King, after all. “No. He has a scary face! But he actually is a good person.”
“Really? He won’t yell at me, Papa?”
“If you behave, maybe he will buy you a candy.”
“Okay. Emma will be good.”
Their small chat had cheered Emma up, and it brought smile to Amari’s face. He wondered if he was being a good father to her. Both of them then continued their walk to their destination.
. . .
To Amari’s chagrin, his boss’ office wasn’t empty of visitor. He wasn’t expecting Hatano and Jitsui’s arrival today.
“…I can explain.”
There was a familiar silence that hung in the air when all eyes fell on Emma’s figure.
Amari laughed dryly to melt the frozen atmosphere. Emma ducked behind his legs, constantly terrified when everyone staring down on her. He sighed, kneeling down for the umpteenth time to reach her, who stared back questioningly.
“They’re Papa’s friends. That’s Big Brother Jitsui and Big Brother Hatano,” Amari motioned patiently to Jitsui and Hatano, before finally glanced warily to Yuki. “And that’s…um, Grandfather Yuki. Now why don’t you introduce yourself?”
Perhaps he’s going to get killed for this later.
Emma slowly emerged from behind her Papa’s legs, still not letting go of her grasp on Amari’s trousers, though. She gulped.
“…H-Hello. My name is Emma… Emma Grane. It’s n-nice to meet you.”
“Hello, Emma. My name is Jitsui.” Jitsui’s voice was as smooth and soft as ever, which Amari felt grateful. “It’s nice to meet you, too.”
“Yo, Emma. You can call me Hatano.” And Hatano was still acted like a brat as ever.
Receiving the kindness from both Jitsui and Hatano has made the little girl less scared.
“If you’ll excuse us. We’ll see you later, Emma.” Jitsui excused himself and Hatano, scampering out from the room. Now that the other visitors has gone, only leaving Amari to face the big boss.
To his utter shock, Yuki actually smiled—warmly.
“Hello, Emma. I see you have come home safely with your Papa.”
“Yes, Grandpa. Thank you.”
Emma was obviously not afraid now. She smiled in return to her ‘Grandpa’. For a moment, Amari almost forgot about his job as a spy, how it required him to make a perfect façade and changing persona in a matter of seconds.
Not even a little kid could pose a problem for the Demon King.
. . .
Amari came back to the kitchen again after several minutes inside Yuki’s office, carrying Emma on his arms.
As he opened the door, everyone instantly turned their eyes on him, and Emma.
“Hey, guys.” Amari greeted. “So…how’s work?”
There are too many things he would need to explain to them before it's too late.
After half an hour he’d spent inside Yuki’s office, Amari went back to the kitchen. He took a seat on a chair near the counter and let Emma sat on his lap.
Wandering his gaze briefly, Amari noted the absence of Hatano and Odagiri. Jitsui sat on the chair where Odagiri was, only lifting his head from his book when he walked in. Kaminaga was still in the same place, except now he’s free of cigarette.
“Hey guys.” Amari tried to fake a smile. Too bad it just wasn’t convincing enough. “This is Emma. Let’s see, that guy there is Papa Kaminaga.”
Emma looked warily to Kaminaga, unaware that the guy currently frozen in his chair. “H-Hello. Nice to meet you, Papa Kaminaga…”
Ignoring whatever Kaminaga’s respond, Amari turned her to face Fukumoto. “And this is Papa Fukumoto. He likes to cook. If you’re hungry, try talking to him, and he’ll make you a yummy drink.”
Fukumoto didn’t know how to respond to that, so he just gave her a shy smile.
“You owe us a great deal of explanation.” Fukumoto said to Amari, who sighed and nodded his head.
“I have talked to Lt Col Yuki, and he granted me his approval. Starting today, she’ll be…” a small pause. “—our daughter.”
This time the silence was deafening than before.
Amari’s bright, wide grin contrasted greatly with the dull look that his fellow spies gave him.
Kaminaga spluttered out from his drink. “What? …D-Daughter? You—…I mean…our daughter?”
“I didn’t hear him stutter.” Fukumoto told him. “Would you perhaps volunteer to be her uncle instead?”
“Wh—…I’m not that old to be called an uncle, hey!”
Ignoring Kaminaga and Fukumoto, Amari noticed Jitsui’s stare toward Emma. He looked down to see her rubbing her eyes sleepily. He realized how late the time was—at least for a child’s standard.
“Let’s go to bed now, shall we?” Amari stood and took Emma up on his arms. She nodded, resting her head on his shoulder. He then proceeded to saunter out from the kitchen.
Emma gave a brief goodnight smile to Jitsui, who smiled back in return.
. . .
They went to Amari’s bed.
“Are you still feeling cold?” Amari asked once he pulled a warm blanket to cover them both. Emma shook her head, cuddling to him.
Amari tried not to think too hard about him struggling to raise a kid with the other spies. With the kind of environment—and residents—available within D-Agency, and wondering about what will she become once she grown up.
“Papa, tell me a story?” Emma looked up to him innocently. “…Please?”
“Um, a story?”
Of course a kid by Emma’s age would like a bedtime story.
Amari licked his lips in an attempt to recall a tale from his childhood. “Let’s see here… Once upon a time, there was this one beautiful princess…”
. . .
Emma proved out to be an early bird. By the time dawn has cracked before six, she’s already wide awake. Amari accompanied her to the bathroom after he ushered out
Hatano—who was still in the middle of brushing his teeth—and took a shower himself once she’s done.
Then they went back to the kitchen, where Fukumoto has prepared breakfast for them.
The chef then offered him a cup of tea. Amari shook his head.
“Give me coffee, please… something as bitter as a stormy night after a divorce.”
Fukumoto raised a brow, shaking his head in amusement before going to prepare a cup of coffee.
Being spies, they were trained to act as normal as possible, no matter what the circumstances. But today, Amari didn’t bother to bet on that one.
His senses could feel a movement from the hall, signaling somebody’s arrival. From the way it gave out a feel of firmness and no hesitation whatsoever, Amari knew the other could easily identify the newcomer.
The door thus opened as Sakuma made his way inside the kitchen.
“Good morn—…” Sakuma’s words died in his throat when he dropped his eyes to a little girl sitting beside Amari, calmly eating a plate of rice.
Emma blinked to him, and then turned to Amari. “Papa, we have a guest.”
“…P-Papa?” Sakuma's voice echoed clearly.
“Is there anything wrong with me being Papa, Sakuma-san?” Amari flashed him a smile. Sakuma curled his mouth to a small scowl.
“Not really, it’s just… uh…”
“Now, now… why don’t you sit down first before attempting to start a chat?”
. . .
A few moments later, Sakuma was sitting near the counter beside Amari. A cup of coffee present on his hand. Emma went to play with Jitsui after finishing her breakfast.
“He's divorced.” Fukumoto informed the man.
“Sakuma-san, you’re too loud. Fukumoto was joking. And no, I’m still free.”
“No. I didn’t do something like that, either. I’ve got eyes on highest class, you see.”
Sakuma cleared his throat, a little confused by the whole ordeal, silently hoping he’ll live through this.
“So, she’s now your adopted daughter?” His eyes didn’t meet Amari’s own, instead gazing toward the surface of his coffee.
“Aptly speaking, our daughter.”
“I mean us eight.”
“But your backgrounds all are kind of… exceptional. Uncommon. Not to mention your current occupation.”
Amari chuckled. “You know us very well to understand how impossible it is to raise a kid alone.”
Sakuma gave him a doubtful look, but said nothing.
“Listen, Amari, there’s too much problem about raising a child in D-Agency.”
Fukumoto kept silent, his hand calmly wiping glasses as he listened to Sakuma giving Amari a long lecture about the pros and cons of their job with raising a child.
. . .
Across the room, Hatano and Kaminaga huddled together playing poker, sitting on their own round table without Jitsui, since he’s still playing with Emma.
“I kinda feel sorry for Amari.” Hatano spoke first.
“Sakuma-san is being a doting parent.”
“Are you kidding? He’s like the very epitome of a Mother-in-Law. In flesh.”
There’s ten seconds of stillness between the two.
“Okay, so, now I’m a dad?” Kaminaga put a card. “But why are you the brother?”
“Are you suggesting me to be her sugar-daddy?”
“Hell no! I just never expected myself to be a father,” Kaminaga hung his head, missing his cigarette already. “Even in my wildest dream.”
“Says the one who flirts with any woman he sees.”
“T-That’s a whole different matter.”