Kuribayashi glanced back towards the person sitting alone in the lab as he shook his head at her.
"The professor's not here so why are you still waiting here?"
Kishitani Misa cocked her head towards Yukawa's desk. "That luggage bag was still there, wasn't it? Shouldn't that means Yukawa-sensei should come back for it?"
"Like I said, that wasn't the professor's bag!" cried Kuribayashi exasperatedly. "Regardless, it wasn't your business to care if the bag owner retrieved it back or not!"
"But still—!" she started saying as the laboratory door suddenly opened. Kishitani started to smile victoriously as Yukawa walked in but stopped herself as another woman walked in from behind him. Immediately she recalled the gossips she overheard on the way here. Were those things mentioned about Yukawa-sensei... actually true?
Yukawa blinked as he noticed Kishitani, before turning towards Kuribayashi. "I assumed you managed to handle the lab session earlier just fine on your own?"
Kuribayashi bowed. "Of course, I did... this is nothing for me after being a research assistant for more than 20 years—" he said, before noticing the other person standing beside Yukawa. He gasped.
"Welcome back, sensei... oh, Utsumi-san!" cried Tono Misaki, leaning over from the platformed floor before rushing down to greet her. "You're finally back!" she exclaimed as she hugged Utsumi. Utsumi smiled as she politely greeted everyone. Takubo and Orikawa also came over to say hi.
"Oh!", Kuribayashi suddenly exclaimed, as he finaly understood, "So what you mean earlier about having had to attend to a personal matter... was it because of Utsumi-kun? Wait... just that?"
Kishitani couldn't help noticing how Detective Utsumi and Professor Yukawa started exchanging awkward glances to each other before answering, "Yeah..."
"I guess, we kinda lost track of time..." Utsumi added before giving a meaningful look at Yukawa. "I did ask him, though, if he still had some work to do today... but he insisted that Kuribayashi-san would take care of everything. There wasn't any problem because of that, right?"
Those stares, it did appear as if there was something more about the relationship between Utsumi-san and Yukawa. She was aware that the two of them had worked together for so long but she didn't think—Kishitani also couldn't help noticing how differently Kuribayashi spoke to Detective Utsumi, but it's probably because they already knew each other for six years.
"None at all—oh wait, there wasn't any incident happening... was it?" Kuribayashi suddenly asked, glancing suspiciously at Kishitani.
Utsumi laughed. "I just came back from the airport. How on earth would I start working again so soon—? So silly..." The older woman started to turn to look towards her as she started to feel a bit self-conscious.
Without thinking, Kishitani found herself screaming towards Kuribayashi...
"This place has become so lively since I left, eh? I never expected that to happen..." Utsumi started to laugh as she headed towards Yukawa's desk.
Yukawa placed his suitcase on the table. "Come to think, why are you here, Kishitani-kun? If you're not coming here because of a case, then why are you here?"
Kishitani froze for a moment, feeling that she needed to choose her words well. She couldn't possibly say that she came here for no valid reason. Especially with Utsumi being here. Suddenly she felt that she shouldn't have come today.
"Err... I just wanted to double check on the details of the last case with you, but I guess... I could do that on my own," Kishitani started to say as she got up from her seat.
"Just a minute!"
Kishitani turned around as Utsumi took out a medium-sized paper bag from behind the desk.
"Since you happened to be here..." Utsumi placed the bag on the worktable before taking out a small box. It was still wrapped in plastic as she tore it off carefully.
She turned, before showing the content towards Kishitani. "Pick any one that you like," she said before calling over Yukawa's other students to come near.
The box contained six heart-shaped stone pendants, in which Kishitani chose one of the plainer colours and took it out. "Thank you... I guess?"
"Can I take one? Thanks... Utsumi-san!" Misaki exclaimed, picking a pink stone pendant as Utsumi took out another.
"I didn't see Moeko-chan here, can you also give this pendant to her?" Utsumi sighed as she stared at the box. "I also thought of wanting to give the other pendants to the rest of the girls that used to help out in this lab as well, but I forgot that they should've graduated by now—oh! Orikawa, Takubo-kun... take one for yourselves too!" she exclaimed as she took out another small box. Kishitani leant over to see that the box contained a set of four pressed coins.
"There should be one more of you boys, isn't it? Unohara-kun... right? You guys can keep the extra if you want."
Takubo smiled. "Thanks. We can always give the extra to the seniors. Kobuchizawa-senpai and Murase-senpai occasionally drop by here at times..."
Utsumi grinned as she took out another similar box. She took out two coins out and added it to the first box. "Then, I trust you to pass these to those other guys—"
Misaki also took a few more of the heart pendants, conveniently leaving out one deep red-coloured, stone pendant. "Now that you mention it, I know where Taniguchi-senpai lived. I could easily pass the gifts to her, she should know how to contact the other seniors!"
Utsumi nodded cheerfully to her before suddenly, Yukawa's hand snaked over her and picked up the last red pendant, alongside a sole plain necklace from the small box. She turned towards him as Yukawa inserted the pendant to the necklace.
"It's pretty generous of you to bring over these souvenirs, but you shouldn't forget to keep at least one for yourself..." he said as Yukawa put on the necklace around Utsumi's neck. "Red really does suit you well..."
Kishitani couldn't believe what she was seeing. Yukawa didn't seem like he wanted to keep his relationship with Utsumi discreet.
Misaki started elbowing her two fellow students, as she started whispering. "Let's go home now... if you get what I mean..." Takubo turned to see Yukawa being openly attentive to Utsumi as he immediately dragged his two friends out of the room, hastily bidding their goodbyes to Kuribayashi.
All the while, Kishitani remained staring blankly at the unexpected couple in front of her. Dumbstruck, before Kuribayashi pulled her away. Still unable to believe what she was seeing, Kishitani shook her head as she walked out of the laboratory.
"I can't really believe this!"
Kuribayashi glanced up to see a small box placed on the desk, in front of him. It was a camper's mug, from the Museum of Osteology Oklahoma. He turned to look towards Utsumi.
"This... Utsumi-kun, you don't have to... there's no need—"
Utsumi shrugged. "It's nothing much. And I haven't really thanked you enough for helping me in the past. You didn't really want to but did it anyway because Yukawa-sensei asked you and that must have inconvenienced you all these years. And you've always been the most disapproving of Yukawa's involvement with the police. Considering you've even begged me to stop coming that one time—"
Kuribayashi waved it off, slightly flustered. "Never mind that. I've already accepted that inevitable fate. I can never stop him if he still wants to get involved with police business. Anyway, I've been wanting to ask—Utsumi-kun, you really looked different with your bangs cut evenly like that," he added.
She grinned. "Well, thank you. A friend suggested that I changed my hairstyle—" Utsumi glanced towards Yukawa before addressing Kuribayashi again. "I was told that she was once an alumnus of this university. Shionoya Akari... was her name. You know her, right. She specifically mentioned that she was of physics major... and told me to send you her regards,"
Kuribayashi's eyes brightened up in recognition. "Oh, Shionoya-kun! Eh... you met her in Oklahoma?"
"I remember her telling me that she decided to become a police officer before. So, Oklahoma?" Yukawa suddenly spoke up.
She turned around from Kuribayashi's desk and approached him. "Yeah, we met by chance. She's currently working at one of the forensic laboratories there as part of the scientific analyst team, which was how we met. I heard a lot of interesting stories about you from her,"
Yukawa got up from his desk. "I supposed that explains it, you got some help from Shionoya. I was wondering why your presentation earlier seemed so good..."
Utsumi hissed at him. "I still did most of the research myself! Akari-chan only did some of the proofreadings, fact-checking—even then, I ended up improvising half of it!"
Yukawa laughed, as Kuribayashi excused himself loudly. He turned to see the older man leaving before Utsumi started to look at her watch.
"Oh! It's already this late! I better—" She started reaching out for her luggage as Yukawa grabbed the handle and pulled the luggage bag away from her.
"Kusanagi's coming over in a bit, you're going to join me for a drink with him tonight. No refusals,"
"Hey! Yukawa! Give it back!"
He glanced towards the paper bag, still on the table. "Oh, what's this? I thought you've already given out all of the souvenirs you brought over besides that other coin set. Who's this for?" Yukawa exclaimed as he took out another small box, that seemed to have been specially-wrapped; unlike the other presents.
"That's for Kusanagi! Give it back, and my luggage too!" Utsumi cried out as Yukawa held them both hostage.
Yukawa frowned at her, before putting Kusanagi's present into his pants pocket. "You didn't get anything for me?"
Utsumi rolled her eyes at him. "I've already got you so many, throughout the year—!"
Yukawa turned around, grabbing his suitcase along the way. "Fine, you're staying at my place tonight. That should be enough of a compensation for me. It's nearer compared to yours anyway and you didn't need to worry about staying out too late after we're done. What a great plan!"
Utsumi's eyes widened after hearing that. "Stay over at your place? That was too fast—!" She ran over before stopping abruptly, as Yukawa leaned over a bit too close to her face.
"Why not? It's been a year since you went back to your apartment, you probably need to have it cleaned up. And you also probably didn't have any food at home, so even if you got hungry later you'd still have to go out to buy some. And you're still a woman, living alone. Even if you're also a police officer, there's no guarantee that you'd be fine going back home by yourself tonight. That aside, my apartment was clean and I can cook, as you've already known. You should be tired from all the travelling by now, so it's better if you stay over."
Utsumi gave him a long look. "You're already aware that I should be exhausted after the trip back here, and you still want me to join you to meet up with Kusanagi?" She placed her hands on her waist. "Is this because you're mad that I didn't get you anything more? What a childish boyfriend!"
Yukawa didn't answer, as Utsumi sighed.
"Fine, you win. I'll stay over... and accompany you for the night. Cheeky," she pouted, before following Yukawa out.
While waiting for Kusanagi to pick them up, Utsumi turned towards Yukawa. "Actually... your present's in the luggage bag. It's a bother to carry around and it was the biggest compared to the others." She glanced over and saw that he was smiling again.
"And why did you want another T-Rex? Didn't I already send you one before? It just happened that I found a slightly different model than the one I got before, so I got that for you. What are you? A T-Rex maniac?"
Yukawa started humming a tune to himself as Utsumi kicked his leg lightly. She pouted again.
"Why on earth did I fall in love with this nerd?"