Disclaimers: The characters of Gotoh Keiichi and Shinobu Nagumo are the Property of Masami Yuki, Headgear, Emotion, TFC, and NTV. Phew. Not me, at any rate. If I keep this up, the disclaimers will be longer than the story.

This story is for Stirling Twilight.

If you like it let me know at yuricon@gmail.com.

<aside> How’m I doing on time?



Compare and Contrast


"Let me pour," Shinobu Nagumo said, settling a pleasant smile across her face.

"Oh, uh, thank you, Shinobu-san." The police captain was just a little nervous, but managed to return her smile with one of his own.

Shinobu poured sake for both of them. Isshei lifted the cup in a salute, then tossed it back. Shinobu allowed herself to grimace slightly, then sipped her own. What was she thinking when she agreed to meet Isshei Genro for dinner? She tilted her head back and drank the rest of the sake down in one gulp.

When she lowered her head again, she found Isshei already pouring the next round.

He probably drinks too much every night, just like Gotoh…

Why on earth did she think that?

"I just wanted to thank you for agreeing to come out with me, Shinobu-san."

"Well, I couldn’t keep turning you down, could I?" Much.

Silence fell, as a third drink was poured.

"So, Isshei-kun, tell me all about working with the Customs Department – it must be fascinating."

"Well, yes, of course. Ahem, last week for instance, we had a very mysterious circumstance. You’d probably find it interesting, as it involved a Labor…"

Oh, no. Not another "interesting Labor story." Oh, yes, the Labor bomb that turned out to be a clock-smuggling operation. I remember that case – it took the Customs officials three weeks to figure it out, Gotoh had it solved in an hour.

"Oh, yes, how very fascinating." Shinobu watched with relief as the waitress approached with their dinner. At least Isshei was springing for a good meal.

"What brought you to the Special Vehicles Division, Shinobu-san?"

"Oh, well, it’s a long story. I’ve always been interested…"

"That’s just great!" Isshei clearly had an exceptionally short attention span. Shinobu allowed her eyes to roll, when he turned away to gesture for more sake.

For this, I switched shifts. I could have been sitting in the office, sipping tea, watching him read the racing form.

Stop that!

Shinobu watched with a mixture of pleasure and disgust as Isshei slurped up his noodles. Where had these guys learned their manners? Just the other day, she had commented to Gotoh…

Oh, for pity’s sake!

Dinner couldn’t end fast enough for her. She got out of Isshei’s car, bowed, thanked him formally for the evening, thus dashing his hopes of ever going out again and turned towards the SV Division Headquarters.

Upon entering the office, she walked over to the teapot, set it on the flame, then turned towards the office’s lone occupant. Gotoh sat, one bare foot in his lap, ointment brush in one hand. He looked up and smiled knowingly at her.

"Okaeri, how was the date?"

"Tadaima," she commently dryly and sat down at her desk.


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