Narumi Shouhei never fails to come strolling through the door right when Raidou Kuzunoha is ready to leave – the man takes pride in the fact that he is an early riser, but his young assistant wakes even earlier than he does. He does not actually know what the boy occupies himself with in those small hours before sunrise; given what Raidou specializes in, he figures that it involves meditating and burning incense and maybe standing naked under the nearest waterfall. The reason why he doesn’t ask is because if it doesn’t end up on par with his speculations, he was going to be very disappointed.
“Narumi-dono.” A serene blink, a bow down to the waist. “I have left water boiling for coffee. Pixie is watching over it.”
“Oh, thanks! Have fun at school today~”
But Raidou is out the door before he can even finish speaking.
“I have returned.”
It’s a bit past noon. He’s leaning back in his chair with the newspaper and a mug of coffee within reach. He doesn’t look up from what he’s reading – he knew long before Raidou ever reached the door that the other was on his way back. Having a cat around the office had its merits.
“Welcome back. Tae-chan left us some food, by the way.”
The odd sound echoes back to him from a bit farther than it should have. He looks up just in time to see Raidou disappearing into the kitchenette at the back. Gouto is trailing after him, loping over like the proud old thing he is.
“Anything on the agenda for today?”
“Yes, sir. There was an incident downtown.”
Unsurprisingly, there’s no response. Narumi surprises himself by not being bothered by that. Maybe he’s getting used to all the strangeness, and the secrets. Maybe the powers that be have figured that him knowing about Raidou’s… other host of abilities is more than enough.
“Well, good luck with that. Maybe I’ll drop in and check on you later.”
The silence stretches on for about a minute too long. He finally looks up from what he’s reading, and is greeted with the sight of Raidou peeking in from the corridor, looking surprised.
“That… would not be necessary, sir. Are you not busy?”
Gouto’s snort sounds a little too much like a laugh. Narumi makes a mental note to hide the cat’s food bowl later.
“I’m never too busy to see how my assistant is doing.”
“Oh.” A pause. “Very well.”
They don’t talk again, up until Raidou heads off. The boy takes his coffee straight up and black, like he always does.
Whatever the ‘incident’ ended up being, it is obvious that Narumi arrived a bit too late to see exactly what went down. He certainly wishes he had, though, because a house doesn’t just randomly break down without affecting any of its surroundings. Or they don’t just tumble down, period. The small crowd that has gathered on the other side of the street seems to share his opinion, of course.
“I sure hope we won’t have to pay for that.”
Their difference in height forces Raidou to look up at him when they’re standing together, and that spiffy hat he’s always got on makes it hard for Narumi to really see the boy’s eyes. The detective grins, noogies the hat and the hair underneath it.
“Case closed, I’m guessing?”
“Let’s head back to the office.”
“There is work, sir?”
“Actually, no. You just look like you could use a nap.”
They talk on the way back – or more like, Narumi talks and Raidou listens. Nothing new, perhaps, but it’s odd, how Raidou seems thoroughly occupied with keeping his answers short and his gaze elsewhere the whole time.
The phone rings just as they’re opening the door to the office. Narumi hopes it’s a client, and is more than a little disappointed that it’s one of his old associates coming around, with Urgent Business that Requires His Presence Immediately.
“Just when I got back too… hold the fort for me, will you? If I’m not back by sunset, lock up the office. You’ve got a key, right?”
And there’s no time for anything else, not a moment to pause and consider the fact that maybe he was imagining things? But Raidou looked a little disappointed.
Later on – much, much later – Narumi is surprised to see that the lights in the office still on, as he’s coming back down the street at an hour far past what’s decent. He means to ask, but when once he sees the state of things inside, he realizes that he doesn’t need to.
There are blankets stashed in the closets of the room behind the office. He sniffs at the first one that he fishes out, decides that it’s suitable enough, and marches back over to the couch up front, where Raidou was curled up, fast asleep. No need to wake the kid: this will have to do.
He can sleep in the office, at least. It wouldn’t be the first time.
“You are blushing like a maiden, Raidou-kun,” Gouto says, as he traipses after Raidou, as he follows the boy to school the next morning.
“It is merely chilly today, Gouto-san.”