There was a party, though nobody outside the small group knew precisely why. Everybody else presumed that it was because Philip had come back from overseas. But there was food, and drink, and laughter, because everybody was so happy and so relieved that everything had turned out well. Only the others knew why there were tears in his hard-boiled eyes, why he was almost crying as he laughed. Why he almost seemed to cling to Philip.
Life returned back to normal after that. Akiko kept making sure that the agency kept afloat. Terui Ryuu came over at least as often as every other day, though he paid more attention to Akiko than anybody else in the agency. Shoutarou was sure that they'd get married someday, but Akiko was determined that everything be perfect, so it might take a while.
In the meantime, the agency didn't exactly prosper, but they had their clients. They'd had some clients from when Narumi Sokichi was alive. Shoutarou had done his best to build their client base after the Boss had died, and then Akiko had taken over. While he was sure his reputation would never be the same, he was sure that Akiko had attracted far more clients than he'd be able to on his own, thanks to her advertising.
But, Shoutarou reflected as he leaned back in his chair and contemplated his typewriter, that was all right. He and Akiko might argue – a lot –but things had settled into a rhythm with the four of them. It was becoming almost... domestic, in fact. Not a mother, father, and children, but four people that felt like they should always be together, who were family in all but blood. Akiko had lost her father, Terui and Philip their families, but sometimes one didn't find family with those related by blood.
He never thought that he'd feel that way with anybody besides Philip, ever since they first started working together as W. While he'd respected Narumi Sokichi, the man was his boss, not family. Not someone he'd spend his life with as he was spending his life with these three other people and one cat.
With the Sonozaki family gone – with the exception of Philip, of course – Shoutarou had offered to help his partner get his own apartment. There was no reason for Philip to have to sleep in the agency any more, no reason to have his partner hide, except to keep clients from realizing exactly how weird his partner was. But Philip had refused, stating simply that his life was with Shoutarou and that there was no reason for him to maintain a seperate residence. Or at least that's how he'd put it. In bigger words. But it came down to the fact that Philip lived with him, now, like family. The family he had.
So, Shoutarou got used to that, too. Got used to a bedpartner, though Philip seemed content to do nothing but sleep in their shared bed. Shoutarou wouldn't have minded more than that, but he figured that Philip had to make his own decisions and choices. His own plans for life, even if they didn't include Shoutarou, even though he felt like they always would. He doubted Philip wanted to leave him any more than he'd ever leave Philip.
And besides, it wasn't the sex that really mattered. The two of them were partners, would always be partners, and that stuff didn't make it into the novels his Boss had been so fond of anyway. Akiko would probably be running the place forever, startling him in the mornings when he was trying to get his cup of coffee like all hard-boiled detectives should. Terui would keep on being a police officer – Shoutarou hoped he wouldn't have problems being married to a detective agency owner, but he was sure the other man had thought of that.
If worst came to worst, Terui would probably join his wife in running the agency. Probably would end up with some of the cases, too. Shoutarou suspected that neither pregnancy nor motherhood would stop Akiko from running her father's agency, especially since she'd found what had happened to him.
That didn't bother Shoutarou either, really. The whole thing gave him time to contemplate his cases and sip at his coffee. Even if he had to make that coffee himself.
Akiko didn't make coffee. She was the chief, after all. Besides, Shoutarou preferred making his own, because he was used to it and on the rare occasions that Akiko had made coffee, Shoutarou hadn't liked it all that much. He wasn't a gourmet coffee maker, but he was good at it, because he'd wanted to impress the Boss.
As if realizing he was thinking about her, Akiko slapped down a manilla folder, a case, startling Fang who was lurking nearby and seemed to have a soft spot for Shoutarou's typewriter. The case was probably a missing pet, though sometimes Shoutarou was pleasantly surprised and it was something else. Their little agency was gaining a reputation for the odd, hard-to-solve cases that the police department really couldn't handle, and Shoutarou didn't mind as long as he wasn't peering into bushes looking for lost cats.
And sometimes they still needed W. Still needed the Double Driver, still needed to combat the harm that Philip's family had caused, still needed to fight the occasional Dopant. Shoutarou suspected that someone had taken over Memory production, though it was hard to tell. All the memories were ones that they knew about. Of course, without Philip, nobody could design new Memories - he hoped that someone never figured that out so that he and his partner could live in peace.
That's all that Shoutarou was asking for. To live in peace with his family of choice, to listen to Akiko give orders and watch Philip scribble. To watch Terui, so much in love with Akiko. To live with all of what had happened. To be together after all that had happened.
He sipped his coffee, at peace with the world.