"But why does he have to come to my apartment?" Asuka complained.
"You live the closest, Asuka," Junpei answered, not looking back at her; his attempt at sounding coolly logical was interrupted by small huffs of exertion. He hefted Shuntaro's unconscious body higher on his back. "This guy has too much muscle! Why is your elevator out of service today of all days?"
Asuka rolled her eyes at him, sharing a look of annoyance with Kayano. (Well, as much as Kayano shared looks with anyone--in this case, Asuka counted the fact that Kayano met her eyes at all.) "Wait, can't you take him, Kayano-chan?"
"No." Kayano held the box of recording equipment protectively in her arms with the same feeling as another person might have holding a baby, or an irreplacable work of art.
Asuka sighed in defeat, then wiggled her shoulders so that her own load--her bag from work, Shuntaro's change of clothes from before the job, Junpei's bag that seemed as likely to hold rocks as anything actually important--would lean slightly less to the left. She felt like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. "Only Shuntaro would be so stupid as to take a drink from a mark."
"He was being chivalrous," Junpei said, pausing on the landing to reposition Shuntaro again.
Whatever Shuntaro had been slipped, it had been strong enough to knock him out for over half an hour now. His face looked weirdly peaceful on Junpei's shoulder, like without that childish drive of his to succeed--or that knowing gleam in his eyes when his intuition was working overtime--he really was just an ordinary, untroubled young man.
Junpei started up the next flight of stairs. "Not that you would know what chivalry is, not having ever had the privelege of experiencing it. Dammit, Asuka, why don't you live closer to the ground!"
Asuka stomped up behind him. "Careful, Junpei, or I'll sic Dai-chan on you."
Junpei and Kayano departed Asuka's apartment with promises to make sure that Touko and Tsukushi understood her grievances with this plan, and a few looks of terror on Junpei's part when Dai-chan started making eyes at him from inside his kennel. Notably they left behind Shuntaro, still out cold and taking up entirely too much space on her couch.
Asuka didn't have a big place. She thought it was the perfect size for her and Dai-chan, and usually wouldn't even have friends over, prefering to spend her home time being a homebody and her social time elsewhere.
Even unconscious, Shuntaro seemed to fill up more space than he should.
"Seriously," she told Dai-chan, going into the tiny kitchen to fill up a glass of water, "what was he thinking?" She picks up a bottle of painkillers, then thinks better of it--she doesn't know what the drug actually was, just that Kayano hadn't been worried, and neither had Toko or Tsukushi. Some new sleep aid, was Kayano's estimation, and even though Asuka still thought they should have brought Shuntaro to a clinic, it was hard to say anything was wrong with him when the only symptom was that he wasn't awake.
"I bet he was thinking with his penis, wasn't he, Dai-chan?" She set the glass of water down on the floor next to the sofa, then gathered Dai-chan up in her arms, the terrier licking at her face. "You can't do that anymore, though, can you? So much less stress when we go to the dog park." She scritched him behind the ears and he panted appreciatively.
Shuntaro made a noise on the couch that didn't have quite enough spirit to be a groan but was still more than a sigh. When Asuka looked over, his eyelids were just beginning to flutter open, his lashes strikingly dark along his cheeks; it was deeply unfair that he was actually rather gorgeous when he wasn't making faces or being otherwise rude.
"Are you finally waking up?" she asked in a mostly normal tone.
He looked over at her, but it was a slow process, first eyes shifting over and then his head following. It might have been spooky if his whole body weren't giving off an indolent, almost drunk impression. "Spooky" definitely wasn't the word for it. "Asuka," he said, his voice lower than usual and rough from just waking up.
She gave him the glass of water, letting Dai-chan go to wander around and explore the bags by the door. "Drink this, and next time please don't be so stupid."
He shifted up onto one elbow and Asuka was suddenly convinced that she was the one who had been drugged; no one had any right to look that ridiculously beautiful when still half-asleep and glassy-eyed from being an idiot, but she couldn't stop watching the way his throat moved when he swallowed, and how his wrist curved while he held the glass.
She met his eyes. Dammit, he had noticed her staring. She had underestimated him in her own home, and now she could never live this down. She tried to cover by berating him: "Don't you know not to take drinks from strangers, especially strange women that we've been hired to watch because their husbands think that they are having affairs? Only of course you take the drink from the woman who is not actually having an affair because she is too busy selling prescription drugs to college students. If we hadn't been there, she could have done anything with you! And you're stupid enough that it wouldn't even have been difficult to kidnap you." Maybe he'd have even enjoyed it, her mind supplied.
He put the glass down on the floor again, the movement deliberately slow, and made the situation worse. "Do you like that idea, Asuka?" He was slurring a little bit, like his lips were just too full for him to get out the words completely, like his tongue was just too wanton for sharp sylalbles. "Do you like to...kidnap men...and have your way with them while they can't do anything about it?"
"Stop talking," Asuka said firmly.
He slid down the couch and lifted his hands above his head, laying one wrist across the other on top of the armrest, sensual in a way Asuka was pretty sure he'd never be with her when not under the influence. Plenty of sleep aids made people act weird, she reminded herself, that's why they were given by doctors and not crazy women in mixed beverages.
"I wouldn't mind," he continued, ponderously slow in his unfortunately effective demonstation, "if that were what you liked. I had a girlfriend who was into it, once. Too bad for her husband that he wasn't, but I got some nice memories out of it."
Asuka rolled her eyes--only Shuntaro would think that was something normal to say, and it is definitely the kind of thing he would say anyway, regardless of his state of mind--but couldn't stop the sudden mental image of it from appearing in her head: Shuntaro and a classy older woman at a fancy hotel, perhaps the same one she first saw him at. Shuntaro would be topless (he definitely liked to take off his shirt, which Asuka only minded in the normal vein of things, like when he would then open his mouth), his hands bound up above his head by a length of white silk--
She shook the thought out. "You really need to learn when--"
Shuntaro interrupted her with a snore.
Asuka really had to get a new reaction for idiots; if she kept eye-rolling as the thing, Junpei and Shuntaro combined would have her hospitalized for ocular strain.
"Dai-chan," she called softly, and Dai-chan trotted back over to her like the good boy he was, his tail up in anticipation. "Dai-chan, up, up!" She gestured at Shuntaro's stomach. "Up!"
His cough of surprise and the ensuing moments of chaos as Dai-chan tried to keep playing despite Shuntaro's flailing arms were just the right amount of payback for putting the unwanted images into her head. For now, anyway.