A split second after the Black Satan grunts exploded at her feet, Yuriko was on the ground. Shigeru had pushed her out of the range of the blast, ready to save her even when there weren't any combatants or cyborg monsters around.
When they sensed that there won't be another explosion forthcoming, they rose to their feet and dusted themselves off. Yuriko had her "thanks" prepared, but thought twice as Shigeru reached out to brush stray bits of grass off her shoulder.
"You won't be living a long life, if you keep doing things like that," Shigeru said.
"I knew that it would explode!"
That was a lame comeback--if she had known, she would have gotten away and get Shigeru to do the same. She turned away from his 'are you kidding me' expression to stalk away in the opposite direction towards her bike.
"Well, my bad," Shigeru shouted after her. "I won't be helping you next time."
"Leave me alone!" Yuriko shouted back.
She knew she was overcompensating, and she blamed him a little for that; for telling her earlier, "I'll leave the grunts up to you." As she had protested, and he had ignored, it was unfair. The Black Satan monster knew who they were and what they both could do; they were both equally a threat to the spread of evil. Yuriko didn't like Shigeru seeing her as second fiddle; maybe she should get her own overdramatic entrance announcement.
She recited his from memory, "The heavens call. The Earth cries out. The crowd roars. They are calling YOU to defeat evil, Kamen Rider Stronger!"
"Hey, listen here, Electro-Wave Human Tackle," Shigeru caught up with her and clutched her arm, "It sounds uncool when you say it like that."
Before Yuriko could say 'Like what, exactly?', they were interrupted by the familiar voice of Tachibana Tobei.
"Hey, it's not good to fight."
As usual, old man Tobei could be counted on to show up wherever Black Satan was causing trouble. This time, he didn't arrive in his trusty yellow jeep, but instead on foot and while holding a little boy's hand.
"Mind your own business," Shigeru said.
Still, he dropped Yuriko's arm and left their spat at that. Tobei obviously brought the boy--he introduced himself as Bunta--to them for a reason, most likely for help that only Stronger and Tackle could provide. Yuriko and Shigeru listened with rapt attention to Bunta's story of going to a restaurant for lunch with his father and being force fed a 'special' with insects. Bunta had escaped the mob of people forcing him to eat the creepy crawlies, but his father, who was a former wrestler, was left to fend for himself.
"Sounds like a fishy Black Satan plot," Shigeru said. "I'll check out the restaurant. Yuriko--"
"I'll help find Bunta's father. You don't need to tell me what to do."
As Yuriko led Bunta away, she turned a deaf ear to Tobei's "No fighting! No fighting!"
Yuriko was too smart to fall for the same trick twice in the same day. The moment Bunta's father raised the spraycan in Yuriko's face, she had already began holding her breath. For realism's sake, she didn't close her eyes until he began spraying some kind of ungodly substance at her.
On one of her long bike rides from Black Satan scheme to another, Yuriko thought it may be useful to train to acting weaker than she actually was. Now she put her training into practice, jerking her arms and legs about as she collapsed onto the ground. She slowed her breathing and gradually held back the spasming of her limbs.
Amidst her flailing, she heard Bunta scream for his father to stop and the sounds of a scuffle. She hoped that he could somehow get away. Dust scattered around her, and she did not even think of sneezing.
Soon, she sensed a shadow looming over her.
"How do you like the sleeping gas developed by Black Satan?" Bunta's father asked.
'Not my favourite,' a voice that sounded like Shigeru's resounded in Yuriko's head.
Shigeru might have breathed in the sleeping gas, maybe as a self-dare to prove that such a thing couldn't kill him. Yuriko couldn't risk it; she couldn't risk another stupid move that would lead to her needing to be rescued by Shigeru again.
As she was slung over a shoulder and carried away, she cast all thoughts of Shigeru aside. She had no clue where she was being taken to or what was going to be done to her, but she'd be fine, for she had done some things right. She could tell from first glance as she untied both Bunta and his father, that there was something wrong. The Black Satan combatants had simply left them behind a rock and unguarded by any of their comrades despite having taken them as hostages. Maybe Yuriko could have knocked Bunta's father out, but then she'd have to deal with the consequences of striking him down in front of his own son.
'What a pain.' Shigeru's voice again.
The heavens may call and the Earth may cry out for him at the scene of battle, but most of the time, it was just Yuriko in the roaring crowd.
"Jo Shigeru! It will please you to hear that the Misaki Yuriko you know, is no more."
"It'll please me more to hear her shouting my name."
Chained to the wall, Yuriko could only communicate through brainwaves. Unfortunately, telepathy didn't come with their Black Satan modifications.
"She has become one of us! Behold...Black Satan's slave, Electro-Human tackle!"
Somewhere a flip was switched, reversing Yuriko into a dark room. She could see the edges of a cage, the deathtrap which Shigeru was enclosed in. All four sides of the cage were charged with electricity, preventing Shigeru from transforming. As the chains around Yuriko's wrists unclicked open on their own, Yuriko advanced towards the deathtrap.
First thing's first: rescue Shigeru. Yuriko transformed without jumping as she always did; all the better to convince Cyborg Monster Wanida that she was truly under his control. Energy coursed through her sinews; she released some with an Electro-Wave Toss that took Shigeru's cage apart.
Shigeru couldn't finish with her hands around his throat. Yuriko will drop the act later, once they were out of sight from Wanida. Now, she needed a fast way to show him that she was still all there.
She tightened her hands around his throat, but not too much, and said, "They are calling me to defeat evil!"
"That's my line," Shigeru gasped.
He next mouthed, 'Yuriko.'
She leaned closer so he could see her nod, only to do a double take and nearly loosen her grip.
Was that...was Shigeru wearing a mini-skirt?! She needed more light to confirm her suspicion. Flexing her biceps, she pushed Shigeru backwards right through the wall. She was sure that his body could take it.
In the light of the hallway, Yuriko confirmed that Shigeru was indeed wearing a skirt. Not just any skirt, it was a navy blue pencil skirt that policewomen wore. The rest of the policewomen getup were on Shigeru's person, from heels to the matching top for female traffic cops to the little hat. Perfect as the costume's fit was on Shigeru, Yuriko had to dock a point off for his lack of stockings.
"If not for these," Shigeru tapped one of his heels against the wooden floor, "I could have landed a few more kicks."
Yuriko gaped. "What was your plan here?"
"You stole my signature announcement, so I'm stealing your signature move." He did a twirl. "Cosplay."
"It didn't fool Wanida one bit."
"I still look awesome. Your signature move is awesome."
What Shigeru was trying to say by flashing his surprisingly smooth legs was, "you're awesome." Yuriko will take it.
"Hurry up and transform already, hero of justice," she said.
"Aw." He sounded a bit disappointed.
They should fight alongside each other more often. Properly fighting side by side, and delivering the final blow to show Black Satan who's boss.
"Electro-Wave Toss!" Tackle added, though it wasn't strictly necessary.
She came in too late and ended up tossing Stronger upwards after he had obliterated the cyborg monster into smithereens. To catch him when he fell, Yuriko remained in her Rider form. She caught Shigeru in her arms, back in a policewoman costume and in heels that gave him 10 centimetres of height.
She had to ask, "How did you find that policewoman getup?"
"The same way you found your getups."
"That's my trade secret! Anyhow, you're weird."
Yuriko had no idea what he was going to say next, for she silenced him with a kiss. Maybe she was too excited over watching a monster get blown up, maybe it was her mastery at the bridal carry; something about the moment made kissing Shigeru feel right. The touch of their lips created a tiny spark that crackled the air.
"How's that?" Yuriko decided to play it cool, like how Shigeru would. "Is it like one of your signature moves?"
A snappy comeback didn't seem forthcoming, as Shigeru turned his face away from her. His face that was rapidly turning red.
"I won't hit on a lady like that," he mumbled.
"Oh. Well, then."
One foot after another she walked along the coast where they had defeated Wanida, returning to the restaurant to free the cyborg monster's victims. If Shigeru were to accuse her of blushing, she'll say that they're too close to the heat of the setting sun.