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One Week

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A man slammed into Kazuha, nearly knocking her to the ground. Heiji spun around just in time to see the punk running off with something grey and maroon in his hands-- Kazuha's purse.

“Hey, get back here!” Letting go of Kazuha's hand without a second thought, Heiji charged through the crowd after the purse thief as Kazuha was helped to her feet by a well-meaning stranger. Nodding in thanks, she looked at where Heiji had disappeared to. It wasn't too crowded in the streets, so his path of destruction still lingered, albeit faintly. She watched the thief round a corner with Heiji hot on his heels and sprinted after them.

She caught up with them as he cornered the thief on a bridge, the only way out over the edge. “Just give me the purse,” Heiji was saying, ”and we can pretend this never happened.” He held out a hand for the purse, and the thief's eyes darted between Heiji's hand and his face. Slowly, the thief stretched his arms away from his body, holding the purse just out of Heiji's grasp. Heiji glared at home, and with a swift motion, he lunged for Kazuha's purse.

The thief anticipated Heiji, and as Heiji dove for the purse, the thief flung the purse to the side. “You punk,” growled Heiji as the purse's contents spilled across the ground. He leaned down to pick up Kazuha's things, and as Heiji's and Kazuha's attentions were on the bag, the thief leapt to his feet. He snatched Heiji's hat from his head and bolted.

Kazuha was on his tail in fractions of a second. “My turn!” She shouted over her shoulder to her husband, his hands filled with her things, and she tore after the purse-thief-turned-hat-thief.

It helped that the thief glanced over his shoulder periodically in terror, easily giving away his position. In her heels she was a few scant centimeters shorter than Heiji, allowing her more visibility than normal over the crowd.

The thief lost her in the square, but she caught up to him at the water's edge beneath a bridge. She stood on the opposite side of the river. Only a few meters wide, she could easily swim across the water to reach the thief. Cleanup efforts over the years purged the once-murky water of its pollutants and garbage, but it was only early spring. The water was freezing this time of year, and Kazuha did not want pneumonia again.

“Stop!” From her back pocket, Kazuha pulled a gun just like Ai's. It might shoot a bouquet of beautiful flowers from its barrel, but it looked real enough to send the thief's knees knocking together. “Put the hat down or I shoot!” she threatened.

“Geez, lady! Don't shoot!” The thief threw his hands up, and with the motion, Heiji's hat soared into the air. As if in slow motion, it began to float back to the ground when a stray gust of wind blew the hat directly over the water. It fell to the water with a little plip and the thief ran for his life.


With Kazuha's purse finally picked up, Heiji asked around if anyone had seen her. Eight minutes passed before a group of teenagers directed him to a bridge over one of the city rivers.

Heiji ran to the bridge and looked over the railing. She wasn't standing on either side of the river, but her model gun and heels lay abandoned at the river’s edge. He searched the water for any sign of moment when Kazuha surfaced, gasping for breath. She swam for the edge, and Heiji called down to her. “How's the water?”

Looking up at the bridge, her eyes found his as she pulled herself out of the water. “Perfect,” she shot back with an eye roll and a grin.

Heiji's jaw dropped.

The water made Kazuha's clothes cling tightly to her skin. He knew every curve and dip of her body like he knew his own, but he still couldn't help but stare.

“You're gorgeous,” he said, mostly to himself. At last, he saw his hat on her hands his hands dropped further. “Kazuha, I love you!”

She put the decked hat on her dripping hair and sat down to put her heels on. “Then get yourself down here,” she laughed, “and give me your coat. I'm freezing.”