"This isn't really what I thought I'd be doing when I went into the espionage business," Umi murmured, wiling down the countertop before her with a clean cloth and spray which smelled very much like what her parent's cleaner used in the kitchen. It was somewhat jarring against the strong scent of fried onions and burger.
"What did you think it would be like?" came the voice over her earpiece, amused. "Dressing up to attend fancy balls and sneak beside the scenes to find the lair of this week's evil mastermind?"
"No, that's a weekend with my parents. I thought it would involve more excitement and less working a till - and far fewer burgers!" Umi hissed, loud enough the microphone hidden in her collar would pick it up and send it back to HQ. "Why are you even monitoring us, anyway, Clef? Aren't you paid too much to hang out watching an empty restaurant?"
"I'm monitoring all three sets of you while everyone else has lunch, it's far more listening to you grumble than actually watching you. Anyway, sorry our quarry prefers fast food to classier establishments - don't answer me, you're about to have customers."
Umi growled under her breath, but she could hear the door opening and the excited chattering of the group of teenage boys who had just walked in. She made herself look up and smile with a "welcome!" as they approached the counter.
Once they'd ordered, she headed back to call the order through to the kitchen, and found Fuu already standing there grinning at her.
"Aren't you having fun?" Fuu asked, passing forward a couple of pots of salad. "Hikaru certainly seems to be."
Umi had almost forgotten they were wired to hear each other, as well as whoever was on shift at HQ monitoring what was going on.
"Hikaru likes people!" Umi hissed, and Fuu's eyes sparkled with suppressed laughter.
Clef, back at HQ and out of earshot of all customers, had no constraints on laughing aloud and did so freely.
"Shut up, you know that's not what I meant," Umi muttered, as Fuu handed her the various burgers and fries needed to fill up the order. Umi shot one last glare at Fuu before plastering a smile back on her face and spinning back around to the counter so she could hand the tray over to the oblivious kids who were arguing happily among themselves. "Here it is! Please enjoy."
"Thank you," they chorused, barely pausing their arguement to pick up the tray and head off for one of the empty booths. They had a lot of choice, as all the booths were empty. Four in the afternoon was apparently not a popular time to buy burgers. Umi sighed at the almost empty restaurant. The three of them had been here on at off for a week, now, with nothing interesting happening.
Hikaru bounced up to the counter, the bucket of cleaning supplies swinging in her hands, looking exactly like a teenager picking up some cash by working after school. She was having great fun listening in to their customers enough to tell whether they were likely to be involved in nefarious business or not - though Umi didn't think she needed to bother with that last group, who seemed to be arguing about go, of all things.
"I think they're here from the Go Institute," Hikaru said, obnoxiously brightly for someone working retail. Umi's friends were far too amused at her impatience in this situation. "It's just up the road, Satoru-nii-san used to come on the weekends for the practice sessions."
"Your brother wanted to be a professional go player?" Fuu asked, appearing right behind Umi without a sound and startling Umi so badly she whacked her hand into the till as she spun about.
"Ow! Fuu! Stop doing that!"
"You should be more aware of your surroundings," Fuu scolded her, and Umi could tell she was laughing internally.
Hikaru caught Umi's hand to examine it, as Umi was too busy glaring at Fuu to do it herself. "He was an apprentice with them for a while, but he decided he wasn't passionate enough about it to take the pro exams. He plays at home, though, and he goes to a salon now and then - I think your hand should be okay, Umi, unless it's really hurting?"
"I didn't hit it that hard, I think." Umi pulled a face down at the red patch across her knuckles. The last thing she needed to do was break a bone in the middle of a stake-out. "Did you just sneak up just to scare me?" she asked Fuu.
"No, to give you a heads up we might have company in a few minutes. There's movement down the way." With that, she slipped back into the kitchen, where a couple of hidden screens let her watch the same video feeds Clef was meant to be monitoring.
In Umi's ear, Clef agreed. "Six, heading your way, so you'd best wake up, Umi. The team in the okonomiyaki restaurant are ready if you need backup."
"Finally!" Umi murmured, not even caring about the teasing as a hit of adrenaline shot excitement through her veins. She exchanged a sharp smile with Hikaru, who got returned it before grabbing the cleaning supplies again and heading over to the tables. This was more like it!
"Be careful," Clef murmured, so softly she almost didn't hear him, and then the door was opening. Umi chorused the standard welcome along with Hikaru, and waited with a real smile for the gentlemen in the very sharp suits to choose a space, before one came over to the counter to order for the group.
He wasn't the man they were looking out for - but Hikaru was busily wiping down tables, working her way closer to the booth that had been chosen, and by the time the order was ready they had the confirmation they needed, and their operation swung into full action.
Half a day later, on the other side of town, Umi finally got to sit down and put her feet up. "That was fun!" she chirped, feeling bright as Hikaru. "Hey, lets get something to eat, I'm starving!"
"How about burgers?" Fuu asked, keeping a straight face as Umi tossed a cushion at her.
Hikaru grinned at them both. "Come on, Umi, I want fries!"
"But they don't deliver," Umi shot back at them. "And if we try to sneak out on the paperwork, we'll get yelled at."
"She's right," Clef said, from the doorway - and it was good thing Umi was too tired to jump anymore, as she hadn't heard him coming this time. "You aren't getting out of here for at least an hour, I'm afraid - but if you're ordering something, count me in, please, as you've given me just as much paperwork today-"
"We only borrowed that boat for an hour," Umi told him, still violently cheerful.
"You stole it, and then left it in no fit state to be returned," he retorted, but then he shook his head. "Still. Aside from that - good work today."
He headed out, and the three of them were left grinning at each other, before Fuu reached for her work computer.
"Okay. What do we want to eat?"