“Would you like to tell me why exactly there is a very large dog on my lab bench?”
“It’s not yours,” Momo explains helpfully. A vein throbs in Rei’s forehead. That happens a lot, really, Momo thinks he really should get that checked out. The dog barks happily.
“I realize it’s not mine. Is it yours?” Rei seems reluctant to even go near the dog, which, frankly, is disappointing.
“Nope!” Momo says cheerfully. Rei makes a choking sound in the back of his throat and Momo feels the need to clarify. “Well, no, not technically mine, but I found him in the city when I went out to get these kaiju cell cultures from a dive bar.”
Rei sits down on the nearest lab stool and buries his face in his hands. “I don’t know whether to be more incensed about the fact that you picked up a random dog and brought it into the lab or the fact that you picked up kaiju cell cultures from a dive bar.” He lifts his head, scrutinizing Momo, who has opted to ignore him in favor of ruffling the dog’s fur. “How did you even get into a dive bar? You’re fifteen years old!”
“Sixteen,” Momo corrects. “And nii-san gave me a fake ID. For science, he said.”
“For…” Rei trails off. He is being tested, he thinks, for someone as esteemed as Marshal Mikoshiba could not possibly give his little brother a fake ID for science.
“Anyways,” Momo heaves the dog off the table and almost falls over backwards with the effort. “I’m gonna show him off to everybody.” He puts the dog on the floor and clucks at it. “Come on, Pyunsuke!” Dog and boy run out of the lab, knocking a couple chairs askew on their way.
Straightening the chairs, Rei takes a moment to wonder if Momo names everything he likes Pyunsuke. All thoughts of that fly out of his head, however, when he sees how much dog hair is all over his tools and nearly weeps.
“Gou-san!” Momo makes a beeline for the doors of the combat room once they open. He’s been waiting outside for fifteen minutes anticipating the end of the training session. “Come look at my dog!”
Unfortunately, the first person Momo runs into is not Gou, but his older sister. Pyunsuke, meanwhile, has managed to find Gou, and she kneels down with a smile to pet him. Nariko folds her arms and raises an eyebrow. “Do I want to know where you got this dog?”
“Dive bar,” Momo says. That much should be obvious.
“Um,” Gou lifts her hand off of Pyunsuke in alarm. “What?”
Nariko’s eyes are stormy. “You were in a dive bar?” Momo nods. “You mean nii-san gave you a fake ID and not me?”
“Is that really the problem here, Nariko?” Gou has straightened up, but Pyunsuke remains snuffling at her knees. She pets his head absently and he woofs.
“My fake ID is for science,” Momo tells her eagerly.
She smiles. “That’s nice, Momo.” Momo frowns. Not exactly the response he wanted, but at least she smiled at him.
“What’s for science?” Nagisa comes bounding out of the combat room.
“My fake ID. And my dog.”
Nagisa brightens. “Do you think Rei-chan could get me a fake ID?”
Nariko snorts. “No way in hell would Rei-chan be responsible for something like that.”
Nagisa pays her no mind, coaxing Pyunsuke from around Gou’s legs. “He’s so cute Momo, what’s his name?”
“Isn’t your scaled kaiju model named Pyunsuke?” Rin’s joined them, resting his chin on top of his sister’s head.
“It’s a good name,” Momo defends. Nariko snickers. “Nee-san!”
The combat room doors open again, and without warning, Pyunsuke detaches himself from Gou’s legs with an excited roar and bounds towards whoever is coming out. “Pyunsuke, no!” Momo cries.
It’s too late, seeing as Pyunsuke has already tackled someone rather small to the floor. “Mmmph!!” All Momo can see of Pyunsuke’s victim is his some legs and a head of silvery hair.
Rin starts. “Oh, shit, Nitori!” He jogs over and pulls Pyunsuke off of the guy. “Momo, take your crazy dog.” Momo grabs the struggling Pyunsuke and stares. “You okay, buddy?” Rin asks the guy currently spitting dog hair out of his mouth. The name on his jacket says Nitori Aiichiro.
Nitori spits more dog hair. “I’m fine, thank you Rin senpai!” Rin helps him up. Nitori’s a little read, and his hair is standing up, but he looks no more worse for wear.
“I’m Momo,” Momo says, sticking out the arm that’s not clamped around Pyunsuke.
Nitori smiles. “I know, I’ve seen you around. You’re the marshall’s brother, right? I’m Nitori, Nitori Aiichiro.”
“Sorry about Pyunsuke, Nitori-san,” Momo says seriously. “He’s not shatterdome trained yet. I got him from a dive bar.”
Nitori’s eyes widen and Rin’s mouth drops open. “A what—”
“Momo,” interrupts Nariko. “Have you noticed anything strange about your dog?”
“It roared,” Gou says. She looks at Pyunsuke with her head tilted to one side. It’s a pretty look on her, Momo thinks, but Gou always looks pretty. “When it attacked Nitori, it...it roared. Like a…”
Her brother finishes her sentence. “Like a kaiju.”
“Nii-saaaaaaaan!” Momo bangs on his brother’s office door. “I have a problem!”
Seijuuro’s doors slide open and Momo and Pyunsuke tumble in. “Oh—shoot—” Momo colors when he sees Makoto and Haruka sitting on the couch. “Sorry, sorry, was I—?”
“Come in, Momo, we weren’t doing anything,” Seijuuro beckons him inside. “What’s up buddy?”
“You have a dog?” Haruka looks at Pyunsuke with interest as Pyunsuke bounds over to Makoto’s outstretched hand.
Seijuuro peers over his desk. “Huh. When’d you get a dog, Momo?”
“That dive bar you sent me to,” Momo explains. Seijuuro nods as if he’s understood.
Makoto looks scandalized. “You sent him to a dive bar?”
Seijuuro shrugs. “He wanted some kaiju cultures. You had a problem, Momo?”
Pyunsuke roars as Haruka scratches him behind the ears. Everyone stares.
“That’s my problem.” Momo turns to Makoto and Haru. “Do you guys know what’s wrong? You’ve had pets, right?”
Makoto laughs. “Sorry Momo, I’m more of a cat person. Haru had a dog in middle school, didn’t you, Haru?”
Haruka looks up from where he’s been kneeling on the floor, flashing Makoto a small smile. “Yeah. Makkou.”
Pyunsuke roars again.
“Your weird new dog aside, Momo,” Seijuuro gives Pyunsuke the side eye. “How did you like those kaiju cell cultures?”
“Awesome.” Momo swings his backpack around to go digging inside. “I have them here, look—” he stops cold. The petri dishes are no longer sealed, and he’s pretty sure the cultures inside were blue and somewhat solid last time he looked, not green and liquidy. Momo picks up one of the samples, and comes away with his hand sticky and wet. Almost as if they’re coated in thick saliva.
“Are they supposed to look like that?” Makoto asks interestedly.
“Nope,” Momo swallows. “I think...I think Pyunsuke might have...might have eaten them.”
Pyunsuke jumps on Momo’s front, and roars.