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Division One and the Looming Threat of Family

Chapter Text

Kougami knew that when he and Ginoza got assigned to different divisions at the Public Safety Bureau, they’d be seeing a lot less of each other. But he didn’t expect his friend to become the talk of the office.

Not that Ginoza wasn’t interesting enough to be the talk of the office. Maybe he was less interesting than most of their colleagues. He was certainly less interesting than Kougami (or so Kougami thought.) The other reason why Kougami didn’t expect Ginoza to be the center of office attention was because Ginoza didn’t like attention. At least, not that kind of attention.

“So,” Shion said, leaning back in her chair and grinning at Kougami upside down. “Is it true?”

“Is what true?”

“Does Inspector Ginoza really like plants?” She asked this like she was asking whether Ginoza was good in bed.

Kougami frowned. “Y-yes? What does that have to do with anything?”

“What kind of plants?”

“I don’t know,” Kougami admitted. “He has a cactus?”

“Hmmm,” Shion said. “You know what they say about guys who like plants.” And she winked.

“What?”

“You don’t know? Well, I’m not going to tell you.”

“Why not?” Kougami snapped. “I’m an inspector, damn it.”

“You’ll have to go to the source,” Shion said.

“The source of what?”

Shion just gave him a frustratingly smug smile.

*

The next day Kougami bumped into Aoyanagi on the way to lunch.

“Your friend is quite popular,” Aoyanagi told him, “and if the rumors are true, quite the catch.”

“The rumors,” Kougami repeated.

“Apparently he’s a dog person,” Aoyanagi said, “and you know what they say about men who own dogs.”

Kougami stopped walking. “What do they say about men who own dogs?”

“You don’t know?”

Kougami pinched the bridge of his nose. “I forgot—I didn’t send a report.” He turned and started back towards his office.

“Bye, Kougami,” Aoyanagi called after him.

*

Sasayama cornered Kougami when he was getting data from Shion the day after.

“There’s a poll going around the office,” Sasayama said, sinking onto the sofa next to Kougami with a distressed look on his face. “It ranks the most attractive men.”

“And?”

“I’m not the most attractive man!” Sasayama buried his face in his hands. Kougami tried not to laugh at his expense.

“Neither are you,” Shion said to Kougami.

“Wh-who is?” he managed to ask, mostly keeping his voice level.

“Ginoza!” Sasayama groaned. Kougami half-rose from his chair.

“What?!”

“It’s because men with glasses are smart,” Shion said, “and a little bit mysterious.”

“Ginoza isn’t mysterious,” Kougami cried. “He’s as obvious as a—a plant!”

“What does that even mean?” Sasayama asked. “Besides, he’s a charmless bastard.”

“Are you jealous of Ginoza-san?” Shion asked.

“I would never be jealous of Ginoza,” Sasayama said, his face twisting in distaste. “It’s…Ginoza.”

“Glasses,” Kougami mused, “plant-keeping, and loving dogs. Those aren’t things that are seen as incredibly attractive most of the time. But someone in this office has been spreading rumors to make it seem like these things, and Ginoza, are extremely attractive. You mentioned a source of the rumors, Shion. Who is it?”

“Here we go,” Sasayama muttered.

“As a fellow office gossip, I can’t reveal that,” Shion said. “But you’re an investigator. I’m sure you’ll figure it out.”

“Damn it!” Kougami stood up. “I’m going to have some strong words.”

“With who?” Sasayama asked.

“With Ginoza.”

“Aren’t you still on duty?” Shion pointed out.

Kougami sat down, hard. “After work.”

*

Ginoza lived in the same apartment building as Kougami, but neither had been to the other’s apartment. They met for lunch or dinner sometimes, either at work or at various restaurants.

Kougami knocked on the door like he was getting ready to kick it in if someone didn’t answer in the next five minutes.

No one answered.

Kougami pounded his fists against the door. “Come on, Gino, open up! This is serious! You can’t hide forever!”

“Kougami, what are you doing here?”

Kougami whirled around to see Ginoza standing a few feet away, still dressed in his work clothes, looking confused.

“I wanted to talk to you,” Kougami said.

“And what if I hadn’t come straight home from work?” Ginoza crossed his arms in front of his chest.

“Well...”

“You could've called ahead." Ginoza sighed. "What is it?"

“There’s been rumors going around the office,” Kougami started.

“Don’t tell me you participate in something as trivial as gossip,” Ginoza said.

“About,” Kougami continued, “how men who care for plants and love dogs are somehow attractive. People keep telling me, ‘you know what they say about men who care for plants,’ or 'you know what they say about men who love dogs’ and you know what? I don’t know. I don’t know at all. But then, this is the kicker, Gino–”

Ginoza peered at Kougami over the frames of his glasses in that judgmental way of his. “You want to know what people say about men who love dogs and take care of plants? Why should I know such a ridiculous thing?”

Kougami’s eye twitched. “And the kicker,” he continued, “is the list.”

“What list?”

“A list of the most attractive men in the PSB,” Kougami said. “And do you know who’s on top of the list?”

“Sasayama?”

“You.”

Ginoza’s curious expression quickly turned to one of horror, and his cheeks burned red. He reached up to adjust his glasses so that they covered his eyes fully. “Me?”

And in that moment, Kougami knew that Ginoza wasn’t the one who’d started the rumors.

But who had?

“Who is saying such things? People have been acting strangely towards me this week but I just thought—“ he lunged forward, grabbing Kougami by the lapels of his shirt. “Do you know?”

“I thought you did,” Kougami said, “because all these rumors seem to benefit you. If you didn’t start them–”

“Why would I start them? I don’t have time for relationships! I don’t even like half the people I work with.”

“Someone really wants you to get a date,” Kougami muttered.

Ginoza met Kougami’s eyes, his own widening. Then he released his grip on Kougami’s shirt and staggered backwards until he hit the wall behind him.

“Gino?” Kougami moved forward.

Ginoza raised a hand to his head, grasped at his hair. “No.”

“What’s wrong, Gino?” Kougami insisted.

Ginoza lowered his hand. His face was chalk white.

“The source of the rumors…it’s my father.”

*

Kougami was not responsible for what happened next.

The following morning Ginoza stormed into the Division Three office, marched straight up to Masaoka, and yanked him out of his chair.

No one in the office moved.

“If you ever spread rumors about me again,” Ginoza hissed, “I will shoot you with my dominator. And take away your painting supplies.”

“Nobuchika, I was just trying to–”

“I don’t want to hear it.” Ginoza pushed Masaoka back into his seat, glared at everyone else in the office, and stalked out of the room.

Kougami decided it would be best if he tactically ignored Masaoka for the rest of the afternoon.

*

The next day, Shion let Kougami know that there was a rumor about his preferences for a significant other.

“Kougami Shinya prefers significant others who are dog lovers, who take care of plants, and who wear glasses. That’s the rumor,” Shion said. “Though no one will take it seriously.”

Kougami’s wrist communicator beeped. There was a message from Ginoza reading, “We need to talk.”

Kougami sighed. “I know one person who would.”

On Division Three’s next mission, Kougami made sure to shoot Masaoka.

Chapter Text

“I have an idea,” Kagari said, which was usually how all of Division One’s troubles started.

This particular bit of trouble actually started a few minutes earlier, when Masaoka had asked Ginoza what his plans were for the weekend. Ginoza had given him a confused look and answered, “Work. Sleep. Walking Dime?”

“I wish you would get out more,” Masaoka had said. “Find a nice girl…or guy.”

“That’s none of your business,” Ginoza had snapped. Then he’d left the office for a meeting, leaving the enforcers alone.

Never a good idea.

“You know,” Kougami had said as soon as they were alone, “Ginoza did say he wanted to have dinner with Akane to get to know her a bit more. Since she’s new.”

They all thought on that for a moment.

That was when Kagari had said, “I have an idea.”

*

“Tsunemori,” Ginoza said, catching Akane in the elevator. She’d been walking back from lunch the following Monday with Kagari, who for some reason seemed unusually excited at the prospect of being in an elevator with two inspectors.

“Ginoza-san,” Akane said with a small nod.

“I was wondering,” Ginoza adjusted his glasses, “if we could have dinner this week. It’s customary for inspectors to get to know each other, and I haven’t had a chance to talk to you properly since we’re so short-staffed.”

“That sounds great,” Akane said with a smile. They stood in silence for a moment.

Then Kagari piped up, “I’ll cook.”

“What,” Ginoza said.

“That sounds great,” Akane said.

“Wait,” Ginoza started, but Kagari cut him off.

“Just meet at my place and I’ll make you the best food you’ve had in a long time. Much better than that cafeteria crap. You weren’t planning on going there, were you?”

Judging from the guilty looks on both Ginoza’s and Akane’s faces, they were.

“It’s settled,” Kagari said, clapping his hands together. “But don’t worry. I’ll let you two talk amongst yourselves.”

“That’s very kind of you,” Akane said.

“No it isn’t,” muttered Ginoza.

*

Ginoza spent the afternoon narrowing his eyes at Kagari, as though by looking at him long enough he could determine Kagari’s plans.

Kagari was certain that Ginoza’s crime coefficient was steadily rising.

*

Akane and Ginoza arrived at the same time, and by then, Kagari had enlisted Masaoka’s help in “setting the mood.” Setting the mood involved getting Masaoka’s advice on old “romantic” music, and getting Shion’s advice on how to set the table.

There was a proper table cloth. And a candle. And a single rose in the middle. Good enough.

“Good evening, monsieur and madam,” Kagari said upon opening the door. With a sweep of his arm he gestured to the table in front of them, and both Ginoza and Akane stopped dead.

“Kagari,” Ginoza growled.

Akane laughed, nervously. “Kagari, I think you misinterpreted what we meant by dinner.”

“Did I?” Kagari closed the door behind them and pushed them both towards the table. “Food is food. And I’ve already made it, so there’s no point in wasting time. Sit, sit! Let me serve you on your special night!” And then he darted into the kitchen.

He returned with a bottle of champagne to find Akane staring at the candle, and Ginoza playing with the rose.

“So,” Akane said.

“This was not my idea,” Ginoza said, too quickly.

Akane laughed, and Kagari chose this moment to introduce the champagne. “For the lovely lady,” he said, placing it in front of Akane. “The food will be out in a moment.” And then he disappeared again.

He purposefully took longer to bring out the food, just because he wanted time for the alcohol to do the trick and loosen both of them up. Not that Akane was susceptible to getting drunk, but she could get tipsy.

Ginoza, however.

He could hear, from the kitchen, Akane say, “Don’t worry, it’s not much. And we should celebrate. You finally have a full team again.”

Ten minutes later Kagari brought out two plates of risotto. Ginoza’s face was slightly flushed, and Akane looked a little more relaxed. He left to prepare the dessert.

When he got into the kitchen, he sent a message to Kougami: “Success.”

A few minutes later Kougami responded: “Really? I hope you didn’t give Gino alcohol.”

Kagari messaged back, “…why?”

And Kougami answered, “He drinks too much when he’s nervous, and he’s a lightweight.”

Kagari dropped his communication device and darted back to check on his guests.

Ginoza was slumped against the table, head prompted up by one arm and waving his glasses around with his free hand while talking. Akane was giggling at him, and her cheeks were a little flushed.

The champagne bottle was empty.

“Shit,” Kagari said. Neither of them paid him any mind.

“And,” Ginoza slurred, “then Dime touched his paw to mine, and gave me a high five. He’s such a smart dog. So intelligent.”

“Jeez,” Kagari said, “I leave you alone for five minutes and you’re wasted.”

“This is your fault,” Ginoza said, pointing a finger in Kagari’s general direction. “You and you-your schemes. Don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing. I know.”

“What do you know?” Kagari asked.

“That you, and them, are trying to set me up,” Ginoza said, “despite knowing that workplace relationships are inappropriate and that Inspector Tsunemori is new and should not be collateral damage to–”

“You are so boring!” Kagari cried. “This is why you don’t have a girlfriend!”

Ginoza tried, and failed, to stand up. He settled for glaring at Kagari from his seat.

“I’m sure you won’t even remember this tomorrow,” Kagari added. “I mean, Kou said you were a lightweight but I didn’t think he meant–”

“Kou?” Ginoza repeated, voice dangerously low.

“What?” Kagari said.

“Kougami!” This time Ginoza rose from his seat and lunged for Kagari, who didn’t react fast enough. Ginoza held him by his shoulders. “Kougami?”

“Calm down,” Kagari said, and pushed Ginoza off him.

What he didn’t think would happen was that Ginoza would completely lose his balance and crack his head against the floor.

But that’s exactly what happened.

Akane and Kagari stared at each other in shock, then at Ginoza, who was sprawled on the floor looking pained.

“It wasn’t even that hard!” Kagari cried.

Ginoza sat up, a hand pressed to his head, and groaned.

“I think I’ll get him home,” Akane said, rushing to his side and helping him up.

“That’s…my job,” Ginoza slurred, “on this…date.”

“You didn’t know,” Akane said, “so it’s fine.”

“But–”

“You worry too much. Come on.” She dragged him out of Kagari’s apartment, leaving Kagari with less alcohol and two unfinished plates of cold risotto.

*

“I got a message from Gino,” Kougami said. “He’s hungover, and pissed off, and he wants us all to know that our plan didn’t work because Kagari nearly gave him a concussion.”

“I did not!” Kagari cried. “You were there, Akane-chan! I didn’t!”

Akane only hummed and continued typing up something on her computer.

“Betrayal,” Kagari muttered.

“We tried our best,” Masaoka said. “It’s a shame it didn’t work. I mourn for Nobuchika’s lost opportunity at love.”

“It wouldn’t have happened with any of you in charge,” Kunizuka said.

“Hey,” Kougami said.

“It wasn’t a total failure,” Kagari added. “I mean, the alcohol was good. Because they got drunk. And talked about not work.”

“Ginoza-san has a lovely way of talking about his dog,” Akane mused. “And all his apologies for getting drunk were endearing.”

Masaoka, Kagari, and Kougami exchanged astonished looks.

Then Kougami grinned and said, “So he’s not a completely charmless bastard after all.”

And Masaoka stage-whispered, “There’s hope for my Nobu yet!”

Chapter Text

Kougami Shinya had done a lot of things in his life, but he was ashamed to say that he had never met a real dog before.

Until they had to go undercover to a dog show. That was when Kougami found out that his best friend had a dog. A big dog. An impossible to hide dog. And yet Kougami, for all his detective skills, never noticed.

“How do you not get fur on your clothes?” he asked.

“Because I try, Kougami,” Ginoza answered.

They were sitting in Ginoza’s apartment, which Kougami hadn’t been to before. That was also surprising, but they never spent time in each others’ homes, even when they were both inspectors. Even when they were both in high school, before taking on the high stress of working for the PSB.

The dog in question, Dime, was sitting at Ginoza’s feet like some sort of fluffy and eccentric room decoration.

Kougami didn’t have a lot of experience with pets.

“What do you do with it?”

Ginoza raised an eyebrow. “He is a dog, Kougami. Not an alien.”

“I thought you hated dogs,” Kougami said.

Ginoza shot him a dirty look. Which only lasted for a few seconds, because his communication device rang and he sprang up to take the call.

Kougami looked at Dime. Dime looked at Kougami. They didn’t move. In the background, Ginoza’s voice rose and fell, but the words were indistinguishable.

“Hi,” Kougami said.

Dime scooted over a few feet to nudge Kougami’s legs. Kougami yelped. Dime was big. Could probably bite off a good chunk of his thigh, if he were so inclined.

Instead, Dime rested his head on Kougami’s lap and looked up at him with big, brown eyes.

“What do you want?” Kougami asked.

Dime didn’t answer, because Dime couldn’t talk.

Kougami recalled, during the dog show, Ginoza scratching Dime behind the ears. Kougami tried this, and Dime’s tongue lolled out.

“Clearly, Gino doesn’t hate you,” Kougami muttered. Dime suddenly dropped to the floor, and Kougami cried, “Whoa!”

Dime was on his back, stomach exposed, tail wagging. Slowly, Kougami knelt down next to him and started to rub his furry stomach. Dime looked happy, or at least, that’s what Kougami thought.

“Gino spoils you, doesn’t he?” Kougami said. Dime didn’t respond. “He doesn’t spoil me. Sometimes I think he hates me. You know he calls me ‘dog’ as an insult? I bet you don’t appreciate that, do you?”

Dime made a happy dog noise.

“What makes you so special, anyway?” Kougami continued. “You don’t help with investigations. You don’t catch criminals. I bet all you do is eat and sleep and…and.” He sighed. “And make Gino happy. Which I guess is something. It’s a hard job, so it’s admirable that you can do it so well. I think. I don’t know, actually. Are you any good at your job, Dime?”

Of course, Dime didn’t answer.

“Having fun?”

Kougami looked up to see Ginoza standing there, an annoyed look on his face. Not at Kougami, it seemed, but from the phone call.

“Dime likes me better,” Kougami said. As if to spite him, Dime flipped over and started padding towards Ginoza. “Hey!”

Ginoza ignored this. “We have to go back. Sasayama got into an argument with someone from Division 2 over the case from last week. Apparently Division 2 wants to take some of the credit for Sasayama’s findings.” He pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed.

Dime nudged Ginoza’s legs and Ginoza looked down, surprised, and then his tense expression melted into something more tender. He offered Dime a small, genuine smile and reached down to scratch under the dog’s chin. “I’ll be back later,” he murmured. Then he straightened up, serious again, and said, “Let’s go.”

Kougami was sad to see Ginoza’s smile gone so quickly.

Ginoza started for the door, and as Kougami followed him, he turned around to look at Dime one more time and mouthed, “Good job.”

He felt better, knowing that Dime would be there for Ginoza when he got back.

Chapter Text

“They’re like our parents.”

“What,” Kunizuka said.

Kagari spun around in his chair to face the other two enforcers present and said, “Akane-chan and Gino-san. They’re like our parents. Mom and Dad.”

Kougami outright laughed, and Kagari frowned at him.

“What?”

“Did you forget about Pops?” Kougami asked.

“Yeah but Pops is cool,” Kagari said. “Besides, don’t you think we’re kind of like a family?”

“We’re co-workers,” Kunizuka said.

“And if we’re a family,” Kagari continued, “who would be who? I think Pops is the eccentric grandpa.”

“And you’re the hyper-active seven year old kid,” Kougami muttered. “But Gino and Akane as parents? First of all, Gino’s the same age as me, and we used to be the same rank. Second of all, Akane is younger than all of us.”

“So you’re saying you’d be a good father,” Kagari said with a smirk. “You can’t take care of anything.”

“Hey! Can you see Gino taking care of something alive?”

“I do,” said a voice from the door, and Kagari and Kougami jumped in their seats and whirled around to find Ginoza standing there, looking suspicious.

“Gino-san,” Kagari said, rubbing the back of his head. “How was your meeting?”

“Do I want to know what you’re talking about?” Ginoza said.

“No,” Kougami answered, at the same time as Kagari said, “Actually, this is perfect. What do you take care of that’s alive?”

“This team,” Ginoza pointed out.

“That doesn’t count,” Kagari said. “That’s your job.”

“My dog,” Ginoza said. “My plants.”

“Is it a robot dog? Are they synthetic plants?”

Ginoza narrowed his eyes. “No.”

“Ginoza!” Ginoza turned around to find Akane standing there. “I’m sorry I took so long. My meeting over-ran and–”

“This is perfect,” Kagari said, clapping his hands together. “Stand next to each other.”

“Wh-what?” Akane unconsciously took a step forward, placing her next to Ginoza, whose expression had darkened.

“Kagari,” Kunizuka warned.

“Oh, come on,” Kagari said, “you guys are no fun. Kougami, don’t you agree with me?”

“How could I forget about Gino’s dog,” Kougami muttered.

“We were thinking,” Kagari started, only to be interrupted by Kunizuka clarifying, “You were thinking-”

“That,” Kagari continued, “you, Gino-san, and you, Akane-chan, are like the father and mother of our little Division One family.”

Akane’s eyes widened and her cheeks started to turn red. So did Ginoza’s, but his expression was less shock and more incredulous.

“Blew their minds,” Kagari said, smiling at the others.

Ginoza was the first to recover. He adjusted his glasses and muttered, “You all do act like children.” Then he walked to his desk, sat down, and glared at Kagari.

“I’m taking that as a yes,” Kagari said.

“That is not what that means,” Ginoza told him.

“Does that mean,” Akane managed after a moment, “that I would be married to Ginoza-san?”

Ginoza choked on air. Kagari burst out laughing, Kougami turned away to hide his own amused smile, and even Kunizuka couldn’t help grinning.

From across the room, Akane locked eyes with Ginoza. And then, she smiled at him.

Ginoza resembled a deer in headlights.

“Oh,” Kagari moaned between giggles, “I wish Pops was here to–”

Ginoza slammed his hand on his desk. “These are not appropriate workplace relationships!”

The sudden outburst was enough to stop the laughter. Akane made her way back to her desk and sat down, and for a moment, it was quiet.

Then Kagari muttered, “Pops is lucky grandpa.”

A few seconds later Kagari’s communication device beeped. Ginoza had sent him a message reading “I am going to kill you.”

A few seconds later Akane sent him a message as well. It read: “It’s okay. Your father’s just stressed out from work.”

Kagari punched the air.

Chapter Text

“You two need to relax,” Kagari said after a long shift. Ginoza was cleaning his glasses for the fifth time in twenty minutes, and Akane’s smile looked strained.

And they both ignored him.

“Come on,” Kagari said, turning to the enforcers. “Don’t you think our two favorite inspectors need to relax?”

“I keep telling Nobuchika that,” Masaoka said, “but he won’t listen to me.”

“Shut up,” Ginoza muttered.

“Well, Sasayama took Gino and I to a strip club once,” Kougami said. “It wasn’t very relaxing.”

Kagari blinked at him. “I’m not going to do that.”

“Last time you forced us on a date,” Ginoza said. “I refuse to take part in anything that you consider relaxing.”

“This time will be different,” Kagari said.

“Have you tried sex?” Kunizuka suggested. Everyone turned to stare at her.

“No,” Akane said after a moment.

“I’m not doing that either!” cried Kagari, now horrified.

“Sleep is relaxing,” Ginoza said.

“Sleep is boring,” Kagari said.

“Do young people not understand the concept of relaxation?” Masaoka asked.

“I know,” Kagari said, snapping his fingers. “Meet me in the rec room after work. We’re gonna play a game.”

*

Ginoza and Akane sat across from each other at one of the tables when Kagari arrived, and they were discussing leaving.

“I have a terrible feeling about this,” Ginoza was saying. “Nothing good can come from any of Kagari’s ideas.”

“It should be fine,” Akane said. “Kagari just cares about us.”

“Kagari is up to something,” Ginoza insisted.

“Kagari is here,” Kagari chimed in, and Ginoza jumped and glared at him. Akane gave him a small smile. “Now, are you ready for the fun to begin?”

“How long is this going to take?” Ginoza asked.

“Ten minutes, tops,” Kagari said, which caused Ginoza to look alarmed.

“What-”

“Tada!” Kagari brandished a bottle of old fashioned tequila (courtesy of Masaoka) and an assortment of shot glasses.

“No,” Ginoza said.

“It’ll be fun,” Kagari said, as he darted away and then came back with a large trash can, which he set next to the table. “Think of it as bonding.”

“You’re trying to kill us,” Ginoza said, his expression becoming more and more horrified as he saw that Kagari was lining up four shot glasses in front of each of them.

“Is this excessive?” Akane asked, as Kagari poured her four shots.

“It’s relaxing,” Kagari said.

“It’s deadly,” Ginoza said.

Kagari finished pouring the shots and straightened up. “Now. You each have four shots. When I say “Go!” you’ll start drinking. First one to finish all four wins! But if it’s a tie, the last one standing wins.”

“What do you mean by the last one–”

“Go!”

Akane and Ginoza both downed, and then choked on, their first shot. “This is disgusting!” Ginoza cried.

“Come on, Gino-san, you don’t want to lose, do you?” Kagari chided.

The second shot went down much more smoothly. The third shot barely seemed to register for either of them, though they both knocked one of their shot glasses off the table. They finished their last shot at the same time, Akane slamming down hers on the table, and Ginoza throwing his glass half-heartedly at Kagari, who caught it in one hand.

“Well, you both tied,” he said, “so I guess it’s a matter of who’s more drunk.”

Akane’s cheeks were slightly flushed, but she was still sitting up straight. Ginoza had slumped over the table, his head in his hands.

“Someone’s feeling that relaxation,” Kagari noted.

Ginoza raised his head to glare at him. His eyes weren’t focused. “I’m going to kill you,” he slurred.

“Okay, you’re pretty wasted,” Kagari said. “Akane-chan?”

“Hmm?”

Kagari narrowed his eyes at her. “You’re either a really good actor or…”

“We need to clean these up,” Akane said, standing and grabbing the shot glasses. She was only a little unsteady as she handed them off to Kagari, and then she turned to Ginoza. “And I should get him home.”

“I don’t think he can move,” Kagari said. “Also, I think you won.” To Ginoza he called, “Feeling more relaxed?”

“My life is a failure,” Ginoza replied.

Kagari considered this. “So champagne makes you a happy drunk. Tequila makes you a sad drunk. Next time we’ll try vodka.”

“I’m going to die.”

“No you won’t,” Kagari said.

“Here, let me help,” Akane said, making her way over to Ginoza. “Can you stand?”

Ginoza attempted to stand, and swayed dangerously, overbalancing and grabbing onto Akane’s shoulders for support, nearly causing her to fall as well. But she managed to stay upright, even though Ginoza was a lot taller than her.

“Are you human?” Ginoza demanded. “Why aren’t you drunk?”

“I am drunk,” Akane insisted. “My cheeks are warm.”

“Compared to Gino-san, you’re not drunk,” Kagari said. Even he looked jealous.

“You’re smaller than me,” Ginoza slurred. “Where did the tequila go? Are you…did you cheat?”

“No,” Akane said. “Ginoza-san, why are you this drunk?”

“Gino-san is a massive lightweight,” Kagari sing-songed. Ginoza whirled around and tried to grab Kagari, but he tripped, Akane had to catch him, and Kagari darted out of the way.

“This is your fault,” Ginoza snapped, jabbing a finger in Kagari’s direction. “I have to feed Dime, and now I can’t. Because I can’t move. Because you gave me alcohol. And Dime will be angry. My own dog…”

“I can get you home,” Akane said. “Come on.” She pulled him forward, but he stopped and pulled away from her. “What?”

“I want my dominator.”

“What? Why?”

Ginoza pointed at Kagari again. “He needs to be…enforced.”

“Don’t be like that, Gino-san,” Kagari said. “By tomorrow you won’t even remember any of this.”

“I feel sick,” Ginoza said. (Akane pushed the trash can in front of him and he gripped it for support.) “And it’s your fault. This is not relaxing. This is…the opposite of relaxing. What if you poisoned me? What if I’m poisoned because of all that tequila?”

“It isn’t even the strongest tequila we had,” Kagari muttered.

Ginoza retched into the trashcan, while Akane rubbed circles into his back and stared reproachfully at Kagari.

“What?” Kagari mouthed.

“You know what,” Akane mouthed back.

When Ginoza was done, Akane took him by the arm and said, “I’ll get you home.”

“This is terrible,” Ginoza moaned. “You’re going to think I’m…terrible.”

“I don’t think you’re terrible,” Akane said as they made their way to the door. “Kagari may be terrible.”

“Hey!” Kagari cried.

“You just get drunk really easily, and that’s okay.”

“Don’t sugarcoat it,” Kagari called after them. “You can drink Gino-san under the table several times over.”

“Goodbye, Kagari,” Akane said, and the door slammed shut behind her and Ginoza.

*

The next morning in the office, Akane looked like she hadn’t even had a drop of alcohol. And Ginoza looked like shit.

But that wasn’t the bad part. The bad part was when Kagari decided to test the waters by asking how they were.

And Ginoza fixed him with a glare that could have made lava ice over and hissed, “I haven’t forgotten what you did.”

Kagari avoided him for a week after that.

Chapter Text

“Voltaire once said–”

“I don’t give a damn what Voltaire said,” Kougami snapped. “Makishima, is that you?”

“Ah. Yes. I should have opened with an introduction.”

Kougami stared at his wrist communication device, which had started ringing only a few seconds before. A call from an unknown number. And now Kougami was talking to the criminal who seemed bent on destroying the city.

Said criminal asked, “Have you read much George Orwell? Gibson? Phillip K. Dick?”

“What?” Kougami sent a quick message to Shion, asking her to trace the call. “Uh, yes.”

“Hmm. I thought so. What about Shakespeare?”

“I’m less familiar,” Kougami said. “Why are you–”

“Are you happy with the society you live in, Kougami Shinya?”

Kougami blinked. “I wouldn’t say happy is the right word.”

“Aren’t you curious to see what happens if our society's order is upended?”

“No.”

A sharp intake of breath. “Kougami, you are a smart man. I suggest you free your mind and you will start to see greater meaning in your life. And by seeing the greater meaning, you will want to free yourself from the constraints of your society. To set everyone else free, because that is when humans are at their most spectacular.”

“What does this have to do with literature?”

“Take madeleines, for example,” Makishima said.

“What?”

“Madeleines,” Makishima continued, and Kougami involuntarily pictured long fingers holding one delicately over a cup of tea, “represent the decadence of a society that doesn’t know how to measure its wealth in any way other than through material things. Much like our society now.”

“They’re tiny cakes,” Kougami said.

On his device, Shion sent a text message stating that she hadn’t been able to trace the call. Which meant that Kougami had been talking to Makishima for the past for minutes for no reason other than Makishima's own amusement.

Makishima laughed. “I would like to spend a night with you.”

Kougami nearly choked. “What?!”

More laughter. “I imagine we could fill a night with stimulating conversation.”

“You spent to the spend a night with me…talking?” He hated the little tiny part of him that was slightly insulted and was thinking that people who wanted to spend the night with him usually wanted to do more than have stimulating conversation. They usually wanted stimulating...other things.

Another message from Shion appeared, reading, “Why are you still talking to him? ;)” His cheeks burned.

“We need not only talk,” Makishima said. Kougami's jaw dropped. Makishima let that sink in before adding, “But yes. Not as enemies, but as two intellectuals participating in the meeting of minds. I find you interesting.”

Kougami's brain was stuck on "not only talk" and he muttered, "A meeting of minds."

"Yes."

“Why do you think I would do that?”

“Again, take the madeleine–”

“Fuck the madeleine,” Kougami snapped as an image of the tiny cake being slipped into a thin-lipped mouth popped into his head. “Are you serious?”

“I am nothing if not serious,” Makishima said.

Kougami closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “I’m pretty sure if I saw you I’d shoot you before you could open your mouth.”

“What a disappointment.” And he sounded disappointed. “Please think about it. I’m sure we could learn a lot from each other. And, I would provide tea and madeleines, of course.”

“Of course,” Kougami muttered.

“Until we meet again,” Makishima said, sounding almost wistful.

"We haven't even met once," Kougami said, but halfway through his sentence the call disconnected and he glared at his wrist device like it was Makishima himself.

Anything having to do with Makishima couldn’t have been good, especially not this call.

And where was he getting those madeleines? They didn’t make those in Japan anymore.

He sent Shion a message asking her to look into it because it could be important in the investigation, and then wondered just how concerned he should be that Makishima found him interesting and had somehow managed to get in contact with him.

Chapter Text

Illness was a common concern at the PSB, not because germs were running rampant, but because stress made people more susceptible to illness. The inspectors and enforcers did their best to make sure that they were keeping themselves healthy, but occasionally an illness broke through their defenses and then spread like wildfire.

This winter’s illness was Kagari’s fault.

Kagari felt sick during a shift one day but stuck it out, only to go back to his room and throw up for several hours. By the time the next morning dawned, he hadn’t slept, and he had to call in sick.

“Vomiting bug?” Akane said when she received his message.

“Oh,” Kougami said, turning around to face her. “That’s bad. Those things are contagious as hell.”

“But he got sick after he left,” Akane pointed out.

“Is anyone going to ask me if I’m okay?” Kagari complained over the communication device.

“Don’t come out of your room for anything,” Kougami told him.

“He was probably contagious yesterday,” Kunizuka said.

“Don’t say things that like,” Kagari cried.

“Feel better,” Akane said, and she hung up on him.

For a moment they sat there, thinking about what the next week would be like if they all fell ill.

“I’m sure it’ll be fine,” Akane said, giving her team a bright smile.

Twenty-four hours later, everything went to hell.

*

Masaoka was the next to fall. He didn’t come in for his shift, but called in and said, “Whoever gave this to me is dead.”

“It’s fine,” Akane said, mostly to herself. “It’s just two people. It isn’t a big deal.”

That was when Kunizuka, who had been even more quiet than usual, rushed out of the room.

“Three people,” Akane amended. She was starting to feel the first signs of fear. Or was that sickness?

Her communication device rang. Kougami smirked at her as she sighed and picked it up, expecting the worst.

But it was just Kagari asking, “Can I come back to work?”

“You have to wait two days from your last symptoms,” Akane told him. She might have consulted the medical ward the previous day. Just in case.

“But Akane-chaannnn, I’m bored.”

“We can’t afford anyone else getting sick.”

A pause. “You mean there’s more?”

“It’s just that we don’t have a lot of staff,” Akane told him.

“If we’re understaffed let me come back!”

“You just want to see everyone miserable, don’t you,” Kougami said.

“Kou-chan, that’s mean,” Kagari said. “I’ll have you know that I’m very concerned and I just want to make sure–”

“Goodbye, Kagari,” Akane said, and hung up.

“Should someone go check on Kunizuka?” Kougami asked with a very pointed look at Akane, because to him “someone” meant her.

“I can’t leave just one person in the office in the middle of a shift,” Akane said. “I’m sure she’s fine.”

Half an hour later a chalk-white Kunizuka reappeared and told Akane that she had to go. Akane watched her walk out of the office like a person condemned to death, and looked down at her computer. A headache was building behind her eyes.

“I hope we don’t get called out,” she said.

For once, her prayers were answered.

*

Akane generally considered herself a lucky person. Her psycho-pass always remained clear and healthy, she was smart, she had the job she wanted, and all her closest family members were alive and well. But when she woke up in the middle of the night with severe nausea that sent her running to the bathroom, she decided that she had been cursed since birth.

She had to call in sick the next day, and felt really bad about it, because that meant Ginoza would be pulling double shifts. But she couldn’t move from the bathroom, even if she wanted to.

At some point, perhaps hours later, a knock on her door startled her. She lifted her head from the toilet, where she’d fallen asleep, and her computer system told her that someone was at the door.

“Nooo,” she groaned. Whoever it was would have to go away. She was a mess. She’d just spent several hours sleeping in the bathroom. She wasn’t dressed properly. She was cold from the sweat drying on her body. And she was probably going to throw up on whoever walked into the door.

“It’s Inspector Ginoza,” her computer system chirped.

That got her attention. She debated the merits of letting her boss see her completely messed up, then decided that it might distract her from her own pain for a little bit. Besides, it would be interesting. She wanted to know why he was here.

“Let him him.”

She heard the door open and quick footsteps rushing through her apartment. Ginoza appeared in the doorway, looking disheveled, glasses askew, and carrying a plastic bag in one hand and holding the leash of a dog in the other. With the dog attached.

Akane blinked at him. “Wha-”

“I heard you were sick,” Ginoza said, quickly, “so I brought you some medicine,” he knelt down on the floor and upended the bag, “and some ginger tea. I hear ginger helps with nausea? I can brew you a cup if you want. And some heat pads, for any stomach pain, and this is my dog Dime, I think he might make you feel better.”

“…work?” was all Akane could say.

Ginoza was already halfway up. “Tea. It’s my lunch break, Division Two is helping.” Then he was gone.

Akane looked at Dime, but she didn’t move. Dime seemed happy to watch her.

A few minutes later Ginoza returned with a warm mug of tea. He thrust it into Akane’s hands, then said, “I’ll be back during my dinner break for Dime. Feel better.” And was off.

Akane took a few sips of the tea, and Dime padded over to sit next to her. She put the tea down, waited. Her stomach wasn’t happy, and she spent the next few minutes retching. After she was done, she pulled Dime close to her. He was warm. And very much like a pillow.

Half an hour later she was asleep.

*

Kagari was practically bouncing in his seat. “You gave Akane-chan your dog?”

Ginoza massaged his temples. “She is borrowing him.”

“You didn’t give me your dog.”

“I wouldn’t trust you with a plant, let alone a dog.”

“Where’s Shion?” Kougami asked. “I tried to get some data from her but–”

“She’s nursing her girlfriend back to health,” Kagari said. “How romantic.”

Ginoza coughed and they both turned to look at him. He asked, “Shion and Kunizuka are dating?”

“Oh, my poor, innocent Gino-san,” Kagari said.

*

Akane woke up to the sound of the front door opening, and had just managed to lift her head off Dime’s back when Ginoza appeared in front of her, kneeling down and looking like a concerned parent.

“Are you okay?”

There was a mug of cold tea by her feet and her neck hurt from sleeping in such a weird position, and she felt sticky and dirty and tired and her mouth tasted awful, but for the first time in hours she didn’t feel sick.

“I’m fantastic,” she said.

Ginoza frowned at her and stood up. “If you’re okay, I have to take Dime and get back to work.”

“Mmm-hmm,” Akane hummed, moving back as Dime got to his feet and returned to his owner. “Tell Kagari I’m going to murder him.”

“I’m not going to tell him that,” Ginoza muttered, and he and Dime left.

Akane took a nice, hot shower and thought of appropriate ways to get revenge for this illness.

*

“You look like shit,” Kougami pointed out.

Ginoza felt like shit, but they’d been called out to a crime scene and there was literally no one else for the job. Even with Division Two, they were still short an Inspector and two Enforcers and it was a miracle that somehow Kougami was still with them at all. Ginoza was on his third shift in a row after a brief nap, and he was hating Kagari and the rest of the world and the person who decided that it would be a good idea to break the window of a corner shop at 2am.

They pulled up to the scene to see robots already swarming the place for finger prints. The clerk had been injured by a blow to the head, but other than that, there was nothing major going on. They’d have to catch the person who did it, but they didn’t need to take the clerk in for therapy. His hue was clear. He was just a little shaken.

They were walking towards him when Ginoza suddenly stopped, muttered, “You interview him,” and started walking in the other direction.

“What–” Kougami started, but Ginoza said, “I’ll be right back” and by now the clerk was looking at Kougami as if he held all the answers to the universe and about this crime, so Kougami had to go interview him.

Ginoza did not come right back. Kougami conducted the (admittedly short) interview and sent the recording to Shion to convert to a text document, and then he found Kagari, who’d been serving as their back-up, leaning against the police car.

“Where the hell is Gino?” Kougami demanded.

“It had to happen at some point,” Kagari said, pointing to a nearby alleyway.

“Oh.” Kougami hurried in that direction and found Ginoza leaning against the wall of the building, being violently sick.

“Oh,” he said again, because he didn’t know what to do.

He walked up to Ginoza and started rubbing his back, and Ginoza choked, “What are you doing?” between retches.

“Comforting you,” Kougami said.

Ginoza coughed, and wiped at his mouth. “We need,” he swallowed, “to get back. The interview?”

“Done,” Kougami said. “And you need to go home.”

“Kougami,” Ginoza said, “how many Inspectors do we have?”

“Two,” Kougami said.

“And how many Inspectors are available tonight?”

“One. But get Akane back in or–”

“She won’t wake up. I tried calling her.”

“Ugh.” Kougami wished he knew where Akane lived. Hell, he wished he knew where Ginoza lived. “Are you okay to drive?”

“No,” Ginoza said, but he walked unsteadily past Kougami towards the car anyway.

Kagari and Kougami spent the rest of the night throwing concerned looks at Ginoza as he sat shivering at his desk, and every time he darted out of the office to be sick, Kougami sent Akane a text message variation of, “Please come in tomorrow morning.”

Ginoza looked like he could cry when Akane showed up looking tired, but otherwise fine. He staggered out of the office, and no one heard from him for the rest of the day.

Kunizuka reappeared that afternoon, and Kagari commented, “It looks like you just returned from war or something.”

“Kagari,” Kunizuka said. “Shut up.” And then she sat down, started working, and ignored them all.

*

“This is all Kagari’s fault.”

A few days later they were all back at work at the same time for the first time in a week. Everyone except for Kougami looked like they’d had a recent bought with illness, tired and a little too pale and with a little less care taken on personal appearance.

“I never thought I’d see the day when Kougami was the most put together person in the office,” Kagari said.

“A terrible thing has happened,” Masaoka said. “Stop talking.”

“It’s your fault,” Kougami added.

“Why didn’t you get sick?” Ginoza asked, barely hiding how bitter he was about not being the one who’d escaped.

“I’ve got a healthy immune system, Gino,” Kougami said.

“Maybe,” Akane said, “it’s possible that you were just a carrier for the illness. So you didn’t get it, but you could have given it to us.”

Everyone slowly turned towards Kougami. “That’s…what…”

“It’s your fault!” Kagari cried.

“I asked the doctors a lot of questions,” Akane said, “the first day. It’s okay, though. It happens every winter.”

“No it doesn’t,” Ginoza said. “Kougami, should we have a talk about personal hygiene?”

“I did not get everyone sick,” Kougami snapped. And then, quieter, “I am not germy.”

“Akane-chan,” Kagari said, “never in my history at the PSB has an illness spread so far so quickly.”

“You’ve only been here one year,” Kunizuka pointed out.

“Maybe it’s you,” Kagari said, pointing at Akane.

Akane shook her head. “If it was me, I would’ve gotten sick first.”

“I don’t care who it was,” Masaoka said. “As long as it never happens again.”

Ginoza coughed. Everyone turned to him.

“What?” Kougami asked.

“You don’t want to know what is going on in Division Two.”

Chapter Text

“Why are we going ice skating?”

“Because it's a fun winter activity, that's why.”

Mika glared at Akane, but Akane didn't give anything away. She certainly wasn't going to tell Mika that Ginoza had suggested it, because he thought that Akane should experience the joyful sports that his favorite season had to offer. Akane decided that because they didn't have anything to do on Christmas Eve, the rest of the division should join in on the fun.

“I can't teach them all how to ice skate,” Ginoza told her. “I hope someone else knows how.”

Kunizuka apparently knew how, but she seemed committed to teaching Shion. Sugo apparently also knew how, and Akane had the feeling that he was going to get stuck trying to teach a taciturn Mika how to skate without compromising their roles as enforcer and inspector.

Hinakawa didn't want to skate, but he was there for moral support.

Moral support meant standing at the edge of the rink bundled up with a large coat, scarf, and knitted hat, clutching a hot chocolate, shivering because he didn't like the cold and watching them with wide eyes, as if he couldn't believe that anyone would willingly spend time in below freezing temperatures, sliding around on more cold.

The others had gone off to their own corners of the rink. It was busy, an evening rush. Around them the skyscrapers shown with their many lights. Snow flurries fell from the sky, making everything seem that much more chilly.

Ginoza waited for Akane to get her bearings against the wall, staring up at the sky with a small smile on his face. “It's beautiful, isn't it?”

Akane concentrated on not falling onto the ice, but her feet seemed to want to slide out from under her. “It's cold,” she said, clutching the wall as hard as she could.

Ginoza's expression changed, slightly, when he saw her struggle. “Give me your hands.”

“What?”

“It takes some time to get used to the balance,” Ginoza said. “Everything is faster on ice. It feels like you're never in control of yourself.” He took her gloved hands in his, keeping his grip firm. “But actually, you just have to pay more attention to your movements. To the way your body is angled. You should shift your balance forward. Bend your knees a little. And instead of trying to use your feet like you would when walking, embrace the surface that you're on. You need to allow the blade to slide, and not resist that. It's strange, but as long as you're not going too fast it isn't dangerous.”

They were drifting away from the wall, the two of them, Ginoza coaxing them across the rink. Other people skated around them, and Akane marveled at how effortless they made it seem. A three year old kid sped past her, nearly knocking her over, but Ginoza helped her balance. Gradually, she felt less like she was going to fall over with every small movement, and they had made a lap around the rink.

They leaned against the wall, resting, Akane catching her breath. It was hard, concentrating on the way she moved in order to stay upright and go where she wanted. She wondered why Ginoza liked this sort of thing.

Ginoza's eyes were following the various other skaters in the rink as they made laps. Mika was clutching Sugo's arm as they slowly skated past. Yayoi and Shion were kissing against the wall, Yayoi pinning Shion, presumably to keep Shion from falling over, but Shion seemed to be enjoying it.

“You don't have to babysit me this whole time,” Akane said to Ginoza. “I need a few minutes, anyway.”

“Are you sure?”

Akane nodded. “I'll be back,” Ginoza said, and he pushed away.

Akane watched him as he went around the rink, once, twice, fast enough that the wind whipped his hair back and forth as he switch from skating forwards to skating backwards. He started to smile, small, and then the smile grew wide and carefree, and he looked more relaxed, the troubles of work and his own problems melting away in the moments that he spent gliding across the ice.

Then he came to a stop next to Akane again, face flushed, flurries dusting his dark hair, eyes bright with joy, breathing hard. He looked so happy, and Akane was so happy for him, to see him relax like this, to know that he could feel like this, that she stood on her toes and kissed him.

Or tried to. She'd forgotten that she was still on ice, still wearing skates, and the movement caused her feet to slip. She lost her balance, flailed, and nearly fell, but Ginoza caught her by the arms, dragging her upright.

Akane looked up at him, and this time managed to actually kiss him.

Ginoza made a startled noise, and Akane kissed him deeper, cupping his cheek with one gloved hand, and Ginoza sank into the kiss, allowing himself to forget that they were inspector and enforcer and that they shouldn't be doing this, let alone in public. His concerns and fears still hadn't caught back up to him, and Akane loved this, loved seeing him allowing himself this moment. She wished he would more often.

Then, with a lurch, they broke apart and stunned, Akane found herself sprawled on her stomach on the ice, Ginoza sprawled on his back, shocked.

For a moment they stayed that way. Then Ginoza started laughing. He sat up, covering his mouth with his hand, trying to hide the laughter, and Akane giggled with him.

“I-I'm sorry,” Ginoza stuttered, shoulders shaking.

“Don't be,” Akane said. “I'm glad I have this effect on you.”

Ginoza's cheeks went a darker shade of red, but before he could respond, another gloved hand thrust itself between them.

“Can I help you up?” Sugo asked.

Akane took his hand, stood up, and clutched the wall. “We should probably go for hot chocolate,” she said, glancing over to where Hinakawa stood watching, wide eyed.

Sugo went ahead of them with the others. Before they stepped off the ice, Akane held Ginoza back, lightly touched his arm. “Thank you for showing me how to skate.”

“You didn't get to learn much,” Ginoza said, perplexed. “We only went around once.”

Akane smiled. “It was enough.”