Chapter 36: Deviate
When Robin opened the door, she frowned. Gold Digger was barking in the background and she placed a foot in front of him and pushed him back.
"Why are you here?" she asked.
"Because. You're fascinating."
Robin frowned at the two duffel bags at Gaius's feet. "What the fuck are you doing outside my place with what seems like half of your belongings—"
"All my belongings."
She began to close the door and Gaius stopped her.
"Awwe, Bubbles, wait!"
Robin opened the door again and scowled. "I don't need you right now. I'll contact you if I need you. What are you doing here? Go away. I'm not in the mood for this."
"Wow, bubbly. This is why I call you 'Bubbles'." Gaius grinned.
"No, you called my 'Bubbles' because I didn't want to pop your personal bubble when we first met. According to you," said Robin.
"I need a place to crash."
"Gaius. No. Go away. I don't even know you."
"We could change that." He smirked.
"Priam!" Robin screamed over her shoulder, making Gaius wince.
"What?!" he yelled back from only the gods knew where in the giant condo.
"Help me get rid of Gaius!" barked Robin.
"Do it yourself! I'm on the shitter, you brat!"
Robin sighed and glared at Gaius. He smiled at her hopefully.
"I could tell you all the information I found on you," Gaius offered.
"You didn't," she said in disbelief.
"I did. I'm a curious cat, Bubbles. I should know my employer."
A part of her wanted to know what he dug up and a part of her wanted nothing to do with it. But she should have a good idea of what others knew about her.
"Fine." Robin moved aside. "Twenty-four hours."
"Awesome." He picked his bags up and walked in.
"You can take the guest room at the end," said Robin.
Gaius dropped his bags on the floor and dug at his pockets. When he pulled his hand out, there was a sucker in his hand. He unwrapped it with an efficiency Robin had never seen before and in Gaius popped it into his mouth.
"Need my sugar fix."
"So when did you decide to go moonlight and model?"
Robin flushed. Moonlight was the silver-white hair colour that was a recessive trait in Plegia. Aversa had beautiful moonlight hair and Robin had the darkest brown hair. She knew exactly what Gaius was talking about—Aversa's manager wanted her to do a feature with Robin and the hairdresser had decide to bleach the shit out of her hair. That was years ago and it only seemed like yesterday their father's anger about Aversa pulling Robin into the spotlight finally subsided.
"Gaius. Is you staying in my home going to be a problem?" She crossed her arms.
"You sound like my mom's fifth boyfriend."
"I'm confident that I can be scarier than your mom's fifth boyfriend."
"Oh, I'm sure. So where's my room?"
She rolled her eyes and decided to grab one of his bags to help him move faster, but when she tried to lift up the bag, it didn't budge.
"What are you carrying? Bricks?"
"Hah. No. All my tech."
Perhaps he could answer some of the questions she had. Of course, she was thinking way too far ahead. The nastier parts of her plan were going to occur closer to her departure. It wouldn't hurt to know in advance though. Robin snapped her head up, eyes narrowed at Gaius.
He gulped. "What?"
"How good is your hacking exactly?" asked Robin.
"I'd say I'm fan-fucking-tastic since I've never been caught after juvie. Just once because someone snitched."
"That's not bad, Bubbles. Especially since I'm top of the line."
"Go get settled in. I'll bring it up later."
"Where are you going?"
"Can I come?"
"You're kidding, right?"
"Depends. Where are you going?"
"I'm not telling you that. If you stop talking, I'll bring you some baked goods from Amelie's."
Gaius made a zipping motion across his lips and threw out the zipper.
Maps marked with push pins and bordered with a thick permanent marker were plastered on the wall. Beside it was a hierarchy of profile pictures. There were several spots where a photo lacked, so instead, a name or a position was tacked in place.
The Special Tactics and Investigative Division had thus far seized a lot of drugs, particularly Oasys. Word on the street was that there were significant decreases in drugs on the streets, but there was still a considerable amount.
Chrom frowned. It never ended.
They needed to find the people at the top faster if they wanted to take the Triad down, but that still left the Syndicate. Oddly enough, the Syndicate had gone quiet. The dead Jane Doe was a cold case and after weeks of investigation, it was concluded that the bombing of the Amelie's Bakery van was possibly the Triad getting back at someone. The driver who had died double-crossed them.
The crackdown in Little Chon'sin two nights ago had revealed that the people had been trafficked into Ylisse for the purposes of packaging drugs. None of them could speak since their tongues had been barbarically sliced out. Instead, one of them wrote their answers to Sully's questions on a notepad. They got enough rough details to pursue the port that was often used in trafficking people. A team had been sent yesterday to check it out.
"Captain, are you busy?" asked a soft voice.
Chrom turned away from leads to face Sumia. "Hey, Sumia. What is it?"
"Someone's here for you."
His heart sank. It had been two days since had had last went home. He had been terrible with texting and calling Robin too. "Is it one of my sisters?"
"No, umm…I didn't get her name, actually. She looks familiar though," said Sumia.
Not his sisters then.
"Lead the way," mumbled Chrom, his attention going back to the wall. Perhaps they were looking at it from the wrong angle. Why were all their targets Chon'sin Triad locations?
Sumia smiled and hooked her arm around his. "Come on, Captain. It's rude to keep people waiting." She ushered him out of the room.
"Sorry," apologized Chrom. "There's just too much to do."
Down the hall, a burly blond was dragging a young woman by the wrist towards them. From the looks of it, the blond didn't appear to understand that he was inconveniencing the woman. She dug her heels into the floor but the man out-powered her. In her other hand, she carried a canvas bag that swung with each tug.
"Vaike, please, I'd rather just wait outside," she protested. The lightest presence of a Plegian accent made Chrom's ears perk up.
"Why? Have you done something wrong?" he joked.
"Oh, that's her!" said Sumia. "It seems Vaike brought her in."
Robin's eyes met Chrom's and then fell in between Chrom and Sumia. Her initial smile faltered. Immediately, Chrom stepped away from Sumia.
"There he is!" shouted Vaike.
"Robin, what are you doing here?" asked Chrom, jogging over to his partner and girlfriend. He leaned in to kiss her and she turned to give him her cheek. Shit. The previous scene had been incriminating.
"You haven't really been responding to my texts or calls," muttered Robin.
"I'm really sorry about that, babe," said Chrom. "There's been a lot going on."
Her eyes flicked to over Chrom's shoulder. "Yeah, I can see that."
Sumia appeared by his side. "Oh! Is this the Robin everyone has been talking about?"
"Yup, this is the lady doctor that Chrom won't shut up about," said Vaike.
"Your whining about Miriel is worse," said Chrom.
Vaike's shoulders slouched. "Yeah…"
"I completely forgot that Miriel and you were a thing," said Robin.
"Not quite a thing yet," muttered Vaike. "Yet."
"Just give her some time. She running some analyses. I think you're the longest whatever you guys have that she's ever had. So, there's that," offered Robin.
"Yeah?" Hope lit up on Vaike's face.
"Yeah," confirmed Robin.
Chrom glanced over at Robin: she hadn't made eye contact with him since they said hello. Robin was focused on Sumia.
"Hi, I'm Robin." She extended a hand to Sumia.
"Sumia. I work with Chrom." Sumia shook Robin's hand.
"She works with police dogs here," added Chrom.
"That's cool," said Robin.
"What brings you here?" asked Sumia.
Robin laughed. "I thought it was pretty obvious. Chrom hasn't been home in a while, has he?"
"No, the captain sometimes does that. In the past, I've had to swing by his apartment for fresh—"
"Okay, Sumia. That's enough!" Chrom chuckled nervously. "Let's go, Robin. Hungry?"
"Only hungry for the end of her sentence."
"Oh, you're hilarious. Isn't she hilarious, guys?" Chrom turned Robin around and guided her away from a potential disaster.
Robin had her giant sunglasses on, legs crossed, sitting across from him at a table outside of a cafe close to the police headquarters. (The sun wasn't even out.) So, it was impossible to judge her expression with the damned sunglasses on. All Chrom knew was that she wasn't happy.
Turned out, inside the canvas bag Robin had brought was food she had packed for Chrom. She had made him some roasted vegetables, seasoned chicken breast cubes, and brown rice for lunch. For dessert, there was a fruit salad and for something to drink, she steeped a mellow iced tea.
"Aren't you going to eat?" asked Chrom.
"Not hungry." She picked up her iced coffee and sipped it.
"I missed you," said Chrom.
Chrom pursed his lips. A moment of silence was shared.
"You should eat. You need to get back to work," said Robin, drinking her coffee again.
"Sumia is an old friend and teammate," said Chrom finally.
"Vaike's a friend and teammate and he's not all over you," said Robin.
"Robin, it's not what it looked like. I promise. She was just pulling me out of the meeting room," said Chrom.
"You know, Chrom, now that you mention it, I did that with my male colleagues too. Hook my arm with them and skip together to the next appointment," said Robin.
"Really?" asked Chrom, relaxing a little.
He sighed. "Robin, it's nothing. Whatever was between us ended years ago."
"Okay. So then, if I disappeared for two nights and then you find me draped all over Lon'qu, it's nothing?"
"I thought Lon'qu was gay."
"That's what you said the night you called him to pick you up from The Shepherds," said Chrom. "Wait a moment. Did you lie to me about that?"
Robin's mouth opened and closed. Chrom dragged the chair in closer with a furrowed brow. "So then, what was really going on between you two? You guys were living together, weren't you?"
"Lon'qu is a mystery to all of us," Robin admitted honestly. "He doesn't share much."
"That doesn't answer my questions. Am I something on the side while he's gone?" asked Chrom.
"He was my bodyguard," said Robin flatly. "Ylisseans judge so much about premarital cohabitation, so I told a white lie. The owner of the building also thinks we're married. That was the only way I could get the place."
"I can't believe I'm sleeping with a married woman," joked Chrom.
"I can't believe I'm a mistress." Robin leaned back in the chair and crossed her arms.
"I'll be sure to leave work tonight," said Chrom. "Can I see you again later tonight?"
"We normally stay at my place. How about we stay at your place tonight?" asked Chrom.
"Tonight's not a good night. We have a guest staying over," said Robin.
"Oh, that's fun."
"He's an unwanted guest, actually."
Phila had that stern look Robin had often given her own patients when they did something they shouldn't have done. It was rather weird being on the other side of a patient-physician relationship.
"Stop looking at me like that," snapped Robin.
"No. I haven't seen you in ages. And you're shit at responding to text messages," criticized Phila.
"I respond!" protested Robin.
"Hardly." Phila snorted. "You're worst than when you were in med school with me."
She rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on. I'm not that bad."
"You suck as a best friend," said Phila.
"Yeah, you can say that again."
"You suck as a best friend."
Robin pursed her lips. "Now, you're being unprofessional, Phila."
"It's Dr. Lance, Miss Grima. What can I do for you today?"
"Okay. Look, I'm sorry I haven't been great with responding. There's just been a lot of family stuff that I can't discuss going on since I'm heading back soon."
"Your dad? Is he giving you a hard time?"
"When is he not?"
"Okay, fine. I'll let it go since I know your dad tends to fuck you up."
"So, why are you here as a patient? You know I can't be your psychiatrist."
"I know," said Robin.
"No. I need some sleeping pills."
"Just have sex. Helps you sleep."
"Sometimes I don't want to though."
"I know your anxiety and depression causes a lot of sleeping problems for you. But you know if you start using sleeping pills you might end up needing to rely on them. "
"My anxiety and depression hasn't been a problem for me in a while. Not being in Plegia is helping loads. I hate to admit it, but Chrom is helping loads."
"What are you going to do when you're back in Plegia then? Without Chrom?"
"I don't know. I'll manage. I always have. I didn't fall apart without him before. Why would I fall apart without him after?"
Phila shrugged. "True. Would you say you have insomnia?"
"You're the doctor."
"So are you."
"Come on, Phila."
"Robin, drugs aren't going to fix all your problems."
"They'll fix most of my problems."
"I'm not going to argue with you on that. But I'm still going to say no."
"Take some melatonin and try to establish a normal sleeping pattern."
"Are you also going to tell me to grow an extra arm?"
Robin glared at Phila. "Your weirdass paintings in your office are ugly."
"Leave my paintings out of this. I'm not giving you drugs because I love you."
"You self-medicate with caffeine all the time!"
'So, do you think that all these drug problems have become such a problem because of the influx of immigration?' asked the male newscaster.
'I wouldn't entirely blame it on immigration, Daryl. I think there's a lot of factors to consider…"
"Whatcha watching?" Gaius sat down beside her with a pack of chocolate chip cookies in his hands.
Robin tapped on her finger on the remote as she listened to the evening news. It was no wonder that Chrom had gone radio-silent in the past two days. He was occupied with this. Everything was going the way she had planned and wanted, yet she wasn't happy with it. She was playing with fire right now and at some point, Chrom was going to get hurt. That was inevitable.
She scowled and smacked Gaius with the remote. "You're getting crumbs everywhere!"
"Ow! Naga, just ask me to share instead of beating me," said Gaius.
Robin glared at Gaius. Where was damned Priam? She couldn't wait to give him an earful for giving the hacker permission to stay at their place.
"When are you leaving?" asked Robin. "I'm not a charity."
"Priam said I could stay as long as I need to." Bits of cookie spluttered out from his mouth when he spoke with his mouth full.
"What did you tell him? It's impossible to persuade him to do anything," said Robin.
"I told him I was an orphan and I went through the foster system a lot," said Gaius, shrugging. "He seemed sympathetic."
"Did you?" asked Robin.
"Iunno. Maybe I did. Maybe I didn't. Why don't you do some background research?"
She sighed. "You're getting on my nerves."
"Yes, I know. It's terribly fun."
"Gaius, I'm not in a good mood."
"She's never in a good mood!" shouted Priam from somewhere in the condo.
"Bubbles, is sleeping with the captain of the special tactics team of YPD part of the plan?" asked Gaius. "Want one?" He offered her the pack of cookies.
She slapped the cookies out of his hand. "How do you know that?"
"Hey!" Gaius picked up the cookies. "I told you. I'm good."
"So tell me. Is he any good? Y'know in bed? I'm curious. He looks totally vanilla." The redhead leaned in to whisper to Robin. "Or is he into the kinkiest shit ever since he looks so strict and repressed on the surface?"
Robin stood up from the seat.
"Bubbles, where are you going?" asked Gaius.
"Follow me," she said calmly.
Gaius's pursed his lips and shrugged. "Alright."
Obediently, he followed her to the kitchen where she grabbed the box from Amelie's Bakery.
She walked over to the trash can.
"Bubbles, oh gods. Stop, you insane woman!"
And she shoved it into the food waste bin in the kitchen. Then, she walked away.
Behind her, Gaius sniffled. "You're cold. Ice cold."
Later, Priam found Gaius moping on the couch, stuffing his face with chocolate chip cookies.
As promised, Chrom had finished work at a reasonable time to spend time with Robin. He insisted that they needed to catch up on cuddle time so he laid her arms on top of her on the couch. Robin played with his hair and with her free hand, she fiddled with her phone. His exhaustion oozed out his body while he drifted in and out of sleep.
"Snuggle bunny," Robin whispered.
"Mmm?" Chrom groaned, barely awake.
"Go to bed."
He held her tighter and murmured, "I can't sleep without you."
Robin glanced around his apartment. He hadn't been home long enough to even tidy up. She exhaled, watching her breath rustle his dark cerulean hair.
"You're going to have to learn though," she said softly.
"No." His answer was abrupt and stubborn like a child's.
"Let's get you to bed." Robin struggled to sit up under his weight.
"I'm comfortable like this," mumbled Chrom.
"I need to do some things, Chrom."
"I'm making a list of places I want to go to before I head back."
"You're not going back though. So we'll have tons of time to do them."
Robin propped herself up on her elbows. "Seriously, you're getting heavy."
Her boyfriend picked his head up and blinked at her. He yawned. Chrom climbed off of her and stood up.
"Babe, bed time." He offered a hand.
She took it and allowed him to pull her up off the couch. He then trapped her in his arms and buried his face in her neck, causing her to squeal.
"Chrom! That tickles."
"You're not going anywhere. I'm going to keep you here with me."
"Stop!" She laughed. "Chrom, you're going to leave a mark!"
"No!" Robin tried to squirm away. "I'm still mad at you for going MIA for two days and earlier today with your ex."
Chrom scooped an arm behind her knees and picked her up. He pecked her on her lips. "Is there anything I can do to make it up to you? Pancakes?"
"No, you need to sleep. Put me down, so I can turn off all the lights. Chrom, I'm serious." He gently put her down. Robin rubbed her neck, hoping he didn't leave a mark. She smacked his ass. "Go to bed. I'll get the lights."
Before turning of all the lights and heading to join Chrom in bed, Robin tidied up his place. He called out to her a couple times from the room and she yelled at him to shut up and go to bed already. It wasn't long before he quieted down and a snoring trailed out of the room. She giggled to herself. It was the first time she heard him snoring. He must've been exhausted.
An hour and a half later, Robin joined him and Chrom found her warmth and held on tight from behind. He inhaled and hummed happily.
"I like this."
"You smell nice."
"Your flattery will get you nowhere. Your hand is travelling under my shirt."
"I'm holding you," murmured Chrom.
"You're holding my boob."
"Which is a part of you."
Robin rolled her eyes and turned her phone on.
"Bed, babe. Bed. Turn it off."
"I'm making a list."
Chrom sighed and squinted in the dark. "What's your list?"
"It's actually map. I'm pinning all the places I wanna check out on our dates."
He withdrew his hand from under her shirt and took her phone from her. "No. No. No." Chrom rolled onto his back and expanded the map and swiped about studying the markers. "Maybe. No. Definitely no."
"What do you mean 'no'? Don't tell me 'no'."
He handed her the phone back. When Chrom stretched his arm over to her side, he waited for Robin to lift her head up. "Not safe."
She laid on his arm and snuggled up against his side. "But I want to go."
"Have you been watching the news?"
"Don't patronize me."
"I'm not, baby. All of the places you want to go are close to locations that are under heavy investigation."
"But I want to go."
"I can go by myself then."
"No, you won't."
"Don't tell me what to do."
"But I'll have you. I'll be safe."
Chrom was beginning to slip back into sleep again. Robin shook him.
"Huh? Babe, can we talk about this tomorrow?" pleaded Chrom.
"No. I want to go to all these places. You're being paranoid," said Robin.
He sighed. "No."
"But you'll be there with me."
"I'll think about it."
Blindly, he kissed her, missing her lips and getting the corner of her lips instead. "Night."
The small makeshift family sat around the dinner table in Yen'fay's small place. Lon'qu was preparing lunch for everyone. He had decided to keep it simple and make sushi rolls.
"Lon-lon," whined Ke'ri. "Are you almost done yet?"
"Perhaps if you helped him, it'd go faster," said Yen'fay, without looking up from his newspaper.
"You're not helping him either, Uncle Yen'fay," accused Ke'ri, playing on her phone.
Lon'qu silently rolled the sushi into a perfect shape. He set it onto the pile of sushi rolls on the plate in front of him.
"That's because I'm terrible at stuff like this," said Yen'fay. "But Say'ri is worse. Remember that."
Lon'qu both recalled that both the siblings failed at domestic skills. The only reason why Lon'qu and Ke'ri didn't grow up malnourished was because Yen'fay would do the groceries and Lon'qu learned how to cook.
"She made this atrocious seafood soup that one time. We all couldn't leave the toilet for three days," said Yen'fay.
"How is Say'ri doing?" asked Ke'ri.
"She's doing fine," said Yen'fay. "I'll tell her to visit when she has free time next time."
Ke'ri put down her phone down to clasp her hands together and grinned. "Great! Maybe she'll get to see Lon-lon before he has to go off for work again."
The pleasant atmosphere was interrupted by Lon'qu's phone going off. It hadn't rung in a long time, but Ke'ri's face fell and she sighed nonetheless. Lon'qu got up from his seat to wash his hands. After he was done, he wiped his hands on the pink apron and answered the phone.
"Lon'qu Sun speaking," he said.
"Lon'qu, how's your baby sister doing?" It was Co-Director Flavia Khan.
"She's well. She should be well enough to go back to school soon," said Lon'qu.
The look in Yen'fay's eyes confirmed that he knew what the call was about. Ke'ri pouted at him and mouthed 'no more work'.
"I'm sorry to inform you that we need you back in Ylisse," said Flavia.
Lon'qu didn't protest. He didn't even sigh. All he said was, "I understand." He ruffled Ke'ri's hair before heading to the guest room he was stay in at Yen'fay's home. When he closed the door behind him, he asked, "How bad is the situation?"
"Strangely enough, there has been tremendous police action against the Chon'sin Triad."
There was always a but.
"We think there's more. This kind of efficiency requires a lot of information. Inside information. We need you back in Ylisse."
"I understand, ma'am."
"You leave tonight and could arrive tomorrow morning in Ylisstol. Pack your bags. We had someone persuade the head of security in Plegia to call you back. You should get a call from Mustafa by this evening."
The call ended and Lon'qu returned to the kitchen to break the news to Ke'ri.
A/N: FINALLY.I'll be aiming to update more regularly this year as a resolution. I have a rough schedule in mind but school is about to start and we'll see how that plays out.
I do have a Tumblr blog with the same username. I post the links to the new chapters whenever I update. I'll mostly use that to talk about my rough schedule for updating.