Disclaimer: Don't own 'um. I don't know the exact names of everyone who does, but I know that none of them are me.
The Picture, the Promise, and the Protectors is going to be continued due to popular demand and good reviews for the first eleven chapters. I now have no clue how long this story will be, or everything that's going to happen in it, but I'd like your opinion on as to what should happen. Give me your opinions in the review section, and let me know how I'm doing.
Several weeks after the party….
Day One: Break on Through (To the Other Side)
'Picked up my bags,
Ran to the station,
You got the wrong location.'
--The Beatles, 'One After 909'
Yukiko closed her book and looked upward at her father, who sat next to her on the train, "All done, Jigen." It was a few weeks after the entire incident, and they were finally out of the city of Osaka via train this time.
"Good job, Yuki," Jigen said with a nod, placing the book in his carryon luggage. Just because Yukiko couldn't go to a regular school didn't mean she wouldn't forsake learning entirely. She had already gone through several books on English, math, history, as well as one on the subject of lock picking, "Why don't you switch to math now?"
"Okay," Yukiko nodded and took out a book from Jigen's bag. The girl was a natural for mathematics, and only lagged slightly in history. Lupin, who sat next to the two, looked down at the book Yukiko was currently reading.
"Jeeze, Jigen, you've turned into a little bit of a stickler, haven't you?" said Lupin jokingly.
"What? Your father probably did the same thing with you," Jigen snapped back.
"Nah. I stayed at home and had tutors come to the house," Lupin replied, "I never liked a single one…. Except for this science teacher—Woah, was she hot! Wore these little V-neck sweaters, and--"
Fujiko gave him a look of disgust and once again prayed that her child would not get its father's personality. Jigen seemed to share this disgust, and expressed his opinion openly, "For God's sakes! Monogamy is going to be a total bitch for you, isn't it!?"
"Oh, you have no idea!" Lupin groaned in response, leaning his head back onto the headrest of the train seat. Fujiko shot a glare at him, and Lupin smiled nervously back at Fujiko.
Meanwhile, Goemon had been trying to meditate, and had almost achieved his center when he heard Amaya curse at her laptop.
"Crap crap CRAP!" Amaya hissed through gritted teeth. Goemon gave a small shudder as he placed this familiar catch phrase with its owner. Some things never changed.
"What are you trying to do? Crack government files?" Lupin inquired excitedly, leaning forward.
"I wish…" Amaya admitted, "Tomb Raider. I can't get past the twelfth level! Damn it all!"
"Uh-huh…" Lupin looked over at Goemon slowly, and the samurai shrugged this off in response, "Well, at least we know who to come on if we're ever caught in a cyber gun battle. Hey, Amaya, heard anymore from your Pop?"
"We've been talking on the Internet some," Amaya admitted, "Oh, and he says he'll still get your ass someday."
"I always knew he wanted my fine little ass…" Lupin rolled his eyes and scoffed.
"What ass?" Jigen inquired.
"That's the pot calling the kettle black if I ever heard!" Lupin retorted, "Hey, does that mean you were looking at my ass!?"
"Nope, just trying to make sure it doesn't get shot," Jigen replied coolly, "But does that mean you were looking at my ass?"
"And I repeat a comment that you yourself stated so bluntly before—What ass?" Lupin asked.
"Zenigata!" Zenigata heard his name screamed, and suddenly awoke from his light sleep at his desk. He had fallen asleep at his desk again, he realized in his chagrin. He yawned tiredly, but came to full attentive horror when he realized his boss was glaring downward at him.
"Sir!" Zenigata rose and saluted his superior, but the other officer simply shook his head.
"How's the Lupin case go—No, no, let me guess. He got away again, right?" the head officer sighed, putting a hand to his forehead, "Well, I've got a little surprise for you, Zenigata. Meet your new partner, Officer Remy, a recent transfer from the Paris police department."
A man stepped forward in front of the head officer, and Zenigata glowered. The same cocky expression that Lupin wore. Remy was a shorter man, with dark brown hair, and blue eyes that seemed to spell trouble as Zenigata looked him over.
"Well, welcome to the team, Remy!" said Zenigata in his best false cheeriness. He held out his hand, and Remy looked downward at Zenigata's hand, and paused before he shook it.
He looked upward at Zenigata, "Hello, Detective Zenigata. I'm sure it'll be a pleasure working with you."
"Same here, I'm sure," Zenigata replied suspiciously and turned back towards his desk and then looked at Remy once more before sitting down. "I don't have a very good feeling about this guy…" Zenigata muttered to himself as he began to flip through his files, and looked down at a blank file which he would be forced to fill out on his daughter one day.
Lupin's Main Hideout:
"Home sweet home!" Lupin said cheerily as he kicked open the door of his residence and allowed the others to follow him in before shutting the door.
"Come on, Yuki, I'll show you your room," Jigen said, lifting the little girl up.
Yukiko cheered for joy, "I get a room, too, Jigen!?"
"You sure do," Jigen replied.
"Cool!" Yukiko said as they began to walk up a flight of stairs towards the bedroom.
Amaya turned to Goemon, and studied the look on his face, "Not everybody likes to be called 'Dad'. Besides, it could be a little soon for the both of them. Don't worry, I'm sure they'll get closer as time goes on."
"I didn't say anything," Goemon replied, looking down at Amaya.
"You didn't have to," Amaya replied, and began to walk up the stairs towards her new room which she shared with Goemon. Goemon shook his head briefly and then followed Amaya upward.
"We really ought to get the baby room ready, Fujiko," Lupin said as they began to walk up the stairs to the rooms, "I figure you can share my room, and if I and the boys get started now, we'll be painting the room baby blue by Monday!"
Fujiko looked over at Lupin, "Why are you going to paint it blue if you know you'll just be repainting it pink when we find out it's a girl from the ultrasound?"
"Because we're going to see clearly in the ultrasound that it's a boy," Lupin replied, "Hey, I was thinking about getting a church booked next week, you know, for the wedding? Boy is there a lot of work ahead of us, Fujicakes! But I know by the power of love, we'll—"
"I think I'm going to go get some tuna," Fujiko said suddenly, setting down her bags in front of Lupin's door and walking back down the stairs. Lupin groaned and looked upward, and then began to put the bags into his room.
Jigen came out of his room while Lupin continued to put the bags into his room. Jigen looked downward at Lupin, and Lupin stopped in the middle of laying the suitcases on his bed.
"I'm going to go buy a bed," said Jigen, "I need help picking one out."
"And you'll think I know anything about picking out a girl's bed?" Lupin asked.
"Well you've sure as hell seen enough of them in your lifetime," Jigen replied bluntly. Lupin did not counter this, but simply chuckled lightly to himself.
"I see your point," Lupin said, standing up from the suitcases, "But a little kid's bed? Come on, Jigen! Just take Yukiko with you. She'll tell you what she likes."
"Fine," Jigen grumbled and stormed away, and took Yukiko with him to the local department store. He entered with Yukiko, and went directly to the furniture department, "Okay, kid, what are you looking for?" Jigen inquired.
"Can I get Powerpuff Girls bed sheets?" Yukiko asked intently. Jigen cringed, but slowly nodded his agreement. He found the sheets, and ignored the snickering of several tough-looking men as he did so. How he wished he had brought his gun with him. He wouldn't have used it, of course, but it would've been good to use as an intimidator. He came back to Yukiko, and found she had picked out a bed.
"It had to be the pink bed frame," Jigen muttered, putting his hand on his face. He begrudgingly ordered the frame from another macho-looking man at the furniture department, and tried not to pull him over the counter for the strange look he gave Jigen. He looked down at Yukiko, and calmed himself down. He couldn't go flying off of his handle in front of his daughter. He would come back later and seek his revenge, if the worker ever came back with the bed frame. He finally did, and Jigen resisted any help that the man offered him to load the furniture. He paid, and exited the store quickly.
He used perhaps every curse word that he knew as he tried to load the furniture into the car. Yukiko looked onward in uncertainty, looking back every once in a while at the somewhat confused shoppers. She then saw one woman come up and lifted the over end of the box for Jigen. Jigen lost his balance, and went headfirst into the floor of the Alfa Romeo.
"What the hell!?" Jigen grumbled as he lifted his hat and adjusted his glasses.
"I saw you needed some help. Sorry, I'll ask next time," the woman replied. She stretched out a hand, "You want some help, buddy?"
"Fine, thanks," Jigen snapped as he rose and seated himself onto the floor of the car, "Thanks for your help." He was able to get a good look at her now. She was a Chinese girl in her twenties, with short dark black hair and unusual blue eyes. She wore a white tanktop and black slacks, and many bracelets on her arms, he also noted.
"Powerpuff Girls, huh?" she inquired, looking over at the bed spread on the floor next to Jigen.
"It's for my daughter," Jigen responded quickly, glancing over at a puzzled Yukiko.
The woman looked back at Yukiko, "Oh, she's adorable!"
"Thanks," Jigen nodded, "And, um, thanks with the bed again…."
"No problem, anytime!" she answered with a wide smile, "I guess I'll see you around! Bye!" she turned to leave, and Jigen was shocked to see under her white tank top she had a large tattoo of a red dragon on her back. Jigen shook his head, and climbed into the front of the car, "Come on, Yukiko!" he called, tilting his hat downward and taking out a cigarette. Yukiko obediently jumped into the car seat and smiled as Jigen started the car. She enjoyed the strong wind in her hair, and looked over at Jigen.
"What's wrong?" Yukiko asked.
"Nothing," Jigen answered, "Let's just get this bed together. I hope Goemon and Lupin will at least give me a hand with this…"
Jigen glared at Goemon and Lupin as they helped him assemble the bed. The two had not said anything, but their smirks said it all. Jigen shot his head upward, "What's so friggin' funny?"
"You almost kill the guys at the store and then some chick with a huge-ass tattoo of a dragon on her back and blue eyes comes to your rescue," Lupin said in a somewhat disbelieving tone, "I'm sure she was hot, but that tattoo is a total throw off. I just don't know about chicks with tattoos."
" It's simply a work of art, Lupin," Goemon said vaguely as he read over the directions, "Did someone find part G-4?"
"So, Jigen, who's your favorite Powerpuff girl?" asked Lupin with a smirk.
"Go to hell! I haven't found that part yet, Goemon," Jigen replied with a snap.
"I'm guessing you're a Bubbles fan," Lupin said to Goemon. The samurai looked up at Jigen, and briefly nodded.
"How that hell do you know about kids' cartoons characters, anyway!?" Jigen demanded.
"Because, unlike you, we don't choose to live like mushrooms," Lupin replied.
"Huh?" Jigen looked at him in confusion.
"He means you're kept in the dark and grown on crap," Goemon responded coolly. Jigen shot a glare, found 'G-4' and threw it in the direction of Goemon's head. Goemon caught it, smirked, and began to screw the pieces together.
Amaya and Fujiko watched the group from the doorway, "How many morons does it take to assemble a twin bed?" Fujiko asked.
"It depends on how soon they kill one another in the process," Amaya answered as she sipped her coffee and watched the three begin to bicker once more.
When the bed was finally assembled, Yukiko thanked her two uncles and father and began to put her clothes away in her closet. The three men left, all tired and hating one another to some extent, but all contented.
"I can't wait to see you guys assemble a crib," Fujiko chuckled.
Jigen handed Fujiko his hammer, "Have fun," he said curtly, and exited into his room. Fujiko grumbled and threw the hammer on to the ground, and stormed into her bedroom. Lupin groaned as he realized Fujiko was not going to be a in a good mood that night and lied a hand on his forehead.
"I better get some tuna to make up your rudeness to her…" Lupin muttered as he passed Jigen's room.
"Are you ready for bed yet, Goemon?" Amaya asked.
"Yes, I suppose it would be wise to call it an early night," Goemon admitted, "I think I have to practice for a little while. I've been shirking my training recently, and I shouldn't be so careless."
"You're not being careless; practicing 7 ½ instead of 8 hours is no crime," said Amaya with a smirk, grabbing onto his arm and leading him into their room.
Night had finally settled onto the French home, and all were sleeping deeply, but were suddenly awoken by the sound of breaking glass and bullets ringing through the air. Jigen awoke, and instinctively rolled on the floor and grabbed for his gun, and took a few shots into the darkness. It was near useless, though; in the dark, without his glasses, the chances of shooting the target were slim to none.
Jigen suddenly became aware of a young girl's screaming, and his eyes grew wide with horror, "Yukiko!" he yelled, running towards his room and dodging the bullets that flew in his direction. He opened Yukiko's door, and found the little girl behind her nightstand, clutching onto her gun and shaking and crying horribly.
Yukiko had a lamp on the floor next to her, and Jigen could see her as clearly as possible without his glasses, "Yuki, are you all right!?" Jigen yelled over the gunfire. One bullet flew, knocking Jigen's hat off of his head and onto the ground in front of them.
"I'm not hurt," Yukiko admitted, "Jigen, I'm scared!"
"Listen, you have to shoot them; I can't see a thing," said Jigen.
"But, I—" Yukiko trailed off.
"Do it!" Jigen yelled, ducking down lower as the bullets continued. Yukiko got up from the shelter, and fired a few bullets. She ducked down again as she went to reload, but did not find it necessary. Lupin and Fujiko were now in the room, firing off rounds. Goemon and Amaya, unbeknownst to Jigen and Yukiko, were in their room, fighting off the bullets in their own fashions.
As the last opposing bullets fired, Lupin and Fujiko let their guns lay at their sides in their hands loosely.
"Yukiko, are you all right!?" Jigen asked, embracing his daughter tightly as she began to wail. "It's all right, they're gone now! You did good, kid! Really!"
"They tried to kill us…" Yukiko wept.
"Whoever 'they' are," Lupin added as an afterthought as he reloaded his gun. He looked over at Fujiko, "Are you okay, Fujiko?"
"Yeah, fine," Fujiko muttered numbly as she looked down at Yukiko and Jigen. She went to put a hand on Yukiko's shoulder, but quickly retracted as Yukiko let out another long wail.
The Lupin group dressed in the middle of the night and went to repairing the broken windows, walls, furniture, and whatever else was damaged in the gunfire.
"Who the hell did this?" Amaya wondered out loud as she swept up broken glass in her and Goemon's room. Goemon was crouched down, holding the dustpan for Amaya.
Goemon looked upward at Amaya, "As many enemies we've made, I think it'd be nearly impossible to place it on one particular person. Could the police have done it?"
"No," Amaya shook her head, "My father wouldn't overhead such a thing, and since he's in charge of the Lupin case, it would've had to have gone through him. Besides, that style was more guerilla than police."
Jigen came from his bedroom, looking spooked and disheveled. Goemon looked upward at Jigen, and realized he had probably never seen the gunman that sick looking in the entire time he had know Jigen, "I finally got her to sleep. Fujiko's in there with her. She refuses to be left alone," Jigen said quietly to the duo.
Goemon rose and dumped the broken glass into a trashcan, "Is she all right?"
"Would you be all right if something like that happened to you!?" Jigen snapped angrily. Jigen retracted a moment later, and let out a heavy sigh, "I'm sorry, it's just…."
"I understand," Goemon answered in a nod, "Why don't you go to her? Lupin, Amaya, and I have this under control."
"Really?" Jigen looked up from his hat at Goemon, and Goemon smirked in response. Jigen turned and went into Yukiko's bedroom, which was almost finished being cleaned up of its glass. Jigen excused Fujiko, and climbed into the bed next to Yukiko, "What the hell am I going to do with you, kid?" he wondered out loud to himself.
A now deep-sleeping Yukiko was oblivious to his verbal pondering, "I was afraid this sort of crap would happen to your mother, so I told her to go away… Some help that did her, huh? She died on us anyway. Sometimes I think I could've saved your mom, but we both know it would've been impossible. You're all I have left, so don't go getting hurt on me kid, okay?" He lightly pecked her on the head and held onto her while he looked at his reflection in the mirror. Boy, would his old buddies have been surprised if they had seen what this little girl had turned him into in a matter of weeks.
Yukiko stirred, and Jigen suddenly came to alarm, but calmed once again as he realized she was just making herself comfortable, "Sleep well, Yukiko. You don't usually get much of that here…"
Lupin slowly closed Yukiko's bedroom door and turned to Fujiko, a look of concern on his face, "I hope to God nothing like this happens in our home again, but that's not going to happen. Would it be safe to have Yukiko keep going with us?"
"She can take care of herself if needed," Fujiko replied, lifting her head up a little, "Besides, she has us, too, don't forget. I just wish I can find the bastard who did this, so I can put a bullet straight through his skull," she growled, balling her fists.
"Fujiko, calm down," Lupin answered, "Besides, I think you'd have to get a lot of bullets to bring down the guy who did this."
"Why do you say that?" inquired Fujiko.
Lupin lifted up a sand pail, filled almost halfway with bullets, "Because it was a whole friggin' brigade that went after us!" he replied, "This is what we found around the house—In the walls, the furniture, the floor—You name it!" Fujiko gave a look of horror, and Lupin sat the bucket down on the ground once more, "Don't worry. We'll get to the bottom of this."
"They better only pray to the gods that you find them before I do," Goemon answered as he wheeled a garbage can of broken glass into the hall and stopped in front of Lupin and Fujiko.
"Kanpai to that," Amaya added as she came out with her broom. Both looked more annoyed than he had ever seen them, Lupin realized. Lupin looked down at the basket of bullets once more, and noted the way the light glinted off of the indentations. He picked one random bullet, and held it up to the light.
"Well, they left their calling card, whoever they are…" Lupin muttered as he read over the Kanji writing.
"Who did?" Fujiko asked excitedly.
"The Order of the Royal Dragon and Phoenix," Lupin replied as he flicked the bullet back down into the pail, "I've got some bookwork ahead of me. But, trust me, it'll be worth every paper cut I get during the reading," Lupin answered as he began to lug the pail of bullets down a flight of stairs.
"You can use my computer!" Amaya called.
"Too late; I'm already halfway down!" Lupin called back.
"Hey, watch—" Goemon began. Too late. Lupin tripped on the carpet of the stairs, and tumbled down the stairs.
"Dammit!" Lupin yelled as he looked down at the pool of bullets around him. All would have found this amusing, but they were all far from a light mood. Goemon, Fujiko, and Amaya looked over at one another briefly, and then all scaled down the stairs to help Lupin with the spilt bullets while Jigen comforted his daughter in her bedroom.