An Assassin and White Baby

Part one - An unexpected delivery

Manx looked even more harried than usual as she lifted the heavy basket from her car, there was a large duffel bag over her shoulder and she took a moment to straighten up and looked at the basket she had stuck under her arm. Then knocked on the shutter.

Kudoh Yohji was not at his best in the morning, his hair was in several different directions and one eye appeared to be glued shut, his shirt was torn and filthy and his trousers were open. "Humph." He said, leaning on the grate more than trusting his own feet. He had obviously slept in the shop, a suspicion that was confirmed by the forget-me-not stuck in his hair just behind his ear and the soil stain that marked his entire left sleeve.

"G'way, day job now, not night job, g'way." He said and went to pull the grate closed again.

"I need to speak to Fujimiya." Manx said, "not you. So you can go back to sleep. Isn't the shop ready?"

"S'Sunday." Yohji slurred, opening the gate again to let her in. "Aya's n'the kitchen." He looked at his watch, "is it that early? Hate you."

Manx smiled and shifted the bag on her shoulder, adjusting the basket in her arms.

Aya was in the kitchen, staring into a cup of green tea as if it was a window to another world. "You're here early." He said, not looking up.

"You have a mission, so important that I had to come early, and Persia would only trust you with it. I will even excuse you from working in the shop if you take it, as well as group missions."

"And my usual fee for solo missions?" Aya asked, standing up, he offered her tea but she refused as he refilled his cup.

"Double up front and the same again for successful completion."

Aya stared at her for a moment. "Is this mission dangerous or distasteful? It must be for you to offer so much money."

"Neither." Manx said, "do you accept?"

"Hn," he answered.

"Fine," she put the basket on the table, "this Abyssinian is your mission, I present to you Mihana Tsukihara." His eyes went very narrow. "She's the adopted grand daughter of the head of the Tsukihara family," she reached into the basket and lifted the sleeping child, she couldn't have been more than six months old, with a head of soft black curls and was happily sucking on her fist in her sleep. "Schwarz have killed her parents, twice now, and until he can find a secure location for her we need someone with discretion to care for her." She offered Aya the baby, he looked at if it was a bomb or a disembodied head.

"Now, the money is in your account, here you go." she put the baby back into the basket, and then dropped the bag. "everything you need is in the bag, as well as some money to buy anything she needs. In the basket is a little Akita plushie that she takes everywhere, the blanket she has an attachment to as well, do you know how to change a diaper?" Aya nodded. "Well, I'll leave you then, Mihana, Aya, Aya, Mihana. Get along children."

Then she left the room and if she had have moved any faster then it would have been considered a run. Aya looked into the basket as if working out the best way to defuse a bomb. "K'fee." Yohji said stumbling into the kitchen, he was covered in soil and there were more flowers in his hair.

"Did you sleep in the shop again?" he asked handing Yohji the coffee and closing his hands about the cup.

"Mmn." Yohji answered, sniffing the cup as if to drink it through his nose. Then he looked into the basket. "Baby." He said quite clearly.

Ken chose that moment to enter, "why are you calling Aya baby?"

"Not baby," Yohji said, blinking, "baby." He pointed into the basket, Ken blinked and then tripped over Manx's duffel bag.

"Did I hear Manx?" Omi asked bouncing into the kitchen like a hyperactive four year old on sugar. "Yohji, why are you up so early? Ken-kun, why are you on the floor."

"Baby." Yohji explained.

"I thought you promised to stop calling me that." Omi said putting his hands on his hips and pouting, "it makes me really uncomfortable."

"Not baby, baby." Yohji protested, not really awake enough to make more sense than that.

"This baby." Aya said deciding to rescue him by lifting the child from the basket she was asleep in, blanket and all, and resting her on his hip. "Mihana Tsukihara, Weiss, Weiss, Mihana Tsukihara. My mission, from Manx," he bounced her a couple of times on his hip until she was settled comfortably.

"Why you?" Omi asked, looking a little upset. "Why not all of us?"

Aya went very quiet and then lowered his head. "Remember the kitten." They all took a moment to remember the kitten. The second kitten had been given to Nagi because Omi had overfed it and they had to take it to the vet. It seemed that evil assassins were much better at keeping cats than good assassins.

"Point made." Ken said. "Do you need us for anything, or shall we just move out in the meantime?"

Aya thought about it. "Ken, you and Yohji run down to the mall and fetch the following items, one crib, with mattress and bedding, make sure it's the safe kind, one lullaby light show, any questions, ask the ladies in the store, one car seat with handle for carrying, this basket's not really practical, and one buggy with extra blanket." He thought about it, "Omi, is there a bottle steriliser in the bag Manx gave us?" Omi rooted around in it before shaking his head. "Add one of those to the list. Did you write it down?" They both nodded. "All right, rule number two, until Mihana leaves no loud music in the house, no smoking Kudoh and no liquor in the house, what you do outside it is no concern of mine, but not near the baby. No women brought home, and no, Kudoh you can not borrow her to cruise for chicks." Omi had at this point laid out the supplies on the table. "and Ken, bring home more diapers, and some sudocrem and some baby powder and wipes, we have some but not very many."

"Don't we need a baby bath?" Omi asked.

"No," Aya said, "We'll wash her in the sink."

"Can I hold her?" Omi asked as the other two looked at their piece of paper in wonder.

Aya nodded, "sit down," Omi sat, Aya carefully laid her in his arms, before opening his wallet and handing Ken his credit card. "I want receipts."

"Aya," Omi said from behind them, "she's pulling funny faces at me. Is that normal?"

Aya rolled his eyes seeing the baby's expression. "Do you want to change her?" He asked Omi with a small and rather sad smile. "Or shall I do it?"

Mihana turned out to be a very happy baby, she seemed to genuinely like Omi and adored Aya, giggling every time he picked her up. In Ken's arms she struggled and wriggled very badly. For Yohji she seemed to save her vomit, and then screamed loudly.

"Seems like someone's not as popular with all the women in Tokyo as he'd like to believe." Aya said taking the baby from where Yohji held it away from him in distaste. He rested her against his chest, holding her carefully with one hand as he wiped her face with a wipe he had in the other.

"She has no taste, that's all." Yohji said, pulling at his crop top and it's offending foul smelling white stain.

"She likes Aya well enough." Ken said as he shook the warm bottle of formula to make sure that there were no hot spots. "And Omi, I think she just thinks that I'll drop her, and she's under eighteen and so has no interest for you, eh, Yotan?"

"Smart alec." Yohji growled, "it's all up when even Ken can take pot shots at me."

"Come now, Yotan," Omi said with one of his biggest smiles. "Mihana's a lovely girl, and you just bounce her a little much, that's why she sicks up on you. That's all." He took the bottle from Ken, testing the formula on the inside of his elbow, before he handed it to Aya who held it out for the baby, she started suckling happily.

"Bless." Yohji and Ken said looking at Aya's expression as he bottle fed the baby, it was resting in the crook of his elbow, and his head was tilted down to look at her. "Take his shirt off and it would be a hallmark moment." Yohji continued.

"Anyone got a camera?" Ken asked.

"Anyone got a death wish?" Aya asked without looking up from the baby in his arms, nor changing his expression in any way.

"Sorry, Aya," They said in unison.

"So," Aya continued, sitting down at the kitchen table to better rest the baby on his knee to feed her, "you bought her a crib, did you set it up yet?"

"No, Aya," Ken said running off.

"And you, have you built the buggy yet?" He flicked his eyes to Yohji.

"No, just starting that now." Yohji said running away.

"You wouldn't really kill them, would you, Ayan?"

Aya flicked his eyes up to the boy, and then smiled, "Not in front of the baby." He said. "And not for so little, if they took the photo, then yes, because Yohji would put it on the internet or sell it to the fangirls."

"How did you become so good with babies?" Omi asked, looking delicately at the image, as both Ken and Yohji had suggested it was very sweet seeing him with the baby. He would take photos later and send them to Nagi for Crawford, Aya would trust him for that. After what had happened in Gion Aya and Crawford often traded messages, though they both denied it.

"That, Omi," he said, taking the bottle from Mihana and wiping her mouth clean, "is a long story." He managed to lay a cloth over his shoulder before laying the baby next to his shoulder and patting her back. Omi realised very quickly that was all the answer he was going to get.

In the next chapter, Aya makes the mistake of taking Mihana out through the flower shop.