Part 11- Chapter the last

Aya opened the door, "for crying out loud, Nagi, I don't need to see that." He said, "You can put that away and I'll get you a cab."

"Aya," Omi said, "it's only his maths text book, I was showing him how to do trig."

"I know," Aya said with a bit of a snigger, "but I wanted that moment when you thought you might have your fly open." He pulled off his coat, "was Mi-chan okay?" He asked.

They nodded, "she hasn't stirred." Omi said, "isn't Nagi going to crash?"

"After what happened last time?" Aya asked with a raised eyebrow. "I'm not surprised Crawford's funny about letting him stay, you got into bed with Schuldig."

"Aya-san," Nagi said looking up at him, "you're in a good mood."

"The recital was wonderful, Hijiri-san is like some kind of genius, he played the devil's trill like it was written for him. Of course you're going to stay, Nagi, I'm just teasing, but bear in mind, Omi, Schuldig won't be here to save you this time."

"Did Crawford entertain you?" Nagi asked brightly.

"I didn't go out with Crawford." Aya answered.

"You just both went to the same concert at the same night. That's a large coincidence."

"It happens," Aya shrugged, "Crawford and I are very alike, that doesn't necessarily mean that we're dating."

"Or that he gave you that hickey." Omi said.

Aya's hand flew to his neck, "I went out with Yuushi Honjyou." He protested.

"Of course you did," Omi said, "but did anyone tell him?"

"Here." Aya said changing the subject and handing them both a matching note, "for looking after Mihana, now off to bed, the both of you."

He watched them go and went into the kitchen to find a cowering Siberian under the kitchen table, "you won't let them get me, will you, Aya, you'll protect me, won't you?"

Aya rolled his eyes. "Repeat after me, it's just a game." He said crouching in front of him.

"It's based on a true story." Ken whined.

"Go on to bed," Aya said, "I'm here, and I won't let them hurt you. Go on." Ken looked a bit sheepish as he crawled out from under the table. "There are no ghosts here, go on." Aya poured himself a glass of water, shaking his head in dismay at certain members of his team.

Crawford came by the next morning to collect Nagi. Aya was sat with Mihana on his lap, she was happily sucking her pacifier and fighting to keep her eyes open. "She's almost kind of sweet asleep." Crawford said, "now if you're ready, Naoe, and don't forget your math homework."

"Omi helped me with it." Nagi said brightly, "I understand it now."

"All right," Crawford said, "now we have to take Farfarello to the psychiatrist so we can't linger, now if you've got everything." He said looking around, "thanks for putting him up, and here," he handed Aya a box, "this is for Siberian, I had a vision."

"He came out from under the kitchen table." Aya said quietly.

"He's under the bed now." Omi said, "I checked in on him on the way downstairs, all you can see is his feet, and I think he might be crying."

"It's only a game." Aya snapped, "I'll get him."

"We'll just be going, but take the box, it'll get him out from under the bed, and if we're lucky, among people." Crawford said, "come on, Nagi, I'll drop you off at the mall on the way."

"Bai bai," Omi said waving.

Ken had moved himself out from under the bed and made himself a small nest in the wardrobe. Aya opened the wardrobe and looked down at him, "here," he said throwing the box at him, "now we already have one baby in the house, we don't need another one."

Ken warily opened the box to reveal an antique camera with a raised flash with a leather strap to hang it around his neck. "There you go," Aya said sarcastically, "a magic camera to protect you from all the ghosties that we get in the flower shop." Ken at least managed to look a little sheepish, "now get out of the wardrobe and into the shower."

Ken stood up, banged his head on the rail, swore, and then walked into the bathroom clutching his "magic camera".

Aya went down the stairs "it's going to be one of those days, I can tell."

He was met at the bottom of the stairs by what might have been a gay prince charming who looked like someone had slapped him all over his makeup with a wet towel. "Never mind it is one of those days."

"Birman's in the kitchen." Yohji said as he walked up the stairs.

"Ken's in the bathroom." Aya told him, "and he's got a camera."

"Why does he need a camera in the bathroom?" Yohji asked, thinking that this was most likely one of those questions that you really didn't want the answer to.

"To protect him from the ghosts, it got him out of the wardrobe." Aya told him, "I'll just go see Birman."

"Someone's a little cranky this morning," Omi said, "did Crawford not put out."

"I'm not going out with Crawford." Aya snapped.

"Glad to hear it," Birman said with a laugh, "because my ticket in the pool sees you with Schuldig, and if you are going out with Crawford it means that Rex gets the money." Birman wasn't dressed for giving out missions, in fact instead of the razor sharp blue business suit she normally wore she was wearing a black track suit, and her hair was up in a pony tail. "I'm only here boys, to bring the baby back to it's mother."

"Manx said that Schwarz had killed her parents." Aya protested.

"Manx said that?" Birman asked, "priceless, I wondered how she got you to babysit for her."

"How did Manx know Aya was so good with babies?" Omi asked, working out another way to get that precious information.

"Aya?" Birman laughed, "didn't he tell you, back when he was in Crashers Aya went undercover as a neonatal nurse in a maternity ward, he ended up really good with babies." Aya went bright red. "It was to stop a child snatching ring, he did really well, but he was looking after them for about a month, and he cried when we wrapped up the case. I think he might have stayed."

"I don't think this is relevant." Aya grated.

"You should have seen him, Omittchi, in his little white nurse's uniform, he was so kawaii, Queen has photos, I'll get her to email them to you."

Aya was torn between dying of mortification and murder. "You said that Manx lied to get me to take this mission." It escaped from between clenched teeth.

"It wasn't a mission, honey," Birman said with a laugh, "Manx's sister was in hospital for a few days and needed someone to look after Mi-chan, I was a bit surprised when I heard you'd taken it, but you're so good with babies, I just assumed you went all gushy, she told you it was a mission?" Birman's eyes were very large and clear.

"Mihana is in her push chair in the parlour." Aya said in a very quiet, very measured tone of voice, "I'll go get her things from upstairs, and while I am up there I might just kill someone, possibly Ken."

"Why Ken?" Birman asked.

"He's having a panic attack, he thinks ghosts are after him." Omi explained, "he's been like that all night, he was playing Fatal Frame."

Birman just nodded. "Well then boys, I'll take the baby, now you be good, and if you need help disposing of Siberian's body, just call." She blew a kiss, "and tell Ken I want photos of Yohji dressed like that." She crossed her arms and banged her wrists together once and then twice over her head1, "and tell him ridicule is nothing to be scared of." Omi looked like he genuinely didn't get it. "Don't worry, Omittchi," Birman said with a smile, "Yotan's old enough to get it."

Author's note

1 I was going to leave you as much in the dark as Omittchi but then I realised it was kind of funny if you did, what birman is doing is the dance from the Adam Ant Prince Charming video, where the lines were "prince charming, ridicule is nothing to be scared of" and had lines of people doing the dance move.