Running On A Moonless Night

Ninnik Nishukan

Sometimes she wished she was thinner. She was as agile as they came, sure, but next to Lupin…

She was slim, it wasn't that, but sometimes she wondered if she'd be faster and more athletic if she didn't have her considerable assets; her wide, womanly hips and her very impressive bust. They had their advantages and charms, yes, but sometimes they sort of got in the way in more than one sense.

She'd mentioned this casually to Lupin once and he'd just laughed that goofy laugh of his at her as if she was crazy for saying so. No wonder; he'd made it clear on more than one occasion how much he appreciated her looks.

Yeah…they kind of got in the way sometimes.

Sometimes she forgot about her body, though. It wasn't often, but she did do it sometimes.

He'd been sweet once. They'd been driving and he'd put his hand on her shoulder instead of…somewhere else. He'd even respected her when she'd removed his hand— sure, it hadn't stopped him from trying again, but he'd been treading carefully and he'd been slow, no insane attempts at tackling her to the ground or anything; his touch had been light, obviously asking for permission, and during his second attempt at closeness she'd failed to a see a reason to resist, instead just letting her hand rest atop his. It was all innocent enough if "innocent" could ever be an appropriate description of Lupin. The serious expression on his face was what had prompted her to admit to having some sort of tender feelings towards him.

All other times, though, she resisted him again and again. It wasn't even a matter of resisting temptation, because she had no desire whatsoever for his usual approach; a stupid, lopsided grin and a pathetic attempt at an alluring, coaxing voice before the inevitable lunge towards her—

"Fuuu…jiii…kooo!" He would whine when she ran from him for the millionth time.

But she knew he wasn't stupid, even though Jigen would always call her Lupin's weak spot, and she supposed she was, but Lupin always learned from his mistakes, and there was simply no way that he could believe that this rude, harebrained treatment of her could possibly win her over. He was usually quite charming towards women, really, he wasn't some bumbling teenage boy, and so she'd drafted a couple of theories on why he always did what he did.

One, that the incessant pestering and attempts at her body might be some sort of passive-aggressive revenge against her for constantly jilting him and betraying him and ruining his plans.

Two, that exactly because she always kept betraying him, perhaps he could never bring himself to act sweetly towards her for the fear of being tricked and rejected while showing his earnest feelings; it was probably much less painful to be rejected while acting like a pervert. The way he was acting seemed to be some sort of distorted, misguided, excessive display of affection towards her.

Because she knew he cared. He was jealous very often and he had no qualms about showing that he cared whether she lived or died or was hurt or not, and he kept wanting to include her in his daring schemes despite the fact that she'd foiled said schemes an unreasonable amount of times.

Lupin was becoming more sceptical towards her, though, she could tell. He wasn't fawning over her as much as he used to, and where he had, whenever she'd made it away with his loot before, simply seemed to be highly amused at the very nerve of her, actually plotting against the famous Lupin the Third, he now shook his fist at her, shouting vows of revenge. He'd also started leaving her high and dry once in while, stranding her for the cops to find like she'd been doing to him from the start.

It became obvious to her that as they'd gotten to know each other better, he'd started taking her betrayals more and more personally for each time she did it.

At first she'd assumed his waning attentions to her and to her body to be due to the fact that she'd started dressing a bit more conservatively and had cut her hair shorter, both for practical reasons and as an attempt at diminishing his unwelcome pawing, but she'd quickly caught on, with a sinking feeling, that it was because he'd become more cautious around her. Once bitten, twice shy and all that.

It was what she'd wanted, for him to stop bothering her, but not because he felt contempt towards her.

What she'd wanted was respect.

Because she didn't hate Lupin, and that's what you wanted from the ones you far from hated.

In fact, she hated him so little that she'd killed her ex-boyfriend Pun for his sake, no matter how close they'd been, no matter how much it had hurt; in order to spare Lupin's life, she'd been forced to shoot Pun before he could shoot Lupin. It had been either Pun or Lupin, and so she'd chosen Lupin, because for some reason, Lupin had grown to be more important to her than even Pun.

That was why she'd agreed to marry him, even if she wasn't quite sure whether he actually loved her or not and even if marriage was the last thing she wanted and even if she hadn't quite believed that he would die in three days time. Looking into his frightened, desperate gaze, though, it had been enough for her that he had believed it.

She'd known that nothing good could come from such a hasty wedlock, but she'd done it because Lupin had wished it. It hadn't been about being naïve and easily convinced, hah, no, it was about trying to make someone other than herself happy for once.

Because she'd realized, when faced with the prospect that he might actually die this time, that she'd left him in deadly situations time and time and again, and that she might've been the one responsible for his death if it hadn't been for his uncanny ability to escape. Sure, she knew he always managed to get away, but there was never any certainty for his survival, however much she believed in his abilities, when she put him in the vicinity of bombs and in the line of fire of machine guns. It honestly had made her sick to her stomach, thinking about how she'd risked his life over and over, because she just assumed he'd escape, or sometimes perhaps because she didn't even care, didn't even think about it at all, focused only on the adrenaline rush of yet another getaway with the prize in her hands.

Once he'd been so mad that he'd yelled at her, calling her a cold-hearted, selfish bitch, and if it hadn't been for the fact that she'd already been called that countless times by other people and had thought it about herself on a regular basis, she might've been shocked at the outburst. Lupin was usually pretty easygoing and his use of name-calling and profanity tended to be on the mild side.

It had been quite easy to tell that she might've gone a bit too far this time.

"Tell me something I don't know." She'd told him calmly with a cold smile, and for a second or two he'd looked completely bewildered, as if he'd expected her to get hurt or angry. She knew exactly what she was and didn't need him telling her. It might not be something to be proud of, but that was what you had to be when dealing with the kind of people that she dealt with. You had to look out for yourself, and you shouldn't be sentimental, that was a weakness.

She knew she was egotistical, but so was he; he was one of the biggest attention whores she'd ever met, and had some of the same overconfidence as she, which was usually what tended to lead to their downfalls.

Lupin, however, deserved the kind of loyalty that Jigen gave him; he was different from the people she used to work with and some of the people she still worked with on occasion. Lupin was loyal, generous, kind, open-minded and welcoming and followed certain moral guidelines that her ex-comrades had never bothered to follow. He didn't deserve her never-ending treason.

It had probably hurt her more than him, though, when she'd run out on him a few nights after she'd killed Pun.

He'd asked her out and she'd accepted because she didn't want to be alone and because she'd been touched by his concern and overwhelmed by the fact that she'd sacrificed the life of one of her most beloved people in the world for his sake. She guessed she had needed to know exactly what it meant.

That's why she'd come dancing with him, that's why she'd let him kiss her, that's why she'd followed him down to the little room with the bed in the cellar of the dance club and that's why she'd started undressing him and had let him start to undress her and he didn't seem like his usual self and they'd just almost lost each other a few short days ago and why shouldn't she—

It was strange. His lips were soft and his cheeks smooth and she'd wanted to giggle when she'd felt a hint of stubble along his jaw and she buried her nose in the strong line of his neck. He smelled good; she'd gotten whiffs of this smell whenever he'd tried to weasel himself into her embrace before, but somehow it had smelled different this time, warmer, more masculine. It had smelled less like cologne and more like Lupin and it had soothed her.

He had a funny body, and she'd found it very endearing. She'd seen him in various states of undress before, of course, but never in quite this kind of setting; she'd never taken the time to look at him properly before.

He was long and slender, as a thief should be, but he really was slightly lanky, and she'd wondered, not without a certain amount of concern, whether he was eating right or not; his chest was broad and his arms were strong but oddly thin in proportion to his chest, and his legs were a bit on the skinny, wiry side, and he had seemed gangly, almost boyish where he'd been sprawled out next to her voluptuous curves. You'd never know it from looking at his face, which had full, fleshy cheeks; he'd never been prone to that gaunt, faintly sunken look a lot of skinny guys got, and she'd savoured the softness of his face as they'd explored each other.

His long fingers had been deft as they'd touched her, just like she'd known they'd be, and she'd smirked a bit to herself at his almost comically hairy arms and legs where they'd been wrapped around her, and she'd kissed his upturned, little nose, watched his dark eyes twinkle as he'd smiled at her when she'd run her fingers across his short, fuzzy, black hair. She'd grinned and called him her little monkey man, and he'd pouted for a bit, but who could stay mad in a situation like that?

He'd always had a terribly charming face, and it appeared as if he knew it, what with the way he always kept winking and grinning at people. She'd had much prettier boyfriends than him, though, no question about it, but somehow he seemed absolutely gorgeous to her.

Foreplay with Lupin wasn't how she'd thought it would be. It'd been better. She'd expected some sort of frantic pawing, perhaps, a race to get to the end, maybe, she didn't quite know what, but the truth was that foreplay with Lupin had lasted for longer than she'd thought, and he'd been much sweeter than she'd thought and foreplay with Lupin had felt like the best time of her life, like a warm smile, like a belly laugh, and he'd seemed so happy that she just couldn't stop smiling and he'd been joking and laughing a bit, almost childish in his enthusiasm, but not in an obnoxious way, and he'd been nipping at her skin with lips and teeth and making her giggle but then he'd cupped her breast firmly in his large hand, an action which abruptly made her giggle drown in a moan, and as his thumb had explored her nipple further, his kisses had tasted a little like cigarettes and a little like beer but she hadn't minded because she supposed she'd tasted much the same—

She'd felt him, somewhat larger than she'd expected, hard against her thigh as he'd rolled his hips against her, slowly but intentionally, his eyes slightly hooded but his smile unabashed, and it had caused her to shiver, her mouth falling open in a small whimper, her back arching out of its own volition…

She'd only squeezed his arm and kissed him in encouragement when he'd taken the next, logical step and had lain down between her thighs, grinding his pelvis into hers as he returned her kisses.

But when he'd finally been down to just his boxers and she'd been down to her undershirt, bra, panties and her socks—funny how he'd let her undress him faster than he did her, really— she hadn't been able to do it anymore, because she knew— if she—

She'd wanted to, but she hadn't been able to do it. She knew that he now thought she'd just been teasing him, but he could think that forever for all she cared, because she couldn't tell him that she'd panicked, that she, Mine Fujiko, had panicked because Pun's death was still very fresh in her mind and that this had suddenly felt very wrong of her to do—

—and because she knew what kind of guy Lupin was, he wasn't the type to settle, he'd definitely lose interest in her once he'd been allowed to—and why were they doing this anyway, and why now and why here and what would become of this, and what was he thinking, and did he even love her and did she even love him and how would she feel afterwards and what would she do and would she even be able to stay, wouldn't this ruin things between them forever, and what would he think of her and what would she think of him and what if—

She was no stranger to casual sex, but it was something she could never have with Lupin.

So she'd hit him over the head, tied him up so he couldn't follow her and then she'd run away. And undoubtedly, Lupin now thought that it had been just another betrayal because he couldn't know that she'd cried all evening and then all night alone.

After that, though, it seemed she tripled her efforts of deception towards him, and she didn't quite know why; she seemed to feel nothing but confused these days. All she knew was that seeing him in nothing but his boxers again in that icy cold cabin and to have him trying to convince her to share the only blanket there was with him that night, never sparing her the innuendo while he'd tried to lure her, well, that had made her think of that night, and that had made her feel guilty, and feeling guilty had made her feel angry, and when he'd even went as far as to put out the fire to get her to sleep beside him so she'd have no choice but to do as he said if she wanted to stay warm that night, she'd gotten really angry. What the hell had that been good for?

Normally she might've laughed a little at the silly, lecherous grin and wildly waggling eyebrows that had painted the picture of Lupin failing miserably at making subtle hints, but his pathetic attempts at trying to be charming had only made her feel even worse about how she'd treated him. She should at least have given him an explanation before she'd run off, when everything had seemingly been going so well, but in truth, at the time she hadn't been thinking very clearly about anything except that she'd known she'd needed to escape.

When she'd kicked him out from under the blanket in the freezing cabin and had taken it for herself, she'd started thinking and suddenly she couldn't fall asleep. He'd never once mentioned the night they'd spent together, and she couldn't help but wonder what he thought about it. Was he hurt? Did he even care at all?

She also couldn't help thinking that his trying to share his blanket with her might've been Lupin's roundabout, twisted way of asking for the very same intimacy again.

What would he have done if she'd indulged him? Would he have tried groping her as per usual or would he have acted like he did back then? Okay, so maybe he'd groped her a bit then as well, but it had been considerate and enjoyable and above all, it had been with her permission.

Just when she'd started feeling bad about literally leaving him out in the cold, cringing as she heard the occasional sneeze from him as he lay there shivering, and she'd decided to let him sleep next to her after all, those brutish goons had tied her up and dragged her off.

After that, she'd been wishing for some opportunity to make it up for him. Maybe if he got sick once…but Lupin never got sick, and if she started with some sort of weird Florence Nightingale routine, they'd all think she was nuts, anyway.

Besides, she didn't want him to know she cared, not that much. There was a reason she'd turned up in a wedding dress after that whole time machine ordeal, after he'd claimed to want to marry her when he thought he only had three days left to live; she wanted to scare the living daylights out of him, wanted to teach him a lesson. He couldn't just throw idle promises around like that and then go back on them, she'd wanted to say, but mostly she wanted him to stay his distance and apparently nothing got rid of Lupin faster than the looming threat of marriage.

She'd wanted to frighten him away a bit so she wouldn't have to end up in a situation like that again, in his arms and half-naked, thinking that they might work out when she knew they wouldn't. He did care about her, but it wasn't exactly true love or anything. He would run off to the next adventure before she knew it— or rather, and she'd figured out in the end that this was her real problem; she'd probably be the one who'd end up leaving him as always, and she didn't want to do that.

She was tired of being deceitful, of always letting him down and leaving him behind. At this stage, where they didn't even have an actual relationship, he already seemed upset enough whenever she split, so what would it be like if they'd been together for a year, maybe two, maybe three, maybe four?

What if that sense of panic set in again and she suddenly needed to run off somewhere and do selfish things by herself while trying to avoid all of these confusing thoughts?

Besides, Mine Fujiko was hardly the type to settle down, either. Just the thought of having any kids and the restriction that this would put on her freedom made the same panic instantly rise in her like bile. Where the hell would kids fit in with the kind of life she was leading? And wouldn't he want to leave if she wasn't able to keep up with his equally crazy lifestyle any longer?

Who could ask the infamous Mine Fujiko or Lupin the Third to stop stealing and settle down for a quiet life? And what the hell were they supposed to do instead? Get an ordinary nine-to-five kind of job? After living a life like that?

No, that just wouldn't do.

She went to him one day, though, her shoulders squared and her eyes full of resolution as she met his gaze and told him she was sorry for all the times she'd put his life in danger, sorry for all the times she'd thwarted his elaborate plans and that she was sorry for all the times she'd deceived him, and he seemed taken aback at first, just staring at her as if he couldn't quite believe his own ears, but then he just smiled in that slightly crooked way of his and told her that her frequent appearances during his heists were some of the things that made it so much fun, anyway. She knew he wasn't being entirely truthful, but she simply smiled back and shrugged in a somewhat apologetic manner.

As he looked at her searchingly, as if trying to figure her out, his gaze soft in a way she'd only seen once or twice before, she opened her mouth to speak, but due to the lack of any forthcoming words to describe her feelings with, she found herself leaning forward to kiss him instead, and as he made a slightly startled sound in his throat when she pressed her lips against his, she smiled against him and thought, as he quickly caught up with her and began to kiss her back, that when you had a guy who made you feel like you were always having the time of your life, it was worth it to wait around for a few years to see if you didn't change your mind about a few things or at least try to find some way to accommodate.


Author's note: I saw the ninth episode of the first Lupin The Third series, which was called "Koroshiya ha Buruusu wo Utau" or "An Assassin Sings The Blues", and I had to wonder why Lupin was only in his boxers when Jigen found him after Fujiko had hit him over the head and tied him up before she left, and also why she came out dancing with him in the first place and why she was crying at the end of the episode (besides because Pun was dead) and so this little fic was born. I must say I never thought I'd be writing Lupin The Third fan fiction.

I also referred to specific events in episodes 12 (the freezing cabin scene) and 13 (the time machine/marriage thing) from the same series. Other than that, it's just about the first series in general.

The title is taken from the third version of the Lupin intro song. A line from the lyrics to it is "yamiyo hashiru" which can be translated more or less directly to "running on a moonless night". I honestly just couldn't think of a title.