Saguru was not going to be able to eat barbeque for weeks. The morgue smelled far too strongly of charred pork and smoke, with the faintest acrid tinge of lab chemicals, clinging greasily to the back of his throat with every shallow breath.

They'd found three bodies. Saguru had only been expecting two, the results of Haibara's ethically dubious laboratory work, but it seemed likely that the Kudous' mole had taken the opportunity to rid him-or-herself of the driving force behind suborning the twins. So there had been three bodies in the wreckage of the building in Adura-cho, bodies lined up now on steel slabs, blackened beyond all recognition.

Most recognition. One body was only half the size of the other two, long-limbed and petite in a way that only had one explanation.

Hattori, standing over the child-sized body, looked like he was about to empty his stomach and vitriol alike over the nearest unfortunate to elicit his attention. (Had anyone told him the origin of the corpses? He had to know that Saguru would barely condone stealing bodies from a crematorium, much less accept them being made-to-order, as it were... and surely he wouldn't think Saguru would turn a blind eye to the chance of the latter?)

Well. He'd managed to endure worse than literal and metaphorical bile. "Hattori-san."

Burning green eyes snapped up to meet Saguru's own, but only dilated in something like recognition and very much more like conspiracy. One hand lifted, gestured vaguely between the morgue door and the charred remains. "I have to..."

"As do I," Saguru murmured. "Nakamori-san. The daughter," he clarified, guilt twisting in his stomach, "though eventually both, I suppose."

Hattori nodded tightly. "Mouris. Both of 'em." He paused, eyeing Saguru searchingly, something in his stare going... not quite soft, but less unyielding. "Hey, are you...?"

I am FINE, Saguru bit back, swallowing the words back as if choking on them. "There are times," he managed after a moment, "that I deeply wish Japan's drinking age matched England's."

"Aw hell no. I'm already gonna be wrangling one drunk tonight."

"I may well wish I were," Saguru muttered. "I've no idea how Nakamori-keibu will react." He almost hoped for explosive violence. He could easily drop the older man until a hot fuse blew out. Realistically, though, this was going to break Nakamori-keibu. This time, there was going to be a body and identity to match, after all. Saguru sighed heavily, rubbing his face with one hand. "God, I don't want to do this."

"What, and I do?" Hattori snapped. Saguru shot him a cutting, icy glare between long fingers, but Hattori didn't give him a chance to snarl back. Catching Saguru by one elbow, the Osakan all but hurled him against the far wall, away from the bodies and to slightly fresher air under a vent. "I swear if you fall apart..." he hissed, eyes blazing as he loomed. "You got no fucking right to go before me, you got it? I will run you outta the fucking country-"

"Gentlemen? Is there a problem here?"

They both froze. Then, "No, sir," Hattori bit out. "No problems here at all."

"Then I suggest you take your not-problems outside, hm?" the medical examiner said with an overly paternal smile, which made something icy trickle down Saguru's spine even as Hattori bristled over Saguru, shoulders going tellingly tense.

Hattori was going to hit the man.

Saguru clamped down on Hattori's dominant wrist. "We were just leaving," Saguru murmured faintly. "Please excuse us." And he eeled out from under Hattori, hauling Hattori through the morgue's heavy steel door and out into the hallway.

The air was clearer here, but they didn't get much more than a single breath before Saguru yanked them into the empty men's room. "Get a hold of yourself," he snapped. "You cannot go about so clearly wishing to take out your temper on the first available target."

"You shut your fucking mouth," Hattori shot back. He swallowed hard, fists clenching and twisting in Saguru's grip, until something unbearable seemed to heave deep in his ribs and well up from his throat. "I loved that kid like a brother."

And I, Kaito. Saguru swallowed thickly. "Hattori..."

"An' now we're never gonna mention it again." This time, when Hattori pulled, his wrist twisted free of Saguru's loosened fingers. "I said nothin', got it?"

"... Of course." But I can't just leave it like that, can I? Saguru thought, as Hattori nodded jerkily and turned sharply for the door, his ears faintly red even under his concealing tan.

No. He couldn't just leave Hattori like this. But what could he offer...?


"However..." Saguru began, and Hattori paused, his hand on the door. "If you'd like a substitute target at some later date, I do have a dojo and the skills to not be injured by the likes of you." A faint huff bubbled out, one which might've, at any other time, been amusement. "As well as the skill to thoroughly piss you off."

One should always work to one's strengths, after all.

Hattori cast a long, level look over his shoulder, measuring Saguru up for... what? Sincerity? Ability to tolerate each other enough to vent without serious attempts to harm?

... For the possibility that this was a ploy to allow them to interact without the Syndicate thinking they must needs dig deeper for reasons?

"Huh," Hattori finally said. "I might even take ya up on that." His mouth quirked in a tiny, infuriating smirk. "If only 'coz it made ya curse."

And, as Saguru sputtered and tried to recall exactly when he'd done that - oh yes, 'piss off' would count, as formal as Saguru's usual patterns were - Hattori left.

Saguru buried his face in both hands, and sent up a quick prayer.

Come back soon, Kuroba, Edogawa-kun. I'm not sure how long you've got until the two of us attempt to throttle each other!