It wasn't as if Kaku knew Jyabura very well– their gamut of interactions was limited to hostility, avoidance, and occasional work-related cooperation– but he was fairly certain that he should have realized before now, at 2 o' clock in the morning, disheveled and dragging a thoroughly dead body through several winding back alleys to find an inconspicuous place to dispose of it, that Jyabura smoked.

Kaku stopped next to a waste bin and scratched his cheek with the back of his hand– the front was coated in a thin film of sticky, half-dried blood– and blinked through the early morning blackness at the uncharacteristically silent form of his coworker. "I don't suppose you'd be willing to help me with this?" he asked, slightly out of breath and a little more caustic than he'd been aiming for. Blame it on stress, he decided.

"Nah," Jyabura said, too flat and non-confrontational and all-around slightly worrisome in tone. "I killed the poor bastard; you get to lug him around."

Kaku considered the dubious logic behind this statement. It reminded him vaguely of the way his aunt and uncle used to make dinner; his aunt cooked and his uncle washed the dishes after. It still didn't quite seem fair. "I had to play decoy for his guards," Kaku pointed out, sitting on an old fruit crate. "I had to run all around half of this town keeping them busy while you did the dirty work. And comparatively, I'm not sure that your part of the job, which took a grand total of what, five seconds, can technically be deemed 'dirty work'…" he spread his fingers out and peered at them critically through the darkness. "Well, unless you're being literal."

To his great surprise, Jyabura didn't answer; only shifted, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, as if he wanted to speak but couldn't find the words. Eventually, there was a rustling of cloth followed shortly by a loud, metallic click, and a spark of fire flared briefly to life in front of Jyabura's face, illuminating all the sharp edges and hard planes of his face and casting in his eyes an eerie, demonic glow. Then it was dark again except for the smoldering end of the cigarette that had just been lit, and there were foreign spots of brightness swimming in Kaku's vision.

There was a pause as smoke curled white into the shadows, and finally Kaku said "I didn't know you smoked."

"I don't," Jyabura said, giving Kaku what was probably, if it had been visible through the gloom, a very direct look.

"Oh," said Kaku, remembering that CP9 agents were not allowed to smoke. He contemplated filing this knowledge away for blackmail purposes before deciding that was much more Lucci's style and rejecting it. "I've never seen you…not smoking before."

"Well, that's because I don't not smoke very often," Jyabura explained, with a shockingly small amount of contempt. Kaku watched the end of Jyabura's cigarette burn for a moment in quiet fascination born of it being far too ungodly an hour even for the most ungodly of people, and then he transferred his gaze to the body of the Marine officer who had decided that obedience just wasn't his style. After a moment, he realized with disgust and embarrassment that blood was soaking into his shoe and nudged the body away with his foot, attempting the wipe the blood off on the late Rear Admiral Nakamura's slacks.

"I think we should get moving again," Kaku suggested, hauling the body into a vague standing position and hoisting it over his left shoulder. He looked back over his other shoulder at Jyabura, who hadn't moved. "Are you coming along?"

"Lemme finish this first," said Jyabura. Quietly. That wasn't right. Slowly, Kaku lowered the body back to the ground and turned around, putting his head on one side and squinting at Jyabura murky silhouette.

"Is…something wrong?" he ventured. It was true that Kaku didn't know Jyabura well, but he knew people well, and Jyabura was, at a basic level, a person. And people didn't behave this way normally, not if those people were Jyabura. (It made sense in Kaku's mind.)

"Yeah," Jyabura snapped, and then huffed angrily, presumably at himself. "I mean no. Look, sometimes I just need a goddamn cigarette, okay? Shut up and let me finish and then we can go."

Finding no other option in the darkness of the alley or the tired recesses of his own mind, Kaku sat back down on the fruit crate and tilted his head back, looking up into the sky that was only a faintly different shade of black than the walls of the alley. "How long did it actually take?"

"What?" Jyabura said, and then shifted awkwardly against the wall. "Oh." There was a long pause and another drag on the cigarette. "Couple minutes."

"It shouldn't have taken that long," Kaku said softly. A loaded silence ensued, and eventually, Jyabura sighed in frustration.

"Don't tell me how to do my job," he said. He sounded weary.

Kaku tried to find a star through the smog, but none would show itself. He took a breath and paused, unsure. "Did he recognize you?"

The cigarette dropped to the ground and Jyabura ground it out with the heel of his shoe. "Yeah."

"You shouldn't have let him."

"Look, I killed him," Jyabura shot back, and then they were both quiet as death for a long moment, because he had spoken too loudly. "I killed him," Jyabura repeated, under his breath. "I did my job. What more do you want?"

Kaku looked up at Jyabura, wondering if his coworker could see any better in the dark than he could. "It might have been easier for you if you'd gotten it over with right away."

Jyabura made a sound that was meant to be a laugh, but didn't quite make it. "I knew him for twelve years," he said, pushing off from the wall and flexing his hands as if they were cramped. "Killing a guy like that…it's not like ripping off a bandage. It doesn't hurt less if you do it quick." He cracked his neck. "You gonna carry him or you afraid you'll get blood on your shirt?"

Kaku stood up and looked down at his bloodstained shoes in the darkness. "I'll carry him. It's not far now."

"You sure you don't wanna make me do it after you wore yourself out on those guards?" Jyabura said, making a half-hearted attempt at antagonism.

"I'm stronger than you make me out to be, Jyabura," said Kaku, and hefted Rear Admiral Nakamura's body over his shoulder again. "And I always will be."

Jyabura snorted, following Kaku out of the alley and into another as they made their meandering way toward the nearby forest. "Besides," Kaku added conversationally, "you made dinner."

"What?" asked Jyabura, halfway between amused and exasperated.

"Never mind," Kaku said pleasantly. 'Annoyed' would have to do for now; he estimated it would take Jyabura at least a few hours to work his way back up to 'hostile'.

Jyabura made a sarcastic remark, and Kaku answered amiably, and they went and buried the body in the woods. It took Jyabura about three hours, but Kaku took it as a good sign that he flung his cigarettes out the window on the train home.