Jigen wasn't able to leave his room until the next morning; the hospital had kept both of them overnight, so he hadn't been able to chew out Lupin. He was pissed. The gash in his head had been larger than he'd expected, and it hadn't helped that he and Lupin kept accidentally knocking into each other while trying to get in the building and that he'd fallen down twice. They'd given him antibiotics and told him not to drink for two weeks. Jigen was going to make Lupin pay for those two weeks. And tell Cinnamon he made the whole thing up. And get off the drugs, he supposed. Lupin was the kind of guy that fucked everyone over when things weren't going well for him.
"The fuck's your deal?" Jigen squeezed his prescription bottle in his hand, glaring at the man still in bed. "You disappear for weeks and come back rambling about Zenigata? What are you on now, man?"
Lupin looked like utter shit. His eyes were half-lidded, and while his eyes were dry, they were bloated and red. His hair was sweat-soaked and he kept twitching. Even so, he was able to bark out dry laughter. "Me? I'm running on pure truth, Jigen. I know what you did." His glare was half menacing and half pathetic. "You act all superior, but you were really screwing around with his wife the whole time."
Jigen sighed, tightening his grip on the bottle. "What the fuck are you talking about?"
Lupin looked away, sticking his nose up. "Don't play dumb with me. You already know, so I'm not telling you."
Jigen was trying so hard not to kill him. He wanted to say it was the drugs talking, but Lupin was being an immature prick, so that was just him talking after all. "When we get you clean, you're going to thank me. And then tell Cinnamon the truth and forget whatever you think you saw, because you are out of your mind."
Lupin moaned in objection when Jigen turned around and left. He was going to talk to the doctors and tell them everything! Then they would figure out his real name and send him back to rehab. He didn't want to go back to that prison. Those guys didn't deserve his stolen substances!
"Do whatever you have to, just get him clean." Jigen went back into the room to rub Lupin's face in it a little before he got shipped off to the druggie factory. But Lupin was already gone. "Shit."
Eva hadn't found that she had much of a taste for the progressive rock scene. She appreciated the flavor of anarchy in what she could understand of the lyrics, it was just that it didn't help make it sound better. The experience was like hanging around Frolic, though; when Frolic's performances got too strange for her, she still had fun because she was around Frolic. She was surprised to see that Josh was a pretty nice guy. She had previously assumed him to be another one of those creeps – mainly because he hung around Susanne.
She and Josh had spent an extra while outside of her house, sitting in his car. They'd even spoken a bit about their families, and Eva realized what was missing in hers: her dad. She'd felt guilty about the way she'd treated him ever since he made all those confessions to her when he thought she was asleep. Eva had tried to forget him, since for all she knew, he had a new family by now. Somehow, though, she didn't think he would or could be happy just running away. Perhaps it was foolish to hold onto the visage of memories long past, but Eva had already made up her mind.
"Mom." Her hands rested on her waist, her eyes staring holes into her mother's. "Where's dad?"
Fujiko released a slow sigh. She had thought she'd gotten Eva to finally give up on the matter. Lupin was her husband, and she nearly had. "He's gone, Eva. He left us. Whatever happens from here out happens, you just need to stop worrying." She wanted to say she was in the process of trying to find a new father for her, but she didn't want to upset the girl more.
Eva dug her nails into her palms. "I'm not worried! I just want to tell him what an idiot he's being!"
Fujiko smiled sadly. She was glad her daughter didn't know the half of it.
Eva caught the expression and stilled, her eyes widening. "Where is he!?"
Fujiko sucked in a deep breath. She had hoped not to have this conversation with Eva until Lupin came back, but Fujiko didn't think that was going to happen anymore. She didn't even want it to. "He's gone, honey."
Eva waited for more explanation, but it didn't come. She turned abruptly and ran to her room, slamming the door. She pressed her back into the door, her heart pounding in her ears. She can't mean… Tears gathered in her eyes as she shook her head.
Dad, how could you? Her dad didn't have another family – he was dead! Had he done himself in? Eva thought this must have been the case, since her mom was trying to avoid the situation altogether. How hadn't she told her? Eva locked her door before stumbling over to her bed and dropping onto it.
Fujiko sighed in relief of not having to explain the situation after all. "You can come out now."
A large pair of boots stepped out from the tall lamp beside the couch, along with the person wearing those boots. "Everything okay?" he whispered, learning towards her with a cupped hand.
Fujiko grinned. "I wasn't expecting her home so soon, but don't worry about her. I'm sure she'll be fine." She crossed one leg over the other, a hand gesturing to the empty space beside her.
The man smiled back before hopping back on the couch and grabbing Fujiko's shoulder as they resumed a wet kiss.
Eva wiped a dribble of snot from the edge of her nose. "This is when Dad took me to the park and beat up that bully who stole my toy ship," she sighed to herself, no longer keeping her thoughts inside. She threw the picture into a shoebox and the picture joined its brethren with a clap. The pictures spanned many years. Most of them were blurry, having been taking by one of the twins. They were nearly all taken before her twelfth birthday, of course, and they had once been her most cherished memories. Now, she didn't need a bitter reminder of all that she had lost. Instead, she would send her memories into the wind, where they could dance with her father's lost spirit for all time.
She unclipped the window lock and pushed it up. As a gust of cold wind dried the tears on her cheeks, she lit a match and dropped it into the shoebox. She sat the shoebox on the windowsill and placed the lid on top, watching for the fire to burn through the top. Crackling sounds hit her ears, a strange serenity filling her as as her thoughts flew free in the cool breeze.
Lupin had not been a conventional father. He'd taken them to R rated movies to celebrate passing the first grade, to teach them about the real world that they would someday rule, just like him. He would point out all the inaccuracies, only to suggest something far more farfetched, and yet they believed him because there was nothing to prove Lupin didn't rule the world.
He would give them advice, and anyone around would get mad at him for it, but she still remembered. She still remembered him giving her a lesson on the best places to hide weapons. She remembered sitting against the door, angry with her brother for getting all the attention while Lupin gave him girl advice. "You see, son, when a woman says 'no', she really means 'maybe'," he had said, and then had to apologize to Fujiko for weeks as Lupin IV kept pestering her about every little thing. Eva still remembered the talk he'd given both of them about which drugs were OK to try just once and which to avoid forever, though it seemed he had changed his mind since then.
She laid her head upon her arms, weary eyes watching the flames shoot through the top and consume the cardboard. A soft smile upon her lips, she closed her eyes and imagined that her father was watching the same fire, congratulating her for embracing her destructive nature. She wondered briefly how many people knew what had become of him, but for her pride, she promised herself she wouldn't tell anybody. She felt the pull of sleep and tried to fight it, but for the split second she opened her eyes, she could no longer see the fire and fell asleep, exhausted from the emotional ceremony and not really caring to wonder just yet.
A few blocks away, a fire could be seen trailing in the air. "Stupid American woman," a man scoffed, his footsteps swift and solid. "Fire not for house." The flame continued its destruction in his hands as he mentally ranted about the stupid girl who had fallen asleep with a fire in her house. Luckily, he had been there to save the day – since until he found that evil man and absolved himself of his Japanese blood, he was a part of this modern American community. Fujitarou continued walking until he started to feel the heat building and swerved into an alley, tossing the box into a dumpster. He walked away from the sushi restaurant with a smile on his face.
Fujiko stared at her companion with eyes fogged in confusion. "What's wrong, Laurence?" It took another moment to register the heavy breathing that was coming not from him, but from behind him. She moved her head to see Lupin standing beside the couch, his face frozen in about-to-burst rage. She pressed both hands on Laurence's shoulders and nodded, whispering, "You can run now."
She straightened herself up as Laurence ran off and stood, her arms crossed. "You couldn't have bothered to call?"
Lupin smashed a bouquet of roses on the couch arm, both hands dropping to his sides in fists. "I didn't think I needed permission to visit my wife in my house!"
Fujiko just laughed. "Why would you expect anything after the way you treated me last time? I went out of my way to see you at that horrible place, to try and work things out, and you really think you have a choice? You think you have any say in my life anymore?"
Lupin swallowed a lump. "Just listen to me. I'm sorry. I want to come home. I can't stand that awful place anymore. I just-"
"You expect me to take you seriously when you show up here in a hospital gown?"
"Well I didn't think I would come home to my wife slobbering all over another guy!"
A moment of tense silence passed, each glaring at the other with their arms crossed.
Lupin was the first to speak. "If you promise never to do it again… I'll take you back."
"Get out!" Fujiko grabbed a vase and threw it at Lupin, who happened to catch it perfectly. The two stopped for a moment, confused, before Lupin calmly set it down and turned tail out the front door.
The next morning, Fujiko was on her best behavior. She was slaving over a hot stove, making pancakes with three types of syrup, hash browns, four types of meat sides, and a plate of fruit like a good mother. She was even wearing an apron. This was an elaborate beg for Eva not to ask about anything, much as Fujiko owed it to her. And much as she did, she thought ignoring it was the better option. She could probably sweet talk Laurence into coming back and perhaps then Eva could have a real father and forget all about Arsene.
Fujiko had three plates of delicious breakfast food arranged perfectly when there was a knock at the door. This upset her, since she didn't have enough to offer another such a luxurious meal, and she didn't want to look like a bitch in front of her ticking time bomb of a daughter. Knowing that if she didn't answer, it could be Lupin exploding the door next time around, however, she thew her apron over her chair and slunk to the door, hoping their guest wouldn't be able to smell the delicious meal within.
She opened it just a crack. Outside stood a man who was wearing slacks three sizes too big and, for whatever reason, was carrying an umbrella. She had no intention to open the door any wider.
The man twirled his beard hair as he held up a print-out from the internet. "Ah, yes. My name is J.L. Cromwell. I am here about the opening you have concerning a room?"
Fujiko stared in silence. She had forgotten about that ad, the whole thing being a scheme to try and get a good man to move into the place. Moreover, she had been trying to a hot young man to liven the place up a bit, maybe bring some ambition into her life. "I'm sorry, the opening is closed."
"P-Please!" Cromwell stuck his foot in the door and opened his briefcase. "I am desperate! I also just happen to have five thousand in cash and three diamonds here! Oh, if only someone would give me a room!"
Thus, J.L. Cromwell got himself a room that morning, and a fancy pancake breakfast. Amidst unpacking in his room, Cromwell looked into his own eyes in the mirror, a nefarious smile on his face. "That's right, Fujiko. Guess what? You just fed your husband that big fancy breakfast. I'm back, baby, and I'm gonna make you fall in love with me all over again. Then, you'll be stuck with me!" He laughed until he started to choke.
"Is everything okay in there?" a sweet voice called from the doorway.
Lupin quieted himself and yelled back that he was alright, resisting the urge to go seduce her just yet. No, he was going to seduce her slowly until she was begging for him, and only then would he reveal the truth, screaming it in her face and then they would have awesome, violent make-up sex.