Well, this story was pretty much done, since I hadn't continued it in forever. And then I found that I actually had worked on it and forgot, finding this chapter almost complete in a folder. Not sure when the next chapter will come or if it ever will. xP I'd like to actually finish this thing like I had planned, if I can ever find the notes I had written on what I wanted to do with it.


Chapter 31

A month had passed since the return from San Francisco. After coming so close to losing each other, Lupin and Fujiko found their relationship closer than it had ever been. All their past problems had been forgotten, the two starting from scratch once again.

Danielle started to feel as though she finally fit in, getting closer to the others as she filled into her role as nurse to her uncle, a job that got a lot easier when he was able to ditch the wheelchair and walk with the aid of a cane.

"And take it easy," Fujiko said as she started to leave the den, glancing back at Lupin as he leaned over the pool table and took a shot. "If your knees start to hurt, you should sit down."

"I know," Lupin said as he eyed his next shot.

Fujiko sighed and shook her head, knowing that he'd come to bed that night complaining of pain in his knees like he did every night.

"So?" Lupin IV stared happily at Danielle as she prepared lunch for Lupin.

"No," Danielle said, starting to get annoyed at his nagging.

"I'm hungry, though," he whined.

"Leave her alone, Lupin," Fujiko sighed as she walked into the kitchen. "If you're that hungry you can make your own sandwich."

Danielle glanced at Fujiko and smiled as Fujiko grinned at her.

Lupin IV groaned as he slumped his shoulders forward. "Fine," he growled. "I'll make my own sandwich. I don't need your gross germs all over my food, anyway."

He walked next to her, reaching out and grabbing the bread, making sure to nudge her as much as he could in the process.

She glanced at him as if he were an idiot, which is what she thought he was.

He looked at her and stuck his tongue out before he spun around and walked to the kitchen island and began to make his sandwich.

"You could sort of help your dad out more, you know," she said as she finished preparing the food.

"Be his slave? No thanks. Besides, he already has you to do everything for him while he plays pool and watches TV all day. Oh, I know. He could make his own food." He looked at her and shrugged it off while taking a bite of his sandwich and walking away.

"Tch, jerk," she muttered, leaving the kitchen and entering the den.

"Lunch is ready," she said, holding the plate up.

"Hey, great." Lupin smiled excitedly as he stared at the food. "Just set it over here on the table."

Danielle nodded and set it down, watching as Lupin plopped himself down on the couch and grabbed the plate, placing it in his lap.

"Need anything else?" Danielle wondered.

Lupin shook his head 'no' as he took a large bite.

"Can I finish your game?" she asked.

"Sure," Lupin said, swallowing his food before quickly taking another bite.

Danielle finished his game as Lupin finished his food. She rounded the table to gather the balls up to ready another game when she glanced around the room.

The den was almost the size of a lot of the apartments she had grown up living in. One of the walls was lined with bookshelves, all filled with aging books. The wall opposite of that contained a fireplace, around it an ornate wooden surrounding. Above the fireplace was a large framed photo of Lupin, Fujiko and their kids that was taken years ago.

The other two walls contained random placements of pictures and articles and photographs. It was these photographs that always caught Danielle's eye.

Most of them were of Lupin, Goemon, Jigen and Fujiko when they all worked together. A few were reunion shots, their families all standing together smiling for the camera. There was one of Goemon, Mayumi and their two kids and another photo of Jigen and Danielle. An odd photo of an irate Zenigata was thrown in among the others, along with a couple of a guy Danielle didn't recognize.

"Uncle." Danielle stared at the pictures and looked back at Lupin. "Why aren't there any pictures of my mom up there?"

"Emma?" Lupin wondered before he shrugged. "She hated me. Always did and most likely still does."

"But, why would she hate you?"

"Well, it started out she just found me annoying," he grinned. "But then..." His grin faded as he stared off.

"What?" Danielle said with an unsure laugh.

"Yeah, I guess your dad wouldn't tell you that," Lupin sighed.

"Tell me what?"

"The time I almost got him killed," Lupin said, staring seriously at Danielle.

...

"What's the job?" Jigen asked as he sat relaxed on the couch.

"Nothing big," Lupin said. "I just need to grab a couple of paintings and return them to their owner."

"Why do you keep doing these jobs," Jigen sighed.

Lupin shrugged. "They're easy money. They're quick. Why wouldn't I do them?"

"They're boring," Jigen muttered.

"Well, Goemon isn't working with us anymore, so as much as I'd like to rob national banks and go after legendary treasures..." Lupin sat down and sighed. "Have you talked to him lately?"

Jigen shook his head. "Not in a few weeks."

"Hmm."

"So," Jigen said as he stared off. "What you're saying is we completely suck without Goemon around."

Lupin grinned. "Not really. More like with him around I became too lazy. I lowered my guard too much because I knew he would always be there when I needed him. It's like when there were guys shooting at me, as long as you were there I didn't worry about them. I just concentrated on what I had to do."

"Yeah, I know what you mean."

The two stared off, both looking up as Fujiko walked in.

"Oh, good, you're here," she said as she smiled at Jigen. "I didn't think your girlfriend would let you come."

"She doesn't know I'm here," he grinned.

"And when she does I'll get to hear about it," Lupin said unhappily.

Jigen laughed. "Don't worry. She's out of town to attend some instruction meeting thing. As far as she knows, I'm at home watching TV."

"How out of town?" Lupin wondered. "I mean, it's not like she can just drive back when she feels like it and-"

"She's in Denver," Jigen grinned. "Relax, geez. You're more afraid of her than I am."

"It's just..." Lupin looked up and sighed. "She calls and yells at me for something I had no control over. I'm just sick of being blamed for everything."

Jigen shrugged, not really wanting to respond.

Fujiko stared at Lupin and grinned. "Are you through being pathetic?"

Lupin glared at her.

"I think we had something we were going to do tonight..." She turned and started towards the door. "I'll be in the car. Don't be too long."

"Don't worry about it," Jigen said, standing and fishing a cigarette out of his jacket. "You learn to tune it out after a while."

"I thought you quit," Lupin said as he started towards the door.

Jigen shrugged as he lit the cigarette and took a long drag. "It's more like a take long breaks."

Lupin grinned as he left the house, Jigen following.

Lupin drove the three to the location, a small art museum on the other side of town, and parked in the back of the two storied structure.

The three left the car and entered through a back door, the security lacking.

"Shouldn't there be guards here," Jigen wondered as they wandered the hallways and made it to the main entrance.

Lupin glanced around cautiously as he slowly reached into his jacket and grabbed his gun.

Jigen reached back and grabbed his, bringing it out in front of him as he looked around.

Fujiko pulled out her gun and spun around, shooting at a figure as it ducked behind a display case.

"Shit," Jigen said as he and Lupin took cover. "Who the hell else would be in this place?"

Lupin sat on the floor behind a cement pillar and glanced over at Fujiko, nodding.

Fujiko nodded back and ran from her place of hiding to a case that was closer to where Lupin and Jigen were.

As she ran Lupin peeked out from the pillar, shooting at the men who were shooting at Fujiko.

Fujiko dove and rolled behind the case, getting there safely.

"So, where are these paintings," Jigen asked before he shot towards the other men.

"Up where those bastards are," Lupin growled.

Jigen shrugged as he reloaded. "Fujiko, run back to where you were and draw them out. I'll take care of them."

"Well, look who's getting cocky all of a sudden," she grinned. "Cover me," she said to Lupin as she got ready to run.

Lupin nodded.

Fujiko took a breath and ran across the room, her move making the three men above rise up and take aim at her.

Jigen stepped out in the open and lifted his gun, firing three times and hitting each of his targets quickly.

"Is that all of them?" Fujiko wondered.

"I think so," Jigen said, ducking down and sneaking towards the stairs.

Lupin and Fujiko kept an eye on him as he got halfway up.

Jigen looked back and nodded at them, giving them the okay to move forward.

Lupin looked at Fujiko and nodded, telling her to go ahead and that he'd cover her.

Fujiko nodded back, standing and starting towards the stairs when something caught the corner of her eye.

Rising from his hiding spot behind the information desk was another gunman, the man standing and taking aim.

"Jigen," Fujiko yelled.

Lupin stepped out from behind the pillar and lifted his gun.

Jigen turned and took aim at the man, too slow as the man fired off three shots before a single bullet from Lupin's gun hit him in the head.

Jigen's body flinched from every hit, all three bullets slamming into his chest.

"No," Lupin yelled as Jigen fell forward and tumbled down the stairs.

He and Fujiko ran forward, Fujiko keeping an eye out for more gunmen while Lupin rushed over and knelt down by Jigen.

Lupin's hands shook as he held them above Jigen, too panic stricken to know what to do.

"Is it that bad?" Jigen asked as he gasped for breath.

"Don't... don't talk," Lupin said, his voice quivering as tears filled his eyes. "We're gonna get you some help, okay?"

"Emma's gonna be pissed," Jigen said, trying to laugh but coughing up blood instead.

"Damn it, just stop talking," Lupin yelled.

Fujiko knelt down on the other side of Jigen and checked his wounds. "Hang in there, okay," she whispered to him. She looked up at Lupin, giving him a worried look and shaking her head.

...

"Why didn't I notice that guy?" Lupin asked, blaming himself ever since they arrived at the hospital.

"None of us noticed him," Fujiko said as she held Lupin's hands in hers. "It's not your fault."

"It's like I said. I've gotten lazy."

"We all have."

"I let him down..."

"Lupin, stop," Fujiko pleaded. "We're all to blame for this. We never took this job seriously from the beginning."

Lupin stared off, deciding not to hear her words.

Fujiko said nothing more to him, the two sitting still in their seats as their minds took in all of the possible outcomes, deciding to concentrate more of the worst outcome of all.

The minutes ticked by slowly. Hours seemed like days as the people came and went. Doctors and nurses walked by them without stopping, leaving them that much more anxious.

"What if he's dead," Lupin asked, no emotion in his voice.

"He isn't," Fujiko said as she rubbed Lupin's back in comfort. "Do you want me to try Goemon again?" she wondered, Lupin having called him twice before and getting no answer.

He nodded and handed her his phone.

She reached out for it and paused, staring in sadness at Lupin's shaking hand. She grabbed the phone and his hand at the same time, rubbing it as she stared into his tear filled eyes.

"Lupin..." She choked up, leaning forward and holding him, wrapping her arms tightly around his waist as he lowered his head into her shoulder and cried.

Hours passed, Fujiko holding Lupin's phone as she wrapped her arms around her and paced the waiting room floor.

Lupin sat passed out in a chair, his arms crossed over his chest and his head hung down as he breathed deeply.

The cheery tune of Lupin's ring tone broke Fujiko from her thoughts. She stopped pacing and quickly answered it. "Goemon."

"What is it?" Goemon asked, a hint of worry in his usual calm voice.

Fujiko panicked, her heart racing as she tried to collect her thoughts. "We went to steal these paintings," she said, the words almost blurred together as she spoke quickly. "And everything was supposed to go smoothly, but there were these guys and, what were they even doing there, and why-"

"Fujiko," Goemon said loudly. "What happened?"

"Jigen was shot and it's been hours and we haven't heard from anyone on how he's-"

"Where are you?" Goemon asked as worry began to fill him.

"Is everything okay?" Mayumi asked as Goemon was told the name of the hospital and it's location.

"I'll be there as fast as I can," Goemon said before he hung up the phone.

"What is it?" Mayumi asked worriedly.

"Jigen was shot," Goemon said. "Will you be okay here?"

Mayumi nodded. "Is he going to be okay? Do they know anything?"

"No," Goemon said simply. "He's still in surgery."

Mayumi stared in sadness as Goemon left the house.

...

Lupin sat in one of the benches outside the hospital, the morning sun beating down on him as the cool breeze blew by, the leaves gently rustling overhead.

All hope had left him, his mind still repeating the words the doctor had given him twenty minutes earlier.

Jigen was in worse shape than he and Fujiko had thought. The doctors weren't even sure if he'd make it over night.

Lupin gave the nurses Emma's number and told them that she needed to be there, the situation no longer allowing him to hide this from her.

Now he just waited for the things he didn't want to experience.

...

Goemon had finally arrived in the early evening, walking up to the bench Lupin still sat at, Fujiko now sitting next to him and the two talking.

"How is he?" Goemon asked, pretty much knowing the answer from the way the two looked.

Fujiko's eyes began to tear up once again as she looked up at Goemon and shook her head slowly.

"He might not make it," Lupin said, his voice empty of any emotion.

"How did this happen?" Goemon was angry at the news. Jigen should have never been there in the first place.

"It's all my fault," Lupin said as he glanced up at Goemon.

"Lupin, it's not-" Fujiko started to say.

"It is," Lupin yelled. "He came along because I wanted him there! I wanted things to be like how they used to! I thought... I thought it'd be fun," he muttered as he stared down at the ground.

Goemon tensed as his body shook slightly, nothing but rage filling him at that moment. Knowing what he'd do to Lupin if he stood there for much longer he turned and walked off.

Lupin looked up and watched as Goemon entered the hospital. He bowed his head and sighed. "I'm sorry," he mumbled. "Not that it helps..."

...

The sun had set hours earlier, the three now inside, sitting in the main waiting room, waiting for any news on their friend.

"Uh oh," Fujiko said as she looked up.

Lupin looked up as an upset Emma walked through the doors, seeing and stomping towards him.

Lupin stood as she approached. "Emma, I'm sorry. I really am. I didn't think anyth-"

Emma slapped him as hard as she could in the face. "You bastard," she said through clenched teeth. "You bastard!"

The other visitors stopped what they were doing and looked in the direction of the scene.

Goemon stood and walked towards the two, just in case he had to tear Emma away as she tried to kill Lupin.

Lupin stared at her with a hurt expression. "It wasn't supposed to..."

"I told you to stay away from him," Emma said loudly as she began to cry. "I told you! And you promised me you would! You promised me you'd never talk to him again!"

Lupin glared at her and scoffed. "I only said those things so you'd shut up! He's my best friend! Do you think I'd end that just because his stupid girlfriend told me to?"

"Best friend?" She laughed in disbelief and shook her head. "If that's how you treat your friends, then maybe you don't deserve any."

Lupin glared at her as she walked away. He then looked over at Goemon as he stared at him. "What?" he asked in annoyance.

"Nothing," Goemon said, walking back to his chair.

"Tch, fuck this," Lupin said as he walked off.

"Lupin, wait," Fujiko yelled, her words ignored as Lupin continued on.

...

"How bad did things get with my dad?" Danielle asked as she sat on the edge of the pool table.

"He died early the next morning and they resuscitated him," Lupin said as he stared off. "After that he started to slowly recover."

"What'd you do?"

"Nothing. Fujiko wanted to tell me the news and found me passed out in my room. I was too drunk to even know where I was."

"Oh." Danielle grinned slightly. "What'd my mom do?"

"She stayed at the hospital with your dad. I just avoided the place. Your mom had a way with words and what she said, it hit me really hard."

"About not deserving friends?" Danielle wondered in confusion.

"Yeah," Lupin sighed. "I began to believe her. It made me think back on my life and realize she was right. I didn't deserve anyone."

"Wow..."

"Yeah," Lupin laughed. "I lived here alone for a short while, removing everyone from my life. But then one day my phone rang and I saw it was from Jigen. He said he was sneaking the call in while your mom was out and wanted to know how I was doing."

He looked at the floor and started to laugh.

"I couldn't really believe what he was saying," he said as he smiled and shook his head. "I pretty much gave up on him and there he was, sitting in the hospital recovering from almost being killed, asking me how I was."

"That had to be an awkward conversation," Danielle laughed.

"Yeah, it was," Lupin said with a grin. "I didn't really say much. To be honest, I figured he was dead. I guess I was too shocked to think of anything to say. He said that Fujiko and Goemon told him about how I was acting and he scolded me for being an idiot and told me to knock it off. I broke down crying and then he said Emma was coming back and that he had to go and hung up."

"Was she really that scary?"

Lupin laughed. "She could be. Jigen was glad that you got his temper instead of hers."

Danielle smiled, mentally thinking the same thing.

"The one time I saw Jigen be firm with her was when he decided I was going to be his best man at their wedding. God, she was pissed. The only reason she went along with it was because she loved him and she was pregnant with you and wanted that perfect family."

"That would have been nice," Danielle said as she stared off in sadness.

"Yeah, sometimes I have to wonder what'd it'd be like."

Danielle looked up at Lupin in confusion. "You mean, you didn't live one?"

Lupin laughed at this. "Not even close. My parents were never there for me growing up. My grandpa raised me and taught me what he knew. When I was around six I was told my dad had died. My grandpa took me to the funeral, where he had to point out my mom to me, since I didn't even know what she looked like. When I was fourteen my grandpa died. And then that was when my dad showed up, wanting to take over the estate."

"So, your grandpa lied to you?"

"My dad told him to. He said it'd be better for me at the time, rather than think I was just abandoned willingly. And my grandpa thought it was best if he raised me, thinking he had plenty of time left to live. But then he got sick."

"Did... did you hate him for it?"

"At the time, yeah. I thought it would have been nice to know my dad and live around him. That was until I actually got to know him and live around him. And then I hated my dad for ever coming back."

"Is he still alive?"

"No. He was shot and killed a few years later." Lupin stared off and laughed. "I went from being sad he was dead, to hating him when he came back, to being sad he was dead again, and then back to hating him for really leaving me."

"Yeah, I'd probably be the same way."

"You would?" Lupin asked.

"If my dad had done that, faked his death, and then came walking back through the front door years later... I don't know what I'd do. I don't even want to think that's possible, really."

"Yeah..." Lupin's eyes moved slowly away from Danielle as he stared off in thought.