Disclaimer: Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro is not mine. This story is written purely for entertainment purposes.
Author's note: First of all, thank you to everyone who first reviewed and/or faved my Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro fanfic "Next on the Menu". Initially I had planned to leave it just as a one-shot, but the response I got inspired me to write more and so I ended up doing this three-chapter fic.
Quite a while has passed since I put this story up, so I decided to revise it a bit. No big changes – just a bit of tweaking.
This story refers to a Neuro/Yako relationship dynamic that was established in "Next on the Menu". It will probably make more sense if you read that one first.
1. The Intriguing Appetizer
Things had gone wrong. Awfully, terribly wrong.
It had all begun innocently. More or less. The point was, that Yako could in no way have predicted (and therefore prevented) this turn of events. She was sure that the universal paradox of what had happened must have already caused a rift somewhere in space and time.
So, how exactly did things end up in this dire predicament?
It was a normal day at the detective agency. At least as normal as it could be, when the office workers consisted of a sadistic, mystery-eating demon boss, a second assistant (referred to as Slave Number Two) who was a yakuza and looked like it too, a secretary in the form of a sentient braid, and a high school girl (Slave Number One, respectively) who could eat more than should be humanly possible.
The difference that day was that the high school girl, one ever-hungry Katsuragi Yako, was in an extremely irritable mood.
Lately, Neuro had been dragging her to case after case. The "dragging" part should be taken quite literally. Of course, this alone wasn't the cause of her sour disposition. Being dragged or hurtled towards some destination was an everyday occurrence in her very specific line of work. And she privately acknowledged that she felt better knowing that he maintained a healthy diet. She didn't want him to weaken because he didn't get enough mysteries to eat. Even if he was a bastard most of the time.
No, the cause for her foul mood was different – exams.
Yako had barely passed them the first time, and this time had proven to be just as hellish. Despite starting to prepare earlier this time around, running around with a demon from hell and solving murder mysteries had taken its toll on the time she had been able to spend studying. Between dealing with whatever freak-case Neuro got her embroiled in and studying hard to pass her exams, she got little sleep. For the past week or so she had been walking around in a state of constant fatigue. When someone tried to shake her out of it, she was likely to snap at them. Though Neuro's usual abuse put a strain on her nerves, she had somehow kept from venting her frustration in his presence or, worse yet, on him.
Added to that, Yako often felt the weight of his gaze. A couple of weeks ago, she had first caught him giving her a look that she could only describe as disturbingly ravenous. From then on things had proceeded into a downwards spiral. It was not only his gaze that she felt, but also what she had privately and sarcastically dubbed as "Neuro's way of showing that he cares". In short, Yako-abuse was on the rise.
At least the sensation of tense, apprehensive fear that this provided helped to keep her awake.
During the last few days it had been especially hard for her to keep from lashing out at him for one of his insulting comments. She had even been tempted to retaliate physically when he was testing yet another torture method on her.
Why hadn't Yako acted on that impulse? Because she knew she would end up with her neck not just being twisted but being twisted off. Not a pleasant future prospect, and with Neuro in the vicinity all kinds of violently gruesome scenarios always were closer to reality than desired.
However, keeping herself in check proved to be increasingly difficult today. She'd had only three hours of sleep the previous night and had handed in her last exam mere hours ago. One would have thought this should make her feel relieved, but she was still sleep-deprived and not sure at all whether she had managed to pass. To top it off, Neuro had been especially "attentive" upon her arrival to work.
Yako seethed in silence as she rubbed her arm where he had gripped and twisted it when she had entered the office. That armlock had made rivers of tears stream down her cheeks. And it wasn't like she had even been late or anything.
Testament to her bad mood was the fact she had managed to scare Godai of all people out of the office. He'd asked her something, she couldn't quite remember what, but she'd given him one look and the guy had gone pale. He had found reason to leave on an errand soon after.
Upon seeing Godai's retreat, Neuro had thrown out some remark about her mood. That didn't mean he really cared. His ability to grasp human circumstances had not improved. Not as if he made any effort.
For the past hour she'd been sitting on the couch and staring at the TV. Miraculously, Neuro had left her alone. Maybe he had found some mysterious site on the Internet that managed to hold his attention. Yako hoped that he would just leave her alone for the rest of the day.
All her efforts were concentrated on trying not to nod off. She could not remember ever wanting anything as much as she wanted sleep right then. Maybe that awfully expensive, fabulously garnished cake she had seen in one shop could compete... In any case, falling asleep with Neuro close by was just the same as saying "Take that black marker and write something utterly embarrassing on my face". No thanks.
So she fought to stay awake, even though she recognized it as a loosing battle. Yako's eyes were slowly closing and she was starting to slip into the realm of dreams.
Suddenly an arm reached around her neck in a death grip, and she was dragged to the left against a solid body. She released a shriek of surprise, eyes wide open and sleep forgotten. Neuro had appeared on the couch beside her. A pair of hard knuckles began rubbing against her head.
"Who allowed you to sleep, dishrag?" Neuro's almost cooing tone was drenched in imminent potential for pain.
Unexpectedly, she felt a surge of intense anger. He wasn't doing anything out of the ordinary, but this time her better judgement was teetering on the edge. If Neuro did not release her very soon, Yako knew she would end up doing something she would regret.
"Neuro, let me go!" she hissed, struggling against his hold. His proximity was really driving her up the wall for reasons she didn't want to analyze right now.
"You appear to have the ridiculous idea that you can demand anything from me, slave."
"Neuro…" There was a desperate warning in her voice.
Her irritation was liable to boil over any moment now. If he would just toss her over the couch like usual – anything to get away from him pressing against her back and making her feel weirdly itchy. Against her hopes, Neuro's grip became more suffocating as he instead drew her closer, the pressure of his knuckles against her scalp not lessening.
His breath ghosted against her left ear and his voice carried obvious amusement at her futile struggles. "You can't even escape."
Something in Yako's mind snapped like a string that had been drawn too tight. She gripped the arm that he'd wound around her neck, drew it closer to her mouth and…
Yako bit Neuro.
He was wearing only his vest, so there was no suit to obstruct her teeth from his skin. She half expected to be met with flesh as hard as granite (and in the heat of the moment she didn't give a damn that she could have broken her pearly whites). However, his skin was pliant enough to give way as her teeth sank in.
For a moment there was absolute stillness.
Yako felt a faint, sharp tang in her mouth. Neuro's blood. It did not burn her tongue like she'd half expected it to.
At that moment, common sense returned from wherever it had fled to when she'd decided to bite a powerful demon. Yako released the pressure of her jaw and tore herself away from Neuro, noticing that he didn't stop her. Obviously he had not yet recovered from this surprising turn of events.
But she did not get to gloat over being able to shock her boss from hell. Yako was in adrenaline overdrive. Alarms were ringing in her head, or was that the echo of future funeral bells? She could practically hear her own heart hammering in her chest, as if it was trying to make up for the rest of the life it wouldn't get to beat anymore.
However, Neuro still had not taken even a step towards her. He was unnaturally calm and that scared her.
He lifted his arm and looked at it almost thoughtfully. Twin crescents stood out on the pale skin and a trickle of red had gathered at one point, where one of her canine teeth had sunk in especially deep. She'd really chomped down in earnest, hadn't she? His gaze slowly rose to meet hers.
"You bit me," he said. His voice had an undertone that made her fear spike.
Something in his eyes had shifted to an expression that Yako had not expected but, as of recently, had come to recognize. In a slow almost languid fashion Neuro's tongue snuck out of his mouth and laved at the bite mark, licking up his own blood.
Yako couldn't tear her gaze away. A drop of cold sweat rolled down her spine. She felt very weak all of a sudden, like her legs were about to give out.
"I…I…" she stuttered.
What could she say? Was there even any use to say anything?
Then he grinned at her and she thought maybe there truly was no god. Only the devil who lured you and tempted you to then utterly devour you.
She realized that her brain was screaming something at her, and after a second more she finally registered the vital message: Run! Run for your life!
Neuro at last took a step towards her. Her body burst into action, operating on fear and flight instinct. Within a second flat she had grabbed her bag and was retreating backwards to the door.
"Very sorry. Will never happen again. Lost my mind. Sleep deprivation. Must go now." Her sentences were barely formed, her voice too high pitched.
Neuro was still regarding her with that look. To Yako he had never looked more like a demon than right at that moment, even though none of the features of his true demonic appearance were visible.
He took another step forward.
"Bye!" she squeaked, turned and fled.
She ran all the way home, as if the fires of hell were licking at the back of her feet. For all she knew, that could have actually been the case.
Neuro watched as the girl ran out of the office at a speed he had not thought possible for her weak human legs. Her skirt swung rather nicely.
He had not paid any attention to the unnecessary babble she had spouted just before her retreat. Triumph was pulsating through his veins.
Lately, his patience with her had grown very thin. Even after he had increased the amount of blatantly seductive brutalities, she had still remained stubbornly unresponsive. But today there had been an unexpected breakthrough.
In a very private corner of his brilliant mind he could admit that he was the slightest, tiniest bit relieved. He had come this close to doubting that she actually had interest in him. Obviously, he shouldn't have even entertained such a laughable possibility. Naturally, in the end she couldn't resist him. She had probably held out this long because of that foolish thing humans had called "inhibition".
In spite of that, Yako turned out to be surprisingly bold. He hadn't expected her to bite him. Neuro passed a finger over the crescent marks of her teeth. He'd let her sink them into his flesh as far as she wanted. Of course, her human jaws were feeble and her teeth not sharp at all; he hardly felt any pain, but he revelled in the slight sting the wound produced. It was obvious proof that she reciprocated his interest.
Neuro would take care to slow the healing process in that area of his body. The mark would stay visible for a longer time.
Now that the necessary courting rituals were out of the way (after all he'd been raised to be a proper demon), things could proceed to the next stage. But she had run away. What a tease. No matter – he could easily find and catch her.
Neuro grinned in anticipation. If his deduction was right (and it always was), then she would run to her house. He had to commend her for her choice. Here in the office there was always the risk of someone interrupting and getting in the way of important things. Yako's house, on the other hand, was empty. They would be undisturbed there.
Neuro would have cackled in evil delight if he didn't feel that would be distastefully clichéd. Instead he donned his jacket and walked out of the office. Through the window.