All in a Day's Work
"When I get back, I'm going to wring Nokoru-san's neck," Kamui muttered darkly as the high pitched WAH-WAH-WAH of the alarm went off yet again. Written for LJ's x2009 - Ten Years Later challenge.
x/1999 belongs to CLAMP.
AN: Written for the x2009 community on LJ, with the theme of "Ten Years Later."
"When I get back, I'm going to wring Nokoru-san's neck," Kamui muttered darkly as the high pitched WAH-WAH-WAH of the alarm went off yet again.
He stared mournfully at his breakfast – warm, fluffy pancakes, doomed to be cold leftovers now – and quickly gulped down his coffee. Caffeine. Caffeine was good. Caffeine was very good when you'd just spent last night working and didn't even get two hours off to finish breakfast.
Actually, perhaps caffeine wasn't too good for his temper, but too late for that now.
"Nokoru-san. Neck," was all Kamui managed to get out when he hit the departure landing – the top roof, where the helicopter pads and such stood. The day was absolutely dreary; angry storm clouds loomed overhead like dark bruises in the sky. It was going to storm on them, Kamui just knew it.
"Now, now, Kamui," a hand fell on Kamui's shoulders. Kamui sighed even as he turned. Sorata beamed back at him, radiating smug happiness that only made Kamui more miserable in contrast. "You're not gonna throw a temper tantrum, are you? You're twenty-six now! And the world is a bright, brilliant place!"
"Sorata. We have to go out in what's going to be a T-4 typhoon. There's nothing good about that!"
"Yes, there is! Nee-chan's waiting safe and sound back home, and when I get back she'll have a warm bath and a kiss all ready for me!"
Translation: Sorata "forgot" to let his wife know about the muster alarm. Kamui thought that Arashi was more likely to be waiting with katana in hand. Her, uh, condition, didn't make her any less adept at wielding a blade. It made the Arisugawa household a very lively place, since Sorata was completely over the moon about becoming an impeding father.
"… if you say so."
Well, Sorata deserved his joy, and Arashi was happy when she wasn't irritated. Besides, Sorata was always the one with a grin on his face, even though Kamui really wanted to scratch it off his face sometimes (never mind the fact that Sorata was pretty useful during the Final Year, keeping up everyone's spirits and being a Dragon of Heaven and all).
"Already at the hot spot. She was taking a morning run with Inuki, see. Easier for her to just show up there."
At six in the morning? With a typhoon coming in? Kamui sighed. "Let's just go."
Kamui was really glad they got to wear whatever they wanted instead of having some ridiculous uniform foisted upon them. Teens these days had the strangest ideas about the police and the authorities in general. Kamui was just glad no one had inflicted their visions upon them yet.
Nope, when they were on patrol or on-duty they got to wear whatever they want, as long as they had that horribly conspicuous armband on. CLAMP Air Force, it proclaimed. Ha. Ha. Ha.
They were probably the only ones in Tokyo's so called "air force" that didn't have a plane or helicopter to their name.
Really. Just because the Dragons still had their nifty abilities from the Final Year didn't give Nokoru-san the right to foist this on them!
"Kamui-chan! Sora-chan!" Yuzuriha waved at them from atop a traffic light. Kamui and Sorata joined her. It was a good thing Tokyo had gotten used to seeing people flitting around in midair; a few years back, this would have caused an accident. "How are you this morning?"
Not many people could see the large dog sitting midair beside Yuzuriha, tailed tucked neatly against his paws, since the sight of that would cause accidents.
"I'm good, Yuzu-chan. Kamui's homicidal again, as always."
"Oh, who this time?" Yuzuriha asked curiously. She had the petit figure of an adult now, all long-limbed and narrow waist; her face had narrowed with maturity. But her eyes were still the same, bright brown irises shining with curiousity. Even at twenty-five, Yuzuriha had not lost one ounce of her childlike charm.
"Nokoru-san, of course."
"Not anyone else? That's strange, for Kamui-chan."
"Standing right here," Kamui reminded them sourly. "Nokoru-san designed the Hoverboots. And then he released it on the market. And encouraged teenagers to use it. And decided that since we are the only ones who don't depend on technology or machinery to do our flying about, we should be responsible for watching over these little delinquents in disguise."
Sorata pulled at his collar. "Well, we never exactly finished high school. And even if we're doing university part time now, it's not like you want an office job, right? This is pretty good."
"Oh!" Yuzuriha exclaimed. "Yesterday was the release day for the new Hoverboots? The third generation range, with improved thrusters for balance and control, doubled speed and an increase of total flight height to thirty-five meters?" She tucked her hands together in front of her, eyes shining; if she didn't have a Dragon's ability to leap and jump impossible ranges, Yuzuriha would be in line for the Hoverboots, Kamui was sure of it.
"Well, that explains why the kids are out today despite the typhoon warning." Sorata scratched at his head sheepishly. "I know I would have."
"Regulations are there for a reason. And hey! Don't agree, we're not supposed to be condoning such behavior!"
Kamui stared at Inuki, hoping to find some sympathy there if nowhere else. But the large inugami just yawned, flashing large fangs for a brief second, and placed his head down on his paws.
Kamui cursed loudly in his head.
They lay in wait, in the shadows of building sides. The alarm earlier, which meant someone breached the ten meter safety height range on a stormy, pre-typhoon day. The thirteen-and-above age range for the Hoverboots was great, but it just meant their escapees had more wits about them. The kids would do it again – but when and where was still a problem.
You'd think after the whole Final Year fiasco that we'd get better at pinning down troublesome locations down.
Kamui's headphones gave a sharp beep. A second later, Sorata was hurtling down from his perch, a straight trajectory for a spiky-haired teenager hovering in midair.
Four blurs suddenly appeared around Sorata's target.
"It's the Tag-Team!"
"The Tag-Team?" Sorata yelped as he hurtled past them, deciding a direct hit to five teenagers would do no good. "Who named us that? We deserve a better sounding nickname!"
"You're the Tag-Team," the Spiky yelled back, sticky his tongue out petulantly. "You have no sense of adventure – the challenges we put ourselves through!" He turned to his team members – they all had matching jackets in the same, screaming lime green, Kamui noted, a headache beginning its slow pounding. He rubbed at his temple.
"On it! Go, Inuki!" Yuzuriha replied, and set Inuki after them, the inugami dissolving and coalescing back to form a bright net.
Kamui watched Sorata launch himself upwards again and sighed. The problem, Kamui thought, as he got to his feet, was that as Dragons they could only leap and jump. Straight trajectories were a problem when those kids had thrusters that took could move them in three dimensions all at once. And they weren't allowed to use any of their powers.
Kamui was sure a little electric shock didn't do anyone any harm. Lasting harm, that is.
Since Kamui was the only one in their team who could "fly," so to speak, he ended up doing most of the chase work. Kamui had given up trying to tackle them out of the air, since the last time he did that, parents complained long and loud about their poor, scuffled, bruised child (so maybe his irritation got the better of him and he tackled the teen a little too hard. Getting kicked by Hoverboots hurt).
Yuzuriha on Inuki to catch the kids worked well, but sometimes it was easier to just corral the kids into an Inuki-formed barrier. Kamui set out to do just that, feeling more and more like a sheepdog as the minutes went by and the teens deftly dodged out of his way each time.
Those new upgrades to the Hoverboots were a pain. Kamui was going to have a nice little chat with Nokoru-san when he got back.
"Having trouble, Kamui?" a low voice purred in Kamui's ears, and it threw Kamui so far off that his leap almost took him face first into the side of a building.
"Fuuma," Kamui said with gritted teeth as he clung awkwardly to a ledge. He was surprised he hadn't grinded his teeth down to dust, honestly. "I thought I had Suoh-san scramble my headphones so you couldn't get through. What did you do this time?"
"Your accusatory tone hurts me, Kamui. I didn't break into CLAMP campus or threaten anyone into doing the deed for me, you know."
"Not this time!" Kamui retorted, squinting around him. There weren't many lights thirty-five meters up other than the glow from lit windows. And there was the kid whizzing by again, a darker smudge with lit feet against a dim background.
Kamui snapped his wrist and flung himself airborne, surrounding himself briefly with a shock of power. The brief hiss and crackle from his headphones was satisfying, if only because it cut off whatever reply Fuuma was making.
Besides, Kamui gave in grudgingly, Fuuma didn't need to threaten anyone into doing anything these days. All he had to do was walk in, smile a little, rattle off something cryptic about wishes and people just fell over to do his bidding. Kamui wasn't sure where that electric charisma came from, how a smile can take on so many shades, but Fuuma had it down pat.
It made Subaru very twitchy, even after so many years. It was a good thing most of CLAMP campus' higher ups were informed and far too used to Fuuma's tricks to get caught up in it, but still.
"Petty, Kamui. Besides, why make all the effort? I have my own expert hacker sharing the headquarters with me, you know."
"Satsuki-chan!" Yuzuriha chimed, appearing by Kamui's side, Inuki drifting by her feet. "Kamui-chan, look! Satsuki-chan's helping us. Hi, Satsuki-chan!"
Kamui followed her pointed finger, and watched as wire cables shot out of the ground in intervals, promptly blocking off the escape routes and shutting the teenagers into a small circle. Kamui wasn't sure if he should be amused or a little disturbed when one wire angled towards Yuzuriha and gave a tiny wave.
Sorata gave a whoop, and snatched a kid right out of the air. Inuki gave a loud woof, and transformed into a cage. Sorata promptly dropped the teen inside and gave the bars a pat. They quivered with a low growl of pleasure.
"So, what do you think about my assistance, Kamui?" Fuuma said smugly.
"Absolutely nothing. Satsuki's the one helping, not you. And I suppose she's the one who hacked my headphone signals."
"And meanwhile, you're just standing there while Yuzuriha-chan and the Kansai priest do the work. Hypocritical, Kamui."
"Oh, shut up, Fuuma." Akira-san wouldn't be happy if Kamui broke his headphones. Again. Actually, Nokoru-san wouldn't be happy with the destruction Satsuki was causing with Beast (upgraded, of course, and much more refined than before. Tamer, too. Or so Satsuki claimed. Wonder what Yuuto-san thought). At least this time, it wasn't Kamui's fault.
There was a flash of lightning followed by startled yelps. Kamui sighed. This was why he was here, honestly – Kamui jumped out in midair and held his arms out, waiting. One lime-green clad teen tumbled into his arms. Tossing the kid to Sorata, Kamui spun around and tackled Spiky out of his fall, curling around the teen and throwing his power under him to create a cushion of sorts before they crashed onto the road.
The combination of lighting and Beast's electric wires had somehow short-circuited the Hoverboots. Of course, it probably had less to do with lightning and more like Beast playing a prank, but honestly, Kamui didn't care.
"Oof," Kamui said, when an elbow jabbed into his stomach. Spiky was struggling now that the shock of falling was over. "Ouch, hold still, will you?"
"Getting bullied by little fourteen-year-olds? Poor little Kamui."
"You weren't exactly the most polite teenager around either, Fuuma!" It was annoying how even after ten years, Kamui was still quite small. Petit and graceful. He wasn't even as tall as Subaru was when the omnyouji was twenty-five. Life was unfair.
"Capture complete," Sorata said, leaning over to poke a finger in Spiky's forehead. "We'll be bringing you back to CLAMP campus with us, and we're calling your parents. Honestly, there's going to be a typhoon, they must be worried sick."
"Now that you finally have the situation under control, Satsuki can withdraw and go on hacking the CLAMP campus servers for me."
"I… what? What are you talking about now, Fuuma?" Kamui watched in consternation as the wires began slurping back underground, leaving piles of rubble in their wake.
"Satsuki-chan! You promised to show me Tokyo's nightlife. And I know the perfect café to get midnight snacks – they serve the best sundae in the world! Kusanagi-san showed me last time. You can bring Yuuto-san, and we'll stay out all night."
The remaining wires considered Yuzuriha, before they gave a ripple like a shrug. Yuzuriha's cell phone chimed with an incoming message.
Kamui was glad someone was happy. The teens were glaring angrily from within their cage. And Spiky was gnawing on his hand now.
There was a loud crack of thunder. Like a signal, rain began pouring down on them. Actually, rain was the wrong word – it was more like a flood. Kamui's jacket was soaked through in minutes, and Spiky struggled like an angry cat, squalling about his precious new boots getting wet and how Kamui's tackle caused a dent in the right boot when they bounced off the asphalt earlier.
Never mind that Kamui bore the brunt of that impact, of course. His right shoulder was already stiffening under the cold rain.
"Why are we doing this? Why?"
"Well, Nokoru-san said it's good for you. You get to witness firsthand all the dear little innocents you saved. Aren't you glad you preserved humanity? Do you feel a warm glow in your chest?"
"Why aren't you out on patrol with us?" Kamui growled. "Why aren't you suffering with me?"
"I'm still on probation, of course!" Fuuma replied, his tone overly bright and edged with mirth. "The whole almost destroying Tokyo and the world thing, you know. Can't be trusted out in public, and all that."
"You've had too much caffeine again, haven't you? You need to learn to say no, Kamui. You're an adult now, you need to take better care of yourself."
"Don't worry, Kamui. Satsuki will get into CLAMP campus servers in about forty minutes, and then I'll come visit you. You'd like that, wouldn't you? Just like old times."
He'd get Fuuma first. And then he'll wring Nokoru-san's neck.
AN: Con/crit and feedback is much beloved, as always.