Disclaimer: I don't own Tokyo Crazy Paradise. It is the property of Nakamura Yoshiki-sensei and associates.

Note: More love for this category, because it's seriously underappreciated. And I've been told I'm almost the only one worth here, so I can't very well leave it alone. Please, will someone hurry up and give me some competition?

Waiting for the Ringtone

20FacesChizu

Christmas. In Japan, it's a holiday for lovers to spend together, lounging around the house, being drowned in sweet affection, eating cakes and enjoying themselves.

Asago sighed a little. It was Christmas Eve… and Kai was on GRAVE's night-shift.

She glanced out the window above her apartment's kitchen sink, hands absent-mindedly scrubbing dishes in the scorching, bubbly water. The phone was ringing, but it wasn't his ringtone, so she didn't really feel like answering. The house was warm and thoroughly decorated, but there wasn't really and noise other than the water draining out of the sink as she tossed her apron on the dining room chair. The former yakuza princess sank into her overstuffed chair-and-a-half, snuggling against the soft, wheat-colored arm and staring into the Christmas tree's gently twinkling white lights.

"It's been… five years?"

Five years. The number 14 had seemed almost like a curse until she met that blasted man! With his disorderly conduct and lewd or irrational thinking… and his knight-like devotion to the protection of women…

Damn it. Even when she tried to get mad at him, he would somehow make her fall in love all over again.

The phone was ringing again, and would probably continue to do so, given the opportunity. So she reached out a little and picked it up from the side table.

"Aaaaaaaaaasa-yan~!"

"Is there some reason you're not currently playing tonsil-tennis with Taku-"

"Oh, don't start on that, you sour old maid. Just because your man is late getting home on Christmas Eve-"

"Won't be back until tomorrow mid-day, actually."

"… DOESN'T mean you can start shooting lasers at all of us who get to have our sweeties by our sides. Look at Tsukasa! Ryuuji's out of the country on business right now, so she's busy keeping the kumiin from giving the city a Nightmare a la Mode for Christmas. I doubt she'll even have time for a phone call to that hubby of hers, much less anything else." In the background, Asago was sure she heard a dish or dozen break, and though the phone was away from her friend's mouth, the "TAKUMA! WHO SAID YOU WERE ALLOWED IN THE KITCHEN?!" came through loud and clear, Kansai dialect and all. She supposed that Takuma was trying to cook again; and usually, that'd be fine. But with the particular way their kitchen was set up, it was definitely not meant to be navigated by anyone OTHER than Kozuki Sumire herself. A mumble presented itself on the other end of the line.

"What'd he say?"

"He told me that if I ever dared to booby trap the cling wrap again he'd forbid me from entering the kitchen."

"Not that he really would."

"Of course not. If he did, he'd be the one responsible for the 2 AM feedings~."

Asago let herself grin, since no one was there to see her. As ridiculous as Sumire was most of the time, she was also usually right about things. Which seemed entirely contradictory when it was something the goofball mafia chick had nothing to do with. On the other end of the line, she chatted idly, and the sound of a mixing bowl churning was coming through on the line quietly, along with the murmurs of a TV and the screeches of laughter from over-excited kids.

Kids plural. She was still amazed that they'd managed to have honeymoon twins.

"Anywhosit, Asa-yan, if I don't go now I'll end up dropping the phone in the oven. I really don't want circuit-chip cookies. Not exactly healthy." Asago chuckled.

"I get you. Later, then!"

"Mm, laters~!"

A slight crash was cut off in the middle, and Asago found herself hoping that her friend hadn't dropped the phone in her oven anyway.

With a wry grin, she listened to the tone beep on her phone for a moment before setting it back on the receiver. The apartment was quiet again. If not for the decorations and presents under the tree, she'd think it was just another night. Nothing special.

When she'd lived at the Sumon house, there'd always been a big ruckus going around at Christmas. The kumiin would be laughing it up, getting drunk and teasing each other about their women, or comforting the ones that were heartbroken or alone. The traditional feast would be extravagant, and they would loosen up even more, to the point where even her stoic father would start laughing at their antics. Once or twice Ryuuji had come to celebrate with them, and he'd been drug into the festivities, looking immensely out-of-place with his sour face in amongst the jovial atmosphere. Those Christmases had been something amazing.

And this was really the first time she'd missed it.

She shifted a little, casting a glance through their bedroom door to the alarm clock on the nightstand. It was barely even 10:00… he wouldn't be home for another 14 hours. After he came in, middle of the day or not, no matter how awake she was, he would probably grab her around the waist and collapse onto bed with her, murmuring a good-night and blacking out before she could say a word to hurt or help. Wouldn't matter if she was drenched from being in the middle of a shower and the water was still running. Or if she was cooking and burning whatever got left on the stove. And he would refuse to let go until he woke up.

But that wouldn't be until tomorrow.

Smooth talkin',

Sooo rockin',

He's got everything that a girl's wantin'…

Her hand shot forward and grabbed the phone, turning it on long before it reached her ear. Somehow, she couldn't bring herself to breathe.

"… Asago, if you don't say something, I'll start talking dirty to you."

"If you do that, I'll hang up."

"Really? You won't-"

"NO, I will not start pleasuring myself at your convenience."

"What would you do?"

"Hang up, turn on the GPS on your phone and track you to wherever the hell it is that you're stationed tonight."

"And-"

"If you dare say the f-word while I'm talking to you, I swear I'll castrate you instead of agreeing."

"Deal."

He hung up.

Asago's jaw slackened a little as the tone sounded in her ear again, and this time she didn't quite know what exactly she was feeling. She slowly got to her feet, and walked to the foyer to slip into her shoes, grabbing her purse and keys from the small shelf.

Oh well. It wasn't like the squad car was virgin ground anyway.


AN: Okay, truth be told? I love this pairing soooo much. Kai is friggin' awesome, even if he IS a pervert. So here's my contribution! It's... pretty dirty, considering this is me. T_T Don't really know how to react to that. ANYWHO! Moving on. Please review!

Next Project: Smile for the Camera - a shortie for Tsukasa and Ryuuji, as a sequel/side story/whatever to "The Brother of the Bird."