Disclaimer: The owner of "Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro"... is me! Kidding. It belongs to Yuusei Matsui.
A/N: This originated from a drabble collection I was writing about the "uninteresting" mysteries in Hell, which somehow extended to more general drabbles about Neuro. I'm not sure if I'll post any more since although I have some I'm out of ideas for others, and don't know if my inspiration will return. Tell me if you'd like to see what else I have; any feedback is welcome.
Katsuragi Yako considered herself accustomed and well equipped to deal with the many moods of her eclectic and demonic assistant (read: evil slave driver). She had seen him intrigued by mysteries great and small, energised or unfulfilled when he had consumed them. She had seen him angry or frustrated over many things, things which he often claimed to be her fault; she had even seen him sleeping, peaceful dreams of the ultimate mystery penetrating his sleep, perhaps. Or maybe he dreamed of winged monkeys who wanted to spread the love - hell, she didn't know, and she didn't really want to, either.
But her certainty that she knew Nougami Neuro was challenged one day when she entered their detective agency after school, only to find him pointing at a wall-length mirror on the far wall and saying in a deep, accusatory voice, "The culprit... is you!"
"Neuro," Yako squeaked, a little caught off balance by Neuro's unusual behaviour, "What are you doing?"
Neuro smiled, strangely smug, and merely replied with, "Practising."
"But-" Yako began, before shaking her head. "Never mind," she said, taking out an extra obento from her bag and sitting down to tuck into it.
The room was promptly filled with the sounds of Yako pigging out, Godai sulking and Akane typing rude words into search engines, as she was wont to do if she was bored. It didn't often happen, but everyone seemed in more of a... relaxed mood today. Or rather, Neuro hadn't asked anyone to do anything, so they hadn't.
Just as she thought this, Neuro broke the silence, almost as if he'd been waiting for everyone to relax before he said anything. "I smell a mystery," he said as Yako opened her third meal. "Come, Slave #1. Put away the food and do what I tell you to - if your tiny and unevolved brain can understand my instructions, that is."
Yako bristled. "But I only just started on this one-"
"I know," Neuro interrupted, somewhat enigmatically. "That's why I said it."
Slave #1 narrowed her eyes. She did not like where this conversation was going. "What do you mean?"
"As I said, I'm practising. My due date for this year's Mystery Solving Demon Progress Report is nearing, and it has been some time since I practised my dramatic timing."
"Mystery-solving is a job in Hell?" Yako frowned, momentarily forgetting her displeasure.
Neuro stared at her with condescending eyes. "Naturally. If the report shows no particular progress, my Demon powers will be restricted until further notice. As it is your procrastination and stupidity that are to blame for my less than impressive performance of late, it is logical that you help me practice."
"My fault, huh?" Yako asked, her face twitching with anger. "And what about the negative impact you're having on my studies? I need time to work, too. I've got a load of homework in my bag that won't do itself, so if you need to practice do it quietly and without asking me for help. For once."
With that, Yako reached for her temporarily discarded obento and made to remove some textbooks from her school bag, only to realise that the books had turned to dust, only to see her perfectly made, surely delicious meal decaying before her very eyes.
The temperature of the room lowered noticeably.
"What did you do, Neuro?"
"It was a good way to test my skills. If you had evolved into a creature above a worm, you would have been able to heed the advanced warning I considerately gave you."
Since when was the room this cold?
"When you came in, I told you that the culprit was me, correct? Small details like that can be crucial to an investigation, Slave #1. Don't miss them, or I may have to bite your head off and replace it with something more intelligent. Perhaps a beetle - yes, a beetle would do well..."
Yako lunged forward suddenly, screaming, "Oh, Neuro, you are so dead! SO DEAD!"