This was something I whipped up in about thirty minutes because I was inspired. Don't know if it turned out so well, but at least I have the story off my chest.

Dedicated to Carry On.


Floating softly from the sky, Shinobu Nagumo watched a brown and red leaf descend to the ground. She held her head in her hand, eyes wearily looking out her office window. It was Shinobu's birthday, a day that was supposed to be celebratory, but had gone by like any other day. Well, it would have qualified as any other work day, had it not been for her depressed mood.

Why the sudden sullenness? Shinobu had received a wedding invitation from Shinohara and Izumi and Go Miyuko had showed her the picture of his new girlfriend. The happy news had mixed with Shinobu's pending thoughts of spending the rest of her birthday alone had caused her thoughts to wander. Would she ever find a significant other?

Shinobu tried to shake away the nagging question. She was a business woman, she didn't have a need for a man. She was just fine on her own, she led an independent and successful life. But also a lonely and empty one. After work ended, she would go home to an empty home. At least it used to be filled with her parents chatter, but now after they had passed, the halls echoed of being alone. The warmth that had once been there had gone and left Shinobu.

A deep sigh escaped between her lips. Even if she was considering finding someone to fill the empty void in her life, who? Shinobu admitted her looks were at least decent and her personality was strong but not too stand off-ish. But she was getting older, and what man would possibly be interested in a middle-aged workaholic like herself?

Maybe she would just get a cat. It would surely fill her house back up with life, wouldn't it? Or would she just give it a lonely life too, since she was at work so often?

Another deep sigh.

"Why the long face?" A familiar voice inquired from the doorway of the office.

Shinobu looked up, managing to fix her facial expression so it wasn't so gloomy. "Goto, I thought you had the day off?" She asked as the second section commander came shuffling into the office in his favorite pair of slippers.

"Yes, but my apartment felt especially empty today, so I decided to come in."

Empty. That's right, Goto was another lonely, single worker like herself, with no where to go but the office. Another soul, bound to an eternity of coming home to a lonely house. Shinobu wondered if she should bring up the cat idea to him, too.

"Can you spare a minute?" Goto asked, cutting into Shinobu's depressing thoughts.

Eye brows raised, Shinobu caught sight of the bottle Goto held in one hand at his side. "I'm not allowed to drink on duty," She said, always a stickler for rules," You know that."

Goto pulled a chair up to her desk and placed the bottle and two glasses, which he'd fetched from his whiskey cabinet, on the perfectly organized surface. "I think we can let it slide this once, it is your birthday after all," His voice was as calm and collected, if not calculating, as usual.

"You remembered?" Shinobu asked in surprise.

Goto kept his eyes on the two glasses as he poured some of the contents of the bottle into them evenly while he answered," Of course."

A smile pulled at the corner of Shinobu's lips. It was just like Goto to do a thing like this, apparently out of the blue with little preparation. Yet it always felt like his small displays of kindness held a lot of meaning which Shinobu deeply appreciated.

Maybe it was what she was drinking, or the overwhelming warmth flowing through her at not having to spend her birthday alone, but it got Shinobu thinking. What if the two of them weren't lonely the rest of their lives?


And ... cue cliche ending!