Disclaimer: Obviously no owning on my part...

A/N: Hiya guys! I just had the urge to write this. Took me two whole days. Can ya believe that? And I has no beta, so there will be mistakes every now and again. I'll proofread it again later. I couldn't wait to publish this to see what you guys thought!

A/N2: For those interested, I have created a formspring account. If you would like me to write to a certain prompt, you can request it though there as well.

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This was written to the self-prompts: Bounty hunter, "Home is where the heart is..." :) Enjoy!
If anyone else would like to write a story based on this prompt, please do so. Then tell me via PM and I will read it and review it. :)


Home is where the heart is...

A lone figure leaned against an alleyway, puffing lightly away at her cigarette. It was a chilly night. She should have worn more than a pair of baggy jeans, gray t-shirt, and black leather jacket. She glanced around and stared at the small shady establishment at basement level across from her. Every time the door opened, sounds of loud cheering and boisterous men talking could be heard. She sighed to herself, catching her cigarette between her two forefingers and checked the time.

11:30…

From her peripheral vision, she could see the door of the shady bar open once more. The man she was waiting for emerged, stumbling a bit as he climbed the stairs to street level. The figure pushed herself off the wall, flicking away her cigarette as she did so, and begin trailing after the guy. When they were a good distance away from the bar, and other people in general, the woman called out to him.

"Hey!" her husky voice rang out.

"Huh?" the man turned around, surprised to be called out in such a secluded area. "Whatcha want, bitch? I got places to be."

"Cancel them. You're coming with me," she replied, unperturbed by his language.

The man displayed a perverted grin. "So thas how it is, eh? Ya wanting a good fuck, eh?"

Pulling out a Colt M1911 .45 pistol from her leather jacket, silencer intact, she let out a sadistic smile, "Not quite, but close enough..."

And shot him. His shoulders though, so he could still walk, but not fight. Unless he liked pain. A lot.

"Son of a—"

"I wouldn't finish that sentence, if I were you," she injected. "Going to come with me quietly now?"

She was answered with the man turning his back on her and running. I really should stop expecting cooperation from them.

Taking out her tranquilizer gun, she shot at him before he was able to turn into one of the bigger streets. I really hate lugging these guys back to the station… why can't they just follow me quietly after I shoot them?

After a complete pain and waste of a good hour, the woman was able to drag the deadweight of a scumbag to a police station. She carelessly dropped him onto the floor and knocked on the desk for some sort of service. A man in uniform came running out to see what the ruckus was about and gave an exasperated sigh when he was greeted by a smug grin.

"Back again, Kuga…" he deadpanned.

"Got another scum for you, so where's my reward?" she asked.

"Who is it this time?"

"Mr. John Smith, as your records say anyway."

"Hey Kuga!" another policeman came out. "This is your 4th capture this week. You're on a roll!"

"Not really. Scums like him are hardly difficult to catch. Didn't even take effort. How's the family, Tate?"

The blunette noticed the other officer dragging the unconscious man into an empty cell. And proceeded to disappear into the back to take care of whatever it is they needed to do after apprehending thugs like Smith.

"Eh. Same ole same ole. Mai's been experimenting with cooking again. She's been in a 'French mood' since seeing that movie, Ratatouille or whatever."

"Well," she chuckled, "you're lucky to be eating such luxurious food every night."

"Come over sometime. Mai misses you. As does Mikoto," he replied.

"I'd love to. Currently too busy though. Maybe next week."

"I know it's probably not my place to ask, but what are you doing with all the reward money?"

He received a blank look as a reply. It usually meant that she has no intention to answer his question, and so he sighed to himself. Perhaps a bit of prodding…

"Still looking for her, huh?" he asked, though he wasn't expecting any answer in return. "It's been five years, Natsuki. Five whole years…"

"Yeah, it could be ten for all I care. That doesn't change a damn thing, and you know it."

"I know it can be hard for you, but there's other fish in the sea."

"Nobody can replace her, Tate. Trust me. I can be going out with a fucking perfect, well-rounded, well-endowed woman, and all I will be able to think about is, her hair isn't the right length, her eyes aren't the right shade, her body doesn't have the right curves, and her voice doesn't hold the right accent."

"Why can't you just let her go?"

"Would you be able to if it was Mai?"

The blond's silence was answer enough for her. "Thought so."

"Yeah, you're right. Sorry for crossing my bounds again."

"It's alright. I can understand. Maybe I'd even say the same thing if you and I switched positions." Then remembering that Mai was her best friend, she grimaced a little. "Or maybe I'll join your insanity, considering your wife is my best friend."

"How much are you trying to rake up?" Tate asked, genuinely concerned her for health.

Tonight made it her 4th capture in two days. Usually, it took at least a day to even find their target, nonetheless capture them in that time. But Natsuki here caught two per day so far, which probably means she's not sleeping or eating properly. Not that mention, he knows that Mai has not been able to contact her this past week combined with the fact that she works for other agencies to capture people besides the police force. Which probably means that she has been working for them last week, which leads him to believe that she's been keeping this up for at least a week and a half. That can't be good.

"Alright Kuga," the other policeman finally emerged from the office and held out a check to the blunette. "Here's your payment. 'Twas a pleasure doing business with you, as usual."

"Thanks," she replied, snatching the check from his hands. "See ya around, Takeda, Tate."

And with that, she sauntered out to her precious Ducati XIII motorbike. Holding out another piece of paper with large, black letters adorning the word "WANTED" at the top, she thought to herself that it's going to be a long night again.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

*Beep*beep*beep*beep*beep*beep*

Natsuki groaned as she tries to stop the offending sound coming from her alarm clock. When she found the source of her current misery, she slammed her palm down on the device, causing it to halt all sounds.

"God fucking damn it! I don't wanna get up," she grumbled to herself as she pushed herself off the bed.

She looked up from her sitting position on her bed and looked over at her desk, where papers were scattered about in an unorganized mess. Off to the upper right hand corner of the desk was a picture frame that held a still image of a smiling blunette with her arms wrapping protectively over a surprised brunette. The picture was at least 7 years ago, from the days when Natsuki was in high school.

Shizuru, wherever you disappeared off too, I will find it. And I will find you.

Stripping herself from her sleepwear, she crossed the small distance of her studio apartment to the bathroom for her morning shower. As water poured over her face and body, she couldn't help but absently finger the pendant that she was wearing around her neck. Hooked around the silver chain on Natsuki's neck was a 24 carat white-gold wedding band that was meant for her love.

Her love. The same one that disappeared on her five years ago, sometime after she proposed and placed that diamond ring on her finger in front of a crowded, overly-expensive restaurant.

Natsuki growled to herself, frustrated at her own incompetence. Five whole fucking years passed, and not a trace of her brunette angel. Five whole fucking years, and she's still paying shitloads of money for private investigator's help in the search. Five whole fucking years of wasted time, wasted effort, wasted money… just completely wasted.

The ringing of her doorbell shook her out of her thoughts and she scrambled for a towel to cover herself before answering the door. She was greeted by the smell of good food and a smiling redhead.

"Good morning, Natsuki! I brought breakfast!" Mai announced in a cheerful tone before barging into the small apartment. "You should probably close the door and put some clothes on before you eat though."

Realizing that she had just been standing there, staring at the redhead, the blunette followed her friend's advice and closed the door before disappearing back into the bathroom with some clothes at hand. She re-emerged in a pair of loose-fitting jeans and tank top. Then, she went over to her closet and pulled out a casual blue striped button up shirt and donned it over her tank top, leaving the first three buttons undone.

"So what brings you to my fine abode this early in the morning?" Natsuki said as she sat down with Mai in the eating area.

"Tate mentioned that you wanted to try some of my luxurious food, so I woke up early, made some breakfast, and headed straight to your place. Admit it, I'm an awesome friend for that," Mai replied, grinning from ear to ear.

"Hai hai. You are awesome. Food smells good," the blunette replied, getting ready to dig in.

The redhead let out an uncharacteristically sad sigh, catching the attention of her host. "I was worried, Natsuki. Disappearing on me for a week, not returning my calls or texts…"

"I'm sorry, Mai. I was… busy."

"I heard, from Tate. I mean, I understand you're still looking for her and you will continue to look for her until you find her… but don't you think you should tone down the bounty hunting a little bit? I'm not saying stop, but… you're not taking care of yourself properly, and I don't want to see you bounty hunting when you're sick…"

Giving Mai a soft smile, Natsuki replied, "I'm sorry for worrying you, Mai. But I do what I have to do. Finding her is my only goal right now. If I want to find her faster, I need more resources, which means I need more money."

"How much?"

"More than I'm willing to ask you for."

"It's okay, Natsuki. I want to help."

"I know, Mai. And I know Tate wants to help too, but really, this is my problem. I don't want to waste your money."

"It's not a waste if it helps you."

"And I don't know if it will help. It really is ok, Mai. By the end of today, if all goes well, I should have enough."

"Are you going to apprehend someone dangerous again?"

"No, I'm just doing some easy work. Turning in street scums to the police."

Silence ensued, so Natsuki began to eat in hopes of easing the tension in the air. Well, it wasn't so much tension as it was her receiving upset vibes from Mai and not knowing how to respond. When she finished eating and Mai still hasn't said a word to her, she decided that she will need to be the one to break the silence.

"I love her, you know?" Natsuki started. "I said to myself, a long time ago, that if she died before me, I'd kill myself just to be with her. To hell with living if she isn't living with me, was what I thought. Not that I'm suicidal or anything now, so don't worry about that."

"Natsuki…"

"You understand, right? Mai? What it's like to love someone. And be this close to having them forever. And then they disappear on you? I mean, you can understand, right?"

"I'm sorry, Natsuki… I'm sorry that there isn't anything I can do to help."

"It's not your fault. Sometimes, when I have trouble sleeping, I lie on my bed thinking – wondering – why she left. Maybe something happened and I was too blind to see it. Maybe she got tired of me, and didn't know to break it off with me. Maybe she met someone else and decided to elope with them. Maybe she finally saw that I wasn't good enough for her."

"Don't." Mai injected. "Don't you ever think that! You were everything she deserved, if not more. Natsuki, why can't you see that? She's not better than you, or less than you… she's—"

"She's an angel, straight from heaven. At least, that's what I thought when I first met her."

"Her absence really has mellowed you out…"

"Hm?" was the confused reply.

"You never used to be so romantic. Or when something did let slip, you'd blushed and turn away or say something harsh to cover it up. You had the whole bad-girl image that you always put up. Now though, although still full of bad-assery, you've gotten sentimental, romantic even."

"I'll take that as your way of saying, I'm all grown up now. Thanks," Natsuki chuckled.

Mai grinned. "You're welcome."

"Thanks again for breakfast, Mai," the blunette said as she stood up and walked over to her desk. She put on her leather jacket and checked to see if her pistol was still here. It was. Then, she pulled the tranquilizer gun out of one of her drawers and placed it under her belt, holding it on her waist. Zipping her jacket up, she turned back to see Mai had already cleaned up after her and smiled. "Stay as long as you want, I don't mind, but I have to get going now."

"What's the point in staying if you're not here?" Mai replied, donning her own jacket.

"Point taken."

Grabbing her keyset, she made sure she had everything before heading out the door with the redhead trailing behind her.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Natsuki was sitting in an empty bar, sipping slowly on her glass of rum. She checked the time again, growling slightly as her informant was late, once again.

"Hey there, baby. Can I get you a drink?" an annoying sound came from her right.

Pulling out her pistol from her leather jacket, she aimed the gun under this man's chin without so much as a glance in his direction. Get lost, she told the man, and he quickly scrambled out of the pub.

"Hey lady," the bartender called out. "Don't be scaring my customers away like that."

She grunted at him in response and made a mental note to never visit this pub as a meeting place again. She impatiently drummed her fingers on the table, growing less and less tolerant as the time passed by. And by 'time', I'm referring to seconds, really.

Finally, a man wearing a tan hat arrived and she practically yelled at the guy when she spotted him. "Could you be any later?"

"Actually, yeah, I could, considering I got some really good information about your girl."

"It better be. My patience has been worn very thin."

He slid a large manila envelope over to her and watched as she shuffled through the documentations given. After giving an approving nod, she slipped out a smaller package and handed it over to him. He pocketed the cash without having to check. He knew Kuga would never skimp on him. She was his best customer, after all.

Shizuru Viola, huh? Well, isn't this a nice little surprise, love? Had me running around in circles just because you changed your surname…

"She's Viola now, huh?" the blunette mused, putting the papers back into the envelope.

"Interesting, isn't it?" the man said, already knowing the answer to his question.

"How come it took you so long to find this out, Yamada?" she asked, taking another sip of rum.

"Whoever took the Fujino's records and eliminated them did a very good job. No traces of anything, whatsoever. But they were a bit careless about building up Viola's profile. Took me a while to confirm my suspicions. I needed evidence. Cold, hard, tangible evidence before I could bring it up."

"Well, it all seems a bit elaborate, if you ask me."

"That's what made the rest a cake. I did as much digging as your funds cover. The rest is up to you. I wasn't able to get her contact information or address, but I don't doubt that you have the ability to find that out for yourself. Especially with the information I provided you."

"I knew there was a reason why I tolerated your tardiness so much," she said, giving him a slight smirk.

"Pleasure doing business," he replied before turning to leave the pub.

"Hm, likewise," she started skimming over the papers again.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

That evening, the blunette had a train ticket, headed southwards… to Kyoto. She threw her duffel bag into the overhead compartment designated for luggage and sat down in her seat. A window seat, so that she could stare out as she listened to her mp3 player and ignore the world until she arrived to her destination.

The train ride was uneventful, mostly because the people who sat near her did the same thing she did. Ignore everyone and everything until the ride was over. In which case, a polite 'excuse me' would be exchanged every so often when trying to get off the train.

After checking into a run-down motel where she would be staying until god knows how long, she immediately took out the notepad of notes she had taken from Yamada's sources yesterday. She didn't want to risk losing her information here, so she only jotted down some things that she needed to know, in a way only she would understand, just in case. Not that Shizuru's whereabouts were important to most people, but she didn't want to risk anything. She memorized some names of places that were recommended she should visit and headed out to town.

It was already nighttime by the Natsuki entered her first interrogation spot. She walked up to the bartender and held out the most recent photo of Shizuru that she could find.

"You seen her around here before?" she asked.

"Pretty girl, but no," he replied as he served beer to one of the patrons.

"You sure about that?" she prodded. "Not even once?"

"Nah, I would remember eyes like those if I ever saw them."

"Thanks," the blunette replied before leaving the pub.

Well, that was disappointing, but she wasn't expecting to get lucky on her first try. However, it got really frustrating when the same thing happened in the next three pubs that she visited. And her patience was wearing thin, as some of the patrons, and even bartenders, would toy with her. She was so close to killing a patron from her last pub visit that she thought she should call it quits for the night. But then she realized that one of the pubs on the list was right across the street, so she decided to go there before calling it a day.

"Hey, you seen this girl?" Natsuki asked, polite tone all but gone from the last hour of search.

The bartender and some patrons gave her a glance before looking away.

"No," the bartender replied, gruffly and curtly. "Buy something or get out."

The blunette shoved the picture in the guy's face, her patience completely gone as she yelled at the man. "Take a fucking closer look. Have you seen her before?"

Backing away from the girl, he shook his head, "I toldja no."

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed one of the patrons leaving in haste, with his drink barely touched. Smirking at her luck, she turned away from the bartender and muttered a quick and completely insincere 'thanks' as she followed the guy out.

As soon as she left the door, she found that he rounded a corner and proceeded to follow him. He turned into a larger street, which made it difficult for interrogation. She will have to change that.

Running up to the man, she grabbed him from behind around the neck and practically threw him into a deserted and dark alleyway. No one seemed to notice, or care, if they did. She strolled in after him and thought to herself that she was lucky that the other side was a dead end. No running away for him, she thought.

"In a rush, my friend?" Natsuki asked.

"W-W-What do you want?" the man asked, practically peeing his pants.

Natsuki didn't even need to shove a gun in his face to be feared by him, which classified him to be a worthless piece of shit in her book.

She held out the picture of the brunette again, shoving it in his face. "Tell me what you know about her."

"I-I don't know anything!" he practically screamed.

"Not from what I can see... now, you're going to tell me," she started, and then pulled out her Colt .45 pistol and directed it at him, "or you will be in a lot of pain."

She heard the man whimpering and resisted the urge to punch the guy and tell him to man up. Because, right now, all she wanted to hear from the man were details of anything about her love. Anything would do.

"I don't hear words!" she shouted, and shot at the ground 3 inches away from him, "Start talking."

"S-S-Sometimes, I s-see her o-on the e-elevator w-w-when I-I'm at w-w-work."

"Where do you work?"

"T-The b-b-uilding right at the c-c-cross section of r-r-rokkaku dori and t-t-tominokoji dori."

"What else do you know?"

"N-Nothing! I-I-I never t-t-talked to her."

"Hm. Thanks."

And with that, she turned around and headed back to her shitty motel room, leaving the guy to shit his pants as much as he wanted to in her absence.

The next morning, Natsuki woke up early to get ready for her day. She dressed in something nicer this time, as to not look like a street thug when she apprehended scumbags. She wore black pants and a navy blue button up dress shirt. To top that off, she wore a suit jacket. It will be a bit cold, but she didn't have anything other than her leather jacket, so she will have to make do with whatever layers she had on.

She waited at the intersection of that coward's workplace building. When the brunette hasn't shown up and most people have already arrived to work, she decided to enter the building for some warmth. Then, an idea hit her.

"Excuse me, miss," Natsuki politely grabbed the attention of the receptionist.

"Yes, how may I help you?" the receptionist smiled.

"I was wondering what floor Shizuru Viola works in. She told me once, but I completely forgot to write it down and I have very poor memory."

"I'm sorry? Shizuru Viola, you say?" the woman asked.

"Yes, am I in the wrong building as well?" Natsuki feigned the expression of someone who has made a mistake, again.

"Well, Ms. Viola only comes in once a week for a meeting with the GDA Corporation group located on the sixth floor. But she usually comes in on a Thursday. Did she make an appointment with you here?"

"Oh no. Then it must've been my mistake. I think I'm in the wrong building after all. I'm sorry for the trouble I've caused" Natsuki replied, giving an embarrassed laugh.

"It's not a problem at all," the receptionist replied, smile still intact.

"If it's not too much trouble, please don't mention this to anyone. It's a bit embarrassing for me," Natsuki requested, giving the other woman a shy smile.

"It's not a problem. You're secret is safe with me," the receptionist winked.

"Thank you. Have a nice day!"

"You too."

Natsuki left the building with a grin plastered to her face. What made the grin wider was the fact that the man she interrogated last night entered the building the same time she was about to leave. And she took great pleasure in giving him a smile that clearly read, "You tell anyone about me and I will kill you".

Given that today was a Wednesday, it meant that Shizuru should arrive to this building tomorrow for her meeting. She only had to wait one more day before being able to see her angel again. At least, she hoped. Tomorrow was going to be a long day. It probably wouldn't be a good idea to approach the woman before her meeting, so she'd just have to wait for the brunette to leave.

For the rest of the day, the blunette searched around the area to create a mental map of the place. She needed a place to be where she could stay for an ungodly long time and monitor people who enter and leave the building. Fortunately for her, the parking lot to the building leads to the front door, so it's likely for that to be the door that the brunette will use to enter and exit.

The emerald-eyed woman eventually gave up and found that the tea shop across the street from the building would be the best stake-out location. Although it does not present the best view possible, when taking into account the fact that she needed to be there for a long time, it seemed to be the best option.

She entered the tea shop sometime after dinner to scout out a good location to sit. She spotted a seat by the window and asked if she could be seated there. The woman behind the counter gave her the go-ahead gesture before asking her for her order.

After consuming some earl grey tea, the blunette decided that this should be a good enough place tomorrow. She also needed to bring something to do, so that she doesn't look like a creeper just staring out the window for hours upon hours. A sketchbook, perhaps? She could pretend she was sketching the intersection or buildings in the area, so it wouldn't be weird that she keeps looking out.

With that in mind, Natsuki left the tea shop and went to buy herself a sketchbook. She arrived back to the motel a lot earlier than she normally would, had she been out on the street interrogating. But, like Yamada said, after finding out Shizuru's last name is now Viola, the search was almost a joke with how easy it has become.

She sat down and sighed to herself. I suppose I should draw some sketches so it doesn't look like I just started or something. I need to at least look like I've been doing it before entering that tea shop.

And so, Natsuki spent whatever hours she was awake, sketching random things that popped into her head. Most of them were landscape.

The next morning arrived with Natsuki barely able to contain her excitement. She dressed more casually today than she did yesterday, choosing to don on some khakis and a maroon casual button up shirt instead. She grabbed her sketchbook and headed to the tea shop to begin her stake-out.

At 7:30AM, Natsuki walked through the doors of the tea shop and seated herself at the same location she sat in last night. This time, though, she faced the window and opened up her sketchbook as she ordered her tea and a slice of fruit cake.

At 8:00AM, Natsuki noticed someone who closely resembled her love walk out of a red Porsche and entered the building. Closely resemble? Fuck it. That is totally Shizuru. Natsuki can recognize that back, that walk, that sway, even if she were a block away.

At 10:00AM, the staff at the tea shop began to grow curious of what the blue-haired woman is doing here so long. One of them timidly walked over to their customer and asked if she would like another refill of her earl grey tea. As the waitress asked, she noticed the sketch that Natsuki was in the middle of and commented on her amazing artistic skills.

At 11:30AM, Natsuki noticed the brunette leaving the building. She was about to pack her things and leave until she saw the brunette walk pass her car and started crossing the street. Deciding to see what the brunette was doing, Natsuki stayed put and watched.

Natsuki's eyes almost budged out of her sockets when she realized that the brunette was headed towards her tea shop. Or rather, the tea shop that she currently occupied. Calming herself down whilst pretending that she was still drawing, she chanted to herself multiple times, in her head, 'this is your chance.'

"Ara, good morning. May I have some earl grey please?"

The Kyoto accent passed through Natsuki's ears like music. Her hands were trembling and legs felt weak. Why was she nervous all of a sudden? She had planned to come in contact with the brunette today. She was ready for this. She was ready to face the brunette… right?

Growling lowly in frustration, she tightened her grip on the pencil she was holding and chided at herself. Get a fucking grip, she mentally hissed. When she found that her legs were still weak, she growled even louder, causing some staff members to look at her oddly. Causing a certain brunette to look over and see who could produce such a sound in this fine tea shop.

Finally snapping out of her trance, Natsuki suddenly felt the eyes of many people on her, causing her to turn her head and look around. Until she caught rubies staring right back at her.

"Natsuki?" Shizuru whispered.

"Here you go, miss. Your tea," the woman behind the counter announced, breaking Shizuru out of her reverie.

The brunette took her tea and started heading out the door. Natsuki hastily threw some bills on the table and grabbed her sketchbook as she raced out of the tea shop, trying to catch up to her love.

"Shizuru, wait!" Natsuki yelled.

The brunette did not listen. In fact, she did the opposite. She picked up the pace of her strides, trying to create more distance between the two. This, in turn, caused Natsuki to run after her love. The blunette caught up to her and position herself in front of the brunette before saying anything.

"Why…?" Natsuki asked in a whispered tone. "Why do you run from me?"

Shizuru lifted her eyes to stare back into emerald, her face completely stoic. Her mask was back on. The one Natsuki has not seen since their days in high school. At least, the mask was never directed at her, like it was now.

"What are you doing here?" the brunette asked.

"Having a good fucking cup of tea. What do you think?"

"Go home, Natsuki," she said as she walked pass the blunette, intending to get far, far away from her.

"Home," Natsuki began, causing Shizuru to stop walking, "is where the heart is. My heart is still with you, so home for me is wherever you are. I am home, Shizuru."

"You can stop your pretty words and sweet sounding phrases. They don't change anything."

"Why did you leave me?"

"Ara, I do believe it was Kuga-san who left me first."

"And when did I do that?"

"You didn't have to say it. I could tell from your actions that you stopped caring about me the way you used to," Shizuru said, voice beginning to show emotion.

"What the hell? If I never said I stopped loving you, that's cause it never happened!"

"Then why did you stop coming home for dinner? Why did you always eat at Mai's and stay out all night doing god knows what? Your clothes always reeked of alcohol and other women's perfumes. And we stopped having sex cause you were always too tired or not in the mood!"

Natsuki squeezed the bridge of her nose before addressing what Shizuru had just said. "This was about sex?"

"That was besides th—"

Natsuki grabbed Shizuru's wrist and forced the woman to get into the rental car that she had rented out to travel. As soon as she made sure the brunette's seatbelt was on safely, she rammed on the gas and headed back to her dingy motel room.

"What are you doing?" Shizuru asked as she rubbed her temples. "You just kidnapped me."

"I'm also going to rape you," the blunette deadpanned, eyes still focused on the road, even though she drove like a maniac.

"Ara, I doubt that," the brunette replied, completing relaxed.

"I wouldn't," Natsuki replied, expertly parking the car at the parking lot.

She got out of the car and expected Shizuru to do the same. Instead, she found the tea-addict sitting calmly in the passenger seat. Not wasting any time, she swiveled over to the other side, released the seatbelt, and carried Shizuru out of the car. Kicking the door shut, she continued to carry the woman until she reached her room.

She had to place the woman down to reach for her keys and open the bedroom door, but quickly pushed the crimson-eyed woman inside her small motel room.

"Ara, I seem to recall that Natsuki hated motels. Did she change her tastes?"

"No, but it's cheaper than any hotels I could find," the blunette replied as she locked the door. "Strip."

"Ara?"

"I said, strip."

"Natsuki cannot be serious."

"Oh, but I am," the blunette replied, unbuttoning her own shirt.

"What are you trying to prove?" the brunette asked, beginning to feel wary around this new Natsuki.

"You thought I stopped loving you because we stopped having sex. You thought I got tired of you and went with other women, right? We're having sex. Now. Here."

"Natsuki, you can't just—"

"Yes, I can. And I will," the blunette removed her shirt and tossed it carelessly onto the floor. "Are you going to take your clothes off or will I have to?"

Shizuru released a heavy sigh before sitting down on the edge of the bed. "Whatever you do now, Natsuki, doesn't change anything anymore. Even if we have sex here and now, that doesn't mean a thing to me."

The blunette crossed the distance and gently nudged the woman to lie down. Then, she descended herself on top of Shizuru and gave her a gentle kiss. A gentle kiss that she hoped Shizuru would understand. The longing, the wanting, the needing… that without the other woman, she was incomplete. She hoped that Shizuru could understand that in the past five years, she hasn't been able to even think about touching anyone else because her mind always ran back to her crimson-eyed angel.

"You're telling me… you felt nothing?" Natsuki asked, voice gentle.

"Natsuki…"

"I've been looking for you for five years, Shizuru. Five years. Nonstop. Don't leave me like that. If you wanted to leave me, if you wanted to break up, just… just tell me," Natsuki began. "Otherwise, I'll go searching high and low for you…"

"Ho-How did you find me?"

"Lots of time, money, and private investigators… you understand I love you, right? I never stopped loving you…"

"Then why? Why did you disappear so many nights and come home with—"

Rolling over on the bed and repositioning herself into a sitting position, Natsuki held out the pendant of her necklace to Shizuru. "I needed money, so I went to do odd jobs for the police. Bounty hunting, they call it."

"Bounty hunting?"

"I collect street scums for the police and they give me money. Given my background, it was easy enough for me to find them, though I needed to visit shady places for information. The police had trouble though. Didn't know where the right places to look were."

"But… why?"

"My regular day job at the mechanic's shop wasn't getting me enough. Especially since we got a pay cut due to lack of business. So I had to find income some other way. Found my solution in bounty hunting. Fast money, easy jobs."

"Why didn't you tell me?" Shizuru yelled.

"I didn't think I need to do it for long. I just needed enough money for the ring…"

Shizuru gave an exasperated sigh. "You should have told me anyway."

"I agree, but I was stupid. You forget, my love, that I do very stupid things sometimes. But as stupid as they get, I would never cheat on you…"

"But you did sleep with that one girl… Miya, was her name?"

"Did not, whatever you heard from her, she lied."

"Prove it."

"What's her last name?"

"Don't you know the last name of someone you slept with?"

"I didn't fuck her. What's her last name?"

"Why do you need to know?"

"So I can hunt her down and make her tell you the truth. And after the truth is out, I will kill – I mean, hurt her really badly for causing this misunderstanding."

"And in the meantime, how will you convince me that you loved me and never cheated on me?"

Reaching her hand up to caress the brunette's left cheek, Natsuki stared straight into rubies. "I love you. I always will. For five years, I did everything I could to find you. Five whole years, I have been with no one because I don't want anyone besides you."

"Ara, pretty words again?"

"They may just sound like pretty words with empty meaning to you, but this right here, is me pouring out my heart and soul to you. It's me, letting you in, letting myself be vulnerable to you. Take it or leave it…"

Natsuki slowly inched forward until she felt the brunette's lips against her, moving in a rhythm that showed her desperation; that showed her need for the brunette. Trembling lips slowly part, fingers slowly descend away from soft skin.

"I'm not sure what to do to prove that I never cheated on you. "

"Ara, I have an idea," the brunette said as she fished through her purse. She pulled out a switch blade and held it in front of the blue-haired woman. "If you let me carve my name onto your body in multiple locations, I will believe you."

"Okay," Natsuki replied, unclasping her bra and discarding that onto the bed, revealing her torso to the brunette. "Wherever you like."

Shizuru seemed surprised at this response, but recovered soon enough to point the blade right below Natsuki's collarbone. She touched the tip of the sharp object on Natsuki's skin and watched for a reaction from the other woman, but received only compliance. When she began carving the first stroke of her name, she saw nothing but love held in those emerald orbs and the slightest of a wince when Natsuki's lips twitched. Dropping her knife to the floor, she turned away from the blunette.

"Why?" she yelled. "Why do you not stop me from marring your beautiful skin?"

Reaching forward to hug the brunette from behind, careful not to stain the other woman's clothes with blood, the blunette whispered into her right ear. "I love you. I am yours, no matter what. This body of mine, you are the only one who gets to see it. So, you can mark it as much as you please, as long as it makes you happy…"

Shizuru turned around and delivered an angry slap across Natsuki's left cheek. "Stop it! Stop saying those things! The more you say them, the more I believe you! But, you're a liar! I cannot believe the words of a liar!"

And with that, the brunette stormed out of Natsuki's motel room. Still in shock with what has happened in the last 5 minutes, the blue-haired woman sat there, unmoving. When her thoughts finally caught up to her, and when her mind finally registered the brunette's words, only one thing was swirling through her head.

I have to get to the bottom of this… and settle things with this mystery girl, Miya.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

The next morning, Natsuki was sitting on the train back to Toyko. She needed funds and she needed Yamada's resources. She needed to get to the bottom of this. Shizuru thinks that she cheated on her, all because of worthless lies fed to her by someone named Miya. This Miya was going to pay, and she's going to pay dearly.

The first thing she did when she got back to Tokyo was visit the police station to pick up names of some scumbags that she could apprehend for money. As soon as she jotted down five of them, she headed out to town, to shady establishments and secret bars. She was sitting at the bar of shady club, about to wring information out of a patron, when she overhead one of the guys saying the name "Miya". She watched the scene with interest as several guys approached a girl and discreetly dragged her outside.

Out in the dark alleyways about a block away from the bar, Natsuki stood to the side when a bunch of thugs ganged around a blonde-haired girl.

"So I heard you were an easy fuck. How's about all of us at once?" one of the guys said.

"I-I don't know where you heard that from, but it's not true!"

"Yeah? We'll you're Tomoe's bitch, aren't ya? We gave her the money already, so you better cooperate," another one said as he pushed her down to the ground.

The other guys took this as their cue to begin holding her down and start stripping her of her clothes. It was at this point that the blunette decided to step into the scene.

"So," Natsuki said as she made herself visible. "It's not that I know this girl or anything, but I really can't condone gang rape… or raping in general, actually."

"Get lost, bitch! Unless you wanna get hurt!" one of them yelled at her shrilly.

Pulling out her Colt .45 pistol, she shot at the man who just spoke and produced a lopsided grin, making her look slightly crazed. "I've been having a bad day today. I don't suggest crossing me…"

When the thugs realized that the girl in front of them was not to be trifled with, they scrambled away from her and cursed their luck. They also mentioned something about getting their money back, but that was none of Natsuki's concern.

"Thank you! Thank you for saving me!" the other girl cried.

"Is your name Miya?" the blunette asked.

"Yes… how did you—"

"Let's get you cleaned up first. Then, we will talk," the blunette said.

Natsuki took the girl back to her small apartment and even allowed the slut to use her shower. When the girl emerged from the bathroom, the blunette threw a pair of sweats and plain t-shirt at her, telling her to put those clothes on. Miya did.

"You have a nice place here," Miya commented.

"It's temporary," Natsuki deadpanned. She then produced a picture of Shizuru and showed it to the blonde. "Do you know this girl?"

"No, not really," Miya answered.

"Weren't you the one who told her that you slept with a Kuga Natsuki before?" the blunette questioned.

"Well, I vaguely remember that name. Tomoe really hates that girl. As the psycho claims, Kuga took away her Shizuru."

"Tell me about this Tomoe."

"Not much to tell. The woman idolizes her Shizuru, but the other woman barely notices she's there. That was, until a couple years ago when Shizuru's fiancée started acting funny. Tomoe took advantage of the situation and positioned herself around Shizuru so much that they started becoming friends or something. Well, turns out the fiancée was sleeping around or something. Ah! I remember now. Because Tomoe couldn't find proof, she told me to tell Shizuru that her fiancée slept with me."

"Why do you work for Tomoe?"

"I-I am in her debt…"

"Where is this Tomoe now?"

"Wait – why are you asking all these questions?"

"Because, you dimwit, I am Shizuru's fiancée. And you totally fucked me over. Now, you will help me clear up this misunderstanding or I will take you back to that bar and make sure those guys gang rape you, uninterrupted."

Miya visibly paled and nodded her head repeatedly in affirmation.

"Now, tell me where Tomoe is now…"

"K-Kyoto. She's working with your fiancée in the same company."

"Where do they work, then? God, do I have to ask you every little thing?"

"C-Company called Kiyo."

"You and I are going to Kyoto tomorrow. And you will clarify everything. Do you hear me?"

"B-But if I defy Tomoe, I-I—"

"Grow a fucking backbone, will you? Just tell her you'll repay her some other way. Besides, that little stunt she pulled with selling you already qualify for some jail time for her."

"Y-You want to throw Tomoe in jail?"

"That'd be a bonus, if you'd cooperate."

Miya gave a firm nod, deciding that it was finally time she escaped the clutches of a psychotic bitch. This, in turn, caused Natsuki to grin widely. The wheels and knobs of her brain beginning to turn, formulating a plan to completely fuck over and embarrass this Tomoe chick.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

The first thing the two travelers did when they arrived to Kyoto was to go to the police station and report Tomoe for her crimes. They interrogated Miya regarding all the things that Tomoe did to her, producing cold, hard evidence for them as well as offering names of people who could back up their story. Apparently, this Tomoe did a number of things that was against the law. It was a good thing Miya was perceived weak enough by Tomoe that the psycho allowed the girl to know so much, and have so much evidence against her.

Life's a bitch, isn't it, Tomoe? And you're the biggest one of all…

As the police was about to leave to capture the woman in her cozy office, a request was made that Shizuru would be asked to come to the police station as well. Since the case does not directly pertain to her, the brunette was spared the embarrassment of riding in the police car and was allowed to drive her own Porsche to the station. When the two women walked through the door, imagine their surprise when they saw a cocky Natsuki sipping coffee next to a nervous Miya.

"What is the meaning of this, officer?" the girl with a crazy hair-do questioned.

"Tomoe Marguerite, you are arrested on charges of…."

Natsuki blocked out the rest as she didn't really care what Tomoe was charged with. She watched as the other woman was forced into an empty cell and produced a calm smile at the woman behind bars.

"So you're the Tomoe I've been hearing so much about. Miya called you a psycho, but I thought it was just strong hate that caused her to say that to you. Now I see that it was actually a very fitting description…"

"You!" the woman hissed. "What—"

"I forgot to thank you for taking care of Shizuru in my absence. I will be taking her back now, so your services are no longer needed."

"You think Shizuru will ever forgive you for cheating on her? You think she'll trust your lies still?"

"Miya," Natsuki said as she turned to face the blonde. "I believe you have something to tell Shizuru, don't you?"

Shizuru, who has been watching the events unfold in utter confusion, suddenly realized that the blonde girl sitting next to Natsuki was the Miya she slept with.

Hardening her facial features to show nothing, she readied herself for whatever news this Miya person has to offer.

"Ano, Viola-san. I remember a while ago Tomoe said that your fiancée was cheating on you, but she couldn't find any incriminating evidence against Kuga-san. Tomoe told me to tell you that I had slept with your fiancée, even though I never did. Kuga-san never cheated on you, and what I told you back then was a complete lie. I don't know what Tomoe has been telling you, but I'm sure they're lies too. The woman has been in love with you for a very long time, and has been looking for opportunities to destroy your relationship with Kuga-san. So, please don't be mad at Kuga-san anymore. She loves you."

"A-Ara… and why should I believe you?"

"You don't have to. After all, Kuga-san was the one who dragged me down here. But please trust me when I tell you, Kuga-san is a good person."

"I know everything is messed up to you right now, Shizuru. And I can't really expect you to trust me right away with all the information you have received today, but I'll wait for you…" Natsuki walked up to the brunette and handed her a piece of paper with her address and phone number. "I'll be waiting. Either way, please give me an answer."

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

"So you found her?" Mai exclaimed as she unconsciously stood from the table.

Natsuki was currently having dinner at Mai's place. She figured that she had gone missing long enough and decided to follow up on her word of having dinner with the family.

"That's great, Kuga," Tate said. "But I sense complications because she's not here."

"There's this girl named Tomoe," Natsuki started. She saw the face that Mai and Tate produced and quirked an eyebrow at them. "You seem to know her?"

"Of her," Mai answered. "Back in high school, she was the craziest of the fan club. Overtook the presidency by force and kicked around whoever was closer to the Shizuru than her. Complete psycho, if you ask me."

"Yeah, the psycho was mind-fucking with Shizuru. She somehow convinced her that I was cheating and then told some chick to tell Shizuru that I was sleeping with her. Or slept with her. Whatever. Anyway, Shizuru thought I was cheating on her, so…"

"She up and left," Tate finished.

"And changed her last name. Made it really difficult to find her."

"That doesn't sound like something the kaicho would do though," Mai commented.

"I'm pretty sure Tomoe convinced her to. Tomoe probably thought I'd give up on my love if I couldn't find any of her records. And it seems the kid has some pretty deep connections. Not as deep as mine, but pretty deep, to pull something like that off."

"Well, I'm glad you found her, but what now?" Tate asked.

"Giving her space. Letting her come to me. No point in rushing. I know where she is. I know where she works. I know that she's safe. So that's enough for me to sit back and wait."

"Well, I for one, am glad that you're not killing yourself over bounty hunting anymore," Mai injected. "Seconds?"

"Ah, no thank you, Mai. I'm full. Thanks. But I'm still going to bounty-hunt, you know. Considering I'm unemployed now."

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o

Two weeks later…

"God, mother-fucking piece of…" Natsuki grunted, finally momentarily getting over the fact that the asshole cut the sleeve of her precious leather jacket.

As soon as she was able to, she aimed at the man that was scrambling to run out of her range and shot. Successfully causing him to fall, face first, into the cement. Man, I love tranquilizers…

She cursed her way to the police station, about how she'd kill the guy if she could for ruining her favorite jacket. Needless to say, she was unnecessarily rough to the asshole as she dragged him to the destination.

"Got another one for you, Takeda," Kuga announced, finding that the man was already at the front desk.

"His name?"

"Son of a bitch who I want to fu—" Natsuki stopped herself and took several deep breaths. "Can I kick him a couple of times first?"

Takeda gave her a smirk and turned around, pretending that he was doing something on another desk. The woman smiled at his actions and began to kick the dropped man on the floor violently; taking her anger out on his unconscious body. When she was finally satisfied, she spoke to the officer.

"So his name's Kiddo Junior in your books."

Standard procedure took its sweet ole time before a check was produced for the blunette. Snatching the check as usual, she sauntered out into the night sky and wished that the Tokyo air wasn't so polluted with light shit, so that she could see the stars. Perhaps she should save up money to go camping soon.

When she arrived home, she was greeted by the pleasant surprise of a red Porsche in one of the parking spots by her apartment. Natsuki drove her Ducati and parked next to it, finding that the woman in the car was too focused on reading to realize her surroundings.

She knocked on the window to gather the brunette's attention. "Excuse me, miss. This is permit parking only. You'll get towed* if you stay here any longer."

"Ara, silly me," the brunette said, as she produced a permit from one of the compartments inside her car. Then, she stepped out of her car and stared into emerald orbs. "I'm home, Natsuki."

Without missing a beat, the blue-haired woman embraced her love tightly, "Welcome home, Shizuru."


.

*Thank you to the anon reader for correcting me on this. If anyone else finds any more mistakes, please let me know. As I have no beta, and I pretty much skim when I proofread, I tend to miss a lot of things, whether grammatical or word usage...

Alright, so let me know what you guys thought! This was like 19 pages, with the font all tiny and the margins are shrunk! And yeah... please review.