It was, Aki realized, the first time he had been inside NCD headquarters. On all the cases they competed on it was always the narcs that came to the police, whether it was to pick up investigation information after beating them to a bust or to drop off said information when the cops got there first. Now here he was, seated on a reasonably comfortable couch in the Section One offices of the Narcotics Control Division. Across from him, behind his desk, sat Director Hiki. Aki had to admit, he was still a little in shock over the NCD chief's appearance. He had, like everyone else, heard the rumours about the man. Everyone knew he was young and clever and frighteningly proficient at his job, but it was hard to believe that the bookish man currently smiling benignly in his direction was a veteran narcotics agent, let alone the chief of the whole division. Nevertheless he couldn't quite shake the feeling that he wasn't going to like this conversation, no matter how congenial the other man seemed. He glanced at Kajiyama, standing next to his boss' desk. The section chief was uncharacteristically quiet. Huh. Well, the rumours about Hiki must be at least somewhat true, Aki figured, if he could keep Kajiyama that subdued. The detective tried to think of any time he had seen the dark-haired narc in any way submissive. Of course, he had only ever been around Kajiyama outside of the NCD offices and so away from the man's boss. And he had to admit that Hiki seemed to exude an aura of good-natured superiority, so much so that Aki found himself reliving memories of visits to the principal's office as a child. Kajiyama met his eyes for a second, then sighed and looked away. The feeling of impending bad news intensified. Aki had to restrain himself from gulping.

"Feel free to attend to the weapons and homicide aspects, since those are out of our jurisdiction." The dismissal was clear in Hiki's tone, but Aki was still so stunned by the turn of events that he was unable to register it at first. Hiki's smile never faltered, but he had already turned his attention away from the detective and onto his paperwork as he casually waved a hand at Kajiyama. "Kaji will show you out." Aki blinked out of his stupor and rose, following the stoic agent to the door.

Once out in the hallway, he blew out a sigh, trying to relieve the tension that had mounted throughout the meeting with the NCD director. Kajiyama glanced sideways at him and snorted. Aki glared at him, feeling his dignity had suffered enough for the moment. "What?"

The other man shrugged. "You get used to it. To him" he clarified, when Aki stared at him, nonplussed. The police detective managed a chuckle.

"Oh really? You've known him how long? And I see you were able to handle him wonderfully! Yeah, you were certainly your vim-and-vigour self in there!" he joked. Kajiyama rolled his eyes at him, a playful gesture rather than a condescending one for once. It was rather shocking, Aki thought. A not-angry Kajiyama was a rare thing indeed, in his experience.

"Ten years."


The narc slewed his gaze back towards the detective as they walked. "I've known Hiki for ten years. And I didn't say I could 'handle' him, I said 'you get used to him'. No one can 'handle' Hiki." He didn't sound resentful. If anything, his voice betrayed fondness. Aki suddenly remembered something else from the rumours.

"You two were partners, right?" They had reached the outer doors. It was raining out and Aki could see his men waiting for him in the car. In a gesture of mock-chivalry, Kajiyama swung the door open for him, a smirk suddenly plastered across his face.

"Does it matter? All you need to remember is how bad you screwed up this case. Remember that, next time you cops wanna look down on us!" Aki barely had time to scowl before the agent shut the door in his face, grinning all the while. It was amazing how much his attitude changed the farther away he got from Director Hiki. It was like he had just imagined the quiet, obediant man that had stood by the desk in the office. Not that he had time to be dwelling on that. Kajiyama, cheeky bastard though he might be, was right. Dammit! He knew that conversation was gonna go badly! Shaking his head, he ran out into the rain towards his car, feeling a sudden need to get as far away from NCD headquarters as possible.