Winter of our Discontent

"Neh neh, Aoi-chan!"

Aoi Futaba looked across her desk to see her partner, Yoriko Nikaidou, flashing an impish grin. Aoi cocked an eyebrow at the meganekko.

'I am almost afraid to ask,' Aoi thought. Ever since Christmas dinner together, Yoriko had been rather…needy of late.

"Hai, Yoriko-san."

The impish grin widened by orders of magnitude to include teeth and accompanied the evil, conspiratorial laugh that usually came with a choice piece of gossip. The light reflected off her lenses to completely obscure her eyes, giving her the scary shiny glasses that rarely bode well for anyone.

'This is not going to end well,' Aoi sighed to herself. 'If this keeps up, I may end up sleeping on the couch-again.'

"I was thinking," Yoriko began. "We have not been to the onsen for some time."

"Is that all you were thinking?" Aoi asked suspiciously.

Feigning shock and hurt, Yoriko floridly placed her hand on her forehead and cried out in mock surprise.

"Aoi-chan! I am surprised and hurt that you would suspect only the worst!"

Laughter from the squad room as the other officers were dragged unceremoniously into their private world. Natsumi could barely contain a sustained outburst and instead tried laughing into her elbow. Miyuki, far more refined than her partner/lover, politely giggled into her hands while trying to avoid eye contact.

While it was no secret that Aoi and Yoriko were an item, Aoi, ever the consummate professional, would not allow her personal life to interfere with her duties. Yoriko, on the other hand, did not share the same attitudes.

There had been speculation concerning Aoi's 'preferences' since her arrival at Bokuto police station some years previous. That fact that everyone in the traffic department knew Aoi's gender history, but ultimately chose not to care did make for some uncomfortable moments in the beginning. Then there were the random unfortunates who stumbled upon Aoi's little secret…some were never quite right again. Still, Aoi's gender raised some questions tied to her preferences. When she and Yoriko began dating, most of the speculation died down.

Aoi had tried dating men, but always the sticky issue of her past came to light and she was left out in the cold. One young man seemed to almost work out, but he had mistaken Yoriko for Aoi in a photo sent via e-mail. When they finally met, the man was carrying a child and begged off saying he was no good for her. The issue of gender never even came up. Eventually, Aoi just gave up trying and threw all her energies into work, never realizing that a potential love interest sat right across her desk.

Yoriko always seemed to attract the strange ones. She met and assisted a young prince, but their worlds were too different and he ultimately chose to return home and restore his government. Never having viewed herself as anything other than the office nerd, Yoriko busied herself with other people's business. Yoriko sometimes wondered what lay behind Aoi's pretty green eyes and thick, dark curls. All the women in the precinct office were jealous of Aoi to one extent or another, Yoriko was no exception. Turns out there was love and deep compassion there.

"We were at the onsen just last year, Yoiko-san," Aoi sighed. She forsaw this becoming an expensive conversation. Traveling as a group, pooling funds and including station slush money was the only way any of the officers could afford to bunk off to the mountains and enjoy the pleasures on offer at an onsen.

"My point exactly, aijin," Yoriko said. "Last year. Twelve months, 365 days. Too long!"

Again the martyr pose. Yoriko was the master at eliciting sympathy by playing the victim.

A distinct clearing of the throat from Kachou brought everyone's attention face front.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Kachou said authoritatively over his newspaper. "I wonder what is happening out on the streets today. Would anyone be so kind as to go out there and find out for me?"

The hint well taken, Miyuki, Natsumi, Aoi and Yoriko all stood from their desks, saluted and walked out. They were followed shortly by Ken Nakajima and several motorcycle patrolmen.

Rendezvousing by the motor pool garage, each team split up to their respective vehicles and rolled out.

A/N: I am not sure where I can go with this at the moment, but it seems like a good jump off point. Ideas, anyone?
For those of you unfamiliar with Japanese:
meganekko: lit. 'girl with glasses'
Aijin: lit, 'love person' or lover.
scary shiny glasses is referenced at TV Tropes