Title: Rules

Pairing(s): Ushio x Mikage

Rating: K+

Warning(s): Some language.

Note(s): Takes place sometime between the series' end and the 8-year timeskip. It's sort of a lead-in to the Ushio/Mikage relationship in Promises, Promises. It also references two characters in my older story, Incompetence. Enjoy. :)

"Where it began
I can't begin to knowin'
but then I know it's growin' strong. "

-"Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond

She thought nothing of it. It was supposed to be a fling, a short-lived relationship they would look back on later and laugh. She considered whatever brief romance they would share to simply be a distraction from the heartache she felt whenever she watched Jack dueling halfway across the world on her television. Sure, they would go on a few dates, share a few awkward kisses, but they would ultimately realize they weren't meant to be together, break up and go back to just being good friends. No strings attached.

This was her prediction. And she couldn't have been any more wrong.

She had expected it to last only three weeks, but time quickly stretched into six months. He never failed to impress her when they went out, no matter where they were or what they did. And whenever his lips met hers, it was so gentle, unlike any man had every kissed her before. Soon enough, she found herself in love with him.

That was a problem.

"Oh my God."


"Oh my God. I mean, really, oh my God."

"Kazama-kun! How many times are you going to say, 'Oh my God?'"

"Forgive me. Ok. Oh my God."

Mikage rolled her eyes and turned away to hide the blush that was burning her face. A cheeky grin spread across Kazama's face and he threw his head back and laughed.

"You and Ushio? I mean, I knew he had a thing for you but I didn't ever think it would ever go anywhere especially since..." He paused, shaking his head. "I mean, you do know it's against the rules for members of security to be romantically involved?" She still couldn't bring herself to look at him, embarrassed.

"I'm aware," Mikage replied curtly. Kazama laughed again.

"Mikage Sagiri. Miss Perfect Mikage Sagiri who never breaks the rules... well, broke the rules." He teased with a playful smile.

"Kazama! This is serious!" Mikage cried, exasperated. The male officer deadpanned.

"I know." He swung his leg over her desk and pushed himself up on the edge to sit on it. "Have you taken a test yet?" Mikage sighed and sat in slumped in her seat, looking defeated.

"Yes. And the results were unfavorable." She pulled a random case file from the large stack upon her desk and began thumbing through it. "... I didn't need to though. You just know." Kazama listened attentively, sympathetic.

"Have you told Ushio yet?"

"No." She paused before adding, "But I plan on telling him today." Kazama remained silent for a moment, ponderous.

"Why come to me first?" He asked suddenly. Mikage's lips tightened.

"Because I thought you would be able to give better advice than, 'Oh my God,'" she replied. Kazama chuckled.

"Sorry. But can you really blame me? I mean, how would you react if you just found out your two best friends were secretly dating behind your back for nearly six months?" He leaned in closely, lowering his voice to a whisper. "And that since he's delivered the baby batter, she's got a bun baking in the oven?" Mikage's face turned beet red and she swallowed.

"Lovely use of euphemisms," she coughed. Kazama grinned.

"Can't help it." His face turned serious again. "You want my advice? Just come clean; sure, you could keep your relationship secret when you and Ushio were just dating. But people are going to know that something's up once you start showing. But really, how bad could it be? You two are without a doubt the best investigators in whole damn city, so firing either one of you would be idiotic. The worst thing that could happen is you and Ushio's professional partnership is dissolved and you're both assigned different tasks." Mikage's face fell.

"I don't want that to happen though," she said sadly. "Ushio and I make a great team."

"Which is exactly why it may not happen," Kazama said, holding a hand up defensively. "But even if it does, don't be upset about it. Think of it as an exchange. Instead of being partners, you two get to be parents." Mikage perked up at that.

"I suppose that's one way of looking at it," she said a little more cheerily. It was at that precise moment Ushio walked in, looking like his usual worn-out self. Mikage stiffened.

"Sorry I'm late," he grumbled. "Traffic was a bitch." Mikage continued to stare at him wide-eyed, seemingly frozen. Kazama cleared his throat.

"I think..." He began tentatively. "Mikage has something to tell you, Ushio." Kazama then nudged her in the shoulder encouragingly, and she stood up.

"Maybe it's better if we talk somewhere private," she said in a low voice. Ushio looked very concerned at this- a million thoughts were already running through his head. He wasn't sure whether this had to do with him being late or with their relationship, but he feared the latter the most. He could apologize and promise that it wouldn't happen again if it was the former, but if she wanted to break up with him...

She led him into her private office, taking care to tightly shut and lock the door. Ushio licked his dry lips and swallowed.

"What's going on, Mikage?" he asked nervously. Mikage stood silently for a moment before turning to face him. She seemed as nervous as he was, fidgeting with her hands. She had rehearsed in her head how she would tell him, but the speech she had mentally prepared seemed stupid now. Perhaps, she figured, it was best just to get straight to the point, to make it as quick and painless as possible- like ripping off a band-aid.

"I'm pregnant."

The silence was thick and uncomfortable. Ushio stared at her blankly, trying to process what she had just said. Mikage inhaled deeply, pushing the conversation along.

"Kazama knows. I told him," she began awkwardly. "He... He suggested we just tell Director Daly and accept whatever consequences he deals out." Ushio nodded in agreement because words obviously weren't happening for him at the moment. Mikage sucked in her breath and turned to leave, but was stopped. Ushio had seized her wrist and spun her around, giving her a fierce, unexpected kiss- a way of reassuring her everything would be OK. After getting over the initial shock, she melted against him.

He was the first to pull away, slowly. Mikage, still stuck in the moment, couldn't say anything- and neither could Ushio. So neither of them said anything, and that was perfectly fine.

"Sir, I'm pregnant." Try as she might, she could not have stopped her voice from shaking, even if just a little bit. Ushio and Mikage kept a respectable distance between them as they stood before Director Daly in his office, both trying immensely to keep themselves together. Daly's response, however caught them off-guard: he smiled.

"That's wonderful news, Miss Sagiri," he said, folding his hands. "Do you know the due date? I assume you're here to set up maternity leave for when the time comes?" Mikage and Ushio exchanged quick glances, both looking extremely confused.

"Director Daly, perhaps you misunderstood." Ushio paused and inhaled deeply, trying to calm his nerves. "I-I, uh... I'm the father."

Daly looked at him, his brow raised.

"I know that," he said dismissively. Ushio sputtered, but couldn't articulate words.

"Director, it's against the rules for members of security to be personally involved with one another. Ushio and I obviously broke that rule," Mikage said, embarrassed as she cast her eyes toward the floor. Daly let out a hearty laugh, pushing back his chair as he stood up.

"Miss Sagiri," he began frankly. "That rule is only in place to deter officers like Juro and Kaede from constantly bothering you, not to punish you." Mikage and Ushio were at a complete loss for words. Daly smiled again, his thick, gray mustache twitching as he did.

"Don't look so ashamed you two. This is supposed to be a happy time; you're having a baby, for goodness' sake!" he chortled, making his way toward both of the officers and patting them on the back with his massive hands. "Now, unless that's everything you needed to tell me, I have a meeting I need to get to." Ushio shook his head in disbelief.

"So, you're not upset?" He asked.

"Of course not," Daly replied, gathering papers from his desk. "My only criterion is that Miss Sagiri stay out of the field for the duration of her pregnancy, for obvious reasons." With that said, he left. Mikage and Ushio stood rooted to the floor, still in shock.

"Well," Ushio finally said. "That went a lot better than I thought it would." Mikage nodded.

"Indeed," she said in agreement. Ushio suddenly grinned, wrapping his arm around his partner and pulling her close.

"God Mikage," he said, sounding like he was in awe. He leaned down and kissed her forehead. "We're actually having a kid." Having reached his fourties several years back, he had simply resigned to fact he'd never be married or have children- course, he got his hopes back up when he started dating Mikage six months earlier. But now it was becoming real. Mikage couldn't help but smile.

"Now you're excited," she laughed.

"I always was," he replied. "I was just a little scared to show how happy I was."

"Well, you might want to continue holding your happiness off a little bit longer." Mikage turned toward the older man and wrapped her frail arms around his neck, standing on the tips of her toes just to reach his face. "Director Daly gave us permission to be pregnant and dating while still maintaining a professional relationship, but I don't think it's wise to run around showing it off." She brushed her lips briefly against his before letting herself down.

"I'll see you tonight," she began, returning to her usual, serious demeanor that she maintained while at work. "We can talk more about it then."

They left Daly's office together, both trying to act like nothing had ever happened. Kazama looked their way from his station and shot Ushio a questioning look. Ushio grinned and gave his fellow officer and thumbs-up- all was well, and it couldn't get better.


Comment(s): Yeah, I know it sucked, shut up.

Is it worth mentioning that I'm convinced Kazama is homosexual? Anyway. Mikage and Ushio are 32 and 43 respectively at this point. Huh. Never thought I would think a May-December romance was kind of cute. Hope you enjoyed this. :)