Title: Let's Get One Thing Straight, I'm Not

Pairing(s): Interpret as you will.

Rating: T

Warning(s): Homosexuality and language.

Note(s): Requested by Pippa6100. Takes place sometime a couple of months after the Dark Signer arc, not long after Mikage and Ushio were made head of Special Investigations. Also, Kaede and Juro from my older fic, "Incompetence" are again mentioned.

"Better gay than grumpy."

-A bumper sticker

Mikage supressed a yawn. It had been far too long a day and she was ready to go home. Her head was spinning with thoughts about the disturbing news she had just received: Security's riding roid technology had been compromised, an one of the models had gone missing. Her unit had been assigned into looking into it, but so far they had had little success. Still, their fruitless efforts had exhausted her and she was ready to go home and get a good night's sleep.

"C'mon, Kazama, you'll have fun."

"No thanks, Orochi, it's just not my style."

Mikage stopped, hearing the voices from the corner. She leaned up tiredly against the wall, not wanting to interrupt whatever conversation they were having.

"Eh? Not your style?" Orochi said, sounding completely floored. "How can a few beers and a lot of hot women not be your style?"

"I think the problem is the women part," said a different man, sounding much less friendly.

"Shut up, Takumi," Kazama growled.

"Seriously? Gee, Kazama, I thought you were better than that..." Orochi said, sounding disappointed. Mikage's eyes widened, suddenly feeling very much awake. Was she hearing what she thought she was hearing?

"Well, whatever, we'll leave you here to spread your pixie dust by yourself," Takami said coldly. Mikage had heard enough.

"Excuse me?" she asked, seething as she came around the corner. "Is there an issue here?" The three men stiffened.

"It's nothing that concerns you, Sagiri-san," Takami replied haughtily. "You have no jurisdiction among those in the patrol unit."

"No, I don't," Mikage replied, her eyes hardening. "But I'm sure Chief Yanagisawa would not be pleased if I reported what I just heard." Kazama stood motionless as the other officers glared right back at her.

"I suggest you move along," she continued after a long moment. Takami and Orochi exchanged quick glances, deciding it wasn't worth it. They brushed past her, leaving Mikage alone with Kazama.

"Thank you, Chief Sagiri," he said with reverence once the other two men had disappeared. "But, you really didn't have to do that. I could've handled those two douchebags myself. Er, excuse me, it's not very polite to swear in front of a lady, is it?" Mikage laughed, holding out her hand to shake his.

"Oh, that's quite alright, Kazama-san," she said brightly. She didn't know what it was about him, but she liked him. Probably because for the first time, an officer she didn't know beforehand was treating her with an ounce of respect. Usually, the moment an officer (any officer) saw her chest, they were skeptical. It was uncommon to see a female security officer... unheard of to see one in charge an entire unit. She was aware there were quite a few men in her unit (Kaede and Juro immediately came to her mind) who were shocked when they learned the new head of Special Investigations was a woman.

"You know me," Kazama said, his eyebrows shooting up in surprise.

"Ushio Tetsu is my partner," Mikage stated plainly. "You two used to work together in the patrol unit."

"Ah, yes." His amber eyes suddenly became cloudy with admiration. "Great man, Ushio. Special Investigations is lucky to have him."

"I would have to agree," she replied, the corner of her lip tipping upward. "Anyway, it was a pleasure meeting you, Kazama-san." She released his hand and continued on her way out, her thoughts returning to the comfort of her bed at home.

"Sagiri-san!" Kazama suddenly called out. Mikage stopped, glancing over her shoulder.

"I... I would prefer if you didn't share what you heard with anyone..." he said, almost looking ashamed. Mikage felt like she forgot how to breathe for a moment.

"Kazama-san," she said quietly, turning to face him. "Those men... are you really... ?" Kazama grinned, though there was a kind of sadness glimmering in his eyes.

"Yeah," he admitted. "But... uh... I'd just like to keep it under wraps. Try to keep my personal and professional life separate, you know?" Mikage listened attentively, unable to say anything.

"I mean, there are people who are able to figure it out on their own," Kazama continued, obviously refering to Takami and Orochi. "But, I just don't want to cause a fuss. It's been a bit tough since Ushio left- I don't think he ever knew, but still, other officers didn't bother me when he was around. Filing a report to Chief Yanagisawa would just provoke them. You get where I'm coming from?"

"I understand," Mikage said, smiling. Kazama smiled, too.

"Thank you," he said. "Sorry to keep you. Have a nice night."

On the drive home, Mikage started thinking. And her thinking led to an idea. And her idea led her to a resolution.

"I met your friend, Kazama-san, yesterday," Mikage said suddenly, skimming through several reports of possible sitings of the Riding Roid technology. Ushio glanced up at her, looking through similar files.

"Oh?" he said, giving her a toothy grin. "And what'd ya think?" Mikage paused to pull out another file from the large box that sat on top of her desk in her private office.

"... I like him," she said finally, smiling. "Not in the that way, " she added quickly when she saw Ushio's expression. "Besides, I don't think he'd really go for my type." Ushio looked mildly confused at this; Mikage supposed this meant what Kazama had said was true, that even Ushio wasn't aware of Kazama's sexual orientation.

"Yeah, he's a good guy," Ushio said coolly, nodding. The conversation seemed to end there as the two partners continued looking through the files on Mikage's desk in silence, writing down anything they considered noteworthy. However, after a few minutes, Mikage cleared her throat to speak again.

"I looked up his profile last night. Completely clean; he's had no trouble with his superiors in his time here," she said calmly. Ushio cocked an eyebrow at her.

"Like I said," he said, wondering what her purpose in bringing this up was. "He's a good guy."

"I also had a word with Chief Yanagisawa this morning. He praised him as being one of the best patrol officers on staff," Mikage continued.

"I wouldn't doubt it," he said gruffly. "Mikage-san, where are you going with this?" Mikage remained silent for a moment longer before replying.

"I was just thinking... that... maybe, we could request that he be moved to work with us in Special Investigations?" she finally asked, though she still sounded hesitant. "I think he'd be a great asset to the unit." Ushio stared at her blankly for a moment before his face broke into a wide smile.

"I think that would be a great idea!" he exclaimed, beaming at her. He rubbed his chin, turning the thought over in his mind. "Yeah... you're absolutely right. He would be great for the team. Most of the guys here are complete jerk-offs with no personality, or humor for that matter. Well, I guess Kaede and Juro kind of have a weird sense of humor, but that's beside the point. Kazama sure would bring some color to the unit, not to mention he's a great officer who would offer us an array of talents." Mikage chuckled as Ushio rambled on.

"Well, I'm glad you agree," she chirped, putting away the files and standing up. "Well, I guess we should start by talking to Director Daly." Ushio leapt up beside her.

"Uh, yeah!" He was surprised at how anxious she was to do this. It made him wonder what Kazama could have possibly done yesterday to cause Mikage to take such a liking to him- Ushio knew though Mikage was one of the sweetest women he had ever met, it took her an awful long time to warm up to people (he knew that better than anyone, recalling how snappish she was with him their first meeting).

He shrugged. Well, whatever happened, he was glad it had.

And eventually, Mikage and Kazama would be glad too.


Comment(s): So, I mentioned in one of my recent fics, "Rules" that I'm for whatever reason convinced Kazama is gay. Pippa6100 and I had a conversation about this and she encouraged me to write this story, since I've had it stewing around in my brain for awhile.

Since he had just met Mikage, I portrayed Kazama as a little more shy and distant instead of flaunting his more colorful and joking personality.