Author's Note: Yay! My first (and probably only) UDDUP fanfiction. I've been a fan of the series for quite some time, and I've recently decided to reread it. Pity the writing fandom for it is so small. Come on people, more fanfiction!
This little idea came from a throwaway comment on another 'fic, saying a mention of Genda was the closest he'd ever come to being in a story. Challenge accepted!
I couldn't decide on a time frame, so just... whenever. Hopefully it's vague enough. Not used to writing these characters, but here you go! (As much as I love Mamoru and Haruka fluff, let's have more general and random stories! And more side character love for such a badass cast!)
It had been a simple enough trip, but those were always the kinds that tended to turn out horribly.
Haruka had needed new clothes. With Sierra temporarily missing from their bizarre little almost-family (thanks to Kilo) and while Igawa hesitantly volunteered (Mamoru didn't, but of course, she had seen that coming), the responsibility of being her escort naturally fell to Juliet. She didn't complain or act at all indignant at being handed babysitting duty once more, however, which was the surprising part.
"Well, in my line of work you need new clothes just about constantly. It may seem like a silly little detail, but isn't that how the stupid masses identify people?" Juliet started conversationally. Haruka bobbed her head, although she was still a little off-put by the older woman's presence. "All it takes is a repeat of the same slinky red dress and you're in trouble."
"S-So you like shopping?" the girl asked uncertainly, trying to maintain the conversation. Well, trying to maintain the conversation without letting it steer itself into work. This was supposed to be a quick, casual outing, and if they couldn't find anything to talk about other than work, Haruka was sure she'd go crazy.
"Of course!" Juliet said with a charming, if sharp, smile. "Now, though, Alpha never lets me, not anymore. It only took once to ruin that sweet setup."
Haruka didn't bother asking. "What do you do with all of the clothes you collect, then? If you don't like wearing them multiple times?"
"No, I don't like wearing them for jobs multiple times," she corrected automatically. Haruka gave her a flat look, making her sigh. "Oh, I'm not that wasteful. I donate a lot of them to various charities and the like. Especially since it's so hard to share outfits with the other women in there." With Juliet's typical choice of clothing, Haruka didn't blame them.
They made polite small-talk, outlined a couple of places they'd like to stop, but otherwise, it was still fairly awkward. Juliet, while caring (in her own way) and attentive, was just... She wasn't Mamoru, or even Sierra. Haruka never knew when she was joking or lying or trying to get a rise out of her. She was nice, but didn't know when to stop.
But, as Haruka soon found, she was the perfect shopping partner.
Juliet was completely honest—Haruka had always known that, but it worked pleasantly in her favor with clothes shopping. Juliet wouldn't sugarcoat anything and told her flat-out whether things looked good or bad on her. She even picked out a couple of dresses for Haruka, to "impress Mamoru". Sometimes, her insight wasn't wanted, but at least the option was out in the open.
It wasn't as awkward with bags in their hands and time passed together, and could even be considered fun. Juliet still wasn't going to become her favorite person in the world anytime soon, but she was on the road to rapidly becoming her favorite shopping partner. (At least she didn't constantly coddle her like Sierra. It was normally nice and even endearing, but not when she was trying not to look like a kid in Mamoru's eyes.)
"Oh, this looks cute," Haruka said brightly, pulling a yellow sun dress from the rack.
"You can't seem to decide whether or not to go for the cute and innocent look, huh?" Juliet asked skeptically, one hand on her hip, the other on a strip of fabric that had no reason calling itself a skirt.
Haruka huffed and put it back on the rack. "I don't see why I have to go for any particular look..." she mumbled, searching for more. She had never cared much about fashion or about impressing people. She was still caught between that now; she could hardly impress Mamoru with most clothes, since he could only see the shape of it. Or her, if they were tight-fitting enough.
"I think he prefers dresses to skirts," Juliet called. Haruka jumped and scowled beneath her blush. Juliet only smirked. "Just a guess, though. You may have to ask him yourself."
"I-I don't see how it matters that much."
"Then if it doesn't, why are you spending so much time painstakingly playing housewife?"
"That's unrelated—and I like being helpful." To prove—something, she wasn't quite sure what—Haruka grabbed the yellow dress from the rack once more and stomped off towards the changing rooms.
She passed part of the men's section on the way there, and it couldn't help but catch her eye. When was the last time Mamoru-san wore anything but black or white? she wondered. Maybe she could get him something as a gift...
She felt a spike of alarm just milliseconds before the hand came down on her shoulder. She whirled around at once, heart already hammering, wondering why she hadn't sensed anything earlier. She was already soothing herself—Juliet would have noticed, it couldn't be major or dangerous if she didn't have that much forewarning, it was a public place—before she worked her face back into a calmer expression.
She recognized the man in front of her, if only from afar and if only because she had a habit of reading Igawa's research over his shoulder. She just couldn't decide whether or not to start lying or screaming or causing a scene or what. As she ran through the possibilities, detective Genda gave her a disarming smile. "I believe this is the first time we've had the chance to meet."
"Y-Yes." He wasn't hostile, at least not physically. But he did pose the danger of causing problems nonetheless. Haruka tried her best to smile back up at him, deciding that playing innocent but truthful would be the best bet. Besides, in another twenty seconds, Juliet would have found her.
"I'm supposing time is of the essence," he replied, still smiling pleasantly. He wanted to avoid a scene and a grown man talking to a visibly frightened teenage girl was probably bad enough. Still, she figured she didn't need that option.
"Seven seconds," Haruka said, letting her smile fall. "Why did you choose to confront me?" She was hardly done speaking before Juliet sashayed up with a predatory grin. Haruka still couldn't shake the feeling of uneasiness, however.
Genda only spared her a glance. "Hijikata is not with you?"
"This is a girls' shopping trip, thank you," Juliet butted in, not-so-gently removing his hand from Haruka's shoulder. She maneuvered the girl to her other side, keeping an arm around her. "Is there anything else you want, sir?"
"Genda, miss. Detective Genda," he replied coolly. As if she didn't already know. "I was only wondering..."
"It's not of importance. I suppose it has already been answered," he said, eyes flicking down to Haruka before meeting Juliet's glare once more.
"Why are you looking for Mamoru-san?" Haruka spoke up, unable to help herself. They would likely lapse into carefully worded barbs and nonsense soon, and if nothing else, that was boring. She still didn't sense any outright danger from the man, and it was her first time meeting someone who had known Mamoru, outside of the Elements Network, anyway. Even with Juliet there, she couldn't help but feel the tiniest bit curious.
"I would like to speak with him," Genda answered, surprise written in his eyes. "Part of it concerning you."
"You know she's better off with us," Juliet deadpanned. It seemed as if Haruka had set the bar for honesty. Not that she was complaining.
"For the time being," he conceded reluctantly. "But one day, after you're done playing your war games, she will have to be returned to society."
"Don't I get any say in this?" Haruka asked irritably. She was used to it, but as she was getting older, it bothered her more and more. "I would rather just stay with the people I'm with right now."
"What about your grandmother?" he asked, voice gentle.
She had to look away. Juliet's grip on her tightened for a fraction of a second, and above her, she heard her angry voice, "You have thirty seconds to give me a good reason not to shriek molester."
"At least you seem to acknowledge the value of other forms of force," Genda said wryly, taking a step backward. Juliet gave him a look and he backed up another.
"Why choose to talk to me here and now?" Both of them looked to her, slightly surprised. Haruka set her mouth in a firm line and shrugged Juliet's arm off. She was capable of talking to him, too, after all. "What do you stand to gain?"
"Simply... letting you know that you don't have to turn to a criminal for help," he replied lightly. Juliet's look darkened, and he added nonchalantly, "I mean Hijikata. Don't trust him. As for your little Wall, they seem to have a cautious approach, I'll give you that, but I'd rather she stay on the light side of the law."
"Thank you, but we seem to be more than competent so far," she retorted. "Anyway, if you don't want a knife as a parting gift or a vengeful agent or two, I would walk away right now."
He inclined his head and put up his hands in mock surrender. Genda glanced down at Haruka, though, and asked, "I still can't figure out why you are chose to attach yourself to him, though. It couldn't be for his charming personality."
"Didn't you know?" Haruka knew that tone of voice and she was already bracing herself for whatever Juliet was going to say. The man before them only looked slightly inquisitive. Juliet swung her weight to her other leg and announced, "They're engaged. And here I thought you were a detective."
That she had not seen coming. Genda's mouth fell open and a rainbow of emotions—shock to disbelief to something like embarrassment—crossed his face. Juliet turned on her heel and guided the red-faced Haruka away. She couldn't believe Juliet had just said that—and to that detective to boot! She couldn't even begin to think of how that could have been a good idea. "Wh-What—?" she spluttered, trying to string words together.
"Now that's an interesting reaction," Juliet said dryly, glancing back once to make sure he wasn't following them. He wasn't. "I made up the lie on the spot. He'll see through it once the mental image of Mamoru in any sort of wedding ceremony wears off, and it was harmless, wasn't it?"
Haruka only stared up at her. She knew her better than to think it was a simple little lie. As far as she knew, neither Igawa nor Sierra had told her, but then again, Juliet was a spy. Finding out information was her specialty. Haruka shut her eyes and wished, briefly, that she could disappear into her own shadow.
"So are you going to get that dress or not? We had better wrap this up sometime soon. He won't bother us again, but that's not to say he won't get someone else to harass us." She looked down at the yellow dress she was still clinging to.
The car ride back was even worse than the one before it. Haruka was racking her brain, trying to figure out why Juliet had said such a thing to him. It was obviously for her own amusement, but still, there had to be consequences to such things. There were never not consequences. It may have been a silly little lie, but worse—her blushing reaction probably made everything worse. If nothing else, she just confessed to a crush on her bodyguard—and to the both of them.
"Oh, don't sulk. This doesn't have to be that bad," Juliet said, just before they arrived home. Base, technically, but Haruka still tried to think of it as home. She pulled into the garage and grabbed all of the bags, even Haruka's, probably as some sort of apology. "It was a joke. You don't have to feel so pitiful about it. I'll make a note of running into him, but past that and a couple of questions, no one has to know of your deep shame at my hands."
"Please what?" she asked, casting her a flat, unimpressed look. Haruka shrunk back, blushing once more. "Exactly. Now put on a brave face for that criminal of yours, otherwise we'll have to face more questions than either of us wants."
Juliet kicked the door open and strut inside, all but throwing the bags at Igawa. While they bickered over nothing, Haruka could only sigh and shut the door behind her. She took off her shoes and gave the room a cursory glance for Mamoru. Not there.
So she had finally met the semi-infamous detective Genda, and all that had happened was embarrassment for both parties. Probably. She didn't know how he felt, although since he left them alone...
"Alright! Now who wants to see us model our new clothes?" Juliet called happily, digging into the bags still on Igawa's lap. "Haruka, come try on that adorable yellow dress you got!"
As she dragged the girl off to change, calling for Mamoru to get his ass downstairs and be social and supportive (which was a laughable concept in itself), Haruka wondered again what the consequences of that not-lie would be.
Juliet answered it for her. Taking off her shirt without care to Haruka or the still-open door, she slyly told her, "Damn, I hope I get to listen in next time those two meet."
"So that's why you said that!" Haruka exclaimed indignantly.
"If nothing else, it'll be funny to see Mamoru reduced to speechlessness. And who knows? Maybe it'll plant an idea in his head," Juliet said innocently, eyes wide.
"...Why do you do these sorts of things?"
"If Sierra's so against it, I must be for it on principle, right?"
Haruka groaned and set her head against the nearest wall. "I think you enjoy messing with people."
"Most likely. Now come, get changed. Go strut your stuff." The woman mercifully left her alone to change, again probably as a sort of apology.
Haruka sighed wearily. And all she had wanted was a new outfit or two.