Part Five: After the end.

Nancy looked around her thoughtfully, a smile on her face. "This will do nicely," she smiled over at the Realtor.

The red headed woman nodded, "It's available immediately, as well." She paused, "Is the rate agreeable, Miss. Makuhari?"

"It'll do," she agreed. Nancy looked over the papers as they talked for a few moments, finally signing on the dotted line.

"Good luck with your business," the Realtor shook her hand.

Over the next week or so Nancy divided her time between setting up her office and spending time with Yomiko. She loved the bookish young woman, but Nancy also wanted to be independent. That meant having a job and income, and considering her special skills, Nancy thought this job would be perfect for her.

The workers she hired finished setting up the last day, the sign put up and the glass in the door etched properly. Nancy reached up to gently trace the letters in the glass thoughtfully, "Nancy Makuhari, Private Investigator."

There was a soft knock on the door, and she frowned slightly. Nancy called out, "We're not open for business yet."

"I was hoping I could see you on a... less formal basis," the very familiar voice answered. Nancy blinked, swiftly opening the door to see Joker standing there. "It's good to see you again, Miss Deep," he smiled.

"Come on in," Nancy said to him coolly. She gestured him to sit in the chair she had purchased for customers even as she said, "And I don't use that code-name any longer."

"Not even for Yomiko's sake?" Joker asked even as he sat down. He relaxed, sitting back in the chair as he looked at her calmly.

'Even in someone else's territory, he's completely confident,' Nancy thought. Aloud, she asked, "What about Yomiko?"

"Officially, I cannot employ you for the Great British Library Special Missions Agency," Joker sat forward as he explained, "but I can put you on a retainer as a private citizen." He smiled, "I rather suspect that Yomiko, no," he paused for effect, "the Paper, would be quite willing to work with you once again."

"And Drake Anderson?" Nancy raised her eyebrow.

"He'll live," and Joker actually grinned at that.

Nancy leaned on the corner of her desk, looking thoughtfully at Joker. "I don't want to be in your chain of command," she said, "I'll be an independent operator. And I'll only take missions where I'm partnered with Yomiko. Agreed?"

Joker nodded, obviously having expected those conditions. He stood up, pulling a check from his pocket and handing it over to her. Nancy took a look at it and her eyes widened just slightly. "Your retainer," he smiled, "we'll deposit that amount in your account every two months."

"And my first job is?" Nancy asked curiously.

"Enjoy your vacation," Joker smiled as he walked to the door, adding, "I expect that you'll be busy enough soon enough." With that, he was out the door and gone.

Nancy fanned herself with the cheque for a moment, 'Better go try to deposit this, see if it bounces or not.' A slow smile on her face, 'Then go give Yomiko the good news.' She stepped out of the office and locked up, then descended the stairs with a smile.

The building was not far from Yomiko's own home, an office building in a bit of disrepair. But it had a certain tattered charm, and it was convenient. 'Not to mention the price was right,' Nancy had to admit.

At a school not so far away, Yomiko cheerfully finished off her literature class. The students were actually smiling, having picked up her enthusiasm for the topic. It was clear that she loved her books, and loved anything connected to them.

The principal met her out in the hallway, and the older woman was practically gushing, "Thank you, Miss Readaman."

"You're very welcome," Yomiko shook the beaming woman's hand.

"You were very impressive in there," the principal smiled, "and if we need another substitute, you'll be the first we call."

"Thank you," Yomiko blushed charmingly.

The older woman paused, "I was wondering if you were doing anything after work."

Without really thinking about it Yomiko blurted out, "Actually, I'm going out with my lover." Her eyes widened as she thought, 'Oh, no.'

The older woman only smiled slightly, "You can't blame me for trying. Tell your lover she's a lucky woman."

Yomiko could only gape for a moment, watching the older woman walk away. She looked at her watch, "Oh, I'm going to be late!"

She had to rush a bit, and with a few minutes to spare she reached the bar she and Nancy had discovered recently. The crowds there were pleasant and the staff friendly, both of them finding it almost home like. She waved cheerfully at the bouncer and headed in to Arisugawa's Locket.

Yomiko found a empty table and settled down, nursing her non- alcoholic drink. She reached up to adjust her brown, shoulder length hair, and hoped she didn't have a few bits sticking up near the top of her head. Her glasses were an older type, but seemed to suit her somehow, going with the old fashioned dress she wore.

Nancy nodded to Bones, "Good evening."

Bones the bouncer looked her over thoughtfully, "You carrying today?"

"Yes," Nancy nodded. She smiled, "I'll leave it at the bar with the twins."

Nancy cut through the crowd to the bar and carefully pulled her machine pistol from it's concealed holster. Ryouko grinned at her, "I'll treat it like a baby."

"You'd better," Nancy answered simply.

Nancy scanned the crowd and spotted Yomiko, carefully making her way to her side. A waitress moved to serve Yomiko but stopped when Nancy approached. Yomiko's face lit up happily as she leaped out of her chair and into Nancy's arms.

"Sorry I'm late, Yomiko," Nancy said softly, cradling Yomiko in her arms. The two seemed to fit together, complete only when they were together.

"I'm just glad you made it, Nancy-san," Yomiko said softly. "Happy Valentine's Day," and a small box of chocolates were handed across to Nancy and they both sat down, "Is your detective office ready yet?"

"Just about," Nancy smiled, "with my talents, it seems the idea sort of job." She looked at the box with a little smile, "Thank you."

Keiko approached them with a cheerful smile on her face, "Welcome to Arisugawa's Locket. What can I get you?"

They ordered their food and more to drink, and the waitress hurried away.

"Looks like we might be working together again," Nancy confided.

Yomiko looked at her in surprise, "Really?"

"I had a little visit from Joker," Nancy smiled, and quietly recounted her afternoon visit from Joker. The food arrived, and they divvied up the plates eagerly.

"I'm glad," Yomiko smiled at Nancy. "I've missed having you there, covering my back," she added softly. She smiled wickedly, "Boy, Drake-san's going to be upset."

"As Joker said, he'll live," Nancy smirked. After a few moments she looked up, meeting Yomiko's eyes, "I love you, Yomiko."

"I love you, Nancy," Yomiko smiled, and the two leaned forward to kiss gently.

Author's Notes: Just a little post-aftermath bit. I wanted to set up Nancy with some kind of job after she left the Great British Library Special Missions Agency, and this way I can also do "continuing adventures" of some sort. Why a private eye? With her powers and espionage experience, it's almost perfect.

This story continues from my Valentine's Day episode of Arisugawa's Locket. In the Japanese tradition, girls give boys chocolate. In a lesbian relationship, I assumed the more butch partner gets the chocolate. Therefore, Yomiko gives to Nancy.

The characters from Arisugawa's Locket: Bones, from www.coolcatstudio.com. Ryouko, from Tenchi Muyo, and Keiko from Revolutionary Girl Utena.