This is my first-ever fic, so please be kind! …and the ONLY reason I even started writing it is that I'm desperate for more MT fic, so if you're a fan, please write some! We need more!

Author's note: This story takes place six months after the events in Episode 3. The club setting was inspired by btamamura's "Not Quite As He Seems". :)

Acknowledgement and disclaimer: There are three small but important bits that were taken or modified from the English subtitles of the anime. I own nothing, so please don't sue me!

Shinjuku sighed. Here he was, once again, in his favorite club, but could he relax and enjoy himself? Oh, no—apparently that was asking too much. He was too preoccupied with watching out for drink-spikers, minors, criminals, drug-pushers, perverts, and even the occasional would-be rapist. He loved clubbing after work, and wanted nothing more than to release the tensions that always built up after a long, hard day of flirting and crisis intervention, but he almost invariably found himself putting out fires even when off-duty. He wasn't a workaholic like Tocho—far from it—but he was still a train station, and a station always did what had to be done. It was his purpose in life to protect humans, especially women, and if that meant sacrificing his free time, well, so be it. He selfishly wished that Tocho were there so that he could shift the weight of accountability onto him, but wasn't that what he did on the Miracle Train anyway? Tocho was his leader, but also his rock. Shinjuku needed him and his unwavering sense of duty, leaned on him…perhaps a little too much, he reflected guiltily. It was Tocho's strength that allowed Shinjuku to be his carefree, casual self on the job, and they both knew it. But for all that, Shinjuku could always be counted on to shoulder the burden of leadership when the going got rough. At any rate, thinking about Tocho wasn't going to help him now. It was his territory and therefore his responsibility, even if it was a Friday night…Shinjuku heaved another sigh and made his way through the crowd, keeping a watchful eye out. Suddenly he stopped in his tracks as his gaze penetrated a dark corner of the club.

There, sprawled out on a lounge sofa, wearing too much makeup and too little clothing, was Michi.

He rushed over to her and checked her pulse. "Michi! Michi!" he called into her ear. Slowly she roused—she seemed drunk, not drugged, he noted with relief—and fixed her heavy-lidded eyes on his. "Oh, it's you," she murmured, and then smiled as she rubbed her temple. "What's a nice guy like you doing in a place like this?"

Damn her flippant attitude, cursed Shinjuku inwardly. Where'd she pick it up from, anyway? "Michi," he said firmly, "I want you to tell me everything that happened tonight."

"What? Not much—it's been a pretty disappointing evening," she drawled as she sat up with his help. "I told my parents I'd be spending the night at a friend's house, and I came here instead."

"You shouldn't have lied, Michi."

She shrugged. "Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Hey, you got a cigarette?"

"What? No, I don't, and if I did, do you really think I'd let you have it? Since when did you start smoking?"

"I haven't started yet—that's why I asked, dummy!" she snapped. "This is so frustrating. I've been striking out all night."

"What do you mean, 'striking out'?" he asked, trying desperately to keep his voice even.

"I mean that nothing—nothing—has gone my way tonight. I was supposed to have a good time dancing, partying, trying new things…but the most I can say is that I got in here without a hitch. My friend said if I dressed sexy they'd let me right in, and she was right…but after that it all went downhill. It was still early, so I went to the bar—" here her unsteady arm pointed to the bathrooms "—and I'm no dummy, so I knew to keep an eye on my drink. I was gonna start slow with a beer, just test the waters, but that blue stuff looked so cool…tasted pretty good too….Well, I had a few, then I felt like I had to lie down. So I did. Here I am. What's new with you?"

"Michi," he said slowly and clearly, "I am going to take you to my apartment. You are going to sleep this off, and in the morning I will take you home. I'll spare you the lecture until you're in a better position to hear it. But trust me," he added under his breath, "you will get one. Do you have any questions, Michi?" he said more audibly.

"Yeah! You got a cigarette?"

Shinjuku buried his face in his hands. It was going to be a long night.