I do not own Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro.
Chapter One - Tenderness
The young detective paused as she entered the office, preparing herself for whatever peculiar trap awaited her behind the door, although she knew it would make no difference as, if Neuro had any gifts besides problem solving it was his amazing ability to make her life just the little bit more difficult, and so, as always she came to the decision that the consequences of being late overruled those of walking through a door, even if that door lead to a chaotic demon, and in she went. Like always, she was caught completely off guard, the offence came from her right when Neuro's hand clamped over her head and she was pushed to the ground, her face leaving a deep imprint in the floor tiles.
"You're late." Neuro exclaimed smearing the blondes face into the floor, as if she was a mop, as he grinned stupidly.
"Grk…ehh!?" Yako couldn't help but let out some unintelligible yelps, she was sure she hadn't been late… okay… maybe she'd gotten side tracked a bit, but snacking was a non-negotiable necessity and those ice-creams tasted especially good- definitely worth becoming a cleaning utensil for. Her food orientated daydreaming was easily noticed by the demon, and he quickly grew tiresome, giving her head one more squeeze with his gloved hand before releasing her. He stood and leant his back against the office door, observing her quietly while she checked herself for bruises.
Neuro didn't push the matter but made his way over to his desk, past a wide eyed Godai who was leaning forward in his chair, most likely toying with the idea of phoning an ambulance…"I'm alright.' Yako reassured Godai, who didn't seem convinced.
Neuro got seated and propped his legs up on the desk lazily. "You wouldn't believe how calm everything has been today," He wasn't smiling. "I would've hoped a mystery would show itself by now." He tucked a dark strand of hair behind his ear, not that he needed to, Yako had never seen Neuro's hair get in the way of his work before. Yako was watching Neuro from across the room; he'd taken up a newspaper and was scanning it for any new mysteries that may have arisen, as little as she liked to admit it, Yako often took pleasure in watching her boss; he was so unlike anyone she'd ever met before, even down to the hair on his head.
Neuro's eyes drifted up from the newspaper and met Yako's. "What is it louse?" Yako's face paled a little from being called out and her gaze darted away, she searched for something to distract her. Godai was becoming more agitated as he watched the exchange; whatever was going on between those two was not something he wanted to be in the middle of, before things could get any worse he decided to leave the room and find peace somewhere else- maybe a soda too.
He tentatively got to his feet and tucked his cell phone into his trouser pocket. "I'm... er..." He struggled for an excuse to leave the office but thankfully after only a short pause on his behalf Neuro finished the sentence before he needed to. "Handing out fliers? Well, I'm surprised your pea of a brain can actually be productive!" Godai struggled with the temptation to curse Neuro and muttered to himself as he left.
Neuro went back to his search as usual, leaving Yako with a small mystery of her own. What was she meant to do now?
After lengthy period of thought, and a gaze around the office, she spotted a pile of books on Godai's desk- they were mainly fictional detective stories and as Yako had never seen him even reach for one she figured they wouldn't be missed. Leisurely, she picked one of them and flicked through it. She wondered if Neuro would ever read anything of the sort but quickly dismissed the idea, he'd definitely figure out the case before the end came close. The problem was the office was so unusually quiet. Since she'd first come here something was always going on, only now when everything was calm she realised how much she missed the chaos of this place.
Yako closed her eyes and placed the book down, exhaling slowly. There was a throbbing that surrounded her forehead after Neuro had assaulted her and it hadn't died down. She knew what would fix it- food, delicious, mouth-watering food… surely she wouldn't be missed if she crept out for just a little while, she edged cautiously to the exit.
Just as her hand closed around the door handle she felt two large hands slam against the door on either side of her and jumped helplessly. "Where exactly does my louse think she's going?" Neuro spoke with both a hint of amusement and disapproval in his voice. Yako didn't dare turn around or even move for that matter. "I was… gurgle" She flushed as her stomach groaned, revealing her intentions.
"You should know by now, Louse, not to leave the office without my permission." Neuro gave a one-sided smirk... the kind Yako imagined would belong to someone pulling the legs off a small insect for fun. She squirmed uncomfortably, wanting to duck underneath his arms and escape, but dreading the consequences.
The door opened suddenly… too late.
Godai had returned, Pepsi in hand and out of habit had thrown the door open with a bit too much enthusiasm, knocking the poor detective off her feet. Yako stumbled and fell backwards, smacking into something hard- Neuro.
On any other occasion she would have quickly jumped away but the shock left her still for a moment, enough for her to feel a warm heat radiating from his chest into her back. She snapped her eyes shut, expecting to be struck for her clumsiness… but as she braised herself, no strike came, instead the unfamiliar closeness and warmth of another 'person' began to feel, nice. She didn't remember ever being this near to Neuro before.
She timidly dared a look upwards to his face and was shocked to see an unusual expression there, he almost looked… concerned. As if he sensed her looking, it quickly changed to his 'You're in trouble' Grin. Godai, noticing he'd gotten them in trouble quickly tried to ease Neuro's anger, "Ah, God." He grunted, rubbing his nose. "Hey, it wasn't my fault. I had no idea you'd just stop, right in front of the door. Who does that anyway?"
Without realising the second slave had just walked himself into more trouble, Neuro reached out and grabbed the back of his head along with the base of the Pepsi can, which had remained in Godai's hands, unscathed, and brought them together in one swift motion. The can crumpling on impact with Godai's head and leaving with a large 'O' imprinted on his temple, as well as a rather sticky face.
For the rest of the afternoon Yako blindly followed Neuro's orders, her own thoughts only seemed to dance back over the scene with Neuro… how warm he'd been, she'd never expected that- he was always so cold and sadistic, violent even, but she'd felt protected in his embrace… she shook them off as fast as she could and concentrated on her work, though she did suspect Neuro had since been looking at her much more frequently than usual.
It was only recently that Yako had gotten used to her mother being back, and in all honestly, it was bliss. She missed having someone around, and sometimes she'd even be brought back food when her mum went out… I-am-so-loved. Although, her cooking wasn't so great, but that was fine, Yako had a knack for sniffing out meals. As she got inside, she dumped her bag and hurried upstairs to relax.
Only, as she did so, her foot got aimlessly tangled in the strap and she was thrown face down onto the stairs, which only brought back memories of Neuro. "Uguu...I don't need this." She whined.
Just as she'd figured that life was out to destroy her, something heavy was tossed over her, like a rug. "Ek!", "Oh! I'm sorry Yako." Her mother fumbled to remove her apron from on top of the flailing girl and help her up, not able to stop a small chuckle. "I meant to put it over the banister."
"…It's fine." 'I've had worse' Yako assured hoarsely brushing herself off and rubbing her forehead.
"Your friend Kanae called while you were gone, she wants to know if you'd like to go to the beach on Saturday?" Her mother asked, idly placing the apron where it should have gone.
Yako sighed, ~ perfect ~, she needed a break from Neuro… and headaches. "I'll go tell her yes, now. Thank you." Yako shot her mum a genuine smile and tottered up the rest of the steps.
Yako had made her way to the train station on foot, wearing an old frilled skirt and pullover which she'd easily found in the drawers, as she was never a person who took too long to dress or decide what to wear- she had a particular love of woollen, cosy clothing; the thick, warm material as a sort of safety blanket for her since …
…Her farther had passed away.
Sigh – she needed to relax, this was her time off, well, not officially. Of course the teenager had 'forgotten' to mention her little vacation to Neuro but it was unavoidable, he had become less like a boss to her and more like, well … a Master, overseeing every aspect of her life as if she was a woodlouse, he definitely wouldn't allow her to miss work for a beach trip.
As she convinced herself she was an unwilling victim of Neuro's watchful eye, a large hand settled on her shoulder, giving it a light squeeze, she gave a sudden start and turned around quickly. 'Hello...?'
Her jaw dropped when she saw the familiar blue suit and tall build of the man before her. "Neuro, what are you doing here?" The demon craned over her, throwing his arm around her in a 'hug', at least that's what it looked like to the people around them. In reality, the embracing arm was an affective cover for the manoeuvre of his hand from her shoulder, along her collar bone to wrap around her neck, firmly.
His lips drew closer to her ear as he whispered into it, hot breath dancing along her skin. "What are you doing here, Slave?" His fingers re-adjusted on her throat, to dig his fingernails into the girl's skin. "At-at-at-t-t-t! Hnn." Yako flapped about, trying to get him off of her as a cold flush ran down her spine. So she'd missed one day, yes, but that didn't deserve death by strangulation!
"How did you even find out?" She gripped his arm, trying in vain to pull him away, Neuro's hand worked its way up her neck to cup her chin, turning her face roughly towards his own.
"A little birdie." A dark smile started to form across his face, reaching from one cheek to the next. "If you wanted a swim so badly, I could have disposed of you in a river instead." Yako's eyes scanned his face, she wasn't entirely confident that he was joking, she shivered and pulled her head away.
Yako massaged the back of her neck as she stood in the reception area of a local bed and breakfast, briskly after her encounter with Neuro she'd been dragged off to their train by her head, and now all she could do was be grateful her body stayed together through the process, however painful. On arrival, she'd met up with Kanae, who was surprised but pleased to find Neuro had decided to join them, a feeling Yako couldn't reciprocate.
Along with Kanae came a group of her friends. One, a small, dark haired boy who looked only around six years old approached Yako Coyly and tugged on the base of her skirt. "Hello there." Yako smiled warmly, bending her knees to crouch down to his level, immediately charmed by the boy's cute features. She'd always loved kids… although after becoming a detective children had started calling out 'Piggish detective' whenever she passed by, as innocently as any child would.
"You look stupid." The boy said, pushing a pair of glasses further up his nose. Did I say charmed? Yako's smile froze as she took in the embarrassment, at least you could give it to the kid for being assured. Besides her, Neuro let out a small chuckle and flashed the child a congratulating grin. Yako inwardly cursed him, he could never be nice.
Kanae ruffled the young boy's hair, biting back a laugh herself. "Don't be mean." She scolded him. "Sorry Yako, this is my cousin. He's going to come to the beach with us, you don't mind do you?" She didn't, she had enough problems with her 'friendly' demon tagging along to really care about being bullied by six year olds.
One of the group approached Yako and took her hand in both of his, he was tall with an angular nose and a full head of ginger hair. "It's a pleasure to meet you, I'm Jiro" He shook her hand fervently with clammy hands, mentioning that he and his brother had both decided to come along, although Kaori, the brother, would be late. Honoka, the last woman in the group was a friend of Kanae's. Yako had met her before on occasion and she was generally a shy, modest girl with the addition of almost being as clumsy as the little detective herself, the younger boy was her little brother Akio.
Yako adored the beach, the warm air that would blow through her hair, who knew wind could be warm? She had been forced into wearing beach appropriate clothes by Kanae, a pair of shorts, sleeveless top and a sun hat, and though the sand heated the souls of her feet it still felt wonderful, everything did; a beaming smile stuck on Yako's face as for a moment she forgot all about her slave hood to Neuro and all the trouble he caused her.
Underneath her clothing, she'd already pulled on her usual, plain blue swimsuit, it wasn't the best looking thing in the world, but it functioned, and Yako had never really cared that much for appearance, she was more eager to get into the water. However, as Yako stepped out of her clothing, and lay them in a neat pile on her beach towel, she was pulled back by Kanae before she could dart off into the sea. "…There is no way I'm letting you wear that old thing."
"Heh?" The blonde squeaked, bemused, as a small pink package was handed- or rather thrust to her, she let the material unravel from her fingers and held up the bikini in front of her face – quickly handing it back as soon as she realized what it was. "I can't wear that."
Her friend took the bikini and herded Yako back up the beach. "Well you aren't wearing that either, it's about time you showed people your curves." -What curves? Reluctantly Yako took the clothing and wandered back to change, exchanging her nice, comfortable, safe, not completely humiliating blue swimsuit for the two-piece.
"See, that looks so much better on you." Kanae approached Yako as she slunk out onto the sand, towel held firmly covering her chest as it if were a life ring, it couldn't be said that she agreed – she looked completely flat, but at least the ruffles that lined the top gave her the illusion of a bust. Yako nodded and gave Kanae a strained smile, she appreciated her friend wanted to help, but this was a bit- embarrassing, not that she was a stranger to embarrassing although it had never involved her showing skin. She unfolded the towel and wrapped it around her like a safety blanket, hurrying to get into the water where she could no longer be seen.
Honoka and Akio were already in the water… well Akio was, trying to wrestle his sister into the water and Yako figured they were best left alone, for her own safe-being as well, which reminded her- Neuro was nowhere to be seen, she assumed he'd skipped the beach and gone to search for new mysteries, well hoped, but as long as he wasn't here, she needn't worry about him.
Further down the beach there were less bystanders and Yako felt comfortable enough to drop her towel by a nearby rock and wade her way into the sea, although the water was cold and shocked her bare back she endured, it was better than running back out in her bikini, cold and soaking wet, and so she submerged herself in the small waves, with only her head poking up over the water.
She glanced back over to Honoka and Akio, hoping the boy hadn't drowned anyone in the meantime, Jiro had joined them and was laughing meekly as Akio pretended to be a shark – the jaws version of – swimming up underneath Honoka and jumping out, scaring her half to death. Yako chuckled watching them, it was sweet to see them all getting alo-
Before she could finish her thought, something snagged her leg and she was pulled under the water. "Umpf!" Her squeals were muffled by the sea, and she couldn't help but swallow some of the nasty salt-water.
Yako struggled against the hold, but her kicking did nothing but make her look like a salmon in a fishnet- her body was wrenched up and suspended upside down in front of the demon. "Neur- uuf" His gloved hand covered her mouth as she tried to catch her breath and she hastily tried flailing her limbs in his direction to get him to loosen up. As luck would have it- or wouldn't, he did loosen his hold on her, all at once and she fell smack into the sea. "Ow…ue"
As soon as she recovered, which took a moment or two being that she'd been drowned suffocated and hung, she spun around and glared at him. "What was that for? I swear I do nothing to you and you always have to ruin my… what are you wearing?" her eyes cast down over Neuro's bare – muscled – chest, and she quickly averted her gaze.
"You don't like it?" His grin grew wider. "I couldn't get my suit wet now could I?" He leaned closer to her, his eyes sparkling.
Yako moved her averted eyes to meet his green ones, still avoiding the – area. "I don't feel any way about it, it's just unusual to see you out of your usual clothes." Without meaning to, a nervous blush rose in her cheeks. Neuro took Yako's chin in his fingers and tilted her face upwards; Yako caught her breath for a moment. Was he going to kiss her? – or worse, peck at her face.
"What were you doing just now?" He asked suspiciously.
"What are you talking about?" Yako asked and relieved that her face would be intact- wondering silently why the thought of him kissing her had even crossed her mind, this was, after all, Neuro.
"You were crouching down in the water; but why?" He raised his eyebrow at her in question.
Yako sucked in her cheeks, pondering how she'd make him understand her feelings of embarrassment at all, especially since he was flouncing about without a shirt on. "Well, I…" She glanced down to her bikini and proceeded to tell him the reason.
As she reached the end, she was interrupted by some low laughter, she looked up to find Neuro in hysterics. "What's so funny?" She asked, suspicious he was teasing her.
"Louse, if that's all your worried about, don't bother yourself with it," He reached over and placed his hand on top of her head, messing her hair about. "Not even a human man would look at you in that way." Yako huffed and pushed his hand away, paddling her way out of the water- once again, he'd ruined her good mood.
As Yako returned from the restroom, and an upset stomach from the countless ice-creams, chips and other treats she'd been cramming in her mouth after discovering the beach was a great place to cultivate a meal at the expense of her now empty of cash purse, she spotted a man leant up against the door of her hotel room, looking lost in thought. "Erm hello?
He looked up for a second and smiled, creasing small lines in the corners of his eyes. "I know you… you're the piggish detective." Piggish detective- Yako gave a half-hearted chuckle and scratched the back of her neck self-consciously; not piggish exactly, she just enjoyed a small meal now and then, at least, according to her. "Why are you here?"
"Well actually… I'm trying to get in my room."
The man searched her face for a moment before realising that was her way of saying 'move' and quickly stepped to the side, allowing for the little detective to fumble with the door card till a familiar beep and green light signified the door was unlocked. The man, who was still standing by, opened the door for her, holding it wide as he spoke. "So, I'm Kaori…" Kaori- where had she heard that before… "Staying here with my brother Jiro and a couple others."
"Jiro?" She paused and turned back, stopping the door with her foot. "You're his brother? That means we'll be seeing more of each other, I'm here with Jiro and the rest, too." Her eyes scanned his face again, noting that he looked nothing like Jiro, it was hard to believe they were even related, Kaori had dark features, dark hair and quite a handsome face, she supposed.
He raised his eyebrows ever so slightly, and let out a small 'Mm' which translated to 'Is that so?', "I'll be looking forward to our time together then." Kaori pushed away from the wall and checked his watch, it seemed he was going to leave. "See you soon." He said as he turned away.
"Oh- sure, see you." She answered, waiting a moment before going into her room and letting the door close behind her.
"Who was that?" Inquired a familiar, deep voice from behind her, she spun around to see Neuro, who looked like he had no shame in listening to her and Kaori's conversation.
"Jiro's brother, he's just arrived." Neuro scanned her, seemingly content with her answer and turned back into the bathroom- what he was doing in there Yako wasn't sure, but she could only hope he wouldn't burn a hole in the toilet.
That night Yako couldn't sleep. The bed seemed too warm, and her legs were tangled in the covers, she'd been lying there for at least an hour now with no sign of drifting off- and she felt sweaty; becoming irritant she eventually gave in and rolled out of bed to take a mid-night shower. She slipped out of her pajamas and dropped them on the floor by the bath, stepping into it and pulling the shower curtains closed behind her.
As the luke-warm water cascaded over her shoulders to the small of her back, she let her head fall back and the stream to wash down her neck with a sigh of content. She could hear some movement in the next room, and hoped she hadn't woken Neuro… she really wasn't sure if he was a morning, or 'night', person but didn't fancy finding out.
A rustle was heard behind her, but she chose to ignore it – she'd probably just nudged the shower curtain.
While she showered, she was completely un-aware of the curtain, twisting around itself and moving to wrap around her leg…"Eeep!?" Helplessly, she jumped as it tugged on her limb gently, looking down and spotting the plastic material moving upwards, she grabbed it, forcefully trying to push it back down to no avail.
"N-neuro!" She screeched.
"Yes Louse?" The curtain was jerked aside by the demon, who had found himself in the bathroom in lightning speed… but this only caused Yako to screech again and grab the material back, wrapping it around her naked body, the plastic flapped and fitted itself around her snugly as if it were alive.
"Turn around." She exclaimed, but Neuro made no move to do as she ask, her memory fleeted back to where he'd insulted her on the beach- 'Not even a human man would look at you in that way.' Her voice hitched, and she couldn't tell if she was relieved or not that he considered her so unattractive. "What did you do to this curtain?" As she spoke, the shower curtain, rubbed against her leg as a cat might, and rustled- happily?
"Well- it seems to like you." He crouched down, reaching his hand out to the curtain and stroking it gently. "Fascinating."
"You think? It's a living curtain!" Pulling it tighter around her she stepped back, away from Neuro's outstretched hand.
"Oh, mm – I didn't mean that, don't be absurd. I mean it's fascinating anything could take a liking to you." If he'd have looked up at her then he wouldn't have missed the death-stare she shot his way after that statement "I must have left one of my clips in here, my mistake." He extended his arm to the upper left corner of the curtain and removed the triangular hair clip which had been there- strange how he knew exactly where he'd left it 'accidentally'.
The plastic slid down Yako's leg as it started to unravel, lifeless, and she felt a bit guilty to see it go- to be honest, it wasn't as bad as having Neuro in the bathroom with her, while she was naked. "You can go now." She uttered coldly, as he stood without budging.
"My pleasure." He grinned, pushing himself back to his feet and moving toward the exit, as his hand settled around the door handle, he lingered with his back still turned. "When you hold a transparent shower curtain so tightly around you, it doesn't hide you very well…" Yako looked down after he said this, her breasts were pulled close to the fabric, and he was right, the cloudy drapery was relatively see-through there, and you could clearly see her nipples on the other side, she quickly covered her chest with her arm, a deep blush covering her face. "And, now that I've seen everything, I remain with my previous verdict, no man would be interested in you." And he left.
The young detective hardly felt like facing Neuro the next morning, she'd eventually passed out in her bed and thankfully for her, Neuro had been so kind as to sleep stood up at the other side of the room, instead of directly above her. So far she'd spent the afternoon there with Jiro in his room and Akio, who'd also tottered upstairs with them to play on Jiro's PC, successfully avoiding her boss. Honoka, had followed her little brother upstairs but was now in the doorway of the hotel room, speaking with the janitor.
"… good." Jiro answered slowly to something Yako had said, not knowing what that had been exactly, he was clearly distracted, gazing at Honoka without rest. Yako followed his line of vision, he was looking at the girl like Yako looked at her favourite thing- food, and she gave a knowing nod.
"You like Honoka." She whispered.
Jiro's attention turned to her and he stammered, "I-I don't." and then a pause, "Is it that obvious?"
They were interrupted by Kaori knocking on the open door to announce himself in the doorway of Jiro's bedroom, stood with open shirt and shorts on, a grin on his face. "Kanae and I decided we may as well all go out while we're here." Akio frowned, preferring to continue his game.
Yako waited for Jiro to continue but it was clear he wouldn't say anymore with his brother here. "Yako, it's nice to see you again, fancy dinner with us, you can bring your friend, Neuro?" Friend… not if she had any choice, perhaps she'd 'forget' to mention this to him.
"I don't think he'll be coming… he's busy with, something." She lied, anything to not have to face him today- she knew she'd have to one day, and possibly it would be worse the longer she waited, but still… having him talk to her while she knew he'd seen- no.
"Well, fair enough." Kaori made his way inside to the side of where Yako was sitting, offering a hand to her. "Want to catch a ride with me?"
Before Yako could gratefully accept his offer, Neuro appeared in the doorway. "Myself and Sensei would be happy to meet you there, we'll set off immediately, isn't that right?" His smile put the fear of death in the detective and she reluctantly nodded.