Happy Nine-Year Anniversary, first Lupin fanfic I did! Not quite ten, but who wants to wait THAT long? Anyway, yes… It's… Been a while. And.
I originally started this story in handling with a relative I was taking care of who was invalid. It was hard, and my stories were an escape from that. I got to make people happy with them. It's no coincidence that when that relative passed away in 2008, I couldn't find the inspiration to begin again. I also lost my job about this time. It was a hard time for me. But, if nothing else, people deserve some knowledge of what the gang's been up to in the past four years. So here it is, time skip and all, what happened. I can't say how much more I'll write for Lupin, but I wanted to write this. I needed to write this.
In the time that many of you saw me, a lot's happened. I've never quit writing, although I mainly do it in different series, now. I'm an admin on an anime forum. I graduated college, got a job, and my brother got married. But I never was far from these stories, characters, or the friends I made while doing this.
Now, if it's all right with you, I'd like to do this as a little bit of a reboot. It's not totally different, but it takes four years after the last chapter. All of the characters are a little bit older. That's okay, though; I am, too.
Thank you for staying with me, all of these years. And to those who are just reading me for the first time: thanks. Thanks so much.
The story, so far:
Fuji Lupin wasn't the first choice to carry on the Lupin name. She didn't particularly ever show interest in it. But when her twin, Ari, who was set to lead on the Lupin legacy, murders a man and suffers a mental breakdown over it, and ends up going AWOL, she takes over the name and gang. She is joined by three of the Jigen siblings: Yukiko, the sharpshooting and grumpy gunwoman of the group, Ryo, the cool and calm getaway driver, and Ally, the short-tempered, hockey-loving, hand-to-hand combat specialist, as well as three of the Ishikawa siblings: Toshiro (Goemon XIV), the tall, dual sword-wielding performer, Heiji, the laid-back tech specialist, and Odori, the overly-serious carrier of Zantetsuken.
Ari finds his own way in the world, easing his guilt by going to work for INTERPOL. He's joined by Max Zenigata, the son of the original Inspector Zenigata and an ex-Israeli military agent. Max is angry that at ever turn he seems to be pulling closer to the life he never wanted, and that is by becoming an agent, like his father. Ari becomes Leo, a translation and interpretation expert, as well as an expert in hiding his true identity. When it finally comes to light who he really is, Max remains at his side, eventually falling for Leo in the process. Through Leo, Max learns to accept himself. The two adopt Dako, an orphan, as well as raise three other children, including the twins Faye and Jared, and Avery, the youngest, who is also totally deaf.
Yukiko and Toshiro, after a tumultuous relationship, marry and have two children, Saiyuri, and the next in the Goemon line. Odori has a child by the distant ancestor of Miyamoto Musashi, and while this relationship does not pan out, she instead finds a fulfilling relationship with one of Fuji's half-siblings, Jordan Lupin, a Hawaiian-born boxer. Ryo, previously engaged to Ari, strikes up a friendship and then a romance with Ari's cousin, Victor Lupin, a cold but ultimately misunderstood thief. Heiji, after much goading and attempts, manages to win Fuji's heart, and manages to fill in as stepfather to her daughter, Namiko, the daughter she had with Mamoru Pycal. Ally Jigen finds love with Carmen di Cagliostro, the daughter of Clarisse of Cagliostro, and has a son with her, but just as quickly loses this, with Carmen unable to handle his thief lifestyle.
This leads to Ally's defecting from Fuji's group, and going back to the Chinese mob organization his mother was a member of. The rest of the gang tries to find him, but without much luck. After giving up, the gang splits up in their own direction, and focus on other aspects of their lives; namely, their families. But now they're being pulled back into a lifestyle they'd thought they'd left years ago.
"You got it?"
"All of it?"
"Yeah! Let's just hurry!"
"You got it… Lupin," this was given with a cackle in the darkness as a lackey lifted up a heavy crate.
The crate was passed to a second lackey, and then to a third. He passed it off to a fourth, and this person grinned, tipped his hat, and headed out to the delivery truck.
Lupin, meanwhile, paced, moving down the line from his first lackey, to his second, passing the other museum displays along the way, but barely giving a glance to the other paintings, the displays, or the giant mammoth skeleton propped up. This stood in the center of the museum, but, large as it was, it went ignored in comparison to the treasure they'd come to collect. Spanish coins. Hundreds of them. Even if they couldn't be sold as they were, they could still be melted down and sold at a hefty price.
The banging from the closet at the back of the large room, and he chuckled.
"San Francisco's finest that can't carry anything more deadly than a flashlight," Lupin giggled, his laugh high-pitched and distorted. He stopped at the third lackey, who, like the others, was dressed in a guard's uniform. He was stout and short; a poor fit for the uniform, but the buttons, against the will of physics themselves, seemingly, managed to hold the brown shirt together.
"…You move pretty fast, don't you? And I was worried," he chuckled. This lackey frowned with confusion, but quietly accepted the pat on the shoulder.
Another crate of coins came down the line, and this third lackey took it, and began to walk in the direction of where he had met his partner. Lupin walked with him, this time, pleased at the process.
Lupin was just as surprised to see the fourth lackey as the tall man dressed in the brown guard's uniform was. He looked up from beneath the brown baseball cap, and gave a gulp, but stood his ground.
"Who in the hell are you?" Lupin immediately scrambled to grab his gun from the holster in the back. He was met with a barrel to the base of his neck. And as the portly lackey decided to make a run for it, loyalty to his boss be damned, he was met with Lupin. The true Lupin. Lupin the Fourth.
"Out of all of the disguises I've seen… You're probably the forth-best," Fuji nodded with approval to "Lupin", only then noticing the short thief's face had fallen into her chest. He didn't seem too eager to remove it. She gently pulled up the cap, met his eyes, and smiled. And the next thing he felt was a size-seven heel make contact with the area in-between his legs.
He would never be responsible for the birth of any great doctors or politicians. As he laid there, curled up in pain, Fuji sauntered over to the thief, and gave him a once-over.
"Hrm. No mask, but plastic surgery scarring. You really are dedicated! Or you're one of Daddy's weirder fans!" Fuji chirped. The faux Lupin went to run, but the gunwoman in white only buried the barrel of her gun deeper into the base of his neck. "Good try, seriously! A for effort, and I'd give you a round of applause, but I just got a manicure, and, well, why risk it, right?"
"You want to hurry up?" Yukiko snarled.
Fuji balked, and threw up her hands and huffed, "I remember when you believed in playful banter, Yuki-chan!... Let me guess… Babies keeping you up? Or Toshiro-chan?"
"The babies," Toshiro muttered exhaustedly, removing his cap briefly and brushing back his hair, then replacing it on his head once more.
"Ohoho! I see!" Fuji giggled, and looked to Lupin. She patted him on the face playfully and grinned. "Do yourself a favor, please, Mr. Imposter? Get a job as an impersonator for parties. We really don't like generic knockoffs, in the Lupin family. So we'll take our royalties, this time, but we just might have to get a restraining order, next time."
"And by restraining order, she means they won't find your body," Yukiko added.
"You're really bad at this," Fuji shook her head.
"I'm tired!" Yukiko growled. "And those other two bastards he came with are gonna get suspicious!"
A gunshot firing and ricocheting off of a bronze pot on display allowed them to know that indeed they'd gotten suspicious. Fuji gave a laugh and rushed to the escape door, while Yukiko shot back, not hitting the two overhead lamps above them. These fell in front of them, blocking their exits.
"I'm proud of you!" Toshiro shouted as Yukiko hurried out behind Fuji.
"Yeah? Why?" Yukiko hopped into the Lotus Evora's passenger seat. Toshiro followed her out, and into the back seat, finding the room with the crates sparse, at best.
"Because a few years ago you probably would've shot them dead!"
The sound of gunshots rang out in the alleyway as the fake Lupin and his two remaining cohorts shot at them, and Yukiko rolled down the window, and leaned her body out.
"I might, yet, so don't get your hopes up!" she called out, firing out her own shot.
Fuji made a hard turn out of the alley, laughing all the way. Yukiko gave a yell as she nearly slipped out of the window, and delivered a warning kick to Fuji's shoulder.
"Who's up for burgers?" Fuji exclaimed, peeling out of the parking lot.
The sirens were a distant sound in the parking lot of the restaurant. One license plate change later, the three sat there, alone in the otherwise nearly-desolate parking lot. Fuji was seated on the hood of the car, eating a burger, focused on the burger-shaped, brightly-lit sign shining down on them, a brightly-lit beacon in the darkened neighborhood. The only other cars belonged to two employees, who stared back at them through the glass, still unbelieving. Yukiko, leaned against the car and sipping a soda, peered out from beneath her fedora to them, and they immediately busied themselves with cleaning out the fryer for the night.
The only other people in the parking lot were a group of teenaged boys. They sat on the curb, occasionally looking over to the group, but focusing more of the expensive car than the people who were gathered around it.
Toshiro climbed out and pulled the collar of his robe to adjust it. He tossed the brown outfit back into the passenger seat, and picked up his bag of food.
Fuji snapped out of her meditation, and looked to the boys, "Say, none of your know how to drive stick shift, do you?"
"…Kinda…" one looked up from his milkshake, puzzled as to why he was even being called, in the first place.
Fuji held up an opened hand. She closed it once, and then opened it again, revealing the key. "How about I trade you those skateboards?"
"You… You serious?" he choked.
"As serious as her," she nodded to the deadpan Yukiko. Toshiro gave a roll of the eyes and began to unload the crates.
In the end, the samurai ate his chicken sandwich as he loaded up the bullion in the manager's car. Fuji had gone inside and bought this, along with a bag full of apple pies. These are the skateboards were loaded into the trunk, and Fuji calmly drove out of the parking lot, whistling to herself. Yukiko's look was one of contempt, and she shook her head.
"You probably spent just as much as these are worth on this heist," Yukiko finally broke the silence, her chin leaning on her hand as she watched the houses pass them.
"You'll still get your cut, Yuki-chan!"
"It feels like a waste!" Yukiko snapped.
"Not for nothin', but I kinda liked getting out again…" Toshiro admitted. "It's been a while and all…. Still wonderin' what made you decide to do somethin' after all of these years."
"….The hell are you planning, exactly?" Yukiko glanced to Fuji. Lupin's smile only grew, and she laid her foot down on the gas after pausing at a stop sign.
"…Do I want to know?" Heiji awoke and walked downstairs to several crates atop skateboards. Fuji looked up from her newspaper in the living room, and she gave an innocent smile and giggle, and returned to the newspaper. "We… We still get a newspaper?"
"This one we did~" Fuji replied cheerfully, holding up the paper to reveal the headline. Bogus Lupin III Unmasked: Lupin IV Makes Grand Reappearance. Heiji gave a groan and slapped his forehead.
"I thought you were cutting down on this stuff, Fuji…" he took a seat next to the thief on the living room couch, and Fuji curled up against him.
"I know, but it'd been a few years—"
"Yeah, after you went looking for Ally and nearly got everyone killed."
"…For what it's worth, there was a poll on one of your nerdy sites that had me listed as the third best way to die. The second best way involved me, too, but I can't say the specifics that in case of Hikari waking up."
Heiji gave a shake of the head and looked over the grainy front-page photos, "Wait… That's… Not my brother, is it?"
"…I want to answer that but I don't know how to without breaking our rule about me lying…."
"You got Toshiro involved, too?"
"Just a little! I needed someone to lift heavy things! I can't for too long! I'll get man-arms! And then I'd look wrong in all of my sleeveless dresses and then we'd have to buy me a new wardrobe all over again… And that's taxing enough to do once a month…"
"…Everyone's so cranky…. And here I thought everyone would've been happy with getting the gang back together!"
"…We decided we couldn't because it was too hard without Ally."
"Well. What if I told you I found Ally?"
"You… You what?"
"Come on!" she hopped off of the couch and bounded to the bullion. "Let's go skateboarding for a little while!"
The stage was set and the audience was packed. In the third row back were two small children, and in-between them sat their mother, looking more anxious than either of the tiny children during the kabuki performance. Relief was mild as Toshiro entered, and the tiny boy, two, giggled as his father rolled out and landed on the ground, then followed this with an exaggerated, rolling motion of the head. Even from beneath the heavy makeup, it was clearly still Toshiro. His winked to his children and Yukiko and then hopped back, and began to shout out his lines, along with the other actors. He was the hero, here. The red makeup signified this as such. This irony wasn't lost on Yukiko.
Both their son and daughter leaned forward as their father began the complex swordfight on the stage. Other actors jumped down, rose up from traps on the floor, burst out from rice-paper windows on the set, and Toshiro battled them all. He was actually slower than normal, in this fight. Maybe he was trying to do this for the benefit of his fellow actors, Yukiko thought, or maybe he just wasn't used to battling with one sword.
Toshiro, or, his character, was stabbed.
And it was at that moment when their son gave a shriek and hopped up onto his seat.
"Daddy! NO!" he wailed. Yukiko immediately paled and lifted the boy onto her lap. She nodded to her daughter, and they rushed out of the audience, and out of the theater, and into the hall.
He didn't stop wailing, not until his father rushed out of the performance, minus the wig, but still wearing the rest of his costume, otherwise. Toshiro knelt down in front of the boy, "H-Hey, I'm okay! I'm alive! We were just playing again, is all! You know that!"
"Mama said you'd die!" he sniffed. Their daughter's eyes flew open in cold shock, and Yukiko stuttered a response quickly.
"I-I meant something else!" Yukiko answered. "Not that-You both know that that ain't real, up there, he's playing. Just like when we do at home, or when Namiko's over to play…"
It took a trip to the ice cream shop for this to be fully dropped, and Yukiko couldn't help but notice the newspapers on the way to the shop. Before children, she'd taken just as much pride as Fuji in how many photos she appeared in. Now, though… The grainy photo of her was poor, at best, and she looked nearly unrecognizable without her fedora, but that was only one instance. If there was another time… If they'd gotten a clearer photo…
"You get them both to bed?" they'd finally walked back to the New York City apartment, and the two children, exhausted from the lengthy performance, as well as the trauma of seeing their father "killed" onstage, had almost immediately fallen asleep.
Yukiko laid out on the couch and nodded, while Toshiro remained in a chair with his legs crossed, back in jeans and a white shirt, his hair done back in a short ponytail. Anything to look less like Toshiro Ishikawa the thief, and more like Tommy Ishihara, the actor.
She reached back and felt around, and sighed, pulling her fedora up from the floor and placing it over her eyes, "That's better… Don't feel right, otherwise…"
"What the hell was that about me dying, now? You planning on something I should know about?"
"Please. You chased me enough, already… I'd kill you and you'd haunt me."
"Damn right. I'd move your furniture every night," Toshiro gave a wry laugh.
"….I got scared for the first time."
"What? Over that heist?"
"Yeah…. It ain't just about us."
"…You're afraid something's going to happen to us if we keep going?"
"…But I liked it, is the thing. The money's good. It's better than freelance hits. That business is bad, anyhow… It's a recession; people are killing who they want by themselves. They're doin' a crap job at it, but they're doin' it. I can't make as decent a living as I used to. We made more last night than I'd made in seven months. Seven months."
"We are who we are… We can do it with the kids."
"What? Drag them all around?"
"You liked it."
"I did, but… I didn't like the worrying about my dad. I don't want that to be our kids. I don't want them to know how to fire a magnum before they learn how to ride a bike."
"Magnum would break their shoulder, anyway…."
"…You think Fuji's gonna ask for us to get together again?"
"She's planning something…." she muttered, and tipped up the brim of her fedora and looked to her husband. "I just wish I knew what."
He sighed and reached for the remote, and turned on the television.
He promptly dropped the remote as he was greeted with the breaking news story.
"Where's my purse?"
"Hey, can someone give me a little money for lunch?"
"Avery doesn't know how to turn on the closed captions on the TV."
"If I help you find it can I have the money in it?"
Leo's shoulders fell, and he sheepishly, fearfully, made the decision to leave the comfort of his office and see what was going on with the four children. Scratch that, he thought as he heard the front door open—Four children and a man-child.
Avery had his head turned on the couch and was signing to him as he walked out of the first-floor room, an add-on to the French home. Dako was tearing apart the living room looking for her purse, while Faye sat on the couch, swinging her feet and humming. He didn't see Jared at first, but noting the sudden silence, he reached behind and grabbed onto his son's hand, which was dangling inches from the pocket his father kept his wallet in.
"Don't try to steal from a thief," Leo released his grip, and pulled out his wallet on his own accord, "How much do you need?"
"….That's in Greek currency, right?"
"Date," Jared chuckled and shrugged. Leo groaned, reached in, and pulled out a few bills.
"Give him forty. If it's a first date she doesn't need dessert, yet," Max called out, walking over to the duo. "Only on the third date or onward."
"But what if I want it to go like a third date?" Jared smirked. Max gave a deadpan stare.
"….I dare you to make me a grandfather before forty," Max muttered.
"So that would make great-grandma Zenigata a great-great-grandma Zenigata?" Faye asked.
"Never use that many greats when talking about grandma Zenigata. She gets two greats, tops," Faye answered.
"Don't be rude," Leo huffed.
"…She refuses to acknowledge you as anything but the kids' nanny," Max sighed. "Why are you defending blood relatives I don't even like? Isn't this something we're supposed to bond over?"
"How was work?" Leo rolled his eyes and shoved his wallet back in his pocket.
"Soul-crushing!" Max replied cheerfully. "So what's for dinner?"
"It's not that bad…"
"I've been chained to a desk for three years. Three. Long. Years."
"But we have a good agency."
"That's mainly run on a computer. And your bitch sister is rich off of the fact that I'm using a computer most of the time."
"Actually that'd be your uncle who invented it."
"…God our family's messed up…" Dako grumbled, rushing into Leo's study.
"H-Hey! I've got paperwork in there!"
"You have paperwork everywhere! Here it is!"
There was the sound of wood creaking and groaning, and the bookshelf gave way. When Leo and Max looked in, they found the teenaged girl, her arms up in the air to show innocence, purse in one hand, and a collapsed shelf and downed books surrounding her.
"I… Should go…" she muttered, stepping over the shelf and wriggling past her adopted fathers.
"Good idea," Max muttered, and patted Leo on the shoulder. "…You wanted new furniture, anyhow, for here, right?"
"Come on, I'll help you clean up," Max gave a sigh, and began to pick up armfuls of books.
"…Work really that bad?"
"I always thought I'd like working at something where I was the boss, and I hate it."
"Poor Zenigata-Lupin, still looking for your place in the world."
"I had it," Max sighed, and lifted another pile on the desk. Leo's eyes fell to the smaller pile of books in his arms, and he cleared his throat.
"You know what? We should go out to dinner, tonight. It's been a while! It'd be nice to not have you worrying about dinner for once, eh?"
"HEY!" Avery's voice, muffled sounding, immediately drew both of their attention. The boy didn't like to talk much, and when he did, he was able to get the interest of all of those around him. Leo and Max walked out, and found the four children surrounding the TV, and watching the breaking news story. The closed captions only cemented that it was really happening.
"…I think I need to make a phone call," Leo muttered.