Hello again, mah Peeps! Gaia, I have really been distracted! My muse was kidnapped by other fandoms for a long, long, long while. But I was able to get her back and keep going! Thank you all for your patience and kind reviews!

In response to a couple reviews for Chapter 3 -

Yep, I know the ending monologue is ridiculously long, but I couldn't close the chapter any other way. I also think that was what burned me out for a while.

Also, for everyone hoping for a meeting between Neuro and Alucard, I'm sorry to say it will not occur. I'm following the manga timelines, and according to the Hellsing manga, Alucard did not reappear until 2030—following the timeline for the MTNN manga, Neuro came back to Earth in either 2009 or 2010. I think…?

All the same, the plot should start picking up from here. I'm so excited for all the stuff I have planned! I hope you all love it! I again apologize profusely for being SOOOOOOOO LAAAAAAAATTEEEEEE!

I've been working really hard to get this posted, and while it is a rather short chapter, I hope everyone enjoys it.

Thank you all again for so much patience and consideration for my writing!

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A TOKEN OF AFFECTION

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04 -

"Arrival" [Onset]

"Yako. Is there something you would like me to give you?"

It had been too quiet in the office the past several days. Not that Yako didn't enjoy silence every now and again, especially if Neuro was taking a break from his constant demands of marriage. But the sudden inquiry from the Demon was startling, both from the abruptness of it as well as the oddity of the question itself. There was no reason for Neuro of all people to ask anything of anyone, and he had certainly never asked if Yako required anything beyond what was needed for the office.

"Sure, plenty of things," Yako offered a shrug in reply as she finished off her carton of icecream. "Why?"

His back against the ceiling as he played with one of his Evil Friday, the Demon seemed to be taking a rare break in his constant reading. "It has come to my attention that, given how you have improved during my absence, that it would not be unreasonable to grant you a reward of some sort."

The woman blinked, uncertain if this was a good or bad thing.

A reward? From Nougami Neuro? What reward of his did not involve terror, pain and the occasional bath afterwards?

"You want to give me a present? A reward for my hard work? For real?"

"It is not an uncommon occurrence for you to receive gifts of some kind or other," the Demon said, recalling the number of letters, packages of food and various other oddities that came regularly and all addressed to his Human. It seemed Yako was popular enough and knew the right people that she didn't have much concern for paying for snacks anymore, though there was the intermittent delivery that she set aside or tossed in the trash entirely. At least she wasn't at total risk of getting poisoned or blown up. "Surely a gracious gift from one such as myself is not wholly outside your comprehension?"

Her eyes narrowed suspiciously as she finally looked up to the Demon man plastered to the ceiling, chewing thoughtfully on her spoon. "There has to be a catch."

"Of course there's a catch, slug," Neuro grinned from up above her, finally looking away from his Demon Tool to meet her eyes. "Life is a catch. So catch it while you can."

Yako wondered what could have brought this on all of a sudden. There was the chance that the Demon was still sore about the trick she played on him with Integra over a week ago. He had not made any particular point of revenge for that slight, as often as he had teased and tortured since then, so she had been anticipating a comeback from him.

Unless his nightly visits were his payback for Yako's tricking him.

She was not ignorant of her surroundings. She was aware that Neuro had been sneaking into her bed late at night —both at the office and at home. She had been disturbed to wake up and find the Demon pressed against the wall closest to her bed, and done her best to keep him unaware of her night after night. He could already do enough damage while she was awake, and the measure of what he could do while she was asleep had not been a point of concern since she had first met the Demon. Back then, he had displayed absolutely no interest in her physically and often made a point of mocking the fact that such a notion was ridiculous, so her concerns for her virtue vanished within a matter of weeks.

Now, when he was still adamantly insisting that she marry him, her worries had returned anew. What was he willing to do to get her to marry him? How far would he push his abuse to force her submission? But thus far, he had done nothing but share her sleeping space. He didn't even pushed her out of bed until early morning, when he felt like starting the day before sunrise.

Yako soon decided it was 'just one of those Neuro things', and even though she still woke up every night to find him lying close by, she dismissed it as best she could. It didn't necessarily mean she was sleeping well, but she couldn't say she was sleeping badly.

"Mind you, this will not occur often," Neuro went on, tossing the Demonic insect back and forth disinterestedly. "All the same, I will grant you one request. No matter how simple, no matter how complex. If it is within my power to give, I will do so."

"Free of poison, pain, torture and anything along those lines?" She asked. "Anything I want?"

"Keep in mind, if I don't like it—though I will keep my word—that I am obliged to retaliate afterwards," Neuro offered a bright and perky smile that promised pain. Yako could almost see flowers and sparkles. "So tell me. What do you want?"

If Katsuragi Yako had been asked such a thing when she was 16, she would have at one time made the wish for the Hell-spawn to leave her in peace. Another time, she would have asked that he stop manhandling her, or poisoning her food, or giving cooking tips to her mother.

Now, on the verge of turning 20, with the rather twisted object of her surely misguided affections hanging just out of reach, with the chance to receive something real from him, only one wish came to mind. If she could truly ask for anything and he would give it—even with the chance of retribution afterwards, she found she could honestly ask this one thing of him without fear.

She had no time to voice her wish however, before something rather large was hurled through the window.

Thankfully, since Yako had long ago rearranged the office to her liking, the glass was scattered well away from where she sat on the sofa. But being caught completely by surprise, the woman gaped with her hair standing on end and her heart pounding a mile per second from the shock. "WHAAAH—" Holding her chest as she struggled to catch her breath, Yako found herself mentally cursing in all the languages that she knew before coming back to her own. "What was THAT!?"

Hanging upside-down from the ceiling, Neuro looked only mildly surprised, but that in and of itself was truly impressive, all things considered. The Demon was rarely startled—not even the occasional car accident was enough to faze him—so this whatever-it-was that had come sailing through their window had to be something he had not expected in the least.

"Clean up this mess," he said, going to the window to inspect the gaping hole in the glass. Likely to determine what had been thrown and from where.

Yako sighed, finally recovered from the initial shock and feeling oddly refreshed as the rush of adrenaline passed. Looking around, she wondered if it was a brick or something large and heavy enough to cause so much damage. But she saw nothing but broken glass strewn across the floor.

All the same, this needed cleaning up before anything else happened.

"I'll go get a broom," she sighed, standing up and carefully making her way over the glass to the door.

She no sooner opened the door than something pushed her down and something red flew over her.

Yako hissed from the pain of her skull hitting the floor, as well as from the glass that cut into her arms and hands. She was mildly relieved that her head had missed any glass, but that was quickly replaced with alarmed confusion as to what had shoved her onto her back. Quickly turning over and halfway to standing, Yako looked up and found Neuro dodging blows from what looked like a young boy dressed in red.

Not fully comprehending what exactly was happening, Yako could only sit there, watching in something oddly like wonder as Neuro and the strange boy shot from one wall, to the ceiling, to the floor, to another wall and back around again.

She had seen Neuro fight before, against X—as well as herself, once—but this was different. Something about this felt more fluid, natural, and he actually looked like he was enjoying himself. Like a child running around the park.

She was certain more punches and kicks were thrown that she was unable to see—being the Human that she was—but in what seemed like less than a minute, the attacker was caught around his ankle and thrown gracelessly against the bookcase only to hit the floor. Then, just for good measure, Neuro knocked said bookcase over onto his hapless opponent. Yako couldn't help wincing in sympathy for the attacker, even as she tended to her own injuries. Her handkerchief was smeared all over with blood, and Yako could still feel smaller pieces of glass in her arm.

"That's the third loss in one year, Otto," Neuro declared with no small amount of glee. "I'll have to start raising the time frame that you're not allowed to attack me. How does 200 years sound?"

The boy pushed the bookcase up again, pulled himself from the scattered books, looking no worse for wear and starting hissing and spitting harsh-sounding words that were totally unfamiliar to Yako. It didn't sound like any language or combination of languages she had ever heard before. And while Yako didn't know all the languages of her planet, she was willing to guess that the one the boy and whatever he was speaking was not native to humanity.

Just looking at him, Yako was certain that this was the third Demon to make her acquaintance. He looked only fourteen years old. The hair on the right side of his head was shoulder-length, straight and brown, while the hair on the left side of his part was pure white, short, scruffy, and thick. As he continued to curse in his bizarre language, Yako could see that all of his teeth were sharp, but the canine on the right side of his mouth was particularly long, to the point that even when he closed his mouth it hung out against his bottom lip. He was dressed in clothes meant more for late winter than the early August that burned outside. Black boots that laced all the way up to his knees, what seemed to be red denim jeans with multiple pockets, a black turtleneck, and a hooded red jacket line with white fur.

"Don't get mad at me," Neuro smiled in response to something the boy had said. "You didn't even announce yourself properly before you came barging in." The attacker hissed and snarled again. "Well, you had better find it before it bites someone. There's no antidote for that sort of thing's poison, you know."

Yako wondered if she shouldn't ask after that particular piece of information, but decided to investigate it later. "Neuro." The Demon turned to meet her eyes. "Who is this? What is he doing here? Did he throw something through the window just now?"

But rather than answering, he was suddenly right in front of her, grabbing her arms. He caught her wrist and brought her hand close to his face and he could look at her wounds closely. Startled by his sudden hold and proximity, Yako's heart jumped a few beats. In spite of the occasional paperweight or stapler to be dodged, Neuro had not come too close in a good while, and she hated that she was suddenly affected by him. She hoped Neuro's attention was completely on the lacerations to her arms, and that he didn't notice her rapid pulse.

"It's…not that bad…" Yako offered lamely. She knew that she had been close to a serious injury, but having survived worse before, she just wanted to take care of it and move on. "I just hurt myself when I fell."

And in that moment, Yako winced as the Demon's grip tightened and the heat of his hands actually burned through his gloves. Neuro green gaze shot to the smaller Demon, who drew back, putting his hands up in a surrendering manner and chattering in his bizarre language with obvious anxiety. From how closely she was standing to him, Yako wasn't able to see Neuro's expression and was immediately curious. But she couldn't bring herself to ask him to turn, as she could swear she actually saw a strange shadow stretch across the walls. And just like that, a newfound fear sprang up to replace the one she had mostly overcome over the years.

Before she could try to pull away, Neuro raised her arm high enough that it actually hurt her shoulder and began to lick at the cuts that littered her skin. The initial shock of the action was quickly overcome by the pain of the sudden burns she felt from his rough, almost cat-like his tongue running across her open wounds. He would stop every now and again to bite out stray bits of class left in her skin, and then return to the painful treatment. It felt worse than the times she would scrape her knees as a child and her mother would put peroxide on to keep out infections. This actually burned all the way down to her bones, bringing tears to her eyes as she fought to keep from crying out and remain standing.

But looking through her pain, as much as it hurt, and as unusual as it was, she managed to see that her cuts were actually healing under Neuro's unusual care. As the 'Brain-Eater' finished one arm and moved on to the next, Yako suddenly became very aware of the stranger staring at them, as well as Akane standing on end at the other end of the room. Her already flushed face burned with embarrassment and something she couldn't name at the moment, and she wished she had something to hurl at someone.

"Stop laughing at me in your heads!" She shouted at whoever was actually listening.

In the end, they all let it go when Neuro finished his task. The carious cuts had been cleanly sealed, thanks to the 'Brain Eater's' acidic saliva, and while her skin itched severely, she wasn't about to complain. Instead, rubbing her arms to soothe the lingering discomfort, she managed a soft, "…Thank you."

For once, Neuro didn't jibe and jeer at her gratitude. Rather than that, he turned and spat out the splinters of glass he had collected from his Human's wounds, right into his fell0w Demon's face. While the boy's head recoiled from the blow, he was swiftly standing straight again, making no sounds or actions of agony.

"In light of the fact that you broke the window," Neuro stabbed the boy's forehead with his middle finger, "you can clean up this mess."

Yako might have once again questioned her Demon as to the stranger's identity, when the boy's gaze shot to her. Then, he was suddenly standing right in front of her, his pale face bare centimeters away from her own. So close, the woman could see that his pale blue eyes had red pupils. Yako was reminded of a Siamese cat's eyes shining in the dark of night.

Circling, the boy took several quick breaths through his nose, taking in her smell without touching her. Then, he opened his fang-filled mouth and a stream of foreign words flowing vigorously from his lips. It looked like he was smiling, though the quirk of his eyebrow told Yako that he was also confused. He glanced back at Neuro a couple of times, waving his hand in emphasis to something he said, but the Brain-Eater offered no help in interpreting what his fellow Demon was saying.

"I'm…really sorry to interrupt, but I have no idea what you're saying," Yako couldn't help the somewhat nervous chuckle that escaped her at that point.

The boy stopped, either realizing that he didn't understand Yako any better than she did him, or that while he could understand what was being said to him, it was not the same for her. Pondering over how to solve this dilemma with a purr-like "Brrrrmmmm…" the Demon boy quickly came to a conclusion that brightened his youthful features.

Grabbing Yako's hand, he pulled her closer and clamped his mouth to hers.

The Detective was quick to pull away when she felt the boy's tongue touch her lips, but the boy was quicker to catch the back of her head and pull her down again. This time, he used Yako's interrupted outcry to actually push his way into her mouth. The woman cringed as she felt the Demon's tongue reach all around her mouth, and fill her with the taste of sulfur, copper and something oddly spicy.

It was only a moment before Neuro caught Yako by the back of her shirt whilst grabbing his former opponent by his bi-colored hair and tearing them apart.

"Hey! I wadn't done!" The Demon shouted, this time in Japanese. His accent was a little coarse, and he had a bit of a speech impediment, but understandable.

"I find that I can't agree with you, Otto," Neuro smiled coldly at the smaller Demon as he lifted him off the ground by his ears.

"Maybe it's eedy for you o-so-brilliant Imperial types to absorb and throw up any language you hear, but thode at the bottom of the ladder need to actually swallow the words we want before we can spit them out," Otto rasberried into the taller Demon's face, still mixing up some of the 'S's and 'D's of his words somehow.

"That's beside the point, Otto," the Brain-Eater smiled, kind and cold, and released Yako so he could proceed to pull the boy's teeth.

Yako quickly ran to Troy, picking up her cup of cold tea and gargling it to wash the bizarre taste of the boy's tongue from her mouth. Yako didn't understand exactly what the boy meant or how he could suddenly speak Japanese, but at that moment she couldn't bring herself to care. Neuro hadn't even kissed her since that lousy dinner with her mother and Yukinori what seemed like ages ago. And now some random Demon just lays one—no, two!—on her without a single apology? She could remember when Neuro had first taken to kissing her, and she hadn't easily forgiven him either. In fact, she hadn't forgiven him at all! Hellspawn were completely callous in these matters!

Someone other than Neuro had kissed her, and she was downright pissed. "Alright, who are you?"

"Oh, how rude of you, not to introduce yourself…" Neuro chided his captive, even as he shoved his spider-like hand into his mouth. "Yako, this is Otto. A no-good, bastard son of a bastard son of a renowned 'Tongue Eater'. He does relatively nothing with his spare time unless I'm around to motivate him."

Yako raised one eyebrow over narrowed eyes. "The same way you motivate most of your servants, I'm guessing?"

Otto pulled Neuro's hand from his mouth. "I'mma NOT his servant!"

"Indeed," Neuro nodded in honest agreement. "I really have no use for one so blatantly disobedient, let alone one with an odd death wish. That he has challenged me so many times without the slightest care of his well-being, coming back even more fired up after every defeat, he is clearly does not fit the bill for servitude."

Thinking this over—the attack, their attitude towards one another, and general lack of regard for anything else—Yako came to a surprising conclusion. The point that he seemed to attack Neuro on a regular basis, in spite of what must be countless failures, said something about Otto's determination to win, as well as his outlook towards his opponent. He was clearly aware of what the Brain-Eater was capable of, but also clearly didn't care. And the fact that Neuro had not condemned the boy to slavery in spite of all his failures said something to how Neuro seemed to enjoy his assaults.

Yako could hardly believe it, but she knew that she must be looking at Nougami Neuro's one true and very best friend.

The epiphany left Yako feeling somewhat dizzy, but she hastened to recover, lest either Demon find an opening to use against her. Focusing on rubbing what remained of her tea against her teeth, the Detective was happy to leave the two to their own business when she left work in just another half hour.

"Otto, clean up this mess," Neuro repeated with a knock to the boy's head.

"Fine, fine…" The smaller Demon humphed—much like a teenager who didn't want to do his homework—and sat himself down on the floor, right where he was. He immediately set about picking up all the pieces of glass closest to him, popping a shard or two into his mouth and chewing.

Shocked, Yako found herself openly staring as Otto went on eating the broken bits of glass like they were tortilla chips. If there had ever been any lingering doubts that this creature came from Hell, they were immediately discharged. As freakishly unpleasant as it was to see someone actually eating glass, the Detective was amazed to see the Demon eating something substantial. She could recall that Zera required small Hellish insects to sustain herself, but hearing about that was much different than seeing this.

"So, as I was saying before…" Otto crunched easily, albeit unpleasantly, "…you're not what I was expecting when Neuro mentioned that he had 'interests.' Honestly, I had no clue what to expect! But I gotta say, something like you never came to mind!"

At this, Yako bristled. "Oh? And what were you expecting?" She asked, crossing her arms and hardening her glare upon the boy. "Something with less brains and more body?"

"Honestly? A copy of his Revered Mother," he replied, still chewing. "She's the only one he's ever shown any sort of regard for, so I always figured he would go for a woman exactly like her. But you're the complete opposite in almost every way!"

Yako wasn't entirely sure how to take this, so she simply shrugged. "Well, Neuro's Mother is a goddess, right? I'm human. So it stands to reason that I would different from her."

Otto blinked, at last taking a pause in his work to just stare at her. His entire body went still as he took in the young woman before him, simply staring.

"…What?"

"You have a really weird face," Otto answered, his tone honest and pleasant.

Enough had happened in the past hour that Yako didn't feel particularly generous towards the smaller Demon. "And you smell like wasted meat. When was the last time you washed your hair?"

"That's none of your damn business, and I'll thank you to stay out of my private affairs!" The boy actually looked flustered as he hastily returned to eating his glass, careful to avoid making eye contact with the Detective again.

After a long while, the floor was clear of glass. The window was still broken, but actually allowed a pleasant breeze to drift through the office.

"But we will need to fix that real soon," Yako sighed. "My reputation would hardly allow for something like a broken window to go unchecked

"If we left Akane out in the open, I bet we would have an entirely new reputation for you to work with!" Neuro said pleasantly from his place behind 'Troy', his eyes wide and his teeth visible.

"If I could do that, I wouldn't have to worry about keeping you a secret, either," his Human replied easily as she sat on the edge of the blood-red desk. "If that were so, I wouldn't need to be a Detective at all. That would be dull."

As the Human and Imperial Demon exchanged a certain smile, both enjoying the oddly pleasant moment, it was a wonder why they couldn't simply stay in such a mood.

All the same, certain questions required answers. Such as…

"Whose Akane?" Otto crunched a stray piece of glass in his teeth.

"Akane-chan is our wonderful secretary," Yako smiled, motioning to the wall and the telltale lump in the paper. She figured that with another Demon in the office, it wouldn't hurt anything to introduce them. "Say hello, Akane-chan."

It was a moment before the braid of black hair peeked out from behind the wallpaper, picking up her marker to write [It's nice to meet you, Otto-kun]

"Wow…" The smaller Demon tilted his head to one side. "Human hair, infused with Miasma. Stellar."

Abashed by this, Akane returned to her place behind the wallpaper, much to the Demon-boy's disappointment.

"She could probably do everything I would need, if only she had a body to work with," Neuro smiled coolly.

Yako suddenly felt a new, unreasonable anger start to simmer inside her. She had almost recovered from the terrible behavior of Otto's 'greeting', but in that instant, all her indignity came flowing back. "Is that so?"

"Of course!" Neuro grinned. "She's diligent, organized, humble, obedient, and she never leaves the office!"

Otto peeled aside the wallpaper, finding the dead body the hair belonged to. "That's a fact that can't be denied…"

"Really, she would be idyllic as a cover, had she not already been severely post-mortem when I arrived in this world," the 'Brain-Eater' carried on. "I imagine, with such pleasing hair, she must have also had a rather appealing body to match. It would have been a much swifter process to polish her up into the perfect Detective."

Yako rounded the table to stand before the Demon, her arms crossed and her pretty face hardened with simmering anger. "If that were the case, you'd probably be pursuing Akane-chan in the same way you do now with me, right?"

Noticing his Human's irritation—and vaguely noting Akane's uncomfortable squirming behind the wallpaper—Neuro didn't fight the smile of delight that stretched his lips. If this was similar to what Yako experienced that day when he had believed that Hellsing was trespassing on his property, he understood why she got such a kick out it.

"Hypothetically speaking, it is possible," he replied, leaning back in his chair. "Also, hypothetically, you might have been born and raised an actual woman with some degree of charm! It would—"

Everyone was startled, Neuro especially, when Yako grabbed him by his jacket and hauled him up just enough to slam her mouth against his. The Demon's arms immediately went around her, pulling her closer to share the seat with him as he returned the kiss. But she didn't stop with just lip contact, or try to avoid him at all. Putting her knees on either side of him, settling herself on the chair, Yako balanced enough to push deeper. She forced her way inside the Demon's mouth, not caring for the slight burn, much less the witnesses to such a bold action.

She kissed the Demon with everything she had ever held back, pushing forward, while for some odd reason, Neuro found himself falling back. This was different from usual. It wasn't just that she didn't avoid him, even as she invaded his mouth and touched everywhere inside with her tongue. He held her tighter in his arms, even so, he couldn't shake the impossible sensation of being conquered is some way.

But that was outrageous! Someone could be beaten in a contest or take a serious thrashing in a fight, but to be conquered was an entirely different story. No one could say they had ever conquered the 'Brain-Eater' Neuro. Not even his Father, who had won every challenged that came between them had ever done so.

Yet here was one Katsuragi Yako. A young Human woman who was not even a quarter of his own age, with her tongue in his mouth, was overpowering Neuro and actually controlling the kiss.

The two shared the seat behind 'Troy', embracing so tightly and kissing so deeply they didn't notice Akane's stiff state, or Otto's curious quirking of the eyebrow. Much less the opening of the door. In the end, it was the dropping of a cardboard box full of case files Godai had brought, and his not so subtle, "Oh my GAWD!" that brought a mild close to the event.

Throwing her hair back, Yako slowly pulled away from the Demon, still angry, but oddly satisfied. "Let me know if Akane would be willing to do that all on her own," she threw back over her shoulder as she grabbed her bag, marched past Godai and out the door, slamming it after her.

For a long while, there was a rather heavy silence filling every inch of the office.

At least until Otto so politely said, "I think you two would need to open your mouths a lot wider if you really wanted to swallow each other."

That seemed to be enough to bring Godai out of his shock to cringe. "Gah! I really could've gone my whole life without needing to see that! That was seriously GROSS!"

"I didn't think it was so bad," Neuro smiled, licking his lips in an effort to catch the lingering taste. "You really should grow up, mutt. Before you know it, your entire life will have flown by without a single thought coming into your head."

"Not that it isn't unheard of for a dog to die chasing his tail," Otto grinned pleasantly, sitting on the edge of 'Troy'.

"Good GOD! They're multiplying!" Godai gaped at the two Demons, not knowing but understanding enough to comprehend that the new face was anything but a curse.

The quick, high-pitched squeak of a dry erase marker on a whiteboard drew all eyes to Akane, just as she dove behind the wallpaper again. [NOW MS. DETECTIVE IS MAD AT ME! YOU DUMMY! YOU BIG FAT DUMMY DUM!]

"It was just a joke," Neuro said. "She didn't have to take it seriously, she chose to."

"Or she mighta been pissed off about too many things in general," offered Otto. "From what I've heard, humans are touchy about the oddest things. But too much, and it just snaps. That's what drives them to commit murder."

"And who the hell are you supposed to be!?" Shouted Godai, pointing at the red-clad stranger.

"What are you doing here, Otto?" The Brain Eater inquired easily. "It's hardly been long enough to start worrying about my progress."

"Actually…" The smaller Demon grinned slyly at his superior, "…your Revered Mother has become somewhat annoyed that her only child has not sent word back, telling her how he is and what he's been up to. Considering that was part of deal in allowing you to come back here, she has been patiently waiting for a least a short greeting, letting her know that you arrived safely." Neuro's expression did not change, however Otto was able to catch the slight discomfort to the Imperial Demon's usually calm posture. "SO! I have been given the primary directive of ensuring that you are well, and keeping a close eye on you until further notice!"

Neuro couldn't help the laughter that burst out of him and needed a moment to recover before speaking. "I'm being chaperoned?"

"It's your own fault for not sending word back, asshole," Otto growled. "I would think you would at least let your Revered Mother know how well it's going."

A momentary pause, as the Brain-Eater cast his emerald gaze outside. This caused Otto's blue eyes to widen is shock.

"It's not going well, is it?" He grinned. "You're not getting anywhere! That's why you haven't sent word back! By the Great Ice Wall! You're actually—"

Otto was rudely interrupted by the black-gloved hand that was shoved inside his mouth.

"How I progress is hardly any business of yours, Otto," he said icily. "And what I am doing with my own time is my own. Learn to have some delicacy in such matters."

Otto muttered something in Hell Tongue, but it remained incoherent as it was spoken around Neuro's hand, so all he could do was glare.

Even as Godai suddenly exploded, saying, "WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED TO THE WINDOW!?"

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Yako usually enjoyed the sound of her high-heeled shoes against the pavement, the clack-clack-clack tended to delight her in some way. But today as she headed home, her mood burned with the fiery orange and red of the setting sun, and nothing could comfort her.

Neuro's teasing remarks had been the straw that broke the camel's back. And really, any other day, Yako might have managed to let his words slide off, what he said was minor and not worth getting angry over. But after Otto's sudden appearance and violation of her person, on top of the discomfort and bizarre rush of adrenaline from Neuro healing her arms, she just snapped.

As she walked, she started to cool down little by little bit. Boarding the train headed for home, she found she was honestly embarrassed that she let it all affect her that badly. Doubtless, Neuro would have plenty of ammo to use against her tomorrow. And with this new addition to the office—who liked to stick his tongue into other people's mouths!—Yako was sure the days ahead will be even more of a work-out.

Arriving at the station near her family house, she continued on her way. By the time her house actually came into view it was late, the dark blue of night had overcome the fiery orange. But what stopped her on the street was the familiar black car that passed her by. At the wheel, Hayasaka Yukinori noticed her on the sidewalk and offered a brief nod of the head in acknowledgement. Yako smiled and waved in return as he passed, watching him turn the corner.

Turning back around to continue on her own way, Yako was mildly surprised to see her Mom standing at the gate, waving happily to her. She still had her bag and jacket in hand, a sign that the dark-haired woman had only just returned home.

"Well, looks like we were both working a little late today, huh?" Haruka smiled, pulling out her key as they both walked up the path to their front door. She was usually tired after work, but this evening the woman was glowing just a little bit. "How's about we order pizza and watch movies the rest of the night?"

"Sounds good!" Yako smiled, her day immediately turning bright.

But there was something. A small something in the background of her Detective brain that made her pause…

But in the end, she let it go as they both changed into more comfortable clothes and spent the evening together as planned. More than a few empty pizza boxes several empty soda and beer cans, and snack wrappers had to be cleaned up from the living room when they finished their fourth movie and were both ready for bed.

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Yako awoke late into the night and found Neuro beside her.

The Demon lay on the bed, propped up on his elbows, just staring at her. The green whirlpool of his strange eyes seemed to envelope most of his eyes, his pupils the smallest of pinpoints in the night.

Most nights when she happened to wake and find him so close, Yako would keep her eyes closed and force herself to remain still. Tonight, she didn't feel like just falling asleep, or even pretending to.

"Neuro…?"

The green-blond 'foreigner' blinked at her speaking his name, as if he had not noticed that she had awoken at all.

"Is something wrong?" Yako asked, pushing herself up on her elbows. "Do you need me back at the office?"

Neuro stared at her a long moment, silence and stillness filling the shadows of her room. When he finally moved, it was to turn away and leave the bed. Somehow, the thought of him just leaving without a word was an unpleasant one, and Yako caught his wrist. Once again, his green eyes turned to her in surprise. Her sleepy grip was weak, and she never would have been able to hold him if he didn't allow her to.

"You said you'd give me something I want, right…?" She sighed. Yako wasn't entirely sure what she was saying, and had the vague notion that she would regret it in the morning, but she knew she didn't want to let him go.

"Yes…" The Demon replied, somewhat cautious.

Yako tugged on his arm a little. He held back a moment, but eventually came back to lie down again. Once he was spread alongside her, Yako rolled over so that they were spooning. She was not so sleepy that the depth of this action was lost on her. But even so, Yako ignored the warmth she felt flood her face and grabbed Neuro's left arm. Pulling his long limb over her shoulder, she braided her small fingers with his longer ones and let her head down with a sigh.

Neuro was silent a moment, processing what she had done, but not truly understanding. "So…this is what you want? Just this is enough?"

"Yeah…" She breathed, already starting to drift off again in the odd comfort of his arms.

Truly, the Demon couldn't really understand why his Human would want something so simple, especially when she could have asked anything of him. Even if he didn't like her request and got back at her later, Neuro had given his word to give her anything she wanted him to.

And yet, this was all Yako wanted.

Neuro would admit to himself that this was not at all unpleasant. He could endure this without difficulty or discomfort. This was tolerable. He didn't even feel the need to pay her back for any transgression.

Relaxing, taking in the pleasant warmth that came off his little Human, 'Brain Eater' Neuro laid his head down to sleep.

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Otto, the Peasant Demon, hung sideways outside the window, watching the Demon and Human sleeping inside.

And he felt a great swell of what could only be pity for the young human girl for genuinely loving the creature she had allowed into her bed.

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