Time for a Break
written by A. E. Stover
this version is not edited
First time writing for this fandom and eeee! Boy, do I need practice :V Also, written for Makoto's birthday! (even though it's late now OTL)
TIME FOR A BREAK
The call came at three in the morning, and within the hour Makoto had dressed, assembled and debriefed a team, and was prepared for battle.
An unidentified avian demon had appeared in the countryside just outside Tokyo, and was setting the fields ablaze. Makoto, together with Hiro and another JPs personnel, arrived just as it was about to take to the skies again. Acting quickly, they cast Ice spells at both the flames and the demon, trying to contain the disaster within the perimeter while subduing the demon enough for capture.
The avian soared high up, raising its monstrous wings, and a rain of fire crashed down on them. Makoto was equipped with Null Fire, and watched as the flames reflected off of Hiro's raised Makarakarn. The flames of the demon were too strong, even for Hiro's Magic strength, and his Makarakarn cracked and gave way. There was a split second where Hiro's face was frozen in terror, and in that second Makoto knew that Hiro hadn't the foresight to equip himself with a fire repellent. But Cerberus was quick to protect its tamer, and drained the crackling stream of fire as Hiro lay on the ground, dazed.
Hiro coughed, rolling sideways on the ground and blinking through the smoke. "Makoto. You saved my life," he spoke hoarsely with a shaky grin.
A rookie mistake, Fumi had said later on when Makoto told her, but a mistake that lay on Makoto's shoulders. She should have made certain of their preparations before engaging the enemy. As their mission leader, she was responsible for any mistakes of her team. And if there were any mistakes that resulted in death... Makoto didn't even want to think about it.
Their third JPs personnel was left distraught and frozen in fear when it dawned on him that he hadn't remembered to equip himself with a fire repellent either and oh god, it was coming; the flames, they were shooting at him, and he raised his arms to up his face and screamed—
Makoto swooped in to cover him from the blaze, Garuda dropping from the skies to reflect the fire behind her. Stray flames licked at her uniform but she was unharmed. From the ground, a recovered Hiro cast Ice Dance, and they were enough to staunch the flames around them. Their summoned demons, a Garuda and Cerberus, continued the battle alone; Holy Dances and Bufudyne spells clashed in the air with each Maragidyne that fell.
"Where is your phone?" Makoto shouted at the JPs personnel over the screeches and roars of battling demons behind them.
"I-It's here! I—I'm sorry, I—"
Makoto ordered him to equip himself, and he did, his fingers shaking over the keys as he selected Fire Repel. The moment he finished, she picked herself up and turned to look for her demon.
Garuda dropped under a stream of fire before flying up with a prepared Drain. The enemy avian screamed and clawed Garuda off, only to open itself to a direct hit with a Bufudyne from below.
It screeched as it fell, falling on its wings with a sharp snap and shriek, and another Bufudyne was cast, this time from the JPs personnel who had regained his composure.
The fires finally dwindled down as the demon lay inert on the field. Makoto looked to their third JPs personnel, who summoned Girimehkala for its Evil Bind ability. A surge of energy streamed forth from the summoned demon to bind the avian demon on the field. Nearby, Cerberus prowled the smoldering ashes growled low, its bloodthirst far from being satiated, and Garuda landed softly on the ground.
When the helicopters arrived, Otome was the first to join them, not even waiting until the helicopter had properly landed and jumping off while it was still lowering to the ground. Makoto refused treatment until Hiro and her other teammate checked out, and soon, Otome pushed Makoto to sit in the chopper the medics had brought, tugged off Makoto's ruined JPs jacket, and wrapped a blue JPS blanket around her shoulders.
"I'm fine," Makoto told the doctor as she was being looked over. "I equipped Null Fire."
"Null Fire doesn't do anything to keep the smoke out of your lungs," came the cheery response, and Makoto resigned to being poked and prodded with a stethoscope and other tools.
"Yamato!" came Hiro's voice, as energetic as ever.
Makoto listened as Hiro chatted with the Chief, then as he was directed to Osaka, where another situation with a demon needed immediate attention. In a few moments, Cerberus was recalled and Hiro was boarding a helicopter en route to Osaka. As it lifted up and began to take off, Hiro waved a hand and shouted down;
"Makoto! I almost forgot! Happy birthdaaaay!"
His voice carried off along with the chopper, and Makoto watched him go with a smile. To be quite honest, she had forgotten it was her birthday. There seemed to be more and more demons surfacing, and paperwork continued to pile up at her desk. The number of overnight shifts she had to take to keep up with her work and the increasing frequency of demon appearances meant she hardly had time to eat or sleep.
"I heard two casualties were narrowly avoided?"
Makoto raised her head to see Yamato calmly looking down at her. Makoto's hands clenched tightly. "I apologize. It was my fault. I hadn't—"
"Don't be foolish. Any member of JPs going into battle unprepared in such a way is unforgivable."
From the corner of her eye, Makoto could see their third teammate a little distance away visibly flinch.
"I'm rather disappointed in Hiro. He should have known better. But perhaps that was my fault for allowing him to advance early... No matter. The demon was captured and will be transported to our facilities momentarily for identification. The mission was a success. Good job, Sako."
"...Thank you, sir."
Yamato nodded, turning away. He paused a moment, and turned back. "Take the day off, Sako."
"I understand today is an important date for you. You can take the rest of the day off. There are no missions to take, and if there are I can always send Hiro off again. He needs the practice." Another pause. "I will not have my best officers burned out," he added.
Makoto wordlessly watched the Chief walk toward Fumi, who was directing personnel around the field to ready the captured demon for transport. When Makoto finally found her voice, she called out; "Thank you, sir!"
Yamato dismissed her with a hand.
Makoto watched JPs secure the demon with a seal. Her Garuda, whom she had not recalled, finally settled onto the ground beside her with a calm, serene gaze.
Makoto reached for the ruined jacket behind her, and reached for her phone. "Time for a break," she said softly, pressing a button and watching as Garuda disappeared in a flash of light.
Then she rested her head against the seat of the helicopter, and closed her eyes.