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Title: A Life Less Ordinary (Interlude ii/?)
Series: Detective Conan
Rating: G
Pairing: Shuuichi/Rei

Summary: Okiya Subaru disappears after Vermouth orders his execution, presumed dead.

So what does a black cat have to do with it?


Several hours earlier

Furuya works all night, face wan in the harsh light pouring from the laptop’s screen. By early morning he obviously has a game plan, calling in sick to his ridiculous job at Poirot and fishing for an introduction to the satellite company.

To give him credit, he clearly intends to do most of the work himself, something that Akai – not an expert when it comes to computers – wouldn’t have been capable of. But then, no one would have been stupid enough to assign Rye an intel job. In his days as a NOC he was known for his blunt personality and lack of people skills. In a way, it had helped shield him from the suspicion of being what he was – a honey trap for Akemi. He had slept his way into the Organization almost without effort, and there met Furuya Rei. Bourbon had been a challenge from the first, always pushing to hold the upper hand, always skeptical, always projecting perfection even when things fell apart.

Akai’s always loved a challenge.

With his heart pulled in two directions, he had chosen Akemi – simpler that way, to be with the woman he was already tied to.

And now Akemi’s dead, and he’s alone. Alone with Furuya Rei, who hates his guts. It would be funny, if it weren’t so pathetic. But he’s not making the same mistake again; he’ll never choose the easy way over a challenge.

Akai watches from his place sitting on top of the laptop’s keyboard like a loaf – the cat’s brain is drawn to heat, and luxuriates in the warm bed – as Furuya changes out of his clothes and crawls into bed. NOCs sleep when they can; pulling all-nighters and living from cat-nap to cat-nap is part of their job.

Cat-nap, thinks Akai again, and snorts quietly. For a few minutes he stays where he is, watching Furuya settle in beneath his duvet. Warm as the laptop is, though, it’s not as tempting as curling up beside the PSB agent. He jumps down from the table silently and pads across to the bed, hopping up and high-stepping through duvet as if mincing through snow. He arrives at Furuya’s hip, head dipping to press his nose briefly to the cover. It’s imbued with Furuya’s scent, chamomile soap and sweat. He lies down, fitting his body against Furuya’s, his head resting beside the PSB agent’s flank.

There’s a curious feeling of security here, not just the warmth or being surrounded by Furuya’s scent or his closeness to the agent, but some combination of the three that is larger than its component parts. He hasn’t felt so safe in years, not since before he went under in the Organization.

Beside him Furuya’s breathing evens out; the calm regular breaths have a soporific effect. Despite the sunshine filtering in through the net curtains, he rests his head on the duvet and lets himself fall asleep.

***

Akai wakes some time later; by the shadows on the floor, not much time has passed. Furuya is still asleep, lying heavy and quiet beside him. Akai has slept in the same room as Furuya before (although never in the same bed), and he had been then an equally still sleeper – unlike Furuya awake, who is not restless but always seems to be on the move. Akai, by comparison, can go hours without twitching a muscle.

Now, though, he rises slowly and, ears turned backwards to listen for any signs of Furuya waking, pads softly across the bed and jumps down onto the floor. His entire body feels like a shock absorber, prepared to cushion his fall so that he lands silently. He ghosts across the room and returns to the table, where the laptop is sitting.

It’s a sleek model, as fits Furuya’s designer aesthetic, which means the keys can be pressed nearly silently. He accesses his email portal, waiting for it to load through all the security encryptions, and then beats his tail once in excitement. There’s a new email from James.

Information relayed from Kir:

• Cognac on mission from Gin. Doubts exist as to Bourbon’s loyalties. Cognac to assess and, if necessary, terminate.
• No chatter regarding yourself.
• Vermouth kept out of the loop.

Do you require further support?

JB


He considers it silently, sitting on the table just behind the laptop’s mouse tracker pad, his tail hanging over the edge of the table. It’s not new news; Cognac’s presence in the flat last night had answered these questions. His options are also severely constrained: there’s limited support the FBI can provide him abroad. And while he would usually act for himself, that’s not a possibility right now. Not when he’s trapped within these four walls. While it’s just possible that he could get out, he would never be able to get back in again. And finding him sitting outside the door would balloon Furuya’s suspicions exponentially. Besides, how could a cat ever find Cognac alone in Tokyo – and what would he do if he did?

Akai’s ears perk up suddenly; across the room, Furuya has shifted in his sleep. He closes out of his email, hops down, and returns to the bed.

When Furuya wakes up again, he’ll find him just where he left him. Just a plain, ordinary cat.

***

The cat’s brain falls asleep differently than his human one. He fought it at first – it feels like being pulled underwater suddenly as if in a riptide; as soon as he settles in besides Furuya’s warm hip and feels himself at peace, the cat’s brain starts shutting down. It’s like receiving an opiate injection, the way the world suddenly pulls back, leaving him disconnected from his surroundings as if suddenly swaddled in cotton wool. In seconds he’s dropping down the well of unconsciousness, drifting away into sleep.

But every time Furuya twitches, every time a car outside honks or a plane’s passage rattles the thin windows, he rockets back towards wakefulness. It’s not a full consciousness but a veiled one; he’s just aware enough to know that’s he’s still safe and secure, and then he drops back to sleep.

It’s a strange way to sleep, but he’s becoming more used to it.

He’s woken fully by Furuya’s phone suddenly ringing; Furuya rolls over and nearly crushes him in his haste to get to the mobile. Akai leaps out of the bed, claws scratching on the laminate floor as his instincts drive him to run. He clears ten yards before he calms, scrabbling to a halt and turning to watch as Furuya sits up in bed and answers the phone.

He looks delightfully rumpled, his hair standing on end as though licked upwards, his cheeks pink with sleep, his undershirt hooked over one shoulder. Akai watches him slowly straighten, eyes growing more focused as he approaches full wakefulness.

Although Furuya doesn’t have the phone on speaker, Akai’s pricked-up ears are sharp enough to make out both sides of the conversation. He’s speaking with a woman at a satellite company about touring her premises – presumably the company that operates the satellite Cognac has charged him with gathering intel on.

He’s charming but scrupulously polite on the phone, dangling a carrot of a place in a new documentary on Japan’s recent space exploits. Akai, to whom finesse is a silenced bullet rather than a naked muzzle, watches him manipulate the outcome he wants with appreciation. Furuya is very good at what he does – he’s a people person.

He’s also under a death sentence, which makes his performance all the more impressive. Akai has seen him sweet talk his way out of a number of disasters – he hopes this time it will work too.

Furuya ends the call getting what he wants: a visit to the company’s offices. He tosses the phone down and drops back with a thump, Akai tensing briefly. A few moments later Furuya stands, stretches his arms high above his head like a student at gym class, and glances across to give Akai. A brief smile crosses his face, a splash of sunshine in the darkened flat. Akai feels his eyes closing for a moment, a gesture of trust that has everything to do with his cat’s brain and nothing to do with his.

Furuya washes up in front of the sink, shaving and combing his hair, then comes out and changes into a formal suit and tie with a ridiculous pair of steel-framed glasses. Akai snorts at the picture of the PSB agent as a perfectly quaffed junior exec. Based on image alone it’s entirely possible to imagine Furuya in budget analysis meetings or briefing shareholders, his shoes exquisitely shined and a Starbucks cup in his hand. All he needs to complete the look is a leather briefcase.

In reality, of course, living that life would kill Furuya. He lives for the thrill of the chase, and the danger of the hunt – just like any good NOC. Life as a corporate paper pusher, no matter how high paid, would bore him to death just as it would Akai.

Fully clothed, Furuya takes a moment to open a can of food for Akai. The sound of the can opening triggers a sudden wave of hunger in him that he hadn’t been conscious of before, and he hurries across to nose at the dollop of wet food put in a shallow bowl. He licks it up eagerly, the smooth paste easily swallowed. By the time he’s finished, Furuya has packed his laptop and an emergency bag, and is putting on his shoes. Akai pads over to sit in the centre of the flat and watched him, unaffected as only a cat can be.

“Have a good day,” says Furuya, picking up his bags. Akai stares at him without acknowledgement until he leaves.

Alone in the flat, he sighs quietly to himself. It’s going to be a long day.

***

Akai spends most of the day lying in a sunbeam, staring at the world outside the net curtains. He watches the traffic pass, watches pedestrians amble down the sidewalk and cyclists zip past. Occasionally a cloud passes over the sun, and he waits patiently for the warm light to return.

Waiting is a forte of his. There’s no such thing as an impatient sniper. And as a cat, time passes… if not differently, than at a less noticeable pace. He dozes easily, interspaced with short frenetic dashes around the flat. The cat’s energy seems to come in fits and starts – calm one moment, impossibly frantic the next. But fighting it is far harder than allowing this body to do what it needs to, just as he allowed it to play with Furuya’s absurd dragonfly toy.

With such limited resources at his disposal, it’s difficult to strategize. He can stay with Furuya, in what barely passes muster as a protective role, until something changes. He can try to escape the flat and get to Jodi and Camel – and then what? He can send James more information as to his circumstance – and equally, then what?

The best option is to remain where he is, at least until Furuya runs out of time. If Akai calls the FBI in, the PSB agent will certainly notice it, and Akai can’t predict his reaction.

If need be, he can reveal himself to Furuya, although right now it’s hard to see what that would gain him.

Still musing, Akai drifts into a daze, the sun beating down on his black fur.

***

He hears Furuya coming before the man gets to the apartment, hears his footsteps on the walkway beyond the door. Akai snaps awake and trots out to sit waiting in the middle of the flat, eyes on the door.

He’s assumed it’s Furuya, but it could be someone else. Could even be Cognac. At the thought he feels his claws emerging.

But when the door opens it is in fact the PSB agent who’s framed against the afternoon sky, his bags over his shoulders and a computer under his arm.

“Hi,” he says. Akai twitches his tail and walks away. No point seeming too eager for company.

Furuya sets up the new computer alongside his own laptop and starts installing an operating system, getting up in the middle to get his dinner. He takes off his suit jacket and puts on an apron to protect his spotless shirt. Akai has only ever worn an apron while under cover as Okiya, but somehow he suspects that even when not living Amuro Tooru’s life Furuya would wear one. He’s just that picky. Akai drifts by to rub against his ankles, feeling unaccountably smug as he does so. Furuya bends slightly to run his fingers over Akai’s back, the pressure light and pleasant. Then his attention is back on the cooker, and Akai returns to the computer to see what’s going on. The loading screen doesn’t tell him much.

Furuya eats his dinner while working, setting the dirty plate aside when he’s done and continuing to type. Akai comes to sit on the table beside the computer and after a moment Furuya reaches out to pet him.

It’s pleasant – very pleasant. The soft strokes suffuse him with a different kind of warmth from sunshine; this one surrounds him equally, like floating in a tropical sea. He finds himself relaxing – melting – into Furuya’s touch, anticipating each long pull of Furuya’s fingers through his fur with tingling delight.

It’s too much. He’s losing objectivity, losing distance. Losing control. He gets up hurriedly and walks away, sitting down again out of range of Furuya’s absent-minded affection and beginning to lick himself. It feels comforting, a way to save face.

The NOC looks up at his departure; “That’s a fine way to treat the man who’s feeding you.”

Akai ignores him.

A moment later, Furuya looks up from the screen he’s typing into. “Cross your fingers,” he tells the Akai, expression surprisingly vulnerable. “We’re going to be cutting it close.”

Akai pads over to see what’s on the screen, but Furuya has already closed the window. Whatever it is that’s happened, it doesn’t sound promising.

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