Notes and Disclaimers: The following is an original work by me, freely using the creative genius of Tachiwaka Megumi, to whom I am indebted. The characters of Saint Tail, Asuka Jr., et al are owned by Kodansha and TMS.
I sincerely hope you enjoy this fic half as much as I do, and you'll be inspired to let me know. May we all find a love like Asuka Jr. and Meimi.
A Gentleman's Agreement
As the secretary looked up from her work, a genuine smile instantly replaced her professional one. "We havent seen you in a while," was her cheerful greeting. "What can I do for you?"
Asuka Jr. smiled back and nervously raked his fingers through his hair. "Id like to make an appointment to see Morinaka-sensei, please."
The smile on the secretarys lips broadened. "Why so formal?" Smoothly she rose and moved around the desk. "Wait here a second."
Watching as she opened the door to the mayors office and slipped inside, Asuka Jr. once again felt his courage waver now that he was alone. Mentally grasping his resolve he steeled himself, yet again, for what had to come next. There was nothing for it.
Less than a minute later the secretary returned, leaving the door slightly ajar. The reason for the visit, Morinaka Hideo, followed behind her mere seconds later.
"Asuka-kun!" he said with audible glee, extending his hand. Seemingly this was the only bright spot in a heretofore dull day. As they shook hands, the mayor gently pull the detective towards the open door. "Come in, come in!"
The older man beamed at his guest, who was becoming more morose with each passing moment, but finally managed a weak smile and a mumbled greeting. Asuka Jr. allowed himself to be lead into the office and gratefully sank into the chair offered to him.
The mayor resumed his seat behind the desk, moving several piles of paper from the center of the desktop. Once he settled, he folded his hands on the desk and smiled at his guest. "Youve come because there's something on your mind," Morinaka-sensei began with what could only be described as a kindly smile.
As uneasy as he was, Asuka Jr. nodded, unable to bring himself to speak. Reaching into his jacket pocket the young man removed the detectives badge he had been awarded the year before, laid it on the desk, and silently slid it toward the mayor.
The action had a sobering effect on the mood in the room. Staring at the sliver and gold disc, the mayor mutely reached across and lifted the badge. He looked at it hard, his mind full of the implications this gesture brought with it. The silence between them stretched out. Finally the older man raised his eyes to meet those of the young detective.
Asuka Jr. dropped his gaze onto his lap.
"I mean," he went on, "if you want me to take you off the case, I wont fight you, but I don't think that's why you've come."
Asuka Jr. nodded.
The mayor sat back, his free hand coming up to lift the blue and white ribbon off the desk. "If I were to hazard a guess, I would have to say that youve become personally involved with the case and no longer feel you can act objectively."
Again the young detective nodded.
Morinaka-sensei closed his eyes and sat back with a sigh. The silence between them lingered. Suddenly the mayor rocked forward and seized the badge. "Since Im the one holding this," he said, toying with the ribbon, "Anything you say will, of course, be off the record." The relief that flashed across Asuka Jr.s face put the smile back on the mayors face. "You know who she is, dont you?"
It was a statement of fact, couched as a question for Asuka Jr.s benefit. Something like misery clouded the young mans face for a second and slowly he nodded.
"Shes someone you know, and," the mayor dropped his voice, "care for."
Asuka Jr. shrunk into himself, but again he nodded. The fight between misery and elation was plainly written on his face as he strove to control himself.
The mayor smiled and placed the badge back on the desktop. Rising he went to the window and drew the curtains aside.
"I always knew this day would come," he said softly, but then raised his voice to continue. "The problem as I see it, is that you want to do the right thing; to finish the job I asked you to do, and you feel you cant. Or, perhaps its more accurate to say you wont." He didnt wait for confirmation, but forged ahead. "You perceive the only possible ending is for the law to arrest the wrong doers, which is, of course, the logical progression in an officers mind. But Asuka-kun, not everything is so cut and dry."
Turning from the window the older man began to pace behind his desk, his hand clasped behind his back. "When I chose you, I honestly didnt think there would ever be a satisfactory outcome to this case. It was clear to me, and to you I'm sure, that Saint Tail was a sort of modern day Robin Hood, even if we didnt always know her motives. It was also apparent that in nine out of ten cases she was working on the side of the law. The bottom line was, Saint Tail wasnt stealing to make money, she was undoing what she perceived to be a wrong. It was the perfect case for a young, up-and-coming detective.
"And as such, you genuinely amazed me with the amount of energy you brought to the case. You helped the police in more ways than I could have ever imaged. I cant thank you enough."
"But " Asuka Jr. interjected, but the mayor only smiled and shook his head.
"Catching Saint Tail was the right job for you, Asuka-kun, and it was one of the best decisions I made while in this office."
Asuka Jr. couldnt take it anymore and leapt to his feet. "But I didnt catch her!"
The mayor turned then to face the young man, his expression frank. "Yes you did, Asuka-kun. You just didnt turn her in."
Asuka Jr.s jaw dropped at the implications, but the mayor only nodded. Moving to the front of the desk, Morinaka-sensei gently, but firmly, pushed the young detective back into his chair before sitting in the empty chair beside Asuka Jr.
"Now Im not holding it either," he said, indicating the badge across the desk from them. Twisting to better face the detective, he dismissed the badge with a wave of his hand. "Tell me about her, Asuka-kun. All about her. Even at my advanced age," he chuckled, "I cant help but see the bewitching appeal of our mysterious saint."
Asuka Jr. looked at his hands, a blush covering his face. "What would you like to know?"
With a deep sigh the mayor sat back, making himself more comfortable. "Well, Im sure you wont tell me her name, and frankly Id rather not know, but I am very interested in her character. Ive often wondered what makes Saint Tail do the things she does, and the only satisfactory answer I could ever come to was that shes kind hearted."
The light that suffused Asuka Jr.s face as he looked at the mayor answered every question the older man could have possibly asked. In that one moment he could clearly see that Asuka Jr. was deeply in love, plain and simple, but he waited for the answer to his question rather than risk embarrassing his guest. And for the next half an hour he listened silently as Asuka Jr. recounted a detailed catalog of the many qualities he had come to love about the petite thief. The mayor nodded when it seemed appropriate, but maintained his silence. It was apparent that there was no one else who could share this secret and the feeling of being the young detectives confidant warmed his heart. When the list of charming qualities came to a conclusion, Asuka Jr. blushed again.
"I guess I had a lot to say," he said with a chuckle.
Morinaka-sensei beamed with delight and nodded again. "But it was wonderful to hear it all, thank you. And now," he said in a more serious tone, rising and recovering the badge from the desk, "Asuka-kun "
The young detective rose as well and the two men faced each other.
"There is no doubt in my mind that the thief that has been named by the police as Saint Tail has been removed from the threat to public safety and will, in future, no longer be menacing Seiko City."
Asuka Jr. nodded his agreement.
"It is also my understanding that the handshake contact that I formed with Asuka Daiki regarding Saint Tail has been fulfilled to my immense satisfaction and as such he is hereby removed from any further involvement with this now closed case."
A smile slowly spread across Asuka Jr.s face.
The smile faded.
"I will not be releasing you from the service of the mayors office." With that he offered the badge to Asuka Jr. "If you are willing to accept my commission, Asuka Daiki, I would ask that you remain on the security staff of the mayoral office and make yourself available as the need arises."
A smile like relief bloomed on Asuka Jr.s face as he accepted the badge back from the mayor. "It will be my great honor, Morinaka-sensei" he said, shaking the mayors hand enthusiastically.
As the door closed on the young detective and, by virtue of his strengths, the case against Saint Tail, the mayor stood in his office window. He was suddenly suffering a sort of melancholy. The passing of something indescribable darkened his mood. Casting his gaze into the courtyard below he longed to catch a glimpse of the retreating form of his visitor. But instead of Asuka Jr. he could see the top of the head of a young girl with flaming red hair. She wore the uniform of a St Paulias student. In her hands was the hat that completed her uniform, but the girl was twisting it anxiously as she paced in the courtyard. Her eyes never left the door as she agitatedly moved to and fro. Suddenly she gave a little start and stood still, waiting. Her whole posture bespoke her expectation. In the next second the dark hair of Asuka Jr. could be seen as he intercepted her. The mayor couldn't suppress the smile that covered his face. As he watched Asuka Jr. proudly removed the badge from his pocket and began talking animatedly. Just as quickly the excited young man replaced the item and, catching up her hand, began dragging her away. The girl laughed, clapped her hat onto her head and as she turned to go cast a glance at the window the mayor stood in. The radiant delight on her face left no doubt in his mind as to whom Asuka Jr. was holding hands with. Basking in the afterglow of her smile, the mayor returned to his desk and called for his secretary.
"Would you please order me two dozen roses," he said as he resumed his seat. He didn't look up as he began pulling papers into easier reach. "Send a dozen red to my wife, please, and have one sent to this office. Since theyre for you, feel free to chose the color youd like best."
The secretary raised an eyebrow.
"Im suddenly in an excellent mood, Yomata-san," he said lifting a page off one of the piles. The secretary smiled, bowed her thanks for the present, and returned to her desk.