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.
By Stirling Twilight
This is a fanfic looking for a co-author. If you're interested in helping me finish this, please email me at the above link.
What would you do?
The sakura petal pattern of her skirt swirled in the breeze created by her rising form. From his place on the pier, Asuka Jr. watched helplessly as Saint Tail tucked the stuffed toy tighter under her arm and smiled down at him. Flying in the face of everything logical, she had managed, once again, to slip through his fingers.
Clenching his fist in frustration, Asuka Jr. felt the pointed base of the large diamond that had fallen, like a blazing comet, into his hands as she made good her escape. He looked down at the twinkling jewel, rolling it in the flat of his hand. Nothing about the beautiful gem improved his mood. He was angry and frustrated, and he knew, only to well, exactly why he felt this way.
It had been only a short time since he had seen Haneokas reflection in Princess Roses mirror. The image was so burned into his psyche that every time he closed his eyes is was a clear as if he were still standing on the stage with her.
With Saint Tail.
And tonight the dog...the very same dog that Haneoka had been playing with in the park, was here on the pier. That the mongrel was present was a surprise, and it wasnt something he could logically explain away. More over, and just as inexplicable, the dog seemed to be helping the petite thief in some odd way. Of course that wasnt possible. The dog couldnt have a greater understanding of its actions, but it was exactly that fact that gave it all away. The stuffed toy raccoon had been, only yesterday, in the park, in the small pit full of stolen items. The dogs own buried treasure. So how had it come to be at the pier, and what was Saint Tails interest in the item...and the dog?
Recalling the weird series of events, Asuka Jr. saw the chink in the armor all too clearly. The way the dog interacted with Saint Tail only served to confirm the reflection in the mirror. The dog had, in all innocence, exposed the truth Asuka Jr. himself had rejected.
Haneoka Meimi and Saint Tail were one and the same.
No matter how he looked at it, the fact remained.
The question then became, what to do about it?
A group of officers finally caught up with the young detective as he strolled back toward warehouse 1. Asuka Jr. was immediately recalled to his duty and began giving directions. Reaching for his cell phone, the young detective called his fathers office, got voice mail, and left a message. Redialing, he call the older detectives cell phone, and got him on the first ring.
"Im at Pier 100, warehouse number 1, and we have a pretty good lead on those jewel thieves you were working on. In fact, if Im not mistaken, weve uncovered the whole ring...thanks to Saint Tail. Ill wait here for you."
Ending the call, Asuka Jr. hoped his voice didnt sound as bitter as he felt. With an angry expulsion of air, he looked down at the diamond again. The urge to hurly it out to sea was strong.
It was a thing of beauty, catching the light from the streetlights and offering rainbows in return. Asuka Jr. couldnt help that his mind saw the beauty of the object, but then instantly moved onto more mundane matters. Without missing a beat, he estimated its worth well above a million yen, and from there it was a gentle circle back to the small thief.
She had no interest in things of value. She had no interest in propriety. What mattered to Saint Tail was justice. Did Haneoka demonstrate this same degree of nobility?
Several of the officers were leading the handcuffed thieves from the warehouse and making for a squad car. The other officers were still within, sifting through the mountains of stuffed animals. Asuka Jr. approached the Lieutenant, who was collecting the evidence as it came to light, and handed him the diamond.
"This was returned by Saint Tail," the young man flatly announced as he pressed the sparkling gem into the officers hand. "She didnt want it, she just wanted the toy it was in."
The Lieutenant shook his head in amazement and began making notes on the clipboard he held. "Ill never understand her," the officer confided as he documented the description, location and amended the finding officer to Asuka Jr. "She could have walked away with this and we would have been none the wiser. It could have been sold earlier fenced, pawned, given to her mother as a gift "
Asuka Jr. shrugged and turned away. "She not like that," he replied with just as much emotion as his previous statement, and without a backward glance, he walked away to await his father.
When the older Asuka arrived, Asuka Jr. gave him a run down of what had happened, what he had observed, and then said his goodnights before heading for his bike. His father offered him a ride home, but Asuka Jr. wanted to be alone with his dark mood and declined.
Asuka Keiji watched his son, and for a fleeting second allowed himself to be overwhelmed by the sorrow a father must feel for a suffering child. It was a luxury he couldnt indulge in often, and even now it only lasted the space of a handful of heartbeats. Looking back at the waiting officer, Asuka Keiji cast a final glance at the retreating form of his son and then turned back to the business at hand.
Asuka Jr. rode into the pocket of darkness that separated the wharfs from the streetlights of town. His mood hadnt improved with distancing himself from the crime scene and the young detective finally had to slow down, lingering in the darkness, to combat his emotions.
He found a place where he could stop and be in relative darkness, as well as being removed from the road enough to not have to worry. Leaning the bike against a tree, Asuka Jr. pushed his hands deeply into his pockets, threw himself back against the tree, and looked up at the starry sky through the black swaying branches.
What was he feeling, he asked himself
Annoyance. This was the instantaneous reply of his brain.
Annoyance at what, he wondered?
At his own ignorance, at Haneokas deception, at Saint Tails skills...at himself for not knowing how he felt about the petit thief and her counterpart, his classmate.
Why did Saint Tail want the toy? Why was the dog there? Just how were the jewel thieves involved with her mission? Was there a connection, or was it possible it was nothing more than sheer coincidence?
With a growl he threw his thoughts in another direction.
On one hand he was content to leave things as they were. The thrill of the chase was all he needed. It was his reason for getting up in the morning, it was what made him feel alive. That there was always the possibility that someone else might be the one to arrest her was the driving force behind his obsession...or so he told himself. With practiced ease he turned away from this line of thinking even as the idea formed.
As implacable as a marble statue, the slender, silhouetted form of the Cat Burglar of Seika rose in his mind, and in the next second her graceful hands were resting lightly on the edges of Princess Roses mirror. He could clearly see the wonder in her eyes as Haneoka Meimi gazed back at Saint Tail.
With a howl of frustration, Asuka Jr. scrubbed his hair, trying to make sense of these conflicting images.
Yes. That's all there is. d: Email me if you wanna yell.