Ghost In The Shell Fan Fiction ❯ Ghost in the Shell: Once Burned, Twice Shy ❯ Twice Shy Three ( Chapter 6 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Twice Shy: Part Three

Motoko smiled wryly as she offered the other woman her hand and said, "It's good to see you, Dr. Phillips."

"Gretchen," the blonde corrected her with a smile. The public speaker and politician looked more relaxed than when they had known her years ago, sitting there casually on her office couch, the two officers settling into seats opposite her.

"Gretchen then," Yayoi said, careful not to sit on her mane of long black hair.

"I'm a little surprised to see you both here," Gretchen said. She tilted her head to the side, "It's been a very long time since the shooting."

"There's certain details involved in your case that relate to an ongoing investigation," Yayoi said diplomatically.

"The Wired?" Gretchen asked.

Motoko leaned forward intently, "That's a name that has cropped up, yes." Her dark purple hair fell into her eyes as she asked, "How did you hear about it?"

"It was in the original assassination threat I received way back then," Gretchen admitted, "though we could never find an organization tied to it."

Yayoi took a photo from her pocket, passing it over smoothly as she asked, "Have you ever met this man?"

Gretchen studied the photo, an image generated from the message that Section Nine had been able to decode. "No, at least I don't think so," she passed it back, "though with all the physical alterations... it would be hard to be sure."

Motoko nodded glumly. The man's face was oddly smooth, perfectly shaped, and clearly he had been surgically modified. "We're assigning an officer to watch over you," Motoko said, "just in case there's another shot at you."

"I'd appreciate that," Gretchen said gravely.

Yayoi hesitated for a moment, "If it's not too impolite to ask, how is your shoulder?" Motoko shot her former partner a deadly glance, but Yayoi kept her eyes straight ahead.

"I had to have the joint replaced artificially," Gretchen said, referring to the injury she had received while under their protection, "but other than that it's fine."

Motoko met the woman's eyes honestly, "I'm not sure if I ever apologized, for not preventing you from being shot."

"He was going for a headshot, I'm told," Gretchen said dryly, "under the circumstances, I think I got off lightly."

"I shouldn't have even let him get the first shot off," Motoko said simply as she got up from her seat, grabbing her overcoat and pulling it on smoothly. "Contact us if something comes up, please," the intense officer said.

"Thank you for your help, and I'm sorry for having to disturb you," Yayoi said, taking Motoko's cue and rising from her seat.

"Good luck to both of you," Gretchen escorted them over to the office door, watching thoughtfully as they walked away.

They left the office building together, walking towards the waiting unmarked police cruiser. "What do you think?" Yayoi asked softly, climbing in the passenger side.

Motoko settled behind the wheel, "She was being straight with us, I think." She started the car up, moving out into traffic, "Just a loose end I wanted to be sure was tied up." Motoko felt Yayoi's gaze at her and asked, "What?"

"You've been going non-stop from when we found the first body last night to this morning," Yayoi noted, "don't you ever take a break?"

Motoko flashed her a smile, "You know as well as I do that the first forty eight hours of a murder investigation are the most important."

"That's true," Yayoi admitted. Her stomach gurgled softly in the quirt of the cruiser, and she blushed fiercely as she said, "Sorry!"

Motoko fought back a smile, "I haven't eaten yet, either. Want to grab some breakfast?"

"Please," the blushing Yayoi murmured.

Motoko navigated through Tokyo streets, coming to a stop behind a converted warehouse. She lead Yayoi around to a front door, nodding to a black haired woman who stood at the door. They walked in together, passing their coats to a young woman waiting at the entrance and headed over to one of several waiting tables. A bar was set to once side, a large dance floor was temporarily covered with tables and a stairway lead to rooms upstairs.

"Good morning May," Motoko said familiarly to the busty brown haired woman dressed in the maid's uniform, "could I get two of my regular breakfast?"

"Sure," May smiled. She gave Motoko a look, "We missed seeing you last night."

"Had to work," Motoko shrugged, watching May weave through the morning crowd towards the busy kitchen.

"Interesting place," Yayoi looked around, blinking in surprise at the library over on the other side of the building. Two young ladies walked by, holding hands, and she began to suspect what sort of place it really was.

May delivered two cups of coffee, dropping off cream and sugar, then she brought two massively loaded plates of food. She set them down in front of the wide eyed Yayoi and grinning Motoko and said, "Enjoy your meal."

"Wow," Yayoi blinked in awe at her meal.

Motoko dug in with a smile, munching on her food happily. "Arisugawa's Locket," she waved around them with a hand holding a thankfully empty fork, "a nightclub and restaurant established back in the early twenty first century. Has an odd reputation, but the food and company are great."

Yayoi tentatively began to eat her breakfast, her eyes widening again at how good the food really was. She prepared her coffee, drinking a bit to revive herself then asked, "You mentioned something earlier... about a puppet master?"

"An older case I never resolved," Motoko admitted, "I've been keeping my eyes open for any signs of it, but no luck."

"It?" Yayoi echoed in surprise.

"Well, I never found out if it was a man or woman, so..." Motoko shrugged eloquently.

"I still can't get over how much a cyborg like you eats," a blue haired young woman stopped by their table to remark, "where do you put it all?"

Motoko stuck her tongue out at her, "Your food is so good, Sasami, I just have no choice." As Sasami was leaving she noticed the odd look Yayoi was giving her and asked, "What?"

"I don't think I ever saw you this relaxed before," Yayoi blinked, "not even back when we were still together."

"The Locket is neutral territory," Motoko explained, "enforced by some pretty dangerous ladies. It's one of the few places I can say I feel totally safe."

Yayoi picked at her food a moment, then put her fork down with a soft tap. "Are you ever going to talk about it?" she demanded softly.

"Talk about what?" Motoko asked mildly.

"Us," Yayoi sighed, "what happened between us."

Motoko chose her words carefully as she said, "I don't know if there's much left for us to talk about." She picked up her mug of coffee, "I screwed up spectacularly."

"That's... short and to the point," Yayoi blinked, her eyes flashing. "Did you screw up on the job, or our relationship?" she demanded.

"Both," Motoko met her eyes calmly. She looked down uncomfortably at her food, "All I can say is I panicked. I knew that is we stayed together I'd make that mistake again, so...."

"So you dumped me," Yayoi said softly.

To be continued...

Author's Note: The place they're eating at is Arisugawa's locket. May is from the anime series Hand Maid May and Sasami is from Tenchi Muyo.