The Salvage of my Sanity... - Closing Time (part 2/4)
(Bar-Ohki lives here)

Child of the Fey
Date: 2009-07-25 16:15
Subject: Closing Time (part 2/4)
Security: Public
Location:Evil Layer
Mood:accomplished accomplished
Music:"Closing Time" - Semisonic
Tags:closing time, es 21, es21, eyeshield 21, fanfic, fanfiction, hiruma, hirumamo, mamori

Click here to return to part 1.

Closing Time
Part 2: A Reminder of the Past

            Like most limos, the interior was black leather. And like most black things, Hiruma looked right at home in it. Mamori rolled her eyes and sat down in a spot that was furthest away from him. Hiruma simply frowned at her behavior.


            ‘Things aren’t going according to his plan,’ Mamori observed as Riku and Kid climbed into the limo, ‘whatever that plan is.’ Riku sat down next to hear and Kid sat down between Hiruma and Riku. Hiruma’s reaction was somewhat disappointing, all he did was blink a little longer than usual and let a smirk crawl onto his face.


            “So how is the NFL?” Kid asked after Tetsuma had shut the door.


            “The games are fun.” Hiruma answered. “The political shit and gossip is annoying.”


            “I bet that is.” Riku nodded sympathetically. “I hear about you at least once a day from my students.” Mamori was a little startled by that. Riku was now a track and field coach as well as an English teacher for Yuuhi High School; he had several gossipers in his classes.


            Hiruma rolled his eyes in response.


            “…How many of those ladies are you actually sleeping with?” Riku asked, having heard that Hiruma had been accused of sleeping with at least 40 different women.


            “None.” Hiruma answered, looking bored.


            “The paparazzi in America is really something, huh?” Kid chuckled, having heard similar rumors from his secretaries. Kid had inherited both his father’s fortune and business.


            Hiruma yawned loudly, looking even more bored than he had before. The limo fell into an awkward silence.


            “So, how’s your team doing, Rikkun?” Mamori asked, changing the subject.


            “Well, we just had this new kid join!” Riku paused then blushed with a little embarrassment. “I can’t remember his name, but he’s a lot of like Sena.”


            “You mean short, spineless, and wicked fast?” Hiruma asked with a smirk.


            “Hiruma.” Mamori told him warningly.


            “…Yeah, like that.” Riku told Hiruma quickly, but his response fell on deaf ears. Hiruma was glaring pointedly at Mamori.


            “Do you still think I can’t take care of myself after all these years?” Hiruma asked her pointedly. Mamori shut her mouth and chose not to respond. She it was her fault for falling into old habits around him. They were 28 now and lived separate, successful lives; her scolding now just sounded childish now.


            ‘I suppose he’s already done growing into whatever man he’s chosen to be.’ Mamori looked to the side.


            “Looks like you’re still good at killing conversations.” Kid observed, looking at Hiruma. “Now, I don’t want to sit in silence for the rest of this ride, so why don’t you start a topic that you don’t plan to kill?”


            “How’s the football scene here in Japan?” Hiruma asked the car. “I haven’t been able to pay much attention.”


            “Well, Yuuhi still has a terrible football team,” Riku admitted with a sigh, “Zokugaku’s now the powerhouse of the Tokyo area.”


            “What happened to Seibu and Oujou?” Hiruma couldn’t help but to wonder.


            “Seibu was closed.” Kid answered. Hiruma nodded at this, his expression thoughtful.


            “Oujou’s an average team, as is Deimon.” Riku answered. “Koigahama’s improved a lot in the last two years, they have a good shot at willing the Fall Tournament this year.”


            “The fucking cupids!?” Hiruma laughed.


            “They’re the Valkyries now.” Riku chuckled.


            Hiruma snorted. “What a change!”


            “Yeah, time changes everything.” Kid chuckled.


            “Hey, how’s Sena doing?” Riku asked, innocently.


            “Fucking shrimp? He’s been nothing but a pain in the ass.” Hiruma glared at nothing particular. “Do you know how hard he is to shut fucking down?”


            “It’s funny how you two wound up on different teams.” Kid commented with a chuckle.


            “Your sense of humor is as juvenile as your name.” Hiruma glared at Kid.


            “I guess that’d be because part of me refuses to grow up after all this time.” Kid countered Hiruma’s jab with ease.


            Hiruma smiled at that and proceeded to look thoughtfully out the window.


            “How are things with your work, Mamori?” Riku asked Mamori, trying to keep a conversation going.


            “Pretty well.” Mamori answered.


            “Ah, we’re here.” Kid commented as the limo slowed to a stop. Hiruma chose to wait for Tetsuma to open the door before he climbed out of the car. Mamori came out right behind him.


            “We have to get onto our destination now,” Kid explained from inside the car, “when should Tetsuma be back here for you two?”


            “Thirty minutes.” Hiruma answered.


            “Back in thirty.” Tetsuma commented then shut the passenger door. The ex-receiver made short work of getting back in and driving off.


            “Where were they headed?” Mamori couldn’t help but to wonder.


            “Kid’s birthday party.” Hiruma answered after he reached the door to Kima’s. “Are you coming?”


            Mamori rolled her eyes and followed Hiruma into the store. You could tell this was a fancy store, the front door was locked and had to be unlocked by the clerks inside before the costumer could come in. Mamori felt very self-conscious and underdressed as she walked into the store. One of the clerks came over and frowned at her.


            “Can I help you?” The man asked Hiruma while he looked straight at Mamori’s clothes.


            “My lady-friend here needs to be outfitted.” Hiruma told the clerk bluntly. “Something that matches me, of course.” For the first time in their short conversation the clerk took a moment to look at Hiruma.


            “…Please come this way, ma’am.” The clerk directed Mamori into the back of the store. Mamori looked around at the various colors and fabrics of dresses she saw. Everything was so perfect, so expensive looking. Hiruma trailed behind them, looking around with a slightly bored expression.


            “I’m taking your measurements, please hold still.” The clerk warned her as he brandished a measuring tape. Mamori said nothing and let herself be measured up. She dully noted that Hiruma wasn’t even watching, instead he was messing with his cell phone, frowning at the device.


            “I didn’t know you had a cell phone with coverage in Japan….” Mamori commented after the clerk left to go gather a selection for her.


            “Ke ke ke!” Hiruma cackled under his breath. “Then you don’t know me as well as you once did.” Mamori was startled by his tone more than his observation; Hiruma’s voice had the smallest hint of disappointment in it. It made her wonder what he had been expecting and much more importantly, what he was planning.


            “So you’re admitting that I once knew you well?” Mamori raised an eyebrow in slight disbelief.


            “Maybe I am.” Hiruma chuckled and shut his cell phone. He looked up and saw that the clerk had returned with a handful of dresses on the rack. Mamori looked over each dress, suddenly feeling very self-conscious. She got a glimpse at one of the price tags, it wasn’t pretty.


            “Are any of these to your liking, ma’am?” The clerk asked her, a concerned frown on his face.


            “Umm-!” Mamori didn’t know what to say, she hadn’t been intending to buy a designer dress today.


            “Why don’t you try the red one on?” Hiruma suggested, having been watching her intently the entire time.


            “You have a good eye sir!” The clerk exclaimed. “Indeed, I recommend this red dress as well. I believe it matches your features best.”


            “…Okay, I’ll try it on.” Mamori sighed in defeat, the clerk had puppy-dog eyes.


            “The dressing rooms are this way, ma’am.” The clerk carefully took the red dress off the rack and led Mamori over to a hallway. There were several women and men standing around, ready to help patrons try on their new clothes. Mamori made eye contact with one of the ladies, who followed her quietly into the dressing room proper.


            Getting into the dress only required a little help with the zipper, much to Mamori’s relief. She found herself staring in the mirror at the expensive dress she was wearing. It was a silk, form-fitting dress. Its two straps had little ruffles coming off the sides to complement the ruffles coming off the bottom. It was a v-neck, cutting much lower than she was comfortable with.


            In short, the dress looked smashing on her.


            “I presume you will be purchasing this, ma’am?” The lady helper inquired.


            “Er, the man I came in with is buying it for me.” Mamori corrected her. Answering had made Mamori faintly ponder what her relationship was with Hiruma.


            “Very well then,” the woman nodded once, “would you like to show your companion before he buys it?”


            “…Yes.” Mamori supposed Hiruma had a right to see what he was going to be buying before he bought it. The lady quickly folded up the clothes Mamori had been wearing and led Mamori back to where Hiruma was waiting.


            Hiruma’s eyebrows shot up in what appeared to mild surprise. He had known the dress was going to look good on Mamori, but not nearly as good as it actually did.


            “That’s the one.” Hiruma told the clerk very a-matter-a-factly. “How much?” The clerk named the price and Hiruma wrote him a check. The clerk frowned in disapproval and Hiruma made a small comment about living in the United States. Just as he finished penning his signature, Mamori had come within speaking distance.


            “I see.” Mamori commented dryly as she watched Hiruma hand the clerk the check.


            “She’ll be wearing it out.” Hiruma told the clerk.


            “Allow me to remove the tag.” The clerk walked over and untied the price tag from the zipper of Mamori’s dress. During this time Hiruma got a good look at the back of the dress. It was low in the back, with beaded embroidery down the sides.


            “Thank you for your patronage.” The clerk and the lady bowed.


            “Come on.” Hiruma grabbed Mamori’s hand and lead her out of the store and onto the street before she could protest.


            “…Why are you doing this?” Mamori demanded when they reached the curb.


            “…Isn’t this what you wanted?” Hiruma gave her a confused look.


            “What do you-?” Mamori’s question was cut off by the arrival of Testuma and the limo.


            “Cataluna, right?” Tetsuma confirmed as he opened the passenger’s door for them.


            “Yes.” Hiruma nodded and climbed into the limo, ignoring the fact that Mamori had begun to ask a question. Mamori rolled her eyes and climbed in after him. Tetsuma shut the door, settling the two into silence.


            “...Why are you here in Japan?” Mamori asked Hiruma suddenly. “The real reason, not this whole business shit you’re pulling with my boss.”


            “Vacation.” Hiruma answered simply.


            “A vacation?” Mamori stared at him in disbelief. “You could have gone to France for a vacation!”


            “I don’t speak French.” Hiruma pointed out.


            “As if that would have really stopped you.” Mamori gave him a look.


            “No, it wouldn’t have.” Hiruma agreed.


            “Seriously, why Japan?” Mamori was curious now.


            Hiruma didn’t answer right away. “…I wanted to see certain people face to face.”


            “Oh?” Mamori prompted when Hiruma didn’t elaborate.


            “Talking to fatty on the phone just isn’t as interesting as talking to him in person.” Hiruma admitted with a chuckle.


            “Why are you staying at Kurita’s anyways?” Mamori couldn’t help but to wander.


            “Fatty wanted me to.” Hiruma answered.


            “You’re still good friends with Kurita and Musashi, huh?” Mamori was a little thoughtful.


            “Any reason I shouldn’t be?” Hiruma asked her. “I wouldn’t be in the NFL if it hadn’t been for them.”


            “I suppose that’s true.” Mamori admitted.


            “Do you still talk to Sara and Ako?” Hiruma asked even though he already knew the answer.


            “…No.” Mamori sighed.


            “Do you talk to anyone from high school?” Hiruma couldn’t help but to ask. He knew she has sporadic contact with the members of the American Football Club, but he didn’t know the extent of that contact.


            “Sena and Riku mainly.” Mamori admitted after a while. “Occasionally Musashi and I have coffee in the morning.”


            “He didn’t tell you I was coming to town.” Hiruma observed.


            “I haven’t seen him in four months.” Mamori admitted.


            “…I see.” Hiruma commented and allowed the limo to fall into silence. Mamori’s isolation was worse than Hiruma had initially thought.


            “Have you made any new friends in America?” Mamori asked, trying to escape the silence that had fallen over them.


            “A few.” Hiruma answered, actively choosing to be vague; he didn’t want her to get depressed.


            “That’s good.” Mamori had a small smile on her face. It reminded Hiruma of the smile she had worn at Sena’s high school graduation. It was the last time the two had seen the each other in person.


            ‘Is she happy for me or is she proud of me?’ Hiruma couldn’t help but to wonder.


            “We’re here.” Tetsuma announced in his usual monotone voice as he pulled the limo to a stop. Mamori glanced out the window at the enormous sky scrapper. Looking at the large building made her feel small and insignificant. She sighed and climbed out the limo behind Hiruma.


            The quarterback turned slightly and offered her his arm, much to Mamori’s surprise. She simply stared, not sure what to say. Hiruma nudged his elbow forward, trying to make his intent more clear since Mamori wasn’t responding.


            “When should I be back?” Tetsuma asked the two.


            “Two hours.” Hiruma turned to look Tetsuma in the eye. “If it’s not inconvenient, I can get another ride.”


            Tetsuma nodded once, shut the door, and drove the limo away.


            Hiruma turned back to Mamori and gave her a tired expression.


            “Are you going to take it or not?” Hiruma almost growled at her in exasperation.


            “I’m sorry.” Mamori muttered. “I didn’t expect you to really be offering me your arm.”


            “I’m not in high school anymore.” Hiruma rolled his eyes at her, clearly annoyed. Mamori took his arm quickly, feeling stupid again. Why was Hiruma such a child in her mind, he’d already proven that he’d grown up.


            “How often do you go here?” Hiruma asked as they walked into the lobby and made their way over to the elevator that lead to Cataluna proper.


            “This will be my second time.” Mamori admitted. Her first time had come about by similar circumstances to this one. She had been with a man whom her boss had told her to soften up. As the evening had progressed, Mamori found that dinner was suddenly over and her body was spread out before the man on a hotel bed. Silently, Mamori prayed that this time would not turn out the same.


            “Second time?” Hiruma’s eyebrows went up, to him this was news. “I thought your boss had dinners here more often than that.”


            “Not with me there.” Mamori told Hiruma simply.


            “Then how’d you come here a first time?” Hiruma’s expression was one Mamori had not seen in a long time. It was the expression he wore when he had been caught off guard by an opposing team and was trying to find a hole in their formation. Mamori took in that expression and wondered how much Hiruma knew about her life. This was the first time something she had said caught him honestly by surprise by something she’d done.


            “You don’t know.” Mamori observed.


            “That’s why I’m asking.” Hiruma continued to try and puzzle out the circumstances.


            “I don’t feel like telling you.” Mamori looked away from him. She was keeping the memories of the last time she was here under control, talking about them was the last thing she wanted.


            Hiruma said nothing and frowned. Mamori was acting like most people did when they had a dark secret, he had years of blackmailing experience to confirm her current actions. On top of that, she was choosing to shut him out. This was making his plans still work harder and harder.


            “Your reservation, sir?” The host asked when they stepped into the elevator.


            Hiruma smirked and pulled out his treat notebook, opening it to a specific page automatically.


            “A reservation for two under the name ‘Hiruma Youichi’.” Hiruma told the host with a large, menacing smirk. “It should have come in today.”


            The host paled at the sight of both the threat notebook and Hiruma’s expression. Mamori identified the man as Satake Yohei, a former helper of the Devil Bats. The man scrambled, trying to find something amongst the myriad collection of papers on the desk.


            “Ah, yes, here it is!” Satake held up a paper triumphantly. “You’re right on time.”


            “Good.” Hiruma commented, putting away the notebook.


            “You still keep that thing around?” Mamori gave him an unimpressed look.


            “It’s handy.” Hiruma smirked reminded her with a smirk.


            “Only when you want to exploit others for yourself.” Mamori frowned at him, making her disapproval clear as day.


            “Would you rather have me bribe him?” Hiruma asked her.


            “I would rather have you wait your turn like a normal person.” Mamori answered.


            Hiruma snorted. “This is coming from the person who wanted to come here today, not next week.”


            “Wait-!” Mamori was cut off by the elevator dinging, signaling their arrival.


            “Kasumi will be leading you to your table this afternoon, may you please enjoy your stay here.” Satake bowed as the doors opened and Hiruma whisked her out of the elevator. A woman, presumably Kasumi, appeared on their left and led the two to a table near the windows.


            It was about the same place Mamori sat last time.


            Kasumi pulled Mamori’s chair away from the table as Hiruma released her from his arm. Mamori let herself be seated at the table. Hiruma sat himself much to the chagrin of Kasumi. Without letting Hiruma get to her, Kasumi laid out menus for the two of them.


            “Nozomi-chan will be your waitress this afternoon, she’ll be here shortly to take your drink orders.” Kasumi bowed and disappeared.


            Hiruma didn’t say anything and pulled open his menu, quickly scanning it. Mamori sensed that there would be no more conversation at this point, opened up her menu looking over the selection carefully. She knew that she would not be getting any alcohol today, she couldn’t risk it opening her tongue or her emotions.


            “I’ve never been here before.” Hiruma commented suddenly, not having bothered to pull down his menu to talk to her.


            Mamori choose not to say anything, not being entirely sure what he was trying to do by saying that.


            “…Are the house specials any good?” Hiruma asked her, referring to the custom mixed drinks on the menu.


            “No clue.” Mamori answered, not having ordered any of the strange concoctions the last time she was here. She had stuck with a good red wine, since that was simple and safe.


            “Ah.” Hiruma understood, some of the descriptions reminded him of instructions for making bombs, he decided he’d pick something safer. Shutting the menu with an audible snap, Hiruma looked over at Mamori as she pondered the menu. She concentrated on it with expressions he had seen her use when she looked over school work or strategy plans. The familiar expression comforted him; some things in a person will never change.


            Mamori shut her menu and set it down in front of her. She met Hiruma’s analysis gaze.


            “Good afternoon, I am Nozomi, your waitress for today.” Nozomi introduced herself, having appeared very discretely.


            “I’d like a Bombay Sapphire, wet, up, with extra olives.” Hiruma ordered with practiced ease [1]. Nozomi didn’t blink at the drink order and merely wrote it down. She turned her gaze to Mamori.


            “And for you, ma’am?” Nozomi asked.


            “I just want a water to start with.” Mamori answered.


            “Would you like to hold onto the menu?” Nozomi asked her.


            “No.” Mamori handed the waitress the drink menu. Nozomi handed her a new menu, this one had food on it.


            “I will be back within 15 minutes with your drinks.” Nozomi bowed and walked away, quickly fading out into the restaurant.


            “…What the heck did you just order?” Mamori couldn’t help but to ask.


            “A martini.” Hiruma answered with a small smile.


            “Oh.” Mamori didn’t really have much to say to that. A martini was very fitting drink for Hiruma’s personality, especially a very specific one. She wasn’t much of a martini drinker, so she had no idea how his drink particular martini differed from a normal one.


            “Why didn’t you order a drink?” Hiruma asked her, mildly curious.


            “I don’t drink when I’m working.” Mamori answered very a matter-a-factly.


            “You’re working right now?” Hiruma cocked his head at her. Mamori opened her mouth, but then shut it, choosing not to say anything. Hiruma said nothing, understanding her meaning.


            “Your boss asked you to join me for lunch.” Hiruma didn’t guess what had happened. “You didn’t want to go, so you told me you’d only come if I took you to a place like this, huh?”


            Mamori continued to say nothing.


            “And here I thought I was going to have a nice lunch with an old friend.” Hiruma leaned back into his chair, his expression unreadable.


            “I’m sorry.” Mamori looked away, knowing he understood everything.


            “On top of that, you didn’t really want to come here,” Hiruma gestured around him, despite the fact that Mamori wasn’t looking at him, “because this place has bad memories for you.”


            Mamori gasped and stared at him. She had not intended to be that transparent.


            “Personally, I’d have rather gone to Devie’s.” Hiruma admitted to her [2]. “And spent the lunch hour chatting about what we’ve been doing in our lives since we were last in contact. I’m sure that would have been a more pleasant experience for both of us.”


            Mamori didn’t say anything, feeling like she had both deceived Hiruma and let him down. She looked at the floor, unable to hold his gaze.


            “And more importantly, you would have forgotten about working and just had a good time.” Hiruma shut his eyes for a long blink.


            “Sorry.” Mamori muttered again.


            “Why,” Hiruma asked, “do you make yourself so unhappy?”


            Mamori didn’t have an answer for him.



[1] – I don’t really know what this means exactly, but my father (who love martinis) always orders his this way.

[2] – If you look very carefully in the manga, the restaurant they are always eating at is called Devie’s. I am presuming it is not unlike Denny’s or Shari’s.

Click here to go to part 3.

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