Seven twenty and he'd made good time, but it wasn't until he got to the airport that Youji started to wonder.
They never looked like the maps. Simple enough on paper, these places, but then they always were. Add the human dimension - the storefronts lit up like a festival of lights, the crowds (the noisy clusters of relatives waiting for a glimpse of a familiar face, soberly-suited executives and their liveried drivers waiting for this or that VIP, the travelers themselves wearing creased clothes and closed-off airport faces, all inviduality extinguished by anxiety and exhaustion) and they became unrecognizable, a pulsing, anarchic riot of noise and color and texture and life. Youji was a detective, an assassin and just how did people ever manage to find one another in this place?
Omi had told him nothing; he had been aware of it at the time, though at the time it hadn't really seemed important. Well why the fuck didn't it, Kudou? God, but he'd been an idiot - he accepted it, and moved on, because there'd been nothing he could do. He was in: end of story.
Seven twenty seven. This wasn't what he'd been planning on doing with his evening. Christ, he was hungry, but that should probably wait until Ken got back, just in case...
(And strange, how strange that after all these years apart Omi should just walk casually back into his life. Strange that, hours after Ken had been resurrected, Youji should find himself thinking in terms of buying him a meal and driving him home, and strange to realize he'd been out there all along. How very strange, and sad too, that the normal life they'd both worked so hard to regain should prove such a fragile thing. How easy it had been for it to break - to shatter far beyond repair.)
It was Karin's night off. She'd be disappointed that he wasn't about to spend it with. They'd tentatively made plans - a meal out, an evening in: nothing much, they'd just planned to be together -and here he was breaking them for a fractious fellow murderer. Well... Karin knew sometimes things came up. She knew what he did for a living (or she had done: how could he tell her he'd been offered another position?) the way he worked; there was no such thing as I'll be back by eight, honey when eight o'clock could find him, after hours of nothing, shadowing a stray child down a crowded city street and they all gravitated to Tokyo, these strays. Well... it wasn't like it'd be the first time he'd let her down, or like she'd never done it to him. They were both too old to change, too old and too tired.
Karin had known enough men to know a man's life, any man's life, wasn't that simple. Dreams got smashed, promises broken, just because there was no reason they shouldn't do. Sometimes things just came up...
He did some of his clearest thinking in cafes, over coffee and cigarettes. Sat in a too-bright, too-crowded cafe with some go-to-Hell fancy French name (damn near unpronounceable, too; imagine answering the phone at this place), Youji gazed idly across at a pair of elegantly clad, confidently chattering young women, sisters by the looks of them, perhaps waiting for a husband or a boyfriend to come home and all he could think about was the shadows, was Schwarz. Schuldich. What had he been doing there? What had Omi thought he was playing at? Either, murderers being murderers however you dressed it up, Omi was in no mood to make fine social distinctions, or he'd lost it. The kid was crazy if he thought a Schwarz would consent to be led, absolutely crazy...
... and now that he thought about it, Youji couldn't be sure that wasn't only entirely correct. Omi had to be crazy to want to reform Weiss. And he had to be crazy to come back too.
Seven forty six and what the everliving shit have I done?
Sequestered in the smoking area, an anxious eye on his watch, Youji took a long drag on his cigarette and, leaning against the wall, let his head fall back, sighing. He could have wished for a worse journey. Being trapped in traffic on an evening-crowded highway would have beat hanging round here, with nothing to do but think, and think, and wonder what the Hell he was doing here, what he'd just gone and done.
He'd sold his soul for a flight number.
Welcome home, Kenken.