Mecha Wars: You're Under Arrest!
Natsumi and Miyuki lead Priss into the little restaurant before she could change her mind, and Priss hung back a bit to watch them walking together. Natsumi was the taller of the two, and seemed very protective of the other woman. But Miyuki's eyes shone with her intelligence, and it was clear she was more than Natsumi's equal.
Natsumi quickly claimed a corner table for them, then she held out a chair for Miyuki. After smiled up at her gratefully, Miyuki sat down gracefully. Natsumi sat beside her, while Priss decided to sit across from them.
A waiter soon appeared, and both Natsumi and Miyuki ordered the same thing. Priss looked at the menu for a moment, did a quick mental calculation on what she could afford, and then told the man, "Medium steak and potatoes, please." She looked over at Natsumi and Miyuki and said, "I'm paying for mine."
Miyuki blinked, "But we invited you out to..."
Natsumi gently put her hand on her lovers arm, looking across the table at her niece. With a slight smile, "It's OK, Miyuki."
Miyuki looked back and forth between Natsumi and Priss, startled again by how alike they looked. And how stubborn both of them were, too. "This is some butch thing, isn't it?" she asked with a little sigh.
Priss just smiled and said, "Thanks." The food was quickly delivered to the table, and they began cautiously eating. Priss finished chewing a bite, sipped some of her wine, and asked, "So how did you find out about me, anyway?"
"You can blame Miyuki," Natsumi looked over at her lover with a grateful smile. She remembered what happened, only a few days ago...
It was part of a regular background check that had to be done so that they could maintain their security clearance. For a private investigator, certain kinds of government work could save or sink an agency, so keeping their clearances updated was essential.
Miyuki was doing a background check on Natsumi, making sure that a 'net search wouldn't produce something that might come back to bite them on the butt. A cross check on her last name brought up a few hits, and an odd listing. The simple line, 'Earthquake survivor' connected to a link. She clicked on it even as she flipped her long braid back over her shoulder, read the newspaper report, and gasped in surprise.
"Natsumi," Miyuki squeaked, "get in here!"
"What?" Natsumi barreled into the office a few moments later, her short brown hair in disarray. "What's wrong?" she asked, looking around worriedly.
"Read this," a rather pale Miyuki pointed her to the computer screen.
Natsumi bent over to read, and her own eyes grew wide. "My sister," she murmured softly, "had a daughter? And she's alive?"
Miyuki turned around in her chair, "You didn't know?"
Natsumi slumped into a nearby chair, her expression grave. "No," she shook her head, "my family and I have been out of touch for years. I knew she had been in Tokyo during the 'quake, but my relatives said they all died."
Miyuki looked at Natsumi for a moment, then loudly called out, "Yoriko?"
The girl with long brown hair walked in Miyuki's office a few moments later, pushing up her round glasses. When Natsumi and the others had decided to go private, they had invited Yoriko along too. The woman was the luckiest person any of them knew, bar none, and they figured they could use that kind of luck.
"What's going on?" Yoriko asked.
"Could you do a full search on this lady?" Miyuki asked, highlighting a name on the bottom of the article: Priss Asagiri.
"No problem," Yoriko settled into the seat once Miyuki got "Why do you want to know?" she asked even as she leaned eagerly into the computer.
"She might just be Natsumi's niece," Miyuki said quietly as she lead the shaken Natsumi out of the room.
Yoriko looked at the closing door in surprise, "What?"
Miyuki lead Natsumi over to the couch they kept in their little office for customers to sit on, and they sat there together. "Do you want to talk about it?" Miyuki asked her gently.
Natsumi puffed out a little breath of air. "Back when I was a teen," she said quietly, "I fell in with a bad crowd. Bike gang, fighting, all that. My dad pretty much disowned me, and my mom and sister went along with it."
"But, you became a police officer," Miyuki protested. "Didn't that make up for..."
"Not in his eyes," Natsumi sighed. She smiled a bit bitterly, "I haven't heard from anyone in my family for years. He just sent a letter after the Tokyo 'quake saying that the emergency forces had declared my sister, her husband, and their daughter dead."
"Obviously, they were wrong," Miyuki said softly. She took Natsumi's hand in her own to quietly ask, "What do you want to do now?"
"I don't know," Natsumi admitted.
The outside door opened and Aoi Futaba strode inside, carrying the take-out bags filled with their lunch. The elegantly dressed woman sat them on top of the front desk before calling out, "Yoriko, lunch is here!"
Yoriko came out of the back offices carrying a file folder which she brought over to Natsumi and Miyuki, "I printed out what I've found on her so far."
"New case?" Aoi asked, reaching out to lightly brush Yoriko's hand.
"Not exactly. It looks like this lady may be Natsumi's niece," Yoriko smiled, the light glinting off her glasses.
"Really," Aoi blinked, nearly dropping the wrapped sandwich she was carrying. She quickly unpacked the other bags, before walking over to look at the pages Miyuki was rifling through.
"Picture, picture," Miyuki murmured. She found one and pulled it out, and all four ladies were soon pouring over it. "Wow," Miyuki murmured.
"She looks so much like you," Yoriko agreed, looking down at the brown haired woman in the print out. She was angry, obviously being photographed unwillingly, and that actually increased the resemblance.
"Check out the eyes," Aoi noted. The woman in the picture had the exact same striking red eyes that Natsumi had.
Natsumi was looking at one of the sheets of paper with an odd look on her face. "She rides motorbikes, too," she said quietly.
"She's the lead singer," Miyuki noted, "with a band called the Replicants. They're Mega-Tokyo based, too," she added thoughtfully.
Natsumi looked at her suspiciously, "What are you thinking?"
"The bands touring schedule is here," Miyuki held up the sheet, "why not go to one of the concerts, see if you can meet her?"
"Couldn't I just phone her first?" Natsumi said nervously.
"And how is that conversation going to go?" Yoriko asked. She mimed picking up a pretend phone, "Hello, Priss? Hi, I'm your Aunt Natsumi! Wanna meet?" She holds the imaginary phone away from her, "Gee, she hung up!"
Aoi chuckled softly, "She's got a point." More seriously, "And I think this would be the sort of thing you have to do face to face."
Natsumi nodded thoughtfully, "You could be right." She looked over at Miyuki and smiled weakly, "So when's the next concert?"
"Tomorrow night," Miyuki handed the schedule over, "they're filling in for another band that canceled at the last minute."
The next night, and Natsumi was arguing with a young man at the stage door. He looked her up and down with a smirk, "No way Priss would be buying what you're sellin'."
Natsumi picked him up by the collar, feeling relieved that she'd told Miyuki that she wanted to do this alone. "Just tell her," she said dangerously, "that there's someone here to see her."
As soon as she let him go he scrambled inside and down a dark hallway. Natsumi stepped away from the door and down a few steps to look out at the street. A few minutes later and she heard movement behind her.
The brown haired young woman stood there in leather, a jacket and short skirt. She looked a bit trashy, but tough, too, someone who you shouldn't mess with. From under the slightly ragged fringe of her hair scarlet eyes looked out cautiously.
"Priss Asagiri?" Natsumi asked her quietly.
"Yes?" Priss asked suspiciously.
Natsumi smiled, pushing her short hair back nervously as she wondered what Priss thought of this older lady standing in front of her. She took a deep breath, "My name is Natsumi Tsujimoto, and I think I'm your aunt."
There was a moment of dead silence, then...
"What?!" Priss exclaimed.
Priss listened to the tale with a smile. "You're friends sound pretty interesting," she admitted, "I'd like to meet them sometime."
Natsumi got an odd look on her face, "They wouldn't..."
Miyuki looked at her curiously, her eyes widened, then she looked around, scanning the tables. A loud sigh, "Four tables over, behind the potted plant."
Priss looked over, and saw two women sitting at the table. The shorter woman with the round glasses on was using a large plant as cover to try to watch them. Her taller companion was reading her menu, looking like she had read it a few times but didn't know what else to do.
Priss snickered softly, "Your friends?"
"Yep," Natsumi sighed.
Priss startled both Natsumi and Miyuki by sliding her chair back and standing. She strode over to the two women, who were looking up at her in shock. "Hi, I'm Priss Asagiri," she said with a grin. She tilted her head to her Aunt's table, "Would you care to join us?"
Yoriko blushed, "Busted."
Aoi got up out of her seat, gently pulling Yoriko up as well. "We'd love to," Aoi smiled at Priss cheerfully, and the three of them walked over to Natsumi and Miyuki's table.
'They're almost as bad as Linna and Nene,' Priss thought to herself with a grin.