nightcat_hekasu: (Lupin III)
[personal profile] nightcat_hekasu
Title: The New Year's Arrest
Fandom: Lupin III
Genre: Gen/Friendship
Rating/Warnings: PG-13 for light swearing and alcohol use.
Characters: Lupin, Zenigata
Summary: It's New Year's Eve in Times Square and Zenigata has Lupin cuffed, but the thief doesn't make any move to escape. Just what is Lupin planning?

Disclaimer: Anything recognizable belongs to Monkey Punch.

The winter wind stung at his face, but it didn't seem to put a damper on the party happening far below. From the top of the tall building Inspector Zenigata had a clear view of the mass of people and flashing lights that was the Times Square New Year's Eve celebration. A distorted mix of excited screaming and the thumping bass line of the pop starlet's song dominated the air. The wind picked up again and for a moment he wished that he were among them. It wasn't really his sort of scene, but at least it would be warmer.

"Drink, Pops?"

Zenigata glared at the reason he was up there in the first place. Lupin held out the stolen one-of-a-kind bottle of wine to him. The cork had already been removed.

"That's destruction of property," he muttered.

Lupin shrugged and looked at the label. "Then why make a wine and never let anybody drink it? It's not even a vintage! I'd hate to see it go to waste."

Zenigata watched as the thief took a swing from the bottle. Mentally he cursed the designers of the building's security system. If that stupid door hadn't locked behind them then Lupin would have been behind bars by now. Instead he wasted almost half an hour alternating between searching for another route down and beating and cursing at the locked door. Finally he had grudgingly decided to wait it out and hope that back-up came soon.

Not that it would make much of a difference, he hated to admit. Lupin always had a way out, so he was sticking around for a reason. He was even still handcuffed to him! The little weasel had a plan, he just knew it.

"So, out with it," Zenigata finally said. "Where's Jigen hiding?"

Lupin exhaled loudly as the bottle left his lips. "Not tonight, Pops. He's in Chicago for some personal business. I wanted to go with him but he felt that my presence would make things worse. Meaning he didn't want me to meet his hot sister."

Zenigata stored that little nugget of information away in his mind. That was new something to add to Jigen's file once he got down from here. "What about Fujiko and Goemon?"

Lupin snorted. "Goemon did his annual disappearing act last month after he got hurt on our last heist. He says he needs to train more, but I maintain that he's just embarrassed that he twisted his ankle running up some stairs. Fujiko got a lead about some sapphire in Malta and decided to ditch me just before Christmas. Last I heard she was living it up with the aristocracy there."

Zenigata was surprised to hear a hint of venom in Lupin's tone. The thief slumped and took another drink of wine. His eyes had a sad look about them as he looked down towards the party below. The crowd roared as the singer finished her song and said her thanks to the crowd. A small smile twitched at the corner of Lupin's lips.

"Her voice sounds like someone beating on a violin with a squeak toy," he said, "but with a body like that I can overlook it for a night. Oh baby…"

Lupin let out a perverted little laugh. Zenigata rolled his eyes and leaned back onto the wall behind them. He watched as his breath made wisps of vapor in the cold air as he replayed what Lupin had said in his mind. Little details started to click into place and he looked back at the thief.

"Was that why you were lying low all this month?" he asked. It hadn't escaped the inspector's notice that Lupin had been less active than usual all December.

A depressed look flashed over Lupin's face so fast than anyone less perspective than Zenigata would have missed it. Lupin quickly masked it with a grin.

"Thieving's no fun without anyone to share it with."

"So why steal this wine tonight?"

That annoying laugh answered him. Zenigata's internal Lupin-alarm was suddenly screaming at him to stay alert. He was getting close to finding out the little monkey's plan.

"Lupin…" he warned.

The thief's grin grew wide and this time it looked genuine. Despite himself, Zenigata felt a little relieved. A confident and amused Lupin he could handle, a depressed Lupin he wasn't so sure about.

"Oh Pops," Lupin shoved the bottle of wine into his hands. Zenigata just managed to grab it before Lupin let go. The last thing he needed was wine soaking into his clothes. "Didn't I just say that thieving's no fun alone? There's something to be said for tricking others into just giving me what I want."

Zenigata had a horrible feeling that he might not be in control of the situation anymore, if at all.

"What do you mean by that?" he asked sharply.

Lupin nodded at the wine. "That was a legitimate purchase, plus a little extra to convince the old owner to allow me to 'steal' it. I'd hate to see it go to waste. Drink up, Pops. That's why I bought it."

The wheels were turning in Zenigata's head. So this… wasn't a heist? The bottle of wine suddenly felt very odd in his hand. It was no longer a piece of evidence, but just an ordinary bottle of wine. Well, as ordinary as a one-of-a-kind wine can be.

"Why?" he asked, though he had a feeling that he already knew the answer.

Lupin smiled at him. It still looked annoying and far too smug, but Zenigata thought that he could sense something warmer behind it as well.

"I wanted to do something fun for New Years," the thief explained. "And I didn't want to do it alone. I knew for a fact that you weren't doing anything tonight, so here we are."

Zenigata wanted to deny it, but he couldn't find a credible lie. The last time he had actually done anything fun for New Year's had been years ago at an ICPO office party. Since then New Year's was just another day of investigating and searching for the man currently sitting beside him.

Finally the inspector pulled his gaze away from Lupin. "What makes you think I want any part of this?" he growled. He wasn't going to give in that easily.

"Don't be like that, Pops," Lupin said, clearly not offended. "Consider it a belated Christmas present to me. Especially after all of the careful thought I put into yours. How did you like it, by the way?"

Zenigata squirmed where he sat. On Christmas Day he had found a small brightly wrapped package outside of his hotel room door. Somehow he hadn't been surprised by the familiar loopy handwriting and annoying cartoon smiley-face. Proper protocol called for him to turn it in as evidence, but either his holiday depression or the cheap liquor he had been drinking convinced him that it wasn't worth it. Inside had been an expensive gold watch, something which he could never afford with his salary. Any fears of it being stolen property had been quelled by the receipt tucked in the box underneath it, the exact price carefully blacked out.

Zenigata realized that he had been rubbing the wrist upon which the watch was on and promptly stopped, though he felt his cheeks get slightly hot with embarrassment. Lupin let out a light chuckle in response.

The harsh sound of a guitar chord stabbed the air and the gathered crowd roared in response. It was all just noise to Zenigata as the rock band screamed and shouted over the crowd, riling them to a near frenzy.

He looked back at Lupin to see the thief bobbing his head along with the music. Zenigata looked back down at the wine bottle in his hands. He knew that he really shouldn't partake on the job, but if what Lupin said was true then chances are the little weasel had made sure that back-up wouldn't be finding them for a while.

The wind picked up once more and a few snowflakes fell onto him. Even his old trench coat wasn't doing much to keep back the cold air and he could no longer hold back a shiver.

He looked back down at the bottle of wine and considered his options. He could sit there and be cold and annoyed for the rest of the night, but what would that really gain him in the end?

Fuck it, he decided and took a gulp. The alcohol was surprisingly sweet and the bitterness only hit him after he swallowed it. Definitely one of the better wines he had tasted.

"Not bad," he admitted as he handed it back to Lupin.

Lupin's grin grew wider. "I would hope so. I paid enough for it."

A relaxed silence reigned as they passed the bottle between them. Far below the band finished their first song and the crowd cheered their approval. The lead singer said something, but all that reached Zenigata's ears was an indecipherable warble. The crowd screamed in response and the band blasted into another song.

The alcohol started to kick in and the inspector could feel warmth spread into his limbs. He hadn't eaten much that night so he knew that he would regret this later, but at that moment it was better than feeling the full extent of the biting wind. If Lupin felt the cold then he did a good job hiding it. Zenigata couldn't imagine that the red jacket did much to keep out the wind.

The handcuffs around their wrists felt almost like ice. The reminder brought back some of the inspector's earlier alertness.

"You haven't slipped out yet," he remarked as he held up their bound wrists.

Lupin passed the bottle back to him. "It's a sign of my sincerity, Pops. Or consider it another Christmas gift. I know how much you love having me cuffed."

Zenigata growled in response to Lupin's laugh and took another swing from the bottle. He considered undoing the cuffs just to prove the little weasel wrong, but thought better of it. Lupin was still a criminal and he was still a cop, truce or no.

The band below finally finished their set and the two obnoxious hosts for the evening announced that it was almost midnight. Lupin cheered along with the crowd and held up the bottle of wine to the massive ball that started to descend above Times Square. Lupin had just as much enthusiasm as the people below as he counted down along with them. Zenigata didn't join in, but he couldn't help the amused smile that appeared on his lips. He wanted to blame it on the alcohol, but Lupin's enthusiasm was admittedly contagious.

"Happy New Year!" Lupin shouted along with the crowd as the ball finally landed and lit up. Fireworks lit up the night sky and cast colorful lights on their surroundings. Lupin tried to sing along with Aud Lang Syne, but after the first couple of lines he just made noise to the tune of the song, obviously not knowing the actual words beyond the chorus. Zenigata shook his head and grabbed the bottle back from the tipsy thief. If he had to endure Lupin singing, he sure as hell wasn't going to do it sober.

He had almost drowned the last of the wine when Lupin finished his rendition of the song. Down below a new band played the opening notes of Imagine. As the crowd moved and sang along with the music Lupin sighed and leaned back against the wall.

"Now I just need a Fujiko to kiss," he said, staring off into the cloudy sky.

Zenigata was tempted to point out that the woman in question would have just run off with the expensive wine had she been there, but held his tongue. He knew that there was no reasoning with Lupin when it came to Fujiko.

The thief made a thoughtful noise and looked over at Zenigata. Lupin's eyes roamed up and down him, making the inspector suddenly feel very uncomfortable.

"Hm…" Lupin scratched his chin. "Maybe if I close my eyes really tight and not use my hands…"

Even through the mounting effects of the alcohol Zenigata knew exactly what Lupin was suggesting and sprung into action. In no time flat he dropped the empty bottle and jumped away from Lupin. The cuff around his wrist dug in painfully and Lupin let out a yelp of surprise as he was pulled along before descending into a fit of laughter.

"Calm down, Pops, I was only kidding," he reassured the wide-eyed cop. "Despite what Jigen may think, I don't think you could get me drunk enough to kiss you."

He eyed the thief for any hint of a lie before Zenigata allowed himself to move back to his old spot. He kept a wary eye on Lupin, still not completely trusting him to keep his hands to himself.

"That goes double for me," Zenigata said. "Wait, what was that about Jigen?"

Lupin turned away from him for a moment and reached into a bag that Zenigata hadn't even realized was there. Just how much planning had he gone through for this? When Lupin turned back he had another bottle of wine in his hand. He began to explain as he got to work on the cork.

"He just has a theory that if I got drunk and desperate enough I would do anything with two legs. Man, make one innocent joke about being like a married couple and suddenly he thinks that I have no standards. Damnit, who the hell corked this thing?" His face twisted in frustration as he struggled to open the bottle.

Zenigata snorted in mild amusement. "Then I won't mention some of the theories floating around Interpol about you two. Pass that here." He didn't wait for Lupin to comply and grabbed the bottle out of the thief's hands. The cork really was crammed in there tightly, but after a couple of tugs it finally came out with a loud pop. He could help but feel a little smug as he turned to pass it back to Lupin, but the master thief already had another bottle in his hand. The cork of the new one came much more easily and Lupin held the open bottle up in triumph.

"Just how much wine did you bring?" Zenigata asked. He wondered just what in the hell Lupin had been expecting out of this night.

"Enough for a good time, but not enough to do anything we'll regret in the morning," Lupin said with a grin. He held up his bottle to Zenigata. "Here's to another year of the chase."

Zenigata decided to just go with it and lightly clanked his bottle against the thief's. "This will be the year I finally arrest you, Lupin."

"You're welcome to try. Happy New Year."

As the cop and the thief drank from their respective bottles, Zenigata briefly reflected on just how strange this whole situation really was. How Lupin wanted the company of the very man who wanted to put him behind bars. How he was sharing a few friendly drinks with someone who he should be hauling to jail at that very moment. How he touched he actually was by Lupin's show of friendship, as much as he didn't want to admit it.

Tomorrow, after he deals with his hangover, he'll return to the chase and catch Lupin once and for all. Tonight, though, he'll just enjoy the company of his most unlikely friend.

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