AN: I've been a fan of MTNN for a few years, but am very disappointed in the lack of good fanfiction in this fandom. My hope is that maybe I'll encourage some more to be created?
I've been on a 2-year writing hiatus. I'm pretty sure the other fandoms I write for will be salty I'm not focusing on the in-progress works there. Oops.
I Know You
Long plane trips were a large part of Katsuragi Yako's life now. World fame came with travel, and while the travel was fascinating in and of itself, she found she had a lot of downtime in-flight.
It was when she spent the most time reflecting.
The majority of her reflections were on food, naturally. Going global, she had had the opportunity to taste the richest cultural cuisines, from the most expensive to the most unusual. She kept travel logs, organized by country and filled with lists of food she had tried or planned to try.
There were multiple logs, as the lists were… minutely extensive.
With that said, not all her thoughts were on food. They were her escape, but she was grounded enough to not always need an escape. Sometimes, she thought upon her life up to the present, her future, and the events that made her who she was.
Frequently, those thoughts would spiral down to a single topic – Neuro.
It had been three years, but he was so much of her life even though he was not there. It was natural that he would show up when she was thinking about everything (except possibly food), however there had been a pivoting point somewhere along the way that had subtly changed her view on him.
She was not sure exactly when, but she had developed a sort of affection for her recovering partner. It was a frustrating thing, really. Who would be idiotic enough to be fond of a demon like Neuro? He was a sadistic creature without the ability to feel complex emotions. She was lucky he had 'evolved' enough to be considerate of her existence beyond a cover, but that was the limit to what she could expect.
Hell, she was not even sure she would ever see him again. And never mind his way of spending time with her was focused primarily on torture and abuse.
So who would be idiotic enough? Yako, that's who.
Enough time had passed that she'd managed to bury most of the insane feelings for Neuro that she wished she could blame head trauma on. They still haunted her every once in a while.
She was not sure when she had fallen asleep. On the same note, she was not certain why she had woken up. Something had jostled her from slumber, and she blinked blearily.
Her eyes lifted up to the plane window to see if they were still over the ocean.
She stared at the bottom of the shoe on the glass. It was a bad thing that her first thought was that she recognized that sole from so many times of having it pressed against her face, and not "There's someone standing on my window."
A flash of blue, and a glimpse of long, gloved fingers. She was certain her expression said it all as Neuro grinned at her.
Even though he was outside the plane, she could have sworn she heard his voice. 'This mystery is already on the tip of my tongue.'
He was… back. He was whole. Gone was the shell of a demon that had left her, and back was the creature that dropped into her life right after her father's death. He was practically radiant.
He was grinning in a way that made her stomach lurch. Slowly, he pointed behind her with his middle finger.
She looked over her shoulder and stared at the empty seat beside her. At least, it was supposed to have been empty.
Now it was full of something from the pits of hell – it looked like Venus Flytraps that were birthed from a bad 80s horror film. They were drooling, hissing, and –oh the smell.
She grimaced and slowly looked back to the demon to stare at him. He stared back with that empty grin he loved to give.
"I missed you, too." She said, her tone matching her expression—dry. He raised one thin brow at her in response before walking out of view—likely to ride the plane to her destination.
She looked back to the seat beside her. The plant was still there. It burped a cloud of gas she could only assume was toxic.
It was going to be a long flight. She could not say she minded.
That was the fastest she had ever been able to get off a plane. By the time they had landed in Japan, the entire cabin smelled of what she could only describe as durian.
Never mind that she would still eat durian. She was not foolish enough to eat a plant out of hell itself. Especially one hand-delivered by Neuro.
Apparently, only she could see it, too, as the flight crew was blaming the odor from some poor bloke's bathroom experiences. She was not going to dispute that.
No sooner than getting through customs, she felt a heavy pressure land on her head. Strong fingertips dug into her scalp as she heard the familiar laugh that she had been missing these past few years.
"Fuhahaha, look at this brightly shining slug. So slimy and shiny that I can find you flying over the ocean."
Despite the insult, she smiled. "That's practically a soaring compliment from you, Neuro."
She let him turn her to face him, and she saw his other hand on his chin, taking in her appearance. Under his scrutiny, she could only lift a brow in response. He smiled the entire time.
"I am nothing but full of compliments," He said after a moment, releasing her head. "Actually, that is a lie. I am full of hunger for mysteries."
"I have no doubt," She said, turning to continue towards the baggage claim. "After all, that would be why you're back, yes?"
"Even an earthworm can come to that deduction," He replied, looking around. "It has been long enough. Three years in this time is satisfactory. I was concerned it would be much longer."
She hummed slightly in response. There had been that discussion of time and space differences between their worlds. It had made him hesitate to go back. It had made her wonder if she would ever see him again.
"How long was it in hell?" She asked after a moment, looking around for her bag.
"Three months," He replied.
She was quiet again for a moment. "That's it, huh?"
His fist hit the top of her head, and she made a strangled noise. Somehow, she managed to stay on her feet. "Who do you think I am? I am—"
"The one who devoured the puzzles of the demon world," Yako interrupted. "Brain-eater Neuro."
She turned to him as she pulled her bag off the conveyer belt and hauled it over her shoulder. "And my stupid demon partner who nearly died for his stomach."
He grinned, eyes narrowing. "It is rude to interrupt me, Yako."
"Then say something I do not already know with every fiber of my being," Yako replied. "I know you, Neuro. Three years, and you are no different."
He chuckled deeply. "My, what a fierce human you have become."
Slapping a hand on her shoulder, he turned her with him toward the exit. "Come, let us see what mysteries there are to—ah." He paused, looking back over his shoulder. "You did not bring your flowers, Yako. Were they bad?"
She gave a strained smile. "They were all I would ever expect from you, Neuro."
"Wonderful. Here." The weight of his hand lifted, only to be replaced with the weight and smell of her partner's gift on her shoulders.
She sighed as people began moving away from her, covering their noses.
"Ah, sensei! They have supplements for this kind of digestion issue!"
Why did she ever miss him in the first place?
As they walked out of the airport to hail a taxi, Neuro smiled, teeth glinting in the late morning light. It was good to be back in the world rich with puzzles.
He cast a side-long glance at Yako, who continued to walk with the bouquet of hell-flowers draped over her shoulders, unflinching.
It was logical to seek her out as soon as he was in the world above, as she was his cover, and his partner in solving 'puzzles.'
Despite this, there was a certain sense of… satisfaction in finding her again. If he had to compare the sensation, it was like eating a meal, except not nearly as wonderful a feeling.
He did not dwell on it, as something else grabbed his attention. Already, he could sense a faint mystery nearby. How delightful.
"Neuro! Can I not go to the bathroom first? You kept me trapped at my seat for more than half the flight with this thing!"
"You chose to stay there. It would have simply followed you and embraced you in the stall, much like it is doing now."