PARTNERS IN CRIME
A man sat calmly on the lone bench in his detainment cell, his dark, disheveled hair falling in his face while his arms and legs were bound by restraints that looked, to the untrained eye, like nothing more than glowing tubing. Of course, he knew that to struggle against them would likely end in either the loss of a limb or, at the very least, a severely mangled one. This wasn't his first time in lockup. And it would most likely not be his last.
The guard walked past his cell for the fifteenth time that hour and he shot them a dark smile each time. Grunting in indignation behind their helmet, they continued past. He snickered gleefully, taking pleasure in the small annoyances he could instigate from behind the forcefield that blocked the entryway to the tiny room that held him.
At the next pass by the guard, he began to sing as loudly and off-key as possible, swaying his body as much as he could without aggravating the restraints. It was the bawdiest tune he knew and he took extra pleasure in shouting the more inappropriate lyrics. He was really getting into it and reached the second chorus by the time the guard had turned back around to rush to his cell and point the rifle they carried in his hands threateningly at him.
"You know, you won't be set free just because you're being an aggravating ass," the guard warned him.
He grinned from ear to ear back at the guard, his white teeth sparkling menacingly from the darkness of the shadow cast by his hair.
"Why in the galaxy would I want to leave?" he asked, his voice now slightly hoarse from his enthusiastic serenade. "The accommodations here are quite comfy. More's the pity that I won't be here much longer."
"Yea, keep telling yourself that," the guard laughed heartily. "Your bail's been set at fifteen million credits. Where are you gonna get that kind of money?"
"From me," a female voice called out further down the corridor from where the guard stood. "And he is now free to go, so I suggest you get him out of there."
Taken aback, the guard checked the prisoner's updated data on the console beside the cell's doorway to confirm that he was, indeed, a free man. The forcefield flickered and dissipated, leaving the opening clear for entry. The guard entered first and began unlocking the restraints. Behind him a young woman stepped inside as well, her long, blonde hair with bright pink highlights swishing about her shoulders. She gave him a conspiratorial wink, her eyes twinkling with mischief, and he smirked back at her.
Now free of his bindings, he rubbed at his wrists for a few moments before standing. He was informed that his belongings were available for pickup on his way out of the facility and the guard left the two of them to their own devices. The man, towering over the much shorter woman at his side, wrapped his arms around her shoulders and hugged her tightly. Returning the hug, she looked up at him with a playful smile that invited him to kiss her senseless. He happily obliged.
"I missed you," he murmured lovingly, pulling away to look at her once more.
"It's been seventy-two hours since you were arrested and taken into custody," she teased him. "Was it really so terrible without me here?"
"It was absolutely abhorrent here without you," he confessed dramatically, smiling. "Honestly, anywhere is when we're apart."
"Oh, you incurable charmer," she cooed, pecking him quickly on the lips. "Let's get you back to the ship so you can change out of this ridiculous jumpsuit. Honestly, it's a crime against fashion."
"Whatever you say, dear," he laughed, noting she was starting to sound more like his mother.
They made their way back to their ship, a small sport class vessel easily pilotable by only two people. Once they were back on board, he immediately cleaned himself up and changed into his preferred black attire. She was sitting on the edge of the bed in their cabin, watching him with a pleased smile as he secured the last buckle on his boots.
Once they had the proper clearance, they immediately left the docking bay and were soon cruising through the pitch black vastness of space. Their next destination was already set in the ship's navigational computer and all they had to do was relax until it was time to meet with their buyer to complete the arranged transaction.
"Next time, I think it's your turn to get arrested as the distraction," he said, scratching again at his wrists. "I swear they're fastening those things tighter each time. Maybe your tiny arms will fare better."
It was their modus operandi for one-or, on occasion, both-of them to be purposely caught as the perpetrator of a petty crime around the same time as they pulled off a much larger and more high-profile heist. It worked like a charm as they typically were released and in a whole other star system by the time their real misdeed was discovered. Sure, it was a pain to have to keep bailing each other out and, between the two of them, they had a rap sheet nearly a parsec long. It didn't matter. In fact, they figured it helped them build credibility among their peers in the business.
"You poor thing," the woman soothed mockingly. "I'm more than happy to be the patsy next time, but you keep wanting to play the gentleman and insist that you be the bait."
"You're right," he hummed thoughtfully. "I'll take it under consideration for our next job. Anyway, where'd you stash the gem?"
"Wouldn't you like to know?" she quipped, raising a single, saucy brow at him.
His eyes raked over her outfit, pausing to linger momentarily on the corset-like top she wore under her jacket.
"Is that an invitation to find out?" he grinned eagerly.
She rolled her eyes and sighed, "It's in the third hidden cargo hold, where we always put the small stuff. Their scanners would've found it on me when I came to get you, you know."
He pouted in disappointment, then stalked through the ship until he reached a certain area where, if you jiggled the corner just right, that section of floorboard would come loose to reveal a hidden hatch below. A nondescript box lay within that he carefully pulled out. Twisting the top of the box one quarter turn, it spun once on its own before springing open to reveal an emerald-cut gem-a little more than one inch across-that glowed with a pale blue light.
"The famous Neutron Star Diamond," he mused, turning the box in his hand to look at the gem from different angles. "I always thought it would be bigger."
"The whole point of it is that Crepacian gemologists were able to condense an entire neutron star into a small gem," she pointed out flatly as she stood behind him. "It's supposed to be a scientific marvel that can be drooled over by the masses, and bid on by the wealthy."
"Well, If I knew they could do this, I wouldn't have paid so much just to have a measly stardust pink diamond made for your engagement pendant," he remarked, reclosing the box and securing it back in the hatch. "You don't even wear it, anyway."
"I don't think it would go with my current outfit," she said drily, giving him a half smile when he stood up and turned towards her. "And it would be an awfully telling clue as to our real identities, don't you think? It's a pretty unique piece. Besides, it's the sentiment that's more important to me."
"Right again, as usual," he smiled, leaning towards her. "Guess that means I'll just have to buy you something else that goes with black synthetic leather and carbon fiber. How about I ask the Crepacians to put a nebula in obsidian?"
She scoffed, but smiled tenderly at his obsessive tendency to dote on her and pushed weakly at his shoulder with one hand.
"So, what took you so long this time? Usually I'm out in no less than thirty-six hours."
"Well, we were about a million shy of having enough for your bail," she chewed at her lip nervously, suddenly unable to look him in the eye. "So… I had to put in a call."
"I had no choice!" she defended frantically. "Our account was already low because we won't get paid for this job until we deliver the goods. I had to get you out to do that."
He sighed in resignation, "Was he really angry?"
"Surprisingly, no," she shrugged, then smiled slyly at him. "Though he does want to know if we're coming home at all this cycle so that we can show our faces at the seasonal festival."
He groaned, "We probably should, huh?"
"I believe his exact words were that we should 'at least honor our required social obligations responsibly if we wish to continue cavorting around the known universe like this,'" she quoted, dropping her voice in imitation.
He walked over to the bed and sat beside her, pulling her against him with one arm. She leaned into him with a sigh.
"Well, love, I guess we'd better plan to head home after we make this last delivery. Make sure Mom picks out something stunning for you to wear."
"Not to worry," she grinned up at him. "She always does."
It had been at least two cycles since their last trip home, so it really was a long overdue visit. The fact that they were lucky to live the life they had thus far was solely due to his parents, after all. Both of them were oddly sympathetic and understanding of their need for a little excitement and freedom from the responsibilities and duties that plagued them when they were on his home planet. As such, they were content to let the two of them roam the galaxy as the bandits-for-hire, Setsuka and Kain Heel. The caveat was that no one should find out their true identities; Kuon and Kyoko Hizuri, the crowned Prince of the planet of Nauritius and his consort.
3-2-1 LET'S JAM: Can you tell I used to watch too much Cowboy Bebop and Firefly back in the day? Because I can. Thus, I will probably avoid ever writing a space sci-fi AU past this one-shot because it'll probably end up as some weird mishmash of the two with some random Star Wars thrown in. And, yet, I can sense some of you are nodding along enthusiastically with this saying "So? You should totally make this a thing!" I will take it under consideration, but be warned that it might never happen.
Well, I hope you all had as much fun during RenxKyoko week as I did! I honestly can't believe it's over already. I feel like I posted the first story only two days ago. But, maybe that means next year's week will come that much faster! Thanks to everyone who reviewed after each story. I couldn't stop smiling at all of your reactions and you were all so sweet to tell me how much you enjoyed each one. I'll see you all again when I have more stories to share (or when Anomalous gets another chapter, of course)!
AUTHOR OVER AND OUT!