Participation; the fact of taking part, as in some action or attempt.
“Quiorra, why is it that I always end up between the bad guys and you on a computer?”
I swiftly decided to ignore my assigned partner, the eminent Detective David Barreck as it were, along with the constant sounds of flying grunts and bruised egos. The fists and kicks behind me flowed just as quickly as my fingers over the keyboard in front of me. After a few moments, the noise subsided until only my partner’s heavy, slow breathing came up behind me. I didn’t even spare him a glance or pause in my typing to answer the silent question in his brown gaze, knowing he was giving me an eager look.
“I’m almost done.”
A short response turned into a groan as red lights flashed from the walls with long insanely loud honks of the security alarm following it. One of the Mafia’s lower ranks must have slipped through David’s impatience, and a quick glance away from the screen to his deadpan expression confirmed it. He’s the kind of man that gave a straight face when annoyed or frustrated. However, sometimes his eye would twitch if he was really ticked off.
“Now would be a good time for you to finish up, Girly.”
I have nothing to say about the nickname, I am a girl after all, but noticed his gaze shift from me to the door and back worriedly. I calmly continued to type at an astounding pace as I chewed my favorite bubble gum, blowing a small blue bubble and letting it pop before allowing a bored response to leave my lips.
“If only life were perfect.”
I only needed a few more minutes, then I could receive the information we needed. Well, that our boss over at the Police Department needed.
A moment of silence passed before my partner couldn’t seem to take it anymore. And what a blessed silence it could have been too. You know, if not for the really obnoxious red lights and blaring alarms. I refused the urge to sigh, only blowing another bubble instead, getting the satisfying pop afterward. His gaze shifted back to me.
“Do you have a positive cell in your body..?”
I almost laughed at his defeated tone, as if he had already given up on trying to figure me out. However, my external expression hadn’t changed a bit as I continued my job. I finally broke through the firewall on the computer and smoothly plugged in a USB drive to start transferring the required information onto it. Finally, I removed my hands from the keyboard, turning the chair to look directly at the Detective, a bit of amusement in my eyes as I spoke with heavy sarcasm.
“I’m positive you already have the answer to that question.”
He ran a hand through his ginger red hair as he let out a sigh.
“I was afraid you were going to say that.”
I let out a soft snort before glancing at the screen and crossing my arms. The process was taking longer than I would prefer, and the alarm was giving me a headache. In all actuality, it had only been fifteen minutes since we had entered the room while being chased down by the Mafia. The same Mafia we were trying to prove was transferring illegal data to private investors and phony advisers of big companies. They also seemed to be tied to the Black Market from what little information I had seen.
I wasn't surprised when the door burst back open, ending my thought process. Four more tattoo-coated thugs ran in with shotguns and knives in their hands. The men stood, a staring contest began between us and them. I glanced at the screen and then to David standing next to me, noticing that his hand was already hovering over the hilt of his own gun as he met my gaze. I blinked twice, indicating how much time I needed him to spare me. Two minutes, that was all I needed.
We both shifted back to our original positions, staring at the other party and waiting for the right moment, seeing who would move first. The only thing I could hear was the slow sound of chewing from my mouth. Then as if on cue, the small pop from my next bubble became the signal needed for my partner to quickly draw his pistol and shoot one of the men in the shoulder, making him cry out in pain and drop his own gun he had tried to pull out. Quickly, another man went to shoot but was shot by David in the forearm as well, making him drop his weapon also. The other two men came at the Detective with knives in their hands, yelling in anger as they charged. Not seeming to want to waste anymore bullets, the tall ginger known as my partner put away his gun as he dodged their flimsy swipes before finding an opening to kick the knife out of one of the thug’s hands and punching him hard in the jaw, making me wince in pity as he fell to the cold unforgiving floor unconscious. David turned to the other man, still dodging his attacks swiftly before taking care of him as well with a harsh elbow to the gut.
He turned to me, breath heavy and sweat noticeably running down his face.
“Would it have killed you to help out an Old Man?”
I rolled my eyes before giving him a bored look. As if he was a day over twenty-five. Of course, with me being nineteen, it did give us an age gap. Still, with my lazy personality, I wondered if he even remembered who he was talking to. As usual, sarcasm was weighing in my tone.
“I think it would have, yeah.”
I ignored his look as I turned back to the computer that had finally finished processing. Another bubble from my mouth burst as I pulled out the USB drive holding all the information we had come for. I stood and walked over to my partner, who was currently fixing his brown trenchcoat and dark blue suit underneath. I took the moment to dust off my white clothes and adjust my black hat, looking over at him with the drive in between my fingers.
That was all he needed to hear before making his way towards the door, me following close behind. Several gunshots, throwing knives, and flying limbs later, we somehow made it out of the building with only minor injuries, the drive, and our lives. We didn’t reach the car until after a few blocks of running, but honestly, I was just thankful that I didn’t have to listen to that horrible alarm anymore. Sadly, it had already done its damage. My migraine was growing by the minute and as soon as we got into the black Porsche, I dug into the glove compartment in search of some ibuprofen. David punched the gas and we were off. I groaned when the pills were found and silenced the car beeping at me by pulling my seatbelt over my body and clicking it in. Taking out the gum in my mouth and throwing it away, I quickly undid the lid of the small plastic container, popping a couple pills into my mouth. Hopefully, they’ll take effect quickly.
I gazed behind us through the back tinted window, watching as streetlights glowed like speeding fireflies. Thankfully, we weren’t being followed. I leaned back in my seat, hearing a hiss from the man driving. I looked over out of the corner of my eye, too lazy and tired to move my head in his direction. There was a three-inch cut in his shoulder that had managed to cut through his many layers of clothing, staining them in red. In the success of our assignment, I decided to let a smirk sneak onto my face.
“Think you’re gonna make it?”
Even though there wasn’t an inch of worry in my voice, his lips twitched into a lopsided smile as his eyes flashed with amusement, not daring to look away from the road as he drove.
“I’d say the odds are in my favor.”
He knew better than anyone that I didn’t joke often, and when I did he’d always play along. It’s been almost six months since this whole venture started. The adventures of becoming partners and being under the government’s unreasonable orders. Really, I’m much more suited for the lazy life...
I moved my gaze to the window, watching as the dark world, empty from it being so late at night, blurred right on by.
“Good, I’d hate to be the talk of the town.”
Really, if the City’s famous Detective Barreck died and I came back to the Station with the information on my own, a bored hacker helping the police while under probation because she happened to hack into something she shouldn’t have, who knows what they would tell the citizens. I’d rather not be the center of attention. Good or bad.
He merely chuckled at me.
“Don’t worry, I don’t plan to die anytime soon. What kind of partner would that make me?”
“A dead one.”
A moment of silence followed and I knew he was resisting the urge to turn away from the road to give me the same deadpan expression that always proved he was inwardly annoyed.
“You just can’t help yourself, can you?”
I fought off another smirk.
“Nope, not really.”
“Geez...What am I going to do with you?”
“Do you really-”
“No, I don’t want you to answer that question.”
I snickered inwardly. It was always fun to get him to this point in our conversations, where he would catch onto what I would say next and cut me off in annoyance.
“Come on David, don’t you enjoy my sarcastic comments?”
He narrowed his eyes, groaning as he turned at the light.
“Oh yeah, almost as much as the cut in my shoulder...Great, now I’m being sarcastic. It’s contagious!”
I chuckled but winced as my migraine pounded briefly behind my eye before subsiding.
“Yeah, as contagious as my migraine.”
“Quiorra Novak, I know you have a sharper tongue when your head is pounding, but could you maybe let me be the one to complain this time around? I am bleeding through my clothes, you know.”
I refused to roll my eyes, fearing that the pounding would worsen, so instead, I just reflected his small amused smile. That too was contagious.
“Fine you Big Baby, you’re allowed to complain.”
“Oh thanks, Princess, I’m honored to have your permission.”
I closed my eyes, relaxing in my chair, ignoring the rub of the seatbelt, growing headache, and my own annoyance for that nickname.
“Shut up. Wake me up when we’re there, or do you want me to stay up with you to keep you awake?”
“If it wasn’t for the total lack of care in your voice, I might’ve believed that offer was from the bottom of your heart.”
I cracked a smile, slowly letting sleep get closer and closer.
“You’re not even going to listen to me anymore, huh?”
“Cold, Partner. How many times have I saved your life again?”
I heard him chuckle and could imagine him shaking his head and raising his hands as if he decided to finally give up. Honestly, I just couldn’t resist the comforting thought of sleep anymore, even if I did want to prolong our fun conversation. I was about half asleep when he responded.
“Sleep well, Girly. You did a fine job.”