Teshimine makes a decision.
Teshimine Takeru had been observing the boy, Amano Ginji, for two months. He was seventeen.
At first, he had taken the assignment that was offered to him because he didn't know what else to do. After his mother died, no one had bothered with him much, and although he was old enough to cook and keep his apartment from turning into a complete disaster, he had quickly discovered the unpleasant truth that it wasn't very much fun to be on a permanent vacation. He had gotten so bored when he wasn't going to lessons that he went back after about a month; when he graduated, he was back to having nothing to do again, and the usual occupations of Babylon City youth held no interest for him. So when Brain Trust offered him a job, he'd taken it, despite his reservations about them.
Ginji was bright and friendly. Once Teshimine had helped him find a place and some friends in Lower Town, he was cheerful more often than not. He didn't remember anything before being in Lower Town, and he didn't seem to have been there for very long before Teshimine was sent to find him. He didn't know anyone that he hadn't met, directly or indirectly, through Teshimine. He seemed to be very ordinary, aside from living in Lower Town.
He had assumed when he accepted the job that there was some reason why they would want the boy watched; later he had wondered if it was simply a test to see how he treated the assignment. When the weeks stretched on and still he was told to watch the boy, he favored the first theory again. But the more time he spent with Ginji, the harder it was to believe that there could be any legitimate reason for him to be spying on a six year old boy.
The more he thought about it, the more his doubts grew. He couldn't remember how his mother died, or how he got the scar through his right eye... if he had been just a little bit younger, would he have ended up like Ginji, alone in Lower Town with no memory of his mother at all?
He didn't like the fact that they had Lower Town monitored electronically, either -- or the fact that certain individuals, and Ginji was one of them, could be sought out by name on the system -- but that didn't stop him from using the monitors to find the boy when he was going to meet him. It was faster than just going down and asking around or looking, particularly since Ginji often hid alone in empty or mostly empty buildings. Teshimine had never been sure whether to discourage that tendency. It was safer than being out in plain sight in the street when someone came along looking to cause trouble, but he also might stumble across some unsavory type who was also in hiding, and then there'd be no chance at all of someone spotting a child in trouble and coming to the rescue.
Lately, Ginji had been returning to a spot where Teshimine often brought him, a storage area in one of the old buildings that was cluttered with so much broken furniture that the few useful things they had brought in would go unnoticed. He supposed it wasn't a bad thing; the area seemed safe enough, and was relatively clean, and if it was a place where Ginji felt safer, that was good for him too.
Teshimine met him there, a favorite book in hand, and they sat down on the makeshift couch (cushions on top of crates) and he read to Ginji, explaining things about Outside sometimes, from memories dating back to when he was only about Ginji's age, before his mother moved into Babylon City.
Ginji was too observant not to notice that he was particularly pensive, though, and when the story was done, after gathering his courage, the boy asked, "Is something wrong, Teshimine-san?"
He wasn't surprised, precisely, but he met Ginji's large, concerned eyes for a few moments of silence before he replied. "Not exactly wrong. I've just been thinking about something."
"Thinking about what?" That was one of the things he liked about Ginji -- after he'd gotten over his initial shyness, he wasn't afraid to talk to Teshimine and even ask him questions like that.
"The place where I live."
"...is it a nice place?"
The hopeful look on Ginji's face made a chill run down his spine. "No, it's not. I don't like it very much."
"You could live here instead."
Teshimine couldn't help but smile a little. "You'd like that, would you?"
Judging by Ginji's enthusiastic nod, that was an understatement. It wasn't the sort of thing he should decide lightly, and he knew it, but the more he thought about it, the harder it was to convince himself that he shouldn't do it. He didn't want to work for Brain Trust. He didn't want to live up there. And Ginji shouldn't be alone down here...
"I'd have to make some plans first, but I'm thinking about it."
Ginji was easily frightened and distressed sometimes, and too serious for his years sometimes, but his reaction to that news was pure childish exuberance. "Yay! I'm really glad!"
Teshimine reached out to ruffle Ginji's hair. "Me too. C'mon, let's go out and find somebody for you to play with, hm?"
Ginji scrambled eagerly to his feet, and led the way, fairly bouncing, out of the building.
It was crazy, and he didn't know how he was going to pull it off, or what consequences might come down on them as a result... but all he had to do to know he was doing the right thing was to think of the smile on Ginji's face.