It's raining in Yokohama and Goku's gone for a walk and meets someone too familiar. It's not a good thing. Reincarnation story, of sorts. Wild Adapter crossover.
He learns some things because she tells him, like that she's from Manhattan, born and bred. Central Park West she says, with a faint wrinkle in her brow, like she's daring him to challenge her on some point he doesn't understand. He finds out that she teaches English, but she laughs when she says it, like it's a big joke. Her mother's a gallery owner and her father was a marine.
She never tells him, but he finds out very quickly, that she dreams. Muffled screams into the pillow every night and red eyed in the morning. Nearly every morning she spends too long in the shower and smokes most of a pack of cigarettes instead of breakfast. He finds out she likes men with long hands and narrow necks but when she brings them home none of the sounds from the bedroom come from her. Shelly screams when she sleeps, but she fucks in silence.
In all those weeks she never once asks Goku why he's there.
Now she's in a hospital room, tubes and needles attached to every blood vessel, like some kind of horrible creatures from one of her nightmares. Goku's not even supposed to be here, but he can't be anywhere else. He sneaked through security to press his face against the glass showing the operating room. He hates how much is visible and open to anyone with the nerve to peek, because he knows that Shelly would hate it, but she isn't awake to rage now, so he has to hate it for her.
He hates that her eyes don't open, not even when doctors and nurses in masks crowd closer than she likes anyone to be and open her up in ways that are more intimate than she'd ever care to be exposed. He's got his nose so close to the glass that it fogs up and he can't see a thing, but he waits for her eyes to open the way he always waited for Sanzo when he was hurt. He waits and he can't forget the time that Sanzo's eyes didn't and every year since. His palms bleed where his fingernails dig into skin.
He almost doesn't hear someone stepping in behind him. Someone who smells of dry tobacco and guns but doesn't walk like Kubota, which is good. Goku never wants to look at Kubota Makoto ever again, if he can help it. A total stranger is better, even if he smells like Kubota.
"So, you're the boy Makoto asked me to look the other way for," a man's voice says. It's low and a little husky from what sounds like tiredness. He's standing next to Goku, looking through the glass and Goku has to resist the urge to bite his throat out for looking at Shelly. She's been looked at enough, damn it.
"I'm Kasai," the man continues, clearly oblivious to Goku's homicidal instincts or else doing a good job pretending to be. "That's a pretty girl you have there, gaijin or not. Don't worry too much. The doctors are pretty confident."
Goku lets out a long breath and the killing rage fades out. Okay then. That's okay. Shelly can kill whomever she wants for looking at her herself. "Is that right?"
"Yes, that's what they say."
Goku let himself turn around enough to get a look at the man. He looks middle aged and saggy, dressed in a trench coat with an unlit cigarette between his lips, like he wouldn't know what to do without one even if he can't light it so close to the operating room. He smells like Kubota, but doesn't look like him.
"Who the are you, anyway?" Goku asks narrowly. "What do you mean look the other way for?"
Kasai shrugs and nods toward the girl. "She's at the very least an important witness... to something. You can't really expect the police to overlook that sort of thing."
"You're a policeman?" Goku says, unable to suppress an unfriendly growl. Witness or something? What's that supposed to mean anyway?
"That's right, you're a clever boy." The man gives another smile that Goku wants to bite him for, except he looks so tired doing it.
"How do you know Kubota anyway?"
"Mmm... know him? I can't say I do. My nephew's not the sort of boy a person gets to know."
"Nephew? Really?" Goku's voice gets louder and more surprised sounding than he'd meant it to. It's just the idea of Hakkai- or the boy he'd met on the streets all those years ago having a family weirds him out. The idea he came from somewhere instead of just spontaneously being generated from cigarette smoke and dusty books.
Kasai lifts an eyebrow but the question doesn't seem to worry him much.
"Sure, really." Then he turns his attention back to Shelly laying open on the operating table. "She must be some kind of girl. Tough."
"Yeah," Goku says softly, temporarily forgetting everything else. "She's tough."
"She'll probably be deported," Kasai says, as if answering a question even if Goku hasn't asked one. "There's not enough evidence to prosecute her for anything other than possessing an illegal gun and using it in self defense. So it's deportation."
"Um. Oh," Goku whispers, fingers pressed to glass again. He wonders if this will bother her. She didn't seem like she wanted to go home.
"I thought you'd like to know."
"Yeah, that's true." This whole moment feels weird and awkward and Goku wonders if that's inevitable or if it's because this man is Kubota's proxy. Kubota who dragged him away from Shelly for what was probably both their own goods, but if she'd died- but she probably won't. "Um. Is he okay?"
"Makoto? Sure. He usually is. Toki-boy too."
Goku nods slowly, not surprised, but mildly relieved. Well, if he has to leave Japan anyway, he hopes- he doesn't know. Something.
"She won't be awake for at least another day," Kasai says, a few long, silent minutes later.
"I'll wait." After that there's only more silence, but every now and again there's the smell of dusty cigarettes and a Styrofoam cup of hot coffee gets pushed into Goku's hands.
Shelly wakes up at a quiet moment almost thirty-six hours later. It's 3 am and Goku's hands are shaky from caffeine. He almost walks in the room but a nurse comes by and does things, like pulling a breathing tube that makes Shelly gag and wince and giving her water. It seems like forever until she finally leaves and Shelly is blinking at him.
"I dreamed about you," she says hoarsely and the words sound like a challenge. "You lost your mind and I had to shoot you to make you shut up."
"No, you usually just shot at me. You only hit when you were really pissed," Goku murmurs, grinning and taking her hand. Her fingers close around his with an unexpectedly tight grip.
"It's not bullshit, is it?" Shelly says. Her eyes are closed and she sounds exhausted and angry all at once. "You're really not- not human. I'm really- someone else." She gives a sharp head shake that makes her cough a moment later.
"You're really you. Really Shelly. You don't have to shoot at me to make me shut up. Not anymore," Goku whispers, because that's true. This time, she hadn't. Maybe it's age, maybe it's the limiter he's worn so long it's a part of his skin now, not a separate thing at all. Maybe it's Shelly that's different. He'll probably never know. He just knows he lost control for her and she found it for him, just like Sanzo once had.
"I don't care about that shit. I'm tired," she says. Her eyes are open, staring out the window into the buzzing hallway, lit with fluorescent wall lamps. Goku just nods, but she doesn't look at him.
"I don't care. Whatever it is, this is my life. Mine to live. Not that- that other thing. I don't want anything from that," she sounds like she'd be spitting if she weren't so tired. "Not anything."
"Oh," Goku mutters. "Not anything." He stares out the window too. He might be able to forget she were there if he weren't so focused on her every breath. If her fingers weren't wrapped up so tightly in his that they were going numb.
"I miss New York. This city sucks," she adds a moment later, as if making some kind of concession. Goku shrugs. She's still not letting go of his hand.
"You're probably going to get deported," he says a moment later.
"Huh." She snorts in a way that makes him look at her after all. She's smiling, just a faint curve of lip, but really smiling. "Well, that's okay. How about you? You like New York?"
"Me?" Goku's eyes go very, very big and he nods quickly. Never mind about his hand going numb. "Yeah! It's great! Great food! But you said-"
"I mean, you know, whatever," she continues as if he weren't talking. "It's getting kind of boring. Guiliani isn't much of a mayor if you ask me. There might not be a point to you going there."
"No, no, I want to!" Goku rushes out, stumbling over the words.
Shelly nods and her eyes narrow a little around the edges. "But you don't have to. Just because of something that happened some other time. All that's over. Whatever it was."
Goku grins. "But, Shelly, what if I get hungry."
He laughs even when she slams him over the head with a pillow a lot harder than anyone in her condition should ever have been able to. It's a few minutes before he manages to stop laughing and by then she has the pillow tucked back under her head. Her eyelids droop heavily and she yawns.
"Fucking drugs," she mutters. He slides his hand back between her fingers. "Fuck my head."
"Yeah," he whispers.
She blinks her eyes open again. "Look, I can't now. If they're deporting me, so tell him, okay?"
"Tell him? What, who?" Goku asks even though he has an inkling as to who. Shelly was doing some godawful favor for Kubota, he knows more than he wanted to about that. Tell him something about that?
"Tell him I'm sorry that fucker got shot. But he'll find out sooner or later, about the WA shit." Shelly yawns heavily and her fingers loosen in his.
"Oh, yeah," she adds softly after a pause in which Goku almost thinks she's fallen asleep. "Tell him, definitely in the next life. Definitely, definitely. Fucking Gojyo already got his chance this time out." And then she's gone, out like a light before Goku gets a chance to do more than blink. He decides he's better off not thinking about any of that too hard. Drugs talking.
He almost decides not to, but somehow or other he ends up knocking on Kubota's door sometime the next morning. Shelly's dead asleep and fine and maybe he does need to talk to Kubota. It's not his fault he's not who he's not. It's not anything at all.
When the door opens it's just Tokitoh, blinking and rubbing sleep out of his eyes. He glares when he sees Goku.
"What do you want? Go away." The door slams in Goku's face, hard enough the air whistles. Goku laughs inspite of himself.
"Hey, it's not funny!" An angry voice calls from the other side of the door. "That gaijin idiot is fine, right? So go bug her!"
Goku waits for a brief moment before the door opens again and Tokitoh is still there, still glaring holes in him. "And, you know what else? You're an idiot too! And Kubo-chan's not even awake so-"
"Well, I am now," a mild voice says from the doorway across the hall and Kubota pads into the room in a pair of loose pants, hair sleep mussed. "So, you'd better come in."
Goku swallows hard, nods and steps across the threshold into Kubota's world for what he hopes will be the very last time.