Summary: D decides that Leon should learn to stop swearing, once and for all.
"Fuck!" Leon sputtered and spit his mouthful of tea all over the room, sending Pon-chan and various cats fleeing for cover beneath the furniture. "I swear to fuck, D, you've been putting even more sugar in this shit."
D gave him the usual disapproving look, and swiftly crossed the room to a small table in the corner. He picked up a small vase painted with intricate designs and a veritable rainbow of colors, and brought it back to hold it up in front of Leon. "That will be thirty cents, Detective."
Leon stared at him, lowering the cup of tea that had so offended his taste buds. "What, you're charging for the fucking sugar I don't even want now?"
"Certainly not, though perhaps that should be my next move, considering how often you come here to insult the tea I so painstakingly prepare for you." D smiled slightly. "No, you will now be required to pay ten cents into this vase for every one of those filthy words you utter while in the shop. That will be forty cents, by the way."
"What?" Leon glared daggers at D, who seemed unfazed as usual. "No. Way. Your delicate fucking ears can put up with a little bit of swearing, you self-righteous dick."
"This is for Christopher's benefit, not for mine," said D, his smile both sweet and serene despite the downright predatory look in his eyes. "A child so young can be so easily molded by the actions and words of his elders. It would be a shame if Chris were to pick up this particular habit of yours, wouldn't it? Just think what problems it could raise for him at school, once he resumes his attendance."
Leon's glare faded, and he opened his mouth, then closed it.
D tapped the jar "Now. Sixty cents, my dear detective."
"Get your crazy fucking goat thing off of me!" Leon yelped, hopping around the room with Tet-chan latched securely onto his right leg by the teeth. "Ow, fuck!"
D clapped his hands once and gave Tet-chan a severe look. "Tet-chan, leave the detective alone. And that will be twenty cents, Detective," he added, once the totetsu had sauntered away and Leon had collapsed on the sofa, rubbing his abused ankle.
"What the- aw, c'mon, D," Leon groaned. "Your sheep was trying to fu- freaking amputate my foot. Besides, Chris isn't even around."
"That is not the point," said D primly. "If you learn to avoid such language at all times, you will not have to be concerned about any accidental slips of the tongue that might take place in front of young Christopher." He plucked the vase from its new and more accessible place of residence on the low table in front of the couch, letting the coins already inside rattle pointedly. "Twenty cents."
Leon groaned again and started rummaging in his pockets for some change.
Chris skipped along beside Pon-chan, both of them taking childish care not to step on the cracks in the sidewalk. We're still going to the aquarium with the Count tomorrow, right? said Chris, most of his attention focused on the asphalt and where his feet landed.
"Oh yeah. Hang on, I've gotta call the station and make sure they know I'm taking the day off." Leon reached into his jacket and pulled out his cell phone. He flipped it open and pressed the on button, and was greeted by a dismal, discordant beep and a blank screen. "Dammit, I thought I charged this up the other day."
Chris looked up. Ten cents! he said cheerfully.
"What? Hey, he's got you keeping an eye on me too?" Leon demanded. "Chris!"
Chris and Pon-chan ran ahead, both laughing and chattering in one way or another. The Count said I should tell you to watch your language, bro! Chris called back.
"I don't really need my little brother babysitting me, D," said Leon, pretending not to sulk in his chair in the corner.
"On the contrary, Detective," said D. "I believe he would make an excellent role model, given that he doesn't curse, consume alcohol, or blacken his lungs and the atmosphere with cigarettes. Would you like a scone?"
They all showed up at the latest crime scene at about the same time. Jill clapped a hand over her mouth and had to run out of the room, and Leon turned pale and looked away from the remains of the man who had been murdered, and his two dogs, who lay dead and dismembered alongside him. Only D surveyed the scene for more than a moment or two. Leon glanced over at him. "You knew 'em?"
"Yes." D lowered his eyes and nodded. "They were from the shop, and he was a good man. One of the few best I've ever encountered."
Leon let out a long breath, and put a hand awkwardly on D's arm. "Shit. I'm sorry. Sorry," he said again, realizing what he'd said.
"Thank you, Detective," said D, more subdued than Leon had ever seen him. He managed a wan smile. "And I think I'll overlook the ten cents this time."
"Yeah." Leon fumbled in his breast pocket, drawing out a stick of gum. He unwrapped it and popped it into his mouth, replacing the scent of death in their part of the room with the smell of spearmint.
D noticed, and asked, "No cigarette?"
"Nah," said Leon, averting his eyes from the corpses and from the Count. "I'm kinda trying to quit."
Chris was playing some sort of dice game with a group of the cats when Leon walked into the petshop. Bro! Chris jumped to his feet, momentarily abandoning the game so that he could run into Leon's open arms.
"Hey, Chris!" Leon picked him up and swung him around, even though Chris was rapidly putting on both inches and pounds. "Oof. Next time, you'll be picking me up," he teased, setting his brother down and ruffling his hair affectionately.
Not yet! Chris protested.
"Well, okay, maybe the time after," Leon relented.
"Good evening, my dear detective." D set the tea tray down on the table to greet him. "We haven't had the pleasure of your company for several days."
"Cut it with the manners thing and have some chocolate," said Leon, producing a small blue and red box from his sleeve. D's expression and attitude changed entirely over the course of the following millisecond, and he rushed forward to cradle the box lovingly in his hands. "And can I talk to you alone for a sec?" Leon asked.
"Ah, yes. This way." Instead of shooing Chris and the animals out of the room, D ushered Leon into the back, and through a plain wooden door, undoing the ribbon on the little box as they went. Leon stepped over the threshold and eyed his surroundings, finding them to be remarkably normal: a large writing desk by the wall, potted plants scattered here and there, a small sofa made to fit only two people. There were rolling meadows and quaint houses outside of the window on the far wall, a view that was probably not located in San Francisco.
Leon ignored it, except to admire it for a brief instant. "We caught the ba- the guy. You know, the one who killed Mr. Nyugen. With the dogs?"
D paused, leaving the box of chocolates only halfway unwrapped. "Oh?"
"Yeah. I kind of, you know. Took the case. Well, me and Jill did." Leon ducked his head in embarrassment. "So yeah, we found the motherfu- fricker. No doubt he's guilty as sin, probably high on something when he did it. He's got a rap sheet a mile long. Assault and battery, armed robbery, grand theft auto, you name it. We've got him by the-" he stopped. "Does balls count for ten cents, or what?"
"Perhaps five." There was nothing subdued about D's smile this time. "Thank you, Detective."
"Yeah, yeah," Leon muttered, cheeks turning a faint shade of pink. "Figures I catch the murderer the one time it's not you."
Leon grimaced and dropped two more quarters into the vase. "Look, I really think you should make exceptions when one of your da- darn birds decides to crap on my head. I know, I know, ten more cents." He hunted for a dime in his wallet, but came up with a nickel and four pennies instead. "Or nine."
"You can pay the tenth later," said D.
"How generous," said Leon under his breath.
D touched his shoulder, and Leon turned to face him. "In the interest of full disclosure, Detective," said D, without a trace of condescension, "I applaud your efforts. You haven't cursed in front of Christopher since our day at the aquarium-"
"Yeah, well, I wasn't exactly expecting that sea lion to break out of its tank just to say hi to you or whatever," Leon pointed out.
"-and you've been controlling yourself admirably, even when it's just the two of us," D finished. "And yes, I must admit that Diego can be a tad overzealous. He won't do it again, I assure you."
"Diego." Leon laughed and shook his head, looking at the Count with an expression akin to wonder. "Only you, D. How come I don't hate you for this whole ten cents per swear word, anyway?"
"Well," D began.
He never finished the sentence. Leon caught him by the waist, pulled him close, and kissed him. D let out a squeak of either surprise or indignation, but then Leon turned his head to the side for a better angle, and D's arms slipped up and around Leon's neck, apparently of their own accord.
After several seconds, Leon broke the kiss, but didn't let go. D didn't either, and so they stood there for another half a minute, surrounded by the excited squawks and squeals of the animals in the shop, minus Tet-chan and Pon-chan, who were off with Chris in one of the jungles or beaches D kept in the back rooms. "Well," Leon murmured, nuzzling D's nose gently with his own. "Fuck."
"Fuck," D repeated faintly, blinking owlishly up at Leon.
Suddenly Leon grinned, his eyes lighting up in the most devilish of manners. "Hey," he said. "That'll be ten cents."