The single most annoying part of waking up hungover, Aro found, was not the pounding headache, or the momentary panic of forgetting the location of your wallet or car, or the depression of finding said wallet empty, but the fact that he never remembered to set the coffee pot up the night before, meaning he was stuck, tired and in pain, setting it up and waiting for it to brew in the morning of said hangover. Despite the fact that Kaita had only promised him one beer, one turned into three, and three turned into a twelve-pack on-the-go at the twenty-four-hour Mini-Mart. He turned and propped himself against the counter, noticing that, unlike any normal person, the platinum blonde girl had chosen to forego sleeping on the couch and instead slept on the hardwood floor with her face buried in a pillow. Also, unlike normal people, Kaita had foregone pants and an outer shirt, instead wearing only a halter and her underwear. Aro briefly wondered what someone would think if they walked in right now.

He yawned for the umpteenth time and momentarily cursed himself, as, unlike Kaita, who could and would sleep all day if it wasn't for alarm clocks and loud sergeants, he was stuck in the habit of waking up at exactly six in the morning, regardless if he had twelve hours or two hours of sleep, and despite the fact that it had been two years since he had been last deployed. The coffee pot dinged to announce that the coffee was done. Aro poured himself a cup, walked over to his desk, and shook the mouse of his computer, fully intent on reading the news; maybe there'd be something on the weaponshack from the evening before.

In the corner of his eye, he watched as Kaita stirred, and sat up, blinking wearily. She stood, walked over to him, and leaned on his shoulder, unintentionally digging her elbow into the juncture between his neck and his shoulder. "What time is it?"

Aro rotated his shoulder to shift the weight to a slightly less tender area. "It's about six-thirty. There's coffee if you want to help yourself."

The blonde groaned in response and walked into the kitchen, returning a bit later with a coffee cup filled with the blackish liquid. On her way out, she grabbed one of the chairs surrounding the dinner table and placed it next to where Aro was sitting. "What'd they say about last evening."

"You're so sadistic."

"Don't fuck with me. I saw it was on the other tab. What'd it say?"

"When the owner got back sometime last night, he cleared it out and called it in. Apparently, he didn't do a very good job, as he was arrested for the illegal possession of automatic weapons with the intent to sell. They have no leads on who killed the watchdogs, though."

"Which means they don't give a fuck. They figured it's just scum killing scum, so it's no problem to them, and most of the people don't give a rat's ass and would prefer their taxes spent on finding rapists and murderers, not some 'vigilantes.'" She put her hands up and formed two of her fingers into quotation marks.

"Some gang war, you mean?"

"Nah, gangs here are more into shootouts. If we wanted them to think it was gang-related, then we would've had to pepper the place with a few hundred bullets with AKs."

"Kai, as much as I would love to debate gang warfare with you, I can't take you seriously until you put your pants back on." In reality, it wasn't that her couldn't take her seriously, it was the fact that as he became more awake and the headache started to subside, her lack of pants became increasingly more distracting.

"Then I'm borrowing your washing machineā€¦ and your shower while I'm at it." She hesitated before leaving the room, and smirked, striking a halfway sultry, halfway ridiculous pose. "You know you like it." Before Aro could say anything, she disappeared into the hallway, laughing to herself. It was barely an hour later when she returned, this time fully clothed. "Hey, I'm going back to the apartment to see what I can eliminate and add the new info. You wanna come with?"

"Sure, it's not like I have bills to do or anything."

"You got a month before they're due. Come one, please." By now, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and shoulders and was rocking back and forth. Aro refused to look at her face, knowing full-well what face she was giving him. "Please?" Her voice whimpered a bit.

"God-damnit, Kaita, fine," Aro gave in. "You're a manipulative bitch, y'know?"

Kaita's apartment complex was about a fifteen minute drive away, on the outer edge of a middle class neighborhood. The apartment itself wasn't anything special, as neither Kaita nor her roommate were there most of the time.

Kaita's bedroom was engulfed by her wall of sticky notes, all of which contained names, addresses, connections, phone numbers, and anything else she could dig up, along with photographs taped or tacked in place, and a yarn web elaborate enough to make a spider jealous. "It's much more of a Charlie-Foxtrot than I remember it being," Aro noted.

"You're not in the military anymore, just say what it is," responded a female voice outside of the doorway. Kaita's roommate, Minya, walked in, greeting the both of them with a nod. "You got anything new, Kai?"

"A little bit, but not much, and I'm not sure if it'll be any help," Kaita responding, sticking another note with the information from the night before on the wall. "How's Mory, by the way? Didn't he have an eye exam yesterday?"

"He's doing pretty well. His eyesight, not so much. He now has his third new, stronger prescription of the year, and his contacts are now up to over fifty for three pairs."

"How's he taking it?" Aro asked.

"Better than most, really. I think he accepted the fact that he'd be completely blind by forty, anyway. His optometrist thinks he should give laser surgery another try, but he's not sure. I mean, it did a great lot of jackshit the last two times, why would it do anything the third time?"

"Not to change the topic, but what day is Thursday?" Kaita asked.

"It's the tenth, why?"

"Not what I meant. Anything else that day?"

"Uh, hold on, let me check the calendar." Minya walked out of the room and returned a few seconds later. "It's a full moon."

"Shit," Aro muttered under his breath. He knew he could control the Plague, but he had seven years more experience at it than Kaita

Kaita took the information better than Aro had expected. "We'll have to wait until the seventeenth, and pray that she's still there."

"Oh, and Kai, one more thing. I heard on the news that some weaponshack was found with two people bludgeoned to death and one more in the hospital with a concussion. Did you have anything to do with that?"

"You know violence isn't my way. It's a shame, though. I needed to get some information from them."

"Hn. Well, I need to get going again. Do you need anything at the store while I'm out?"

"Peanut butter," Kaita answered after a few seconds. "Smooth, please, if they have it."

"Will do."

Aro waited until he heard the front door close before turning to the platinum blonde. "You still haven't told her?"

"You think I'm stupid? Half of her family are in some field of law enforcement, and the other half are lawyers. As much as I love her, and would do anything for her, I can't trust her with certain aspects of my life. I barely trust my boss with this information, and he's the one who pays me to do this shit."

"She's been your roommate for a year now and she hardly knows anything about you."

"Min knows a lot about me, just not about that part of me."

"Does she know about the Plague?"

"She has an idea, but I haven't told her much. She's never seen a Plagued form, and I plan to keep it that way. She has enough stress in her life, she doesn't need to worry about me, too."

"It'll catch up to you some day, you know? And you know that when it does, she won't trust you at all?"

"Yeah, and I'll probably end up in jail."

"We'll end up in jail," Aro corrected.

"No, just me. I wouldn't tell them that you were an accomplice. I dragged you into it. If I have to, I'd tell them that you did it out of self-preservation."

"I'm wouldn't let you take the fall by yourself."

Kaita laughed, though it sounded hollow. "Yeah, you would." Kaita had heard that line before, and it ended with her discharge from the military.

Aro gritted his teeth. He had heard the finality in her voice, and decided not to press the subject. He knew bred distrust when he saw it, and Kaita was a prime example.