your universe

01 Oct 2017

My humble contributions for Alikou Week 2017.

Day 1: Sweet | Friendship – Modern/University AU
Day 2: Fate | Reassurance – Soulmate AU (matching soul marks)
Day 3: Power Couple | Fairy Tale – Empress and Prime Minister feat. palace servants
Day 4: Blooming | Zepar – Empress and Prime Minister feat. a confused Koumei
Day 5: Family | Dragon & Phoenix – Spy/Field Agents AU
Day 6: Opposites | “We Are The Same” – fanart: Sun King and Moon Queen
Day 7: Alternate Universe | Intimacy – continuation of Day 1

Chapters: 7
Words: 38,049

your universe

Chapter 5
Day 5: Family / Dragon & Phoenix


Alibaba fell on his back with a groan, pinned under Kougyoku’s lithe but strong figure.
For the fifth time that night.
“Do you know,” he said, breathless, “that I always sleep better after you kick my ass?”

(Or: The Spy AU But There’s No Spying, Only Cuddling and Talking About Feelings)

Chapter Notes:

This was actually supposed to be for the ‘Power Couple’ prompt, but the ‘Family / Dragon & Phoenix’ one screamed “MAFIA AU!!!” at me. And I was going to do that until I realized I don’t have enough knowledge for a proper Mafia AU so instead… maybe I should… utilize the fact that I have seen all existing episodes of Agents of SHIELD.

Then I quit on the action and settled for cuddles because I’m that kind of person, I guess.

Oh! And Alibaba and Kougyoku should be on their early 20’s here.

‘This is Dragon to HQ, target has been secured. We’re ready for extraction.’

‘Copy that, Dragon. Seeking your coordinates. Stand by.’

Two figures stood together in the rooftop of one of the tallest buildings in the city. They looked into the view of the streetlights and skyscrapers as they waited in silence.

Then a gust of wind almost blew them back and they heard the quiet hum of the stealth aircraft they recognized as their ride home.

When one of the aircraft doors opened, the taller shadow indicated towards it with a flourish. “After you, princess.”

His companion only gave him a light, playful push before hopping in the jet, and then took a sweeping look of the area before he followed.

As soon as the doors closed, the jet took off. Both agents headed straight towards the cockpit.

“Right on time as always, Koubun.” Kougyoku greeted their pilot with a smile.

“And a great job as always, miss.” Ka Koubun said, smiling back at her. Then he nodded towards her companion. “And you.”

Alibaba only grinned, used to the other man’s blatant favoritism. “Thanks for picking us up, man.”

“It’s my job.” came the nonchalant reply. The pilot then pressed several buttons on his console before speaking up, “This is KE-08, reporting in. Dragon and Phoenix have successfully retrieved the target. Now en route to HQ.”

As the call went on, Alibaba slumped on one of the chairs, sighing deeply as he made himself comfortable. Kougyoku followed, setting a small suitcase down on the table between them before sitting across from him.

“So,” he started, casual now that their job was mostly complete. It had been quite a simple retrieval job. Got a bit tricky, but they managed. “It’s our last mission for a while, yeah? Got any plans for our break?”

Kougyoku started letting down her hair from its updo as she answered. “Not much. I figured I’ll just rest up tomorrow. I haven’t really thought much about after…”

He hummed in approval. “Good plan. Me, I’m gonna sleep all day.”

She let out an amused chuckle as she brushed her long hair with her fingers. “Of course you are.”

“All day for all of two weeks.” he clarified.


“I’m serious!” he insisted laughingly. “We’ve been working day in day out for two months!”

“One of those jobs got us a beach resort stay for a week.” she pointed out. “You got free massages and a hot tub!”

“While running surveillance.” he retorted, raising a finger to emphasize his point. “It’s not a real vacation unless you can be a couch potato all you want, worrying about nothing.”

“Fine, fine.” she finally waved it off, grinning. “Just don’t overdo it. I want to recognize my partner when we return to duty.”

He rolled his eyes, pouting. “I gained a few extra pounds one time …”

“You ate too much, admit it.”

A scandalized gasp. “Fat-shaming!”

“No, I thought you looked adorable!” she laughed. “Adorable, but impractical, because we had to get you a new suit last minute.”

“I recovered!”

It was her turn to roll her eyes. “Yes, it was very impressive.”

He was about to retort when they both felt a shift in the aircraft and realized that they were landing. Ka Koubun called out to let them know that they’re back, and that their boss had issued a mission debrief in order as soon as they arrive.

When they landed, Alibaba took the suitcase that contained their secured target and waited for Kougyoku to put her hair back up on a ponytail before leading the way out.

He hopped off the jet first, then offered her his hand. “You’re welcome anytime to come over and be a couch potato with me. If you want.”

She didn’t need the assistance, but she took his hand anyway and let him help her down to the ground. “I was planning on doing some spring cleaning, shopping and maybe mani-pedi… but thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.”

Casting one last friendly salute towards their pilot, the two finally turned, walking towards the hangar exit and stepping inside headquarters.

Debrief was short and to the point.

“Good job. Keep it up. Dismissed.” their Director said, nodding in his curt manner. It sounded detached and cold, but they knew the man enough to tell that he was pleased. The two each gave a polite bow, thanked him for his time, and turned to exit- “Also.”

Alibaba and Kougyoku paused, looking back expectantly.

“Enjoy your vacation. You deserve it.” was all Kouen said. Then he waved them off again with a huff. “Get out of here.”



Kougyoku was pleased that she was being quite productive.

It had only been five days. So far she had:

  • succeeded in getting a much-needed rest day
  • cleaned up her room (it took a whole day, since their family home was a small castle and her ‘room’ was more like a small flat)
  • seen a movie with Kouha (it was an action movie, full of explosions and fake blood, and she criticized the plot and direction while Kouha complained that the damage wasn’t nearly impressive enough)
  • gone on a shopping spree and gotten her hair and nails done with Hakuei (who was a most excellent companion)

Yes, Kougyoku was indeed feeling good about her vacation so far.

She was lounging in her room, watching a cooking show and taking note of the fancy pasta recipe when she received several texts from none other than her partner.

Alibooboo: BABE!!!

Alibooboo: VACATION!!! IS!!! GREAT!!!

Alibooboo: I LOVE MY LIFE!!!

Kougyoku raised an eyebrow. Who was the last person who broke into her phone again? Oh well, the contact name was mostly harmless. It could be worse.

She only snorted as she typed in her reply:

Really? Have u at least gotten up to shower and brush your teeth?

Alibooboo: ok first of all – ouch

Alibooboo: second – i shower everyday and brush my teeth after every meal!

Alibooboo: third – i went out two days ago to attend mariam’s piano recital and take a vid for cassim who cant be there!!! #adulting

Alibooboo: tho yes i’m living the couch potato life. binge watching stuff. aladdin is here now bc he can smell disney movies from a mile away and he arrived just in time for moana

Alibooboo: were waiting for the popcorn. so how are u?

Aladdin has good taste.

I finished my to-do list early. I’m watching how to cook cheesy rigatoni on tv.

Alibooboo: ok i won’t pretend to know what a rigatoni is

Alibooboo: wait is it a ravioli

Close. It’s pasta. With sausages.

Alibooboo: ooooohhhh

Alibooboo: are you gonna try cooking it?

 Hmmm. Maybe? If I get someone here who’d like to eat it. Everyone’s out.

Alibooboo: ok good luck then!

Alibooboo: but if you get bored making fancy spaghetti… come over we got a ton of movies here and also i finally remembered my netflix password.

Noted. Thanks for the invite.

I’ll text u.

And for good measure, she added a kiss-face emoji.

He replied with two thumbs-up and one heart-hands.



It was late evening by the time Kougyoku dragged herself away from the cooking and lifestyle channels and magazines she had apparently decided to drown in that day.

Maybe she shouldn’t judge Alibaba so much. The couch potato life is indeed nice once in awhile.

She was going to one of the house’s kitchens (why are there? multiple kitchens? why is the house even this big? ugh.) to get herself a snack when she came across Kouen, who was talking to someone on his phone.

“-yes, I’m on my way. Start the preparations. You know what to do.” he was saying, pausing to listen when he saw her standing at the bottom of the staircase.

Kougyoku only smiled, knowing she shouldn’t bother the man. Her big brother was Director of their agency – he was on duty at all times.

She expected him to simply raise a hand in a combination of acknowledgement and goodbye, but instead he walked towards her and when he was only a couple of steps away, he spoke to his phone – “Hold on, give me a minute.”

“Big brother.” she greeted softly, hands fiddling with the hem of her blouse.

“Kougyoku.” he said, expression softening.

“Going to HQ this late?” she asked, letting a hint of worry slip through her features as she looked up at him.

“I have to take care of something.” he answered, laying a hand on her shoulder. “Urgent mission. I might have to take point this time, too.”

Her eyes widened. Kouen hadn’t gone on field missions for a long time now. He was an excellent field agent, of course, but his responsibilities as Director usually kept him in the headquarters overseeing things. “What? Why do you-… Are we short-handed? Do you need me to go on the field? I can do it, I don’t mind-”

“No, it’s fine.” He shook his head, sparing a small smile. “This one’s a solo mission. Not for you.”

Kougyoku frowned. “But-”

“I can handle it. Don’t worry.” he assured her, and any more concerns she had died when he leaned down and dropped a short kiss to the top of her head. “I’ll see you when I get back.”

He didn’t give her time to do anything else, as he brought the phone back to his ear and started speaking again. “Gather whoever’s available – I’ll be there in ten.”

Kougyoku could do nothing but watch as her brother left. She stood there in silence, in the big, empty family mansion.

Koumei was in another mission, she knew. Kouha just finished his own and could very well be on his way home, but now that there was urgent business in HQ, it was highly probable that Kouha would stay there longer to provide support for their brother-slash-Director. Hakuryuu was out of town and Hakuei was somewhere else.

She didn’t realize being on break from work would render her this alone .

Quickly making up her mind, Kougyoku abandoned her late night snack plans, went back to her room, and changed into more appropriate clothes – tank top, skinny jeans, boots, and a bomber jacket. She quickly piled spare clothes into a bag (waterproof, as it was raining), checked her phone battery, and then headed towards the garage.

Vinea was parked in her usual spot, the sleek motorbike easy to spot in its black-and-silver glory, aquamarine highlights almost glowing in the dark. She hopped on the vehicle, slipped on the matching helmet, and drove out.

She hoped Alibaba still had some popcorn.



When the rang the doorbell to Alibaba’s flat, Kougyoku realized that she forgot to send a heads-up. It was too late, however, as the door was opened by-… Morgiana?

“Miss Kougyoku.” the young woman greeted in her usual quiet way, bowing slightly. Polite and to-the-point as always.

“Oh. Hello, Morgiana. Good evening.” Kougyoku smiled back, taking in the girl’s appearance. Morgiana was wearing a shirt too big for her and men’s boxers. Her hair was wet and a towel was draped over her shoulders.

“Mor, who is it?” Alibaba’s familiar voice rang from inside the apartment, followed by his head peering out from the corner to see who his guest was. He blinked. “Kougyoku! Hey, come in! I didn’t know you were coming.”

“Sorry I didn’t text.” Kougyoku said, tentatively stepping into the apartment when Morgiana stepped aside to let her in. She hung up her wet jacket and took off her boots by the entryway.

“Nah, it’s alright. You drove your bike in this weather?” Alibaba said, looking out the window and in the rainy city streets. “What brings you here?”

“Uh…” Kougyoku started, her words lost as she looked between Alibaba making a hot drink in the counter, Morgiana toweling her hair, and then at Aladdin who was sleeping soundly on the couch, cuddling a throwpillow. Alibaba’s living room was a mess of snacks, CD’s and a game console. The home screen of Mario Kart was looping in the TV.

“The rigatoni didn’t work out.” she finally said.

Alibaba was clearly about to tease her, but when he saw her minute frown, he grew concerned. “Hey, everything okay?”

Kougyoku smiled weakly. “Of course.”

Morgiana, catching the look between the two of them, took the initiative and announced, “I’m going to bed.”

“Oh. Already?” Alibaba asked.

“Mm-hm. I have an early shift tomorrow. Good night.”

“Night!” Alibaba called after her before she disappeared to his spare bedroom. Then he looked at Kougyoku. “So… why the long face? Was the not-ravioli really that bad?”

Kougyoku was about to speak when Morgiana came back.

They both watched as she wordlessly walked past them, stopped by the couch, heaved a still sleeping Aladdin up over her shoulders like a sack of potatoes, and then carried him back to the bedroom.

“Wow.” Kougyoku breathed. “I’ll never get used to that.”

“Same.” Alibaba nodded.

Now that they were alone, she finally relaxed, dropping her bag in the couch and standing across him in the counter. “Okay, so… just to clarify: are you with Morgiana or not?”

Alibaba blinked. “I’m… what? With Mor- Oh.” he blushed. “Ohhhh. No. No, it’s not like that!”

Her eyes narrowed. “Really?”

“Really! You know she works nearby, right? It was raining hard and she got stuck, so I told her she could stay here for the night.”

She looked doubtful for a moment, but then he finished stirring the cup of hot chocolate he was making, topped it with marshmallows and slid it across the counter toward her in offering. She sighed because he knew her so well it was almost unfair.

She took the cup. “If you say so.”

“Besides, that’s just weird. She’s like my sister.” Alibaba said with a shudder, then started making chocolate for himself. “That’ll be like dating Mariam. Or Toto, or Aladdin.”

Kougyoku smiled wryly. “Mm. Next time I find him awake, I’ll tell Aladdin you see him as your sister.”

“Ha ha ha- You know what I mean. And don’t tell Aladdin. He’ll love it.”

“You really have to stop adopting everyone you accidentally end up helping on the job, though.”

He pouted. “I can’t help it. Most of them don’t have families left! And you told me you love that about me.”

She pouted back. “And I regret telling you that because it encouraged you.”

Alibaba simply brushed it off, blowing on his drink before taking a sip. “So… what’s the visit for, really? Do we have a new job?”

“No, we’re still on vacation.” Kougyoku looked sheepish when she answered, “I just wanted to punch something.”

“You have a gym in your crazy big mansion.” he pointed out.

“Someone.” she corrected mildly.

“…and that someone is me?” He raised an eyebrow. “I thought I’ve been forgiven for ruining the red heels? I bought you a new pair, right? Didn’t you like it? Or- Wait, is this because of that shiny dress I spilled ink on-”

“Nooooo…” she despaired, rubbing her temples. “It’s not the heels- Oh, I love the new ones you bought for me, actually. Thank you.”

He shrugged. “I owed you after I broke the old ones stabbing someone.”

“I know. And I didn’t like the shiny dress much anyways, so don’t worry about that.”

“Is this the knife then? Are you still mad that I missed my throw?”

She rolled her eyes. “I knew you’d miss. You have the worst throwing aim ever! Please stick to guns. For your sake.”

He frowned. “So why do you want to punch me?”

“I don’t want to punch you.” she said, exasperated. “I wanted to… spar, maybe? I wanted to spar with someone.”

He considered this. “You wanted to let out some steam?”

“Yes. I’d ask Hakuryuu, but he wasn’t around.” then she lowered her voice into a whisper, just to be safe. “Also, he has a crush on Morgiana, so I think it’s nice that I don’t have to tell him that she’s been taken by his good friend Alibaba.”

Alibaba gaped. “No way. Hakuryuu? As in, our Hakuryuu?”

“I heard Kouha teasing him about it.”

“Wow. Okay.” Alibaba said, blowing on his drink again. “So do you still wanna spar? It’s pretty late, but I don’t mind doing a few rounds. Might help me sleep.”

Kougyoku put her drink down. “Are you sure? I’m not ruining movie night or anything?”

“Nope. I’ve watched enough for today, and Aladdin’s knocked out. It’s a lazy night.”

“You’re such a couch potato whenever we’re off-duty. That can’t be healthy.”

“I know, that’s why I think it’s a good thing you came over to beat me up.” he grinned. “Alright, let me change out of my pajamas.”



Alibaba fell on his back with a groan, pinned under Kougyoku’s lithe but strong figure.

For the fifth time that night.

“Do you know,” he said, breathless, “that I always sleep better after you kick my ass?”

Kougyoku let out a small laugh, relaxing as she freed him from her hold but not getting up from where she sat straddling his waist. “Are you asking me to knock you out?”

He grinned teasingly. “Wouldn’t be the first time.”

“Oh my God, it was one time, and I already said sorry!” she said, bashful as she punched his shoulder playfully. “Let me live it down, I really didn’t mean to knock you out!”

“I know. I was teasing.” he grinned, crossing his arms behind his head, not complaining about the weight of his partner sitting on him as he got comfortable in the exercise mat. “So? Let out enough steam yet?”

She nodded, brushing her now messy hair away from her face. “Thanks.”

“Anytime.” he said, raising a fist. “Partners, right?”

She knocked her fist against his with a smile. “Partners.”

Then his mischievous grin softened to a concerned smile as he looked up at her. “Will you tell me what happened to piss you off so much you had to kick my ass five consecutive times?”

“I wasn’t angry…” she admitted, picking at a stray thread on the hem of his tank top. “I think I was… lonely, a bit. And frustrated.”

“About what?”

“My family.”


“I know. Yikes.”

Alibaba looked at her in sympathy. It was one thing to be frustrated over one’s perfectly normal family. It was another thing if your family was like Kougyoku’s.

He tried to blow at the lump of hair sticking to his forehead and getting into his eyes. When it didn’t work, Kougyoku reached down to brush it back. They’d trained together enough for her to not be grossed out by sweat-slicked messy hair.

“What happened?” he asked.

She slid off him only to lie on her back beside him, their shoulders touching. “It wasn’t like they did anything terrible. Just… Things. Lately. Something someone said that made me feel… bad? I’m sure they didn’t mean it that way, but still… I feel like I’m some kind of weak link.”

“What?” He turned his head to look at her. “Hey. Dragon.” the name made her look back at him. “Your actual codename is Dragon , how is that a weak link?”

She pouted, looking up at the ceiling. “Speak for yourself, Phoenix .”

“You know that’s different. They called me that ‘cause I was a loser who set myself on fire by accident during karaoke night and survived because Aladdin dumped a whole bucket of ice on me.”

She had to bring a hand to her face to keep from laughing at the memory.

“But they called you Dragon, unironically, because you’re an actual dragon.”

She sighed. “I’m not.”

“Oh, yeah, you’re not a fire-breathing dragon. More like a water dragon, with a whole ocean’s worth of power and stuff. That’s two-thirds of the Earth, man.”

“I’m not.” she repeated, this time with exasperation.

“You are.” Alibaba returned with just as much exasperation. “Remember when we first met? You almost stabbed me-”

She slapped his arm without much force. “You snuck in through the window!”

“-and then drowned me.”

“It was easy to push you off the window, I knew the pool was there, I just didn’t know you couldn’t swim.”

“Our first job? We didn’t want to work together and screwed it up. I tried negotiating, and I would’ve died if you didn’t unleash hell on those guys.”

“I told you they were past negotiating.”

“Job after that-”

“You caught my fall.”

“-yes, but only after you kicked ass.”

She groaned.

And then she groaned some more when he released a torrent of stories highlighting her ‘badassery’ in the many jobs they’ve taken together for their agency.

Their agency that was also, conveniently, her family.

But she had to admit, it was kind of touching how many stories he was able to recall out of the blue.

She didn’t even really remember the other ones he was talking about.

Did she really fight a man twice her size while only wearing a bathrobe?

That needed confirmation. She asked, “Was that also the time you strangled someone with my bra?”

“Yes, that’s the one. I really never thought bras were that hardcore until I used them in combat.” he answered, all seriousness. “Also, you’re the reason I almost never wear ties anymore.”

“What? Why?”

“I’ve seen what you can do to a man with them. A couple of times. Enough times to scar me for life.”

“I won’t do those to you.” she assured him, but felt the need to add, “Probably.”

He snorted. “I rest my case.” then he tilted his head slightly, to give her a friendly, comforting head-butt. “You’re the most badass girl I ever met.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“Dead serious. But maybe don’t tell Morgiana and Toto, ‘cause I might’ve told them that too.”

This time she sounded judgmental. “Oh my God, you player.”

“No no no – it’s just-… you’re all badasses! But you , Miss Ren, take the cake because of how often I get to witness it!”

“Really? How often?”

“On the regular. Like, on every job? And all my jobs are with you? And this is my day job, so. Pretty much everyday. Except, of course, the past couple days since we’re on break.”

Kougyoku looked back at him before she groaned again, shifting to her side and pressing her forehead to the side of her partner’s arm to avoid looking at him because as much as she liked his blinding bright-as-sunshine smile, it wasn’t helping that much right now.

“Hey…” he said soothingly, moving his arm to tuck her to his side instead, wrapping it around her and resting his hand on her waist. She crept closer and laid her head on his chest without a fight, a hand draped loosely across his torso. “Okay, I think I forgot how gross and sweaty we are right now. You sure you’re okay?”

Kougyoku shrugged. “People cuddle all the time after sex, why can’t we cuddle after sparring?”

“Huh. That’s… a good point.”

Kougyoku was always a picture of a smiling, cheerful young lady decked in fashionable blouses, skirts, dresses and proper heels, hair perfectly done up and manners impeccable. It was easy to forget that she had been trained just as hard as her siblings and cousins were, that she was a terrifying field agent, and from Alibaba’s experience, there were very few things that could genuinely bother her.

(Very few, as in: spiders, horrible fashion sense, and peanuts. Peanuts only because she was allergic to them. That was it. That was the end of the list.)

Even after two years of working together, Alibaba sometimes still did a double-take whenever she switched between cute girl to deadly spy.

After a short round of silence while they waited for their breathing to relax and sync, Kougyoku said, “I feel like all of us in the agen- in the family – we have our… roles and specialties, you see.”


“Kouen is the leader… so he knows how to manage us best. But when the mission needs real, complicated strategies with several contingency plans, he sends in Koumei, right?”

“Mm-hm. Koumei’s the perfect guy for that.” – it scared and amazed Alibaba everytime Koumei came up with several different solutions seconds after being presented the problem.

“When the job needs to be showy, with brute force and loud explosions, it’s Kouha.”

“Yep.” – Alibaba remembered that one time Kouha was on their team. The mission was the least subtle mission ever. Footage even went viral. According to plan. Because that was Kouha.

“If it’s a diplomatic one, he sends Hakuei. If he needs a guy for skilled hand-to-hand combat, there’s Hakuryuu. Even Judal’s got his own stuff, I don’t know what exactly, it’s always top secret, but Kouen always says ‘this one is perfect for Judal’ or something.”

“Okay.” Alibaba nodded. “And that brings us to…?”

“That brings us to me. To the fact that I’m… well… compared to them, I’m nothing really special?”

“Whoa hey, wait, no, I’m not gonna let you say that.”

“Think about it!” she insisted. “I was never even given a job – any job – until you came around!”

That was… true. Two years ago, Alibaba had gone to Kouen seeking help for his own family. The Rens were a solid institution comprised of elite individuals related by blood and their long-time allies whose loyalty had also spanned for generations. Meanwhile, Alibaba’s little troupe was a bunch of misfits with odd skills. Save for Cassim and Mariam, none of them were actual blood relatives. That was why Alibaba had been surprised when Kouen accepted his plea for support. Kou took in his little found family and provided them with protection so long as they used their skills for the agency.

The Kou agency was one of the best, with decent clients and a clean-cut reputation, so for all intents and purposes, Alibaba’s group agreed that they got a good deal.

Alibaba’s first mission with them was Kougyoku’s as well.

Kougyoku hadn’t been pleased that after all her training, when she was finally assigned to a mission, she was paired up with someone who had little experience and not even one of her family. Didn’t they trust her on her own?

Alibaba hadn’t fared any better, because firstly, Kougyoku was scary, and secondly, if he screwed up, he might cost the Rens one of their own and he did not want to know the consequences of that.

But Kouen had been resolute: “ You two will be partners from now on until I state otherwise.”

It was a rocky start, but they eventually developed a decent working relationship, and then a solid friendship, and now after spending their whole career so far as a team, they were a unit.

Still, that didn’t mean Kougyoku wasn’t left wanting.

“Why do they never give me a solo mission?” Kougyoku continued. “Don’t get me wrong, I like working with you, but it makes me wonder if they think I’ll do terrible at the job without you?”

“Ah. I kinda get it now… yeah.”

“What about you? Don’t you want to go solo sometimes?”

“I think… going solo has its advantages. Maybe- It’s a good thing when you’re trusted to like, succeed, all on your own, yeah?”


“I think I’m just… still reeling, like, I still can’t believe Kouen actually adopted my whole… family, that I’m kinda fine with whatever he assigns to me. I’m lucky enough I never actually thought to question it?”

Kougyoku bit her lip. “Sorry, I must sound so spoiled.”

Noooooo.” he soothed, rubbing circles on her back. “I only mean that I understand why you wanna try to go solo. And I might feel like it too someday. It’s just that for me, right now, I’m fine with what I got. It just so happens you’re part of that. Of all of that. And I don’t hate that you’re a part of all of that.”

“Thanks…” she sighed. “You know, I don’t mind that they think we work well together. I mind that they think I’m not good enough on my own.”

“But you’re their wild card.”

“I’m what?”

“That’s your thing, you know. You can do anything .”

This time, she lifted her head to look down at him. “What do you mean?”

He righted the strap of her tank top that slid down her shoulder, then said, “You’re good at everything.”

“I’m… not.”

“Not as good as them in all their… specialties. But you can do a bit of everything! Hear me out: you’re smart like Koumei, you can keep your head cool on negotiations like Hakuei, you’re really good at fighting like Hakuryuu, and let’s face it, that one time you blew up a whole yacht will make Kouha proud.”

“It did. He said we should’ve recorded it.”

“See! That’s you. You’re like… flexible. Like water! I told you-”

“No water dragon puns.”

“-and I’m out.”

She rolled her eyes, but smiled fondly as she perched her chin on his chest.

“I’m proud to be your sidekick.” he said after a while.

“Silly, you’re my partner. You’re pretty great too.”

“And now that I think about it, maybe they just keep us together because… well… it’s optimal cover? Like that one time we went undercover as newlyweds on honeymoon? Can you imagine if you went with Kouha, you look like twins! And your brothers are… well, your brothers. Hakuryuu never does undercover ‘cause he’s a terrible liar. Hakuei is… well, that could work, but there’s still a family resemblance. And I-… I think I’ll feel awkward as hell if it was me with any of your brothers, or even Hakuei, because she’s… like… she’s really big-sister-y?”

Damn. He was right. And she told him so. “That makes… sense. So much sense.”

Was that the actual reason why every time a mission needs two agents to go on undercover together, the first candidates were Kougyoku and Alibaba?

(Do they really always need to be a couple for their covers, though? Sometimes Kougyoku couldn’t help but think maybe Kouen was just having too much fun at their expense. At this point even off-duty sometimes they would slip up and call the other “babe” or “honey”. At times, it wasn’t even a slip-up. It doesn’t help that Alibaba thought that the nicknames were fun. These days Kougyoku is totally unaffected whenever her siblings and cousins asked her how her “boyfriend” was doing. One time Olba asked Alibaba where he had been and Alibaba answered “I was with my wife- I mean I was at work. With. Uh. Not my wife. I… have no wife. I forget sometimes hahaha but I do have a… work-wife. Yep. That was totally what I meant to say!” and now he’s pretty sure his whole family will never let him live that down.)

“You’re worrying too much about this stuff.” Alibaba said, smiling his sunny smile again as he cupped her cheeks. “You’re doing great. You’re not a weak link. There’s no weak link. That’s why Kou is so strong. You’re all assets.”

“You’re part of Kou too, you know.” she said, smiling back softly. “You’re an asset.”

“Oh yeah?”

“You, Mister Phoenix, are the nicest agent I’ve ever known.” she declared. “I don’t know why you’re an agent, really. You’re more like a superhero.”

“Aw. Thank you.”

“And for the record, Kouen didn’t give you your codename because of the karaoke incident.”

“…What? Really?” he blinked. “Kouha told me it was because of that!”

She sent him a look that clearly said, ‘Do you hear yourself right now?’

“Why did I get the name then?” he asked. “I was planning to get a phoenix tattoo, you know? What backstory do I tell my artist now?”

Kougyoku laughed. “Go with the karaoke story because the real one’s confidential.”

“Whoa, what? What’s the real one then?”

“They codenamed you ‘Phoenix’ because,” she paused, probably trying to gather her words, “you go down but you always rise back up. Seriously, how many comebacks have you done even before you joined Kou?”

Alibaba thought about it. Balbadd after his father was murdered and he had to run from the company. Getting into trouble with Aladdin and somehow surviving. Balbadd again , this time coming out of it with Cassim, Mariam, Hassan and Zaynab. The Sindria company didn’t count as it was more like affiliation than recruitment, but there was Reim after that. His stay there was cut short when they went against the Magnostadt faction and the victory cost them too much so Alibaba and his growing ‘family’ had to leave and find somewhere else for support. Finally, there was Kou, their most stable agency so far.

“You’re counting, aren’t you?” Kougyoku asked with a knowing smile.

“Mm-hm.” he answered absently. “…and hoping I won’t have to do anything like that again now that we’re with Kou. I wouldn’t be able to afford to, you know. I’m not on my own anymore. I have… my people. And we’re finally in a good place now.”

He thought of his family again. Aladdin wasn’t getting into any more trouble. Morgiana was free. Cassim, Hassan and Zaynab finally aren’t forced to do some shady agency’s dirty work out of debt, but rather as valued assets on their own. Little Zassan will grow up in a safe home. Mariam was doing very well, the regular medication doing wonders for her health. Toto is getting a chance at college. Olba was dedicated to training his skills as an agent.

“You won’t have to. You know we all put family first in Kou. That’s why Kouen took you in. He knows you’re loyal to your family.” Kougyoku said. “He wouldn’t respect you otherwise.”

“I know.” he nodded. “I still feel lucky.”

She hummed. “I guess you are.”

“How do you know about the phoenix thing?”

“I asked my brother, of course.”

He was surprised. “You did?”

“Yes, shortly after they gave us our codenames.” she said, then she suppressed a giggle. “I asked him why because I thought Phoenix was too cool for you.”

He frowned. “Okay. Ouch.”

To her credit, she looked guilty. “That was before I learned that you weren’t a total loser!”

He decided to make the most of it, sniffing dramatically. “Babe! I am wounded!”

She laughed, still apologetic, then pressed a quick kiss to his jaw before smiling cutely. “Sorry, honey.”

It didn’t even take a second before he wrapped both arms around her and she laid her head back on his chest again, giggling. “Totally forgiven.”

It felt nice, simply being together like this.

He took a deep breath, just holding his best-friend-partner-work-wife closely, until he couldn’t help but let out a grunt as his body started actively complaining .

“Seriously, though. Ouch? For real now? This mat’s not for relaxing at all.”

Kougyoku simply laughed as she drew away and sat up. “Shower?”

He nodded, letting her pull him up. “Shower.”



In the morning, they woke up to Alibaba’s bedroom door being slammed open.


Years of training and instincts kicked in, and by the time Alibaba and Kougyoku both sat up, two loaded guns were trained on the person who dared disrupt their peaceful slumber.

Said person was Ren Kouha, who raised an eyebrow, unfazed. “Wow.” he said in monotone. “Very impressive.”

Beside him, Aladdin had his hands over his eyes, but his fingers were still parted to let him see what was happening. He whispered, “I almost got shot. That’s so cool.”

Morgiana’s head peered in from outside the room. She took one look at them, then disappeared again. They heard her say, “Guns.”

Someone outside – Cassim? – answered, “I always thought they were knife people!”

“Twenty bucks, please.”

“God-freakin-dammit. Here.” Ah, definitely Cassim.

Concluding that there was no immediate threat, Alibaba put his gun back under his pillow and laid back down on the bed, mumbling that their family was so weird and what the hell are they all doing in his flat at six o’clock in the morning? He was having the time of his life sleeping and he swore to God if they didn’t let him sleep until noon at the earliest, he was going to grab his flamethrower from under the bed and-

Kougyoku set her own weapon on the bedside table and yawned.

“…What are you guys doing here?” she asked, rubbing at her eyelids.

“Fetching our dragon and our phoenix ‘cause we need you to wreck shit today.” Kouha crossed his arms across his chest. “We have a job. Kouen left me in charge, I’ve assembled a team, but you two are taking point undercover. Congrats, you’re married and your honeymoon is on a fancy cruise ship and you’re busting a drug ring.”

Kougyoku nodded sleepily, then yelped when Alibaba pulled her down with him and pulled the covers over both of them, dramatically pleading, “Five more minutes, we were supposed to be on vacatioooon…..”

“Uuuuugghhhh you’re so embarrassing.” came Kougyoku’s complaint, but she didn’t move to get up either.

Aladdin grinned as he clapped his hands together. “Great, you’re both already in character!”

Kouha joined in the grinning, snapped a photo, and then slung an arm across Aladdin’s shoulder to pull the boy with him. “Wheels up as soon as Hakuryuu gets back from coffee-and-doughnut run, so finish your sappy morning make-out session or whatever and get your butts in the car!”

Alibaba groaned as he grabbed a pillow and put it over his own head. Kougyoku only stared at the ceiling as she listened to sounds of activity coming from the rest of the flat.

“Moooor, is that bacon???” Aladdin was calling out.

“Yes, do you want some too?” was Morgiana’s reply.

“You don’t have work today?” Kouha asked. “AND WHERE’S THE FUCKING REMOTE.”


“Cassim, how’s your sister doing?” – wait, was that Hakuei?

“Oh, uh, she’s doing fine, ma’am. She’s going to school again. Caught up fast, she’s in top ten of her class, and playing piano again.”

“Really? That’s great to hear.”

Alibaba lifted the pillow to say, “Is it me, or is everyone in my apartment? Because last I remembered, it was just you, me and Aladdin and Morgiana.”

“Morgiana let them in, obviously.” Kougyoku replied, then gave him a helpless smile. “They’re family.”

“Our family is weird.”

She shrugged. “We love them.”

He snorted, burying his face in his pillow again. “We do.”

Then they heard the door opening and another familiar voice announcing, “Coffee!”

“…and that’s Hakuryuu, with the promise of caffeine. I’m getting up.”


Kougyoku rightfully ignored the whining and simply picked up her gun from the bedside table and then stuffed the weapon in her bag. Then she headed to the bathroom, probably to wash up.

Alibaba listened to the faucet running. When Kougyoku came back, she had her hair tied back, face looking fresh. She took a fallen pillow from the floor and threw at him. Then she went to join the others.

He finally got up, stretched, and stepped out his bedroom.

He stood by his doorway for a second, taking in the chaos in his dining room: Morgiana throwing a strip of bacon for Aladdin who tried to catch it with his mouth (he failed, it landed on his forehead), Cassim stuffing himself with doughnuts, Hakuei sipping her overpriced coffee still looking regal in spite of the ruckus around her, Hakuryuu greeting Kougyoku a good morning as he handed her her usual coffee order, and Kouha flipping through channels, a piece of toast (covered with an unhealthy amount of chocolate spread) held between his teeth.

Right. Nothing new at this point.

Kougyoku walked towards him and handed him his coffee with a smile. “I guess vacation’s over early, then.”

Alibaba shrugged as he accepted the beverage, smiling wryly. “I knew two weeks was too good to be true.”

“At least we get to go on a nice honeymoon.”

“Oh, yeah.” he nodded approvingly. “Luxury cruise. Gorgeous wife. Drug lords to arrest. Couldn’t ask for more.”

Kougyoku laughed softly.

They shared a toast with their coffee cups and drank.

Time to get to work.

Chapter Notes:

Like.. Alibaba and Kougyoku would totally be those special agent best friends who are decent agents on their own but together they’re suddenly this powerhouse duo because they complement each other so well???

I would watch a spy movie with undercover agents Alibaba and Kougyoku, and a support squad, led by Kouha not giving any useful instructions and just telling them all to ‘wreck shit’. On a cruise ship. Oh boy. Kouen is back in HQ drinking wine and being very amused.

Also I failed to include this in the fic but the flamethrower under Alibaba’s bed is Amon.

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