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  • Writer's pictureHina Siddiqui

Stuck-up Son of a-



Ginoza Nobuchika was a stuck-up son of a bitch.


There was no denying that.


a. He was rude. Abrasive, almost.

b. He was a snob. Without much of a basis for that snobbery, because he clearly didn’t have experience with anything remotely cool or classy.

c. He was a stickler for rules. Which wouldn’t be so much of a problem in their profession. Law enforcement was literally being sticklers for rules, wasn’t it? But did he have to lord it over everyone? ALL THE DAMN TIME?


There were other things that Uta could list. But it would be a massive waste of time and brainspace.


The only thing she could be grateful for was that he wasn’t useless, unlike her last partner.


He never shirked his duties or bundled paperwork on to her.

He stayed later than anybody but never expected her to match his ridiculous hours.

He handled all the meetings with Chief Kasei, who freaked everyone out. Including Ginoza.


He pulled double shifts whenever she put in a request for a mental health day. And he never questioned her reasons for needing a day or two off or even complained about her missing work.


Again, the list was longer, but time, brainspace. Those were important considerations. And Uta did not have enough of either to invest in her partner at Division 1 of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Public Safety Bureau. She did her work, earned her paycheck and worked her way through the insanity the best she could.


He never joined them for lunch. That one had irked her endlessly in the beginning and still did now and then. She had asked for a week straight, as the rest of the team looked away with awkward faces. He had refused every single day until she got the message. Bloody bastard probably thought he was too good to eat with the likes of her and the rest of their subordinates. Whatever. Uta wasn’t going to think about it. No brain space, remember?


What she did need to think about at the moment, is why Ginoza Nobuchika was calling her in the middle of the night, when she had a day off the next day (as per her weekly schedule, thank you very much).


Please don’t be a case. Please let the murderer give up before I have to answer. Please… ugh!


“Ginoza-san?”


Silence. Till she said his name twice more.


“Yamako-san,” his voice sounded strained, “I-I am sorry to disturb you at this hour. But…” It sounded like a shudder went through his voice, “could I request you to come pick me up?”


Pick him up? What was she, a taxi-service?


No. No, she wasn’t. But Ginoza knew that. In six months of working with Division 1, this was legit the first time he had asked for her help. She was instantly alert. Something was wrong. It had to be. Detective’s instinct.


“Sure,” she answered, “where from?”


“Ka-ka-kabukichō.”


The red-light district? Really now?


“Send me your coordinates. I’ll be there in twenty.”


She cut the call and ordered a taxi. Just as she threw her blanket off. Lightning fell outside. Thunder cracked. It was pouring.


Great! Just the ominous backdrop this situation needed.


If that man is simply too drunk to leave the whorehouse, I am going to kick his addled butt to kingdom come.


With that Uta pulled her sweatshirt over her pajamas, grabbed her rainproof trench and an umbrella, and walked down to the waiting taxi.




The coordinates Ginoza had sent were not those of any of the hundreds of registered sex houses in Kabukichō. In fact, it wasn’t even Kabukichou proper. It was some alleyway in the wastelands beyond the neon-lit pleasure houses. Uta had to order the taxi to wait as she navigated the warren on foot. She didn’t anticipate any danger, but her senses were on full alert nonetheless. Despite herself, she was starting to get worried about her partner.


She reached the mouth of the alleyway where the green location marker indicated her partner should be. But all she saw was the dull backside of some kind of warehouse and an overflowing garbage dump. She stepped in.


“Ginoza-san? Ginoza-san, are you here?” she yelled over the sound of the rain.


“Ya-yamako-san?”


“Yes, where are you?”


“You… uh… please don’t… please don’t laugh…”


Okay, now this was irritating. If laughter was the worse thing the man was afraid of… then…


“Ginoza-san, please come out. I’d like to get some sleep tonight.”


She thought his voice came from somewhere behind the garbage dump. She strode over to it. Just as Ginoza stepped out.


Uta’s mouth fell open at the sight of him.


Because Ginoza Nobuchika was completely naked.


He didn’t even have his shoes or socks on. His hair was plastered to his forehead. He was squinting at her through his fogged-up glasses. Struggling against the urge to shiver. Hands cupped before him, trying to hide what they could.


“I-I’m s-s-sorry,” he said and looked away, colouring in shame.


Ginoza Nobuchika may be a stuck-up son of a bitch. But no one deserved to be standing in the rain butt-naked, in the middle of a river of muck.


Uta was moving before she even thought about it. She put her umbrella on the ground. Removed her trench coat in a rush and draped it around him the best she could. His shoulders were lean for someone his size, but even so, Uta’s coat didn’t cover his full form. She pulled the two ends of the coat together, securing what buttons she could before wrapping the belt as tight as possible. She lifted her umbrella and stepped closer to him, to shelter the two of them from the storm, but more him than her.


How long had he been standing in the open like this?


“Come on, let’s get you home.”


When Ginoza didn’t respond. She stepped to his side and wrapped an arm around his back. With the other, she held on to the umbrella. She kept her grip on both firm, as she guided Ginoza back to the drone-cab that was waiting a ten-minute walk away.



The cab ride back was where she really started to think.


What was she supposed to be right now?

Taxi-service?

Concerned bystander?

Detective?


The taxi was doing its job commendably, to be honest. It kept suggesting calming music and temperature spikes for the comfort of the passengers since even the robocar could make out that Ginoza was upset and fighting hard to keep himself from shivering. Like not succumbing to the cold, of all things, was the conclusive battle for his dignity. So no. There was nothing for her to do as transportation escort for the moment.


As someone who knew the man, technically at least, she couldn’t be a simple bystander And even if she was, she had already done her duty. Helped someone in need. So she could check that box too.


Detective then?


Let’s forget for a moment that this was Ginoza Nobuchika, stuck-up-son-of-a-bitch-extraordinaire. If this was a case, what would she have been doing now? What would have been her conclusions? Having found a citizen naked on the streets. Uta frowned. Procedure demanded a hue-check, followed by a medical exam and then an interview. But, as things stood, she didn’t have a scanner. And she balked at the idea of demanding that he be taken to the nearest hospital and submit to a rape kit. So an interview then? Witness or victim testimony was generally dismissable. But this was an inspector, by default he should be better at describing events, right? Well, it’s not like she had too many options here. But if he had been assaulted…


“Are you hurt?”


“Huh?”


“Are you… hurt?”


“No.”


Unbidden, two memories from the past six months in Division 1 came to mind.


One. When she was but a few weeks old in the Division.

A routine pick-up of suspected gang members flagged by street scanners had turned in to a violent altercation. Due to the terrain and the fact that the enforcers were more focused on her own safety, Ginoza had been isolated. For like three minutes. During which he managed to subdue the first assailant, but the woman’s partner had rammed into him and thrown the inspector off a ten-foot rise, before Kougami and Masaoka showed up to clean the thugs up. After things settled, Ginoza refused to let himself be examined by the medbot and thus failed to report a cracked rib. He proceeded to finish his shift. On his way out, he coughed. Once. And then promptly collapsed in severe pain. He was lucky his lung hadn’t collapsed.


Two. Last month.

One of the Division 2 officers found him passed out in the common rooms. Risa alerted the med-drones and a delirious, semi-conscious Ginoza was carried to the infirmary a few floors below. Severe anemia was the diagnosis. Or so Uta had heard third-hand. He didn’t miss work the next day. But now his presence was accompanied by a beeping every four hours reminding him to take his iron supplements.


Thus Detective Yamako Uta concluded a few things.


Not to take Ginoza Nobuchika’s self-assessment of his physical state seriously. Because the idiot clearly under-reported trauma.

On the flipside, he was also very good at hiding said trauma. Because in both those memories above, Uta had not noticed a single thing amiss with her partner before clocking out for the day.


Okay, time for new tactics.


“Do you remember how you got to Kabukicho?”


“I took a cab.”


“Do you remember who you were meeting there?”


“I wasn’t meeting anyone specific.”


“Do you remember if someone offered you something to eat or drink?”


“Why are you asking me what I remember?”


“I am trying to piece together what happened,” she said. He looked at her, eyes wide, seemingly still capable of being as severe even when wearing nothing but an ill-fitting trench-coat. “Whatever happened, it wasn’t your fault. And we’ll take care of it.” She added in her best reassuring detective voice.


“Nothing happened.”


“Then where are your clothes Ginoza-san?”


Ginoza shut down so visibly after that, that Uta knew she could ask him no more questions. See, this was why you didn’t rely on victim testimony!


The cab continued to speed back to Chiyoda-ku. Where both she and Ginoza lived.


The only time Ginoza spoke after that was to point out that this wasn’t the way to his house. Uta assured him that she knew and that she was not letting him be alone until she was sure he was okay. He tried to insist he was, but Uta could stonewall as well as her partner. And so they got home. Her home.

And suddenly Ginoza was too tired to protest being pulled out of the cab and dragged upstairs to her tiny apartment.



Uta was still debating strategy half an hour later. Her kitchen unit shuddered a little as it churned out hot soup. She still didn’t know what she was supposed to be here.


As soon as they got indoors, Uta had set her home med-bot on him. A full-body scan later, the bot, much to her surprise, confirmed that Ginoza had indeed been telling the truth. He was not hurt. The conclusion disappointed her for some reason. Realizing that was stupid, she had bundled him in to the bathroom, handing him her fairly unused PSB sweats to change in to.


So he wasn’t injured. But that didn’t preclude the possibility of assault. Or trauma. There were drugs that could ease things around after all. And her home med-bot wasn’t capable of blood tests, so she couldn’t ascertain whether he had been drugged. Maybe she needed to examine him herself. Check for sensory-motor responses, dilated pupils, cognition lapses…


Uta caught herself just as she was about to look up ways to examine his mental state. This is how the job fucked you up. You always found yourself jumping to the worst possible conclusions. She stopped her mental spiral. There was no use trying to imagine scenarios that led to a grown man hiding naked in the streets. Approaching this situation like a detective was probably worse for her hue than it was for Ginoza’s.


Huffing out a breath she realized Ginoza had been in her bathroom for entirely too long. She intended to knock and check in on him, but he had neglected to lock the door and it slid open sensing her presence. And she saw Ginoza sitting in the empty bathtub, knees pulled up to his chest, arms wrapped around him. Looking so sad that it broke her heart.


Maybe what she needed to be in this situation was not all that complicated. Maybe all she needed to be was human.


“Ginoza-san, I’m coming in, okay?”


He stiffened when he heard her. But otherwise gave no response. She walked up to him, slowly. And kneeled down by the edge of the bath.


“You really are trying hard to freeze to death today, aren’t you?” she said with a small smile and took his glasses off his face, placing them to the side.


He turned his head away from her. She swiped the dial behind him, and steaming water started to fill the tub. Gooseflesh erupted across his skin when the water made contact and he shivered almost imperceptibly. Before thoughts could cloud her actions, she reached up and touched his hair. He didn’t move.


“Your hair’s kinda mucky.”


He turned around to face her. Looking offended. Ready to bark like he always did when a possible mistake on his part was pointed out. Before he realized his situation and stopped glaring.


“Want me to help you wash it?”


He turned away again. But at least now she had access to his hair. She grabbed the showerhead and angled a gentle warm spray at his head. Using her fingers to ensure the water lapped away what debris and stickiness she could feel. She set the spout down and reached out to the dispenser for two large dollops of hair product. She rubbed it between her hands to make it foam a little and then applied it to Ginoza’s hair. She took her time rubbing it in to his mane. Ginoza’s hair. Her first impression of Ginoza had been that his hairstyle was tacky. It covered half his face like he was a fucking emo juvenile who refused to get a haircut because he was protesting the man or some such nonsense with his silly grooming tactics. But Ginoza’s hair was ridiculously soft to touch. Uta literally got lost in the sensation of the strands, as she rubbed them between her palms, bringing them together then teasing them apart only to swirl them in foam again. Her fingertips scratched his skull, slowly. Like it was a task that needed her utmost attention. Her focus lodged in her core. While her hands moved rhythmically. Diligently.


Ginoza Nobuchika was a stuck-up son of a bitch.

But it was a fucking pleasure to sink her fingers in to his hair and no one could tell her otherwise.


“That’s what you do, right?”


It took a second for Uta to pull herself back from her task and concentrate on the soft, low voice.


“Hmm?” she said.


“It’s what you do,” he emphasized, “when it gets difficult?”


“When what gets difficult?”


“I don’t know… I feel tired. I am always tired. And I just…”


“So you went down to Kabuki-chou?”


“The therapist recommended companionship.”


He stayed silent after that. Uta waited. Continuing her ministrations, even though by now his hair was probably the cleanest it had ever been.


“I did like they said,” he continued after a while, “Made an appointment at an establishment with a high rating. Showed up on time. Answered all relevant questions… They took me to a room. I got undressed and it was fine, but then they started touching me, and I couldn’t… I tried, but I couldn’t, and then I…” He drew a sudden breath, “I ran… and kept running and then I was lost. And then it started raining and I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t want to disturb you but I didn’t know who else to call and I…”


It was like he had run out of words but still had too many left to say. His breathing had escalated and his shoulders had tensed up. Uta pressed harder with her fingers. Continued doing so till some of the anxiety eased off of him.


“How long did you wait before calling me?” she asked, keeping her voice calm, neutral.


“I don’t know… it got really cold. I was… I was…”


“You were?”


Ginoza shook his head, either in refusal or in denial. Possibly both.


Uta sighed. Then reached for the showerhead to wash the now drying soap out of Ginoza’s hair. Once she was done, she asked, “Do you think you can finish up here?”


Ginoza nodded.


Uta stood up, her knees protesting the action. She ran her fingers through his hair a final time. “Don’t take too long okay?”


He nodded again.


She left, wiping her hands on a towel.




It should have been awkward. But it wasn’t. Maybe because Ginoza was too tired. Maybe because she needed to get back to sleep. But they drank soup together like they had been doing it for years. She was almost done with her bowl before she spoke.


“A lot of people enjoy sex and use it as a way to destress,” she said, continuing the conversation from the bathroom like there had been no drop-off, “But sexual activity is not the same as companionship. At least, I don’t think it is. And no one should have to force themselves to do something like that. For any reason,” She looked up to find him staring at his soup like it held answers for the questions he had been asking all these years, “That’s what I think, anyway.”


She slurped up the last of her soup.


“What… do you think I should do?”


“I don’t know. I am not a therapist.”


“Right, of course. I am sorry-”


“It helps me when I hang out with friends.”


“Friends?”


“Is it that much of a foreign concept, Ginoza-san?”


She pressed a button, replacing the chabudai with the spare futon in the living area of her flat. He stared at it, as if uncertain of its purpose.


“How about this? Let’s start small?” she asked, “Let’s do this more often… not the freaking-out-your-partner-by-showing-up-naked-in-the-rain part… this.” She indicated the space between them.


“This?”


“You know, you, me, hanging out, eating soup. Maybe we could even do an activity together.”


“An activity?”


“Work with me here Ginoza-san.”


Ginoza took a long minute to process after that.


“What kind of activity?”


“I don’t know, guess we could make a list based on common interests?”


“Because you want to be… my… friend?”


It was simultaneously the most endearing and the most idiotic thing she had heard the man say.


“Yes Nobuchika, I want to be your friend. Come on, let’s be friends! Do you want to pinky swear it?”


His eyebrows scrunched up in so much confusion that Uta gave in to the impulse and laughed.


“Look, don’t break your brain over it. Like I said, we can start small.”


“But you are my partner.”


“I don’t think there is anything wrong with being friends with your partner. However, if it reassures you, I will check our employment contracts to ensure there’s no rule against hanging out with your partner after work hours.”


“Okay. Please send me your findings by Monday then.”


Yeah, okay. She dug that hole for herself.


“Because I would like that…,” he said, looking at her expectantly, “I mean… being friends. With you. I would like that. Please.”


Uta had to stop her jaw from dropping down. Ginoza ducked his head when she continued to stare at him and Uta shook herself out of her stupor.


“Get some rest Ginoza-san.”


Like he had been waiting for permission, Ginoza let his body sink in to the futon. He was asleep before she even made it to her own bed.



Ginoza was gone by the time she woke up. Because of course, he was.


Uta checked the time. He was probably already a couple of hours in to his shift. Because heaven-forbid the man missed a day of work, even if it was to recover from the ordeal of running around naked on the streets after forcing himself to have sex. Well, the man was an adult, capable of making his own choices. Right now, the only choice Uta wanted to make was between eggs or cereal for breakfast. And then maybe, if she was still feeling charitable, she’d make a run to Kabukichou to pick up a certain silly inspector’s abandoned clothes from the pleasure house.


Ginoza Nobuchika was a stuck-up son of a bitch.


But Uta had a feeling he’d still make a good friend and she had every intention of being one in return.







Kabukichō is the adult entertainment district in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Though not only a red-light area (the place has bars, museums, quirky clubs and even onsens), it does have the reputation of being one of Tokyo's most questionable neighbourhoods. For more insights you should check this Pen article that showcases images from Watanabe Katsumi's book: Gangs of Kabukicho that documents the denizens and activities of the neighbourhood in the 60's and 70's.


A chabudai is the traditional Japanese dining table like the one shown in the image.


Yamako Uta is the third original character that I have written in connection to Ginoza. her name, Uta, means song in Japanese and Yamako is literally "child of the mountain". This time, she is his partner at Division 1 of the Criminal Investigation Department at the Public Safety Bureau. You can read more about Psycho-Pass and Ginoza here.


Image credits:

  1. Soup Cups: Creative Commons License

  2. The renowned gate to Kabukicho: Source: Wikimedia Commons

  3. Living room with chabudai: Source: Houszed.com

  4. Nobuchika in a Yukata at a Hanabi Matsuri: Original art by me. I imagine at some point Uta got Gino to dress up and come along for a fireworks festival. He scowled about it, but he did go. And he did have a good time. An at the end, there were fireworks.

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