Collection Management

A Read or Die Fanfic

By Jaelle




Author's Note: Because I love the scene in the first episode where Joker comments that she lights up around books, and then he gives her a comb to tidy up. Also because he was voiced in English by the amazingly sexy tones of Crispin Freeman. And also because librarians are the secret masters of all knowledge, and not nearly as innocent as people think we are. :-)

BTW, I did some poking around and found out that Yomiko actually HAS a boyfriend in the manga. So clearly this is set in the anime-verse. Also, I was unable to find out Joker and Yomiko's ages, so I just went by what it looks like to me. Enough notes, on with the fic!



Joker wasn't entirely sure when he'd fallen in love with Yomiko Readman, AKA "The Paper". The realisation had crept up on him on silent feet, and blindsided him one morning when he was chiding her gently for the messy state of her hair. Proffering a comb he was suddenly struck by the desire to pull her into a deserted room and provide a much better reason for the way her hair stuck up in tufts, as though someone had run their fingers through it in a passionate moment. While she blushingly accepted it and straightened herself up a little, he stood frozen and unable to speak, trying to absorb what had happened to him.

I am in love with Yomiko.

Fortunately, he was able to recover himself before she noticed. From that day on however, he knew that it was true. He loved her, despite her strangeness. Or perhaps because of it. He began to schedule more meetings in bookshops and libraries, even though he knew it meant she'd pay little attention to the briefing. Her appearance suffered because of her distraction, but he made sure to always have a comb, and took great joy in finding a small problem with her hair and clothes, because it meant he could look at her again, maybe even tease her gently. And as she would stammer and flush and try to pull herself together, his heart would warm.

He never spoke to anyone about his feelings. Well, how could he? It would have been improper for him to even attempt to romance an agent, even a free agent. And anyway, she was such an innocent girl. Brilliant, intelligent, and talented, but still so naïve about the world and all that was in it, and he was so much older than her. It wouldn't have been right.

And so he watched and loved in silence, until one day when Drake cornered him in the bathroom and exploded.

Joker had no idea how to respond to Drake's ranting about "love-sick teenagers", but he felt himself going red despite his best efforts. He'd had no idea that he had been that obvious. Did everyone know? Surely not. He relaxed slightly as Drake continued yelling and waving his arms around. Drake was frequently called in as backup for Yomiko, and was often at the same briefings (a precaution in case The Paper forgot what she was supposed to be doing). He saw them together more than anyone else, and must have caught Joker out in a weak moment.

Patiently he bore out the rest of Drake's tantrum and waited for him to finish. When the other man finally ground to a halt, he quietly assured him that he, Drake, was completely mistaken about Joker's feelings towards The Paper. Drake had given him an incredulous look, shaken his head, and stalked off. Joker felt a little bad for misleading the man, but a glance at his pocketwatch told him that he was late for a meeting with Yomiko. He wasn't sure why this one had been called, as the paperwork on it had not yet appeared on his desk, but he thought it would be alright if he went to wait with her for the mission briefing to arrive.

Yomiko was talking to his secretary Wendy when he entered the conference room.

"Joker-san!"

"Good morning Yomiko, you look..." he found his throat closing involuntarily as he strangled what he really wanted to say. She'd outdone herself in terms of dishevelment today. Her hair was sticking out wildly in all directions, she had forgotten her coat and vest, the hem on her skirt was crooked, and she'd missed the top button of her shirt, which gaped open, exposing a delightful expanse of pale skin around her throat. He longed to nibble on it.

"Ah, excuse me, I'll just go get some tea!" Wendy squeaked, exiting the room quickly. He was a bit surprised to hear the lock click after her, but was distracted by the vision before him.

Yomiko made a feeble attempt to straighten herself up. "Sorry Joker-san," she said, accidentally flashing her slender legs as she tried to pull her skirt straight. "I know I'm a bit of a mess."

Sighing, and attempting to not think about what he'd like to be doing with her right now, he fished out a comb and held it out for her.

She stared at it, and him, blankly. "Could you do it for me?" she asked him suddenly. "I don't have a mirror, and I'm afraid of making it worse."

Joker considered her request and then stepped behind her, and began the long task of tugging her soft, silky hair into some semblance of order, while she fiddled with her shirt.

She really had the most beautiful hair, and he was careful not to stroke it too obviously as he tidied it.

"Ouch!" Yomiko yelled as he hit a tangle. "Not so hard!"

"Sorry," he apologised.

She leant back against him slightly. "You need to be more careful." Her voice became softer. "Be gentle with me."

He froze at her tone and words, and she slowly turned to face him. The next button on her shirt had somehow come undone and this time he couldn't prevent himself from blushing.

"Joker-san?"

He couldn't answer and she put her arms around him, snuggling into him. "I love you."

"Yomiko..." He couldn't say anything more. He shouldn't say anything more. She was young, and beautiful, and...

"Are you thinking I'm innocent again?" She enquired muffledly through his waistcoat. Yomiko tilted her head back and looked up at him, an impish smile crossing her face. "You know, I read an awful lot Joker-san. I read everything. And anything."

A horrified expression crossed his face before he could stop it as he took in her meaning. His Yomiko? Reading THOSE kinds of books?

She giggled at the expression on his face and hugged him tighter. "I have some excellent manuals if you’d like some tips on what to do next," she offered.

When he finally recovered from the shock Joker let out a growl and frowned down at her. "Not any more you don't," he said sternly. "I'm confiscating all of them young lady, and then we're going to have a discussion about your reading habits!"

She pouted, "ALL of them?"

He leaned down and kissed her, since he didn't seem to have any choice in the matter anymore. It was as wonderful as he'd thought it would be. She kissed him back eagerly, and surprisingly energetically. When they finally stopped he inhaled some much-needed air.

"Well, perhaps you can keep one or two. After I've thoroughly inspected them, of course."

End.



Bonus Drabble Sequel: Collection Maintenance

Joker glared at Yomiko with a stern look, examining her from head to toe, his arms folded across his chest.

"Just look at you, The Paper! Your hair is a mess, and your clothes are wrinkled! What do you have to say for yourself?"

Yomiko blinked owlishly at him. "Well if YOU hadn't thrown them all over the room when we got home last night they wouldn't BE wrinkled." She pointed out. "And your speech would have been more impressive if YOU'D been wearing clothes."

"But at least my hair was tidy."

"Oh shut up and come back to bed."



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