It's raining in Yokohama and Goku's gone for a walk and meets someone too familiar. It's not a good thing. Reincarnation story, of sorts. Wild Adapter crossover.
The idiot following him ought to have been easier to classify, except that he looks around a little too intently and with a rawness that Shelly can't look away from. Painful and too young and she's just glad she can barely understand a word he says because only hearing the tone of it makes her need to slap him, even if her Japanese doesn't go far enough to tell him that. Frankly it pisses her off to be this irritated at a fucking seventeen year old kid anyway.
They're in some noodle restaurant drinking lousy beer that neither of the boys had any trouble buying despite being underage. Kubota lends her a light for her cigarette, because she's lost her lighter somewhere along the line. Really, it doesn't matter how tough you are. Exploding people will make you chain smoke the first time you see it and Kubota seems to implicitly understand that.
"So, that's it," she finishes, telling what little she knows about Anna the hostess from before the poor bitch went bam in far less time then should have been possible. "She says she got it from a guy at a hostess bar. Eiji Something. I never met him but the way she described him you could tell he was some kind of Yakuza."
"Ah, so," Kubota says and says something to Tokitoh, who makes the kind of face people's mothers tell them not to make in case it sticks that way. Shelly ignores him.
"So, that's what I know," she says in slow stumbling Japanese mixed heavily with the English that Kubota seems to mostly understand. "What do you know?" There was no reason not to tell them any of her information, it's not as though it reflects badly on her, but that doesn't mean she doesn't need to know more. She's the one who had to clean dead person off herself.
They look at her for exactly the same amount of time and then turn to look at each other. Kubota rests his hand on Tokitoh's gloved fingertips. One glove, like he thinks he's Michael Jackson. Shelly wonders how she missed that before. It's probably just one more teenage fashion statement gone wrong that she doesn't understand, except Tokitoh doesn't bear much resemblance to the sort of idiot Shelly sees in her English classes that follow those trends.
"Hmm... I'm not sure such a thing would be possible," Kubota says slowly, like he's thinking of something else.
Shelly meets his gaze head on with a glare of her own. She wonders if anyone has ever stared him down before, ever not been enraptured by the sexy cool psycho vibes. When she watches him lean over Tokitoh with an expression of complete concentration on his face for the first time, she thinks she knows the answer without having to ask.
"Don't fuck with me," she says steadily. "I'm the one who nearly got butchered by that thing." Which, if Shelly thinks too hard about, should mean that she ought to be heading screaming for the hills as fast as possible and never get near any of this shit again. Thinking too hard about it sounds pointless to her.
Kubota gives her a slow, assessing nod and speaks English to her. "Ah, yes? Somehow I think you do fine." Shelly has her doubts about that, with no weapons and that thing having all the strength and surprise, but she'll let it go.
"Ha ha. Stop changing the subject. What was that thing? You told me you knew. I wouldn't be here talking to you otherwise and you know it."
Kubota shrugs and gives Tokitoh another long look, that Shelly almost thinks might be asking permission. He says something very fast and questioning that goes along with that line of thinking.
Tokitoh glares at her and then shrugs and mutters. "Whatever," or something like that. Shelly decides that the key to understanding a damn word he says might just be to take whatever Japanese For Beginners books instructed you to never say and say that. Except he takes it all beyond the level any text book ever thinks to warn a person about.
"We know very little. We are trying to find this, this WA. Wild Adapter, what that person, Anna, spoke of. The source of it. A drug, it causes- well. You see it already," Kubota says, as if choosing his words with extreme care. That's partly just poking through the language, but maybe more. Shelly's been paranoid for too long to imagine she can discount the bad feeling of maybe more she has just because of a little paranoia.
"Yeah, so what? Isn't that your uncle the policeman's job? Or are you two do-gooders out to save the world from injustice or some bullshit?" Shelly takes the opportunity to finish off her beer while Kubota translates to Tokitoh and Tokitoh makes some kind of choking sound.
"No. Also fuck you," Tokitoh says, the first comprehensible piece of conversation he'd directed toward her. Shelly raises her empty bottle to him, not at all surprised that swearing in English is something he almost has the hang of.
"Not in your wildest dreams, little boy," she says in English and grins at the expression of irritated non-comprehension on his face. He looks like he's going to jump over the table and sock her one at any second and for some reason knowing he could feels really right.
"And you." She points at Kubota who has a mildly pleased expression and a tiny smile. "Don't think you can distract me with his blabbering. Answer the question."
"Personal thing," he says and rests his hand over Tokitoh's again. For whatever reason that makes Tokitoh stop spluttering and look at least somewhat calmer. "For him."
"Not for you then? The dead people don't worry you?" Shelly knows the answer but curiosity compels her to ask. She wants to know if Kubota is really going to say what she thinks he will. If he's going to say the same thing she would say if she were in his place.
Kubota smiles and gives a tiny, weary little shrug. "If such things caused worry then I would lead a very difficult life, I believe."
"You don't care even a little bit?" It really does feel like poking at something raw and bloody every time Shelly asks about caring and death, but she knows the needles are all pointed inward and bloody flesh is her own. It doesn't seem to phase Kubota at all.
Kubota smiles like a school teacher answering a question he's heard far too many time. Shelly lights a new cigarette and waits for him to answer it anyway.
"You caring think help-" he starts in English, shakes his head and stops. Starts again in Japanese that Shelly loses the thread of almost immediately, but clearly makes Tokitoh sit up and look confused and unhappy, before sliding back into English. "Satori comes and goes without substance. I want to say is that- do you think caring is helpful?"
"Helpful?" Satori? Shelly doesn't quite follow, but she's closer to it now. She grins and taps the ashes from her cigarette onto the floor because finding an ashtray at the next table feels like more effort than it's worth. "You're preaching non-attachment?" Shelly asks, before blowing out a round, clean puff of smoke.
Kubota raises an eyebrow and then shakes his head and smiles with her. He taps his cigarette against hers to light it and she lets him. "No. I do not intend that."
"Good. It's Buddhist shit. I despise Buddhists. Some freak in orange robes followed me around for a while when I was a kid trying to tell me I was the latest incarnation of a holy man. God, can you believe it?" Shelly's laughter is hard and loud. She gestures from cigarette to beer to sukiyaki, the gesture encompassing herself in general.
Kubota shrugs and leans back in his chair, letting it move under his weight. When he smiles it's mild sort of expression and doesn't reach his teeth.
"I believe you," he says with an accent that makes it sound more like 'bereave'. For some reason that makes Shelly laugh harder, and people are staring at her but she doesn't give a fuck. She's been stared at all her life and the curse of genetics just means the staring is that much worse here.
"This is the life I'm living, ne?" she tries in Japanese. "Nothing else. I am trying." And as she says it she wonders if that's true. If she was trying at NYU in her lecture halls and seminars and piles of books in a corner library carrel. In her rock and roll and one night stands. And the shrinks who fucked her head more than anything else. Maybe she stopped trying when she was thirteen and met that monk and everything else. Or maybe really trying was telling all of it to go fuck itself and running away to the other end of the world.
Well, trying has gotten her this far.
Kubota nods as if he might be able to read her mind, not just what she's saying. She wonders if she could read his if she tried hard enough. She wonders if he's ever killed anyone before and if he knows that she has.
"I understand," he says. "I think you do not care so much about dead bodies, yes?"
"I care if they involve me," she says. About second later she wonders why she isn't mad as fuck and ready to kick him down for being a roundabout talking prick. Shelly really doesn't like anyone the first time. So what's wrong with Kubota?
"Yes," he says as if all questions are answered now. "I am the same." Shelly shrugs her shoulders and steals a cigarette from the open pack in his coat pocket and he doesn't flinch.
It's almost a shock to see how his expression changes when the cafÃ© door swings open behind Shelly. She can't really read his face, but what she does see is enough to make her reach into her pocket for a knife she doesn't carry anymore and turn around slowly.
She is expecting yakuza with tommy guns or something, not a young man in his mid-twenties with golden eyes. Not Goku. True, Shelly had already been completely convinced that guy wasn't going anywhere, but this was still sooner than she'd expected to see him again.
"It's all right," she says, holding up a reassuring hand and pressing it against Kubota's arms. Kubota looks almost as surprised to be touched as Shelly is that she touched him but she had to do it. Shelly isn't carrying a weapon but it's completely obvious from the way Kubota moves that he really, really is and now is a terrible time to use one. "I know him."
"Oh," Kubota says, followed by something in Japanese that Shelly's brain is mistranslating because she thinks he said something about a demon or a ghost and Goku strikes her as deeply weird but hardly supernatural.
Tokitoh chooses that moment to chip in with something that Shelly can follow and therefore can't just ignore. "Hey, who's that guy? What the hell, what aren't you telling me? Just speak Japanese already."
No one has a chance to answer because Goku is striding over to their table like the fourth chair next to Shelly was always intended to be filled by his ass.