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.
In a high pitched voice some sake breathed asshole greets her breasts with a loud, "Konbanwa! Nice you meet!" as if the flesh might answer. Shelly manages to get over her surprise when they don't every time.
"Fuck you," she mutters and doesn't smile at them. The routine never changes, they squeal, she mutters. She's undercover, so only allowed to mutter. Then again, most of them have English so lousy it might not matter. Maybe she can scream English invective and no one will notice? Maybe she can shoot them all? Not anywhere vital, just the mouth would work out well. They don't need mouths, do they?
"You Shirri beautiful!" she's told. For some reason it's even more annoying than when Tokitoh calls her Shirri. At least that idiot is about as interested in her breasts as dead squirrels. Of course he seems to be gay, so that isn't exactly a credit to him.
The smells always come together like a malaise. Cigarettes, beer and sake, and the salary men sweating under their suits despite the air conditioning. The stench of desperate reeks worse than any frat boy bar in midtown Manhattan ever could, for all the people are more polite. Polite while sober, anyway.
It sounds like desperate and just a little too loud with pop music blaring in the background, often with out of tune drunken karaoke filling in the lyrics Shelly can never understand. Especially when they're in Engrish. But karaoke isn't that bad. It's the voices, talking about love and sex in earnest tones, like actors on the set of a soap opera that actually get to her. Shelly has always assumed there was nothing that could make her general contempt for homo sapiens any more extreme, but working here changes her mind fast.
"I rabu Shirri," they say, and try to kiss her hands. She stares at them and they laugh, like there's some greater joke she's missing. But then the gaijin apparently always misses the joke. One thing that helps is the ever-growing folded stack of yen stuffed in her shoe. Drunken assholes apparently like to overpay to use her to practice their English and groping techniques. They'd like it better if she stuffed the bills in her bra, but no one in the universe pays enough for that.
It also helps to feel the weight that is Kubota's gift to her tucked firmly against her leg, covered by a fall of champagne colored silk that the mama-san told her she had to wear because button down shirts and jeans just don't do it. The dress makes her feel like a Bond girl on parade and the salary men dig it a little too hard. They crowd around her as though she were smiling and flirting like the other girls, even when she hisses and her fingers twitch for the gun.
"Shirri-san is frightening," they say, but they laugh like they don't believe that's true. Like everything Shelly is and does is more like a put on or fucking PMS. It reminds her of a shrink's office in some way she can't name and she spends too long in the shower, washing smoke and sake out of her hair.
No matter what she told Kubota she's actually got no clue why she's here or why she keeps coming back to this damn bar. It's not because she gives a fuck about Tokitoh Minoru's issues, whatever they are. It's not because she's never felt as comfortable around another person as she has Kubota, despite the fact he's insane and probably homicidal.
However, it may in fact be to get away from the psycho on her couch. Escaping Goku is a sensible reason to be here, one Shelly can live with and does. At least this isn't as boring as acting the human tape recorder for a bunch of crazed junior high brats.
Working in a hostess bar looks something like a cross between a misguided idea of what the boardroom of an elegant office in Manhattan looks like, an equally confused idea about a Paris cafÃ©, and an explosion of neon. All the men wear perfectly pressed suits and all the women are beautiful, except for Shelly, but no one notices that. As the night wears on, it's full of drunken salary men whose suits are pressed from sitting on their asses, now wearing their ties around their foreheads like bandanas in a fashion statement Shelly doesn't actually understand. Doesn't want to understand.
Shelly sits through a week of nights on replay, leaving her exhausted, hating everyone, and with a wad of tax free cash and gun she can't fire at anyone that just aren't making her feel any better about it. The new plan is to screw the old plan, call Kubota and tell him he can take up hostessing himself if he wants more information.
She never gets the chance to make the call. Something happens in the form of a man who moves a little too quickly and looks around a little too much. After a parade of drunks, it's like ice water to the face to see someone actual sober and alert and Shelly perks up and watches him. This one's not just some new salary man who wants to tell her she's an angel of the morning in horrific English. Then he gets closer and smiles at her and she can see the edges of a tattoo through his white shirt. Ah. She'd been here long enough to notice that tattoos seem to go with yakuza more often than not.
"Miss Ingrudson," he pronounces her name with exquisite care. "You are very lovely. Madam Hanako told me you were beautiful, but she did not give enough credit. I am Nakamura Eiji."
He's enough of a break from the routine that Shelly nods and holds out a cigarette for him to light instead of just cursing him off. He keeps looking over her shoulder and twitching even as he speaks the rote flattery and she wonders who he thinks is going to shoot him.
"A pleasure, Nakamura-san," she says, and resists the impulse to let her hand twitch to the gun. This fucker's making her paranoid but he could actually notice her going for a weapon. And then there's his name. Eiji. Eiji. With tattoos and definitely matching the description. Anna's Eiji?
They talk, but not about anything interesting.
"I've heard your name," she says and leans and, forcing a smile. "They say you're the go to guy around here." She tries to remember how she scored drugs back in college, but draws a blank. It hadn't been very hard.
"Go to guy?" Eiji says and laughs. He turns to the waitress and orders them both drinks. "I am afraid I don't know what that means."
Shelly digs her fingernails into her palm to keep her hand from twitching. "Well, you're a well connected man." Smile, smile, fuck. She feels like her face might break. It's possibly a good thing weeks here have forced her to remember some impulse control. Right now it takes all that control to kill the urge to just shove the gun up his nose and make him cooperate. It's just too crowded here for that.
"I like to think so," he says, with a faux modest bow. Then he tells her about the baseball tickets he can score for her if only she'll come with him.
Shelly forces a giggle, but it comes out more like homicidal rage. She hopes he'll take it for junkie twitchings and make her a damn offer.
Unfortunately the offer he makes is more like this, "I think if you would only give me the chance I could make a lady like you very happy." He smirks and stops looking over his shoulder to look down her dress, even if only for a moment. "Come home with me?"
She isn't surprised, even in the short time she's been here, he's hardly the first to ask to make her oh so happy at home with him. She almost says yes, just to move things along, hopefully with gun to face, but stifles the impulse, hard. He can't expect her to just agree, it'll look suspicious.
Going home that night it feels like there are bugs crawling under her skin and she damn well knows it isn't an acid flashback. Just the want for this to be over, to shoot something, to know something, to at least have some answers about why idiot girl exploded all over her.
Even Goku gives her a funny look and sidles away when she gets home after first meeting Eiji. She knows he knows something is up, with the late nights and the unceasing rage those nights have been honing, but he doesn't ask. He's lucky he doesn't ask, because she really, really wants to kill someone, and he's on the possible target list.
Shelly will never be able to trace just how things ended up the way they did. It takes another week to get him coming right to her seat whenever he enters the bar, and about as long before she casually mentions Anna's name in conversation and he reacts. Shelly watches him move back, eyes just a little wider then they should be and smiles without meaning to.
She slides off her stool to the lady's room and calls Kubota, but gets his voice mail. No big deal, she'll talk to the actual man soon enough.
"It's Shelly," she murmurs, softly enough that no one in a nearby stall could hear. She tries to think of a way of saying what she wants to without tipping anyone off. A code of some kind? "I've met a guy who seems, uh, a little wild." Damn, codes suck. No one will know what she's talking about or everyone will.
"I'm going to see what else I can get. Talk to you later."
She clicks off her phone and steps outside and lets Eiji take her by the arm to the club door. She's expecting a lot of things at that point, complete with some payback for having to put up with far too much shit. There's a mild prickle of nerves, because Shelly loves guns, but she'd never shot an actual person with one. But then it can't be much worse than using a knife. None of it matters, she feels ready. More than ready, frustrated and pissed and needing to take it out on someone's face.
Getting things over with is what she expects. What she gets is the loud retort of a gun and then Eiji is crumbling against her side, a hole where his head used to be, killing off her one and only lead to the Wild Adapter.
Shelly operates on instinct. She shoots back, the movement it took to bring the gun from her holster to firing position so fast and smooth she's not sure how it happened. She never thinks about whether shooting back is right or necessary, it's just what has to happen.
Shelly learned about the idea of shooting from pictures of her dad on the wall with his army buddies all around him and a rifle propped on his knee. Learning was cake, like she'd been born with steady hands and good eyes. There was something unbelievably Zen about aiming and squeezing the trigger, over and over, bam, bam, bam. The kick back in her hand, the motion of muscles, everything. The sound when metal hit flesh.
Somewhere in the background screaming people are fleeing the club in floods. Shelly ignores them, but she notices that when she falls back into the club for cover the place is empty. Except for gun men. A lot of gun men. She's counted at least twenty, maybe thirty, definitely more than she has bullets.
Bam. She ducks back, finding cover.
Four down. She settles in to get the best value of blood shed for bullets.
It takes a few minutes to realize that somewhere on the other side of the building there's another firefight. She can hear the echoes when she ducks behind a post and the shooting in her immediate vicinity stops. Who else could be shooting? Her brain freezes, contemplating rival crazies and other such shit. Rival crazies...
"Kubota," she murmurs, smiling without realizing she's doing it. She'd never been in a fire-fight before, but if she'd thought about it she'd never have expected back up in the form of a psycho Japanese gangbanger. She might have guessed that calling him would bring him here if there was the promise of shooting things involved.
Bam, and there goes one in a bright red shirt, who'd just tried to peek around a corner. Stupid thing to do so he dies like an idiot.
One more bullet. She should have asked Kubota for rounds to go with the gun, but she hadn't expected this many goons. Lame thing to have on your epitaph. I wasn't expecting that many.
Bang, the sound of a bullet missing flesh and ricocheting. Her last bullet and it was a miss. Double fuck.
Shelly settles down behind the pillar and presses the warm end of the gun to her lips for luck. Well, it really is a missile weapon now.
A bullet whizzes over her shoulder and then silence. One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. Three-
Bang, bang, bang, and the she whirls around, prepared to brain whoever it is that's jumped in next to her with the butt end, but a hand closes over her wrist, catching it hard.
"Cigarette?" Kubota murmurs, his lips practically brushed up against her earlobe, he's suddenly that close. "I thought you might have run out, so I brought you more."
"Sounds good," she says back, taking a cigarette and a fresh cartridge from him without asking any stupid questions.
The expression on his face as he survey that situation is... interested. Kid playing a video game interested. He edges over past the cover and then slides back, as if ducking a bullet before smiling at her.
"Sorry about all this," he says, between firing rounds. "I didn't realize the level of yakuza interest in this club." Shelly's counted thirty guys here, or something like that. Level of yakuza interest fuck.
"Don't apologize. Just keep shooting," she hisses.
"You have blood on your cheek," he says in response and gives her another tiny, not quite there smile. Then a second later she has his thumb on her cheek, wiping the blood off, and a long, bony palm resting on her chin. Fuck, down Shelly, remember the evil little boyfriend. Remember how damned young they both are.
Kubota's still smiling.
"I'll be back, okay?" Kubota says suddenly, and draws his hand back, all the way back into his coat pocket. Not waiting for a question as to where he's going or why, he slithers away. More gun fire cracks through the club, and damn this is going to look bad to the cops. Well, lock and load.
Everything smells strange, like guns, spilled drinks and dead things. Shelly lights a cigarette. Quiet presses in on her. Kubota's off killing people somewhere, but she's not jealous. She inhales smoke in smooth, slow breaths. She doesn't know why she's here. Not in Japan, not in this club, not here, on the floor, someone else's gun in her hands and someone else's cigarette in her mouth.
Maybe that Goku guy will be send her body home to her mother, assuming her mother will want it. Maybe he'll want it. She wonders what he's doing now anyway and then shrugs it off. Shelly's got better things to think about. Like aim, squeeze, something falls down, repeat. Repeat. Breathe in smoke. Repeat.
Kubota's cigarettes taste like shit. She has that thought on the brain when she feels something, heavy, heavy, sharp tear into her and there's suddenly no breath in her lungs.