She turned away letting her hair swirl around her head. She was a vision in silver and she had just given him a proposition that he hadn't quite grasped yet.
It was three days after Toshiya had gone to get him at his apartment and he was still sore. It would take at least a month for everything to heal properly. The only things that he really needed to worry about though were his broken ribs. He hadn't stayed long enough at the hospital to get his x-rays but it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that at least two of his ribs were broken. All it took was his own stupidity and a poor attempt at walking. That had had an embarrassing result that he was in no hurry to relive.
"You sure you're ready to come back to the club, Kyo-kun?" Toshiya asked quietly, taking a long drag on his cigarette. Kyo did the same and let the vile smelling smoke spill from his lips like an ethereal waterfall. After a moment of silence he looked over at the younger man and flicked his cigarette out of the open car window.
"Hai. I've only been staying with you for three days and I feel like a freeloader. I want to work." He responded in the same mellow tone that the blue haired bishounen had used. Toshiya blinked a few times and returned his attention to his driving when the light turned green. Kyo continued. "Besides... it sounded like that new guy that Niikura-sama hired is making a total mess of things."
Toshiya felt his shoulders tense as Kaoru's name fell coldly from the older man's lips as if it was a stone that had been held under his tongue and finally spit out. No trace of the endearment that the bartender used to refer to his friend and superior with was distinguishable anywhere. Kaoru might as well have been dead, buried, and rotted.
"He is. He can't mix the drinks and when Shi-kun goes to help him like she does for you he ends up stressing her out. Not to mention that he isn't aloud to handle the 'planner'." Toshiya tried to put some humor into their situation, smiling wide so that his crooked teeth were visible. Kyo chuckled a little, but the blue haired man received nothing more for his attempt.
"Has Die been able to keep up with things without his 'planner' being organized?" Kyo questioned, making an attempt of his own to keep the inside of the younger man's car from going silent. Toshiya scowled a bit as he pondered the question, turning the steering wheel and taking a left. Kyo glanced out of the passenger's side window, chocolate brown eyes patient as he waited for a response.
"He hasn't been able to work at all." Toshiya stated finally. "Without you there to organize it he doesn't know who needs him for what or when he's supposed to be somewhere. The hits are piling up and a few customers have left. The place is a fucking train wreck and poor Die-kun is bored."
"Die is always bored Totchi-kun." This time he did laugh, Toshiya soon to follow. It took a moment before their giggles subsided and the car became hushed, the midnight haired Risoka pulling into the small parking lot behind a tall looming building that looked like it might've been used as a warehouse at one point in its lifetime. Kyo really didn't want to come back to this place, but he needed to clear things up and give himself something to do until he could find his starting point. "And now to return to my one great love!"
"And what would that be, may I ask?" Kyo smiled and looked at Toshiya as the supplier turned the engine off and removed the key from the ignition. They both clambered out of the car, the smaller man groaning as he put too much effort in moving his torso, and looked at each other. The bishounen was still looking for a response to his question. Finally he repeated the question, his tone mockingly dramatic like something shot out of a soap opera. "What is your one great love Kyo-kun?"
"Margarita salt." He held up his hands to show the blisters on his fingers. Calluses were common for bartenders. All they did was handle alcohol and the things that created the more flavored of the drinks. Toshiya gave a wheezing laugh and both men walked towards the building.
'The Disabled Complex'. That was the name of their nightclub, their sect's headquarters, and the place where they made a living in-between more illegal work. When Benkay had owned it, it was small and used more as pub than a club, but Kaoru put it on the map. During the day Risoka from other sects that had nothing better to do would go there to waste their free time watching the dancers practice and harassing the various waitresses that scurried about with impossible chores or, in some cases, Toshiya (Although the ditzy bishounen thought it funny). At night it was as if the world had shifted. Lights would flash every shade of purple, blue, and red. The dancers, thirty of them if you had them all standing still long enough to count them (Male and female), would put on their best performances behind a wall of incense smoke that distorted them until they became something that only fairy tales could describe. That same smoke would smog up the entire dance floor as well, eating away the odor of alcohol, sweat, and cigarette smoke. Though most would take both, you didn't need to go to the bar to get yourself plastered, the smoke did it for you. You were drunk, but not. You were thinking clearly, but nothing made sense.
Kyo and Toshiya walked in step, their boots clacking and thudding against the cement floor. With their black clothes they were almost a part of the floor themselves. After the higher ups had given Kaoru the deed he had done a complete makeover of the place to get more revenue. The cement had been painted a black that only Kyo's hair could match and the walls had been lined with silken fabrics to match the light show. They said nothing as they entered, hoping that attention wouldn't be drawn to them. But with Kyo walking alongside the leggy midnight haired Risoka their luck was chased away and beaten with a chair leg.
"It's Kyo-san." Some one whispered loudly to the person next them, their voice perplexed and disbelieving. "I thought he was dead!"
"Hai, you would think so with him being gone almost a month n' all." Another muttered. More mutterings and theories were passed between the subordinates but they were ignored, telling them to shut up would only cause a scuffle and he knew that in his shape he wouldn't even manage limping by the time the fight could be broken up. A particularly objectionable comment was hissed and the group of men burst into fits of laughter. Toshiya bristled, shrugged it off, and picked up his pace a bit.
"Tell me again why we work with a bunch of sleazebags?" Kyo growled, shoving his hands into his pockets. He was surprised with himself. His normal entrance consisted of, yes, walking in and catching bits and pieces of rumors meant to insult. Then he would walk with a dejected air to Koaru and receive a few little tasks to keep him busy until the night came. After all those were done he would meander around like a lost puppy. But not today. Maybe it was just him trying to keep pressure off of his ribs but he had entered with confidence that he hadn't had in a long time and he had exhibited an air of command that even Toshiya had had before him. He must've been losing his mind.
"Dunno. At least we outrank them." The bishounen smiled, showing his crooked teeth once again. Most would think those teeth unattractive but anyone who knew him would just say that they were adorable. Kyo found the younger man's statement irksome.
"Then they shouldn't be able to talk about us like they do. If we outrank them are we allowed to punish them?" A twisted smirk spread across his face and his chocolate brown eyes grew malevolent for a split second. Toshiya blew a strand of midnight blue hair out of his face and looked down at the smaller man.
"I guess but-" They were interrupted when the sounds of a heated argument drifted over to them, originating from somewhere next to the stage where the dancers were currently practicing their routines in street clothes. Both youths looked over to the stage to see if they could catch a glimpse of the people quarrelling. Kyo looked down at his boots despondently when he saw that it was Kaoru and Die. Toshiya put his hand on Kyo's shoulder to comfort him and they both began to walk over to the older men.
"Honestly Die! Just because you're bored doesn't mean that you can go and fire your gun like fucking psycho in the parking lot! What if some one reported you!?" Kaoru raged, crossing his arms over his chest and using the shadow that his curtain of brilliant pink hair caused to increase the effects of his glare. Die grinned dumbly and scratched the back of his head, his vibrant red hair framing his face to make him look as handsome as most would say he was.
"Look at it this way, Kaoru-kun! At least I was using my own car for target practice." The dumb grin never left his face. Kaoru rolled his eyes and ran a small girlish hand through his blindingly bright hair. Despite how crazy the entire conversation was it was a very common thing. Very, very common.
"But what if it had ricocheted and killed some poor old woman?" Kaoru was evidently trying to see if Die would realize what he had done was utterly wrong. The hit man's grin disappeared to be replaced with a contemplative frown that was completely uncharacteristic. It took him a moment, his superior still glaring daggers at him, but he finished processing the question at last.
"Now Kaoru, you and I both know that there aren't any little old ladies around here." The grin had returned. Kaoru snarled and raised his hand to cuff the tall redhead over the side of the head.
"Daisuke, sometimes you're worse than Toshiya!! Whatever you ate this morning you are not to touch again. I fear for any innocent bystanders if you do." The crime lord groused as he thwapped his right hand man over the head a second time, knocking the redhead's sunglasses askew. Die made a gagging noise and straightened his trademark glasses again. Kaoru tapped his foot, looking very much like he would rather do nothing more than lecture the younger man, but instead he groaned and pointed in the direction of the backroom that served as a private lounge. "Give me your gun and go watch some TV."
"Very well, Mother." Die complained under his breath and reached into the inner pocket of his overcoat, pulling out the weapon that was concealed there with expert discretion. In a careless and somewhat pissed of motion he handed the firearm to the hawk-eyed man and began to storm away. When he was about five long strides from the other man he called over his shoulder. "All I drank this morning was coffee! I woke up early and I was just giddy."
Kaoru almost managed to make a comment about the younger man's statement but stopped short when Die plowed into something, which promptly fell over, and halted before he could trip over it. What ever had fallen over had at least had a pulse and the capability to make noise because there was a surprised yelp and pain filled moan. Kaoru's hazel eyes shot from Die to Toshiya who had been standing next to the noisemaker. The midnight haired man squealed loudly and bent over to help the person that had toppled over.
"Kyo! Daijobu?" The supplier fretted. The crime lord's face became stoic and cold and he walked up behind the redhead who was still looking at the black haired bartender with surprise. Kyo was looking up at the hit man with a bewildered expression as Toshiya made a poor effort to help him to his feet. The chocolate eyed man looked fairly okay considering the last time the Risoka boss had seen him but there was still some key evidence that showed that he was, in spite of the time that he had remained hidden from the world, still healing. Some of that evidence being that there was a grisly looking bruises stretching from under his shirt, up his neck, and over his right cheek.
"Hai, I'm fine Toshiya-kun." Kyo mumbled, allowing himself to be helped into a standing position again. The small man swatted Toshiya's hands away and straightened out his shirt again.
"Gomen Kyo! I wasn't paying attention!" Die blathered, the identity of the person he had knocked over finally registering. The comedic redhead reached out with both hands to examine the younger man's face, only to have his hands swatted away as well. Kyo glared up at him and took a step back, clutching his ribs.
"Don't touch me. I'm okay." The bartender spat, leaning closer to Toshiya without realizing it. His chocolate brown eyes moved to look behind Die and when he saw Kaoru he averted them, something more interesting on the floor holding his attention. Die looked a little hurt by the smaller man's reaction to him and his shoulders slumped.
"Oh... okay. It's good to see you again Kyo-kun." He mumbled dejectedly and continued on to where he had been sent to, ready to choke on the abhorrence radiating from the smaller man. Kyo watched him go and regretted that he had snapped. It was too late though to take it back and the feeling lasted only a moment anyway. His chocolate brown gaze drifted to his superior and he bowed to the older man stiffly, his back straight and his ribs begging for him to quit it and find somewhere to sit.
"I hope... Niikura-sama, that after our misunderstanding... I am still permitted to work here?" He droned, keeping his tone neutral. Kaoru deserved nothing of his thoughts or emotions and he never would again. In time he was sure that he could forgive the others fully. But never Kaoru. The pink haired Risoka eyed him with obvious mistrust and plain distaste.
"Hai, you are still allowed to work here. You are a Risoka aren't you?" He growled, walking forward and grabbing the younger man by the chin so that he would look up at him. The bartender grunted as Kaoru purposefully put pressure on the healing contusion on his face, but his chocolate brown eyes met the unforgiving hazel ones without blinking and without fear.
"What else could I be but that? A Risoka. There is no me without this, Niikura-sama." He hissed, feeling nausea rise up in his throat as he remembered the last things that were said to him almost a month ago. Kaoru smirked and released the younger man. In a graceful movement he turned and feigned interest in the dancers that were showing true interest in the scene before them. The men and women averted their gazes and snapped their fans open as the routine called for it. He waved his hand in a shooing motion.
"Good." There was the sound of shattering glass from the other side of the club and then a groan of frustration. "I want you to fire the new kid and tell him that he is to return to his lord. But you have to pick up the mess. Make sure that every inch of that bar is in top shape before the rave starts. And we're starting late."
Kyo balled his fists until his knuckles turned white and his long nails cut into the calloused skin of his palms. He bowed again, this time not as low for fear of snapping in half, and looked down at the painted floor.
Lights flooded through the Complex as the dancers up on the stage swung their bodies expertly to the music that came with the light. Just like always the dance floor was nothing but a mass of human bodies molding together in an imitation of the performers. Kyo blinked away the spots that had been blinding him for the past few minutes so that he could focus on the figures weaving through the smoke. He found the one he was looking for easily, the female moving with more grace than the others as she led the kimono-clad forms.
Her long orange and black hair was falling in wild wisps from the ornate bun that had held it together when the night had began, making her look like tigress in human form. Her eyes, which were closed so that she could play the routine in her head, would have been one of the most startlingly unnatural shades of orange that anyone could have ever seen in their lives. And they weren't contacts. If you looked passed her color scheme though, the next thing to bring to mind was her obvious "endowments". The dancer turned and sank down amongst a haze of incense smoke, letting her kimono sleeves float around her.
The dancers stopped and the music ended, all forms on the stage frozen as the last notes faded out. The DJ's voice filled the club and drowned out the chatter that had begun as the dancers vacated the stage.
"Give it up for our performers ladies and gentlemen!!" The man called out into his headset as he fiddled with a few CDs so that he could play another song. "They're gonna take a short break for a while so listen to some music and dance yourselves sick! And around midnight our club queen, the beautiful Shi, will give you all a special solo performance!!"
The "beautiful Shi" was that orange haired girl's name; though she was anything but graceful when it came to her usual habits. Kyo looked down at his hands as he scribbled something down in the leather-bound black book that he had left open and nestled beneath the bar's surface. He would give Die his notes later and then maybe the trigger-happy redhead would have something to do. When he was finished he looked up in time to see the last small trail of silk from one of the dancers' kimono and then there was nothing but the smoke. His chocolate brown eyes became solemn.
"She really is pretty, Shi... doesn't belong here with the Risoka as a dancer or a whore ya' know." Came a long drawled out feminine voice. Kyo's brown eyes widened and faded to a tinted black as the lights hit them right, the pen falling from his hand to the floor. A sharp pain from his ribs kept him from diving after it though. Instead he turned to look at the end of the bar where a silver entity had seated itself moments after the dancers had vacated. Without thinking he opened his mouth and spoke as he drank in the details of the woman sitting with her chin resting in her hands as she stared at him.
"And where does she belong?" His voice was small. Milky silver eyes looked at him as lips as porcelain colored as the rest of the face they belonged to twisted into a small, almost genuine smile.
"She's smart, you can tell by the way she carries herself, but she's got an itchy trigger-finger, like most in the Risoka. It's a good thing that she definitely has the aim to back up that little shortcoming." The woman, a beauty in her early twenties like himself, smiled wider until ivory fangs were visible to him in the pulsating light and booming sound that rattled the glass bottles on the shelf behind him. This woman was not natural and every part of him wanted to run from her, but he found himself drawn by his wretched human curiosity. She continued, the sparkle in her glimmering milky eyes showing that she knew of his current inner conflict and she was enjoying it. "She has the capability to kill if pressed or necessary. I think she would make a good triggerman... for the Russians."
"And why is that...?" He squeaked, staring into the woman's eyes.
"Because everyone knows that the Russians make us mobsters, the Italians and Japanese alike, look like a bunch of tots with popguns." Her smile faded and the humor left her milky eyes, taking with it the haze that she had settled over the small Risoka. There was no mistake that the smoke had increased the effect of her supernatural trance. He shook his head slightly and looked her over completely.
Judging by how much of the woman's torso could be seen over the polished metal of the bar she was around five and a half feet tall, most of it legs. Her hair was wispy and unevenly cut, and though it was ragged and mangy looking it contained a grace and silk that couldn't be described. At first, seeing as his original impression was that she was in fact a Risoka like himself, he would've waited a moment before concluding her a female, but the slight shape in her baggy silver gown proved his assumptions immediately. She was beautiful but she did not belong there in this visual mob's nest.
"You should leave here before my boss sees you, san. He does not take kindly to the opposite faction in his territory." Kyo muttered, stepping close to the silver-haired woman. Her eyes glimmered again and he knew that she would try whatever she had before. What came from her mouth though when she spoke was a long taunting croon.
"Oh, Niikura-san can't do anything to me without making more trouble for himself than he wants. I'm not armed, I'm not snooping, and I'm a paying customer. Hai, I am with the Yakuza, but I am not nearly as guilty of aggression as my comrades." She paused and looked at him for a moment, thinking her words through and then decided to add. "Vodka. Straight. Ice. Lots."
Kyo exhaled loudly as the song changed over and turned, picking up an ice pick. What she had said was true. There was tension between the gangs but it was strictly "an eye for an eye". Though many fights had broken out amongst different sects by accident it was uncommon for someone to start something intentionally. He winced as he stood on tiptoes to grab the bottle of clear alcohol. When he was finished he set a large glass down on the bar and slid it over to the unnamed Yakuza triggerman.
He leaned down on the bar to take some of his weight off of his ribs and turned to her with pure curiosity.
"Was your decision to grace the most hostile Risoka owned business in Tokyo with your presence just a sudden lapse in judgment or are you actually here for a reason?" The raven-haired bartender inquired casually, pulling himself upright when an adolescent male with way more piercings than his face could hold seated himself and ordered. The porcelain woman eyed him carefully as she took a swig of the vile smelling liquid. She mulled his inquiry over and then looked at him as he set the adolescents order on the bar.
"Though most of my decisions could be considered a sudden lapse I actually came here for a reason..." Her voice, which he had decided to compare to wind chimes, fell from her lips in a smug rasp. "I was looking for a place to celebrate. I liked the feel of the place."
He opened his mouth to say something witty and sarcastic but she spoke again, silencing his attempt to start an argument with someone that would obviously kick his ass in a verbal war.
"My boss is getting out of jail tomorrow and I like to celebrate each victory differently. I don't see why the authorities bother when they can never get enough to pin a single crime against him. His work is too flawless, clean." She muttered with the same feral rasp. She took another large sip of her vodka and eyed the adolescent that was sitting a ways away from her. He had been staring at her since he had seated himself and she was far from flattered. "Try it. I dare you."
He looked away, piercings jingling as they clanged together. Kyo smirked, his bruises causing him too much pain to manage much movement in his face. The milky-eyed Yakuza looked back to him.
"Cele-" He spotted a small blur of pink out of the corner of his eye as his new least favorite person began to make his way over to the bar. "Joy... you should finish your drink. NOW."
"Hm, why?" She huffed, doing as she was told anyway. Silver tresses fell over her shoulder as she set the glass down and looked at him, hand moving to fish money out of her pocket and pay for her drink. When she had accomplished this her hand returned to view and she held it out in a gesture for him to lean over. Kyo did so, his stomach doing back flips as Kaoru neared the bar.
Without warning the woman grabbed his wrist with strength that didn't seem logical coming from such a willowy frame. The force of his arm being yanked hauled him up against the cold metal of the bar and almost over the serving counter, her fingers colder than anything that he had ever felt in his life. She lowered her face until her nose was practically touching his, milky silver eyes suddenly filled with a scheme. Her breath carried no scent of the alcohol she had downed and there was no trace of warmth. She was as frigid as a New England winter. She smiled softly, the scheme leaking into her features. That's when he realized that Kaoru wasn't someone that he was to fear at that moment.
"San, you have to go." He shivered in the ice woman's grasp. Her smile became sickly sweet, pretty.
"My name is Doll." She whispered. He heard the payment for her drink land with a small crinkling noise on the counter. She reached under the bar again and there was the sound of more paper, but he was too afraid to look down to see what it was. She leaned in again, closer to him and over the bar. Her icy hands slipped something into his pocket and she spoke. "You're cute... call me." She giggled.
Kyo recognized a fake flirt when he saw one and this was definitely one. She was covering up what she really meant like what Toshiya did when he was out selling, hiding prices and amount using simple words from a story that he had told one too many times. His train of though derailed as Doll let go and rose from the barstool, high heels clacking against the cement. He blinked and said the first thing that came to mind.
"What makes you think I will?"
"Women's intuition. You'll know." She turned away letting her hair swirl around her head. She was a vision in silver and she had just given him a proposition that he hadn't quite grasped yet.
"So you're gonna shoot me now?" He hardly heard the voice over the jeers of the crowd that surrounded them on all sides. The music kept to the same beat as always, making his body vibrate from foot to the very tips of his fingers. He ignored it though as he stared down the barrel of his gun at the pink haired man crouched in front of him, smirking.
Kaoru looked like he had fallen from glory in a tangle of battle. His wiry body covered in gouges and places where he had barely avoided taking a fatal bullet. Kyo took in a sharp breath and pried his eyes away to look at the crowd. Shapes that were only silhouettes in the light from the ceiling. A tall shape seemed to be trying to force its way through the crowd, but there was nothing it could do to shift the tightly packed bodies. Another lay unmoving, but alive, behind Kaoru.
"Iie... I'm..." Kyo tried to say, his breath pouring from his full lips like gauze. He tried to remove his finger from the trigger of his handgun but found that it wouldn't move. His endless black eyes looked slowly at the digit, frost and ice holding it in place. "I don't... I..."
He reached his other hand forward to pull the gun away from his frozen appendage, only to stop when a pair of arms wrapped around his waist and a chin rested on his shoulder, a gesture not loving but coaxing. He was immobilized. Kaoru laughed mockingly as his fiery orbs turned to focus on the figure embracing the small Risoka, his subordinate.
Confusion welled up inside of him, he felt torn between something that wasn't obvious to him, not yet. The figure holding him slid a feminine arm down his to grip the gun over his slightly smaller hand. Panic replaced confusion as the figure aimed the gun at the crouched and wounded crime lord in front of them both.
"I can't do this!" Kyo shrieked. He tried to pull away, the figure let go and he fell to the ground. The music had stopped... the lights had faded... and everything was gone as water rushed over him Water filled his lungs before he could close his mouth but he didn't focus on that as a male voice that he had never heard before entered his mind before the blackness chased it away.
"My, aren't we the little prophet?"
His eyes shot open as he wailed loudly and fell off of the couch. His small worn body struck the hard floor but he took no notice as he coughed and sputtered, expecting water to spill onto the floor next to him, but it didn't.
"Kyo? You okay?" Toshiya's voice came from the kitchen, sounds of rattling pans almost obscuring his voice as much as the jeers from his dream. Kyo bit his lower lip and scratched the back of his head in an attempt to seize as much of his dream before the details left him. He didn't want to lose it no matter how much it had rattled him. "Kyo-kun?"
"I'm fine... just a nightmare is all..." He called, rising from the ground. The TV caught his eye and then he remembered what he had been doing before he had fallen asleep. The news was on, showing a few weather updates, and he had fallen asleep watching it after stumbling into the apartment with Toshiya at around five that morning after their shift at the Complex had ended.
"Wasn't too bad I hope. Breakfast will be ready in just a few minutes." Toshiya answered back. Kyo grunted and pulled himself back onto the abused piece of cushioned furniture. His eyes didn't leave the TV as the weather changed to an actual news bulletin. A male reporter appeared on the screen.
"Notorious Yakuza crime lord Terachi Shinya was released from police custody early this morning after failure to produce enough evidence to convict him of murder. One of many failed attempts to put him behind bars." The reporter stated stiffly, like all those in his profession. The screen suddenly shifted over to a scene with two officers leading tall and frail looking human from the building that was obviously the jail. The man wasn't wearing handcuffs but the way that he walked, like royalty, and how he hung his head to hide his predatory grin behind a cloud of auburn hair showed that whoever had made the decision to leave him uncuffed had been a fool. Behind the group of men walked a female under a parasol.
It was odd though, seeing as there was not a cloud in the sky in that footage, which was observably, recorded according to the placement and lighting from the sun. The camera moved to focus more on the woman and all of a sudden he felt himself stiffen and wait. The parasol, black like what you'd see at a funeral during a bad storm, tilted until a long tress of silver became visible against black clothes. The view returned to the crime lord as he slowly lowered himself into a limo, the woman following.
She lowered the parasol and closed it, handing it to a man that had opened the door. She turned to look at the camera and winked. Kyo gawked, the clatter coming from the kitchen not even pulling him out of the trance. The footage continued as the reporter continued his commentary, and Doll lowered herself into the limo.
"Women's intuition. You'll know." The chimes rang through his mind as silver filled his vision. He reached into his pocket and was thankful that he had passed out before he had changed his clothes. He felt the slip of paper there, crumpled and reminding him of the cold hand that had placed it there.
The scheme was there and that ice woman had given him his start, he smiled. Before he knew it he was on his feet and rushing for the door in such a hurry that he forgot about Toshiya still bustling about in the kitchen, but that didn't matter. He slipped into his jacket and sneakers and stumbled into the hall. Kyo wasn't one to get overly excited about something that could just be a new torment for him but he had started to believe that his efforts would die away. But no this was his chance. He whipped out his cell and the small slip of paper Doll had given him.
His dream had been forgotten for the moment and not even his wounds could slow him down.