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the spirits that follow

Chapter Text

 

Kiryu could see ghosts for all he could remember. Back at the orphanage, he could occasionally see them in clear human forms or weird, creeping shadows. Other kids would make fun of him when he first bought it up. But not Nishiki. Being the great and helplessly supportive bro that he is even to this day despite every Dojima family member wants his head and giddy enough to wipe his existence off the map.

For whatever reason, it only occurred to him the moment he felt a cold presence in the room. The grip on his fifth cigarette tightened and he’s ready to jump from the sofa.

“A love hotel? How discreet.” An all-too familiar smug voice murmured.

He whipped his head. Out of all things, it was Oda.

His horribly flashy suit as pristine as the first time they met and didn’t appear as if he was stabbed by Makimura’s hidden blade the last time Kiryu saw him (courtesy of Sera, which is pretty damn smart in times like these). Except, well, for one thing which is his body was transparent and Kiryu can clearly see the ghostly wisps around him.

“The hell.”

His superior jerked back (or, floated back?) out of shock. “H-hold on- you can see me?”

Kiryu dumbly nodded, “uh, yeah? Been seeing ghosts since I was a kid.”

Oda put on a thoughtful expression, “huh.” 

Makimura stirred on the bed, tugging both of their attention. For once, she appeared at ease and completely out of it.

Kiryu looked back at Oda and made sure to keep his voice quiet. “So, why are you still here? Guilt?”

Oda flinched, averting his eyes. 

To be honest, Kiryu doesn’t forgive Oda. Not what after he done to poor Makimura and the current state she’s currently in. Disgust crept in as he’s more than happy to punch Oda’s face, dead or not. But at the same, he felt emotionally drained. He put out his cigarette in the ashtray before leaning back against the sofa, “be lucky I’m too tired to give a shit.” 

The older man stayed quiet for several seconds before heaving a sigh. “Shibusawa got to me.” 

Kiryu’s eyes widened. “He was also there?”

Oda gravely nodded. “unsurprisingly. I ended up disappointing him and he shot me in the face. You know, the first thing I saw was my own damn corpse. It scared me shitless at first. But then after some waiting and nothing else better to do, I decided to track down you guys.”

He huffed out a laugh, “guess even playing last-minute heroes didn’t grant me permission to hell or a scrape of the afterlife.”

Kiryu sat there, unsure what to answer. Instead, he just asked, “so, you’re just tagging along for now?”

Oda shrugged, if not nervous like he was asking for permission, “if that’s okay with you.”

To be frank, Kiryu doesn’t really care and told Oda to make himself useful like keeping watch, as he desperately needs some rest, the comfort of the sofa already lulling him to sleep. The older man didn’t object in the slightest, giving a weak smile before hovering towards the tall glass windows.

 


 

“No one gave you a talisman or something?” Oda bought up at one point. Making small talk as they both waited for Makumura to get ready.

Kiryu pondered over it briefly. “Think so. I remembered it getting bad at some point- like some ghost punks kept picking fights with me during school. Ofcourse, they can’t physically hurt me so they settled with harassment and taunts.”

“Serious?”

“Yeah, it was a pain in the ass so I finally gotten one at some antique shop. Must have lost it.”

The older man snorted, “ofcourse you did.”

 


 

“I’ll look after her.” Oda quietly offered, glancing at Makimura, now waiting anxiously on a sofa chair.

I don’t want to face him, went unsaid.

‘Really? After all this time? A part of Kiryu wanted to retort back. Instead, he held his tongue and retreated outside the makeshift shaft, making his way to Little Asia.

 


 

Kiryu told Tachibana everything, including Oda’s betrayal and his secret talks with Shibusawa.

His boss stayed relatively dead silent but Kiryu can observe the changing emotions in his eyes. Relief and sadness when he heard his sister was safe and thankfully unharmed despite her blind state. Flashes of anger, disappointment and regrets came about when he talked about Oda. 

“So, it’s expected he’s dead.” 

Actually, he’s watching over your sister.

Ofcourse, Kiryu doesn’t say that. And then, Tachibana bared his soul to him and broke down. The younger man has never seen him this vulnerable, his normally calm expression was wet with tears on as he spoke of his regrets and selfishness, choking on his words as he pleaded to see his little sister.

Kiryu stayed respectfully silent, waiting for his boss to recover.

“Let’s go, Kiryu-san.” Tachibana ordered with a firm expression. Kiryu nodded back, ready to lead him out. 

But then one of the locals barged in, frantic and informed them a group of Dojima men arrived. Tachibana cursed at the timing before clicking his tongue, “Oda must have also leaked to them about my dialysis.” 

Fucking hell, Oda.

  


 

 What rotten luck.

Ofcourse, the Dojima family hired an assassin and it was Kiryu’s turn to get shot.

Atleast Elder Chen is willing to aid him and Nishiki is there, so painfully loyal in every possible way as they quickly sprint back to West Park. Two pair of heads looked in their direction when they entered the tent.

“Where is he?” Oda demanded.

“Is that…big brother?” Makimura lit up, when she heard a second pair of footsteps. Kiryu can’t bear to look at her, not with that hopeful smile on her face.

“Brother?” Nishiki parroted and already Kiryu is having a headache having to listen to three voices. He heaved a sigh and calmly asked for a proper sit down and gave them the short version of the situation.

“They found out Tachibana’s hideout-”, he made sure to shoot a quick glare at Oda (in which the older man avoided his gaze in response) before continuing, “and now they’re keeping him somewhere. Elder Chen and the Little Asia community are now tracking him down.”

Makimura sat there in dismay, praying her brother is still alive. Oda paced back and forth, impatient. Meanwhile, Nishiki, being out of the loop, is utterly confused, asking what was the full story and how the hell are they related.

Kiryu sighed, “look, one question at a time.”

Wait, scratch that. “Actually, forget them all. We need to get Tachibana back.”

“Damn right we do”, Oda hissed in the back. 

Makimura is crying again, her hope slipping away. All because of a tiny patch of land her grandfather left behind for her mother to find if she ever comes back home, now some damn reward to be the head of a clan. Kiryu all can do was promised to bring her brother back, even if it kills him.

His pager beeped. It was from Elder Chen.

He nodded at Nishiki before glancing at Oda, his eyes darting between him and Makimura.

‘Stay put’. Hopefully the silent message got across.

Somehow, Oda seemed to understood it. Judging from the conflicted look on his face before reluctantly complying. “Fine! I'll watch over her in case other shit pops up. Make sure you bring him back alive, Kiryu.”

Kiryu made damn sure.

 


 

He couldn’t.

Kuze’s men did a terrific job, leaving Tachibana butchered and there was so, so much blood . Kiryu saw red, tearing into the room and made sure every last one of them stayed on the ground, including Kuze himself.

The moment they released Tachibana, the first thing that Kiryu said was, I’m sorry. Over and over again.

And Tachibana. The kind, patient, cool Tachibana that Kiryu have known just gave a bloody, forgiving smile while breathing out his words. His eyes barely opened and his chest heaving too slowly. That he might as well be close to death’s door. Kiryu won’t have it. Not when Makoto is just so close by, eagerly waiting to meet her brother that she haven’t seen in ten years. He quickly ordered Nishiki to go get her, praying time is still on their side. Nishiki ran within seconds.

But Tachibana still spoke, with every last breath as he shared what Kuze had told him, about Dojima pulling the strings, his fixation with the empty lot. Kiryu doesn’t give a shit. He just wanted to him to stop, better save his last words for his sister.

And then-

Tachibana lay limp in his arms, unmoving.

Kiryu let out an anguish howl. 

 


 

“Big brother…you’re just tired, right?” Makimura clenched a desperate smile, holding tightly onto her brother’s cold hand.

Kiryu just wanted to bury himself right now.

 


  

They carried Tachibana’s body back to Little Asia. Elder Chen promised to bury him next to his mother and her side of the family once they found the location. Kiryu is just relieved his former boss will have a proper burial, the kind that he’ll deserve.

They put him in the medical room, a clean sheet covering him for the time being. Kiryu stared down, lost. Oda hovered behind him in complete silence. Nishiki accompanied Makimura back to West Park, the poor woman had completely shut down after crying her wrenched heart out. Leaving all three men not entirely sure what to do next.

However, Kiryu’s thoughts were interrupted when he felt another cold presence in the room.

“B-boss?” Oda suddenly cried out.

Kiryu slowly looked over his shoulders. Standing at the door, was Tachibana’s ghost. Similar to Oda, he was originally dressed in his everyday suit, looking ever sophisticated as if he wasn’t murdered seconds ago.

“Good evening, Oda-san.” His voice sounded flat.

The other ghost blinked, “wait, you’re…not surprised to see me?”

“Well, I saw you were accompanying Kiryu-san when he carried my body to meet with…” Tachibana trailed off, not daring to finish his sentence.

Kiryu bit his lips and dared to step in, “Tachibana.”

Said man stared at him with wide eyes, “Kiryu-san? You can… see us?”

“Apparently, the rookie can see ghosts.” Oda perfectly summarized.

“Ah.” Was all Tachibana could utter. But the flicker of interest in his eyes quickly morphed into regret. “I…please do forgive me, Kiryu-san. I was too weak to hold on.”

Kiryu promptly averted his eyes, gritting his teeth. “Why the hell are you apologizing? If I found you earlier this wouldn’t have-”

“Kiryu-san.”

The younger man stopped himself. Tachibana’s ghostly figure hovered closer, he has a soft but sad smile on his face. “No one would have predicted this. Besides, I was basically goading them but as we all know how the result ended…” His eyes trailed towards his covered body before looking back at Kiryu, “But more importantly, let’s just focus on Xiao Qiao’s wellbeing. Okay?”

Kiryu stayed quiet at first before meeting his boss’s eyes, “…you’re right.”

Tachibana seemed satisfied with his response. However, the kindness in his eyes was short-lived when they shifted over to Oda. The other man gulped and- when did the temperature in the room dropped this drastically? 

“Oda-san.” Tachibana started placidly, “I have many things to say to you. Unfortunately, with the circumstances as it is, I rather discuss with you once this all eventually settled, understood?”

For the first time, Kiryu has never seen his boss with such a stone cold expression that frightened him more than the time he was standing before the Dojima lieutenants that started this whole goddamn mess.

Oda could all do was bow his head. “Gotcha”, he weakly replied.

 


 

By the time they reached West Park, Nishiki was panicking and Kiryu know that’s bad . Apparently, Makimura wandered off after Nishiki offered to buy some drinks and snacks. Kiryu’s panic skyrocketed. Kamarocho was no place for a blind, defenseless woman. “B-but she could have not wandered off far, right? Nishiki?”

“Xiao Qiao…” Tachibana whispered in the back, horrified and completely guilt-ridden, painfully aware it was his death that tipped her off to the edge. Oda looked on helplessly at the side.

But then Nishiki shook his head, if not in a bit of a frenzy, “to be honest, bro. I think she’s slowly gaining her eyesight back?”

“Huh? The three man chorused all at once.

“Yeah, believe it or not. But I think she can only see shapes? You know, like silhouettes.” Then a thought occurred to him, “hold on a sec- bro, you mentioned about Makoto and Tachibana being siblings?”

Ah, right. He haven’t given a proper explanation yet. And so Kiryu does, well, a brief quick one at that mostly about their family ties and history with the Empty Lot.

Nishiki paled by the time he finished, burying his face in his heads, “fuck, Tachibana is so haunting me right now.”

Bro, he’s just standing close by.

But what came out of Kiryu’s mouth was, “um.”

Nisihki froze, slowly bringing up his face. “He’s there, isn’t he?”

Kiryu wordlessly nodded and glanced to where his boss was standing. Suddenly, Nishiki got on his knees and screamed, “I’M SO SORRY, TACHIBANA-SAN!”

Oh for god’s sake we’re in public . Kiryu fought the urge to face-palm as he can feel eyes looking in their direction.

Not expecting the apologetic outcry, Tachibana tried to reassure Nishiki as he hovered over him, “Nishikiyama-san, please! You’re not at fault here!”

“Well, now people think you lot are crazy.” Oda mumbled, the unhelpful bastard.

Kiryu tried to calm his oath brother down. “O-oi Nishiki! Tachibana said it’s fine! Let just try to find her!”

Nishiki snapped out of it, suddenly aware of the attraction they were gaining. Too tired to care, he just shouted at them to mind their damn business. It wasn’t long before they were running in separate directions with Oda trailing after Nishiki while Tachibana accompanied Kiryu.

(“Oda is here as well by the way”, he threw in the last second before making a quick plan for their search operation.

Oda looked mildly offended.)

  


 

Unfortunately, Kiryu couldn’t find her as he ran every street corner and alleys with Dojima family members lurking about. Tachibana looked as equally distraught before making a suggestion, “Kiryu-san, what about the Empty Lot?”

Kiryu stared at him, “huh? Why would she want to go back there?”

Tachibana gave an empty smile, “why wouldn’t she want to return to the root of it all?”

 


 

They did but with no luck. Makimura wasn’t anywhere in sight. Tachibana paced around, more tensed and terrified at the possible situations his sister could have been roped into against her will.

Nishiki somehow figured he’ll be there and whatever hope Kiryu had in store was thrown when his brother and Oda returned with not only frowns as Nishiki appeared as if he lost a brawl. He bowed his head, ashamed. “Sorry Kiryu, Tachibana, still no word on Makoto. Even the guys in Little Asia haven’t gotten any lead yet.”

Kiryu wordlessly nodded until Oda spoke up, “but we did ran into a guy looking for her. Apparently he’s a yakuza legend?”

Tachibana frowned at the new information, “from what family?”

“Huh?”

Nishiki blinked, confused until Kiryu repeated what Oda had said. Focused again, Nishiki asked whether he recalled the story about Majima Goro. Kiryu remembered bits and pieces based on the rumours. Hell, once you’re a yakuza you’re bound to hear the story of Majima Goro of the Shimano family. Apparently he fucked up so bad that said family decided to wipe his existence off by sending him to the Hole. 

“The Hole?” Tachibana inquired, intrigued by this legend of a man.

Kiryu bit his lips. “From what I heard, it’s hell. The worst kind of punishment for a yakuza. No man has never gone out alive.”

“It sounds lovely.”

Guessing the gist of their conversation, Nishiki nearly snorted. “Yeah, well, apparently not this guy.”

Well, that was unheard of. “So, you said Majima was looking for her too?”

Nishiki nodded, saying the guy was determined enough to even storm Kamaza family office and fought Kashiwagi, one-on-one at that and came out victorious. Kiryu eyes widened, not even himself managed to win a majority of their sparring practices. 

“Guess who he decided to meet next?” Nishiki deadpanned, admitting even he couldn’t stand a damn chance.

“A monster, is what he is.” Oda grimaced. Tachibana narrowed his eyes, not liking the implications surrounding this man.

But then, Nishiki gave a thoughtful look, “although…it didn’t sound like he was on Dojima’s payroll.” 

Wait, what?

Equally confused, Nishiki explained this Majima guy claimed he was trying to protect her.

“I gotta admit, he didn’t look like he intended to do her harm.” Oda quietly shared.

Regardless, it didn’t hinder their doubts as Tachibana muttered dryly. “I hope that’s the case then.”

Then, Kiryu’s pager beeped. He took it out. However, he didn’t recognize the number. Both Tachibana and Oda peered at it. “It’s Sera-san.” Tachibana firmly stated before glancing at Kiryu. “Quick, Kiryu-san.”

 


 

“Makimura Makoto was shot by Dojima’s men.”

Was the absolutely last thing Kiryu wanted to hear after being told to take it easy because what the hell . Their initial shock worn off, it dissolved into immense concern after they were told despite the successful surgery, she has yet to gain consciousness.

Tachibana is pissed. Kiryu can tell because the restaurant has never felt this goddamn cold that not even the kettle steamer could help. Oda had to back away from his boss, shivering. Oblivious and how , Sera doesn’t appear to detect any spiritual presence as he asked whether Kiryu wanted some warm tea. Kiryu politely declined and asked what the hell had happened in the last hour or so.

The older man complied with long explanations and updates. Regarding Makimura’s condition and that she’ll be guarded at a private ship in Sibaura (Tachibana’s eyes finally softened just hearing her recovery), Dojima’s focus on the restoration project, Shibusawa’s near promotion to captain (Oda snorted), Majima (apparently, they shouldn’t be too concerned despite his initial orders and Kiryu met Shimano before) and finally, Kazama’s long-term plan that would ultimately make Sera the third head of the Tojo Clan.

“So you also go way back with the old man?” Kiryu asked, thinking about that Tachibana previously shared with him before. 

Sera lightly chuckled, for once giving a genuine smile. “Maybe not as long as you, but Kazama-san showed me the ropes as a yakuza. I’ll never forget the debt I owe that man.”

Kiryu nodded, he can respect the sentiment. Tachibana agreed besides him. 

Sera then changed the topic, suggesting Kiryu to lay low. Not only from the Dojima family, but from the police as well since the murder charge haven’t been cleared yet. “I promised Kazama-san to do all that I’m able to for you, Kiryu. So for now, leave everything to us. Alright?”

“...There’s really nothing I can do?” Kiryu quietly raised, hating the idea of feeling powerless. Oda scoffed, something about playing heroes and recklessness. Tachibana smiled gently, “Kiryu-san, you did more than enough.”

Sera shook his head, “you done plenty. If not for you, there’s no way Makoto would have made it Kamurocho alive. She’s clinging to life now in part thanks to you.”

“Well said, Sera-san”, Tachibana concurred. Oda deliberately stayed silent.

Sera then stood up from his seat, “remember, Kiryu, it’s best that you leave town.”

 


 

“Guess who looked ready to start some serious shit?”

No sooner after he met up with Nishiki, the latter told him there has been sightings of Dojima family heading for the Kazama family office. 

“Shibusawa.” He quickly concluded. Nishiki gravely nodded, “can’t believe his first order as captain is to put every Kazama loyalist to the sword. The city gonna be flooded with Dojima muscle real soon.”

That certainly sounds like deja vu. As if on cue, a few Dojima men spotted them in plain sight from afar.

What the hell.” Nishiki’s frustration said it all.

“They sure are punctual”, Oda drawled.

Tachibana clicked his tongue, “indeed.”

Kiryu sighed and cracked his knuckles. Somebody’s face is going to get slammed into a vending machine.

 


 

After a quick beatdown, Kiryu rushed over to the Kazama family office while throwing some money on the side to distract the Dojima family with a crowd. He’d already told Nishiki to go ahead to warn everyone and lay low.

By the time he reached Tenkaichi street, Kuze was there by his lonesome self. Kiryu is both impressed and annoyed, boasting that he’d rather beat a hundred Tojo punks than his senior with such a stubborn streak and pride that refused to die. Tachibana couldn’t help but looked at him with a worried expression while Oda mumbled where the brat’s obnoxiousity came from.

Kuze just huffed out a laugh, sharing small words of philosophy on men’s pride. “Well, be fun to see whose pride dies harder here...your’s or mine.”

 


 

Somehow, he managed to beat Kuze for the third or fifth time now. The older man was relentless but Kiryu pulled through, leaving him staggering and catching his breath. Both Tachibana and Oda heaved sighs of relief that their junior still lived after occasional panicked shouts.

“I can tell, you know?” Kuze said out of the blue while he lay beat on the ground. “That Captain Kazama tried to keep you from becoming a real yakuza...he even tried giving you the opportunity to be a civilian. And then we broke the damn seal. The Dojima family did this.”

Tachibana stared at him with a knowing look, “so, you also knew.”

Kiryu blinked, not entirely sure what his boss meant by that. However, what Kuze said next made him stop dead in his tracks.

“Go to Nikkyo Consortium, Kiryu. Makumura Makoto is still alive, ain’t she?”

They all stared at him in shock. “What do you mean?” Kiryu bit out, the worst images already coming to mind.

“Shibusawa.” Tachibana hissed.

Shibusawa (the terrifying bastard), purposely had ordered the assassin to not shoot her in the vital organs, in order to conduct a raid to drag Nikkyo Consortium out of their hole, the ultimate plan to eradicate them all. Erasing the Kazama family as the first step was merely a distraction. Kiryu stared blankly back, blood boiling in his veins.

Oda paled. “Holy fuck. ” 

“To go that extreme…” Tachibana whispered in silent anger.

Suddenly, Nishiki bust out of the office. Exclaiming that he got word from Little Asia, that Shibusawa got the Dojima family leading a raid on Sibaura right at this very moment. It wasn’t long before his brother ran off to fetch the car. Kiyru was about to follow him until Kuze tugged his attention again.

“You best know this, Kiryu...You’re about to step into the deepest, darkest, shit pit of the yakuza world. You better be fucking ready.”

He is, and he will be. With that, Kiryu gave one last respectful bow.

 


 

Shit.” Nishiki cursed at the number of black vehicles surrounding the cruise ship. Men in suits ready to march in with weapons in hand. 

“I mean, we fought through crowds of punks before.” Kiryu pointed out almost nonchalantly. His brother and Oda shot him looks of disbelief. Tachibana just chuckled, amused. However, they refocused when they saw a very familiar man climb out of one of the cars.

“Shibusawa.” Kiryu tightened his jaw before climbing out of Nishiki’s car, the latter following suit. He shouted out the man’s name. Shibusawa himself just cooly looked over his shoulders. A brief look and then he was on his merry way towards the ship with a few guards. 

“Hmph, the nerve.” Tachibana gritted his teeth. Even Oda looked annoyed on his behalf.

It wasn’t long before hell broke loose. Nikkyo Consortium were outnumbered, no doubt caught off-guard. Things could have worsened if it weren’t for Kashiwagi’s dramatic entrance. The older man suddenly barged in with a truck together with the Kazama family.

All the more reason to put both Kiryu and Nishiki at ease as they fought their way inside.

 


 

“Go, Kiryu! I’ll hold these guys off!” His brother shouted, gun in hand as he peered around the corner. “Go find Makoto! Sides, don’t want you dying either and I totally don’t want to be haunted by Tachibana for failing you and Makoto.” He attempted to grin, as if making light of the shitty situation.

“Nishiki…” 

Tachibana glanced at Kiryu, “he’s right, Kiryu-san. We must make haste.”

Kiryu reluctantly nodded and ran ahead. He just pray Nishiki survived through the ordeal. He doesn’t want another wandering ghost.

 


 

Atop the balcony, Shibusawa was there. But so was Makimura, unconscious and oblivious as she sat in a wheelchair, like some kind of damn trophy it’s insulting. Her doctor stood behind her, keeping a strong front but Kiryu can see her eyes darting between her patient and the yakuza who could kill them within mere seconds. 

Tachibana never looked so ferocious, his expression dark and ready to kill if Shibusawa dared lay a finger on his little sister. Every threat possible spilling through his lips that Oda wouldn’t dare to interrupt him. Shibusawa seemed unbothered, as he doesn’t appear to detect any spiritual presence either much to Kiryu's disappointment. The older man then send them both away. The doctor gave one last look at Kiryu, a silent plea before bringing Makimura back down.

“The girl can die later.” Shibusawa nonchalantly remarked afterwards as if was an afterthought.

I. Dare. You.” Tachibana practically growled and Kiryu just realized this was the first time he heard his boss used such tone. Suddenly, there was a gust of wind, startling them.

“Wha-what the hell?” Oda shouted. Admittedly, Kiryu felt some goosebumps. 

Shibusawa didn’t seem to care, brushing it off before bragging about titles and legacies that will bring yakuza to heel. That it simply takes a body count to carve out a legend. Kiryu doesn’t gives a shit. So much blood has been spilled just to earn some cutesy title. 

It was time to end this.

 


 

Just when Kiryu thought Kuze couldn’t have been more ruthless, Shibusawa fought like an unyielding beast. 

Kiryu doesn’t give in. He will not.

 


 

“I’ll kill you all...Like I killed Tachibana.”

The bastard still has the audacity to gloat from the floor, all the more reason to piss Kiryu off. The images fresh in his mind as he staggered towards and promptly kicked Shibusawa in the face, more blood splattering across the wood. He then made sure to land three precise punches afterwards. For Oda, for Tachibana, for Makimura.

But the wrath that he had pent up wanted to unleash itself. His stained fist still trembling and Shibusawa’s taunts didn’t help. Both Tachibana and Oda are yelling something, he thinks, but their voices were fading into obscurity while blood rushes to his ear. He pulled back his fist-

KIRYU!

Someone abruptly shoved into him, flunging them both to the side. It was Nishiki, still alive with purple bruises on his face, looking rightfully pissed.

“What does killing this guy get you? A lot of nothing!” His brother shouted in his face. But his anger dissipated as tears started to fall, as he choked, "just- don't cross that line without me, brother."

And just like that, Kiryu snapped out of it, his hardened gaze finally softened and his eyes trailed to his fist, covered in Shibusawa’s blood. A transparent gloved hand reached out to it, Kiryu blinked, just realizing Tachibana had bend down to meet his eyes.

Kiryu stared at him, confused, “but-”. Tachibana shook his head, “I don’t want to place such a heavy burden on you, Kiryu-san. You have done plenty.” His words final.

He quietly obeyed. It was over.

Chapter Text

 

Nishiki physically had to drag him to a hospital. 

Kiryu initially tried to brush it off at first and retorted that his brother’s injuries are as bad. Nishiki rolled his eyes, saying he wasn’t the one kicking the Dojima lieutenants’ asses and got shot multiple times. “For fuck’s sake Kiryu- look, how about we admit ourselves in, okay?” 

Tachibana was as persistent, like an overbearing parent as he lightly berated, “Kiryu-san, I highly suggest you get proper treatment.”

“You’re worse than a toddler”, Oda smirked.

Fine.

 


 

Both Marina and Yamanoi paged Kiryu several times while he stayed in the recovery ward. Out of concern, no doubt. Granted, he did left without a message and the guilt crept in.

“They aware you were a yakuza?” Nishiki asked as he lazily flipped through a magazine about the latest fashion trends for men.

Yamanoi, definitely not. Other than thinking he was a yakuza otaku (which Nishiki unapologetically burst out into laughter), thanks Oda . As for Marina, Kiryu has a hunch that she does. Being an undercover officer and the case of the murder charge on his head but she was always genuinely friendly towards him.

“You should have a proper talk with them once you’re released.” Tachibana suggested. Kiryu nodded in response. Speaking of the office, he wondered how Nugget was faring.

“Hold up, are you still training that chicken as a manager?” Nishiki blurted out.

Kiryu scowled, “don’t underestimate her, she’s been a great contribution to the company. Believe it or not.”

Tachibana chuckled, “indeed.”

Oda snorted, “even I can’t deny that. Revenue percentage was, what? 130% every time?”

“Even Tachibana and Oda agreed.”

Nishiki continued to stare at him in utter disbelief, “how the hell are you a legit real estate agent again?”

 


 

Much to Kiryu’s surprise, Sera shared him the address and room number of Makimura via a phone call once he was released from the recovery ward for like four days with Nishiki. She’s been relocated to a private hospital. But Kiryu couldn’t bring himself to, for he was a reminder to Makimura of the yakuza. Tachibana gently reminded him to be not too hard on himself and added, “I’m sure she’ll be happy to see a familiar face.”

Kiryu reconsidered that statement. 

 


 

Having to deal with the aftermath is weird, Kiryu decided. 

Nishiki kindly welcomed him to stay over at his place since his own flat was burned. Kiryu appreciated it, his debts racking up and made sure to owe him a drink and a meal or two once things finally settled down. His brother snorted and trailed off a list with his fingers, “bro, I got you that flashy suit, the lighter and you ran off with my car. You owe me big time.”

Kiryu chuckled, sipping his beer. Nishiki then looked around him. “Oh yeah, where’s Tachibana and Oda? They sure been quiet.” 

Ah. Kiryu paused to himself. “They’re discussing about what they’ll be doing as spirits. Tachibana told me he definitely wish to watch over his sister and I...Although I’m not sure about Oda.”

It’s been over an hour since they left to talk privately. It was either that Oda want to seek redemption or never come back again. It just occurred to Kiryu he hasn’t told Nishiki the complete truth yet. He seen the way his sworn brother glowered at Oda after the latter told Tachibana that Kiryu was not to be trusted. The sheer irony.

Nishiki looked puzzled at first, “huh? I can see him wanting to look after Makoto. But you?” He paused and snickered. “Then again, you always been a magnet for trouble and other weird shit.”

And then, his pager beeped. Nishiki picked it up from the table and groaned, “ah crap, it’s Kashiwagi-san. I promised to see him.”

Kiryu raised an eyebrow, “that urgently?”

Nishiki nodded, “I guess to see how we’re faring after that mess. I heard we lost a few guys.”

The other man dipped his head with regret, he remembered seeing a couple of confused ghosts when they left the ship. It was to be expected, he supposed. Noticing his expression, Nishiki attempted a grin, “anyway, just take it easy, bro. The doctor really warned us about open wounds. See ya later.”

With that, Kiryu bid Nishiki off with a lazy wave as the door closed behind. His eyes trailed back to the TV, replaying the news on the Sibaura event. As for the Dojima Lieutenants, Shibusawa and Kuze were arrested by the police. As for Awano, Kiryu heard he got shot to death. By whom, no one was saying anything.

“Nishikiyama-san has a good point, Kiryu-san.” A familiar voice chuckled.

Kiryu turned his head. Tachibana had phrased through the apartment wall- did Kiryu not felt his presence earlier? Surveying the room, Tachibana’s lips perked up, “well, isn’t this nostalgic? Although, Nishikiyama-san does a better job at cleaning.”

Kiryu blinked at the last statement, he couldn’t imagine Tachibana living in a messy flat similar to his previous place. As if he knew what he was thinking (then again, Tachibana can read expressions it’s almost scary), his boss grinned, “on the contrary, I used to live like a slob.”

Yep, Kiryu honestly couldn’t conjure the image and Tachibana chuckled at his expression. 

Kiryu sipped his beer. “So, you were listening earlier?”

Tachibana smiled and sat opposite him at the round table. “Just briefly, I visited Xiao Qiao this earlier. Thankfully, she appeared well and slowly gaining consciousness.”

Kiryu’s eyes widened at the news, the burden in his chest didn’t felt as heavy, “really?”

Tachibana eagerly nodded with such a big smile, the happiest Kiryu has ever seen him. “Yes, hopefully she’ll be able to be fully conscious soon.”

“I hope so too.” Kiryu gave a small smile. If only Makimura can witness the genuine happiness displayed on her older brother’s face.

“Anyway, you should also take it easy as well, Kiryu-san.” His boss offhandedly commented. 

Kiryu blinked, “huh?”

Tachibana nodded with a serious expression, “well, you do have a tendency of attracting unwanted attention. Kazama-san wasn’t mincing his words when he first talked about you.”

Kiryu sighed at the number of anecdotes he can pull out, “no kidding. Everywhere I go, everyone and their moms need help.”

The older man softly chuckled, “but you’re always willing to help. I had numerous reports about you helping civilians. Especially when they are troubled by yakuza or street ruffians.”

Kiryu ducked his head and sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck. “Can’t help it, there’s something about punks making unnecessary trouble pisses me off. Oda warned me I shouldn’t go around playing hero all the time, saying its a bad habit, not that I care. Speaking of Oda, where is he?”

Tachibana’s lips flattened at the mention of the name. “Oda said he’s contemplating over what we spoken. I gave him two options: ‘one, you can wish to repent by aiding Kiryu in every way possible. Or two, wander as a lost spirit and rot for the rest of eternity’.”

Kiryu stared back wide-eyed, albeit frightened. Tachibana smiled, it didn’t reach his eyes.

“He lost my trust as it is. If he wants to gain it back, he’ll have to convince us.” Tachibana then took a deep breath, “to be honest, at first it was rather difficult for me, as his friend and brother. But what he did to Xiao Qiao and the other women in her shoes was inexcusable. And to betray us just to preserve our bond was a selfish, cowardly move, really.” 

“Tachibana...” Was all Kiryu could say. 

The ghost quietly continued, “despite the fact that he chose to turn-heel in the very last second, I can’t completely forgive him just for that alone.”

“Well, guess what, that loser is back.”

They turned to the voice, Oda went through the window. He has a sheepish grin on his face and hands in his pockets.

Tachibana fixed a firm expression (akin to a glare) at him and curtly asked, “so, you made your decision?”

Instead of flinching away out of sheer guilt like he previously did, Oda boldly maintained eye contact. “Yeah”, he first replied with a firm nod before glancing over at Kiryu, “hey, how’d you feel about having another permanent roommate?”

 


 

Kiryu shared the news with Nishiki later as they made their way to Serena. Reina had been worried sick when they were in the wards.

Nishiki snorted, “well ain’t that a coincidence. Sounds like the beginning of a weird punchline joke.”

“How?”

“You’re hopeless, man. You know, something along the lines of: ‘a ex-yakuza and two dead real estate agents walk into a bar.”

Kiryu wasn’t sure whether he liked the sound of that, “huh.”

“A real messed up one, if you asked me.” Oda mumbled while he quietly reminisced over the taste of alcohol.

“That does sound very particular.” Tachibana admitted with a tint of humour in his voice.

“Well, least I’m not the only one babysitting your dumb ass.” Nishiki casually added.

“Oi.”

 


 

Only accompanied by Oda (as Tachibana excused himself to look over Makimura), Kiryu eventually returned back to Sugita building. The moment he opened the door, Marina was the first to dashed over, Yamanoi following behind, both equally concerned. The bandages on Kiryu’s face didn’t help either as Marina gasped, “Kiryu-kun, what happened?!”

“Is that why you were gone?” Yamanoi asked next, ever the kind old man he is.

“…Something like that.” Kiryu grunted.

Oda shot him a look, “really, junior? That’s the best you could come up with? They were worried sick.”

Kiryu ignored him and asked how was business. Ofcourse, Marina looked like she has more to say, she briefly shot him an expression that clearly read ‘I need a word with you later’ before forcing a smile as she gave her answer.

Apparently, business was going smoothly as usual. The five former billionaires were doing well on their parole so far with whatever efforts they were putting in. Ofcourse, annual profits remained consistent and absurdly high with Nugget around (“why am I not surprised”, Oda muttered, though genuinely impressed). Said chicken perched comfortably on her pillow at Kiryu’s desk and clucked excitedly when she heard his voice.

“Poor thing missed you.” Yamanoi chuckled, taking his usual seat.

Well, this time Kiryu’s guilt tripled and his first instinct was to stroke Nugget’s feathers. “She did?”

Marina nodded, “I think it was after the second day you weren’t around that she became quieter?” She then turned to him with a pout and hands on her hip, “honestly, Kiryu-kun! If you’re planning to go missing, least remind me beforehand!” 

“S-sorry.” Kiryu sheepishly replied back.

 


 

They decided to talk over cans of coffee at one of the small parks nearby, thankfully deserted. Oda stayed behind in the office without throwing a little ‘don’t screw it up’ reminder as if he was on date. Even Yamanoi threw in a ‘ah, youth’ comment it’s almost embarrassing.

“Kiryu-kun, you used to be in the yakuza, didn’t you?” Marina finally bought up. 

Kiryu first tensed up, “when did you realized?”

His secretary put on a thoughtful expression, “it was only after I met you, that I started to hear your name a few times from some colleagues, especially the case of the man they found shot in one of the empty lots. You were a prime suspect and they told me to report if I ever see you.”

“But you didn’t.” Kiryu responded.

Marina couldn’t help but smiled, “that’s precisely why.” 

The other man stared back at her with a puzzled expression. Marina giggled, “Your bluntness and honestly was what convinced me, Kiryu-kun. Not only that, you always been attentive from the start, and made sure no one was dragged into any brawls or trouble previously caused by our competitors. Why would a murder suspect go that far?”

Kiryu felt his face heating up, stuttering, “I-I’ve no clue, maybe if he’s really good actor.”

“But you’re not.” Marina bluntly spoke, straight-laced as ever. “Besides, who else decided not to cook a chicken and instead decided to give them a job?”

Kiryu just wanted to dig himself a hole. Instead, he bowed his head as an attempt to hide his blush, “you’re too kind, Marina. I’m honestly glad you’re our secretary.”

She laughed, “and I’m glad to meet a hard-working president like you, Kiryu-kun.”

Unsure how to answer back, Kiryu busied himself by sipping his coffee and Marina just chuckled at his bashfulness.

Seconds later, she quietly asked, “what happened to you?”

Kiryu paused, his grip on his coffee can felt tighter, “what you know about the Sibaura event?”

“According to my colleagues, it was a yakuza gang war. Which, they’re not sharing openly with the public. Is that true?”

Kiryu gravely nodded. “Yeah, my former family was involved and I got dragged in. Many lost their lives. To be honest, I couldn’t just sit by.”

Somehow, this was the closest he ever revealed to a civilian. Marina frowned worriedly, “that certainly sounds like you. But, I’m glad you’re still alive.”

That last statement honestly made his cheeks warm and Kiryu ducked his head, “now I feel really bad for leaving you guys unnoticed...” 

Marina giggled at his reaction, but the smile on her face quickly fell. “But are you thinking to continue working here?”

“Ah.” Kiryu first said, because he hadn’t really thought that far yet. “To be honest, I’m still thinking about it. Although...I’m not sure if I should. I really don’t want to drag you guys after being involved after that event, let alone innocent civilians.”

Burning images glimpsed through his head just thinking about it. Marina stayed quiet at first, standing up from the bench to throw her drink away. Eventually, she turned to him with a small smile, “regardless, you’re always welcome, Kiryu-kun.”

Kiryu wasn’t sure whether he deserved that statement. Instead, he only offered a weak smile, “thank you, Marina.”

Then, a thought occurred to him. “Though, I do need your help on one thing…”

Minutes later, Marina barged back in the office, dragging in Kiryu by the arm as she huffed, “Yamanoi-san! Our president need a new flat! So busy thinking about others that he can’t even look after himself!”

Startled, Yamanoi blinked, “I beg your pardon?”

Oda, who’d been distracted by Nugget (trying to figure out her prowess no less) glanced in their direction, “give that secretary of yours a raise.”

 


 

It was after two nights spent sleeping on Nishiki’s spare futon that Kiryu finally got an affordable and less shitty bachalor pad. He tried looking through cheaper ones but Marina wouldn’t have it.

“You should give Shiraishi-san a raise”, said Tachibana and Kiryu didn’t recall sharing Marina’s full name to him before.

Feeling a tad insulted for being assumed for failing to be considerate towards his co-workers, Kiryu scowled, “I will! You’re the forth person to say that.”

“Who was the second and third?”

“Nishiki and Reina.”

“Well, we’re not entirely wrong”, Oda lazily grinned, albeit interested at some informercial displayed on the tv screen. They were showcasing the proclaimed portable phone of the future, which came with a bag. Honestly, it looked troublesome to carry around.

Tachibana gave an apologetic smile, “apologies, Kiryu-san. Now then, what are you planning to do next?”

Kiryu looked down at his cigarette, “I’m still thinking.” He paused before looking up at his boss. “Tachibana, Kuze mentioned about Kazama-san giving me the opportunity to be a civilian. Was that also why he introduced me to you?”

The ghost somberly nodded, “I can’t deny it. After I approached him, he asked me to take you in. In order to pull you away from the path of a yakuza.”

“...He really care about ya, huh?” Oda quietly remarked. “Since you have too big of a heart, I certainly can see why.”

“That’s why.”

Both ghosts glanced at him, “huh?”

Kiryu pushed his cigarette into the ashtray, a bitter expression etched in his face.  “Because of men like Kuze, Awano and Shibusawa around...look what happened to you two and Makimura-san, I want to prevent any of that happening again.”

The two ghosts first exchanged glances before looking at the younger man again. Oda heaved a heavy sigh, one hand running through his hair, “even after all that shit, that naive part of you remained. Look, Kiryu, it ain’t gonna be easy. You’re basically gonna be fighting a hierarchy.”

Tachibana glared at his former right-hand man, “personally, I’m rather thankful Kiryu remained a gentle soul in spite of it all.”

Oda just rolled his eyes, mumbling to himself why he signed up for this.

The other spirit turned back to Kiryu, “regardless, Oda does have a point. It will be a difficult task, it’ll take even years, perhaps. Not everyone will have such noble intentions such as yourself.”

“I know!” Kiryu snapped back, both of his fists tightened. “It’s just…I know it’ll be considered rude to honor you that way...after all those times you two taught me what it is to be in the real estate business. But I don’t want any of this to ever repeat again.”

Oda first stared blankly at the younger man before groaning. “I swear, sometimes the shit you say just makes me feel disgusting.”

“Huh?”

Oda brush it off, muttering something about brats with hearts of gold. Tachibana sighed, torn between the feeling of being touched by the younger man’s idealistic goal and future concerns for other yakuza that would want to drag Kiryu back to the pits of hell.

“Kiryu-san”, he gently called out. Kiryu looked back at him, his expression still painted with frustration. Tachibana smiled, “we’re not asking for you to make a decision now. So please, take your time. But whatever path you choose, we’ll be there.”

Tachibana’s soothing demeanor seemed to work, calming Kiryu down.

“...Alright.”

 


 

Elder Chen invited Kiryu for a light meal sometimes after that. The table consisted of freshly cooked dim sum and tea. The older man shared him the location of the cemetery where Tachibana was buried, his body resting next to his mother’s. He even made sure to forward the news to Sera, who will inform Makimura in no time.

“I’m sure Tachibana appreciate your efforts.” Kiryu respectfully bowed with pure gratitude. Said spirit smiled, tinted with regret.

Just as Kiryu was about to leave the restaurant, Elder Chen called out his name. Kiryu blinked. The older man just gave a small smile back, “if you need anything, you’re always welcome to Little Asia.” Laced with genuine kindness to boot that even left both Tachibana and Oda speechless.

Kiryu shook his head, “you’re making a mistake, making an offer like that.”

“Am I?” Elder Chen’s eyes glinted with amusement.

By the time they left the restaurant, Oda sharply turned to Tachibana, baffled. “Am I going deaf or did the boss just gave the kid a free pass?”

“I’m as surprised as you are, Oda. It appears Kiryu-san is his only exception.”

Exception or not, Kiryu didn’t felt he truly earned it.

 


 

Unclear decisions aside, Kiryu finally took it upon himself to visit Makimura with Nishiki by his side. Tachibana followed behind, Oda is also there, reluctantly and forcibly dragged by the latter.

“Whoa. Sera-san wasn’t kidding to keep Makoto safe.” Nishiki said to Kiryu in a low voice when they spotted two masked guards waiting outside Makimura’s private room. Said guards detected their presence and greeted them with a nod.

“Good afternoon, Kiryu-san, we been expecting you. Makimura is awake now.”

With that, they bowed and opened the door for them. Inside, Makimura sat in her bed and sitting nearby was the same female doctor Kiryu seen on the ship. At first, Makimura tensed up, uneased until the doctor placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. 

“Rest easy, Makoto”, she gave a reassuring smile before looking up at the two men. “It’s just Kiryu-san and…?”

“Nishikiyama”, his brother finished, returning the smile. “I’m his sworn brother.”

Makimura relaxed at the familiar voices and her lips perked up. The doctor, who introduced herself as Dr. Joy explained Makimura’s current condition, that she can make out silhouette shapes but not enough to distinguish colours yet. Kiryu doesn’t expect a speedy recovery, he’s just glad she’s resting peacefully. With that, the doctor politely excused herself.

“How are you holding up, Makimura-san?” Kiryu first asked. The young woman looked pleasantly surprised at the question and Kiryu quickly felt nervous. “S-should have I not asked that?”

Makimura giggled softly. Finally, a lovely sound in comparison to the many times Kiryu heard her cried. She shook her head, saying no one other than her doctor ever asked her that, not even Sera. “Speaking of Sera-san, he shared me the location of Li Hua’s grave to me the other day. They placed him next to mother’s.” Makimura softly remarked.

“Yeah, he informed me as well.”

“Have you visited him yet?”

Well, he’s here and decided to watch over us. Literally speaking.

Ofcourse, Kiryu just shook his head and Nishiki shot him a look. “Not yet, been too busy.”

Makimura smiled, “you two mind accompanying me then when the time comes? I’m sure brother will be happy.”

He’s right here. A part of Kiryu wanted to say.

Noticing his inner conflict, Tachibana flashed him a smile and shook his head. Oda frowned, “don’t think she’ll take it well if you say now that her brother’s spirit remained.”

Kiryu reluctantly nodded and responded with, “okay.”

Nishiki sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck, “are you sure, Makoto? I never gotten the chance to meet him in person.”

“Oh hush, Nishikiyama-san.” Tachibana tutted.

Makimura shook her head, “you were also willing to help me, and I’m sure he’ll appreciate it.”

After that, she changed the topic. “Ah, Sera-san also told you both were also checked into a hospital nearby?”

Nishiki snorted and jabbed a thumb at his brother, “well, I had to drag this stubborn guy’s ass. Can’t believe he’s worse than a kid.”

Kiryu flushed, scowling, “shut it, Nishiki.”

Makimura laughed at their banter. In the back, Tachibana smiled at the emotions his little sister was expressing. Oda sighed at the side, torn between regret and relief.

 


 

To say that Tachibana and Oda’s friendship soured was an understatement. Whatever harmony they had became somewhat non-existent with Tachibana coldly distant and Oda left with the weight of his debt. Even if they were conversing, a majority of the time they exchanged banter and sarcastic remarks over Kiryu’s shoulders. Sometimes they would retort in their mother tongue when things get too heated and Kiryu found himself learning some Chinese Mandarin profanity and insults. Kiryu had just realized this fact when he managed to cook up a simple curry rice dish for dinner, as Tachibana wasn’t having any more of his cup noodle budgets.

Oda scoffed with crossed arms, “what are ya, his mom? You do realize we were like that at some point. Let the kiddo live out his life.”

Tachibana huffed, “well, Kiryu-san has a stable income and I’m simply looking out what is best for him. Unlike you, a terrible influence.”

Huuuuh? Says the rich man who’ll spent without so much batting an eye. And when was the last time you bothered cooking for yourself?”

“And you’re no better?”

Kiryu sighed in the midst of it all. 

 


 

Weeks passed. Kiryu busied himself with his estate business and occasionally visiting Makimura in between. It was only while he was watching a cooking program late at night (the host was teaching easy to prep meals), that the decision finally came to him.

“Tachibana, Oda.” He called out to them once the program entered a commercial break.

“What’s up, junior?” Oda asked, slouching on the floor while Tachibana sat crossed legs.

He looked straight at them in the eye, “I’ve made my decision.”

As Kiryu explained, they listened closely and stayed quiet. By the time he was done, Tachibana gave him a troubled expression, “but are you sure, Kiryu-san? I’m sure joining the Kazama family would be much better, and guarantees your safety in the long term.”

Oda agreed with a grave nod, now in a proper sitting position. “Seriously, not sure what will be going though Dojima’s head or its members if they have to see the guy that thwart his plans and bought him ruins every other day of the week.”

Kiryu nodded, “I know. But, as you mentioned before, Tachibana. I might as well return to the root of it all and square things up first. But, I want to stick it and find my own way as a yakuza. My own stye.”

Both ghosts stayed relatively quiet at first as they exchanged glances. Oda gave an exasperated sigh, “you really gotta go all out with that cool speech? Ugh, fine, do what you want. Since this the shit I signed up for. You really like trouble, don’t you?”

Tachibana chuckled, “just like I said, we’ll be there at every step of the way.”

A comfortable silence fell and the cooking program was back on. 

“Have you told Nishikiyama-san yet?”

 


 

When Kiryu handed in his notice, Marina got teary-eyed. Yamanoi was also greatly saddened by the news, they have been through a lot ever since they opened their firm. Kiryu only has one favour and that was to ask them to look after Nugget. While she can’t legally sign papers, her presence was more than enough. 

“Duly noted”, Marina sniffed, rubbing away her tears. She then crossed her arms with a determined look, “however! We have no choice but to throw our president a farewell party!”

Taken back, Kiryu stuttered, “t-there’s no need to-”

“No buts!” She huffed up at him. Behind her, Yamanoi wholeheartedly agreed. 

Oda grinned at the scene, “take what they want to give, Kiryu. You deserve as much.”

 


 

That night, they did threw him a party. At Earth Angel as Mama was more than happy to close her bar early and bought out the karaoke machine. Nearly anyone available attended, including the rest of the former five billionaires. Even Miracle Johnson happily flew back in such a short notice ( and how) because he was afraid that will be the last time he will ever see his samurai friend. 

There was much singing and dancing and tears shed. Gin the Leisure King, Krazy Kyo and Marina sang their hearts out. Miracle grooved out as per usual with his smooth moves, encouraging other people to join him including Oshiro the Media King and Papillon. Yamanoi was sharing drinks and old stories with Ueda the Finance King. Other than that, plenty of people were sharing their thank yous and good wishes. Sachiko was blushing and mad at the same time when she gifted Kiryu home-baked cookies. Koshimizu stuttered out his genuine appreciation. Yamada the Electronics king asked him for future arcade battles.  Eva the Pleasure King pouted, saying she’ll never meet another man like him.

Through it all, Kiryu was honestly enjoying himself. 

“I gonna admit, this is a weird-ass bunch.” Oda pointed out, torn between amusement and confusion. “No seriously, how the hell did they got hired? And I can’t believe Miracle fucking Johnson is gliding before me.”

Tachibana lightly chuckled, silently wishing he could join in the occasion, “I suppose there is something about Kiryu-san that draws people in.”

“You got that right.”

 


 

“Huh, fancy that. The one thing I didn’t predict.” The old fortune-teller approached him later. She was looking past Kiryu, at both Oda and Tachibana to be exact. Both spirits froze in place.

“The hell she’s yapping about, Kiryu?”

“You can...see them?” Kiryu quietly asked, not wanting to draw in attention. 

The older woman huffed out a laugh, “silly boy. Why wouldn’t I?” 

She then stared at them with a leveled expression. “Well, atleast you won’t be alone with what the future has in store for you.”

With that, she sauntered off to the counter to grab a drink.

 


 

Captain Kazama appeared remarkably well and healthy when Kiryu arranged to visit him. His surrogate father smiled briefly when Kiryu first greeted him with a bow and announced, “I’m here to give my report.” 

Kiyru slowly lifted his head, “but...I’m sure you already knew.”

Captain Kazama hummed in agreement. It must have been Sera or Kashiwagi or both. “But, I would like to hear it from you, Kazuma. And I believe you have something more to say?”

Other than the fact that the ghosts of Tachibana and Oda decided to accompany me , a part of him wanted to quip. Did he ever recalled telling the captain he can see ghosts when he was younger?

Kiryu simply shook the thought aside. He has far more important things to say and many things to apologize for.

 


 

“How bout that one?” Oda pointed out at a dramatic floral patterned shirt, accompanied with a bold plain suit jacket and trousers. 

Tachibana scrunched up his nose, “obnoxious flare is more of your style, Oda. Here, Kiryu-san, the colours seem to suit you.”

Kiryu looked to the suit Tachibana selected. But with one glance at the price tag, he immediately pulled back. “I-it’s alright.”

Oda snickered and Tachibana shot him a glare. Kiryu sighed to himself, and he thought shopping with Nishiki was difficult. He continued to look through aisle to aisle. And then, one such suit stuck out to him the most.

Oda observed long and hard once Kiryu emerged out of the changing room, “it’s not bad but...isn’t the cutting kinda not in the trends?”

“Well, I’m sure trends are the least of Kiryu-san’s concerns.” The ever so kind Tachibana defended him, “sure it’s simpler. But the bold contrast of the red and white does appeal to you.” 

His boss’s approval was more than enough and Kiryu immediately bought the suit, missing the arrogant triumph look Tachibana directed at Oda to which the other ghost just rolled his eyes.


 

Nishiki understandably freaked out when he heard the news, demanding an explanation when he barged into Serena.

‘See?’ Kiryu silently shot a look over at his two spirit guardians while Reina lightly berated Nishiki, saying there was no need for dramatic theatrics. After one long-winded explanation and disagreements because that’s how protective Nishiki can really be. Eventually, His brother reluctantly nodded and gave a resigned sigh. “There’s really no stopping you, is there?”

“Well, that’s why we’re here.” Oda quipped with a lazy smirk while Tachibana firmly nodded.

Kiryu grinned, taking a sip of his whiskey. Nishiki then trailed his eyes over to his attire and blinked, “huh? Where’s the usual suit?”

“Oh, went out shopping the other day. This one really spoke to me.”

Predictably, Nishiki got his own criticism and Kiryu pinched the bridge of his nose, something about the outdated cutting, the lack of flair in comparison to his real estate suit and claiming it didn’t suit him. “Bro, why didn’t you venture into the fashion industry instead?”

Nishiki snorted, “because one of my duties is to make sure my sworn brother look proper and learn how to take his damn friend’s advice.”

“Says the man with a crimson suit and yellow mustard button-up.” Reina teased and Nishiki reddened, stuttering out his defence.

“Ohh! Nice one, mama!” Oda chortled.

Tachibana hummed, “yakuza sure are into a particular flashy style.”

Attempting to divert the attention, Nishiki looked to Kiryu with a mischievous grin, “since you got yourself a suit, how about treating us some grub?” His grin widened, “at Kamurocho’s finest steak house.”

Uh. “I, erm, don’t have much cash on me right now.”

Huh?

Oda rolled his eyes, “you’re hopeless, junior.”

Tachibana chuckled, “well, with the money he earned from his business, it should be fine.”

With that, a yakuza, his sworn brother and two dead real estate agents left the bar.