Dark brown, still hiding the pitch black irises. But this time, they didn’t seem to be like a black pool of darkness. Softer brown tones broke through, a reddish shimmer was a delicate layer on top of them.
Shaking his head once more, a smirk crept up Kaoru’s lips. He lifted his glass, took a small sip from the sake, laughed some more about the rather misogynistic joke Tomoka had just told them. The waitress was waved at, commanded to bring some more snacks. And sake, some beer too. Sitting across from each other Toshiya stared at Kaoru as if he saw a ghost ascending in front of him.
That can’t be true, Toshiya bit his tongue, emptied his sake glass in one go. He needed more, stronger stuff. This all felt like a really big joke. Would Kaoru kill him off? Was he working together with Tomoka? Was this THEIR deal? To get his money, lure him in a dark side street behind the bar and then…
“It is really interesting, have you heard about that guy, he calls himself Atil?” Tomoka huffed. Twirls of smoke from the cigar in his left hand concealed Toshiya’s view on Kaoru. For the better probably, he found himself staring at the man across the table for too long already. Kaoru nodded, rubbed the stubbles of his beard.
“What was it? Not sugar…” – “Honey!” Toshiya threw in, knew exactly what they were talking about, about whom they were talking. Kaoru’s eyes focussed on Toshiya, wandered over his face, traces his small silhouette. Calculating, charging.
“Well, for honey you need bees. Those little shitty insects. Stinging you and then dying right away.”
Kaoru closed his eyes, for a moment too long, but unnoticed by both men. As the waitress came with more drinks Kaoru declined friendly, said the kids were waiting for their good night story. Tomoka laughed, said his greetings to Kaoru’s wife. And then Toshiya witnessed Kaoru getting up and leaving the table, picking up his coat from the rack at the entry.
“Ah, the night’s still young, you up for some more drinks?” Tomoka grinned, interrupted Toshiya’s thoughts. He was married? Had kids? No, it didn’t fit, didn’t fit at all.
“Thank you very much!” Toshiya smiled as the other poured some more sake in his glass, watched him carefully. Irritation, so easy to read from someone new in this business.
Toshiya was exactly in the state Tomoka wanted him to be – drunk and irritated. He was talking more, being a bit more open, giving information easy when he asked manipulative questions. It was an easy game to get him going, back behind the bar for their deal. As Kaoru had slipped out of the deal earlier the evening Tomoka wasn’t too fond of waiting longer to get his money and distribute his products. It was never a good idea to keep a larger amount of weapons.
Behind the bar, taking the back exist, Toshiya was tipsy already from drinking but not eating a lot, Tomoka stopped him near a parked car. There he had the case, everything already prepared for him. Only for him of course – as if Kaoru was only a friend that accompanied him to the meeting with Toshiya.
This was all bad, Toshiya was way too tipsy for thinking straight who was in which relation to whom tonight. Bad enough he almost spilled that his brother was in the honey business. And yes, bees were nasty insects. Whenever his brother was out of town Toshiya was to take care of them and it happened ever too often that he got stung by one of them even though he wore protective garments.
Letting his eyes wander around in the darkness of the side street Toshiya spot something rather controversial. Mist. It didn’t rise up from a manhole or came through an air exhaust pipe from the bar. But from behind the pipes.
A loud thud made Toshiya turn around to Tomoka who was now not only bowing over the open trunk but laying IN the trunk, completely limp.
FUCK, he was fucked. Grabbing his gun Toshiya jumped behind the car, reloaded the magazine and charged. Who the hell was there?
Calming his breath Toshiya listened, heard low footsteps coming closer. Quickly he glanced over the rear end of the car, saw someone approaching them.
“Seriously, you shouldn’t be here!” the mocking tone in Kaoru’s voice lit up an angry fire in Toshiya’s chest, made him jump up, the gun aiming at the smaller man who didn’t really care much about that gesture it seemed.
“Fuck OFF! That was MY deal!” Toshiya hissed, watched Kaoru putting on gloves, sliding the body a few centimetres away to grab the case.
“It was neither of us’ deal.” Kaoru said calmly, checked on the case lock. Too early, it was still locked with a digital screen. Maybe fingerprint? Lifting one of Tomoka’s hands Kaoru pressed the finger on the screen, waited a few seconds until it unlocked.
“Ah shit, really? A Walther? Did you ask for a Walther?” Kaoru clicked his tongue, let the case sink down in the trunk. What a shit show tonight. And he still had to take care of paper work.
“What? No?!” curious what the fuss was about Toshiya stepped next to Kaoru, glanced down in the case.
“I wanted a Koch.” – “And I came for a Beretta.”
Staring in the case for a few more seconds, both men kept silent, were lost in their thoughts. Toshiya was the first to break the silence, asked what happened to Kaoru’s hair. The ash blond was now brown, made his skin look even more brighter, his eyes darker. Safety measurements, as everything Kaoru did with his hair and his life. Half of the time he was occupied with paper work, hiding, blurring his traces, building up new personalities, new contacts, changing locations.
“Hey… um..” scrunching his nose, Toshiya leaned forward, ignored the dead body next to him. The blinking on the screen was more interesting right now.
“Hm. Great.” Kaoru was quick to notice it too. Taking the gun, he slid out the magazine – two bullets. One for him, one for Toshiya apparently.
“I should have known…” Kaoru sighed and tossed the bullets in his jacket pockets, the gun landed in the case again. Looking over to Toshiya, who still held his gun tightly in his hands, Kaoru nodded, asked for help to get the body in the trunk.
“And now?” Toshiya asked, didn’t really know what they should do with the body or the car.
“What are you faster with? Shortcutting a car or getting a gps locator off the case?”
Quickly Toshiya grabbed the case with one hand, put the gun back in its holster while Kaoru closed the trunk lid and aimed for the driver seat, opening the door for Toshiya who was already clicking on the little screen.
Not even a minute later the car rolled over the streets, Kaoru sped up, took some turns. Glancing over to Toshiya he saw the younger man working through some cables, mumbling silently to himself.
“It isn’t a bomb, right?” Kaoru asked playfully. He knew that Tomoka didn’t trade with warfare or bombs, but that move was not really nice and not what Kaoru had expected. Maybe this contact was too old already. And well, by now non-existent anymore as Tomoka’s body was resting in the trunk, forever.
“Nah, just an… older model of a gps locator…” the way Toshiya spoke made it sound as if he was irritated by the fact, that the locator was outdated. The fact, that many people in this business worked with older models was rather due to the fact, that newer ones had extra micro locators on them to find out the true location. And they had more series numbers, were easier to pursue to the buyers. Kaoru worked with years old models because they seemed so outdated that no one would use them now. So no one ever cared when they found one of them somewhere on the streets or in drainage system. Could have been there for many years already. Or maybe, Kaoru really was just old and didn’t want to care about newer stuff.
Grabbing for chewing gum, Kaoru offered Toshiya some, heard him chewing on it immediately.
“Where we going actually?” Toshiya asked as he finished removing the small locator from the case and the blinking finally stopped. He hadn’t been here in this region too often, so he had to put a little bit of trust in Kaoru, that he wouldn’t kill him off too and let the car sink down somewhere at the harbour with the dealer in the trunk.
“Gates.” He mumbled, turned the car to the right, followed a smaller road now. Glancing over to Toshiya, Kaoru nodded, asked if he could get him something out from his pocket. With an irritated look Toshiya kept staring on Kaoru’s tattooed hands as he fumbled in the other’s jeans pocket, pressing his lips to a small slit, not really being confident in what he was doing right now.
“I hope this is not what it feels like…” Toshiya hissed under his breath as he grabbed something hard, round. Sliding out a small plastic device, Kaoru rolled his eyes and told him that it was a drone.
After a few more turns Kaoru parked the car in the middle of, seemingly, nowhere. Directly on the rails for freight trains passing the city. With another nod towards Toshiya they got out of the car, stopped the engine and Toshiya handed him the drone, that was still put together. Unfolding the blades, Kaoru checked the app on his phone, connected it with the drone.
“Gum?” he asked, held his hand open in front of Toshiya, clicked some more buttons to get all settings working.
“What?!” he asked back with a coarse voice, almost swallowed the piece at that weird demand. Kaoru gave him a side glance, lifted his hand further up and waited.
“Spit it.” he added, his voice a tone deeper, more demanding and it sent a cold shiver down Toshiya’s spine, filled his lungs with a hot steam that he didn’t understand. Glaring down at the smaller man, waiting for his eyes to twist and then laugh, Toshiya slowly opened his mouth, let the chewing gum fall into his hand. No jokes, no laughing. Without batting an eye Kaoru twisted the warm gum and pressed it onto the back of the drone. Wiping off the saliva that also landed on his fingers, Kaoru started the little drone and it swiftly lifted up from his hand.
So now, he just had to wait for the nightly traffic of the freight trains to take out the car and he was good. Until then, he was about to drown his money straight in the harbour. A glance on the time, Kaoru sat down on the pavement and watched his drone fly off, mix under the masses again with the locator on its back. After the drone had disappeared from Toshiya’s field of vision too he sat down next to Kaoru, glanced over his shoulder to the car, and waited.
“There goes my 30k yen….” the sarcastic comment broke the silence between them and Toshiya couldn’t hold back bursting out laughing, making Kaoru chuckle too. Gasping for air, Toshiya rubbed his eyes, followed the blinking dot on Kaoru’s phone screen where the drone went off too.
“Really?” he asked and got a soft hum as answer. Even though Toshiya worked with a lot of expensive tech stuff, he never cared much about drones or such toys. His older brother used them as control for the bees and other small expeditions, but Toshiya himself had never bothered to get so far into observation.
“Ah, it’s gone. My poor baby.” Kaoru wailed playfully, ran his fingers through his hair. They were long already and remnants of the black colour still stuck underneath his fingernails.
“Shit, sorry!” Toshiya smirked, watched Kaoru turn off the app on his phone, putting it back into his jacket. So, there they sat, the car still behind them. Shrugging his shoulder Kaoru mumbled a “whatever” and looked around. It was a warm evening, the night sky was almost pitch black if it wasn’t for all the city lights that polluted the air. He loved to watch the stars, but in the city centre of Tokyo it was impossible to see even the brightest stars.
“And now?” Toshiya asked, was curious on how Kaoru would proceed as he was the one that drove the car onto the trails, had a plan apparently.
With another glance on his phone and the time, Kaoru sighed: “The next one should come in about four minutes.”
Turning around to take a closer look at Toshiya, Kaoru saw a bit of uncertainty in his eyes. Soft features, he was still so young, not so worn out from this business as Kaoru. Did he really look like 35? Feeling Kaoru’s eyes on his face Toshiya turned around, blushed immediately, as he felt like a little boy getting caught, doing something forbidden.
“What?!” he asked promptly and slid a few centimetres away from Kaoru.
“You hungry?” and there the train came rushing forward behind them, taking the car along for many hundred metres until it came to a stop with screeching and hooting sounds.
“Isn’t your WIFE waiting for you to come home?” Toshiya mocked and got up as Kaoru did, followed him down the road again. Giving him a glance over the shoulder and an eye roll put a grin on Toshiya’s lips. Humming softly he sped up and walked next to Kaoru until they came to a more busy region. People kept streaming in and out of bars and restaurant. Toshiya had to take a step aside, bumped into a few tipsy guys, girls walked up to him, wanted to chat with him and hit him up, slowed him down. Whatever it was, it seemed as if Kaoru had some kind of aura around him. The people kept their distance. It was like watching a shark swim through a swarm of tuna, completely calm, but something dark was inside this human, that made Toshiya stop for a moment.
“In here?” Kaoru had turned around as he felt the distance to Toshiya getting larger. He was staring at him, as if Kaoru was a ghost, and he wondered, if there were bloodstains on his jacket or anything else, that made the younger one watch him so carefully.
“So, no kids, no wife?” Toshiya kept on bugging, made Kaoru press his lips to a small slit for a second. Yeah, no wife, no kids, almost 30 – he really was a prime example as man. Not even one night stands to show off. Momo was probably the closest he let any woman come and she hadn’t seen him naked for years.
“Yeah, thanks for letting me know that I’m a loner…!” he whistled, kept his stoic face as yet another busty waitress approached them and put their drinks between them. Quickly Kaoru grabbed for the beer and gulped. His mouth was so dry again, he should drink more water throughout the day and not refill his body before going to bed and only running on coffee during the day.
“Sorry! That… that wasn’t quite nice to say.” Toshiya mumbled, avoided looking at Kaoru, felt heat in his cheeks for making such a depreciating comment. The snort that followed though, made him look up and frown. Kaoru was grinning, waved it off and joked, that he wasn’t all alone out there.
“Ah, so you’re good with the girls, I see! Well… understandable!” Toshiya chuckled. Another waitress came up with their food and Toshiya saw how she glanced at Kaoru, how far she leaned forward to him. As if she wasn’t only presenting the dishes but herself to him. Stoic, ignoring the girl, Kaoru took another sip from his beer, watched Toshiya now.
What was understandable? That girls would like him? Kaoru had to hold back arching his eyebrows at his comment.
“You got many… girlfriends?” Toshiya grinned, could imagine Kaoru being a guy that had a new girl every other night in his arms. He wasn’t looking bad, the tattoos, as far as he had seen them, looked good on him, made Toshiya want to know how far they were covering his body. Biting down on his lip, he scolded himself for his stupid comment.
“Um, I would call them acquaintances, at best.” Kaoru muttered, wasn’t really confident talking about this topic. Not, that he didn’t had a girlfriend in the past when he was younger. But after some years in the streets and living a rather reclusive life, he had found, well, other interests. And had found out a few things about himself too.
“Acquaintances! You sound as if you never really had friends…!” Toshiya snorted and started to fill his bowl with rice and some of that delicious looking curry. While Kaoru still held onto his beer, he watched the plates getting slid over the table, vegetables being piled onto rice, the meat carefully being ignored.
“Are you a vegetarian?!” he asked repellent, pursed his lips immediately as he heard his own voice. Wow, not so accusing!, he scolded himself promptly and took another sip.
“Now I see why you don’t have friends…” Toshiya shook his head, playfully being fed up but then grinned: “Well, now you have a friend! That means, if you’re gonna pay.”
“What a good friend, wow!” Kaoru huffed and rolled his eyes at that blunt demand: “It’s neither a DATE, nor are we FRIENDS.”
Swallowing down the bell pepper Toshiya put his hand dramatically on his chest, closed his eyes: “Right here in my heart!”
“A truce, that’s what I would call it.” Kaoru calmed him down, didn’t want to befriend him. It wasn’t right. It already felt wrong sitting here with him and even though he was hungry and could devour a whole cow probably, his throat was closed, a heavy knot in his stomach.
“Okay then, next time I’ll just shoot you…!” – “That is not how a truce works!”
Now both men chuckled and Kaoru felt a bit relieved, let his shoulders sink down. He should get some food in his stomach, then he’d feel better probably. Wriggling out of his jacket as it was warm in the restaurant, he took a bowl for himself and got some rice and the spurned meat pieces in his bowl.
Toshiya’s voice was low and he immediately bit his lip, closed his eyes and felt heat in his cheeks, a burning pain on his skin. For a second Kaoru stopped in his movement, then, slowly lifted his eyes, face still tilted down to his bowl.
“This is spicy… holy…!” he babbled, waved his hand in front of his mouth and quickly lifted his beer, downed half of the glass.
“You really ARE picky, huh?!” Kaoru smirked and started eating finally, was grateful for the warm meal.
“I have high standards!” Toshiya defended himself playfully, mixed some more of the mild curry to the vegetables, stuffed his mouth.
“You wanted a Koch!?” Kaoru called him out on the deal he wanted to get over tonight.
“Yeah, yeah! Also! That model of the Walther is already outdated, wouldn’t have taken it even if he’d offered it to me.” Toshiya stated and pointed at Kaoru with the chopsticks as if he was lecturing him.
“He would have offered you one bullet. Straight up your head.” Kaoru corrected his younger fellow. If the next deal would proceed in the same manner, then Kaoru would have to dig deeper into his network or ask people whom he could entrust his life.
“Yeah, I know…” Toshiya sighed now, concentrated on the food again.
“So, thanks for… taking care of that guy.” – “Sure, don’t mention it.”
For a few minutes they sat in silence and ate up. Toshiya couldn’t hold back but stare at the busty waitresses as they came to clear up the table, noticeably bowing and stretching themselves in front of Kaoru, who was more interested in the people on the streets, passing them by.
“You’re stocking up on your equipment?” Kaoru then asked, had thought thoroughly about his own next moves and the chances of meeting Toshiya again on accident.
“Yeah, you too?” he sighed and leaned forward, now that the table was clean again and only the napkin holder and some spices were between them.
Watching Toshiya closely, Kaoru tried to read him. With the little information he already had, it was possible that he would be an interest on the deal Kaoru was about to do on the weekend. They could meet again, could be sat up against each other again.
“Next Saturday, 8pm, left table for five in the BB-Café?” he asked, gave it a shot. Immediately Toshiya’s eyes widened as he understood what Kaoru was talking about. A hissed “fuck” slipped his lips before he bit on them again, felt stupid and like a child running into dangerous adventures.
“Good to know. So he really has his hands on everything and tries to play us…” rolling his eyes, Kaoru crossed his arms on the table, let his fingers wander over his upper arm where the bandage was. It healed nicely, wasn’t festering gladly.
“But why would they set us up against each other? There’s plenty of stuff on the market anyway?” Toshiya squinted his eyes, couldn’t follow Kaoru’s thoughts. For a moment Kaoru kept his mouth shut, stared at Toshiya. Toshiya Hara, the son of Masahiro Hara, former yakuza boss of the Hara clan. With Toshiya being his direct successor, as Kaoru had information about his older brothers not caring so much about this business, Kaoru was sitting across one of the most influential yakuza in Tokyo. But, he was still a child, probably his mother and his cousin who had a high rank in the clan were helping him out a lot.
And he, Kaoru, he was just a former yakuza, a street warrior by now, a loner, a killer. Even now, years after all the events that happened between the Hara clan, Kyo and Kaoru himself, the people used the friction between them. He should have been more careful.
“Well, we both want to get Kyo’s head.” Kaoru stated the obvious. And that was a matter of fact. As long as Kyo or Shinya had their hands on warfare import and distribution Kaoru was fucked. He had to reconnect with his old contacts if he wanted to gather some weapons, or at least munition as he was already running low on bullets.
“Don’t say his name out loud!” Toshiya hissed and leaned further towards Kaoru, glared at him angrily. Kaoru only rolled his eyes at Toshiya’s childish manner. They were somewhere in a small, busy restaurant, no other yakuza or henchman would come here and spy on them. They were too far off from the city centre.
“It’s not like it’s a curse saying his name. Though, he IS a curse actually.” Kaoru stated, ran his fingers over his lips. They had to play along. This was the only way to let them know, that they weren’t fools.
“You wanna go there?” Toshiya asked, leaned back now and tried to relax. There was no need to fuss about this now. He knew already that he’d meet Kaoru there again and well, they had somewhat of a truce?
“Of course! I also have a name to maintain!” Kaoru smirked with a dark grin on his lips that sent a shiver down Toshiya’s spine. Another corpse to get rid of at the end of the day? He really wasn’t too fond of killing people, tried to avoid real fights up until now. But if he wanted to kill Kyo, he would, at some point, have to not only aim but also shoot at people.
“So, truce?” he asked, was unsettled about his next steps. He should also go there, had a name to maintain too.
“You know…” Kaoru let his eyes glide over Toshiya’s frame. He might look slim and rather frail, but he was fast with the locator, was also fast with running. Though, running away wasn’t Kaoru’s preferred way to handle conflicts.
“… we could play with them a bit. To show them, that they can’t fuck with neither of us.” Kaoru stated lowly, reconsidered immediately if this was a good idea. If Toshiya would agree – “Sounds good. D’you got a plan?”
Oh, how the tables have turned. Kaoru couldn’t catch his breath for a moment, felt like he would wake up any second, on the floor somewhere in Russia, snow covering the windows already, the empty fridge staring at him, hungry. No, he was back in Tokyo again, this was the past. History.
“I’ll think of something…” with that he lifted and took his jacket, was ready to leave.
“Shouldn’t we… like, meet up before the deal?” Toshiya sped up and went to the counter to pay before he’d leave too. He was somewhere on the opposite side of the city and even though it wasn’t that late, he was tired from all the stress and fuss.
Sliding his credit card over the counter, Kaoru glanced over his shoulder, watched Toshiya correcting his collar, running his hands through his hair. He seemed quite fond of high quality clothes, even for that filthy deal he had dressed rather too good. The black tie fit perfectly to the black shirt. It was ironed perfectly, fit him perfectly. The waitress slid the card with the receipt over the table, tore Kaoru’s eyes away from Toshiya’s chest as he tried to figure out if he wore a shirt with a fly front or a normal button placket.
“That empty flat? Meet me there. Friday 7pm. Not a minute too early or too late.” With that Kaoru put his card back and turned on his heel, left the restaurant without any further ado, leaving Toshiya stupidly standing at the counter, getting told that his companion had already covered their meal.