She shut her eyes as she saw the light of the club glint on the tip of the needle. She didn’t want to be meek but if she was going out like this she wanted to know what it was that was going to bring her down. “So what is it? Is it heroin? Is that a lethal dose? Will you kill me?”
That caught him off guard but his hold remained steady only a scoff let her know he’d heard her. Strands of her hair touched his breath and kissed her skin as he spoke. “Don’t be stupid Lillith. This is just to knock you out.”
She shut her eyes tightly. There was only one last thing she could do-
It was too late she felt the needle pierce through the skin on her arm. Without a moment’s hesitation, with her last waking moments she let her head bend down to his arm and felt his skin enter her mouth as she bit down as hard as she could.
The bitter taste of iron flooded her mouth as she started to lose consciousness. While a slumber came over her and lulled her to a dream land far preferable to Tryst she saw Ikuta cradling his hand as he screamed soundlessly. He watched her smile as she escaped this world if for a few minutes but not before she heard him curse. “FUCK LILLITH YOUR FUCKING TEETH.”
If she was going down…she wasn’t going to go down without a fight.
The first thing Rie realized when she woke up was that she was strapped to something. Her chest was held back by this thick elastic that ran from her left shoulder to the edge of her right hip.
The next thing she realized was she was in a moving vehicle...and that strap was a seat belt.
Then she heard Ikuta Toma speak words that really did nothing to calm her already erratic heart. “Wana- Wana slow down.” She let her eyes slowly peek open. Thankfully, Ikuta Toma was not paying attention to her and she had woken up quietly. He was looking out of the windshield, driving responsibly for once because there could be no mistakes. They needed to get to the shipment location.
She couldn’t risk turning her head. If she did, he would realize she was awake. She heard him continue yelling at his sister through the phone. “What did you expect me to do?! Leave her for Takuya back at the club when he hears that she went for the fake bait! We’d be screwed for hiring her.” She heard his fist bang against the wheel and resisted jumping. “I can’t do that. Jin isn’t coming with us you know that. He’s at the fake location waiting to see who shows up there so we can know who Lillith works for. If I let her go, we'll never see her again.” Her blood ran cold. Fake location? Jin was staking out trying to see who she worked for? “We aren't going to attack them yet but it'll fucking help me and Jun get a strategy won't it? No, you know of course I won’t let it come to that.” She slowly sat up unable to keep the anticipation from being representative in her body now.
The more Ikuta Toma spoke, the more she heard her world come crashing down around her. Bait? What the fuck had she done? Had she put the police force in danger? She was sure her fingers were shaking. Ikuta Toma was so distracted he didn’t even notice her. “Wana, you know that killing Lillith is an absolute last resort...but it sure as hell would be fucking easier if I could.”
There it was.
The declaration of everything she’d thought was true.
This mission had always been a bit of a death sentence and now she’d heard her punishment called out.
She’d gotten caught…she deserved this death.
Yet after everything that she’d been through these past two days it made her hate him a little that he could say something like that. Like- everything -
“You’re going to kill me?” She whispered softly and turned to see his eyes turn to look at hers. His eyes told her that he regretted saying what he did now that he knew she was awake...and she must have looked pretty much like shit because the look of pity in his eyes was almost too much to bear.
She saw his hands turn on the wheel towards her, the car followed and swerved quickly as he concentrated on the road again.
“Wana I have to go.” His tone was curt and biting as she heard the car rev under the pressure of his foot on the accelerator. The scenery around her was passing by so quickly she should have been scared but she could only muster a mild amusement. There was nothing to fear. After all, she was going to die. He’d said it now so she might as well accept it. Maybe his kiss hadn’t even been anything but a farewell, maybe that’s why he had been sad…because soon she would be leaving him like Christine would too.
As soon as the thought ended she couldn’t help hitting her head roughly. Ikuta Toma didn’t bother reacting as he continued looking at the road. How sad was it that the first thing she thought of in the face of her imminent death was his reason behind kissing her?
She was a sick, pathetic, twisted human.
A coldness came over her, the coldness she recognized from the bullet that had pierced her flesh and had left her handicapped for quite a few days now.
The truth was she would much rather prefer to think of that then the idea of her lifeless body. Part of her wished now that maybe she could have ended her life then, that the bullet could have pierced her chest because at least she wouldn't have known, she would have died valiantly
Dying now was like dying as a coward. Dying weakened by her emotions towards this guy, dying a cheater, dying disloyal.
The open expanse of the road was not lost on her. They were not going towards Tokaichi that must was sure. If she could see a sign she could figure out where they were but the road seemed abandoned, even by the government.
A fake location.
It didn’t take long for her to put it together now that she was more awake. When Koyama had pushed her into the room, he had thought Ikuta would have been careless enough to leave location details out in the open. Ikuta had been testing her by leaving out papers with a fake location name...he'd left them out every day knowing that one day she would break in and find them. She had failed his test. Just like he'd expected from the beginning, he had never trusted her. Like a fool, she hadn’t tried to find out if the specs matched.
Now that she thought about it, Tokaichi could never make sense. Tokaichi was located in a small part of Japan, the size of the port could never measure up to the size of the ship that was docking in with the cocaine. She shut her eyes, feeling a headache rise. How could she have been so stupid?
Then her head shot up…even if she hadn’t realized it. A man like the chief should have known, the people on the team would have to have known they would have told her she was wrong.
But she didn’t get to finish her thought because Ikuta Toma was speaking to her again and it was like her mind blanked out just so it could focus on the sound of his voice. “Lillith,”
How she hated that name right now. She felt her hands clench into fists at her side. That name was the reason she was going to die.
“I was right wasn’t I? In the end, you’re going to have to kill me. Like you said…you’re only prolonging the inevitable. So why didn’t you just drug me a greater dose of the tranquilizer and put me to sleep forever?” She saw him cringe as if her words made him uncomfortable. She felt her skin crawl as tears stung her eyes.
This was Lillith’s future…and Rie would have to pay the price for it. “Lillith…” If he called her by that name one more time- “Lillith nothing is going to ha-“
“MY NAME IS TOMOMASA RIE.” She shrieked out unable to control the sobs leaving her chest now as she fell over herself crying. She couldn’t bear to see his face. She couldn’t bear to see what he’d think of her now. Not that he'd even figure out what the significance of the name 'Tomomasa Rie' was.
Slowly she realized what it would mean to die. She'd never get to see her wedding day, or the sight of a plus sign on a pregnancy test, and most importantly she’d never get to lose her last breath satisfied with the life she lived surrounded by those she had raised, those who loved her.
The car started slowing down.
Her eyes flitted to the clock, 1AM. Apparently, he’d only lied about the location. They only had two hours until docking. “Please,” She pleaded softly. Her voice was hoarse and she felt the car come to a stop. One of his hands roughly grabbed her shoulder and pulled her up from her cowered posture. She lifted her hands to cover her face. She was so ashamed of what she was about to tell him. Her motivation might be premature but if she was going to be killed she wanted him to know. She wanted him to know everything.
Because despite everything Ikuta Toma did, she knew what the one thing was that he really wanted to do.
He wanted to burn it all down and then laugh at the people who had ruined him as he ruined everything they’d ever worked for. That was why he’d screamed that day on the beach.
That motivation would be enough for him.
The only way to ignite Ikuta Toma’s dormant anger against this world he’d trapped himself in would be to tell him the truth…about everything. She was sure it would work.
Because if she died...who else could she trust to bring down the corruption she had found herself entrenched in? Who else could she trust to figure out the true motivation behind her chief? The Yamashita clan? Hell even the Takuya clan?
“Ikuta Toma…” Her voice shook as she slowly looked up at him, words flowing out so perfectly she almost looked practiced saying her speech. “My name is not Lillith. It’s Rie, Tomomasa Rie. I'm an undercover officer for the Drug Control division of the Tokyo Police force and let's be honest with each other for the first time since we've met.” She felt his eyes turn to stone. All the frantic worry he’d held for her disappeared as she let her lips say the words that would seal her fate. “I was sent here to ruin you.”
She let her eyes risk a glance at his face when the silence in their car grew deadly. No, he wouldn’t let her see what she was thinking. “What are you talking about?”
“I dated my professor at the Police Academy.” That was the first thing that left her lips and she saw his barely put-together façade almost snap. He was not interested in this topic. “I wasn’t planning on it being anything serious…but it turned out to be. So I applied to Drug Control. That was where he worked...that's why. Then, I got in. I’d graduated at the top of my class last May you know? So it didn’t come as a surprise when I busted the amateur drug ring in Akihabara now almost three weeks ago.”
“That was you ?” The skepticism in his voice didn’t evade her. She squeezed her eyes shut.
“That was me. I was so prized that the chief thought I’d be ready for this…this-“
“Open your eyes.” He grabbed her hands. She could feel his fingers pushing into her flesh so forcefully it hurt, she heard an anxious edge to his voice she hadn’t expected. Ikuta Toma was not an anxious person.
“He thought I’d be ready for this mission-“
“LILLITH. OPEN YOUR EYES.” Her eyelids flew up as she heard his panic echo through the car. He looked as hurt as she felt. “Li-“ Then as if he realized what he had been calling her all this time she saw his face slack and a truly disgusted sadness rose upon his features. Her tears pooled in her eyes, Ikuta Toma had never looked so angry and disappointed with her. Like he was dealing with a child who had taken a crayon to the walls and created a mess not even he could not fix. “Rie.”
Her heart broke hearing her name come out of his mouth like it was a curse. To him, it was. It was the last straw. “I was sent to stop the shipment. I was sent to Tryst to infiltrate it. To make you trust me.”
“Fuck off, Lillith.”
Why didn’t he correct himself? “My name is-“
“Yeah, I know what your name is and I don’t give a shit. I don’t have time to get to know some new fucking bitch.” He pushed back obviously irritated that she’d tried to correct him. “I just thought you were fucking around with us from Yamashita’s clan…I didn’t think you were actually a cop.”
“Well I am.” She laughed nervously though what she was about to say next was no laughing matter. “So you can just kill me now and get it over with. That’s what you guys do right - kill cops?”
She was shocked to find him looking at her like she was an idiot. Shocked and relieved. Relieved that she had at least a few more moments until Takuya got to her and put the bullet in her head himself. “Don’t be stupid. I can’t kill you.”
“You saved my life. I owe you a debt.” She sat softly in his seat as she sighed feeling deflated. “But I can’t just save you either. What you’ve done…you should have never told me.” He pushed his hands in his hair and she saw the way his knuckles grew white as he gripped the steering wheel and she gulped. “How am I ever supposed to get them to forgive you, Lillith?” He kept trying to say her name as if that was the only way he could reinforce that she deserved his help.
It was Lillith, the sexy Tryst translator, that he wanted to save. Rie, the cop, could go to the dogs for all he cared.
She laughed. There was no way she could even entertain the idea of going rogue and switching to the other side. “If you get them to forgive me, the force will shoot me down themselves, I don’t win here.” She’d just made everything worse for him but she wasn’t even done. She had to tell him about the chief, about Koyama, about Shige, about Mukai- “Toma…I need to tell you something.”
“I think you’ve told me enough for now Lillith.” She bit her lip. No she hadn’t! She had to tell him so much more! He had to know what was really happening here, what she suspected because she wouldn’t be able to find out the truth herself after today. She needed him to, and he would only do it if he believed her-
“NO, RIE.” The tone of harshness at the edge of his voice made her retreat back into the curve of her seat as she crumbled over herself again. It was strange that hearing her real name from him felt like a whiplash. “I’m handing you over, please understand that I can't do anything else in this case.”
“So they can kill me? So you don’t feel guilty about it?”
“Can you stop being so obsessed with the idea of your death? I’m not going to let anyone kill you. I already told you that.” Toma cleared his throat and she felt the car start again. “Just be prepared…before I figure out a way to fix this they’re not going to go easy on you.” She supposed he would know, he had probably faced the same treatment himself when Christine had gotten married.
The rest of their drive passed in silence as they drove towards the new port and she saw a sign flash above their heads. "Yokohama?” He took an exit off the highway but didn’t respond. So that was where the shipment was landing, now she was certain there was no way that the force would be able to get to Yokohama in time once they realized that the location she'd given them was not right. The drive to Tokaichi from Tokyo was four hours long. By contrast the drive to Yokohama was only about an hour.
They passed a residential street rolling down a slope and she tried to control her breath as she felt him speed up. They drove by the sea face reaching the outer regions of the city. Finally she saw the tell-tale port imagery come before her, large ships had already docked in. There was that distinct ocean smell that took her back to the innocent summer days she used to play at the beach with her parents, aunts and uncles and cousins. She shut her eyes as she felt Toma park the car and get out of the door. Slowly but surely she followed.
There was nowhere to run, or she would have tried. She was still too cowardly to toss herself into the ocean. She saw Toma turn around to look at her and shake his head. “Come on…walk faster. We don’t have much time now.” Her feet felt like lead…how could he ask her to move them faster when they were walking to a place where she didn’t even know what would happen to her?
When he saw how still she was, he grabbed her hand and dragged her but there was nothing about his hands that made her feel like she was safe. She felt like throwing up and her stomach did twisted somersaults in her body making her feel even sicker. What was she supposed to say to him right now at this moment? “Hey Toma-“
“Yeah?” He muttered back softly as they made their way past a large tin carrier.
“I know I shouldn’t be saying anything right now but- it’s okay if you don’t end up saving me.” His own feet stopped walking as he turned around to look at her.
“You want to die don’t you?” This time he was pissed. He was wringing his hands frustrated, they were on the edge of his holster anyways.
“Why? Are you offering?” She laughed and saw his face grow even more furious with the broken record in front of him. “Look…I’m saying that because I know that there’s probably nothing you can-” He quickly strode forward and grabbed her shoulders like he would grip a life line.
“You don’t know what I can and cannot do. So don't try to damn yourself just because you can't trust that I'll keep you safe.” His voice was so confident and yet so threatening. They stood breathing heavily for a second as she shut her eyes trying to hold back tears.
Fearful that the insane woman in front of him was going to run off and go try to commit suicide herself he grabbed her hand and interlocked their fingers. Right now, she could pretend that the way he was gripping her hand aggressively was a metaphor for their situation. That he wouldn't let her go, that he wouldn't let her be ripped apart from him...at least not yet. She looked up at him the water from her eyes flooding her gaze, blurring his figure so she looked downwards again. She shouldn’t cry. There was no reason to, Toma had asked her to trust him. Could she?
He walked unbearably fast, and it seemed like in mere seconds they were in front of the dock she knew the ship would land in. “Ikuta!” She looked up to see Jun walking towards the two of them, his eyes falling to the image of their hands conjoined and he looked at her tear stricken face. As he realized that Rie obviously wasn’t supposed to be here from the meeting they had had with Takuya, he looked at Toma fearfully. Takuya would kill them both if he found out that Rie had been brought here. “What is she -“
“It’s too long a story to tell.” Toma replied quickly cutting Jun short as Jun frowned obviously dissatisfied with his answer. Rie herself was shock that he hadn't sold her out yet...but then again his first priority was the shipment. “Are they coming in?”
“About an hour till the ship docks... they’ll be hidden with the talcum powder shipments.” Jun said looking back at Rie who struggled to keep her whimpers silent and looked at Toma. “What do you want to do with her?”
“Hide her, I don’t know man - fucking take her away. I can’t take care of her and the shipment.” Jun nodded as Toma walked away…presumably knowing where he was going.
Once he was out of earshot Jun turned his attention on his translator. “What happened?” Rie shook her head. What could she tell Jun? Everything - she had ruined everything. “At least you should have put on proper clothes Lillith.” Jun took off his blazer and whipped his shirt off before putting his blazer back on over his undershirt. He tossed her his shirt as she looked at him. “Put that on. I don’t want to know what happened anymore so don’t worry. I won’t push. I don’t have time for it anyways.” He hoisted her up to her feet. “Let’s get you hidden somewhere so that Takuya doesn’t see you today huh?”
“Of course…this is one of his biggest deals. He’ll oversee it with Toma. If he wasn’t here it would be insulting the cartels who are supplying us.” Jun ruffled her hair as if she was being so cute and childish by not knowing what on earth was going on around them. “I can’t baby sit you though…I have to be out there with them.”
She looked at him as he guided her to an empty tin surprisingly supplied with electricity. It must have been their regular haunt here. The paint was peeling off the can, the air was stale, but there was a chair and a table. “You going to be okay? Seung Hyun will be with you.” Jun questioned her and then checked his phone and furrowed his eyebrows. “Toma told me to lock you in here for the next little while.” When he saw her face fall despairingly, he couldn’t help but look back from his phone to the broken figured girl in front of him. She looked like she was so exhausted she was on the verge of collapsing. “Lillith…answer me. Will you be okay if I lock you in here?”
She struggled to calm herself. She had to trust him. She had to. Toma had promised her she wouldn’t die…but she couldn’t shake the feeling. She was starting to understand why some people believed that you could predict your own death. This blanket of cold that was over her head right now must have been that feeling, reminding her what a small amount of time she had left to live. “Jun, you were right.” At his misunderstood expression she elaborated, the breath leaving her mouth growing foggy for a second in the cold as she wrapped his shirt around herself. “I have feelings for him.”
Then she saw it. The pity in his eyes that so obviously meant he thought that was the reason she was such a wreck, and sure the over-exertion of her emotions might have had something to do with it but it wasn’t everything. “Lillith-"
“It’s okay… don’t worry. I’m fine. Just- if you can get Toma to come talk to me as soon as possible…tell him it’s important. Tell him, I need to tell him something. It’s worth his time- it doesn’t have to do with my feelings or anything.” She corrected seeing Jun grow increasingly uncomfortable at the way the words flowed out of her mouth. “Please, Jun. I need your help.”
“I’ll do what I can but he seems to want to avoid you right now- and I don’t have time for this today- you can just talk to him later okay? Personally.” She felt ridiculous now, because she was starting to cry yet again. She held back her sobs, the pain only amplifying in her chest because of her restraint. It was hopeless, how the hell was she ever going to tell him that she was starting to think that the chief had his eyes on the shipment for Yamashita’s clan?
She sure as hell didn’t want to tell Jun who would use the information to both get her and Toma out of his way to become the primary heir to the Takuya clan.
She felt a thumb glide across her cheek and looked up to see Jun staring at her, shaking his head. She gulped back another knot in her throat as she heard him speak again. “Don’t make yourself weak for him.” Then he smiled tightly as if his facial features just hurt from telling her all of this.
After getting a guard to look over her, he walked out of the tin, leaving her with Choi Seung Hyun who only nodded lightly with his large AK-47 in his hand. Seung Hyun smiled at her. "This is good...we'll be away from the action huh Lillith?"
She simply nodded frowning because she couldn't talk. Now she was so tired that her body seemed intent on collapsing in a heap even if she had been unconscious mere minutes ago.
She sat down leaning her head against the cool metal walls, her eyes shutting soundlessly as she felt all her limbs go slack and then she escaped this world.
Mukai looked around him, the air was cold around Tokaichi and he was starting to feel scared. It was 2:45 in the morning, and they hadn’t seen a single ship come into this small port. Indeed, the entire town seemed dead.
“You okay?” He heard one of his partners say and saw Ryuusei smiling at him. Then, as if he had read Mukai’s mind he started speaking again. “Don’t be worried Mukai…Rie’s a trooper. She’ll be fine...and you're here too now to stop anything from happening. The Chief's done everything possible to make sure she's safe.”
He knew Ryuusei was only trying to put his mind to rest but he only frowned harder at the statement. Rie was new, beyond new, now that he thought of it, putting her on a mission like this was smart of the chief but also extremely careless. She wasn’t strong enough or smart enough to know how things worked with clans- but with Japan’s large yakuza community everyone knew you could only go undercover once before everyone found out who you were.
Unwillingly, her words flitted back to his mind. The chief is stopping this shipment from being in Ikuta's hands…but that doesn’t mean the shipment is confiscated.
Not only was she sleeping in the enemy’s den, she was trying to make an enemy out of the very force that was supposed to work for her but he couldn’t argue that there was something fishy going on here. “What’s that?” He heard Ryuusei say and they saw it finally…a tiny boat flitted to the dock, so small it really had no business coming into the docking station for carrier ships but yet it came. It came unmanned…or at least there was no one directing it.
“Mukai!” He heard his assistant chief Inagaki-san yell out to him through their communication devices. Out of their team of 10, he was the one who was not supposed to be on the case but he had pushed his way into this heist to keep his fiance safe. Was Rie here? On that boat? Somewhere? "Go see it!"
A bitter taste flooded on his tongue as he slowly moved towards the dock, now well aware that he was exposed. He could be shot down any moment, if the wrong person saw him reaching into this boat.
But this tiny thing couldn’t have the shipment in it. As he got closer he felt a foul stench fill his nose, he covered his nose with his hand. It smelled like shit, quite literally. Mukai leaned down and started climbing down the small steps to reach the boat.
“Oh dear god.” He muttered as he took in the image of Inoo Kei, the co-op student who had driven Rie to the chief’s house.
Kei's face was screaming, though it had long been silenced. His eyes had been pulled out of their sockets. The boy looked positively ghoul like and Mukai covered his mouth trying to keep from throwing up. Despite himself he looked down and just as he expected there was a large incision made on Inoo’s intestinal area with quite literally his guts spilling out of his tiny teenage boy frame.
The boat which had at first seemed red was just painted with Inoo’s blood.
It was the worst kill he had ever seen in his time in the force. So, as the tears sprung to his eyes he let them come. “WHAT’S DOWN THERE?” He heard Inagaki speak out to him through his walkie talkie, his assistant chief sounded desperate because it was becoming very clear that this was a set up and that there would be no one coming to the Tokaichi port.
Mukai wiped the tears that ran down his face, never ceasing. Mukai didn’t consider himself an emotional man, no he had quite heartlessly broken many a woman’s heart whether it was his mother’s or many of the women who had walked in and out of his life.
So he was shocked at his reaction because the flood would not stop, and he realized why. This had nothing to do with Mukai’s personal feelings to Inoo Kei. Inoo Kei was just a boy and really not one he was that close to, he was not family, he was not a friend…but as a human, Mukai felt wronged for him.
No one deserved to be mutilated like this, least of all a boy who had barely existed in the world as a man.
He wasn’t even supposed to be on the case - he had just volunteered to pick up Rie.
A role now, Mukai cursed himself for not taking on.
At least he would have been able to defend himself. “Officer down sir, I repeat officer down.” He whimpered out and heard the team rush towards him one by one assuming that he was the one who was down. Inoo Kei was not technically a police officer, but Mukai refused to give him any treatment that would state otherwise. He had died because of his duty, which made his death just as sad and significant as any other death would have been on the team.
As the group of officers, collectively huddled around the boat Mukai fell back in a daze, leaning against the cool stone of the port.
This was not about shooting them down or catching them vulnerable. No one else would be harmed today from their force…but whoever had sent this body to them they were sending them a message that they were watching them, their every move, and they knew that someone had ratted out this location to the cops.
The more they chased, the more they tried to shut down one of the biggest clans in the city…the bigger the price would be.
Right now it was a student, inconsequential at most- a civilian life but Mukai knew that this was the killer's way of warning them to get officers off the case and so now the only way he could take that message now was …
Rie might be next.