Laze

Author's Chapter Notes

This was a weird chapter to write...mostly because it was a whole lot of nothing but fun for Ikuta and Rie...but Mukai oh Mukai...what are you selling? (Cause Imma hella buy it)
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“Reports say, recent inductee in the police force Tomomasa Rie is highly wanted. She is being charged with treason, unauthorized use of a firearm, possession of lethal substances. It is believed she is travelling alone. If spotted, please report straight to your local police station. In other related news, Tomomasa Rie’s partner has been captured and is being held in police custody.”

“Why didn’t they reveal your name? You’re obviously the ‘partner’ they’re talking about.” Rie huffed as she watched the T.V. lazily in the summer heat.

“Takuya probably paid extra. He can’t have everyone knowing my name if he still owns it.” Rie turned to look at him, a skeptical, sarcastic sort of vibe wafting off her so Toma just grinned irritatingly. “I’m special.”

“Special in the head...” She saw him turn to throw her a particularly psychotic smile, adding credibility to her words.

“I’m all about the head, baby.” He teased his voice dropping and stretching out the word baby in a manner so funny even Rie had to burst out snorting in laughter.

“Gross.” Toma snickered but it was more at her than with her. Like clockwork both of them lifted their Ramune popsicles to their lips beating the summer heat the best way they knew how. “Shouldn’t we go help Risa-san? She’s working on lunch.”

“I don’t know, didn’t you hear them on the T.V.? I’m highly wanted. I gotta stay low…like really low..like on the ground sleeping low.” Toma rolled his eyes and got up from their spot in front of the T.V. to go to the back of the house and help Mukai’s grandmother in the kitchen.

Rie took a deep breath relaxing her shoulders under the only source of cool in this house, the ceiling fan.

The last few days had been a lot of this.

She wondered if this was what Toma was like when he’d lived with Wana and Christine before, light, helpful, smart, carefree and perfectly normal.

He barely looked like the type of guy who knew his way around multiple firearms and three ways to kill a man with no hands!

It was only when they ran in the morning when she saw a sliver of the man she recognized from Tokyo. It was almost like he was on a vacation from himself and as much as she wanted to yell at him to draw out the real Ikuta Toma she’d gotten lazily accustomed to this one who pretended to be someone he wasn’t. He was someone she could avoid, he only very rarely made her heart skip a beat…usually when he was uncharacteristically forward and earnest.

This man was someone she could ignore which was something she was particularly grateful for.

Almost like he knew…but who was she kidding? Ikuta Toma was not being considerate of her. He was doing this for his own selfish reasons and she couldn’t be bothered to find out why.

“Are you coming?” She heard him call out from the entry to the living room.

“But I’m sleeping….” She shut her eyes and rolled on the ground. When she winked one eye open and turned over to look at Toma who was leaning against the sliding door she snickered a little. “Bring lunch to me!”

“Dear god…you really are spoiled.”

“What?”

“For a girl who looks so active in the morning, I would have never thought you were this pathetic the rest of the day.”

“Really? That’s weird…I’ve always felt incredibly pathetic around you.” She saw his eyebrows furrow in confusion as if he didn’t quite understand what she meant by that but just before he could question her again she jumped up from the floor stretching in her wonderfully loose and airy kimono. She whipped around to see Ikuta Toma peering carefully at her. “Take a picture, it lasts longer.” Her voice carried softly through the air, her hair covering half her face as she leaned back to stretch her body.

“You really don’t know how to tie these up do you?” She quickly glanced down at herself to realize that when she'd rolled around on the floor her kimono had come loose and her bra was now visible hanging out of her clothes.

"Shit shit shit shit." Squealing, she tried to cover herself up but she had no chance. Ikuta Toma had leaned forward and grabbed her by the edge of fabric belts that were hanging loose of her sides. He pulled her to him, tightening the knot with his fingers so she felt the fabric wrap around her securely.

She looked up at him completely caught off-guard as she saw him laugh at her like she was a child. Then he fixed the top of her kimono, adjusting her to be the picture of modesty. “Relax…it’s nothing I haven’t seen before. Hell this was your uniform every day and I wasn’t jumping on you then was I? Ah…well you can't really count the last time-” She felt herself straighten almost too fast as she saw him smirk at her. “Lunch, your highness?”

She nodded, but she wasn’t sure what she was nodding at as he turned on his feet and walked towards the kitchen but she felt the knot in her stomach twist harder as she tried to control her feet so she wouldn’t run after him.

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Takuya sat across the cop who had barged in here for the second time this month and already felt he was far too superior to be sitting across a man as junior as him. Still the man talked a rough game.

“So you’re not here to accept our offer?” Jun questioned doubtfully looking at him with one eyebrow cocked up. “Are you mental? There’s no way you’ll make it through the city borders with her, without our help.”

“No. I cannot. I will not. This is something I can’t condone.” Mukai glared them down and saw the Takuya honcho grin in synchrony with the irritating Matsumoto in a way that irked him even more than Ikuta Toma. Something he hadn’t thought possible. Not for the first time he wondered how Rie had survived amongst such single minded irritating individuals.

“So what do you want us to do? Help you for free?”

“No. I understand where you are coming from “ so I’ll offer you this instead. Sacrifice the Yamashita clan in its entirety. I can get you immunity for that knowledge. Your knowledge is your power. In exchange, you will protect Rie until we’re able to neutralize their influence on the force and we keep Ikuta as insurance that you will do so to the best of your abilities as she is nothing more than a pawn in this game.”

“And why would we want him in the first place?”Jun scoffed. “This clan isn’t built on his back and it won’t break on his either. And immunity? Are you joking?” Mukai couldn’t disagree, no yakuza worth his salt would agree to this deal.

“I could just as easily arrest all three of you right now, it’s all out in the open that you are the ones who planned this and we have proof of so much but I’m not done-”

“On what charges? And on whose permission?” Takuya snickered. “Granted we may not be as well entrenched in your institution as the Yamashitas but that you can’t possibly think we’d allow that to happen Mukai-san….nor do you think your boss, or his boss, or the minister of justice for that reason would let that happen. We send a lot of dollars his way, and quite possibly into your pocket for all you know. Without us you wouldn’t exist, and vice versa.”

He felt the opportunity slipping away from his fingers and Mukai cursed the way his heart twisted inside of his chest as he looked across the room and resisted the urge to bow, begging for their help. He couldn’t look weak to them. They’d try to extrapolate even more from him. “When I meant we’d give you immunity, I meant we’d give you immunity as more than just informants. All of your businesses…should they be caught in any legal messes I’ll fabricate as required to ensure you’re saved. I’ll act as your personal agent…for one year.”

For a second, the silence made him nervous but he wasn’t sure what else he could offer them.

Then he recognized that silence at least meant they were considering his words with a fair degree of seriousness. He saw Takuya narrow his eyes as he glanced carefully at him. “And why would we let you stop after a year? How do we know you won’t use what you’ve learned in the year? How are you so sure we’ll let you survive if you just think you can leave the fold as easily as you’ve joined it.”

“I’ll protect you. I’m a man of my word. For that year. Please do not abuse this power but I will give you as much immunity as a man of my stature can guarantee and the rest of it- well I’ll work with you to make sure your businesses remain untouched for the year. As for killing me, you could, but that would come off even more suspicious don’t you think?”

Jun scoffed. Obviously upset that this wasn’t going the way he had planned. Little Mukai had given Takuya something truly priceless, and even he knew that. This was something with a long-term benefit that couldn’t be measured in dollars and cents. This was profit sure but it was peace of mind, safety, lives of those in their team and in the force for that matter…still Jun wasn’t going to give in so easily because this option? It gave him no leverage over Ikuta Toma and if he didn’t have leverage he didn’t have the chance to take over. “You can’t honestly expect that we’ll just give up a shipment we’ve worked so-“

“It’s a deal.” Jun tensed his jaw as he looked carefully at Takuya who was smiling kindly at Mukai who was starting to sweat at his hairline.

Jun felt sorry for him, to be honest he’d been letting him off easy “ working for a year with a group of people you can’t stand- well Jun had been doing it his whole life and he could have told the guy it ALMOST wasn’t worth it. “You can’t be honestly thinking this is sufficient Takuya-san-“

“And when did you honestly start thinking that second guessing my decisions would be good for you Jun?” Takuya flashed him the type of smile where he looked like he was two seconds away from ripping Jun’s throat out with his bare hands.

Jun glanced at the floor before he looked up and his eyes connected with Mukai growling. “Sure, let’s do this. Sounds great. I’m on board- I’m sorry you ever thought otherwise. This is a great idea, because we totally saw what happened the last time we worked with a cop.”

Happy now after seeing Jun's submissive behavior the Takuya patriarch clapped a hand on Jun’s back roughly, even for Mukai’s own taste. “Once more with feeling!”

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The next morning they ran again but today was different, Toma had gotten better to the point that he’d started bounding ahead of her and she had to actually put a fair bit of effort into maintaining her lead over him.

They were running towards the meet point Mukai had asked them to be at because he didn’t want his grandmother being too close to the point where they were being picked up in case somehow information got out and the pick-up turned sour.

Toma grinned back at her leaning backwards. “So explain to me again how is this going to help me be a good guy? I feel like I’ll be using these skills to run away from cops like you once we’re through here.”

“Ha, ha, ha.” Rie muttered huffing as Toma effortlessly sprang across a stray branch in their path and started running backwards in a manner so arrogant she had to roll her eyes.

“So what did Mukai say on the phone last night when I was with Risa-san?” She wondered why he loved spending time with Mukai’s grandmother so much it didn’t make any sense.

“He said someone is coming to get us later tonight and we should be packed and ready to go. He didn’t reveal the name but he did say it wasn’t someone from the force. We’ll meet him there at our safe house and discuss next steps.”

“So we’re still staying together?” He wiggled his eyebrows as she felt herself start coughing. “Good, here I thought I’d miss having you all to myself…”

“For now, I guess. It’s easier than having to guard two people in two different locations.” She chose to ignore the latter part of his speech and saw him smirk proudly like he was proud she didn’t address it right away. “So- why are you so into Risa-san anyways?”

Toma looked at her like she was oblivious. “Isn’t it obvious? She’s a mom.”

“Oh and that’s your type.”

“Well…you said it. Not me.” He teased and she snickered despite herself because she knew he didn’t mean it that way. “I- I knew my mother for a bit. Until I was like 5 I got to meet her every weekend, and she was beautiful, kind, wonderful in the kitchen but-“

“But?”

“She died.” He stopped, his footsteps unable to push him forward as he remembered her face again. “Most women in her line of work die…it’s just the nature of the job. That’s why I like Risa-san, she reminds me of a mother. Any mother. I guess I’ve always just wanted that back.”

“How did she die?” She paused as she walked back to him and saw him grin to himself.

“Trust me, you don’t want to know.” Even though she asked she didn’t really need him to tell her…she could remember how adamantly he had protested against Takuya who had suggested she work to manage women in the brothels.

She wanted to push him but she also knew that pushing him would mean opening up another set of emotions that she wasn’t sure she wanted released so she kept her mouth shut and nodded, sitting beside him on the ground looking out at the sun again. “What do you want Toma?”

“What do I want?” He questioned back softly. “It’s not entirely clear…but I think I want to be normal.”

“I don’t think you can do that even if you try.” She mumbled laughing at his innocent response looking up at him teasingly. “You’re too extraordinary for that.”

“Yeah?” He questioned back jokingly but she caught the slight hint of shyness gracing his features and couldn’t help but find her heart pull in her chest.

“Yeah, I don’t know any other guy whose as good as dodging my hits as you are.” To prove her point she made a move to hit his arm and saw him move backwards immediately. “See!”

“You’re not so bad yourself, Tomomasa Rie.” The way they were talking to each other reminded her of high school. Where they danced around each other and their unsaid words. Still she couldn’t bring herself to be the adult here so she just nodded continuing to expertly tango through their conversation.

A honk resounded from a few metres away and they saw the window of the Toyota RAV4 roll down and-
the driver honked again, loudly and then really loudly again. “Are you two going to keep making googly eyes at each other or are you actually getting in here?”

Rie felt her jaw drop as she looked at him in shock and then looked at Toma dumbly who looked just as astounded.

What was Jun doing here?
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Christine closed her eyes as she felt the maids of the house flitter around her figure adorning her with silks and satins and she rolled her eyes. “Remind me why I’m doing this again?”

“Yamashita-san always hosts a winter charity event.”

“Isn’t it all an excuse to exchange laundered funds?” The maids stayed eerily quiet as she looked at Talia who was laying quiet on the sofa behind her. “Are you okay?”

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

“You helped them get out didn’t you?”

“No.”

“Right, you made Koyama do that…he’s in charge of the dirty work of the clan after all.” Christine laughed as she saw her half-sister throw her a glare. “Oh come on, I’m just saying the truth. There’s no need to be so sensitive.” Her sister’s silence only served to egg her on more. “Don’t tell me you’re regretting it? You’re becoming really two-faced you know.”

“I’m two-faced?” Talia scoffed in disbelief as the maids looked between each other trying to avoid becoming caught between the cross fire. “You’re the one who has been stringing Toma along all these years…I’m glad he got sick of you.”

That hit home a little hard for Christine who had felt irked from the start that the man she’d loved since she was a little girl hadn’t come for her this time around. The reality of that move had yet to register fully in her mind. “He knows.”

“Yeah he knows…you’re not worth the trouble.” Talia responded cruelly as Christine turned around fully away from the mirror now to glare at her sister who shrugged. “I can’t believe you even went through all that mess to try to kill that girl ““

To be honest, Christine herself thought it a fault in her judgment looking back now. “Whatever, she was a cop I was doing the system a favour.”

“You didn’t know she was a cop then, murder was still an option for you? You act so saintly…but you’re just a bitch Christine…just like me…just like her…we’re all bitches.”

“I’ve never claimed I was a saint…and this conversation is a little too philosophical for me.” Christine corrected her quickly. “In fact, I’m quite aware that I’m never going to be the girl I was before your father ruined my life.”

“Well don’t worry- I ruined his and now I’m going to pay for that knowledge the rest of my life.” She sounded remorseful, then again why wouldn’t she be? Christine was an eye-sore and a sore sight for Takuya’s eyes, a beauty gone to waste. Talia was the prodigal child, the apple of his eyes.

“You’re regretting it aren’t you?” To this, Talia stayed quiet as she looked between the rest of the people in the room, it would be too foolish to let them out of the room now where gossip would only spread.
They’d probably already said too much but so far Yamashita Tomohisa didn’t appear bothered by the fact that Rie or Lillith or whatever that girl’s name was had escaped because his prize had been left untouched, pure and safe in her cage.

“Don’t be stupid. I’m just worried.” Talia responded but her eyes communicated another story to Christine. “I’m worried about Mao, Jun and Toma…he’s wanted isn’t he? He’s the partner they’re talking about in the news?”

“Well, by any means-“ Christine sighed as she felt her stomach churn and immediately covered her mouth, her eyes dangerously flashing in the mirror. As quick as it had happened, Christine appeared to shake it off and nod towards the maid. “The red one please.”

Talia furrowed her eyebrows as she looked at her but beyond that one movement Christine gave no indication she felt unwell. “Is everything okay?”

Christine only smiled fearfully as she looked at the mirror shaking her head. “Is it ever?”
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Author's Chapter End Notes

W00t w00t updateeee :D and now its all done :(

To Be Continued.
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Anna Clair is the author of 52 other stories.
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