Smooth Criminal


"This is utterly an epic failure!"

His voice was strong. It had the ring of an angry lion and the hiss of a snake. His rolled sleeves to his elbows and his unironed white polo didn't lessen the authority he was emitting. His eyes were clouded in both annoyance and frustration. And the deep frown on his forehead was just a perfect sign that capturing the little rat connected to a huge drug syndicate was a total fail. Again.

"Chief Usami...well... he caught us off guard," one of the men in that cramped room dared to speak. "We were sure he didn't see us...yet..."

"Yet he did!" Usami hissed, slamming a hand on the brown, wooden table. If it hurt, there was nothing on the man's face.

Usami Akihiko, 35, working as a chief of a group of investigators for drug syndicates in Y Prefecture, has been a having a serious hard time nailing a twenty-three year old guy. They've been following him for a long time, with the belief that this innocent looking yet sly young man was connected to the huge drug syndicate running their businesses in the area.

"Look, don't tell me he has eyes on the back of his head?" Usami started, sitting at the edge of the table. "You're older, more equipped, yet you couldn't get the prick red handed so we can finally take him in?"

"But Usami-san...it feels as though he can see through our entrapment operation...he's nothing to be looked down upon..." another rookie added.

"Am I really hearing those pathetic words from your mouths?"

The man had a frustrated look on his face as he ruffled the back of his head. Of course he knew how sly this Takahashi Misaki could be. Takahashi glomps the bait, and when all was set so the police force could strike, he would suddenly spit the bait, fluidly dodging all traps of him being cornered.

If only they could get a solid evidence against Takahashi Misaki, Usami knew he'd be the happiest man to scald the other alive. Yet, no matter how shady the young man was, he still could come out squeaky clean.

"Fuck..." Usami stood and pulled the closed door open strong enough to send it off its hinges. "Make a full report about this! Every single detail, I want them listed!"

Once the tyrant of their group composed of fifteen men was already far from sight, the men finally heaved a sigh. This group that Usami Akihiko was incharge of, made of nothing but all rookies, started shuffling into their notepads.

"He's angrier than usual..." a young man with thick glasses serving as the 'secretary' commented. He was scribbling something as he eyed the others. He could do it perfectly that was why he fitted the 'secretary role'.

"Do you know if Usami-san and that Takahashi had some really bad encounter before?" a tanned man with a clean-cut hair asked, looking depressed. "That Takahashi may look a bit shady but aren't any youngsters from Tokyo like that? There is just something about this case pushed on us that is like more of a personal thing..."

"Why are you asking us?" the secretary replied with sarcasm. "Well, this part of the country is basically a peaceful place...for show I guess, we have to still 'work'...Anyways have you forgotten we all arrived in this team at the same time? Rookies clustered together, how do they expect us to produce good results right away?"

There was a long, empty silence. All of them were stuck in the reality that they knew nothing much about their chief other than the trivial infos. That Usami-san was previously assigned to a charter in Tokyo. Been assigned in this boring part of the world five years ago. And that their chief seemed to be obsessed with catching this single blotch of dirt from the face of their peaceful community.

"Chief Usami has had a serious head injury before right? That was why he was transferred here instead where the action is less...maybe he hates this place as much as we do."

No one knew though, that even if Usami Akihiko, their short-tempered tyrant of a chief was either in Tokyo or in this forsaken city, it wouldn't make any much of a difference.

He had no memory of who he was the first 30 years of his life. When he came to his senses, a man named Miyagi Yo told him he was a police officer who almost died from a case. That while Usami was still recovering, he'd be assigned to some place. Five years passed and though Usami was already completely healed physically, no order of return has been made.

Usami had naturally done his own research of who he was. But reading the full reports about him felt like he was reading a life story of someone he wouldn't be able to get along with if he was someone else.

He was almost like an introvert. He seemed to have completely cut ties with his family for a reason stated as 'personal'. What the hell was that 'personal' thing in that book of records that needed covering anyways?

Working all alone in the dark sides of the blinding beauty of Tokyo as an investigator, the report said he started investigating a huge drug syndicate operating in dance clubs and even high-end bars. One night, the report said someone had left him at the gates of a hospital with his head almost cracked open. The end.

He was all ready fucking up his life as a police after being stuck in this boring place. And then one day, while doing a routine round the area, he saw him. The 'him' in his dreams of anguish and fury.

The only vivid memory, or maybe a nightmare etched inside Usami's brain was a younger Takahashi Misaki hitting him a metal as thick as a baseball bat in the head.


The chilly air was hitting against his face. It made the man more annoyed at how time flies so fast in a day without accomplishing anything.

He had smoked stick after stick after stick but his irritation couldn't be quenched.

"Useless morons..." Usami grumbled, trudging his way into the flat he was renting. Five years in that humble if not poor side of Japan, the flat looked like it was built in the Taisho era that any minute it would be portraying a great collapse. "I already gave the plan, how can they miss it?"

Winter, the season out of the four he hated the most. And though winter was reaching its end, the portion of his head that was sewn shut would give a dull pain to the point that he couldn't sleep. He didn't like to wear thick layers of clothing either. Somehow, nothing, not a bit, not an ounce of luck has been going on his way.

Passing the small market that had closed ages ago and would open as early as two or three in the morning, Usami exhaled.

Sure he was busy rumbling about how stupid his life had become, but his senses were still as sharp as if they have their own life. Usami continued walking, eyes ahead, though his ears were completely focused on to the sound of low whisperings he could hear very near from where he was.

Usami paused, knelt on one knee and pretended to tie his shoe lace, though he was actually wearing a worn, black leather shoes. The cigarette was stuck at the corner of his lips, moving a bit in an upward downward motion as he listened more. His eyes in a downcast manner, glinting with focus.

"Where is the money?" a young voice of a male asked in urgency. "Where, where is the money?!"

"I don't know..." said the other, much younger voice. The fright very obvious. "I swear I don't know..."

"You don't? Haa, if you are a great liar, I am the master of it...so where?"

Through the little spaces he used to hide himself, Usami saw then the root of his rage. Takahashi Misaki, pressing a little boy against the cold walls of a rundown store. The young man Usami was wanting to interrogate even had his gun pressed on the little boy's forehead.

In the dark of an alley, serving as a home for homeless little critters, the moon was showering the two odd figures with its glory. Whether it was a blessing or a curse, no one would know about it. To Usami it was nothing but a perfect thing to drag the suspicious brunette in the police station.

Green eyes narrowed into slits. He'd been living in the darkest part of the dark not to feel the presence that had just appeared. Frowning, as if waiting for a cue, the young man whose hair the color of rich chocolate in the dark pushed his little prey to the ground. The gun he had been pointing at the boy's head found a new place on Usami's abdomen.

However, Usami was just as fast. His gun with silencer, he buried it almost painfully to the hollow of the brunette's neck, rendering the sly bastard immobile and much in a disadvantage.

"Run kid," Usami ordered almost to a whisper. The homeless kid, teary, nodded frantically and scurried into the maze of stalls. Before long, the little boy was no where to be seen. And the young man standing face to face with Usami had a look like he couldn't believe what just happened.

"What the hell, butting in my business?!" the young man hissed through gritted teeth. His small gun, he pressed harder on Usami's abdomen.

Usami grinned a little, though his eyes were the opposite. His lavender eyes were burning of nothing but anger.

"And there I thought I was really unlucky. But I get you doing an extortion to a homeless boy in the act? I'm not so unlucky after all."

"What are you talking about?" the other spat. "I am what? Extortionist?"

"Takahashi Misaki, I am not in the best mood for you to annoy. You'll come with me. I have loads of things to ask from you."

"No way..." the younger man whispered, his breathe coming in white puffs before disappearing into thin air.

The young man called 'Takahashi Misaki' moved his finger into the trigger. Very carefully almost without a sound, Misaki felt for the cold surface of his weapon.

"Do you think I'm stupid?" Usami hissed at Misaki's face. Their noses almost touching. "Let's see who can pull the trigger first..." he said it while pressing harder at the young man's neck. The discomfort and pain almost visible on that deceitful, innocent face.

"..."

For a few seconds, Misaki just stared at the lavender eyes staring at him with such intensity. If Usami saw a hint of sadness he was all too absorbed with the urgency at hand he hadn't notice it.

"Boom," Misaki said with a serious face. "I already fired. Your turn."

"What the fuck are you playing at?"

Misaki lowered the gun he was pointing at Usami and instead pointed it at his own head. Virtually the brunette had two guns aimed at him. The older man's brain processing that the young man who probably was connected to him in the past had decided to just commit suicide instead from being cornered.

Seeing the change on the older man's face, Takahashi Misaki pressed on the trigger with a satisfied smile.

"Click."

Usami had the biggest humiliation in his life as Takahashi Misaki continued pressing on the trigger yet no bullet or wound was being inflicted.

"See...this is just a toy gun," Misaki grumbled, putting his fake weapon into his pocket. Not after long, the brunette held a dirty wallet before Usami. "That kid stole my wallet. Nothing's left inside...I was just trying to scare him off to get even..."

Usami had a conflicted face. The gun loaded with bullets he had been pressing on Takahashi's neck slowly found its way back into its holster.

For a long while they just stood in that alley devoid of people other than themselves. Somehow, there was something awkward. So awkward knawing at Usami's insides. Full of confused thoughts, the dream of him being beaten to death by this innocent looking guy, he had no time to react when soft fingers brushed the hair away on the side of his face.

On tip toes, Takahashi Misaki looked deeper into the centipede-like scar on the side of the older man's head.

"Five years really healed this wound ne?"

Suddenly coming back to his senses and all the reasons why he was obsessed with getting this young man, Usami grabbed the thin wrist extended to him. He held it with too much strenght there was a little grimace on Misaki's part. Weirdly though, the young brunette didn't complain.

"You...what do you know about me?" Usami asked. The more time Misaki just pursed his lips, the deeper Usami's fingers dug into Misaki's flesh. "What do you know about what happened five years ago? Why did you-"

Misaki's green orbs were surprisingly calm. As if he had expected this very scenario from a very long time ago. "I'm just a regular law unabiding citizen...but unless you have evidence, you can't haul me to anywhere...right?"

"What?"

Usami had no idea why this young man appeared in their area a few months ago. Nobody seemed to know him. Nobody seemed to either bother with him. And yet, there was just a strong intuition that this kid belongs to a much bigger system of the underworld. That was the scent the young man was emitting; full of blackness, without compassion and worldly. What was more was the unexplainable appearance of this Takahashi in his dreams bashing his head open. Usami could only conclude that the reason his 30 years had become a blank sheet was because of this grinning bastard before him.

The twenty-three year old young man brushed the tip of his fingers on that prominent scar on Usami's face. Very light was the sensation it was as though there was nothing at all but a gentle wind caressing Usami's skin.

Perhaps it was Takahashi's tactic in distracting the older man. For when the brunette jumped back, he instantly let himself be swallowed by the deep shadows of the night. Usami had moved to grab Takahashi to try stopping the young man from getting away, and yet he was only able to grasp the air.

"Seeing that scar I inflicted on you Usami-san at close range...I don't know whether to be happy or sad about it."

Usami was lost for words all of a sudden. The kid was admitting it? He wasn't denying it? This so much smaller in built young man had almost killed him five years ago? Why? Just what was the reason?

Seeing only the darkness, the playful voice resonated in Usami's ears.

"But you know..." Misaki's words started fading, like an eery sound echoing into the night. "...not knowing have its own merits..."

Like the fated meeting never took place, Usami was left alone staring at the remnants of such smaller shoeprints on the dirt.


Everyone had observant eyes. Awkwardly, Usami's men would look at him and would look away in a hurry. The only sound in their assigned office that could be heard was the printer printing some documents. Other than that, everyone was just cautious around the silverhaired man. It was as though the calm before a storm.

"Ahhh...so cold outside!" a cheery voice came as the door creaked open. "Who says winter is ending-eh...why are you all so gloo-"

"What the hell! You're soaking wet!" a bulkier man cut-in, shutting the new comer's mouth with his hand. "Go change! Go change!"

There was nothing that the newcomer could do but to allow himself be pushed to the changing room. After his night patrols with two other men at their area, he was just very willing to change too anyway. Old-looking, rustic lockers, crumbling wall papers, its walls and floors have heard million stories and secrets among the men of that police station.

"You moron Tetsuya, read the fucking atmosphere!"

The youngest in the team, Tetsuya frowned, drying his wet hair with a towel he could no longer remember the last time he washed.

"What? Our chief being so silent?" Tetsuya raised a thick brow that matched his face perfectly. A look of an adventurer, honest and passionate and still a bit immature. "There's nothing new to it right? After all, that suspicion over Takahashi Misaki has been dropped by the higher ups a week ago...no wonder. As for me, as long as Usami-san doesn't go to a rampage, I'm good."

"I don't know about that," the other replied. His uniform had a name plate that said 'Miyura'. "Like the Chief...I feel something strange about that young guy from Tokyo. He doesn't appear to be a tourist..."

"Come on...just let it go. If Takahashi Misaki is a bad dude, how come nothing is happening out of the ordinary?"

The small door blasted open. The team's secretary huffing and sweating strangely despite the cold.

"Oi...Usui-san...what's the matter? What if we're in the middle of something here?" Tetsuya said, smiling stupidly at Miyura who just ignored the stupid joke.

"The old man... in Rabu ramen shop..." Usui, the unofficial secretary broke in between his huffing. "..has been murdered..."

The words of the man in stylish spectacles didn't sink in right away. It was like hearing a foreign song. Tetsuya stepped forward, Miyura's face grew pale.

"What?" Miyura and Tetsuya blurted in unison. That ramen shop was practically their second home. And the old man, their second father.

"Takahashi Misaki...was caught in the act..." the spectacled man wandered his eyes to the two alternatingly. "He got ...away though."

Tetsuya hurriedly put on a new shirt.

Miyura felt for his gun that hasn't been used for a very long while. It was as though someone was playing on them. After the heat has been pulled off from Takahashi, that was the time he acted. "How commendable of him, he deserves a fucking bullet in the head..."

There were similar things running in their heads that they just couldn't put a finger on. "What would Takahashi Misaki get by killing an old, Ramen Shop owner that's loved by everybody?"

"The Chief?" Miyura asked in a hoare voice. Their Chief's suspicion then was right all along. He can only picture their Chief in anger. Among the team members, their chief, Usami, was the closest to the old man. For when Usami was transferred into this barren place, that old man was the acting Chief investigator who taught Usami all the ropes. "Where's he?"

"He's already out with his motorbike. We follow him."

Tetsuya who was always the cheery among the team members was the first to exit the changing room.

"It's going to be bloody..."


In the deepest parts of the huge nature park, hurried sounds could be heard. Crunching sounds of twigs, wet leaves, they have been already drowned by his own short deep breaths. His mind was blank. All he did was run and run even though he could hardly feel his own legs.

Eyes the color of muddy green looked up, wet hair plastered on the sides of his face. The young man hugged himself. He was so cold. He was so cold deep inside the weather had no match to it.

The huge steps he made shortened, the sounds of urgency in his movement faded.

"..."

He looked at his hands. In the dark, it was as though he slumped on a moist ground, blotches of dried liquid were on them. His lips almost as pale as the moon quivered.

"Urgh..." the trees surrounding Misaki heard a hopeless cry. "I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry..."


Misaki was crouching low on the wet ground. He was shivering like an abandoned puppy, no hope at all.

"..."

He cried and cried while rubbing his blood stained hands against his dirty jeans. However hard he tried, they wouldn't go away. As if a symbol that no matter how he tried to be clean, he would always be filthy from the inside out.

Because he was crying uncontrollably now, because he had let his guard down, because he was so tired, and because he was so broken, he didn't notice the pair of shoes behind him. The pair of mud streaked black shoes which the movement have blended with the trees rustling.

When Misaki noticed it was when he felt the muzzle of something hard against the back of his head.

"Crying won't save you punk..." the voice hissed. "There I was thinking such an innocent-faced dude like you is clean...and you do something like this?"

The name sewn on the front pocket of his uniform said 'Tetsuya'. And even in the darkness, the contours of his face was saying nothing but 'anger'.

Fumbling into a speaker attached to the collar of his shirt darkened by the night, Tetsuya announced for everyone to hear.

"This is Tetsuya. I've got the suspect here. About 200 meters from the end of the highway near the Y Shrine. Hurry I need back-up."

Misaki gulped. His eyes round as the moon above his head.

After Tetsuya had relayed the information, he turned once again at the matter at hand. He was kind natured by heart, but he could also get swayed by his emotions he turns into someone else.

"Why? That old man was the kindest man ever..."

Misaki's swollen eyes stared ahead into the darkness of the woods. The sounds of incoming police mobiles, their sirens, a motorbike. They were all just around the corner.

"I'm sorry..."

Tetsuya grew even angrier he pushed the muzzle of his gun painfully on Misaki's skull. It made Misaki fall on his face, only breaking the fall in time by stretching his hands forward.

"WHAT THE FUCK? SORRY?!"

Misaki's fingers dug into the wet ground. "I'm sorry..."

"Stop sayi-Ah fuck!"

Almost in a split second, Takahashi Misaki turned abruptly from his position. He had thrown what his hands could grasp on the ground. Little stones, mud, small twigs and leaves, he threw them right on Tetsuya's eyes that it caused the other blind for a short while.

Misaki ran. He ran stumbling every step of the way. But Tetsuya's hand reached on to the brunette's hair, yanking him backwards.

Misaki's cry of pain was stiffled as the two of them, police and criminal rolled on the ground. Sharp rocks cut into their skins. Portruding huge roots grazing at their flesh.

"Bastard!" Tetsuya screamed.

With the expertise and training, Tetsuya thought he had subdued the suspect after he had buried once more the opening of his firearm into Misaki's throat. Only to find out that Takahashi Misaki was also aiming at the center of his forehead.

"Shoot...and we're both dead..." Misaki warned, his voice so weak that it carried a strange conviction in it.

For a long while they stayed like that. Tetsuya hovering above Misaki. Misaki, a small figure under struggling to keep alive with his weapon.

"Kid, you're really going to fill the rest of your life behind bars..." Tetsuya whispered.

The sounds of car motors, and footsteps started filling their ears. The young police squinted when he lifted his eyes. Heavy duty flashlights pierced his eyes.

Everyone had their guns ready on fire, yet they started getting more cautious, seeing the situation at hand. One mistake, one of their men could die.

As others started scattering around, making sure that there would be no any opening for the little rat to escape, the vice-chief of the team finally set his foot on the scene. His face was neutral.

"Wow Vice-Chief, I got here before you! I need a promotion," Tetsuya joked despite the situation.

Takahashi Misaki, being the one under tilted his head up until he could feel the base of his neck. The lighting enabled him to see the silverhaired man standing just a few feet away. Gun pointed at him.

Thank heavens he could still work his hand without being seen openly. Takahashi slowly, inch by inch inserted his hand inside his pocket. He glued his eyes at Tetsuya's face so the man wouldn't go looking anywhere else and find out what he was doing.

"This is my last...this is the last I have..."

His fingers crept slowly around the tube-like thing inside his jeans. Closing his eyes shut, he yanked it out, pressed a button. And suddenly, Tetsuya and Misaki was engulfed in a thick fog.

"Shit!" Tetsuya exclaimed. "Teargas!"

The sound of gun firing within those smokes echoed into the woods.


Eyes stinging, he himself was almost a literal blind as he groped his way into escape. He slammed against a tree, fell on his face, hit his knee on a large rock, yet he continued running away.

Misaki ran and ran.

The young brunette just didn't know that the reason Usami didn't arrive fast on the scene was because the man looked for a different route. A way where he could take short cuts if things get out of hand. Call it preparation, being precise, being sure, but Usami was absolutely right that if one ran from that area, they'd end up into the back of the shrine.

Huffing, Misaki tightened his grip on his gun. He couldn't dart his eyes somewhere else. For Usami had been waiting for him at that spot all along.

"Just what are you?" Usami asked, eyes narrowing, the gun he was holding sizing up where to point at. At the head? The legs? Or at the chest? He didn't know. There was something so uncomfortable pointing his firearm towards Takahashi.

"Didn't I tell you?" Misaki started, strangely he was smiling haughtily. "There are merits in not knowing. Stay the hell out of this."

Usami took a step forward, cautiously, very slowly was how he moved he almost didn't make a sound at all.

"Is it just because you attack people for no reason?" Usami continued, moving as if circling Misaki, which made Misaki turn on his spot as well. "Like how you smashed my memories away? Who are you working for?!"

Misaki giggled. "I'm working for myself." The younger man leered. "Let me remind you...this time...I'm not playing with a toy gun..."

Usami's lips curled in a humorless manner. "Then let me tell you, I don't intend to playing with you either."

Misaki blinked the stinging in his eyes. Not from the teargas he just used. Truth be told, it was caused by a more painful thing inside his chest. Like a bullet was already in his heart, making it bleed senseless.

"We were supposed to run away..." Misaki thought as he bit down his bottom lip hard. "But one has to be left behind..."


At first, there was only shadows against the walls. Clumsy, playful, it was a like a shadow play with the yellowish light from the lamp. The walls looked even so cheap but when they were together, they didn't care.

The dance of heat halted, with lavender eyes flashing glint of worry in them.

"Misaki, cut ties with that group..." strong, rough yet gentle hands held the smaller face shining with youth. "Leave them."

"If there is something impossible in the world it's leaving them," the other replied. In his green eyes, there was already a resignation that he'd rot within that syndicate. However, the green orbs also flashed a silent 'thanks' for the comfort it brought.

They once met when Usami was doing an investigation with the cover as a drug addict in Shibuya, Tokyo. There was a rumor that he could get them at a cheap price from a waiting boy in a dirty, smelly alley. It turned out, and it shocked Usami to see that the one selling it on small packets was a seveteen year old male looking so sickly.

A month of pretending he was an addict he had learned so much about the kid's miserable life and the kid being exploited. It didn't take long for Usami to fall for the kid. He cut ties with his family after all a long time ago because they couldn't accept that he was more into the same sex than women. And with that sickly looking boy's case, the want of protecting him, taking him away from such a henous world evolved into something of a surprise. The investigation had whirled into something of a personal thing to Usami.

Usami kissed the boy hard on the lips. And then halting, he looked deeply into the teen's eyes.
"I'll help you get away from them...we can use you as an informant. And whether you sold drugs before, your sentence would decrease, seeing as you helping the police instead..."

Misaki lowered his gaze. It was such a promising scene he could play over and over in his head.

"If I could get away, I've done so a long time ago...Usami-san..." Misaki softly whispered, rubbing Usami's hand on his face gently. "Living this way, I've learned that there are just places you wouldn't be able to get away from. Like you are nailed on it...and the big boss...he's crazy."

Impatiently, Usami kissed the moist lips before him again and retreated a little. "Then I'll show you you could be free from them. You're fucking so young, how could you waste your life in there?"

"If we run away, they'd follow us. They'd follow you too..."

Usami ran his hand down to the lenght of Misaki's arm and grabbed the kid into a gentle hug.

"I'd save you from them, how can I be afraid of them?" Usami whispered into Misaki's ear. His warm breath ticklish on the skin of the teen.

Looking up the ceiling, Misaki, still an innocent teen that time knitted his brows. Just the hope that someone was willing to take him away from the syndicate his whole family was serving, was already enough to send him to clouds. He wasn't so sure if he loved Usami, he didn't even think he could be gay, but the way Usami assured him that they 'can' really get away was just so convincing.

Misaki raised his thin arms round the man's back. Nodding silently, Misaki sniffed. "Okay...please...take me with you..."

They had planned it so well. Every second of it, every turn of it. They had it all in a neat plan. And yet, it was too late to realize that the ones dancing on the syndicate's palms were Usami and Misaki.

The room was eerily dark. However, given that it looked like that, the intricate designs of the screens with angled panels could drive one into thinking they've flown into the ancient Japan. The endless red line of mountains and fluid strokes of the birds flying on the screen seemed to be really moving.

Or perhaps it was because Usami's head was swirling painfully when he came to his senses.

"M-Misaki?!" that was the first word that came out of his mouth. "Mi-"

He saw the brunette sitting in what was called 'seiza' on the tatami-like floors spreading endlessly. The kid seemed to have not been injured after their car swerved on a different route and was blocked by men in pitch black coats.

"Please...I promise I wouldn't do it again...I won't run away again..."

Usami's eyes widened at what he heard. "What are you sa-"

"Ah, what do I do?" a soft voice cut in, it sounded too soft and gentle to be owned by a devil. "You already have broken my trust...I've treated you like a brother Misaki..."

Misaki suddenly bended forward, forehead touching the floor. It was obvious as how much he was shaking. It made Usami curse the one sitting some feet away from them. His face was obstructed by shadows too.

"What the fuck...he thinks he's like a king?"

"Please...I...I will never do it again...just, it's all my fault why Usami-san is here!"

"Ho...he's a police...my enemy... and your lover..."

Misaki froze at the word 'lover', lifting his gaze at the feet of his boss.

"No...no...we're not l-lovers!"

"Misaki!"

No matter how many times Usami shouted and screamed, the people in there waiting at the sides, and Misaki and the boss just acted like they couldn't hear him at all. With his arms tied behind him, ankles locked together, he could do practically nothing.

"Do you think I am not watching you guys while you're having wild sex?" the voice asked, the tinge of mockery was there. "Such a small pry police officer, and an equally ambitious you...I'm not that stupid..."

The kid scrambled to the boss feet. The boy almost was kissing those dainty, porcelain like skin.

"Please...I'm sorry...I'm willing to do anything you want...just let go of him!"

From the shadows, a hand danced in the air before gently brushing Misaki's wet with tears cheeks.

"See...it came out of your own mouth..."

Misaki stiffened.

"You know me Misaki dearest...I don't want snakes."

With a flick of a finger from the boss who presence was still engulfed in darkness, the men waiting gathered around Usami. They all have metal rods in hand. Misaki didn't have to ask what they were about to do.

"Stop it! Stop it!" the teen ran to where Usami was tied and blocked the men desperately.

"What are you doing?!" Usami hissed. "Get away!"

Misaki groveled on the floor. No matter how much he was beaten before, he never lowered himself like this. But he could and would no matter how many times just to let Usami live.

"Boss...I'm begging you...don't..."

A sweet laughter filled that dimension which seemed like time had no effect. Everything was working with that man's control like a god.

"You're so boring..." there was a long silence. And when the voice came back, Misaki thought he heard wrong. "Okay...let's have a small game."

Misaki hopefully straightened himself up. To Usami, he knew nothing good will come out of that deceiving voice.

"The first one," there was a clapping sound out of nowhere. And the instructions came forth.

"Erase his memories with that rod over there. If he looses every bit of his memory about us and this sydicate then I wouldn't bother him. I want to see how you do it. That's his small punishment for putting on ideas you could get out of this pact. And as for you my little Misaki...you are free to go."" the voice ordered like he was starting to enjoy the show. "Go and then run as far away as you could...coz I'll be sending hunters after you. If you're not careful they'd kill you right away. Of course you can fight back,"the voice laughed. "Aren't I so merciful?"

"B-boss..."

"Your second option is...I'd think that traitoring me didn't happen at all, in expense of that man's life. What would it be?"

"Huh?" Misaki looked at the metal rods the men in black were holding. If he struck Usami with that, no matter how fit Usami, he'd get a serious injury, maybe not just lose his memories. "Bu-"

"If you didn't understand because you were born stupid; to put it simpler...he forgets and you run from my men. Or you can just kill him for me to forget everything."

The brunette's face crumpled into an expression of someone near losing sanity. When he looked at Usami, the man just quietly looked back at him.

Misaki slowly reached for the metal rod as thick as a baseball bat. "He lives...I'll play your sick game of chase..."

"You'll die eventually dear Misaki..."

"I don't care anymore..."

The laughter echoed into that area, seeping until the very depths of Usami's senses shivered with it. He watched Misaki's small back slightly turn to him.

"Misaki...don't do it...I don't fucking need being saved!"

When the seventeen year-old teen stood before him, Usami could no longer gather his thoughts. To think he could battle a syndicate as huge as this alone, it was his fault they were in a mess right now.

"Usami-san...this'll hurt...but please after this...forget and live a normal life..."

The teen's grip tightened. "Thank you for everything even if its just for a short while..."

The last thing Usami saw was the maroonish metal magnifying in a strangely fast manner. He didn't hear a thing. He didn't feel a thing. Just a dull numbness spreading on the side of his forehead.


Misaki chuckled. "I hit you really hard to make sure your memories are wiped out..."

The frown on Usami's forehead deepened, his grip in his gun tightening. "..."

By this time, almost all the police officers were gathered around. They have created a circle around their young criminal, making sure that the deceitful kid couldn't pull any more of his hocus pocus.

The rustling of the trees just made the others hold their breath. One second of mistake and it could be drastically fatal to them.

"Takahashi...why did you kill the old man?" Usami asked again. The other officers under his command had knitted their brows. They could hear faltering in their tyrant-of-a-superior.

Misaki pulled something from the back of his pants and threw it on the moist ground. It was his 'toy gun'. His eyes turning into slits, he started positioning his fingers to the trigger of the gun he was now holding. Apparently who carried two.

"Nothing. Like what that Tetsuya dude a while ago said...I kill for nothing."

"Why don't you just give up. This is over," Usami said through gritted.

"Haha...I've come this long...why should I do that?"

Usami steadied his shaking arms as he pointed his weapon at the kid's chest. This felt so wrong. This really felt so wrong.

"Then you leave us no choice..." Usami whispered, and the same time the others prepared their own firearms to aim at the single opponent. They positioned himself as if they were a firing squad. Seeing the small back of the young man in the midst of them, they somehow felt that if the kid should just give up, this wouldn't have to be like this.

Usami cursed under his breath. For some reason, the corner of his eyes started getting feverish. For fucks sake, this very same retard had tried to kill him five years ago. The bastard could do it now too. But he could feel something sickly in the pits of his guts. It was so obvious that with this set-up, the kid had no chance. Why be stubborn.

Takahashi Misaki wandered his eyes from the man before him from head to foot. He fought the urge to cry. "I've been looking for you you know...but everywhere I go, the boss' dogs just increase in number...I don't have the means anymore to continue this chasing game...I knew it would end like this eventually..."

"Usami-san..." Misaki started, wiping off any emotions on his face with a cold one. "...I survived this long because I want to see you one last time. That's all I have to say."


"It sure is bloody here..." one woman officer whispered as she almost walked on tiptoes.

The ramen house felt as though all of its homey feel just disappared together with the owner. There were broken bowls on the floor. Traces of blood splatters decorated the bamboo walls and the countertop. There was no bad smell in it, but the officers investigating the crime scene rinkled their noses anyway. The scent of death, odorless but it was biting down to their skins.

"Whoever did this to Old man...he should just die a thousand times too..." one of the neighbors wanting to get any gossips whispered. "He's an old man for crying outloud...he's in his twilight...he had wanted to travel with his grandsons..."

A young man with dirty blonde hair was loitering around too. The color of his face was as pale as the white shirt he was wearing. He gripped his phone tight, deleting everything about him; his contacts, his photos and videos. With just one thing he left intanct.

He didn't want to be involved. And he was afraid. So he just threw his phone inside a police car with its car window pulled down. And the young man blended with the rest of the people, no trace left behind.

"Huh...whose phone is this...?" an officer in his middle fourties asked as he was trying to take his radio from inside the car. "I drove alone in this car..."

Curious and smelling something wrong, the instinc of a guardian of peace honed the past years was kicking off.

"Hello! This is Vlog 5 of my stay here in Y Prefecture! I'm headed to my favorite Ramen shop now...I'm meeting a friend...I met him in the Ramen shop a couple of days before and we always compete who could finish the giant bowl first!"

It only showed a low lit alley. A cat passing by and a quiet area about to take rest from the day that passed. The one holding the phone continued blabbering about his trip. A gift from his parents for passing the university entrance exams.

And then the scene stopped at an old-looking yet homey Ramen house.

"Oh...this is it! I wonder if Takahashi-san is already in it...I'll video his mug and show him how stupid he looks like...hahaha!"

Instead of going in the main entrance, the one taking the video seemed to have changed his mind and decided to sneak in to the side of the establishment where a small window was. The video looked unsteady as the owner of the excited voice seemed to have climbed something to have a better view of the window.

"Ah...! There he is! That's my new friend! Takahashi-san...he says he's here to visit a precious person. When I asked him who, he just smiled quietly.. I guess it's his girlfriend or something!"

The narrator zoomed the video in. It registered a brunette already sitting and waiting. It seemed that the brunette and the old man who runs the shop were chatting a lively matter.

"Ojii-chan...I'll miss your Ramen ...But I plan to go back to Tokyo next week..." Takahashi Misaki said as he played with the tissue paper. He folded them into boats and would flatten it again absentmindedly.

"Why?" the old man asked.

"I already saw the person I wanted to check on. He's grumpy...but it's his usual. I guess he's doing great."

"Is that so? It's going to be sad here...you're a very adorable kid after all..." the old man replied as he sliced off fresh fish meat on the chopboard.

Takahashi smiled as if embarrassed. "Adorable...you say Ojii-chan...if that stupid blonde hears that, he'd laugh his head off..."

"Well...Do you know Takahashi-kun...I plan on traveling with my grandsons..."

"That's great! When are you planning to do it?"

"Maybe next week...after completing a job."

Misaki looked from the tissue boat to the old man across him. The old man had stopped chopping. He was just holding his knife in the air.

The teen smiled, but from the quiver in his voice, it could be well seen that Takahashi already sensed something odd.

"C-completing a job..."

The old man took waived the glimmering stainless knife, its blade wide and sharp from constant use and sharpening.

"Really...Misaki-chan...you've caused already so much trouble...why don't you just take a break from the Boss' game of chase already?"

The video again shook. The narrator's voice sounded funny. "Eh...Uhm...have they found out I'm taking a video of them and are now acting weirdly to freak me out?"

The brunette who was sitting on the high stool abruptly stood, but got off balance and fell on the floor in an ugly manner.

"No..." Misaki said in pure denial. "You're not one of them...please..."

"What are you talking about Misaki-chan? I oversee the drug dealings in this area...and suddenly got a call. Hunting for a lose puppy, that is."

The one taking the video just went silent. No one would be able to utter anything for sure when the brunette who was just happily chatting away started shedding tears while starting to fumble in his pockets.

"Ojii-chan...don't do this..." Misaki said shaking as he pointed a small gun at the old man. "...I don't want to fight you..."

"Then don't and just die. The fuck is this chase game to saving a police? I heard from the main branch about this whole farce," the old man said as he menacingly drew closer to the stupefied brunette. "...you're as good as dead when you agreed to this game. The boss is getting tired of it."

The video started shaking and started getting unfocused. A shallow breathing came registering to it as well.

"The police, that Chief Usami...he's the one right?"

Misaki stiffened.

"The boss keeps his words...but aren't you stupid? The hunters are after you...and the one you saved is after your life too...are you weaving a novel here?"

The old man raised his knife in the air. Slashing all the way leaving Misaki to only stagger back.

"Ojii-chan...don't please..."

Not saying anything anymore, the old man just continued slashing. He did look like he was aiming nothing. But this unplanned waiving of a long knife in the air had caused great trauma to the one being attacked. Each slash in the air and its sounds have caused goosebumps to Misaki's skin.

Misaki lifted his gaze. The tip of the knife looked pretty in the yellowish lights. It was like leaving a trail of faint yellows as it drove right at Misaki's direction. The green eyes grew wider. His breathing had stopped.

And there was a gun shot.

By fear, by reflex, Takahashi Misaki had shot the old man in the chest. And the old man toppled on the floor with just a little laughter before going silent forever.

"Ojii-chan..." Misaki called as he dropped to his feet, placing his free hand on top of the bleeding flesh. As if doing so would stop the bleeding. "Why did you have to be one of them...I'm sorry...Ojii-chan..."

"What the hell...was that..." the voice of the narrator sounded raspy. Like he was about to puke.

And then the video ended.


Takahashi Misaki started walking small steps towards the silverhaired man. The others stiffened, readying to fire any minute.

The footsteps produced this crunching sounds that weirdly gave off a calming effect. The moon was high above their heads, letting them see the odd calmness on the boy's face. They've seen it countless times. Those who have resigned that they were to die.

"Stop right there..." Usami said in a low voice.

Misaki just went on, his gun still raised at the silverhaired man.

"..."

All eyes were on them. The chief hadn't moved. The kid stopped at just an arm's lenght from the silverhaired man.

"In my next life..." Misaki began. "...I wish to meet you again..."

"What...are you..."

"I'd cook you dishes...send you off to work...I'll make you laugh..."

Usami stared hard at the green eyes before him. Searching where the heat in his raising pulse was coming from.

"...somewhere where we don't have to try running away..."

"You..."

There were rustlings from the darkness of the woods. But the scene before everyone was too much to even lift their gazes away from their chief and the pathetic kid. They couldn't hear a single thing. But each word that the kid spouted seemed to have affected the tall man. For their chief's arm had started shaking.

"I really hope you never remember your past Usami-san. But if you do...don't let anger and guilt consume you. Otherwise...you'll turn into just like them..."

A man stood beside a gigantic tree, hundred meters from the commotion. But he was wearing a police uniform so no one paid him more attention than necessary.

"You've been spouting so many things already...do you think you can get away with this?"

"I've always been lame. So I wanted to be cool."

Usami thought he'd lose a grip on his gun. He really thought he would. For the criminal before him just smiled. The kid just smiled so much brightly as if nothing was wrong.

"...why are you..." Usami began. But didn't finish.

Takahashi Misaki's eyes widened for a moment and then slowly fell on his knees. In a manner of seconds, he dropped to the ground.

Everyone was shocked. They only heard something in the air. They looked in all directions. When they looked back at the kid, a stain of dark liquid started spreading on his back.

"..."

Usami stood numb on his place. The deceitful face slumped to the dirty mossy ground, the unmoving body, sent awful ringings in his head. It just went up and up from the depths of his throat. But he couldn't utter anything.

Usami's team saw their Chief's shocked state. Without orders and questions, they spread into the woods. No one from the police force had fired. They wouldn't without Usami's orders. Some sly bastard, a gun-for-hire, had shot the brunette when their boss was trying hard to avoid such a thing to happen.

Clearly, Usami was listening to the boy so killing him would never have to be done. But someone did. Another hunter.


Usami had his coat in one hand. He was dragging his feet slowly into a deserted hallway.

Right after the incident, everything happened so fast that he couldn't almost get what was going on. His men started chasing a poser, Misaki was bleeding to death before him. The kid was driven to a hospital. He watched the video that was found by one of his men. Seemed like he tried calling in but no one was answering. He watched everything without a word, without a twitch in his muscles.

He felt like he wasn't even walking on a flat surface. He was staggering, almost falling on his knees too. And then he looked up the sign above the door. He blinked hard and gritted his teeth as he pushed the door open.

"..."

The brunette was lying on the bed. Sleeping with a peaceful expression on his face. It made Usami smile a little. He even felt relief.

"I really hope you never remember your past Usami-san. But if you do...don't let anger and guilt consume you. Otherwise...you'll turn into just like them..."

"Your wish didn't come true..." Usami mouthed. "When I saw you drop on the ground...I saw all my stupidity...everything. From when I was a child until I met you..."

The man raised a hand and brushed a few hairstrands away from the boy's face.

"I'm sorry...I couldn't keep my promise of saving you, I've been haughty...and even threatened of killing you...you'd forgive me right?"

He could see a smile on those lips.

"Misaki..." Usami whispered, squeezing the hand on the bed. "You've been cool...in trying to protect me...thank you..."

Because he was in a sea of sorrow, he felt the hand he was holding had squeezed back.

"Misaki..."

Usami began to cry as he sunk on the floor.

"Misaki..."

As if something was falling apart, as if the cameras were panning out of Usami's misery, the chill in that room caused his burning chest to hurt more. The sign above the door was 'morgue'.

end


chapter end notes:

hello. wow. well...i missed writing something heavy. hahaha...because i feel weird the past few days...hahaha

thanks a bunch for the time reading. please share your thoughts!

XD

-shuusetsu