Welly welly well. Um. Instead of continuing with the storyline I thought it would be fun to stop for a second and do a short little flashback. This, then, is what really happened with Daisuke getting into the whole deal. Since he lied so much I thought it might be nice to have the real story written down somewhere, and here it is. Um, after this there's... two chapters left? I dunno. Maybe just one. This thing is winding down either way, and I'm glad. It's been ridin' me for over a year and I'll be glad to put it to rest and be able to start on other stuff.

Anyway, please R&R.

...next chapter we touch down in Daikeru land. Har. ;

The November day dawned cold and cloudy, freezing rain cutting through the air all morning and finally tapering off in the late afternoon. The streets of Odaiba slowly crawled to life in the cold, wet air.

A large man wandered his way around downtown, splashing through the same puddles several times as he circled one block again and again. Every time he went past, he glanced into the same shop. His prey was still in there.

The fourth time around, his prey was standing at the window and locked eyes with him. They shared a short glance as the man kept walking.

Inside, the prey snorted. Circling the block was a bad idea, since he not only realized he was being followed, but had confirmed it as the man passed the window over and over again, always heading in the same direction.

He stepped outside and headed down the street, stopping at the corner and leaning against the pole of a streetlight. If whoever it was following him wanted to meet him that badly, he would simply wait.

On the fifth circle, the man locked eyes on him from the opposite end of the block and didn't remove his dark gaze until he reached his prey's end. He leaned against the wall of a shop across the sidewalk from the pole and studied his prey closer. He was wearing dark, baggy jeans that were soaked at the edges and a dark blue hoodie. His eyes were hidden under a blue floppy hat, as was a good deal of his face as he studied the ground silently, waiting for the hunter to speak first. For a moment, the man almost left and started walking again. This... punk... couldn't be the one he was looking for.

Just before he pushed off the shop wall, the man noticed something under the sweatshirt. A pair of orange and blue goggles hung around his neck, tucked under his sweatshirt and barely visible. The goggles were it. This was the one he wanted.

"Motomiya Daisuke?"

"That's me." Daisuke finally looked up and the man could see his face for the first time – besides glimpsing him through a store window.

"You should come with me."

"No, I should go wait for the bus and go home. I'm not supposed to talk to strangers, you know."

Silence. The man gritted his teeth. He did not want to have to deal with a punkass little brat who was going to be smart instead of cooperate. Finally, the man pushed off the wall and placed an arm around Daisuke. "You will come with me, though," he levelly responded, his voice not carrying any hint of threat or annoyance.

Daisuke seemed amused. "All right."

Easy enough. The man led his prey down the street, getting no strange glances from people who could easily assume the two as father and son. As they went, the man spoke. "You were friends with a boy named Bass, correct?"

"I knew him, yeah," Daisuke shrugged slightly.

"Are you aware of his current... situation?"

Silence. Daisuke pulled away from the arm around his shoulders and shoved his hands into his pockets, but kept walking alongside of him. "Who the hell are you and what the fuck do you know about him?"

"Osaruka. No further explanation of who I am is necessary, I believe."

Daisuke scowled under the hat. "No further explanation necessary at all. What do you want with me? How do you even know me?"

"My son mentions friends to me every now and then." Silence. "He mentioned you and your... skills."

More silence. Osaruka said nothing to press it further, until Daisuke responded, in that blank, even tone Osaruka had used before, "I'm not sure what skills you're talking about."

"Of course you do," Osaruka responded just as levelly.

"I have all sorts of... skills, sir," Daisuke tilted an eyebrow down under his hat. "You'll have to be a bit specific on what you're talking about."

The crowd had begun to filter away on the streets as Osaruka continued to lead Daisuke towards the east side of town. "I'm aware of some remarkable hacking jobs you did in California."

"Oh. That," the boy shrugged lightly. "I'm afraid you've wasted your time. I don't do that anymore."

"No?"

Daisuke frowned. "Look, hacking is serious shit depending on who you mess with. I nearly got my ass busted real good back in Cali and I'm not gonna do that bullshit again. So forget it."

Osaruka raised an arm as if to place it around Daisuke's shoulders again, but instead placed his hand on the back of his neck, lightly enough, but firmly. "I'm sure I can change your mind," he used that even tone again, smiling brightly.

The two stopped and Osaruka pushed the door of an old office building open easily. He pushed Daisuke through the door, again being firm more than rough, and slammed the door behind him. "Sit."

Daisuke spun a chair around and flopped down on it, backwards, and dropped his chin on the back of it. "I won't do it," he repeated, dropping the even tone for a grim one.

Osaruka sat down at an old table and placed his feet on it. "You are aware of how high-tech the Byen-cho system is?"

"Yes."

"You are aware of how much of their system is on a computer."

"Yes."

Osaruka smiled. "Then you will get into the system and discover where they are keeping Bass."

"No," Daisuke shook his head.

The room was silent. Osaruka pushed away from the desk and circled Daisuke quietly. Finally, he stopped behind him and placed a hand on his shoulder. "I can give you enough ecstasy to put you in a coma in thirty seconds."

Daisuke bit his lip and glared at the opposite side of the room. Christ. What an offer. Easy suicide, and for nothing more than hacking through a system. Even if he was caught into something, he'd be dead! Chewing at his lip, the boy finally mumbled, "No."

"One thousand," Osaruka scowled. Daisuke didn't respond for a moment, then shook his head. "Two thousand." The silence stretched longer, but Daisuke shook his head once more. "Five thousand. That's all."

Daisuke's brain screamed at him, and he bit his lip so hard it started to bleed. This was the last offer. Convincing himself he was only doing it because if he said no Osaruka would likely put a bullet through his head, he finally nodded.

Smiling, Osaruka lifted his hand from Daisuke's shoulders. "I'm glad we've reached a compromise."

"I'm in," Daisuke lifted his eyes from the monitor, blinking through his goggles at the screen in front of him. That was almost too easy.

Osaruka waved a hand in the air. "What are you waiting for? Find him."

Daisuke chewed at his lip briefly, then winced because it still hurt from before and bit at his tongue instead as he poked through the Byen-cho system. The smell of the joint Osaruka was burning – not even smoking it, but just burning it as if he wanted to prove he could afford to throw pot away like that – was driving him crazy. He hated smelling it and not even being offered any. Bad smoking etiquette.

Snarling to himself, Daisuke staggered through the system in search of anything recent that would tip off where Bass was located. Security logs were the first thing that caught his eye. Scrolling through, he read words under his breath. The log turned out to be nothing more than a detail of updates and relocations of security... wait. Leaning forward, Daisuke dragged a finger down the monitor. "Why is all this activity going on at some old wine cellar..."

Osaruka sat up. "A wine cellar?"

Daisuke scrolled his way through the list slowly. "Yeah... the systems were checked and extra security was added to some dumpy old-"

"That's it," Osaruka was suddenly hovering over Daisuke and attempting to peer over his shoulder at the monitor. "The extra security is because of Bass."

Running his tongue along his teeth, Daisuke shook his head as he scrolled. "Can't be. Why would they? Wouldn't they want to put him somewhere more, I don't know... centrally located to their base...?"

"No. That would be the first place we would look. Find me the location of it."

Shrugging, Daisuke left the security log and ran through to find locations. "This should be more diffi – hello."

"Found it?"

"Yeah." The boy leaned closer to the screen, shaking his head slightly to remove dark red hair from his eyes. "Right here," he scowled.

Osaruka scribbled the address down, beaming. "I knew you were the right one for the job. No one else but you, Bass always used to say you could do anything faster... nobody else could have found that information so fast! Well worth the cost..." he continued muttering congratulations, though it sounded more like he was praising himself than Daisuke.

Daisuke, however, wasn't listening and simply stared at the screen. It was way too easy, and this made him nervous. Maybe it was a trap, or a setup of some kind... the Byen-cho couldn't be that stupid to leave all this information lying around. Why even have the location of one of your own bases written on your system? No, this was too easy, and it was not good. Chewing away at the inside of his cheek, Daisuke debated if he wanted to mention it to Osaruka, who was so thrilled at the supposed discovery of his son's location he wasn't paying attention to the stunned silence of his hacker. He decided to ignore Osaruka and the current information and try to find something else. If it was a trap, there would be something referring to the real location of Bass on one part of the system or other.

The screen flashed as he slid through screen after screen, unsatisfied. Nothing. He found something regarding an ambush on the Kaze later in the month, but since it didn't mention Bass, he didn't mention it to Osaruka. It was not his business to get into the middle of any of this... not any more than he already was, anyway.

The next file wouldn't open. Scowling, he skipped it and went to the next. It wouldn't open, either. "Shit," Daisuke cursed under his breath and quickly tried to back out of the system before he was booted out.

Osaruka finally noticed Daisuke wasn't celebrating like he was and eyed him. "What are you doing?"

"Just... shit," he snarled as he found himself facing an empty screen. "I got blocked out of the system." Plopping chin into hand, he studied the screen quietly. "I'll have to try somewhere else, and probably find a new way in..."

"What for? We have what we needed," Osaruka narrowed one eye at him. "...Don't we?"

Daisuke swallowed. "Yeah. I was just double-checking." The lie seemed to work, or Osaruka wasn't interested, and he slumped back in the chair, pulling the goggles from his eyes and dropping them to hang slack around his neck. Maybe it wasn't a setup at all. Maybe he was just damn good.

Osaruka was writing out a few checks, going on about how he was breaking it up into five amounts and don't deposit them all at once, people get suspicious, blah blah blah... stuff Daisuke already knew. He only half-listened as he pulled on his hat. He wasn't fooling himself. Something was seriously wrong. It was too easy. It was a setup. He'd talk to that kid... what's his name, the techie geek... Koush. Yeah, him. He'd ask his opinion on the whole thing. He could trust him. Hackers stick together. Usually.

He scratched his chin in thought and suddenly realized Osaruka was staring at him. "Uh. What?"

Sliding the checks across the desk, Osaruka added the paper with the address to the top of the pile. "Get him back yourself and I'll double it."

Scowling, Daisuke shoved hands into his pockets. 'He doesn't want to pay me. He knows it's a trap. He wants me dead and out of the way.' "I don't think I should get messed up in this."

Osaruka slid open a drawer of the desk and was pulling things out and setting them on the table, as if Daisuke had agreed already. Presenting Daisuke with a .22, he also fished out a larger gun and started adding ammo to the desk. "You know how to shoot one of these, right?"

"Listen, I really don't think I should..."

Loading a clip into the larger gun he was still holding, Osaruka aimed it casually at the ceiling. "Are you aware that you've been marked already?"

Daisuke scowled again and set the .22 onto the desk, wiping his hands on his jeans. "No, I was not aware. Why? How? And since when?" The response was silence. Growling, Daisuke spun around and started pacing the room. 'How the hell... why the... URGH. I'm so pissed I can't even curse!'

"You don't really have a choice," Osaruka finally stated.

Running one hand through his dark red hair, the boy nodded. "I gathered."

Osaruka smiled and held the .22 out to him again. "You accept, then?"

Daisuke frowned and shook his head, but held out his hand. "Yeah, I guess."

So he basically just has bad luck. That was it! Yay! Um. Well, R&R. It inspires me to hurry up when people like things. P