One Way Or Another
By Ryan Bodle
"JC?" Venus said. Her voice carried shock and confusion. As much as they disliked each other, JC never sought to kill her. "Why?"
JC tightened his grip on the gun. "Let him go," he ordered.
The man underneath her started to laugh. "Are you going to kill me JC?" He said menacingly. Then realisation hit the senshi of love. JC wasn't aiming at her.
"Let him go," JC said again plainly.
"Don't do it," she pleaded with him. "You don't have to-"
"Oh yes I do," JC answered quickly. "You don't know it all, V. Just let him go and leave."
"I can't," she said more firmly.
"Yes you can," he said not taking his eyes off the man.
Still laughing, the man taunted JC. "You can't kill me. Don't have it in you do you Da-"
"DON'T CALL ME THAT!" JC raged. The man laughed, apparently satisfied.
"Look at you," he carried on. "Don't have it in you. Shaking all over."
JC was trembling. He stood still and silent for a minute, trying to steady his determination. His face was contorted by so many conflicting emotions, it was difficult to tell what was going on inside his head. Venus slowly pulled the mystery man to his feet and pushed him behind her. Jupiter caught the guy and held him firmly. JC's aim followed him. His expression settled on a mix between anguish and confusion.
"JC," Venus said softly. "Give it to me." She held out her hand. "Come on," she said reassuringly.
"You don't understand," JC said. "It'll just keep going on and on if I don't. I'll have to run for the rest of my life."
"Then why don't you just die?" the man laughed. Despite his position he seemed to be quite enjoying himself.
"13! Shut up!" JC shouted.
Venus blinked in shock at what JC had just called the man. She looked round. This was the man hunting JC down. The man who ran a major part of the notorious crime syndicate hailing from England's capital. He looked nothing more than a hood. Small fry. Perhaps it was his appearance that made so difficult to make him out as a crime boss.
"Better kill me now, JC," 13 grinned maliciously. "Because you know what I'm going to do now I know who you really are."
"What are you going to do?" Venus demanded.
"Kill my family," JC answered. "What's left of it, anyway."
Venus was about to ask what he meant by that but a deafening sound interrupted. From nowhere, a massive thunder crack went off. 13's head jerked violently to one side and then back the other way. His left temple erupted, spraying brain matter, blood and bone. Sailor Jupiter fell back in surprise. Venus turned back to JC, he dived at her. She brought up her guard too late. He tackled her to the floor. She brought her elbow down into his back and heard him grunt from the blow.
They landed in a heap behind the SUV. "You didn't have to kill him!" She shouted at him.
"I didn't!" JC shouted back as a second gun shot pierced the side of the SUV. "Sniper!" He added.
"What is going on?" Mars demanded as she took cover herself.
"Sniper," Venus replied and peered through the window of the SUV. Another shot punched out the glass and she ducked for cover again.
"We might as well be sitting behind a paper sheet," Rosa shouted. "Those rounds will make mincemeat of this car."
"Any suggestions?" JC asked.
"We should find better cover," Rosa replied checking his gun and remaining ammo. "By the way, thanks for knocking my ass to the floor earlier."
"You're welcome," JC sniffed back indignantly. "These containers should be enough cover, we just need to get to them."
"Count of three?" Rosa asked.
"Rather you than me, mate," JC replied. "You'll be taken out the second you show an inch of your head!" He turned to Venus. "Why don't you try that mist trick of yours again? I'll sneak round and take the shooter out."
"How about you stay here and let us handle this?" Venus suggested. "We'll take the sniper out, you stay here. In cuffs."
JC held his hands out in defeat to Venus. "Fine," he said.
Sailor Venus turned back to her suited comrades. "We're going to need some cover, we have to split up and find that sniper before they move to spot."
"They could already be on the move," Mars hinted. "Sailor Mercury?"
The senshi of ice was knelt beside Mars. She nodded in response and closed her eyes for a brief second. "Mercury Bubbles Blast!" she shouted and raised her arms above her. A deep, blinding mist began to instantly encompass the immediate area.
"OK, split left and right, keep to high ground until you find out where they're hiding," Sailor Moon ordered. They split up, Sailor Venus and Mars going right and the other three right. JC and Rosa were left alone in the fog.
"Damn, that's cold," JC shivered. "How do they stand the temperature in those costumes?"
"Just one of their many mysteries," Rosa answered. "I'm afraid, for the time being, I'll need to place you under arrest, my friend."
"That means in cuffs, right?"
"Afraid so, would you mind?" Rosa asked retrieved his handcuffs. "You're not going to give me any trouble this time, are you?"
"I'd be caught inside fifty meters anyway," JC conceded. "What do you mean, for the time being?"
"Until, I know what to do with you," the detective said plainly. "You know, you started a lot of fires by turning up here?"
"I was just trying to hide," JC answered as he held his hands out together. Rosa fumbled in the fog and found JC's wrists, securing them.
"I know," Rosa said as he made sure the cuffs were on properly. "You didn't want to be ID'd by us, right? That's why you tried to buy your way out with the guys that held up the bank. But why even take that risk? I mean, we didn't even get an IPB on you until after the robbery. In fact it was the robbery that brought attention to you."
"Fine mess that was," JC said disgruntled. "I had no way of knowing what the local police knew about me or not. I've stayed alive all this time by not taking chances like that. Besides, the people who want me dead have their contacts anywhere and everywhere. I can't risk exposing myself anywhere. Turns out, trying to preserve my identity and whereabouts was the one thing that sent a flare over my head telling everyone where to find me."
"This was a stop off," JC explained. "I planned on finding somewhere out in the country to hole up for a while. I recently scraped through a double cross in Europe. After that, I had everyone after me so I decided to run as far away as possible and disappear."
"Interpol were pretty hot on your trail, Scotland Yard would like a talk as well," Rosa commented.
"Interpol?" JC asked. "But why would they be interested in me?"
"Why wouldn't they be?"
"Because until my arrival in Tokyo, any offence I committed was domestic."
"Your passport real?" Rosa chided. Apparently some crimes weren't really crimes to this kid.
"Interpol run around after mickey mouse passports, do they?" JC countered. "Scotland Yard are as sharp as usual, though. Who called?"
"I think he said his name was Jefferson."
"Yeah, he was the guy who found me first. Pretty sharp, good judge of character if you ask me. Asked me to testify."
"Scotland Yard asking you to be a witness. I take it this has something to do with your running from Europe," Rosa concluded.
"Bravo, detective. Yeah, I was hiding out in Marseille for a couple of days when Jefferson caught up with me. Told me his department were investigating The Circle and felt ready to make some arrests. Asked me if I could positively ID their main suspect. I backed out initially, sounded too good to be true, from my standpoint anyway." By now the fog was clearing up and Rosa could see JC's face. The young man was staring straight a the floor between his legs. The detective had a feeling this was the most honest JC had been with anyone for a while. He seemed almost relieved to just let it out.
"Eventually Jefferson convinced me over several meetings. Proved he was trustworthy by keeping my whereabouts unknown," JC went on. "I said if 13 was caught and all his assets were frozen, I'd ID him in a line up. I said I'd also present evidence at court."
"So what happened?"
JC sighed heavily. "Jefferson's unit had been infiltrated somehow. I was supposed to meet one of his contacts on the Eurostar, a transcontinental train than ran from Paris to London. I found the contact on the train, he'd been assassinated. I barely got out. I ran from the train once it had stopped at Victoria, used a safe house I had prepared for something like this. Took money, clothes and a fake passport, got to Heathrow as quickly as I could. Came here."
"Why didn't you contact the police?"
JC looked at Rosa in disbelief. "As if I was going to trust the police again! The only person I'll trust from this point on is myself, and that's it!"
Rosa fell silent and waited for a signal from the recently departed senshi. Or at least to hear from Koshiro. Where had that old man gotten to. JC laughed bitterly.
"I guess it doesn't matter now anyway," he said. Rosa raised an eyebrow. "I mean 13 won't be a problem anymore."
"Because he's lying at my feet with half his brains spilled on the floor," JC answered completely unaffected by the seen. Rosa screwed his nose at the corpse. Despite the numerous he had seen since making detective, he doubted he'd ever get used to it. "I actually wonder if that sniper needed to kill me anyway, maybe I was just a bonus."
"You're not making sense," Rosa interrupted.
"If I was the one they wanted to kill, it would be me there, not 13," JC explained. "The Circle wanted 13 dead. I wonder if they even care about me."
"I thought it was them you were running from this whole time, surely they want you dead," Rosa tested.
"Well, it was mainly 13. We had something of a score to settle with each other. I knew who he was, he wanted his money back." He paused and then shook his head before holding it in his hands. "Oh there's too much to explain and still too many questions in the end. Forget I said anything."
"OK, bottom line, what happens if this circle ever find out you're still alive?" Rosa asked concerned.
JC shrugged. "I don't know. They may kill me, but if they do, they'll make an example of me. It'll be most unpleasant, I can assure you."
"And would they happen to mess with the Yakuza in the process?"
"They'll probably step on a few toes, yeah."
"Well, that settles it. When this is over, I'm putting you on a plane out of here and I never want to see your ass again," Rosa concluded. JC leaned forward a bit and looked at the detective confused.
"You're actually going to let me go?"
"What can I do? Charge you for being kidnapped?" Rosa asked. "If you stay here, its going to mean trouble for me and big trouble for Tokyo. I don't want you here so you're not staying."
"You know, you may be the first decent copper I've ever come across," JC replied.
"I guess you should take that as a compliment?" Rosa snorted in reply
"You should," JC answered in a conversational tone. "If I'm honest, you're probably the first guy I've met who sounds more concerned about the city and everyone in it above his own job and its safety."
"Oh, please, not every cop you meet is out get you," Rosa replied exasperated. He'd so many shallow arguments about his job before. He knew all too well someone in his position rarely got a pat on the back for his achievements but was always well aware of the times he screwed up. That was the price he paid for being a civil servant. There was no room for mistakes when the public safety was at hand. But to believe everyone who worked along side him was either apathetic, lethargic or otherwise was a tiring argument. The force was full of good people.
"I don't mean it like that," JC replied with a conversational tone. "I mean, its hard isn't it? Doing whatever it is you do day in, day out."
Rosa frowned. "What do you mean by whatever it is I do?"
"I'm just saying, you're just about the first badge I've ever met who's not above bending the rules for the sake of looking out for his neighbourhood. Were you ever a neighbourhood policeman?"
"Can't say I've ever had the pleasure," Rosa answered.
"You should try it. Nothing more respectable than a man who works for the community, does the local service. It always gets overlooked, don't you agree?" JC continued. Somehow, he had let the entire scene drift away from them. He was talking as if the current situation wasn't bothering him or at least wouldn't affect him. He also looked as though he was reminiscing.
"I guess I hadn't thought about it," Rosa said back. "You're nothing like I expected, JC."
JC grinned slightly. "Figured me for some gun toting maniac firing his way through heaven, hell and everything in between?"
"Not quite," Rosa grinned back. "Something, slightly more." He paused looking for an accurate description. "Calculating. Cold hearted son of a bitch as well."
JC laughed. "Yeah, I guess I don't quite meet up to the reputation that proceeds me. Between you and me detective, I'm not big on thinking things through."
At that point Sailor Venus returned. "We never found them," she said. "We've covered the entire area and nobody's here." She looked at Rosa. "Except your partner, we found him knocked unconscious. He'll be OK, though."
"Doesn't surprise me," JC said after hearing the all clear. "They probably ran when they missed me. I suggest we leave before anyone realises what's gone on here."
"Agreed," Rosa added. "Our car is outside, we'll take JC from here." He told Venus.
"What about the Yakuza?" Venus asked.
"Well, we could bust them for possession of firearms," Rosa mused. "But we can't explain how we found out about the meeting. Our tip off was off the books and not valid for prosecution. Besides, it would complicate matters with JC."
"How come? Aren't you going to arrest him as well?" Venus looked confused.
"I already have," Rosa indicated. JC showed off his hands behind his back. "But the jurisdiction of his offences are the responsibility of international law enforcement as well. If we include him in all this, his trial won't go too well. He may even walk."
JC smirked at Venus, playing the perfect act alongside Rosa's explanation. "Just let me and Koshiro take it from here, we'll make sure he gets what he deserves."
Venus studied the captive. JC looked back at her, his face was a neutral mask.
"Guess this is goodbye," he finally said.
Venus tried to stop her face from looking regretful. "JC, I don't know what went on back in England, but I want you to know-."
"Save it," JC cut her off. "I don't care."
"Fine," Venus snapped back, now showing pure anger in her features. She stormed off.
"Smooth," Rosa commented as he picked JC up by his arms, still cuffed behind his back. "You know, I think she was trying to say she thought you're an OK guy."
"Yeah, well I'm really not," JC replied. "I don't want getting friendly with her. I don't have the luxury of friends."
"If you say so," Rosa said leading JC from the grounds. "If it makes you feel any better, I think you're an asshole."
"You should," JC replied. "Because the first thing I did when I landed was look up your wife."
Rosa laughed. "I'm not married. You could at least try a racial slur."
"That was my backup, so what are you? Hispanic?"
"Lets go JC."
"We recovered everything you had on you when you arrived in Tokyo," Rosa explained. "Here's your bag." He handed over a large sports bag to the young man. JC took it gratefully. "You live light." the detective added.
"Can't afford to live any other way," JC replied.
"Are you sure? Because I noticed a shit load of cash in there," Rosa said with an eyebrow raised. JC titled his head slightly and looked at him inquisitively.
"Didn't help yourself, per chance, did you?" JC asked teasingly.
"I'm not that kind of guy, JC," Rosa explained.
"Well, at least let me give you something for letting me stay the last couple of days," JC insisted reaching into the bag. Rosa held up a hand.
"JC, I don't want anything on me that ties back to you. Not even your money."
JC shrugged. "Your choice. What about your partner?" He looked over Rosa's shoulder at Koshiro. The older detective spoke virtually no English and let Rosa handle JC's departure. Rosa looked over at the older man. He was clearly in a foul mood for some reason this morning. He leaned against a bar and scuffed his shoes at the ground.
"I'm going to hazard a guess at no," the younger detective grinned. He turned back to JC and looked at him seriously. "I don't want to ever see you back here. We know what you look like and if we detect the slightest trace-"
"I get the idea," JC interrupted. "I'm gone for good."
"Any plans?" Rosa asked. He wasn't entirely confident JC meant it.
"Nothing set in stone," JC answered. "I'll go north and head for the coast, try and buy passage on a transport to the continent. Work my way back to Europe. I have some contacts there, they may be willing to help me now. With 13 dead, the heat on my tail may have gone down a bit. Find some hole to live in and die in it." He added the last bit cynically. "I better go."
JC shook Rosa's hand and turned away. Rosa watched JC board the train. He stood on the platform and watched the train leave. He hung around for a little bit longer and scoped out the station. Satisfied that JC was on the train and he had gone, he left with Koshiro.
"Well, now that that's done with, we have a great deal of paper work to complete," Koshiro summarised.
"My favourite part of the job," Rosa smirked.
"You realise we have to falsify almost everything regarding the JC case?" The older detective asked.
"We do? I thought we were catching the bank robbers? JC was a lead that didn't lead anywhere because we never found him," Rosa answered.
Koshiro grinned as they approached the car. "You catch on quick kid."
Above them, Sailor Venus stood on top of the train station, watching JC's train leave the city. A fierce scowl on her face. JC got away again. She couldn't help but imagine the young man laughing at her. Again he had escaped from her, this time thanks to a corrupt detective. She prepared to chase after him, her communicator bleeped. With a sigh she answered. "Venus here," she said neutrally. "I'll be right over."
'One way or another JC,' she thought to herself. 'I'll find you and bring you down.'
A/N: Thanks to anyone who read this fic. Even bigger thanks to anyone who reviewed! For those interested, my blog will keep you up to date with my writing from now on. The link is on my profile.
Sailor Moon and friends will return in The Zodiac Wars! JC will return some time soon...