I don't own JSRF…I DO own this fic so don't plagiarize… Happy New Year. This one's pretty short compared to my other stories.


El Dia De Los Muertos

(Corn and Jazz)

"Suddenly it occurred to me the reason for the run and hide had totaled my existence. Everything left on the other side could never be much worse than this but could I go the distance. I faced the door and all my shame tearin' off each piece of chain until they all were broken… But no matter how I tried the other side was locked so tight the door it wouldn't open."

-"Gotta Knock a Little Harder" by the Seatbelts


Wow… it's really been a while… I can't believe I've been away for so long. Sorry this has taken me so long… really… I'm just glad you guys didn't remove me from your favorites lists… or maybe you just forgot to. Anyway, I decided to go back to my Halloween stories for this chapter. I think I'm going to have to make changes to the original Halloween story because of some of the things I've planned for this story in this story.

Also thank you to Silvite's Cry, XkuramaandhieiX, Hyabusadude, Glasscase of Emotions and Misguided Angel of Death (actually the longest review I've ever gotten, had to word check it compared to Tei's) for the adds and/or reviews. I'm glad you like this story. Thank every last one of you for your patience and for showing love (you know who you are).

You may also be interested to learn I've registered as a JGR/JSRF beta-reader. If you have a story and need a reader... yo.


The Base of Kibagaoka Hill, warehouse district- October 31, 7:30pm

She had been cooking for two days and though she had actually showered just hours ago she still smelled of it. The smell was the smell of sugar and freshly baked bread… in other words she smelled exactly like pan de muerto (bread of the dead). That wasn't the only smell of course, she also smelled of tequila and fruit juice. She told him that she was going to leave it at her brother's grave and she asked him if he would come along (she planned to stay out for a good portion of the night and didn't want to be out alone). He actually didn't want to go out at all, on holidays where there were usually huge celebrations (especially Halloween) the cops tended to be in the streets in full force hoping to catch any and every rudie they could… but after some thought he decided that that really just gave him more of a reason to go with her. They had left the H.Q. at around seven and actually made it to Kibagaoka in pretty good time considering they had gone the long way.

They went rooftop to rooftop until they got to a warehouse with a huge tag on its roof… though they didn't confirm it verbally they both decided just from looking at it that it had to be Rhyth's; an old one that she had left there and forgotten about. She had to have forgotten about it, she usually repainted them or painted over them when they got old.

Jazz set down the plastic shopping bag, opening it to verify it's contents: the sweet bread, fruit juice and tequila were all there. She sat down, allowing her legs to dangle over the edge of the rooftop as she caught her breath. It was quiet here today, quieter than usual at least. There were usually warehouse workers all over the place, loading boxes into trucks or unloading boxes from trucks or doing whatever they did inside the warehouses or yelling at her to get down from the roof… not much was happening today.

"Hey, Jazz?"

She almost jumped over the edge when he called her name. She'd forgotten he was there with her. "Jesus Christ, Corn… don't do that."

"Don't do what?" He was genuinely unsure of why she was so agitated; it wasn't like he'd snuck up on her or something like that.

She mentally checked herself and decided not to let him know he'd scared her. "What is it?"

Obviously she had no intention of answering his question so he just didn't bother to pursue it. He went back to the one he'd originally wanted to ask her. "You aren't from around here, are you?"

"I'm Mexican Corn, why would I be from around here?"

Corn shrugged. "I just thought that if your brother was buried here maybe you were from around here."

"Oh… nope. I'm from Vallejo actually."

"… So then… why's he buried here?"

"He was stationed in Okinawa. When he was discharged he came to Tokyo. About a year ago he was killed when some loco hijacked a bus."

"So why wasn't his body shipped back home to you?"

Jazz stiffened, not much but just enough for him to catch it. "The thing is… he'd gotten married and hadn't said a thing to me or my other brother and sisters… had a daughter and everything. His wife didn't want his body sent back so it was buried here… not that I blame her of course. I wouldn't want to have to fly to another country to visit my husbands grave either. My other brother's and sisters were pissed, but hey… what can you do?"

For the first time Corn noticed that she was wearing an olive drab military jacket with a nametag that read "Corp. A. Vargas" "What was his name?"

"Arturo. He was my oldest brother."

"How old was he?"

"Thirty-one."

He didn't know what else to say. What could he say? Too bad? I'm sorry? My condolences? It had been over a year since he died, too late for condolences. He hadn't killed him so he didn't have anything to be sorry about. She wasn't getting kicked off of "the Price is Right," saying "Too bad" would be callous… something Beat would probably say in an effort to seem sympathetic… something that he didn't think Jazz would appreciate. He couldn't just say nothing though… he had pushed the conversation so he had to close it, somehow. "What happens happens I suppose… just roll with the punches." He decided to test that and see if she kicked his ass for it.

Jazz looked over her shoulder at him. She quietly gazed at him for a moment before she answered. "I guess…" she turned back around. "Still… I can't help but wish it hadn't have happened."

Corn breathed a quiet sigh of relief. "Too late to wish… all you can do now is hope that he's happy on the other side."

Jazz was quiet for a moment. She turned completely, crossing her legs in front of her body and looking up at him. Then she looked up… all the way up. As she looked up at the sky she spoke quietly. "Maybe you're right." She rose to her feet, nearly falling because she'd never once attempted to lift herself from a sitting position to standing on skates. Once she was balanced she bent down and picked up her bag. "Come on… let's get going." Corn nodded and they slid over the edge of the building.

They started moving again, going as far as the street would allow them to go before finally jumping onto the power cords that crisscrossed from the edge of the reservoir to the walls that ran along the hillside and into the tunnel that went beneath it. Once they'd made it through the tunnel and into the area that was called "the courtyard" (the one area of Kibagaoka Hill that actually had intact buildings) they turned into a gated alleyway that ran between several rather rundown apartment buildings and led to a bridge that crossed a large drain. Once they had crossed the bridge they entered another gated alleyway that led to another neighborhood that neither of them had ever been to before that day.

It was… clean. It was so much cleaner than the other areas of Kibagaoka Hill and, maybe, the whole of Kogane. It was actually pretty spooky. The place was too quiet, like nobody lived there and the whole place was just too clean. There was virtually no trash on the street (which was actually paved unlike most of the rest of Kogane), the white paint on the houses seemed to be fresh and. In fact, the houses themselves almost seemed to be newly erected. They really couldn't tell if anyone even lived in the neighborhood; there weren't any signs to confirm it. To them it was a ghost town; it was just houses surrounded by high walls in all directions as far as the eye could see. As they stared down the all too clean streets of the suburb Jazz shuddered. This place gave her a bad feeling, like she was being watched from all angles. When she looked to Corn she could tell that he seemed to feel the same way.

Normally a place like this would just be begging to be tagged up. Corn especially wanted to tear the place up; he just couldn't stand to see such pristine buildings, their very existence mocking his own. Maybe he could talk Jazz into it on the way back; it'd be a shame to allow a perfect opportunity like this to slip through their fingers. For now though they needed to figure out where they were and how to get to the cemetery. Corn had no idea where they should go. "So what now?"

Jazz turned to him and shrugged. "I've never been here before… " She took a moment to look around one of the corners into an alley to her right. "Let's try this way."

Corns mouth twisted a little as he thought about it. "I don't know… maybe we should keep straight."

Jazz really wasn't sure about that. "You ever been here before?"

"Have you?" he replied sarcastically.

Jazz set her hands on her hips. "I could've sworn we covered that already."

"Yeah… we did."

Jazz sighed. "Okay… so… how 'bout we both go a couple of blocks, see where we end up and come back?"

Corn turned and looked down the street. He looked over his shoulder to answer her. "Ten minutes and back?"

"Deal."

"Right." He started down the street. "If you run into somebody make sure you ask for directions."

"Si, seguro (Yeah, sure thing)." She made an okay sign with her fingers just before she sped up the alleyway. At first she wanted to just keep straight but after a few of minutes of nothing but empty blocks with no end, or a single person, in sight she made a left and exited the alley. She went three blocks and made a right, power-slid and took a few quick steps to stop herself. She stood there staring down the empty street. It was a long way off but she was sure that the street ran into a dead end and not a turn. She rolled up her sleeve and checked her watch: it had been six minutes since she split with Corn. Convinced that she wouldn't find anything or anyone she decided to save time and head back. As she turned around she pushed in her ear-phones and turned on the mini-radio that was strapped to her belt. Her eardrums were immediately beaten by "Teknopathetic." Was that why it was so quiet today… was it just because she forgot to turn on her radio? She took a look around and decided that that wasn't it; this neighborhood was genuinely eerie. She looked around one more time and began skating. She went back around the corner that she'd only just come around and tore ass down the first block. Once she'd gotten herself to the speed she wanted she allowed herself to swerve from one side of the street to the other as she coasted down the second block. She regained her speed when she got to the third block and allowed herself to glide into the alley around the corner she had come around a couple minutes before. As she turned the corner she left her feet, jumping onto the alley wall and sliding for a good three seconds before jumping again. The second she disengaged her wall-ride and landed it she crossed to the other wall and executed another one. When she landed this time she turn and rode backward into the opposite wall and slid backward on it. To separate herself from the wall this time she lifted her right leg and used it to stomp the wall as she lifted her left. As she pushed off of the wall she did a 180. She executed her ariel perfectly but her landing was pretty sketchy and she almost fell forward onto her face; she was just barely able to stay on her feet by pushing her fist into the ground and taking a few quick steps forward. Once she'd regained her balance she rocketed down the street. She thought that she'd lost some time and wanted to go as fast as she could to get back. She wasn't sure why, she just knew it was important for her on a personal level to get there before Corn. She picked up more and more speed; speed to the point where her surroundings were starting to blur. A smile spread onto her face; this was the fastest she'd ever gone on level ground. Her smile grew when it occurred to her that she might be going faster than her skates were designed to go without involving a boost. She laughed… she loved the idea of her going faster than even a jet boost solely of her own ability.

She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she didn't even see him coming right at her.

CRASH!

When Corn finally managed to pull himself up onto his knees he saw Jazz laying on her back a few yards away from him. She was holding her head and he could hear her sobbing. "…Jazz?" When he said her name she rolled onto her stomach and shifted her hands to the back of her head. Her sobbing got louder and he could see her shaking. He tried to get to his feet but when he tried everything around him spun and he fell backward onto his ass. His head was killing him. He tasted something sweet and metallic in his mouth and soon realized that he had a tooth resting under his tongue. He tried to spit it out but couldn't do it right; the tooth fell onto his stomach and rolled into his lap followed by a stream of blood. He placed his hand against his mouth to stop it from running out. He wanted to lie down on the ground but the sound of Jazz crying stopped him. He decided to try again. This time he rolled onto his hands and knees and, very slowly, pushed himself up onto his skates. He couldn't stand all the way up but he could balance on his skates. He squatted there for a moment and collected himself. After about a minute passed he managed stand and awkwardly skated over to Jazz. He'd started to lose his balance a few times but ultimately he stayed on his feet all the way to her. When he finally made it to her he slowly dropped down to his knees. "…Jazz… are you… are you okay?" She didn't say anything but she did shake her head. "Can you get up? Do you need some help?" Again, she said nothing. Instead she rolled onto her back again. She raised one of her hands; she wanted him to pull her up. He managed to get back onto his feet. Once he was standing he took her hand and pulled her off of the ground. She almost slipped off of her feet but Corn managed to get his arm around her waist and held her up. It took a few minutes and she was still holding her head but she was eventually able to stand on her own. When Corn saw that she could stand without him he went to pick his hat up off the ground. He placed it back on his head and turned back to Jazz. She wasn't holding her head anymore. Her right eye was black and her tears were all over her face. A look crossed her face, like something had just dawned on her. She started looking around and making it easier for him to see the much larger bruise on the right side of her jaw. He was confused by her frantic searching… until she found what she was looking for: her bag.

Looking down at it she felt so stupid. She had a perfectly good backpack at home, why hadn't she used it? Now everything was ruined. The sweet bread that she'd been slaving over for two days was all smashed and shredded. The bottle of fruit juice had been crushed and the pressure caused by that forced the bottle's top to separate itself from the bottle in a liquid explosion. The bottle of tequila was shattered and because Combo had to buy it for her in the first place (he being the only GG who could legally purchase alcohol) she couldn't go and buy another one.

All of her plans were completely ruined.

Corn watched Jazz as she sat down on the ground. She drew her knees into her body burying her head between them. He could hear her crying again. Before that very moment he hadn't known just how much all of this meant to her. "Jazz?" She pulled her head up and looked at him. He could see it in her eyes; she was absolutely crushed. Corn didn't know much about Jazz, but he now knew that this meant more to her than he could have imagined.


So what was so important about this to Jazz? Is there anything Corn can do to save the day for her? Why IS she still in Japan if her brother died?

You'll have to wait until the next chapter to find out.

I'm sorry this one's so short…

but…

It's good to be back.