I don't own JSRF…I DO own this fic so don't plagiarize…this isn't actually a pairing though I have flirted with the idea.


(Combo and Rhyth)

Just a reminder, (("words")) means they are speaking in Japanese (because I can't find an English to Japanese translator that uses Romanji).

Far Edge of Kogane- 5:27pm

The sunset was absolutely beautiful. It was all so beautiful to them despite their surroundings. Kogane was an ugly blackhead on the face of Tokyo, its far side was even worse.

Kibagaoka hill was covered in ugly, ugly apartments and abandoned houses with several subterranean labyrinths underneath them, old electrical wires that somehow still worked and only a few warehouses. Rokkaku-dai Heights was covered in run-down houses and apartments, small, ugly playgrounds, old useless train tracks, radio towers and a big empty ditch leading to the sewers. The Fortified Residential Zone was a massive pillar of low-income housing inside of a working dam making it a hazard to everyone who lived there.

But even combined they made for a halfway decent shanty town. This place, the far side, was a whole different place altogether. It was absolutely desolate. There were no people beyond the handful who were collecting pieces of scrap metal, cans and anything else that could be recycled or traded for cash at the junkyard. Old, wrecked, abandoned cars, vans and buses were sitting in a few empty lots and along the side of the half-paved roads. There were a few factories, about a dozen warehouses and dozens and dozen of dilapidated buildings as well as several empty lots where they could see what was left of dozens of other buildings. There were three or four sets of train tracks that cut across the parts of the ground that were still paved as well as the bridge that crossed over the reservoir. Electrical wires ran from tower to tower all the way to a power plant off in the distance. There were a few water towers and what looked like an abandoned high school.

When they came out to this place Combo came up with the idea to have a tagging contest. Of course he knew it was futile, Rhyth was and would always be the best tagger in the gang. They'd been tagging since noon.

His style was cool, but it was a cut-out, three-dimensional 2-d style that used dull colors for caricatures and vibrant colors for words. He chose four different spots: the remains of a building wall ( on the front of the wall he painted a gorilla that was wearing his sunglasses, shirt and chain and carrying his jam box, on the back of the wall he painted the back-view of the gorilla. The word "silverback", his old nickname, was scrawled on the wall with silver and black paint in both English and Japanese Hiragana), the top of a water tower ("Combo, Long Beach California. Doin' Big Things" was written in abstracted black, green and gold paint and circled the entire tower), the asphalt (another Gorilla wearing his clothing, this time with his jam box on it's shoulder and a little blue cat in it's paw, a representation of Rhyth. A crooked smile was on the Gorilla's face and it was standing on the word "Combo" with the words "Long Beach" directly underneath his name) and the side of a still intact building (he had painted, in a somewhat more realistic style, a portrait of his torso in color and behind him two thin white figures… his deceased brother Paul and cousin Kenny. It was different from what he would usually paint because it had a somewhat more solemn, cheerless tone to it).

Rhyth used a style that was a far cry from his own. It was very realistic, expressive and vibrant while also being unearthly and dreamlike. She always painted caricatures of herself in her tags and they were always very realistic. She chose four other places: two walls far down and on both sides of the road ("Welcome to Tokyo" on one side and "Now get the Fuck Out!" on the other in Japanese), the remains of a building wall (She painted herself in a meditative state: legs crossed, left hand resting palm up and right hand in prayer position and wrapped in prayer beads, eye's closed and facial expression serene. She wore blue robes and there was a shining light behind her. Also behind her was Combo's jam box and there was a small gorilla sleeping in her lap… which was, of course, Combo), the wall of an old warehouse (she painted herself painting the wall. She had the front of her body facing the wall and was standing on the tips of her skate wheels with her left hand on the wall and her right hand stretching up and slightly outward. She had a gasmask on her face and was painting her name. As usual the shadow was visible but this was different, she managed to make it appear three-dimensional instead of just popping out), and on the side of another warehouse (she painted a picture of herself falling from the sky. Her eyes were almost closed and she was curled into a semi-fetal position with her back to the ground, legs making a figure four. Her arms were wrapped around the knee of her bent leg and she was barefooted. Her mouth was curved into an extremely slight smile, so slight that one would have to look extremely closely to see it).

It was no surprise to Combo that she won their contest.

Of everyone he knew Rhyth had the most style. Her own personal style was in many ways weird and wonderful and quite charming. Her personality itself was dynamic and she seemed to have a surplus of energy that not even Yoyo or Jazz could match. Her spirit seemed to spill out into her pieces, unfortunately not everyone in the gang had seen what she was capable of. When the Golden Rhinos were around and even back to when they were going at it with Cube and Poison Jam and with the Immortals she never had the luxury of time. She needed all the time she could spare to come up with pieces like these. They were so elaborate, so meticulously detailed, so… real. But because she would be getting into fights or tag battles or running from the police or dealing with some other nuisance, when she would actually get to tag her pieces would be sloppy or too cartoony or they would have some other glaring defect that would grab her attention. A few of the others (Clutch, Soda, Garam and Beat) would joke about it, about how bad those pieces looked, but they were the ones who hadn't seen anything like the stuff she'd painted out here on more occasions than this one. And anyway, she could just as easily make fun of how pretentious Beat's art was ( He constantly used abstraction and he tended to write messages, but half the time they were irrelevant and anyway they were a clear bite on Corn's style which was to write long philosophical or poetic messages to the viewer. Beat flattered himself and his pieces reflected as such), or how basic Garam's style was (he didn't use caricatures, opting to write messages and his own name… considering how unique his personality was she thought it was a waste not to express it in his pieces), or how bland and dull Soda's style was (he seemed to lack the skill and/or patience to do anything beyond words and basic caricatures), or how repellant and erratic Clutch's pieces were (he always seemed to start strong but he always trailed off into some wildly elaborate design that would seem to negate whatever meaning the piece itself may have carried. They would always make her say "what the fuck" in a bad way whenever she saw them). She kept it all to herself; she didn't think it was worth it to tell them how pitiful their art was or how it was stupid for them to even attempt to paint in their styles without even having an elementary comprehension of modern art in general. They wouldn't listen to her anyway.

But that was all out of mind now because they had finished tagging half an hour ago.

Now they were on an old radio station tower. Rhyth had climbed up first and Combo followed her up for fear that she might fall (he knew there would be climbing so he left his jam box at the garage). There was a small, metal platform three-quarters of the way up that was doing a good job of supporting their weight. Rhyth climbed onto Combo's shoulders because the platform didn't offer much room. From there they watched. They watched as a train ran along the tracks. They could see black clouds of smoke billowing from the vents of the factories. And they could see the reflection of the sun glaring in the windows of the warehouses. The saw red brick and rebar remains of several buildings cast odd shadows along the ground and the low breeze was blowing small haze of dust. The higher breeze blew into them and moved Rhyth's hair and skirt. Their surroundings were surreal and sort of post-apocalyptic… it seemed like Tokyo was hit with a nuke. It gave them the creeps… and yet, somehow, it bizarreness fired up their imaginations.

The sunset here was absolutely glorious.

The sky behind them was a pale blue and the sky in front of them was ruby-red and faded into several shades of orange and yellow. The sun itself was golden-orange. It was breath-taking and bathed the ugly, ugly landscape around them in its magnificent beauty.

Rhyth was lost in the splendor of the sunset. She leaned forward slightly and rested her arms and torso on his head. She didn't realize she was hurting his neck so he poked her in the temple so she'd ease-up on him. She didn't. Actually, she leaned forward even more until she was upside-down in his line of sight and grinned at him. She leaned backward and sat straight up on his shoulders. She gripped his shoulders and slid down his back and onto her feet. She started to climb down. He turned around and looked down the side of the tower. There was no ladder… she had to climb down the structure beams to the ground. Halfway down she stopped and looked up at, only just noticing that he was looking down at her.

"Nani?" she asked.

He continued to stare down at her but eventually he turned back to the sun. He pulled out his phone and used it to take a picture of the sunset. Within minutes he was climbing down after her. The structure shook slightly as he made his way down causing him to wonder if he'd make it. He made it. She stood there and smiled at him. It made him smile back. It was her idea to come all the way out here to tag and it was totally worth it. They started to skate back to the Fortified Residential Zone so they could go back to the garage.

As they went she reached out and tapped his arm slightly to get his attention. (("So…")) she began (("was it worth it?"))

He suppressed a grin as he answered her. "Eh… sunsets ain't nothin' special." He almost laughed as he watched her pout. He continued, saying "Sunrises are better."

"Sunraisu… why is Sunraisu better?"

"Well… a sunset's okay but what happens when it's over?" She shrugged. "Everything goes dark. Sunrises are better 'cause, not only are they beautiful, but they light up the world and eventually become sunsets… that's somethin' to look forward to and way better than just watchin' a sunset."

She thought about that as they skated back to the F.R.Z. There wasn't a clear entrance on this side. They had to climb up about a dozen support beams to reach the outdoor scaffolding. Once they made it to the scaffolding the skated around the side and up an incline until they made it to a ventilation shaft. They crawled in eventually they found themselves on a very small walkway that ran along the entire west wall. They went straight to the end, taking great care not to look down (this was actually the highest point inside of the F.R.Z.), until they reached a ladder. They climbed down the ladder until they reached the platform that the Golden Rhinos had kept Yoyo in their cage. There was now a massive steel column that ran from that platform to the second level floor (they were careful not to touch the generators that ran along the floor or get in the way of the technicians). They hit the column (and thanked the lord that their skates were equipped with magnets), grinding all the way to the bottom. They found the staircase that ran down below them. They grinded down to the first level and eventually they left through the sewer duct.

After they left the sewer entirely they made their way around to the pipe that led to the garage.

It was 8:30 when they got there. There were only a few others there (Cube, Garam, Gum and Jazz), everyone else had gone home. Combo made his way over to his jam box (which he left by the old tub) and Cube made her way over to him. She tapped him on his shoulder. "Dude, where've you been?"

He hoisted the radio onto his shoulder. "I went to the edge of town with Rhyth."

"Oh… that's nice… you two make cute couple."

He stared down at her sarcastically smiling face, damn was that joke getting old. "Look… I know she had a crush on me for a while but I'm pretty sure she's gotten over it by now… we ain't a couple."

"Yeah… whatever…" Cube leaned in and kissed his cheek. "Try to keep it that way."

"I know, I know… she's too young for me anyway."

"You're only twenty-one…"

"She's only seventeen."

"Duly noted… didn't you have something for her though?"

Combo stared at her; he could feel another lolita joke coming on and his face showed it.

She raised her palms. "No, no… you had a gift for her, remember?"

Oh yeah… that's right… He had a few things he wanted to give her. He reached into the tub and dug under she bricks and wooden boards that were, for reasons unknown to him, inside of it and produced two boxes, one large and one small. He looked around and spotted Rhyth over by the speakers where she always was, she was sitting on the ground and leaning up against them. "Rhyth!" She looked up and he waved her over. She slowly made her way over to him, she must have been pretty tired..

"Nani?" she asked lazily.

He presented the boxes to her. "I got somethin' for you."

She was taken aback. Combo was a nice guy but he didn't really go around handing shit out to everybody. In fact she had only known him to give things to Cube. It excited her to know that he'd gone out and bought something for her. She opened the large box first. Inside was a blue camouflage, thermal hoody. It was about two sizes too large for her when she put it on but she absolutely loved it, it was so comfortable. Next she opened the small box and found two items. The first was a set of gloves. They were royal blue and had a silver, web-like pattern covering the back of the hands. The palms were black and had a white, target-like design in the center. The fingers were black and the thumbs were white. Rhyth smiled as she slid them on… they fit perfectly. She turned her attention to the second item in the box: a pair of goggles. The rims and strap were silver and the mirrored lenses were a pearlescent powder blue that changed into a pale violet when she moved them in what little light was available. She slid them on and let them rest on her forehead.

She was about to speak but her stomach grumbled causing her to blush. Cube giggled and pulled out her wallet; she handed her a few hundred yen bills. Rhyth smiled slightly. "Thank you Kyuba-san…" she turned to Combo "Thank you very much Komubo-kun." She reached up and pulled him down to her level. Cube grinned and Combo blushed as Rhyth kissed him on his cheek. Within seconds she was skating her way out of the garage. As she went she turned and waved back at them as she glided out.

Combo stood there holding his cheek. He turned to Cube who had a hand over her mouth to hide her massive smile. She uncovered her mouth and said, "Oh don't worry… I'm sure she's over it by now." He pushed her and turned away. She started poking at him. "Combo, Combo… C.J.–"

He whirled around. "What?!"

"It was cute though, wasn't it?"

He sighed. "Yeah… it was… let's never speak of it again."

Cube laughed.

It took me a long time to write that story. It was a scene that I'd chosen not to put in my main story. I liked the idea though so I decided to write it. I wasn't sure how to end it so I just decided on "abrupt." Good enough for me.

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