Fuji did not say this aloud, as his superior would have heard, but Yukimura smiled, though he never took his eyes off of the speaker. Fuji did not either, but he knew nonetheless - he would have been able to tell if Yukimura was smiling or not even without looking.
After they are done with him, you can have him. I promise, Syusuke.
Fuji accepted this, smiling a little bit more widely than before. Revenge was what he had been waiting for - the dish had gone cold far too long ago. His left hand was in a tight fist, long pale fingers curled up tensely: this was the grip that he wanted to exert on Echizen Ryoma the moment he was given the chance to. His other hand would be holding his knife, which was currently hidden safely in its sheath. Though it was clean now, it would not be clean after he was done with that monster. As Echizen Ryoma had been kind enough to use this very knife on Fuji, it was time for Fuji to return the favour and the knife as well. It would not be Fuji's problem if Echizen could not dislodge the knife from his gut after Fuji gave it back to him.
'He has to be captured alive, you understand?' The speaker, the President of their mini vigilante troupe, had already repeated this before, exactly five times in his mission debriefing. Fuji did not quite understand why the President thought this to be so important that he had to reiterate it more than once - surely he did not think that his soldiers would disobey him, even in such a special case.
The President's gaze was on Fuji as he said the last part of his sentence again. 'Do you understand, Fuji?' His tone was completely humourless, which was rather remarkable. The President was most often grinning, his countenance almost always cheery under his short russet hair though Fuji always thought that the grin did not reach his eyes.
'Yes, sir!' Fuji chirped, his own eyes closed and his thoughts far away. He could imagine the scene already: he and Seiichi would find him, their long-haired Lucifer - or would he be Amon? - and after they defeated him (Fuji was sure they would, as the need for vengeance was stronger than anything that monster could try) he would, as Seiichi put it, apprehend him. Fuji could already imagine the screams -
'Fuji. Don't injure him.'
This startled Fuji violently out of his fantasy, bringing him back to reality which was far more unpleasant. 'Pardon, sir?' Fuji said finally, cerulean blue eyes staring at his superior with a thin frown. 'I think I may have misheard you.'
Next to him, Yukimura let out a quiet sigh, propping his head up on his hands.
The President repeated his words exactly as he had said them the first time, though perhaps with a slightly more serious intonation, which made Fuji less certain that he had heard them wrong. 'Fuji. Don't injure him.' Now the President's gaze was hard, hazel eyes not dancing with even a whit of jocularity. 'Swear upon the grave of -'
'President, no need to get so morbid,' Yukimura swiftly interrupted, veering the conversation away from dangerous roads that would no doubt lead to motor vehicle accidents with casualties of various kinds - most definitely bloody ones. 'Fuji promises to keep Ryoma-chin in top-notch condition.'
Just agree with me, Syusuke.
Fuji put his hands together, elbows on the table as he interlaced his fingers slowly, two by two. Thumbs, indexes, middles, rings, pinkies. 'Of course.' He smiled again. 'Don't you trust me, President?'
There was a sigh. A long, heavy sigh, weighted with so many things that Fuji did not recognise. Cocking his head slightly, Fuji remembered that there was much he did not know about the President. It wouldn't do to aggravate him too much when he didn't know who, between the two of them, would defeat the other in combat.
'Sometimes I don't even think I trust myself.'
And then the President got up, all smiles again. 'So! Time to get going, you two!' He clapped his hands together. 'Chop chop! We've finally gotten his location, that slippery guy - he's been out of commission for a while, but we found out that he goes to some university now. Info's got the full details.'
'A university?' Fuji said, appalled by the notion. 'Amidst ordinary civilians?' He did not call them innocents - it was quite likely they were not - but not even university students of the lowest calibre deserved such a fate.
'Exactly why we have to retrieve him as quickly as possible,' the President replied grimly.
Yukimura asked, in a soft tone that belied his sharp eyes, 'Then why do we not just kill him, President? Surely that would be the smarter-'
'No. He must stay alive.'
The President's obstinacy about the state of Echizen Ryoma was starting to aggravate Fuji as well as provoke his curiosity - with all the mystery surrounding the President, the brunet could not help but wonder if there was an ulterior motive to this besides saving the world from the likes of him.
'Research wants to test him,' the President explained, rolling his eyes and running a hand casually through his hair. 'We've never caught a live monster before and Echizen Ryoma's the strongest of them all, isn't he? Would be a good specimen and such.'
Then he grinned. 'Okay, you two have spent too much time listening to me chat. Go and capture us a monster!'
Raising his hand in a salute, Fuji said with a cheery smile, 'Aye aye, captain.' Yukimura mimicked him, looking a little exasperated whilst he did so. He got up from his seat and headed out the door, knowing Yukimura would follow.
Sure enough, Yukimura's soft footfalls echoed after Fuji's. 'Over to the Information department, then?'
Fuji chuckled. 'Information indeed. It really isn't much of a department when there's only one person in it, is it?'
'Well, Information is twenty percent of our little group if we include the President, you know.' Yukimura took a few larger strides so that he was walking beside Fuji. 'I think that constitutes as a department, yes.'
Fuji chuckled again, though this time his tone was far more wry. 'Indeed. We're a small group, aren't we.'
Why did you make me promise to not harm him?
Fuji kept his mouth shut - even though the President was far away, it was safer to keep quiet about things that he did not want people to overhear.
Did you want to be taken off the mission? The President would have sent me by myself if he didn't think you were going to follow his orders, Syuu-chan.
'Sometimes I really want to kill you, Seiichi,' Fuji said light-heartedly, as his hand clutched onto a metal doorknob that did not feel all too cold, though it probably should have. 'Ah, Information.' Knocking with his other hand, he twisted the doorknob, which made a quiet click as the door swung open, revealing a small workplace where one man was sitting, typing rapidly on a keyboard.
'Fuji-san, Yukimura-san, good morning!' The young man at the desk stopped typing as he raised his hand to wave at Fuji and Yukimura, eyes still on the screen and knocking his keyboard onto the floor in the process. 'Ah-'
'Let me help you with that,' Yukimura said kindly, sidestepping Fuji and picking the keyboard off the floor. 'You should take care to be less clumsy, Choutarou-kun.'
The man named Choutarou smiled sheepishly, turning away from his monitor as he did so. He was rather tall, even while sitting, though his grey hair looked quite out of place on top of his youthful face. However, it matched well with the business attire - he looked every bit the Japanese businessman. 'You need information on Echizen Ryoma's whereabouts, right?'
'As quickly as possible, please.' Fuji smiled back at the taller man, who shivered and looked away. Fuji rather liked the effect he had on others - it gave him such a unique sense of power. Ohtori Choutarou had been working with Fuji from the start yet he still had not gotten used to him and his open-eyed smiles.
'Syusuke,' Yukimura said admonishingly, 'play nice.'
'Ah, sorry, sorry.' Fuji bowed his head in an apologetic gesture, but it was just that: a gesture. He did not have time to spend his actual regret on somebody like Ohtori, somebody who was a mere pawn in the whole scheme of things, meant to be thrown into the field with the intention of sacrifice. 'So, the location, Ohtori-kun?'
'Right here,' Ohtori said, turning back to his screen again. 'Er, wait just a moment while I print it out for you, okay?'
Fuji could not help but offer up a comment as Ohtori pressed a few keys on his keyboard. 'We have all the time in the world.'
Ohtori laughed a bit nervously, eyes darting back and forth between Fuji and the aged printer, which was painstakingly spitting out a sheet of paper, emitting loud noises as it did so. When the printer finished, Ohtori's tone was noticeably less anxious. 'Ah, here, Fuji-san, Yukimura-san.' He handed over the sheet. Fuji was careful to keep from brushing his fingers against Ohtori's as he took it.
'Thank you, Choutarou-kun. Well, see you around later then?' Yukimura gallantly took the doorknob of the already open door. 'After you, Syusuke.'
'Oh, I couldn't be more delighted.'
Once the door was safely closed behind them (all the rooms were eavesdropping-proof, not letting sound in or out once the door was shut), Fuji looked down at the paper and, after registering the location, crumpled the paper in his fist. He did not trust himself to speak, but he did not need to.
'The university.' Yukimura's voice was quiet. 'Is it...'
Yukimura placed a hand on the brunet's shoulder that was none too comforting, his nails digging into Fuji even though he was not pressing hard. 'Let's go.'
That was all he said, but that was all Fuji needed as encouragement. He dropped the paper onto the floor - somebody would come along to clean it up sooner or later - and headed down the hall, Yukimura beside him, humming a cheerful jingle that had been airing a lot on the radio lately.
'Shall we inspect the grounds?' Fuji had composed himself now, mind ready for a mission. 'And do a little bit of research ourselves?'
Yukimura stopped humming, taking his hand off of Fuji's shoulder. 'Of course. It's mysterious, isn't it, that our Ryoma-chin could be enrolled in a university yet not be found for half a year, isn't it?'
'Mysterious indeed,' Fuji echoed. 'Enrolment records are not guarded too well, after all - I don't think we'll be able to keep Choutarou-kun if his information-gathering skills are this dismal.' He smiled at the thought - Ohtori would no doubt make a great fuss, crying and pleading with the President to let him keep his job, 'it's the only thing I have left to live for, sir, please don't dismiss me!'
His partner chuckled. 'Now now, Syuu-chan, Choutarou-kun's done a lot for us, you know. You should be more grateful.' The effect of his rebuke was ruined by the calculating look in his eyes - Yukimura had to be wondering about Ohtori's abilities as well, if it had taken him more than a month to find out the location of Echizen Ryoma when the answer was so simple.
Fuji did not reply, choosing instead to open the door silently. He held it open, smiling. 'After you, Seiichi.'
'Why, thank you, Syusuke - though really, it wasn't necessary.'
The two men walked out of the building, heading for the same destination though neither of them had said it aloud. It didn't matter - they knew exactly where they needed to go, and what needed to be done there. The predicament was, rather, how they should go about doing it.
The answer Fuji thought of was simple, and he decided that it was the one they were going to go with.
The President would just have to look askance when Echizen Ryoma arrived with half of the blood he had had before. Just because Fuji Syusuke made a promise did not mean that he would keep it.
The promise of revenge was too sweet.