Disclaimer: Kazuya Minekura owns Wild Adapter.
Warnings: Violence, language, mild shonen-ai
Note: This is my first WA fic. It's based on the events in Vol. 2 of the manga, but I did take some creative license with the exact details of the canon. I also have no idea what brand Kubota's "wok" actually is. I'm guessing. Lastly I've noticed the trend with this fandom to write perspective fics in the second-person/present tense, so I thought I'd try my hand at it.
He doesn't let you near his gun.
It takes you awhile to notice it at first, partially due to his discretion and mostly because you don't look for it, but after months of prowling around his apartment you understand that he does own one. Its origins are obscure at best, and working for the Yakuza does entail some dangerous shit from what you've gathered through reconnaissance: video game role-playing, news broadcasts, fleeting conversations with Kasai. It's probably a good thing that he carries it, but you just can't imagine Kubota killing anyone.
Until you're cornered in an alleyway that is, and the overpowering, rancid smell reminds you of a life that you only see in nightmares on occasion. You try valiantly and stupidly to defend a pregnant girl from a gang of thugs--valiant because you're easily outnumbered and stupid because she's just another stray like you, and who would really miss a stray in the end? But Kubota answers that unspoken question, that nagging worry in the back of your mind with calm words of possessive fury.
That cat belongs to me.
And then he shows you exactly how easily he can kill.
The fighting you've seen before. Kubota is nothing if not efficient, and within moments your would-be attackers are incapacitated and prone, spilling their messy insides onto the trash-strewn sidewalk of this random Yokohama alley, and the few who are bold enough to try their luck a second time are met with the flash of dirty yellow streetlight reflecting off of his glasses and a cruel smile that will haunt you until the day you die in a gruesome explosion of violence and fur.
You stare because you can't bring yourself to look away, to miss this rare glimpse into a part of Kubota's world that you were not before privy to. Your eyes widen and you watch like a pedestrian stares at a car accident unfolding before him; it's morbid fascination, and you haven't been taught tact and discretion. Everything about your personality up until this exact moment in time has been bluntly honest and sharp and rough around the edges, so you stare. As you watch him systematically crack spines with well-placed kicks and snap necks with able hands, you wonder for the briefest of moments what you would have to do to provoke him into turning that lethal precision against your own slender throat...
But there isn't enough time to contemplate that sordid train of thought because suddenly something sharp is pressed against your throat and you forget to breathe, to think, to struggle. Your own reflexes aren't as finely-honed as your roommate's, and as he turns around in response to Saori's scream you see the flickering overhead lights from the streetlamps glint across steel in Kubota's hands.
Tokitoh, Glock. Glock, Tokitoh. You haven't met before, but you two will come to rely on one another quite a bit in the next few moments.
The look in Kubota's eyes tells you not to move, even as your mind supplies a thousand possible ways to get out of the near-chokehold your captor has around your neck. Left-left-square would deliver a nice uppercut to his face. Left-down-triangle could land a decent kick to his groin. But this is not a video game, and the bead of sweat that tickles down the side of your face is very, very real.
Kubota and your assailant are exchanging measured, even words, but they might as well be speaking in a foreign language for all that you can comprehend right now. All that you can focus on is the business end of that Glock in Kubota's hands, the slight tremor in his trigger finger as he slides it slowly towards the guard, and the knowledge that you cannot simply restart this level if someone fucks up.
The blade against your throat digs in a little deeper and it stings--god damn, does it sting--but you're terrified to move, to flinch, to cuss aloud, so you grit your teeth and pray to whatever god led him to you in that dark, cold alleyway that your chain-smoking, curry-loving, ex-Yakuza roommate has as good an aim in real life as he does in the wonderful world of Sony.
The wail of the police sirens barreling down a neighboring street beckons your captor away, and the rough hands and biting blade are missing then, but so are Kubota and his gun. You turn in the direction of Saori's gasp and reach out instinctively to grab his sleeve. His eyes are cold, dead, lifeless as they meet yours in the dim light and you think that maybe, just maybe this is what he would look like all of the time if he hadn't picked you up out of that alley.
You don't remember ever having given Kubota a command to do anything before, but then again you really don't remember much at all. He hesitates for a moment, long enough for your heart rate to double as the sirens grow closer and the sun-bright beam of a searchlight glances through the far end of the alley, but Kubota takes your hand and turns to run, pulling you behind him. You hear Saori scurry after you. You don't turn to look for her. Your eyes are fixed on the strong hand dragging you away from the place where Kubota morphed from quiet philosopher with a shady past to ruthless killer of Yakuza and naïve ideals.
By the time you're all three locked away in the shabby sanctuary of your apartment Kubota, the Murderer has shifted, changed back into Kubo-chan, Your Only Friend, and this moment where you collapse onto the sectional and bury your face in the couch cushions and breathe in the musty scent of sweat and nicotine seems miles away from the frighteningly calm triple-homicide you just witnessed. Saori hasn't spoken a word to either of you but you're silently glad for that. You're afraid to think about what happened today because you don't want to acknowledge that your neck might snap just as easily as that poor nameless bastard's back in that alley.
His voice is quiet, calm as always, but after so many months studying his speech and expressions you know without turning to look that he isn't smiling. Half of you is relieved; to see his characteristic lazy grin after the bloodbath you just narrowly escaped would probably traumatize you for the rest of your life--however long that might be. "What?" you mutter. It comes out with a little more irritation than you intended, but then again you're always irritable.
You flinch as one of his hands finds your hair and it's withdrawn in a heartbeat. Kubota chuckles quietly beside you. There isn't a trace of amusement in the hollow, wry sound; he noticed your automatic reaction. "I don't make a habit of abusing animals," he says.
Cat jokes. You're used to these little references, and you know that he's trying to reassure you in his own eccentric way. You look up at him and his expression is relaxed, his lips curved into the barest of smiles, but his hazel eyes are screaming a completely different emotion that only you would notice, because if Kubota's smiles lie with ease then his eyes should be nominated for sainthood. You can read the emotions there as thoroughly as he devours books, and what you see there is rage.
Kubota is overwhelmingly angry. Not at you, of course; he never does get mad at you. He's pissed at that Sekiya guy, and there's a dash of self-loathing in that incensed stare. He's mad at himself for putting you in harm's way, even vicariously.
Kasai once told you that true killers never show remorse. They take lives without compassion or responsibility. They commit atrocious crimes without batting so much as an eyelash. You know in that second that Kubota is not a killer. He does what he must to protect you, and to keep you out of trouble. He won't hesitate to take a life if it means that you get to keep yours.
The life of a stray is much more important to him than the life of a junkyard dog. Secretly you wonder if he's chained or free-roaming, but you know that you would never ask him. His commitment to the Yakuza is over, but part of you thinks that, like that Glock, there are parts of his former life that he never really walked away from.
And that Glock is sitting on the coffee table beside him. You've never been this close to a gun before, or at least if you have you've lost the memory. He follows your line of sight to the weapon and shakes his head, hastily picking it up and disappearing into the bedroom. When he returns several minutes later his sidearm is gone. You don't ask where he stashed it. You're damned near positive that he wouldn't tell you, anyway.
Saori falls to sleep on the far end of the sectional and you lay there listening to Kubota clang pots and pans together in the kitchen. It's curry for dinner half an hour later but you aren't hungry. This is the first time in your relatively short life that you can recall rejecting food of any kind. Kubota's eyebrows arch in surprise and suddenly his hand is on your forehead, the same palm that cradled the grip of that gun not quite two hours ago with expert precision.
He doesn't ask aloud but you watch his eyes scan your face and your mind supplies the dialogue.
What's wrong? Are you feeling okay? Are you coming down with something?
You brush his hands away. You're fine. He arches an eyebrow at you and the concern on his face so eclipses the dead calm that sat on those handsome features as he killed those people that it really fucking bothers you.
Okay, so maybe you aren't "fine."
You push up from the couch with an aggravated groan and stalk out onto the porch. You aren't sure if you slam the sliding glass door behind you. You don't particularly care anymore. You lean on your elbows against the concrete railing and glare out at the bright city lights around your building.
Of course he follows you. You're acting like a complete nutcase right now and he wants to know why. The problem is, you decide as you grind your teeth together to keep from screaming curses at the traffic seven stories below you, that you don't know what's causing this sudden rush of frustrated anger.
"I can get rid of it. Keep it at Kou's."
What the fuck is he talking abou--oh, the gun.
You're pissed because he's keeping it in the apartment? No, that isn't right. You're mad as hell because he's hiding it from you. Because he won't let you near it. Because he's treating you like some ignorant little kid who can't be trusted.
You don't realize that you've been ranting out your internal monologue at him until he walks back into the apartment and you find yourself raving like a lunatic at the sliding glass door and your own reflection. You stare at your mirror image for a moment and think with mild disgust that you look like a spoiled little kid throwing a tantrum. You close your mouth and slump down onto the cool concrete and wonder why you ever expected Kubota to trust you.
He comes back out onto the balcony and the Glock is in his hands. He ejects the clip, checks the barrel by pulling back the slide, and hands it to you without a word. You hesitate to take it from him, but after a second you concede to your natural curiosity.
The steel is cold to the touch and heavy against your palm, but it's a reassuring weight. It feels like power and security and danger in your hand. There isn't a safety or a sight. It's a dull black color. The serial number that once ran down the left side of the slide has been filed off. But it's Kubota's gun, and you appreciate it for what it is. This piece of steel probably saved your life tonight.
He's sitting beside you, watching the thin fingers of your normal hand trace over the slide pin, the hammer. You know the names of the parts because the shooting games he has so many of are often educational. You know to rack the slide to chamber a round. You know that the clip carries ten bullets. You know that if you cock the hammer back it becomes easier to pull the trigger. You hold it the way the characters in the games, the mafia lords on TV, Kubota holds it, and you point the muzzle up at the ambient light of the night sky.
Kubota reaches over and covers your hand with his own, drawing your aim down and towards him. He stops once he's got you pointing the gun at his chest, just over his heart, the end of the barrel digging into his shirt. You know that there isn't any ammunition in it, but you still frown at him over your hands and the Glock aimed at his chest. You sit still as he pushes the clip back into the gun and reaches out carefully, never taking his eyes off of you, and pulls the slide back.
It's loaded now. If you pull the trigger now the bullet will rip through his chest, detonate his heart, and leave a baseball-sized exit would in his back. You're positive that he could disarm you and destroy you before you could actually work up the nerve to pull the trigger, but you're still very uncomfortable with the uncertainty of the situation. He's either showing you an incredible amount of trust or a crash course in extraordinary stupidity.
You like him alive and intact, so you start to lower the gun but he stops you, leaning forward and pressing his lips against yours with firm confidence.
The Glock falls from your hands and tumbles into his lap but he catches it, setting it down on the floor of the patio and maintaining the unexpected contact. You don't put up much of a fight--you shove against his chest with your gloved hand but there's really no dedication to it. He smiles against your lips. You kiss him back, telling yourself it's for no other reason than to wipe that cocky grin off of his face, but that annoying voice in the back of your head that sounds strangely like him chimes in and reminds you that you've wanted to do this since the day that you opened your eyes and saw glasses and Seven Stars and messy brown hair.
You're lacking in experience and your movements are awkward, clumsy at best. You punch him with more force when he laughs softly against you and that shuts him up. His fingers run down the side of your face, your neck, your ribs and you know without a doubt that those agile hands won't be what kills you someday down the road.
Later you'll ask him why he had you put the Glock to his own chest and he'll shrug casually, tracing the scar on your throat and postulating aloud that you've had the means to destroy his heart since the bitterly cold January day that he found you in that dirty alley: broken, unconscious, helpless.
You'll decide that guns aren't nearly as dangerous as the truth in his theory.