The Good Fight
Chapter Five: Gone
Disclaimer: I do not own DRRR! Only this story and the OCs.
Author's Note: I am so sorry this has taken forever. Balancing writing with school work, my sorority and personal life is difficult. Thank you to all the reviewers, I appreciate your support and patience.
There had been a moment in time when Takanabbi thought her life was simple.
She had grown up in a decent home. Middle class, nothing more, nothing less, necessities provided for her. She had loving parents and an older brother whom she took great pride in sharing blood with. She made good grades. She participated in clubs and sports. She had friends, and lots of them.
She was average, but happy. Nothing seemed to be able to break her little snow globe world.
That was until her brother disappeared suddenly.
And then everything went to shit.
Her parents, out of pure grief, grew frail in their old age from losing their treasured son. They had children when they were older than the average Japanese citizen, but unlike the average citizen, they had suffered little discomfort in their life. Their son's disappearance was a blow that was unrecoverable.
They soon had to leave Ikebukuro. It was an executive decision by Takanabbi herself. They could not handle the rough and tough world of the town, and she had no qualms sending them to the quiet countryside of a distant adobe, where no one would know their name and no one would question their presence.
However despite this change, she had wanted to stay in Ikebukuro.
It was better this way, she had decided. Her parents fought her wishes, claiming she was "too young" to be able to handle such a task as running the family store (which she had also choose to carry on her shoulders, as she didn't want her bloodline to lose their pride and joy and also how would she pay for herself and her parents living expenses?) and they were also concerned with her living alone in such a terrible place.
However she shut their arguments out. Like a lover closing the door on their partner that had just cheated on them and who was asking for forgiveness, she was steadfast in her choice and in some ways, bitter in her parents questioning her beliefs.
Takanabbi eventually stated she had, "a calling to answer in Ikebukuro".
The calling was finding her brother.
The arguments ceased when this revelation was spoken. Her parents left. The store was hers.
This all happened after she saw the Black Rider.
The snow globe world shattered.
Mikado stood outside Tae Grocery with the same dumbfound look he had had earlier that week.
The store's condition had improved slightly overnight, and he couldn't help but still feel a little awed by it all. How could a human being do such damage…?
As he stared, starry eyed and dazed, a loud and sudden bang threw his attention towards the entrance of the store. A middle aged man in a worn down blue business suit staggered out, a look of pure horror like Mikado had never seen printing itself on his wrinkled face. A large head wound was bleeding out over him.
Mikado instantly seized up as he saw Takanabbi walking slowly out from behind the man. The man stumbled, falling to the asphalt below him.
"Don't ever show your face around here again," Mikado heard her growl. The sound was low and guttural, and sounded almost like that of a lion.
"Or I won't hesitate to –"
Mikado spoke up before he could stop himself. The young woman's steel eyes shot up at him. They widened in surprise.
"Mikado-kun? What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be in school with Kida-kun?"
Takanabbi moved away from the old man in front of her when she realized Mikado was staring at her with a look of apprehension. The young woman suddenly looked small and vulnerable and almost...was that embarrassment or was that hostility?
"Please, get her away –"
The man was silenced by Takanabbi before he could finish. Her meek behavior dissipated.
"Get the hell out of here!" the shop owner roared then, completely disregarding the scene she was causing. The old man scrambled to his feet and pathetically limped off, leaving a fuming Takanabbi and a very confused Mikado.
Mikado, at this time, looked over at the young woman. Her eyes were narrowed, and she looked ready to rip someone's throat out. She was shaking wildly. He had never seen someone look so predatory.
Except maybe that information collector guy...
Takanabbi turned to study Mikado. The boy shrank away unconsciously.
"Forgive me," the grey haired woman muttered. "He was just a lowly street scum...asking questions that should not be asked."
"Uh...okay?" Mikado offered pathetically. His shoulders unconsciously were raised. He looked like a little lamb, ready to faint from sheer shock.
They stood awkwardly, staring at each other. Takanabbi's eyes had softened, but she was still edgy. Mikado felt as if the woman before him was towering over him, looking down, waiting for him to flee from her. Takanabbi then abruptly turned away from the teen.
"Come," she stated. "Let's talk inside."
And he followed, despite the warnings. Like a lamb to the slaughter.
And why...he didn't know.
Shizuo walked with even, measured out steps, constantly shifting his eyes left and right behind his lilac tinted sunglasses.
He felt that something was amiss. He didn't know what it was, maybe he was being paranoid, or maybe he was just tired from working a double bar shift, whatever it was, he couldn't shake this anxious feeling that was nipping at his insides.
Shizuo shook his head back and forth furiously, like he was trying to shake the feeling out of his very body.
'Fucking stress...it's just stress.'
The blonde giant stopped in his tracks for a moment to pull an ever present cigarette packet out from his pant pocket. He jammed the thing into his mouth in slight desperation, and then reached into his other pocket for a lighter.
Sweet, sweet relief flooded him as the flame met the tobacco, and one solid drag flooded his senses with a quick buzz. He sighed, blew out the wispy white smoke, and closed his eyes.
'Calm down. Jesus, do I need to go get fucking anxiety meds or some shit? Or am I going crazy -'
"Come talk again soon, Mikado-kun."
Shizuo opened his eyes. The voice that had cut into his thoughts belonged to the young woman he was currently imprisoned to, Tae Takanabbi, the grocery store owner (the owner of the grocery Shizuo had, uh, all but destroyed).
She was ushering a school student with short black hair and dark eyes out of her store at this very moment, and seemed to not be aware of Shizuo's existence. But hell, Shizuo hadn't even realized he had started moving again. Or that he was this close to Tae Grocery. When had he even started to walk again? What was he doing here again?
'Oh right...fucking flea's fault I have to fix this shit.'
"T-thanks for the tea, Takanabbi-san," the boy responded. He waved to her quickly, and all but scuttled off at a great speed, a bright red blush highlighting his face.
Shizuo saw all this as he took another drag of his cigarette. He then shifted his focus back to the grey haired woman. Her arms were crossed, and much to the blonde's surprise, there was a slight grimace printed on her face. She looked...agitated.
"Yo," Shizuo called out then, without thinking. His brain was doing a lot of shutting off today, and the sound of his voice startled him to where he bit down on his treasured cigarette.
Takanabbi jumped a bit before she turned towards him, unwrapping her arms from her chest as she did so.
"Oh...I didn't see you there. You're early," the shop owner stated. She looked Shizuo up and down, "long day at work?"
"You could say that," Shizuo replied, shifting his weight between his feet, feeling under the microscope from her steel stare. He then jammed his thumb in the direction where the school boy had run off in, "friend of yours?"
The young woman's lips sealed tightly suddenly.
"You could say that," Takanabbi said, parroting Shizuo. She then continued, "I'd describe him more as a curious cat."
Takanabbi abruptly became flustered, Shizuo assuming it was from embarrassment considering...her weird description of the dark haired boy...as a cat.
"Er...uh let's get inside, shall we? It's a little chilly out here!"
The young woman quickly turned on her heel, rushing into the store.
It wasn't cold outside.
The cleaning and repairing hours passed slowly, and Shizuo was growing more frustrated as the store's clock, which was hanging above the door to the back storage room, ticked on. He had momentarily become distracted from his unknown anxiety by the exchange between Takanabbi and the young boy, but now that he was focusing on nothing more than hammering a wall back together, that annoying anxiety had returned.
It had come back in such a force, that, as he was slamming a hammer into a nail, he missed the nail, due to his lack of focus. The hammer hit his thumb, and he yelped out, causing Takanabbi, who was organizing some food cans onto a nearby shelf, to look at him curiously. There wasn't much worry shining in her eyes, but she dropped her work anyways, to investigate.
"...you okay?" Takanabbi asked, rounding Shizuo's side. He had been cussing under his breath, and snapped his head away from the young woman and hissed out a quick, "peachy."
Takanabbi pulled up the stool she had been using to stand on to put up food cans, and plopped down on it.
Shizuo looked to her, still holding his bum thumb, interested in why she was pausing her work.
From the little time he had gathered spending with her, and the little amount of conversation he had with her, Shizuo had deduced she was impatient and wanted things done at her speed, which was break neck.
"...uh...you okay?" Shizuo questioned dumbly, mirroring her words. He felt like they had been repeating each other a lot in the past few hours, but maybe he was just imagining things.
Takanabbi was quiet for a few moments before she glanced up at him.
"Do you ever miss the Raira days...when things were simple?"
The question numbed Shizuo for a moment. Things had never been simple for him. He was an outcast, a freak. Happiness was a rare thing to him, like a needle in a haystack. This time, Shizuo remained silent.
"I guess not," Takanabbi muttered. She leaned back, resting herself against the wall Shizuo had been repairing.
Shizuo turned around, leaning his back against the wall as well, and slid down so he could sit on the floor. The pain in his thumb was still throbbing slightly, but he ignored it. He opened his mouth instead.
"Things haven't ever been simple...for me at least."
Takanabbi, this time, looked down at Shizuo. The blonde man looked back up at her.
"Walk me home?"
The shop was locked up, and the pair set off towards Takanabbi's apartment, with barely any words spoken.
There was a confusion nestled in Shizuo's mind now, alongside that nervousness. Takanabbi had seemed to do a three sixty on him, but to his surprise, he was shoving it aside, deep into the crevices of his head, so that the only thing he could focus on was the echo of Takanabbi and his' footsteps against the Ikebukuro pavement.
He felt as if there was an unspoken agreement between them. What this agreement was, he wasn't sure, but it was...comforting, he supposed.
"A man came to my store today," Takanabbi suddenly spoke, "a reporter."
Shizuo was reaching for another cigarette as she revealed this, but paused.
The young woman didn't look at him, even though she knew his eyes were boring into her, "He was asking about a kid I hired a few months back...he...he's gone missing."
Her voice faltered but there was no other detectable change of emotion, "apparently he was involved in drugs...and for some reason people think I know about it."
Takanabbi closed her eyes. Shizuo looked forward.
"I am too."