And what's this? A new Shinkumi Gokusen fic? A CHAPTERED one?1 Madness!1!¬?
Yes I'm back and instead of a oneshot I appear to have started another chaptered story, this one to celebrate (mourn) the ending of the main manga storyline. This is of course, strictly mangaverse and attempts to be totally accurate to manga canon. So we'll see how we go.
The title is based of the Florence and the Machine song of the same name, but it's not a songfic, it is just a song that really captures a feeling I want to use.
EDITED FOR CANON CONSISTANCY THANK YOU ABI WHOEVER YOU ARE!
A kick in the teeth is good for some, a kiss with a fist is better than none.
Shin should have known that he was in trouble from the moment he stepped through the door of the Kuroda compound.
He had only visited their place a few times since he started at Toudai – mostly he'd been spending time with his friends and studying – but he had been in the area on this occasion and thought it would do Yankumi good to be reminded of his presence in the world. She was the sort of person who forgot about people if she didn't see them every day.
His first clue should have been that bastard dog Fuji making cut-throat gestures and pointing towards the street when he saw Shin wandering in, but he assumed the animal was just acting as weird as it'd ever been and ignored him.
The second sign he missed was Kudou 'the problem child' (#3) cowering underneath the foundations of the house as Shin stepped up to the front door. He reasoned that Kudou could be hiding for any number of reasons, and thought it unlikely that his actions of recent should have anything to do with it.
His last sign, and by far the one he should have taken heed of, was when he knocked on the door and Minoru opened it.
"Yo," he said coolly, slumping against the wall of the house. "How's it goin?"
"NO THANK YOU WE DON'T WANT ANY GARDEN REMODELLING TODAY!" the stout man bellowed so loud that Shin's hair ruffled. Shin was about to ask him what the hell he was talking about, when in a hushed, urgent voice Minoru hissed, "Get out!"
"What?" Shin replied quizzically.
"Run! Get out, master Red-lion sir," Minoru babbled nervously. "LOOK I TOLD YOU MR. GARDEN LANDSCAPING MAN!" he screamed again. "WE DO NOT WANT ANY-"
"Who is it?" Shin heard the voice of his former teacher from a little way inside. "Minoru? I'm coming ou-"
"NO NEED, OJOU!" Minoru turned and hollered. "IT IS JUST A KIND GENTLEMAN WONDERING IF WE WANTED TO REMODELL OUR..." It was at this point that Shin noticed Kyou standing on one corner of the house's roof, waving frantically in Shin's direction and pointing towards the way out.
"Hey Yamaguichi!" Shin decided to end this bizzare show before it got too carried away, and called out to her. "Why's everyone here acting so weir-WHOAH!" he yelped as Yankumi came flying out of the house feet first, narrowly missing him as he leapt out of the way.
"So it IS you!" she said triumphantly, punching Minoru in the back of the head without even bothering to look at him. "That's for lying to protect him," she scolded the injured gangster, and Shin just started to feel the kind of dread he should have been feeling since he set foot on the compound.
"Shin, I think you need to have a little heart to heart with your precious teacher," she told him sweetly, and he considered if there was any way he could get out of this situation, because trouble was coming his way and it was coming fast.
"I was just stopping by to say hi," he said quietly, his eyes dropping low to the ground.
"Is that so?" Yankumi replied. "Well, hello there." She extended her hand as if to shake his, and unable to see anything else to do Shin reached out his own hand.
Before he could even touch her Yankumi's other hand, fisted and sinewy, came flying out of nowhere and struck Shin square in the jaw.
"OW! Fuck!" Shin yelled as the punch connected and he felt his head start pounding hard. "What's that for?"
"You know damn well what it's for," she stated, and before he could continue Shin felt another fist hard against his ribcage, throwing him backwards.
"It was my only option!" he snapped as he tumbled onto his back and realized she'd probably broken one of his ribs.
"Only option?" she screeched, springing off her back foot and aiming a flying kick for the side of Shin's head, striking him on the cheek and sending him spinning over sideways and grinding his face into the gravelled path.
"Yes!" he shouted, spitting onto the ground and seeing blood. He started to push himself up but felt her foot connect with his ribs from the side and another powerful kick sent him full-flip onto his back. "Just listen to me for a-" he began to say, but gave up when it was obvious the only response he was going to get was the fist currently flying towards his face.
Fight or flight kicked in, and there was sure as hell nowhere to run.
He grabbed her wrist before the punch connected and used all the force in his body to swing her to the side, toppling her balance and almost tripping her. It wasn't much, but it gave him the time he needed to roll away from her and onto his feet.
"I was with classmates!" he said fiercely, trying to defend his actions as well as his body, because Yankumi only listened while maintaining a steady stream of punches that Shin had to deflect away from his vital organs. "They would've been killed!"
"So you thought that gave you the right to throw around the Kuroda name?" she accused, launching a high kick for Shin's chest. He raised one of his knee's to block it, then in the second of opportunity that followed he blasted out an arm and hit Yankumi across the face.
She reeled backwards, apparently shocked that Shin had actually hit her.
"Would you LISTEN to me?" he gasped, his breath ragged in his throat and blood running from the corner of his mouth. For a while it looked as if Yankumi was going to go back on the offensive twice as strong, but she appeared to have a change of heart and gradually relaxed her body.
"Go on, I'm listening," she said coldly, and although her arms were lax her hands were still knotted up into fists.
"I was out with people from Toudai," Shin explained, taking deep, desperate breaths between sentences. "Someone had borrowed money to cover their tuition payments, and we all got cornered by their thugs." Another rattling breath. "They said that my friend was late on his interest, and that they wanted all of the money back now. We all knew he didn't have it," Shin pleaded, "and those guys were dangerous. They had knives and guns, no one I was with would've lasted a second if things kicked off. It was all I could think of." He winced for the slap that he knew was coming, striking him flat across the cheek with all the sensation of a belt sander.
"You threw around the family name as if it were yours, Shin," she said furiously. "It is not."
"I know," he answered bitterly. "But I couldn't think of anything else."
"That's not an excuse!" she barked. "Now that group think that Kuroda have a problem with them, and that's going to come around to Kyou and Grandpa before you've even got time to tell them you're sorry."
"I know," Shin said in defeat. "I just hoped it wouldn't go any further."
"Well you were wrong," she announced, crushing him with her willpower. "Now you have brought trouble on them, and shamed your own reputation as well. Throwing around big names instead of fighting things out honestly – like a man," she sneered, which was all too much for Shin to bear.
"Fight it out?" he burst. "Like a man? Really, Yamaguichi?" he said through squeaky gritted teeth. "Do you ever listen to yourself sometimes? Fuck, my reputation!" he snapped, lashing out an arm and grabbing a fistful of her t-shirt, yanking her closer to him in fury. "I'd rather not watch innocent people getting cut down in front of me."
"Your classmates were the ones who had dealings with the Yakuza in the first place," she pointed out, not yet rising to the physical threat Shin was making.
"They were going to kill him," he retorted. "I'll survive using a dirty trick on my reputation, Kuroda will survive a spot of trouble with another group, I'll just about survive this beating," he explained hurriedly, rushing so fast over his words that they barely made any sense, "but my buddy would not survive a knife inside his chest. I had to make a choice," he appealed to her one last time, "and I made it this way. So go ahead." He released his grip on her, and spread out his hands in invitation. "Do whatever you think is right."
She immediately raised a fist, holding it back so tensely that it quivered, as if it were lashed to a great elastic slingshot that would easily shatter Shin's nose if she let it go off on him. He didn't move to block it, he didn't even flinch. He just stared back and challenged her.
She held it for almost half a minute, and then suddenly cursed and turned her back, throwing her arm downward and storming back into the house.
"Don't let me see you around here again!" she hollered over her shoulder before she slammed the door, actually more furious than before Shin had arrived.
Shin didn't answer, just wiped his mouth on his sleeve and started walking out in the other direction, back onto the street where he'd come from. "I don't make promises I can't keep, Yamaguichi," he mumbled as he shoved his hands into his pockets and ignored the suspicious glances that came at him from all sides.
Later that day, as Shin nursed a number of very painful bruises (but thankfully no broken bones), one of his classmates who had been with the group the other night approached him.
"Hey Sawada," he said tentatively, noticing Shin's preliminary glare at anyone who chanced their luck enough to talk to him in that state. "What... what happened to you? Was it those..."
"No," Shin cut him off. "Relax, those guys won't be hassling any of us again."
"Oh," the fellow law student said meekly. Sometimes when Shin wasn't there, they tried to work out between them not how such a rough-looking kid got into their University with such great results, but why. Sawada never seemed too motivated by anything, and he had the attitude of a gang leader, not to mention talking like a Yakuza far too often for it not to be suspicious.
"Uh... Sawada," the guy probed shyly, taking Shin's silence as at least not an order to leave him alone. "You're not...really a Yakuza, are you?" Shin looked over at him with a swollen and blackening eye.
"Don't be stupid, of course I'm not," he replied seriously. "I walked into a lamppost."
With your entire body? His companion thought, but didn't dare ask. "What was all that 'Red Lion' stuff then?" he asked after a moment's recollection of the previous night.
"Oh, I just made all that up," Shin told him. "Yakuza are so stupid. I definitely wouldn't be here if I was one, would I?"
"Of course not," his friend concurred. "Yeah, you're right. Sorry I asked, it was..."
"Don't sweat it," Shin said coolly. "I know I look the part sometimes."
"Well... I mean you came from Shirokin, didn't you? They all look like gangsters or criminals there." Shin tried not to bristle at the slight on the school that he was so fond of, because he knew that his friend didn't mean it like that. Not to mention he'd rather avoid confrontations with people until his face stopped hurting so much. Damn Yankumi.
"We've got class in ten minutes," his classmate breached the silence that had fallen since his remark about Shirokin, which he could easily see had irritated Sawada but he hadn't said anything about it. "Do you want to walk together?"
"Sure," Shin replied a little more cheerfully, standing up and shouldering his back. "Ow," he hissed as pressure fell onto his bruised ribs. "Fuckin' Yamaguichi..." he muttered to himself, but not quietly enough.
"Who's Yamaguichi?" he pried, then grew a few sizes smaller as Shin threw a very dominating look his way.
"She's... complicated," he answered at last.
"Ohh," his friend – Hiroki – hummed somewhat knowingly. "I think I follow."
"I bet you don't," Shin replied with a grin pulled thin across his face, twisting up his bloodied lips at the corner and making him wince a moment later.
"Maybe I don't," Hiroki said far too knowingly. "Although I once heard a saying – 'A kiss with a fist is better than none'." He looked over to Shin, who was looking at him out of only one functional eye with an expression that severely questioned his little gem of a saying. "Well, it's a start?" he suggested, and Shin laughed.
"Yeah, some kinda start," he chuckled, but later that night, when he was icing over his injuries before he went to bed, his mind returned to the phrase. Was it suggesting that a violent relationship was better than not having one at all? Or maybe it meant that it was better for someone to feel angry enough to hit you than feel nothing. He guessed that was right, because he'd sure as hell rather Yankumi threw him about and screamed her head off than acted indifferently to him.
Around the same time, Yankumi sat in her room with her hand pressed against her face where Shin had struck her. She'd been hit by hundreds of people hundreds of times before, but for some reason this incident felt different. It was almost like the few times her Grandpa had hit her, but not quite.
She could hardly believe he'd done it at first, but there was the mark upon her cheek, clear as day even if it wasn't very strong.
Hadn't he said not that long ago that he loved her and wanted to be with her always? Wasn't he studying at the country's top university with the intention of becoming a lawyer for the Kuroda family?
He had hit her, and he hadn't hesitated or apologised for it.
It occurred to her that she had been hitting him a lot harder at the time, so perhaps it slightly invalidated her standpoint, because she had left him in a much worse state than he'd left her. Externally, at least.
She remembered that she'd told Shin never to come back to her place, and wondered if maybe she'd been too harsh. She was furious about what he'd done, tossing around the Kuroda name and his own meagre associations with them to scare off a couple of thugs, but he'd given her his reasoning, and even if she didn't like it, she could see the reason why. It was almost worse that way, because after that she couldn't carry on hitting him.
As she curled up her face began to burn, and not because of where she'd been slapped. She told herself she was overthinking this too much, that they'd just been hotheaded and got into a squabble, and even if normally fighting with people didn't rile her like this, she was just going to ignore it and go to sleep. Things would make more sense in the morning.
And that's it! Please please PLEASE leave a review letting me know what you think about this, because I really have no idea!
Will hopefully update soonish, although that is greatly helped by you lovely people.