The Concept of Love

Chapter 7 :: AFTERMATH

Every GG had seen the explosion and came rushing to the scene. Clutch had returned to the Garage for backup, and both Rhyth and Beat were relieved. Yoyo was still breathing, he still had a pulse, but holding him felt like he was dead - his body was ice cold and dry.

A few days passed. Between the entire Garage, they knew enough to nurse the young Rudie back to decent health. Yoyo could sit up, drink and eat on his own (not much, but it was better than nothing), and he was beginning to talk. Every GG wanted to know what happened to him, how he got so bad, but knew better than to bombard him with questions as soon as he woke up.

The entire time Beat remained by his side, refusing to let the youngster out his sight for even a moment. He'd been through hell and back and was not about to let it all go to waste.

Rhyth also stayed close by and ran errands for the two, from gathering medical supplies at the Chuo Street Pharmacy to picking up supper from one of 99th Street's many restaurants.

The day Yoyo woke up, both Beat and Rhyth were there.

Beat was sitting on the edge of the bed sweeping Yoyo's bangs out of his face. He needed a hairdresser - his hair was getting long, and the green was growing out and fading, exposing the natural red. He remembered that the boy was born blond, but throughout the years it had become redder and redder. Just a few years ago it was orange, now it was closer to his own flaming head. He thought back to their childhood, the fun memories the two of them had with Cho. He was always short, but he used to be the stocky type. His body was beginning to thin out, and as much as Beat hated to admit it, the kid was growing. They may not share half of the same DNA, but did they look so much like each other. Every day it got harder and harder to hide their family secret. Maybe it would be better to tell the world and get it over with, but at the moment the truth would not only hurt the lime-head, it could possibly kill him. He sighed, hating himself and his masquerade, but promised himself to end it after the truth could no longer haunt him. At least in the secrecy of the Original Garage where Yoyo had been calling home since before the GG's first disbandment, he could be Seiji again. And the younger one could be Yoshiro. If only Cho were there...

"So, you two are brothers, ne?" Rhyth questioned the older redhead. He looked up at her with a look that couldn't decided if it was impressed, shocked or confused. The blue one could see through Yoyo, so it should had been no surprise that she saw through him too. However, he thought that he had hid it so well, even his best friends Corn and Gum had not been able to figure it out. With a loss for words, he simply nodded.

"You two look so much alike," she began her explaination, "I couldn't tell the first time, but I see it now - not just the red hair, but the sleeker body, and some of the more prominent facial features are beginning to come out."

She laughed.

"Who knows, by the end of the year, you two could probably pass for twins!"

So, they looked like each other. If she saw it, he worried about how many others saw the resemblance.

"You wanna know my biggest tip-off?"

He looked at her with a curious look.

"Your personalities! You guys are overconfident and cocky, and so determined to prove yourselves. It's the best part about you guys, and you show it off all the time. I've never seen anyone with more devotion than you guys."

"Huh," he pondered that thought. Many called them polar opposites, yet they shared a few key traits between them. How much more was shared between them?

A weak groan startled the two of them. Yoyo shuffled around, attempting to get confortable and alliviated the stiffness in his body. He opened his eyes but was greeted with bright lights and a blend of colors.

"Yo, don't even think about getting up," Beat scolded. The young one managed to locate the older one by his yellow shirt and noticed the blob of blue behind him.

"Beat? Rhyth? What happened?" he coughed out, his voice squeakier than usual.

"No, not Beat. It's Seiji, otouto."

Otouto... Little brother.

Seiji found him. How he wanted to leap out of that bed and embrace the warmth of the older boy, but the stiffness of laying there for who knows how long and all the injuries he obtained from the Rhinos left him unabled to move much. He struggled to get his hand out from the blanket and found his brother's hand. He gave a small squeeze which was returned.

Rhyth just smiled. The brothers were back together again.

A week later, Yoyo could walk around with help. He hung around the Garage while the others went out, learning the names of the new GG's in town and undergoing a special training regiment from Roboy that was designed by Corn, Beat and Garam, intended to get him back in shape in no time. It was working, but he would not be returning to the streets for a long time. But, he had other ways to help the GG's.

"You guys are probably wondering what happened to me, yo."

All the GG's looked at him with eagerness, wanting to hear this story since he got back. No one dared ask him.

"Well, I don't remember much, yo."

The general reaction was dissapointment mixed with the death glare.

"But, I can tell you why I got caught. I heard a rumor about Rokkaku's new group, yo! You gotta know this!"

Of course everyone wanted to hear this. It must've been good information if Yoyo nearly lost his life to it.

"'Kay, Rokkaku's hired these new guys, most of you know the Golden Rhinos, yo? They're back in town! They blend in with everything. Most are black coats, but the most dangerous ones are the ones who blend in - citizens, workers, even mascots, yo!"

This was good information.

"That's not the end of it, yo! There are these special guys... one has these long arms, artificial arms, yo. The other one is a Pyro, loves to burn stuff. That chick's crazier than the Love Shockers, yo. There was a third one..."

Every GG leaned in closer, not wanting to miss the big reveal.

"... Damn, I can't remember. They were impressive, yo. I didn't know about him until he caught me, yo."

This information was mildly disturbing. Yoyo was one of the fastest skaters, seconded only to Rapid 99 and Cube, and his ability to avoid the cops was second to none. Yet this one Rhino had managed to catch him. They must've been very fast or very clever to catch the young Rudie.

"And that's my story, yo."

After they learned this information everyone dispatched, with the radio blasting news of Golden Rhinos terrorizing the streets. The only ones left at the Garage were Yoyo, Beat, Rhyth, and of course the pup, Potts, and even good old Roboy. The bot decided to teach the dog to skate, so the three were left alone at the half-pipe.

"Wow," Rhyth started, "The Rhinos aren't your average cops. Wonder what happened to Hayashi?"

Beat laughed aloud, "Good riddance! The guy was losing his mind and his aim."

"Whatever," Yoyo sighed, "Maybe everyone will be able to do something about the Rhinos with what I found out. Not like I could do anything."

"Oh Yoyo, don't say such a thing!" Rhyth was ready to slap him. "You are very important! You found out a lot about the Rhinos that we never would have known about without you!"

"Yeah, and I got caught in the process. How weak is that?"

"Shut up! You are more important than you realize! You take care of Potts, you get along with everyone, and also keep them on their toes! Do you know how jealous everyone is of your tags? You're the best tagger in Tokyo. And let's not even get started on your trick records... Nobody can perform as many tricks as you in one run."

"That means nothing! I'm not a leader like Corn, I'm not strong like Garam, I'm not ripped like Combo, I'm not even a bit like BEAT!"

Yoyo huffed to catch his breath and regain his natural pasty color. The three stood in silence for a while.

Beat broke the silence.

"You're right, and you're wrong."

Before anyone could protest, he continued.

"Yeah, no one can lead a group like Corn. He's a much better leader than me. Garam... he's a freak of nature. How the hell he ever lifted those steel pipes is beyond me. Yeah, Combo's got his size, but he's slow and can't get past as many obsticles as the rest of us. And you're not like Beat."

He paused a moment, setting his gaze straight into Yoyo's eyes.

"But you are like Seiji. One day soon, everyone will be able to see that. Until then, I'm Beat, and you're Yoyo. You have your talents and uses, just learn to use them properly. Then the next time you run into problems, you'll get out of them."

Beat left before anything else could be exchanged. Rhyth remained behind with Yoyo.

"You know..." she began, trying to find the right way to say what she wanted to say, "You really are something special. Even if no one else in the world thinks that, remember that I will always think that, 'kay?"

He looked at her over the rim of his glasses, barely making out her features with his horrible natural eyesight. He felt his body temperature rising and cheeks flushing, so her pushed up his glasses.

"Yeah, whatever, yo."

But he knew it was true. He just couldn't find it in him to tell the truth to her yet, though. He would one day, but until then, he was fine with the way things were.