For meru-chan, who requested "a fic where something tragic happens to fuu and [Mugen]'s left to ponder, fully realize his feelings, and find a way to awkwardly confess to her," with the note that "AU or canon is fine." I hope you like the 1920s Jazz Age and a teeny bit of Prohibition-related Mafia action!
Obviously, this will use 1920s slang, but you can easily Google it yourself. A quick glossary of key terms: 'cheaters' are 'eyeglasses,' a 'bluenose' is a puritanical person, and a 'bearcat' is a fiery girl (typically a flapper).
I am so goddamn excited about this one guys you have no idea XD
The gin joint's door slams against the exterior wall from Mugen's kick, and he hustles outside, Fuu's limp form in his arms. Jin's eyes widen at the bloody stain blooming on her pink fringed dress. He swiftly goes for the nearby phone booth, grabs the receiver off its hook, and makes to dial. Dumping Fuu in the backseat of the flivver, Mugen seizes Jin's wrist, pries the receiver from his fingers, and slams it back onto the wall.
"The fuck is wrong with you?!" he demands, his palms red with her blood.
"She needs a doctor-"
"Like we can take her to a doctor!" Mugen shouts. He slams the side of his fist against the wall of the phone booth. "Dammit, you were supposed to have the car ready! Where the fuck were you?!" The effort of holding up his own weight seems to overcome him then, and he slaps a bloody handprint on the glass as he slumps over for support. Jin watches, struggling to maintain composure, as Mugen attempts to rub his face with a dripping red hand and quickly rethinks the action.
"Mugen," Jin attempts, adjusting his glasses. "We don't have the supplies to handle an injury like this."
Mugen lurches forward and grabs a fistful of Jin's navy waistcoat. "Look, cheaters, maybe you forget because you used to be with the government, but you're not with the government! You're on the lam like the rest of us!" He shakes the former g-man to punctuate his point. "If you and I take her to a hospital, the cops'll pinch us both before you can 'hnn'!" The anger flees him, and the sense of his own powerlessness sets in. He releases Jin's bloodied waistcoat and casts a guilty glance in Fuu's direction. "Or they'll do it to her."
Jin allows a brief moment of silence for the gangster's remorse to fully seep in. "Mugen," Jin repeats, enunciating carefully. "Fuu is bleeding out in our Model-T. Do you want to stay out of jail, or do you want her to live?"
Mugen turns his face toward Jin's, and the helplessness there makes the g-man pity him a little. Jin picks up the receiver again, and Mugen makes no attempt to stop him.
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
"It's too bad you aren't still with the Mafia."
Mugen blinks himself into awareness, slowly looking at Jin, who is seated beside him on the holding cell bench. "Eh?"
Jin is staring straight ahead, but his eyes have that cloudy, far-off look of when he's lost in thought. His hand comes up to cup his chin thoughtfully, and the manacles drag the other hand with it. "If you still had gang ties to exploit, we could've taken her to an illegitimate doctor and avoided this."
Mugen tchs and slumps forward onto his knees, handcuff chain clanking. "Wouldn't want those sawbones touchin' her anyway. Half of 'em ain't got a clue what they're doing." He rubs his stomach underneath his rumpled white dress shirt. "They'll tear you up worse'n the bullets do."
"Ah, so that's where the scars are from," Jin muses.
Mugen sits up to give the g-man a nasty look, but quickly sighs and clanks forward again, still rubbing that spot on his abdomen. "Some of 'em," he mumbles.
They sit in silence for a moment.
"Goddammit, I need some hooch," Mugen mutters.
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
"You think she's okay?"
Jin pauses in counting the bricks by his face to clink in Mugen's direction. The gangster has sprawled out on the concrete floor, lanky limbs spread as far as his shackles will allow. Jin adjusts his glasses. "I presume that they would tell us if she wasn't."
Mugen snorts and rolls onto his side to look at the g-man. "You really are a fish, aren't you?"
Jin expels a sigh. "I have never been behind bars in my life, if that's what you're getting at."
"Whatever." Mugen rolls into a sitting position, seeming to fold up at the joints. "Just means you ain't really lived."
Jin's mouth curves into a sneer. He tips his head back, sliding his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "Yes, because wasting half my life in prison sounds like living."
Mugen bares his teeth. "Bluenose."
"Rube," Jin shoots back before refocusing on the bricks beside him.
Still on the floor, the gangster wraps skinny arms around his skinny legs, knees pulled up into his chest. He stares out through the bars while Jin silently studies the wall.
Finally, Mugen says, "Bearcat like her'll be okay."
Jin glances in the gangster's direction. Mugen gazes out of the cell, a far-off look in his eyes. With just a hint of a smile, Jin turns back to his bricks. "That seems likely."
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
Jin sits up with a start, waking from a very uncomfortable nap. Ignoring the kinks in his spine, he sighs and adjusts his glasses at the gangster, who has crawled across the floor to rest his arms and chin on Jin's bench. "Yes?" he asks.
Mugen's eyes are troubled. "Level with me a minute. You think Fuu's gonna live?"
Jin frowns. "I have no doubt that she will. She is a 'bearcat,' as you said."
"But what if she doesn't?" Mugen presses.
With another sigh, Jin considers the bricks again. "Then I suppose we'll be stuck with one another."
Mugen pauses as the sentence sinks in. Finally, he turns and glares out through the bars. "Dumb bird better live."
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
Jin does not respond from the corner he has wedged himself into to sleep in. Mugen frowns at him, then lowers his eyes, drawing a circle in the floor with his finger.
"It was my fault, you know. That she got shot." He digs his fingernail into a crack in the concrete. "I know I gave you shit about the car, but we knew you'd be late. You always get sidetracked by somethin'." His nail snaps off in the crack and starts to bleed. "I was the one who had to get her out of the joint if things went wrong."
Mugen pauses, peering at the g-man. Jin still shows no reaction, so the gangster continues:
"She was doing fine. I was the one who fucked up. She was listening in on this conversation in the back corner of the bar, hoofing it with some asshole, and he grabbed her. Like... grabbed her." Mugen exhales. "And I just walked straight up and punched his lights out. And maybe even that woulda been fine if I hadn't still had the chopper in my free hand when I did it."
Jin remains motionless in the corner as Mugen finishes, "Next thing I know we're in the middle of a shootout, and by the time I've bumped those fuckers she's bleedin' all over the dance floor."
Mugen falls silent, staring at the drops of blood on the concrete from his finger. There is no answer from the corner.
"I won't tell her 'sorry'." He hunches forward, hugging his knees again. "But fuck it if I don't wish I would."
Jin cracks an eye open. Mugen is gazing out through the bars pensively. Shaking his head, the g-man settles back into his feigned slumber.
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
"Mugen." Jin prods the sleeping gangster with his foot. "Mugen, wake up."
Snorting, Mugen lifts his face from the valley between his folded knees, blinking. "Time is it?"
"Mugen, the situation's changed."
Immediately the gangster is awake. "Fuu? Is she-"
Someone clears his throat on the opposite side of the bars. Mugen follows Jin's gaze to the middle-aged man in a sharp charcoal suit standing outside their cell. His face is blocky and masculine beneath the brim of his light tan fedora, and a square black goatee frames the grim line of his mouth. "Kariya Kagetoki, Federal Bureau of Investigation," he says, flashing a badge. "You two have made quite the names for yourselves with the United States government. Public Enemies Numbers 3 and 4, to be precise."
Mugen's lips curl back in a snarl, but Jin interjects before the gangster can say anything foolish: "And our companion?"
Kariya raises his eyebrows. "You mean the little moll that took two rounds to the chest? She's fine." Despite the tension in the air, both Mugen and Jin breathe a visible sigh of relief. Uncaring, Kariya finishes, "For now."
The tension redoubles. "What do you mean, 'for now'?!" Mugen snaps.
"We know her to be the daughter of a man we're searching for. One Seizo Kasumi." Kariya shrugs. "When she's stable, we'll take her in for questioning."
Both Mugen and Jin's expressions sharpen. "You mean interrogation," the latter says.
Kariya's eyes narrow. "That depends on her."
Mugen lurches to his feet, but Jin shoves a leg out to trip him. The gangster cracks his face on the concrete. "What the fuck?!" he bellows at the g-man, blood dripping from his nose.
"Don't be an idiot," Jin retorts.
Meanwhile, a slow smirk stretches Kariya's face. "Honestly," the agent smiles, drawing their attention. "He really is like a rabid dog."
Mugen bares his teeth. "So's your old man," he spits.
Kariya cocks a brow. "Witty like one, too. At any rate, I'm not actually here to make small talk. I just wanted to let you know that you're slated for execution by electric chair tomorrow at dawn." That smirk reappears, widens. "If you have an escape plan, I suggest you attempt it soon."
They both glare at his back as he walks away.
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
"You asleep again?"
Jin is not, wedged in the corner as he is, but remaining silent is easy enough. Mugen takes that as a yes.
"You know, every day when I wake up, I think, 'This might be the last time I get to bask in the sun'," he says, gazing up at the darkened ceiling. "And it never, ever pissed me off before. But now..."
Mugen hesitates, then rolls onto his side, curling up, his chain clinking on the concrete. "Now I know I'll die without feeling the sun on my face one last time. And I can't stand it."
Jin cracks an eye open to peer at Mugen, slumped on the floor. Then, sighing, he sits up and looks at him fully. "By 'sun,' are you referring to Fuu?"
Mugen's face reddens, and he slaps his palms on the concrete to shove himself to the g-man's height. "You mean you've been awake this entire time?!"
"Yes," Jin answers flatly. "Answer my question."
"No!" Mugen snaps, incredulous. He fwumps onto his other side, rolling away from the Jin. "Fucking... fuck!"
"Dry up, asshole!" the gangster yells. He somehow manages to cross his arms despite being handcuffed and laid out on one side.
Jin waits for some of his anger to cool. After a few minutes of pouty silence, he poses more tentatively, "Mugen."
No sharp retort comes from the man on the floor opposite him, so the g-man continues:
"If we somehow get out of this situation-" Mugen snorts, but when no words follow, Jin presses on: "-when we are inevitably arrested and slated for execution again..." Jin pauses deliberately this time, but the gangster makes no sound. Jin concludes, "...would you like to have these same conversations with me before you go to the chair?"
Mugen declines to answer, which is all the response Jin needs.
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
"Man, they really roughed you fellas up, huh?"
They both blink awake. Slowly, their vision focuses on Fuu, wiggling her fingers at them from the other side of the bars. Somehow she's managed to clean up that pink fringed dress. If neither of them knew better, they'd never have suspected that she'd been shot.
For once, Mugen manages to find words first. "You're not dead."
Rolling her eyes, Fuu crouches and wraps her fingers around the bars, leaning close. "Obviously not, you idiot." She reaches a dainty hand through the gap to touch his bloody chin. Jin hears the gangster's breath catch at the contact, but Fuu furrows her brow, too focused on his injuries to notice. "Did the cops do this to you?"
Somehow, Mugen regains himself. He jerks his head in Jin's direction, out of her reach. "Nah, bluenose kicked me."
Fuu's eyes narrow, and she glares at the g-man fiercely. "Jin! Honestly, I expected better of you!"
"He tried to throw himself at a federal agent," Jin retorts. "I had to stop him somehow."
Fuu sighs, one eyebrow twitching. "I swear, I can't leave you two alone for a minute." With a shake of her head, she pulls a set of lockpicks from the hollow of her cleavage and goes for the door to the cell.
It takes Mugen a moment to shake off the image of her hand sliding between her breasts. "The agent," he mutters forcing his focus elsewhere. "He said you were gonna get interrogated."
Fuu snorts as she fiddles with the tools. "Says him. All I had to do was bat my eyelashes at the youngest male nurse. The goof escorted me right out of the building. I just clocked him with a shoe and ran over here." The lock clicks, and with a satisfied noise, she pushes the gate open. "Let's go. We should be able to break the manacles with this hammer I've got stashed outside."
"Wait," Mugen says, even though Jin is already on his feet and out the door. The two of them look back at the gangster, silently questioning, and the undivided attention makes him swallow anxiously. "Are you gonna be all right?" he asks, locking his eyes on Fuu.
Her expression softens. "Let's get out of here," she says. "We'll talk when we're safe."
- -SAMURAI CHAMPLOO- -
Somehow they make it to their other safehouse on the edge of the city without being noticed, despite Jin's bloodied blue waistcoat and Mugen's bright red blazer looking a little redder in certain areas. As per their unspoken standard procedure, Jin enters the forsaken apartment building first to check for squatters or spies. Mugen pushes Fuu in second and shuts and locks the door behind the three of them, keeping her between her 'bodyguards' as they sweep the place.
After their search turns up nothing more than a few rats, they slump on one of the beat-up apartment sofas, too exhausted to care where it's been. Fuu exhales and leans her head on Jin's shoulder, and Mugen is about to say something regrettable when she kicks her feet up into his lap, silencing his complaint.
"I ain't a footstool," he mutters instead.
With a snort, she kicks her shoes over the arm of the couch and snuggles into them both in an oddly reassuring way. Resigning himself to his fate, Mugen rests his chin on his fist and gazes at the peeling wallpaper of the abandoned apartment, his eyes cloudy and faraway. Jin looks at the girl pressed up against his side and the man on the opposite end of the couch in a brotherly sort of way. Then he stands up.
"We've never stocked this safehouse with food," he says in response to their confused looks. "I'll go procure some."
Fuu furrows her brow. "You sure you won't get lost this time?"
"Again?" Mugen drones, eyeing the g-man warily.
"I'm certain," Jin answers, already moving toward the door. He pauses at the edge of the room and glances back. "Mugen. Remember what we talked about."
And then he disappears through the doorway. Fuu and Mugen stare in his wake. They sit in silence until they hear the front door shut and latch.
"What'd you talk about?" Fuu asks, turning curious brown eyes on the gangster.
Face reddening, Mugen sneers at the doorway and stretches his arms along the back of the couch. "Nothin'," he says, looking away.
Fuu arches an eyebrow. "That sounded like a whole lot of nothing."
"I said it was nothing!" Mugen snaps, glaring at her. He shifts on the couch in a half-hearted bid to put some distance between them, which fails entirely seeing as her feet stay in his lap. "Dumb bird," he mutters.
She frowns at him for a moment, pondering his agitated expression. Then, finally, she asks, "Hey. You wanted to know if I'd be okay, right?"
Sitting up more fully, Mugen peers at her. "Yeah," he says. "So?"
"So I haven't answered your question," she retorts, swinging her feet off his lap and standing. She sways for a moment, then, with a deep breath, moves to take off her dress.
His face turns as red as his blazer. "What the hell do you think you're doing?!" Mugen sputters, scrambling back on the couch as far away from her as he can manage.
She shoots him a narrow look, her cheeks a little pink as well. "I'm showing you the bandages! God, Mugen, grow up!" She turns toward him, her arms folded across her chest. "You were worried about me, right? That's what this is about? You were worried and now you're too embarrassed to say so because Jin made a point of it?"
Mugen breathes heavily, his eyes wide and locked on her stubborn face.
"Well, fine." And in one quick motion, she peels off the dress and drops it on the floor. Her entire torso is wrapped in milky white bandages tight enough to show the curves of her body - and there are curves, however subtle they may be on her slender frame. She's wearing little black panties, and he snaps his eyes back up because he can't think about those for very long if he wants to avoid a shoe to the face.
Fuu stands there, hands on her hips, her stubborn face pink in the cheeks, waiting for him to do... something. Breathing in deeply, Mugen stands and approaches her, trying his damnedest not to look past the bottom strip of bandage. Delicately, he touches the spot where he knows she'd been shot, right beneath her breastbone. She winces, and he glances up at her face so close to his.
He's miscalculated. He'd thought he could do this and still keep her at a distance if he just didn't look down. But up is worse. Her face is right there, inches away, and he's never done self-control very well. He flattens his palm against her side, curls a hand around the back of her neck, and kisses her.
I'm really, really glad that this request was nonspecific enough that I could finally write a 1920s Prohibition-era AU for these guys, because I've been wanting to do it since I was fifteen (side note: I'm twenty).
The story: Fuu is a flapper whose father was a high-ranking bookie for the local branch of the Mob. When he grew a conscience and ran off with the books, Fuu decided to set out to find him - and so did everyone else he'd pissed off, gangsters and government agents alike. For protection, Fuu recruited Mugen, an ex-mobster on the run after killing a few fellow soldiers who'd set him up, and Jin, a former Prohibition Agent who defected after witnessing the corruption in his ranks.
Since Fuu's body type would be in fashion for the period, she gets to have a more active role, going into the speakeasies to dance, flirt, and eavesdrop. But she's still a wimp, so Mugen and Jin are there to get her out if things go sour. Unfortunately, Jin, who drives the car, usually gets attacked by anyone who recognizes him, and Mugen, who handles most of the shooting, tends to jump the gun.
So, just like in the show, everyone hates our heroes, and Mugen and Jin are in a position to naturally distrust one another. Just like in the show, Fuu usually gets put in danger, Mugen is usually the one on hand to save her, and Jin usually kicks unrelated ass on the side. You can see why I never wrote it, right? I'd more or less be rehashing the plot of the show, so it would ultimately be the same thing and therefore pointless to read.
I don't do renaming in AUs, so their incredibly inappropriate Japanese names get to stay.
Let me know what you think (and if any of you would like your requests in this setting!) and, as always, thanks for reading.