Seiji Akita blinked, rubbed his eyes, and blinked again.
This was... hopeless.
He peered at the newly-hired guards and did everything he could to keep from groaning. This was it. The manager had gone completely crazy. First, the yakuza showed up and told the boss something. Then said boss proceeded to ignore the staff's endless, panicked suggestions to call the police and decided to hire a few 'specialists' to protect the bank. Idiot.
Chewing on his bottom lip, he eyed the so-called specialists. They were both very young - they were probably a few years younger than he was. One was obviously Japanese, with his sharp eyes and dark hair. The other...
Seiji fought the urge to roll his eyes. The other boy had light hair and the bluest eyes he had ever seen; he was a gaijin, a foreigner. What a foreigner was doing in Japan as a mercenary was beyond him, but he knew one thing:
They were doomed. There was no way these two could protect the bank from the yakuza. They didn't even have guns - they had swords, for crying out loud! Swords! In an age where firepower ruled, they'd brought swords!
He watched the Japanese talk quietly with his light-haired partner, who smiled at something he said. Seiji seethed. Did they think this was some kind of a joke? That they were here to play samurai or something? The thought irritated him to no end.
Blinking, Seiji found himself staring in shock at the Japanese boy. "How did you know my name?"
The boy raised an eyebrow. "Where I come from, when someone says hello to you, you say hello back. As for your name, I heard your boss calling for you."
Seiji blinked, the muttered, "Nice to meet you, ...?"
"Just Tommy." The boy nodded, then pointed at the Caucasian. "He is Hebi no Me."
Seiji's jaw dropped. "... Excuse me, can you repeat that?"
"His name is Hebi no Me," Tommy repeated patiently. "Snake-Eyes."
Damn. That was some name. "Snake-Eyes, huh," he mumbled. "Makes... sense once you look at him." He cleared his throat. "So, why did you call me?"
Tommy (pretty backwards how he was given a foreign name while his outsider friend had a Japanese name, however odd, Seiji couldn't help noticing) pointed to his fellow guard behind his back. "Snake noticed that you looked pretty mad. Is there something wrong?"
Seiji sighed and rubbed the back of his neck. No - he couldn't directly tell them. The manager had paid a hefty price for these two, and it just wouldn't do to say anything that could affect their 'performance,' whatever that was.
Still... "How old are you?"
His eyes widened. "Only fifteen?" he echoed.
It was all he could do to not comment on their education level. "That's nice," he forced himself to say instead, then jerked his head at the Snake boy. "He doesn't speak much, does he?"
Tommy smiled politely. "No. Sadly, his Japanese is very heavily accented, so he stays quiet to save himself the embarrassment."
A ball of paper hit his head and fell into his hand. "My Japanese is not that bad," the blond growled, a light accent decorating his words.
Feigning a shocked look, Tommy turned to him. "No. A gaijin who speaks Japanese? What sorcery is this?" He ducked; another ball sailed over his head.
All Seiji could do was shake his head at the sight of the teenagers tossing paper balls at each other. They weren't going to survive the inevitable yakuza encounter.
After lunch, the boys appeared to have settled down. They were unnervingly... quiet.
Yes, that was what they were.
Dead. Quiet. Not a sound. It was as if they had passed on to the next life and forgotten that their bodies were still sitting up with their eyes open. Seiji was sorely tempted to wave his hand in front of their concentrated faces just for amusement.
Well, he would have, if Tommy hadn't suddenly snapped his head up and scared the living daylights out of the young man. "Yakuza," he muttered. "A dozen of them."
Almost as if he didn't hear his fellow teenager, Snake rose to his feet and melted into the shadows so quickly and so silently that Seiji did a double-take. "Yakuza?" he squeaked. Tommy beckoned for him to follow as he led him into one of the small side rooms used for private business. He followed meekly, momentarily forgetting that he was the older one and, as a result, was supposed to act more mature.
"Stay," Tommy ordered in a tone that demanded obedience. All sense of pride gone and replaced with fear, all Seiji could do was sink into a corner as Tommy slipped away, locking the door behind him.
His ears rang with his frantic heartbeats and his breath came way too quickly. Clasping his hands together, he breathed a frantic prayer for his ancestors to watch over him. Before he was done, a short series of gunshots rang out.
He couldn't breathe, almost screamed, and might have wet his pants a little as he buried his face in his knees to keep from crying out. Those two were dead. Dead! Now there was nothing stopping the yakuza from storming every room of the building, dragging everyone out, and executing all of them with a bullet to the-
Another round of shots, and he heard frustrated screams. His head swam. They were... alive. Those bastards were still ALIVE! He didn't know whether to be sad or happy that they had proven him wrong.
More cursing, and he managed to catch a, "STAY STILL, YOU SLIMY EELS. STAY STILL, SO I CAN-" the voice was cut off by a shriek of pain, and he heard the rapid-fire bursts of an automatic gun.
One of them had a gun. Or somehow managed to acquire one.
Panicked screams and shouts filled the air, some cut short by a gun or... something else. He'd watched enough action movies to know people who'd been shot fell to the ground groaning, not completely silent. Seiji blinked. Were they actually managing to subdue the enemy with bladed weapons?
It was over soon, but not quite soon enough. His head spun, and the floor had decided that it didn't want to stay still any more. His stomach roiled, and he barely managed to keep his lunch down. He had never - never - experienced anything like that before. All the shrieks and the shots and the... the...
He stopped. Then, despite common sense telling him otherwise, he took a deep breath.
Oh, the nightmares that were in his future.
Filling his lungs with fresh air, he tried to unlock the door. His hands shook so much that it took him five attempts to finally get the door open. He peeked out.
A scream was ripped from his throat. There was blood EVERYWHERE! On the floor, on the walls; there was even a couple of splatters on the ceiling! One masked form was looking at something in the corner, while another was talking to a still-alive man who was bleeding from his arm.
Seiji slammed the door closed and sank against it, arms wrapped around his legs as he fought back tears. There were no bodies visible, but he didn't need to see them - he had just witnessed a massacre.
And the two responsible for so much death and blood were-
His heart nearly stopped beating, and the ground lurched. Spots blinded his vision, and he almost fell over.
Those two! The two boys he had, only a few hours ago, been skeptical of. They'd done this!
Breathing heavily, he rubbed at his temples, frantically trying to calm himself down. Maybe they weren't human; maybe they were... robots? Yeah, that was a possibility, and it explained how they managed to overpower a dozen men and not manage to get a single scratch on themselves. Yet, there was a small part of him - a tiny voice in his head - that told him, "Hey, loser. Nice going; you practically insulted two murderers. Guess who's going to die next?"
"Oh, no..." he croaked, his voice hoarse and thick with newfound fear. This was it. His life was going to end here. He was never going to go to a university, and never going to see the niece whose birth announcement had arrived just two days ago. Everything he had planned for the future was all for naught.
There was a knock on the door, and Seiji yelped in a very girly manner. "Seiji-san," a calm voice he recognized as Tommy's said, "the coast is clear. They're gone."
To the next realm, he thought before reluctantly opening the door and peeking out.
There was Tommy, standing casually with a friendly smile and his hair ruffled from pulling off his mask. It was certainly hard to imagine this young boy killing men, but that was exactly what he'd been doing for the last ten minutes. "You can come out now." He turned around and headed towards his gaijin friend.
Seiji's heart-rate quickened, but not in the way he had expected. It looked like the boys weren't as untouchable as he had previously thought.
The one called Snake-Eyes was sitting on the floor, the lower half of one pant leg cut away to reveal a bleeding wound. He had been grazed by a bullet. Seiji watched as Tommy kneeled by his friend, produced a knife, and cut off one sleeve of his own uniform to use as a bandage. As he did, he murmured reassuringly to the foreigner, whose breath was coming out in quick, pained gasps. Although he couldn't hear most of the words, Seiji caught one: Brother.
He blinked, unsure of what to feel. He had gone from exasperated to skeptical to full-on fearful in less than an hour. Now, he supposed he felt respectful and maybe even sympathetic. From his hard eyes and set expression, the gaijin looked like he was trying hard to ignore the pain, but the beads of sweat on his forehead gave him away.
Tommy took one of Snake's arms and wrapped it around his shoulders. Grunting, he stood up, supporting his brother, and turned to the manager. "Our work here is done. The yakuza should bother you no more."
The man sneered. "I told your clan to send me the best, and this is what I get?" He jerked a thumb at Snake-Eyes. "A gaijin who got himself hurt."
Tommy straightened up and somehow managed to look threatening despite the blond he was supporting. "My clan cannot waste its best on something as insignificant as the yakuza," he replied, his voice quiet, but as cold as ice. "We got the job done, and that should be enough. And I do not recommend insulting my sword brother. You've seen what we are capable of."
Then, he grinned. A slow, terrifying, knowing grin that send chills up Seiji's spine and left him with a sense of dread. "Have a nice day," he purred, still smiling that horrible smile as he nodded once and walked out the door.
The next day, Seiji quit his job. He did not want to know what kind of connections his boss had, nor did he want to face the consequences of continuing to work at that cursed bank.
But the events of that day and Tommy's smile haunted him for years to come. He often shared the story, hoping to find some comfort or a sympathetic ear. Not one of the people who heard it believed a word. Not his brother. Not his wife.
Not even his niece, who came to live with him after her parents were murdered by the yakuza.
"... Ojisan?" Junko waved her hand in front of her uncle's blank, staring face. "Ojisan, are you alright?" She glanced at the man beside her. "I am sorry, love. He's always been a little out of it, but this has never happened befo-"
Her uncle's hand was on her arm in an instant, and she was pulled into the house; the door slammed shut behind her, leaving a befuddled Tommy standing outside alone. "Junko!" Seiji gasped. "How-who-why...?"
Carefully, Junko took her uncle's hand in hers. "It is very nice to see you again, ojisan." She smiled. "But I've brought someone with me." She reached for the doorknob. "He's-"
"DANGEROUS!" Seiji slammed into the door, blocking it with his body. "Junko, I told you it was a bad idea to become a geisha! You come in contact with all sorts of men and some of them are NOT harmless!"
Junko giggled nervously. "I quit being a geisha some time ago, actually..." She watched the color drain from his face.
A female voice spoke from behind him. "What? You stopped being a geisha and it took several years for you to come back to your aging aunt and uncle? Thankless child."
Laughing, Junko threw her arms around the woman. "Obasan! It's good to see you too. And you're not that old."
Emiko chuckled as she hugged her niece tightly. "Ooh, child..." She gave her arms a playful squeeze. "Goodness, Junko - look at how strong you've become! What in the world have you been doing?"
Junko wriggled out of her aunt's poking and prodding. "I will tell you after ojisan lets my companion in." She looked pointedly at her uncle.
Emiko gasped loudly. "Seiji! For shame! Let Junko's friend in!" She pushed her husband easily aside and opened the door.
Tommy was in the exact same position as when the door closed. Upon seeing the woman, he bowed low. "Hello, Akita-san."
Blinking, Emiko stared in silence for a few seconds before happily chirping, "Come in, come in!" and sliding the door wide open.
Murmuring a polite, "Thank you," Tommy took his shoes off, stepped into a pair of provided slippers, and entered the house. Junko's aunt was still looking excessively pleased, her uncle had backed up against the wall, and Junko herself looked a little embarrassed. The paper bag in his hand rustled a little as he took the gift out and presented it to Emiko with both hands and a bowed head. "I know this is quite insignificant, but I want you to have it."
Junko watched as her aunt's face lit up. "Oh, you did not need to go through all this trouble..."
"Please, Akita-san? I got it for you."
Emiko's eyes twinkled. "If it pleases you." Bowing, she accepted the gift. "Really, there is no need to be so polite. You are Junko's friend, and our home is your home."
Junko cleared her throat lightly. "Obasan, ojisan, this is Tomisaburo."
"Just Tommy is fine."
"Tommy?" Emiko smiled, although she pronounced it more like 'Tomi.'
"TOMMY?!" Seiji shrieked from his corner before curling up into a ball and muttering incoherently to himself.
Blushing, Emiko bowed her head. "I apologize for my husband. He's always been a little… unbalanced." She threw said husband a glare.
"No, no, no!" Seiji grabbed his wife by her shoulders and shook her. "You don't understand! He's THE TOMMY!"
"'The Tommy?'" Junko rolled her eyes as Emiko freed herself and went to go brew some tea. "Ojisan, sit down. You're hallucinating again."
"What is he talking about?" Tommy tilted his head curiously.
"Oh, nothing. In the few months that I lived here, ojisan would tell a story every week or so about his first job as a bank teller and something about the yakuza and two 'boys of flying death.'" Junko sighed. "He named one of them 'Tommy.'"
"I most certainly did not name him!" Seiji protested. "And he has the exact same smile as him!" He pointed at Tommy. "YOU'RE HIM!"
"Just ignore him." Junko rubbed her face tiredly. "He needs a few more hours of sleep."
But he did not reply. Instead, Tommy stared right at her uncle with narrowed eyes and a frown. All Seiji could do was stare fearfully back, until...
"... Seiji-san?" he whispered. "You're Junko's uncle?"
"YOU STILL KNOW ME?!," Seiji wailed, backing as far as he could away from him.
"What?" Junko tugged on Tommy's sleeve. "You mean to tell me that the boy in uncle's story was actually you?"
"Yes." Tommy looked thoughtful. "I still remember that mission. It was one of the easier ones, actually, although Snake got hurt."
"Why are you here?" Seiji demanded, holding up a pillow for the meager protection it provided. "What are you doing to my niece?"
Tommy and Junko exchanged a long look. "Actually..." She played with her hair. "We came to, uh... inform you."
"Inform me what?" he squeaked.
Slowly, Junko lifted her left hand just enough for her uncle's gaze to fall on the ring on her finger. "He's my fiancé. We are marrying in a few months."
If it weren't for the faithful ticking of a nearby clock, he would have thought that time stopped. Seiji took one breath, then another.
Ojisan = uncle
Obasan = aunt
A/N: I had been wondering where Junko went to after her parents were killed. I mean, she was fifteen when her parents died, and I somehow doubt that they didn't think to name a caretaker on their wills, so in my AU, she stayed with an aunt and uncle for a few months before deciding to become a geisha and pursue revenge. One thing led to another, and this plot bunny decided to hug my face. Oh, the joys of plot bunny hugs.
Internet cookies for Greentigerr for the usual editing.
Stay tuned for Seiji's eventual appearance in 'Arashikage Home Videos,' where he reacquaints himself with Tommy's partner in crime - Snake-Eyes!