“Sleep well.” Sakuma caressed Iwamoto’s cheek. “Be careful on your way back.”
“You need to be more careful than I am,” Iwamoto retorted and stole a last kiss before they parted ways. He could already see the first cracks of dawn at the horizon, the sky was turning orange instead of the bluish-black.
“I’m always careful.”
When Sakuma didn’t show up at their arranged meeting place the next time, Iwamoto didn’t think much about it. Sometimes the watcher shift at the Nameless Road changed and well, there wasn’t really a good way for them to contact each other. Leaving cryptic messages in places like this was the only way. He doodled a little star on a wall and wrote ‘ok?’ next to it.
He started to worry when the other didn’t show up again the next time. And there had been no message, no anything at any of their places.
Iwamoto walked back into the Funk Jungle Club, pushing past the crowd and other throngs of people standing around and talking. He made his way to the VIP area reserved for the members of the Mighty Warriors. When he walked past one of the tables, he overheard a conversation.
“Sounds like those damned old Dragons are finally making their move. Those Rude brats are as good as toast. They won’t stand a chance. And that Hoodlum Squad is next.”
That got his attention.
“Oi, what are you talking about?” He joined the table and slammed down a bottle of whisky for good measure. The other two smirked and let him refill their glasses.
“You didn’t hear it from Ice yet, Iwamoto? Kuryu is starting to make a move. The Nameless Road is first. They didn’t like it when those brats destroyed their little drug factory. It was going so well and becoming a great business after all. I heard Doubt went in for a raid. Ice was considering an offer because it was good money but decided not to. He had--”
The rest of the other’s words didn’t register with Iwamoto anymore. His blood had run cold. He had heard about Kuryu’s plans of course. Everyone who had made a name for him or herself in S.W.O.R.D. or among the Mighty Warriors had. The Dragons were trying to take over the city and make it their own. Of course the established groups of S.W.O.R.D. were in their way. The Mighty Warriors had stayed out of things for the most part but it looked like they would be dragged in sooner or later. Doubt had already affiliated itself with Kuryu.
“They said the Nameless Road went up in flames.”
Those words got him going.
It had been a while for him to go even remotely close to the Nameless Road. He and Sakuma had always preferred to meet somewhere neutral, just in case.
The acrid smell of of fires - still burning or extinguished - was heavily in the air and Iwamoto had to draw a scarf over his mouth and nose. His eyes were starting to tear a little as well. He’d ditched his usual clothes for something that wouldn’t stand out as much. A simple jacket, jeans and a t-shirt.
He passed by a group of injured people, another group of scared looking children. And then he got to what used to be the center of the Nameless Road. Not much was left of it, only charred remains. And there hadn’t just been fire. By how things looked, there had had to be some explosions as well. Iwamoto dashed off towards a direction he could still see fresh smoke from.
All the nights spent ‘flying’ with Sakuma paid off now. It was definitely a skill that came in handy around here. He found his path blocked by fire soon and made his way back down.
He was about to round a corner when the sound of a motorcycle drew his attention.
Motorcycles weren’t typical for this area.
“You’re not one of the Rude Boys.” The other looked at him.
“And you’re from the Hoodlum Squad.” Iwamoto retorted.
“I have some personal business here.”
“So do I.”
The sound of an explosion made both of their bodies tense up. “How about we work together for now?” Iwamoto suggested. “Until we’ve taken care of our business.”
“How do I know that I can trust you?”
Iwamoto shrugged. “Gut feeling? At least that’s what Fukka tells me you guys go by.”
“You know Fukka? Well then.” The other jerked his head back. “Well, working together it is. Why the hell not. Get on. We’ll be faster that way.”
They rode down the road, through thick smoke. “The name’s Myuto, by the way.”
“Iwamoto.” He blinked, recognizing the name. “You must be looking for Shimekake.”
“Wait, how do you-”
“I have my sources.”
“I see.” Myuto let it stay at that.
Sure enough, they drove straight into a battle when they followed the source of the earlier explosion. Rude Boys were engaged with what looked like an army of black clad members of Doubt. Iwamoto was surprised by the sheer number. Doubt had always flown under the radar. They weren’t known for attracting people. They were only known for their shady dealings.
Iwamoto’s eyes found a familiar shock of blond hair on the battlefield. His initial relief was soon replaced by anger and he jumped of the motorcycle to make his way over to Sakuma.
The other’s surprised expression when he sucker punched two thugs would have been funny to him in any other situation but this. “Hey there. I was worried.”
“Hikaru!” Sakuma looked around. “But, you know what being here could--”
“I do and I don’t care. If you guys go down, one of the other groups will be next. It might be us, it might be any of the other four. So who cares,” Iwamoto kicked another guy trying to hit him with a crossbar. “I don’t.”
Fighting continued until the loud roaring of engines could be heard. The members of Doubt scattered and withdrew, leaving the remaining Rude Boys to lick their wounds. Except for their leader, who went off towards the source of the noise.
Iwamoto helped Sakuma onto a crate and checked the other’s injuries. He’d noticed that Sakuma had been limping and that one arm didn’t seem quite functional. There were bruises and burns all over the other’s body. The arm was due to a dislocated shoulder, which he was able to fix, the leg would need some further medical examination.
Sakuma muffled his pained scream when Iwamoto relocated his shoulder by biting into the other’s jacket. He panted softly once it was over. “Thanks.”
“You need to see a doctor.” Iwamoto sighed. “I am no expert, so I can’t tell.”
“Can’t afford one.” Sakuma laughed softly.
“I’m taking you.” Iwamoto grumbled. “Don’t worry about money.” He looked over to where Myuto was carrying a limb body towards his bike. For a moment he feared the worst but then he saw the steady rise and fall of a chest. Still alive.
“Shime took a hit earlier when they set off another explosive,” Sakuma sounded worried.
“I’m sure Myuto will take care of him.” Iwamoto muttered and then leaned his forehead against Sakuma’s. “I’m just glad your stupid head is okay.”
Sakuma reached up to touch Iwamoto’s cheek, getting some dirt and caked blood on it but it didn’t seem like the other cared right now. His voice was soft and quiet - something it rarely ever was - when he spoke to his lover. “I still think it’s stupid that you came here but I’m glad you came here, too. So, thanks for being here, Hikaru.”
“You make absolutely no sense. As usual. I guess that means you’re okay.” Iwamoto closed the gap between them and kissed Sakuma briefly. And then leaned in for another kiss. And another.
Until the sound of people walking over gravel became pretty loud around them.
People started to emerge from within the Nameless Road. They came out to treat the injured as best as they could. Soon, Iwamoto noticed, they were joined by other people. People bearing the insignia of other groups. He could make out the uniforms of Ouyakoukou and the pristine white jackets of White Rascals. And then the red face painting of Daruma Ikka.
It was war painting.
A pair, one from Daruma Ikka and one from White Rascals, approached him and Sakuma.
“Date, Shota,” Sakuma acknowledged them. “Is it--”
The one the other had called Shota nodded. “It’s war.”
‘Date’ added, “Our leaders just decided that we’re going into the offense. Let’s get this party started! We’re going to show them that we ain’t scared of some old ass dragons.”
You're up prillalar