Chapter 5: Entrapment

"Takiya, I'm not so sure about this..."

"Trust me kid, it'll be fine".


"Just do it like I showed you".

"Am I holding it right?"

"Tighten your grip a little...ok, that's good".

"What do I do now?"

"Just squeeze it gently, like I told you".

"This feels so weird, are you sure I should be doing this?"

"Absolutely. Don't be afraid when it goes off".



"O-ok... here goes".


The shot went wild, missing the target by at least two feet. The piece of plywood, about six feet wide by two feet tall, staked into the ground, got a fresh new hole that completely missed the paper target tacked to it.

"Don't worry kid, I missed my first time too", Takiya said, trying to console the boy.

Takiya had decided one day that Akemi needed at least the most basic of firearms training, in the unlikely event the kid ever needed to defend himself or, God forbid, them both. Over his protests, Akemi had been dragged out to a plot of land owned by the Shintaro's, isolated, where marksmanship could be practiced without being noticed.

Dressed in orange cargo pants and a white t-shirt, with his hair dyed a vibrant pink, Akemi looked as proper holding a handgun as Takiya, in his black jeans and tank top, did holding a purple teddy bear.

It was a near-dusk day at the beginning of September, and the weather was finally cooling off a bit after the summer heat wave. For Akemi, it meant the chance to sit outside and draw. For Takiya, it meant outdoor target practice. Neither man really tolerated hot weather well.

The younger boy was perfectly content to just watch Takiya practice with a variety of weapons, but he had insisted Akemi participate. The handgun was a disaster, but not as big a disaster as the shotgun had been earlier. The go with the MP5 was alright; at least he hit the paper (even if in the corner).

The only weapon Akemi could use and hit the target anywhere inside the circle was Takiya's .223 rifle. The scoped weapon, with its low recoil, seemed to get along fine enough with the timid boy. Takiya tried making a game out of it, but soon discovered that although Akemi could hit a target, his heart wasn't in it.

At the moment, Akemi was watching Takiya set up a new target on the backboard. He was thankful that Takiya had switched to handguns, since the time it took to walk up to change targets with rifles could be several minutes, depending on how far away Takiya felt like shooting from.

This target was a human silhouette, and Akemi watched Takiya practice some move from a movie he had seen some time ago. He wasn't sure the name, but he remembered a guy got pissed about a briefcase and quickly dispatched two criminals. Takiya did that move rather well actually.

"Hey Takiya?" the boy called. "Yea?" the older man answered, not turning around.

"What's your favorite gun to use on jobs?" Akemi asked. "The one that does the job", the man replied without missing a beat. Akemi just frowned.

Takiya's cell phone, left with Akemi, started to ring. Akemi picked it up.


"Hi Akemi, is Takiya around?" a soft voice said.

"Yes Miss Keona, just a second", Akemi replied. "Takiya! Its Miss Keona", the boy yelled. Takiya stopped firing and re-holstered his USP. He walked over, taking the phone from Akemi. "Go ahead", he spoke into the phone.

"When you and little Akemi are finished, come by the mansion. You have a job".

"Got it", he said simply before hanging up.

Takiya surveyed the ammo he had left. He had used nearly 40 rifle rounds, 10 from his shotgun, and almost 200 from handguns and submachine guns. Akemi fired a grand total of nine rounds; one from a handgun, one from a shotgun, one from his MP5 set to single-shot, one from his .308, and five from his .223. The ratio of rounds used between the two men was, obviously, severely one-sided.

Takiya began packing his guns back into the trunk of his Audi. He stopped for a moment when he grabbed his .223 rifle. After Akemi had finished using it, Takiya had switched to handguns, and left the rifle in the case beside the boy, and went to the trunk to fetch a couple more handguns. He was horrified to come back and find Akemi painting a purple smiling cat on the guns stock. When he demanded an answer, Akemi said simply, "All your guns are black, and none of them have any color. I just wanted to liven it up a bit".

Takiya hadn't been sure whether to let it be, or demand the boy clean it off, so he just let it stay for the time being. He'd have him clean it later.

A few minutes later, they were heading towards the Shintaro Mansion. "Takiya? If it's a safe enough mission, can I come along?" Akemi suddenly asked. Takiya raised an eyebrow. "Now why would you want to do that? You know having a second person with me would just create a liability", Takiya replied. Akemi said nothing, but just nodded, letting the subject go.

When they got to the Manor, they parked and the two of them headed up to the lounge where Takiya met Keona for the information on Kane. She was already waiting on them.

"Hello Takiya", she said. She looked at Akemi and smiled softly, "Hi Akemi. Takiya treating you well?" she asked, ruffling his hair a little as if he was a child. "Of course Miss Keona", he replied with a smile. Keona turned back to Takiya, handing him a small mini-CD. "The deadline is tomorrow night, 9 pm. If it's too big a rush, call me and we'll schedule someone else", Keona said.

Takiya scoffed, "It'll be plenty of time, don't worry".

Keona nodded, then smiled at Akemi again before leaving. Takiya tapped the boy on the shoulder, motioning for the door. The pair left, departing down a corridor that led to the parking garage.

"I think she likes you kid", Takiya teased. Akemi laughed a little, and opened his mouth to say something but stopped with a voice behind them called Takiya's name. The older man actually grimaced at the sound of the voice before turning.

It was Kozo Akia, the Underboss of the Shintaro Family. As the Family's second-in-command, he was answerable only to Boss Shintaro himself. He strode up to the two. Unlike Boss Shintaro, Kozo was short and wiry thin, with greasy blonde hair and green eyes. He smiled at the two men.

"Takiya, it's been a while. We've been so impressed with your work lately, do keep it up will you?" he said in a nasal voice, grinning widely at the hitman.

He turned to Akemi and his eyes widened, "And who is this...?"

Akemi opened his mouth to answer but Takiya answered for him; "This is my friend, he's visiting me for a while", he said simply.

Kozo laughed a little, "Why Takiya, I didn't know you had any friends". The older man just stiffened a little, "Well, appearances are deceiving I suppose. You've been...well I trust?" Takiya answered in what Akemi could swear was forced politeness.

The thin man looked Akemi over longer than made either Akemi or Takiya comfortable, "Yes, very take good care of your new friend, won't you Takiya?" he asked before turning and walking away.

Akemi looked up at Takiya. The older man watched Kozo retreat for a moment, then took Akemi by the arm, pulling him towards the exit. The younger boy didn't resist, and in a few moments, they were back in Takiya's Audi, headed for home.

"Takiya, that guy gives me the creeps", Akemi confessed.

"He gives ME the creeps, and he's my boss", Takiya retorted. He continued, "Stay away from that guy kid. I'm telling you he's bad news. Be polite, but don't try being friendly to him like you do Keona".

Akemi was curious as to what Takiya knew about the man, but decided not to press the issue.

The sun had set and night had just fallen. The last rays of sunshine were setting off in the west, and the city lights were glowing. "You want to just grab dinner tonight kid?" Takiya asked. Akemi answered in the affirmative, and Takiya decided to have a little fun teasing the boy.

"The last time I took you out to eat, my car got shot up", the older man reminded. Akemi just glared at Takiya, "You say that as though it was my fault. May I remind you I advised against the shortcut you picked that led to us getting shot at?"

Damn...kid had a point.

Takiya just glared back, and then grinned. "I'm only teasing kid...don't take it seriously".

Akemi relaxed a little. Sometimes it was hard to tell when Takiya was being serious and when he was kidding. "So, what did you want to get?" Akemi asked.

Takiya shrugged, "Whatever you want kid, just tell me where". Akemi suggested a small mom-and-pop pizzeria a couple of miles away, and Takiya headed in its direction. They reached it in only a couple of minutes and went in.

The place kind of reminded Takiya of the Hinotama; it had a family-oriented atmosphere about it and seemed welcoming. Akemi had mentioned that the place was owned by a married couple, and was a popular eatery for students at Tokamishi University. They ordered a medium pizza to share (which meant half of Takiya's favorites, half of Akemi's), and two sodas.

While they were waiting, Akemi brought up the subject of Takiya's assignment.

"Miss Keona said you had to be done by tomorrow night. You think it's something important?" he asked.

Takiya shook his head. "Not likely. Usually when a deadline is short, it's more due to impatience than importance. This kind of work is like...restaurants".

"Restaurants?" Akemi asked raising an eyebrow.

"Yea. You want quality, and you want it now. Having to wait pisses you off as bad as poor quality. People want the jobs done, and don't understand why we don't just go straight out and do it. If it was that easy, I'd be out of a job", he finished.

Akemi considered this, and then asked, "You ever had anyone get mad at you over a job?"

"If you mean a client, then no. I never meet the clients, or they me. They don't even meet Keona. The Family has one individual who serves as the contact to clients", Takiya replied.

"Tell me how it goes, if you can I mean", Akemi asked.

Takiya sipped his drink. "The client gets in touch with the contact. The contact takes the information and the payment up front. Unless a time is specified, the time given is about sixty to ninety days. If it's not a hot job, the scouts go to work and collect as much intel as possible about the target, which is given over to one of us, who then performs the contract".

"The hot jobs are the ones due very soon, right? What if it's one of them?" Akemi asked.

"Then the client better damn well have the intel already gathered. It's not as simple as placing an order for a drink or a meal. You can't just give us a name and expect the job done tonight, it doesn't work that way. You want it done tonight, it's going to cost a lot extra", Takiya answered.

"How much extra?"

"About ¥200,000 yen, on average. Sometimes more if the assignment is tough. I've seen them charge almost as much in extras as they do for the job itself. It happens kid", Takiya said.

"Aren't you guys afraid of a client being an undercover cop?" Akemi asked.

"Why should we be? Half the Tokamishi force is on our payroll", Takiya replied with a grin.

The waitress brought their pizza over, and both men temporarily broke off talking to load their plates. Akemi kept posing questions to Takiya in-between bites.

He asked almost every conceivable question regarding the job and its basics. Takiya, however, had more patience than he let on, and allowed Akemi answers to whatever he asked.

"Was there ever a job the family declined?" Akemi asked. Takiya shook his head.

"The Family, not generally. Me? Yes. The Family will decline obvious ones, like children for example. But generally, most everything is fair game", Takiya said, taking a bite of his pizza.

"So...what job did you decline?" Akemi asked, a small hint of curiosity in his voice.

"They wanted a 17 year old girl done as revenge. Her father was the Prosecutor for the city, and the job was in retaliation for a trial that just concluded", Takiya said.

" she still alive?" Akemi questioned. Takiya shrugged.

"No idea...I just know the chick was 17 and in high school, so I wasn't doing it", he finished.

"But do you know if someone else did it?" Akemi pressed.


"What if they did-"

"Akemi, I'm sure she's fine, ok?" Takiya interrupted. Akemi had lived with Takiya long enough to know that when he cut in like that, it was usually best to let it go. Lost in thought, he chewed on his piece of pizza.


Later that night, after Akemi had fallen asleep, Takiya pulled out his laptop and popped in the mini-disc he had gotten earlier. As the disc was read, he glanced over at Akemi sleep soundlessly in his bed. He thought back to dinner, and decided maybe he shouldn't have snapped at the boy as he did. He did agree to talk about his work, after all. Takiya decided to apologize to the boy tomorrow for his attitude.

When the data finished loading, he gave his full attention to the task at hand.

It didn't seem out of the ordinary. Rich businessman who had apparently pissed off the wrong people...pretty typical. He looked through the video surveillance, the pictures, the usual documents... then a sound file caught his attention. He clicked and listened. After the short recording had finished, Takiya sat in silence for several minutes.

The recording was from the businessman's tapped phone line. He had called and scheduled an appointment for a floral designer to come and give a professional opinion on the types of flowers to buy and decorate with. The man's wife was having a birthday in a few days and wanted to spare no expense on her special day.

'Hmmm... I suppose I can call the florist back, cancel the appointment, then call the target and inform him I'm coming tomorrow instead, but...' Takiya thought. There was no way he'd pass for a floral designer, especially since they were usually women.


He glanced over at Akemi.

"Well kid, you wanted to come along on a job..."

The next morning, Takiya sat Akemi down and ran through the details with him (most of them anyway).

The way Takiya explained it, Akemi would pose as the designer, get inside the man's apartment, find out the specific details of the upcoming party, then leave.

At least, that's what Akemi was led to believe.

There was no way Takiya could confess what was actually going to happen was the boy would get in, and serve as a distraction to lure the man to the sitting room. Once there, Takiya would call Akemi's phone and pretend to be his boss. Akemi would excuse himself for a moment to talk to his "employer" then depart, leaving the man alone in the sitting room. He would then snipe the man with his .308 from across the street. Akemi may voice the opinion that he was ok with Takiya's profession, but the hitman was taking no chances.

A couple of quick calls later, and the appointment was set for "Mr. Nodoki" to come give his expert opinion and appraisal. The time was scheduled for 8 pm, giving Akemi an hour to get the man into the sitting room. The apartment building was one of the newer highly-expensive ones build in a section of the city a little ways away from the main areas. Only the rich could afford to take up residence in the building. A large, 15' wide by 6' tall window provided the perfect view for Takiya. Across the street from the man's apartment building was a new hotel undergoing construction. The building would be totally vacant at that time, providing the perfect hideout.

The previous night, while Akemi slept, Takiya fitted his German made H&K PSG-1 with a suppressor. Suppressors weren't quite as effective with rifles as they were with pistols (owing to the velocity difference obviously), but it would muffle the report enough to not sound like a blatant gunshot. That was enough. He cased the rifle and stored it in his trunk. When the boy was dropped off, he'd be none the wiser as to what was really going on.

Was it a dirty trick to deceive his young companion? Perhaps, but Akemi had already seen Takiya off two people before, he was trying to avoid any others.

After dropping Akemi off at work, Takiya headed towards the Shintaro's mansion to have a chat with Keona.


In another part of the city, a man sat alone in a small room, reviewing the data he had collected earlier. It hadn't been easy, but he managed to get it. The man gave a small smile. In a short time, he too would have a job to complete.

He got up, packed the few possessions he had scattered around the small little room, and set his alarm. He wanted a small nap before he had to begin, and didn't want to waste time packing when he awoke.


"So, you don't think I'm a bastard?" Takiya asked Keona. He had come by to see her to inquire her opinion on involving Akemi in this little scheme of his. The young woman had just sipped her wine and nodded soundlessly as he explained.

"Oh no, I'm certain you're a bastard for it, but, Akemi wants to help, or at least he thinks he does", Keona replied.

She continued, "It's a rash plan, but it isn't like you're using the boy as a human shield." Takiya nodded in agreement, "This gets the job done, and makes Akemi feel he played an important role without putting him in direct danger. I'll just go along with my original idea and tell the kid to leave, then take out Mr. Rich Asshole".

Keona smirked at him, "You make it all sound so easy, Takiya".

He grinned at her in reply, "Well it kind of is Keona. I mean... sure some jobs go easy and some don't, but I think this one should be smooth sailing".

Keona stared at Takiya for a minute. "You know Akemi is crazy about you right?" she asked.

Takiya groaned and covered his face with his hand, "Keona, we've been through this".

"I'm only suggesting Akemi is stronger than you think, you don't have to baby him".

"I am NOT babying him, I just don't want him any more mixed up than he has to be".

"You sure that's it?" Keona questioned. Takiya just stared, and then finished his drink. "Positive. Trust me ok?"

As he left, Keona just stared down into her glass.

"I hope you're right", she said out loud.


At a little after 6 pm, Takiya picked Akemi up and brought him back to the apartment. It gave them two hours for the boy to eat, change clothes, and get ready to play his part. He tried doing Internet searches for the types of outfits normally worn by floral designers, but decided since the overwhelming majority of results were women, he'd better just wing this one.

At 7:12 pm, Takiya walked back to his bedroom. Akemi had outfitted himself with a pair of brown dress slacks, brown dress shoes, and a cream colored short-sleeve button up. He was looking at himself in the mirror, wondering whether or not dying his hair pink this week matched his outfit, when Takiya came in.

"Kid, time to go", Takiya announced. Akemi messed with his hair a little, trying to sort it into what could be considered a professional style... well, as professional as pink could be.

"Here, I picked this up for you earlier", he heard Takiya say off to his right. He smiled, turning to say thanks, and then stopped.

Takiya was holding what could only be described as a large, black leather shoulder bag. Akemi took it slowly and glanced inside. There were large printouts of various floral arrangements tucked inside.

"Takiya...what... what is this?" Akemi asked, his voice catching just a little.

"You got to be convincing, so here's a shoulder bag to carry the photos of arrangements you can have done", Takiya replied, as if it should have been obvious.

"But... I mean..." Akemi sputtered.

The older man just raised an eyebrow, the corner of his mouth threatening to erupt into a smirk.

"It's a nice bag, but Takiya... It..."

"It... what?" the hitman asked.

"It... it looks ridiculous!" Akemi spat out finally.

The smirk changed to a full on Cheshire cat grin, "Oh no, I think it matches your outfit".

"It's a purse for Gods sakes!" Akemi said, almost in a whine.

"No, it's a shoulder bag", Takiya retorted.

"Takiya, the man's going to think I'm gay or something!" Akemi replied.

Takiya just grinned and leaned down, gently pecking the younger man on the lips.

"But you are gay, my little Akemi..."

Akemi's voice seized in his throat, and he seemed to be trying to yell, blush, and keep quiet all at once.

Takiya turned and strode out of the room, "Come on, you'll be late".

Akemi watched him go, but slowly let a smile creep up on his face.

"And don't forget your purse!" Takiya yelled from down the hall.

Akemi's smile fell like a ton of bricks.


The time was 7:53 pm, and Akemi had just gotten out of the car. Takiya drove across the street, parking in the alley behind the under-construction hotel. He got out and opened his trunk, retrieving his rifle case from inside.

He locked up and started climbing the stairs. He climbed up to the 8th floor and, just as the provided layouts showed, he found a window looking right into the businessman's living room. Looking around, he found a work desk of suitable height. Pulling it near the window, he grabbed a chair and made himself a makeshift shooting bench.

He opened the case and took out his PSG-1. He attached his bipod and set his rifle down on the desk. Pulling out his magazine, he loaded it to capacity and slapped it in place. He racked the charging handle and removed the lens cap covers.

Looking through his scope at the window, he could clearly make out the apartment's interior, and could see Akemi walking through the mans house, gesturing at the walls.

He glanced at his watch. It was now 8:21 pm. Akemi had nearly forty minutes, which should be plenty.

As he watched, he saw Akemi gesture to his shoulder bag, then the fat man nodded and the two walked into the living room.

Perfect. The man seemed to have a flair for the dramatic, as his couch faced the large window. Akemi and the man sat on the couch together and Akemi began pulling pictures from his bag. The man looked back and forth and started gesturing with his hands.

Akemi pulled a small notepad and pen from the bag and began writing what Takiya presumed to be details about the upcoming party. Takiya glanced at his watch. The time was now 8:38 pm, and Takiya decided to put the rest of the job in motion. Without taking his eye off his scope, he reached into his shirt pocket and produced his cell phone, hitting redial.

Through the scope, he watched Akemi answer, still on the couch.

"Hello Mr. Takiya", Akemi said with fake enthusiasm into the phone.

"Got the details kid?"

"Oh yes sir, everything is coming along just fine".

"Good, now get out of there"

"Yes sir!"

Akemi turned to the man, gesturing at the door, then his bag. He was instructed to tell the man he'd be back in just a moment, his boss just needed some information on another client and he was going to step outside so as to not be rude.

Takiya watched Akemi pack his bag and turn to head to the door. He flicked the safety on his rifle off and centered his cross-hair over the mans forehead. He was about to check to ensure Akemi had left when the lights in the mans apartment suddenly went out.

"Well that's just perfect, a power outage right when..." he began, but stopped. Putting his rifle down, he looked across the street. Everybody else had power, except for the target.

"What the..?" he asked out loud. He stared for a moment and called Akemi back.

"Akemi what happened?" he asked as soon as the boy picked up.

"I don't know, the power just went out", the boy whispered back.

"Are you still in the apartment?" Takiya asked. His question was answered when he heard an older voice saying, "Oh don't worry Mr. Nodoki, these apartments are new, and with construction, it's likely just going to be a moment".

Takiya peered hard at the window; a small amount of light shone in from the outside, but not enough to clearly see the inside. No, this did NOT feel right at all.

"Akemi, get out of the apartment, ok? Do it now, but stay on the phone", Takiya ordered.

"Ok Mr. Takiya, I'll do that now" Akemi answered.

Takiya listened closely. Akemi was muttering an apology about having to walk out on the man so suddenly. In the little light that shone in from the window, Takiya could make out the two heading out of sight. The man was apologizing about the outage, and trying to fumble for the door knob in the dark.

Takiya heard the door open, then saw two quick flashes of light shine in the darkness and heard two muffled pops. He heard Akemi scream, then the phone fall to the floor.

Takiya felt his blood freeze, then the realization of what was going on hit; the job was a trap.

Nearly knocking his makeshift table over, Takiya bolted for the stairs, yelling into the phone for Akemi to answer.

About the time he reached ground level and took off across the street, he heard Akemi's frantic whispering in the phone.

"Takiya, someone just shot Mr. Tsutoku!"

In his panic, Takiya almost asked who that was before realizing it was HIS target that just got killed.

"Akemi what the fuck is going on!?" Takiya yelled, running across the street and into the apartment buildings parking lot.

"I don't know... he opened the door and someone fired! I don't know if he's in the apartment or not!" Akemi whispered, panic evident.

Takiya entered and jumped into the elevator, pressing the button for the mans floor. "Akemi, stay down, do you hear me? If you can get someplace hidden, do it quietly but stay near the floor, I'm almost there!"

Sandwiching the phone between his cheek and shoulder, Takiya pulled his USP out and racked the slide. He grabbed the phone with his free hand.

"Akemi... Akemi! Are you hurt?" Takiya hissed.

A few seconds of silence, then, "No...I... I'm alright".

The elevator doors opened and Takiya glanced down the hallway. The light in the hall still worked, and Takiya hustled to the door. He listened and heard nothing, and then Akemi whispered in the phone, "Takiya… I think he's in the apartment..."

"Good guess", came an older voice into the phone, then Akemi's muffled gasp.

Takiya kicked the door open, raising his gun and the small tactical flashlight he carried with him. He could see the target dead on the floor, and about 15 feet away at the other end of the room, Akemi.

The younger boy was on his knees facing him, an older man with one hand around his mouth, and the other holding a silenced pistol against the boys head.

The man holding the pink-haired boy looked up at Takiya and his eyes widened a little, but he quickly masked it and smiled.

"Kane"... Takiya said in almost a rasp.

"Takiya... we've never met before in person. It's so nice to meet you", the Black Dragon said in a sickeningly sweet voice.

"Cut the bullshit. Let the kid go", Takiya threatened.

Kane just laughed, "We just met and you're threatening me already. Don't you want to do the whole, 'Why are you doing this?' first? It would be so much mor-"


A round from Takiya's 9mm whizzed right over Akemi's head, striking Kane in the side of the face. The Black Dragon didn't utter a sound, but fell over immediately. Akemi bolted, running into Takiya's arms.

"Kid its past time to go!" Takiya announced, shining his flashlight at the door. Akemi grabbed his shoulder bag that lay by the door and ran, Takiya right behind him. Both of them knew in a very short time, Takiya's shooting was going to make the place pretty lively.

In the elevator, Akemi looked like he was going to start crying, but Takiya raised a hand. "Not now kid, let's get the fuck out of here first". Akemi swallowed and forced a smile.

When they got to the bottom floor, Takiya wrapped his arm around the pink-haired boy and hurried him across the street. Locking Akemi inside his Audi, he raced upstairs to retrieve his case and rifle.

Sirens were beginning to sound just as he shut the trunk. He climbed into the car and started the engine. Without a word, he pressed the gas and they were off into the night.


Back in the apartment of Mr. Tsutoku, Kane the Black Dragon lie on his back, blood slowly dripping down his face. The sound of the sirens grew louder, and his eyes snapped open. He sat up slowly, and could see the red glow reflected on the walls of the living room from the police gathering outside.

He slowly reached up and touched his face. Takiya's round had gone from lethal hit to glorified scratch in mere millimeters. He looked down and grabbed his gun, a suppressed Glock 17, and slowly got to his feet.

He walked over and stole a glance out the window. At least three cars full of police were entering the building. Taking a moment, he located a bedroom window with a fire escape and climbed out.

On the ground, he walked a little unsteadily to his car parked a block away. He got in his BMW and sat there breathing. He looked in the rear view mirror; Takiya's bullet grazed the side of his face, leaving a long and bloody, but superficial, wound. He reached into his pocket and produced his switchblade.

Opening it, he cut a long strip out of his shirt and tied it around his head as a makeshift bandage. Satisfied, he gunned the engine and started home.

He was very angry. This was twice now he had a chance to kill his target, and twice the opportunity had been yanked from him.

Roaring towards home, Kane snarled to himself. Well… maybe it was time for drastic measures.


To Takiya's (and likely Akemi's) surprise, the pink-haired boy had not started crying the moment the two got back to the apartment. Instead, Akemi was rather silent the whole trip.

To say Takiya was furious was the understatement of a lifetime. He called Keona on the way home and Akemi could swear every obscenity in existence was used as the man demanded to know why and how Kane knew about his job, and Keona swore repeatedly the Shintaro Family did not know why, but would find out. A meeting was set for the next morning.

Once they arrived at the apartment, the younger boy silently trudged into the bathroom and hopped into the shower.

Although Akemi had taken up the position of being the cook, Takiya threw some instant noodles on to spare him the effort. When Akemi got out of the shower he walked in the dining room long enough to say goodnight to Takiya, then went and crawled in their oft-shared bed. He didn't even bother to eat first.

After a few minutes, Takiya decided his appetite wasn't so good either, and he followed Akemi's lead on getting in the shower.

When he was done, he crawled in bed beside the boy. After living with Akemi for the length of time he did, he knew the boy was still awake by the sound of his breathing.

"Kid, listen… I need to tell you something, ok? And I don't want you to think I'm… babying you", Takiya started with a shudder. He was going to get Keona one day for putting the idea in his head that maybe he was babying him.

"What happened tonight was my fault. I should never have gotten you mixed up in the job. It was reckless and you almost got killed, again", Takiya said.

Akemi made no noise or comment, and Takiya continued.

"I know you're a lot tougher than people give you credit for, but I don't want to see you get hurt, not when you've been hurt so much already by me and the things I do. I dunno kid, maybe it's best if we backed off each other for a while…gave each other space, you know?"

For several long moments, nothing was said. Takiya stared at Akemi for a moment then sighed and rolled over, facing away from him. For several minutes, neither moved. Then Takiya felt Akemi's hand on his shoulder.

"I'm not upset over what happened to me Takiya, I knew at the beginning being with you would be dangerous. I'm upset that you have to keep rescuing me. Every time I get in trouble, it's always you who has to get me out. I just feel so helpless at times that it's…"

From the soft shuddering, Takiya could tell the boy was crying. He rolled back over to face him and Akemi slid in closer to him.

"Breaking up with me won't help anything Takiya. If I have to have come this far with you, only to lose you in order to live, then it's even worse than dying", Akemi finished, clinging to Takiya's arm.

In the darkness of the room, Takiya smiled to himself. Then his last thoughts vanished as sleep came.


A/N: Wow, long time for an update huh? Sorry, college started back and it severely cut down on my free time to write. That should be resolved now, and a new chapter will be up before Monday the 17th. Thanks to everyone who reviewed and added this story to the favorites list.