Dakota watched with detached interest as the people bustled along the sidewalk. There was no point being interested in something that he would never have. Flashy cars, cosy suburban houses; they weren't part of the hand that he had been dealt. They never would be.


"Asher." He acknowledged.

He turned around and gasped. Asher looked, to put it simply, like he had gotten the shit beaten out of him. "What the hell happened? Who did this to you?" He demanded.

Asher held his best friends' gaze before his eyes flicked down to the weapon that Dakota held. In a moment the knife had vanished. It was then that he spoke, but his answer only required one word. "Deegan."

Dakota's expression hardened, as expected. His fingers twitched for the knife that he had just put away. Of course, Dakota thought viciously, nothing like the mention of your drug baron father to ruin your day. Asher watched his friend and inwardly sighed. Everyone who was on the wrong side of the law knew about Deegan and Dakota, father and son. They had history. There was bad blood between them; something to do with Dakota's mother and younger brother, and as if that wasn't enough, Deegan had now beaten Dakota's best friend to within an inch of his life simply to get his sons attention. It wasn't clear, and Asher didn't know all the details but what he did know was that whenever Deegan was in town, trouble ignited.

"He's back." It wasn't a question. Dakota clenched his fists. "Why?"

"The word is – he's here for you. He wants you back." Asher said quietly.

Dakota nodded curtly, before melting into the crowd on the sidewalk and disappearing from Asher's view. Asher sighed as his best friend vanished. He could only hope for the best, like always.

Dakota arrived at his rundown flat to see that a package had been slipped under the door. The contents of it had him shaking in anger. The pictures spilled across his palm showed Asher being held up by two men as he was viciously beaten, each picture showing his steadily worsening state. On the back of one of the photos, a message was scrawled.


Gritting his teeth, he knew what he had to do. Dakota unclenched his hands from the tight fists that they had become before he spun around and slipped back out the door, the pictures fluttering gently to the ground behind him.