BLOODY BAT ROMEO
Jojo's voice echoes, dumbfounded. Amon doesn’t bother looking at him, keeping his eyes fixed on Romeo— who looks just as surprised, but not in a stupid way like Jojo. Oue scoffs, crossing his arms and shaking his head with an exaggerated sigh.
“What did you think would happen, hm? You thought you’d take down our biggest enemy and then waltz out with zero consequences? Please.”
Amon takes out another cigarette from his pocket and lights it up, as if giving Romeo and Jojo time to process the absurd news they'd just heard. Romeo growls quietly under his breath, realizing he should have seen this coming from Amon, who loves power more than anything— so much, in fact, that he made himself a garbage throne in this dumpster of a hideout.
“Like I said, I didn’t mean to take him out. I obviously wasn’t thinking of the consequences or whatever. But this ‘war’ thing is stupid. They outnumber the Makai gang tenfold; there’s no way we can challenge them and win, even with Endo out of the picture”
Oue scowls as he steps closer to Romeo, bringing his hands to his hips.
“You do realize you were the one that forced us into this situation, don’t you? We have to clean up your mess before things get any worse.”
Romeo finally looks away from the Makai leader and looks at Oue instead. Loathe as he is to admit it… Oue had a point.
“I still think I've done more than enough, but something tells me you guys have other plans for me.”
“That’s exactly right, Bloody Bat Romeo! How perceptive of you!”
“No, I think it was pretty obvious…” Jojo adds quietly.
“Whatever it is, I’m not interested.”
Amon closes his eyes and takes another languid drag from his cigarette, exhaling softly. When there’s no more smoke in his lungs, he opens his eyes again in that same slow fashion.
“I’ll cut you a deal.”
“Uh, maybe you couldn’t hear me from up there. I said I’m not interested.”
“Yeah, you tell ‘em, Boss!” Jojo backs him up, waving a fist in the air.
Oue puts a hand on his chest, offended by Jojo calling someone other than Amon "Boss." Amon seems unfazed by this, as usual, and continues.
“...I’ll let you leave the gang.”
Romeo jolts up, his eyes widening in surprise. Selfish, unpredictable Amon, offering to let someone get away with bending his arbitrary rules… it was completely unheard of.
“D-Don’t listen to him, Boss! It’s a trap!” Jojo cuts in again, waving his arms to try and get Romeo’s attention. Unfortunately, Romeo is glaring at Amon even harder.
Yeah, there’s probably a catch, huh. But maybe…
“Ugh, you gotta stop calling Bloody Bat Romeo ‘Boss,’ idiot. It’s like you want to get hurt!”
“That’s you, Pain Killer Oue!”
“So? What if I do, huh!?”
“At least have enough shame to deny it!”
Oue and Jojo’s ridiculous conversation isn’t enough to make either Romeo or Amon break eye contact. With Amon so obviously dangling bait right in front of him, Romeo has no choice but to tug on the lure himself.
“...In exchange for what?”
For a moment, it almost seems like Amon’s sharp eyes shine in the dark. He takes another drag of his cigarette and exhales, crossing his legs with one heel resting over his knee.
Would it kill you to speak normally?
“Allow me, Boss,” jumps in Oue, reaching into his pocket. He unfolds a piece of paper into a large map marked by a few red circles around separate locations. Romeo and Jojo squint at the map, trying to decipher what the hell they’re looking at.
“The Kappore gang mostly operates on the opposite side of the city, right? Well, with Endo out of the way, we managed to find where their three main divisions operate, marked here, here, aaaand here. Heh. You probably figured it out by now, but this intel basically means—”
Romeo takes the map from him forcefully, looking at the red circles on the map in disbelief.
“No way... You found the hideout of the Summer Fireworks? All three of them!?”
“Summer what? Whazzat, Boss?” Jojo scratches his head.
Oue’s initial displeasure at having the map ripped from his hands immediately dissipates into a smirk, basking at the chance to once again do what he loves the most: explain things in the most annoying manner possible.
“Oh, you don’t know? Why am I not surprised? Ah, don’t answer that— it's rhetorical.”
“That wasn’t even a question for me to answer! Gah! Just shut up and tell me!”
“Fiiine. The Summer Fireworks are the three strongest fighters from the Kappore gang, and they all command a small piece of their army in certain parts of the city— just like generals, you could say. Craaaazy strong. Raging Fist Endo might sit at the top, but it’s hard for a single monkey to control such a large territory on his own, right? That’s where these guys come in. With their leader gone, they’re the only ones keeping the entire gang together.”
Romeo’s hold on the map is so strong the paper begins to tear where his thumbs grip the edges. His eyes dart from circle to circle; his heart trembling with excitement.
The Summer Fireworks… I remember trying to take them out a few years back, but I never found all three ‘cause Endo’s lackeys kept getting in the way. Can’t believe it took getting rid of him to finally get this info…
“...You look happy, Bloody Bat Romeo.”
Amon’s voice snaps Romeo out of his thoughts, and guilt immediately floods him as he realizes he’s had a grin on his face this whole time. Wasn’t he supposed to become a better person for Yuri? He forces a frown again, looking up at the pile of chairs and the self-appointed king sitting on top, shoving the map blindly against Oue’s chest.
“...No. I’m not. This information means nothing to me now.”
“They’re your ticket out of the Makai gang.”
“Defeat all three on your own, and I’ll let you go.”
Romeo has never had a harder time trying to keep the excitement off his face.
“Whaaaaat!?” Jojo whines, panicking. “Pain Killer Oue just said these guys are craaaazy strong!”
For the first time, Amon cracks a smile.
“They’re still no match against him.”
“Still, all three!? Isn’t that too much!?”
Romeo stays silent, but only because he can feel how his mouth waters at the thought of crushing three of the most elusive enemies he’s ever had. He knows he shouldn’t be happy— they’re not his problem anymore. He doesn’t care. This is none of his business.
“All three, huh...” Romeo repeats quietly. He slowly turns to look at his bat, wrapped up tight in bandages, before raising his head to look at Amon with an unreadable expression. “And then you’ll let me go for good?”
“Boss!! What are you saying—!?”
Jojo desperately tries to get Romeo’s attention in vain, but his arm-flailing is not as effective as a single word from Amon.
“No, Boss, think about this!” Jojo resorts to shaking Romeo’s shoulders instead. “He wants you to take them out on your own! That’s insane!”
Romeo swats Jojo’s hands away from him. Oue sighs and finishes folding the map again, tucking it back in his pocket with a shrug.
“I thought it was a strange plan at first, too, but our boss made a good point: Bloody Bat Romeo got Makai into this mess, so it's only natural that he should be the one to clean it up, right? He should be grateful our boss is giving him a chance to make up for what he did and get his unprecedented request to quit the gang before graduation considered at all!”
Jojo growls at Oue, but has no real retort.
“Okay, well, why doesn’t your boss do it instead, huh!? He’s the strongest guy around, ain’t he!?”
“Uh, because he’s too good for that, duh?”
Glowering, Jojo angles his head and scowls with the meanest gangster look he can muster, getting close enough to Oue their foreheads touch… until Oue turns his head away and sprays him with disinfectant again, and both begin to cough.
This is bad. It’s a step back from where I want to be, isn’t it. It puts me right in the middle of a gang fight that has nothing to do with me anymore, but… at the end of the day, it’s... not the worst thing, right? If I do this for the Makai, I’ll be able to put all this behind me, and then I’ll finally be able to—
Amon’s voice resounds as Jojo and Oue’s coughs die off.
Romeo grits his teeth and tightens his grip on his bat as he pours over his options, the image of Yuri forming in his mind gradually crumbling to dust.
“I’ll do it.”