BLOODY BAT ROMEO
Once they get to the hospital, the girls set their umbrellas aside. Romeo lowers his hood, brushing some rain off his clothes. A nurse points them to Endo’s room. Yuri and Nana rush towards the door, but Romeo lingers behind in the hall.
I shouldn’t go in, should I? If Endo sees me, then Yuri will know what I did. And he might try to kill me right in front of her, too…
“... Romeo? What’s wrong?”
Yuri’s sweet voice calls out to him. Nana is already inside, but Yuri's still standing at the door as if waiting for him.
“Yuri, I… I don’t think I should go in. Your brother…”
“Oh, don’t worry about that. My brother is the nicest person in the whole world! Even if he doesn’t know you, I’m sure he’ll be happy to meet you, since you walked us here!”
Romeo’s so shocked to hear those words that his eyes just shoot open, blinking, wide, and incredulous.
Endo is the nicest person in the whole world!? That Endo!? The Endo who has over a hundred lackeys under his command and picks fights with civilians and other delinquents alike!? Are you kidding me!?
But Yuri’s smiling for the first time since they left school. She still looks a little sad, but the way she talks about Endo… it’s clear she truly believes her words. And it's just as obviously she doesn’t know her brother is Raging Fist Endo.
Romeo scratches the back of his neck and looks away.
“Is he? Um… okay, then…”
“Great!” Yuri claps her hands together. “Let’s go in, then!”
Without even knowing what exactly he'd agreed to, she suddenly reaches to take his hand again, just like she did in the alley. Romeo feels his face warming up as she pulls him through the door.
Inside the hospital room, Endo lies on a bed with a bandage tightly wrapped around his head. Nana sits at his side with her body turned to him. She playfully tries to feed him a spoonful of hospital jelly.
“Come on, say aaah!”
“S-Stop it— I don’t want it…!”
“Whaaat, not even one little bite?”
Endo’s face is as red as a tomato, struggling to keep his eyes away from Nana’s chest as she teases him. He closes his eyes and looks away.
“Tch. You’re such an annoying woman… Fine… Do it quickly…”
He opens his mouth hesitantly, and Nana brings the spoon to his mouth… only to turn it around and eat it herself instead.
“You were too slow,” Nana laughs, swinging her feet in victory.
Romeo, free from Yuri’s hand almost too soon, watches the whole thing with disgust from the entrance.
What the hell!? What did I just see!? Hello!?
Yuri rushes over to Endo’s side, suddenly overcome with emotion after seeing his injuries for the first time.
“Brother! Are you okay!? Your head…”
Yuri tries to hold him as carefully as she can to avoid hurting him. Endo puts his hand over her head to comfort her, forcing a smile.
“I’m fine. There’s nothing I can’t handle.”
“Except me!” says Nana, teasingly. Endo frowns.
“Did you have to bring her along, Yuri? She’s a damn pain in the ass.”
Yuri lifts her head, wiping some tears from her eyes and laughing a little.
“You know she’s my best friend, so of course, she wanted to come along! And she wanted to see you, too.”
Nana leans forward again with a grin.
“Yeah, Endo. I wanted to see you sooo badly…”
Endo’s face heats up again, quickly turning his head away from the two of them, and, in doing so, his eyes finally fall on Romeo.
Romeo doesn’t move, like a deer caught in headlights.
Endo glares at him sharply for what feels like forever. Romeo feels his plans to be reborn for Yuri’s sake fall apart with each passing second.
Shit… This is it, huh…
Endo lifts a hand and points directly at Romeo.
“Oi. Who’s that?”
Yuri follows Endo’s finger with her eyes and lands on Romeo, too.
“Oh! Right! Endo, he’s—”
“I just walked them here,” Romeo replies quickly, his eyes fixed intensely on Endo, as if awaiting his next move.
What are you planning, Endo? What the hell?
Endo keeps his gaze fixed on Romeo for another long moment, then turns his head away casually.
Endo suddenly grimaces and brings his hand to the side of his head, hissing in pain. Yuri’s face shifts in panic again, gently holding on to her brother’s shoulders.
“Brother!? Are you in pain!? Should I call the nurse!?”
But Endo just shakes his head, clearly trying to grin and bear it.
“I’m fine. It’s just… Some things are still kinda blurry, y’know? Every time I try to remember what happened to me, it’s like my brain shuts down…”
“Isn’t your brain always off, though?” jumps in Nana without missing a beat.
Endo and Nana bicker again, while Yuri worries by his side. Meanwhile, Romeo watches this scene like he's having some sort of out-of-body experience.
Could it be? Endo… doesn’t remember me? He doesn’t remember that I was the one that put him here? No way…
His heart skips a beat at the realization. Unbelievable! Looks like his plan was still in motion. But he’s given plenty of concussions to his enemies before. He’s seen this happen many times. He knows this kind of thing never lasts too long.
“Anyway, Brother… You’ll be okay, right? You won’t be here for long, will you?”
Endo shakes his head, grinning.
“Nah. Just a few days. It wasn’t that bad, really. The doctor said I’ll be fully recovered by then ‘cause I’m so sturdy. Once I remember what happened, I’ll make them pa— I mean, I’ll… go to the police. Yeah.”
Nana sighs and straightens up.
“I can’t believe your big, empty head saved your life. Ugly people are so lucky.”
“What did you say!? And what does my head have to do with being ugly!?”
Yuri laughs calmly at the scene, clearly relieved. Romeo takes one step back and, while everyone is distracted, he leaves the room.
Man, this is stupid. Raging Fist Endo, the leader of the ultra-dangerous Kappore gang… He really doesn’t remember me, huh. Even if it’s only temporary, I guess I should count my blessings?
The Makai gang and the Kappore gang leaders tend to leave the dirty work to their lackeys, so Romeo had never faced Endo himself until today. He touches his face and winces, the bruise on his jaw still fresh.
No, if anything, this means I have a time limit. Once Raging Fist Endo remembers who I am, he’s never going to let me get near Yuri. I have to do something before—
Suddenly, the rumble of a stampede breaks him out of his thoughts.