Chapter 11:

Empty Words & Hypocrisy

The Forbidden and the Gifted

[7:38 p.m., March 10th 2047 (One year before the events in Korea); Rural Japan. Shin and Yuki look around, with Naomi standing behind them. Behind Naomi stands Electra, and approaching the group is Takuya, who looks much older]Bookmark here

Shin: Yo Tak, you made it eh?Bookmark here

Takuya: Yeah, yeah kid. You’d be pissed if I didn’t make it, wouldn’t ya?Bookmark here

Yuki [To Shin]: Who’s the oldie?Bookmark here

Takuya: Eh? Who you calling oldie?Bookmark here

Yuki: YOU! Look at you! You look like you’ve been through so much shit my man!Bookmark here

Takuya: You’d have guessed right my lady.Bookmark here

Yuki: Ew, he even uses ‘my lady’. What are we, British?Bookmark here

Takuya [Scoffs]: Anyway Shin, why am I here?Bookmark here

Shin: Didn’t I tell you?Bookmark here

Takuya: No, you only told me to meet ya here. I thought you’d be up to no good, and to no surprise, I’m right. God, what would your mom think if she were here?Bookmark here

Shin: She’d be pleased with me, thank you very much.Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh, you think?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh, I know.Bookmark here

Takuya [Shakes his head]: Anyway, why the hell am I here?Bookmark here

Shin: Oh yeah, yeah. We’re gonna be starting something.Bookmark here

Takuya: Starting something? The hell are you on about? You know you’re not even outta high school eh kid? Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, yeah, but high schools’ lame man.Bookmark here

Takuya: What kind of stupid-ass excuse is that? Bookmark here

Shin: Man, I didn’t bring you here for you to sound like an old fart and rain on the damn parade. I thought you’d be helpful man.Bookmark here

Takuya: I wanna be helpful, but how the hell am I supposed to be helpful? Y’all are a bunch of kids! I mean shit, [Looks at Naomi] … Naomi? Why are you here?Bookmark here

Naomi [To Takuya]: Oh… uh, I thought it’d be interesting, right? And there’s been a lot of, well, stuff, at school.Bookmark here

Takuya: Eh?Bookmark here

Shin [Approaches Takuya]: What she means is, there’s a bunch of shitheads at school. It’s not like how it was when we were younger. We’re the group coming from out on the country, we aren’t the most accepted group. You wouldn’t know much about that though since you barely went to school, am I wrong?Bookmark here

Takuya [Scoffs]: Fuck off.Bookmark here

Shin: Still, still, you should understand. There’re some real dickheads in school, and it’s not like we’re some super geniuses. We’re just some kids from the country going to school in a bigger city – although not as big as Yokohama; hell, I don’t know what Takashi and them are doing. Essentially, we’re sick of this shit and wanna do something different.Bookmark here

Takuya: So you wanna drop out? Bookmark here

Shin: None of us want to, haha. Whad’ya think, we’re failures? [Laughs] But I mean shit, we can’t go wrong here, can we?Bookmark here

Takuya: Sure you can go wrong! Didn’t your mom explain everything before she left to go overseas? Don’t you know what this type of life is?Bookmark here

Shin: Of course I do man.Bookmark here

Takuya: You know, you’re talking about illegal shit too, right?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, I know man. Bookmark here

Takuya: So, it’s not even what me and your bro used to do… it’s just some tomfoolery to blow off steam. Not only is this stupid, it’s against what your brother even stood for.Bookmark here

Shin: Calm down old man, we don’t need ya lecturing us. Besides, what we’re doing ain’t even all that bad, y’know it’s like odd jobs type of shit? ‘Illegal’? [Scoffs] Chalk up half the world to this type of bullshit, it’s nothing new. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if you guys searched these depths for jobs and shit back when you worked with my brother. [Laughs] Ha, then again if you’re doing it now I wouldn’t put it past ya to have done it before. All talk no action you lot. [Laughs]Bookmark here

Takuya: Huh? The hell are you talking about?Bookmark here

Shin [Looks behind him and calls]: Yo Elec, got the phone?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah man. [He walks to Shin and tosses him and old, cracked phone]Bookmark here

Shin: Thanks. [He turns it on and opens a tab on his browser] Oi Tak, ain’t this you, my man?Bookmark here

Takuya [Grabs the phone]: Oh, so you morons use these sites for jobs too? [Chuckles] Fine, fine, I talk a lot of horseshit, but what am I supposed to do? Bookmark here

Yuki [Interjects]: Did you guys use that while you were part of the military as well?Bookmark here

Takuya: First off, I wasn’t military, I was part of the elite division of assassins and informants. Special Ops. There’s a big difference.Bookmark here

Yuki [Shrugs]: Meh.Bookmark here

Takuya: Second, whether we used it back then is irrelevant to now. I’m on my own now, and so are y’all. Without Ichigo, there’s been a whole rising of shitheads from these depths.Bookmark here

Yuki: Really? Like who?Bookmark here

Takuya: Ever since he died a lot of the elite division fell apart after I left – not that I care – and a lot of random thug groups began popping up and making the rounds.Bookmark here

Naomi: You were keeping track?Bookmark here

Takuya [Bites tongue]: Yeah. Yeah, I needed to. Not like I could do much, but if things ever spiraled way out of control, I had connections at least. Bookmark here

Naomi: Ah, I see. Did anything like that happen?Bookmark here

Yuki: Probably not, since he’s standing in front of us right now.Bookmark here

[Naomi and Yuki laugh to one another]Bookmark here

Takuya: Well, in the early days there were some groups like Seaside headed by that Hashiro guy, but it never really took off. A bit later came that group from Osaka – the Red Bullets or whatever – Bookmark here

Yuki: Red Bullets? [Laughs] What a stupid name.Bookmark here

Takuya: Don’t look at me, I didn’t name 'em. I don’t think anyone ever found out who was the ringleader behind them, but they had a bunch of early attention. They’ve sorta died down lately on these types of sites, but I’m pretty sure they still run a lot of the Osaka area. They’ve been trying to move into the scenes in Yokohama but that’ll probably take time, and I don’t think it’ll cause too big of a stir. They’re annoying, but they aren’t going to cause some bullshit to happen.Bookmark here

Yuki: So, nothing happened then?Bookmark here

Takuya: Wait, wait missy. There’s a reason why I came out here after Shin called me, y’know? Sure he’d be mad and all that, but I thought you[‘d have more of a legitimate reason…Bookmark here

Yuki: And that legitimate reason might be, pre-tell…Bookmark here

Takuya: A group that’s been raising my suspicions for a bit, even though they haven’t done much.Bookmark here

Yuki: Eh? Why would they be suspicious then?Bookmark here

Takuya: Well, they take a lot of the odd jobs – arms smuggling, weapons trades, illegal importing, whatever – that don’t have to do with any sort of murder or assassination or anything like that.Bookmark here

Naomi: Huh? Then why would they be suspicious?Bookmark here

Takuya: It’s the way they’ve gone about everything – they seem like such a Holier than Thou group, doing what they do for attention and for people to flock to them. And they do everything so quickly too, so they can’t be amateurs either. They just seem like the type of people who are trying to get more and more supporters until they show their true colors. Bookmark here

Yuki: I mean, they sound like a pretty good group for now, don’t they Naomi?Bookmark here

Naomi: I don’t have a problem with them.Bookmark here

Takuya [To Shin]: See, this is why I thought you called me out. I thought you guys were on the ropes with those types of guys. [Pauses] Hell, even that guy [points to Electra], who are ya?Bookmark here

Electra [Points at himself]: Me? I’m Naomi’s cousin, that’s all. Bookmark here

Takuya: Ah, alright, alright.Bookmark here

Yuki: By the way Tak, who even were these guys that you were talking about?Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh, the group?Bookmark here

Yuki: Yeah, you got a name? Maybe we’ve heard of them or can look around for them or something. Bookmark here

Takuya: Listen, you lot should be in school damnit. Don’t you get it? This type of shits dangerous. Once you get roped in by one of these big groups it’s wraps for you. Everything you do is for the ringleader and if you slip up, you’re the one with the axe in your back.Bookmark here

Yuki: Blah, blah, if it’s so scary, then why are you still a part of it?Bookmark here

Takuya: Me? Really, you’re gonna ask? I’m an adult – I was already Ichigo’s senior. I know the ropes in this type of life. I’ve been through it as an informant, and I know how to survive and make money to get by. You guys don’t. You’re just kids. Bookmark here

Shin [Interjects]: Yeah, yeah old man. Maybe we’ll take your word, or whatever. Just tell us the name of this group, alright?Bookmark here

Takuya: You just don’t listen to anyone, do ya?Bookmark here

Shin: I’ll listen more carefully after you tell me this. So just tell me.Bookmark here

Takuya: It’s a gang known as the East Block from a little way from here. Why does it matter anyway, unless you want to go work for – Bookmark here

[Takuya stops talking as Shin spits out the coffee that he had been drinking, which had been given to him by Naomi while Yuki and Takuya were talking. He regains his composure, only to keep on laughing that he nearly falls over]Bookmark here

Yuki [Chuckles]: First time I’ve seen Shin laugh that hard in a long time. Bookmark here

Electra: To be fair, it’s pretty funny.Bookmark here

Yuki: It is. [Chuckles] It really is.Bookmark here

Takuya: Eh? What’s so funny? I know it’s not the best name but it’s better than the Bullets or whatever. Aye Shin, what’s so funny man?Bookmark here

Shin [Regains his composure]: You fucking moron… [laughs] you think we’re gonna be scared of the East Block? [He reaches into his pocket, grabbing a card and flings it at Takuya] Take a look, moron. And I couldn’t have forged this shit, I had no idea your were actually this scared.Bookmark here

Takuya [Looks up and down the card]: Eh? What’s the big deal here?Bookmark here

Shin: Flip the card, moron.Bookmark here

Takuya [Flips the card and is taken aback]: No way.Bookmark here

Shin: You see why we ain’t scared man?Bookmark here

Takuya: There’s no way you guys created this this quickly. How?Bookmark here

Shin: How? I’m just built different man.Bookmark here

Naomi: Shin…Bookmark here

Shin: Fine, fine. But you’ve gotta give me some respect, right?Bookmark here

Naomi: Yeah. You did a lot to help us all out.Bookmark here

Takuya [Still perplexed]: But still, you created a dominant force in the depths, you know that, right?Bookmark here

Naomi: We did.Bookmark here

Takuya: You’re just…Bookmark here

Shin: Just kids? [Pauses] Yeah, we are, and so what of it? Information’s always available everywhere and we weren’t so sheltered from the reality of the bullshit that is life from an early age. Hell, my brother even died – no matter what story my mom told me to cover it up, I never could believe it to be true. The only truth was that my brother was a hero, in my eyes at least. When she finally told me what he worked as before she moved overseas for her new job, I was less surprised and more relieved to know that I wasn’t crazy for believing what I had believed. Bookmark here

Takuya: So, her lying to you caused you to delve into this path? I still don’t get it.Bookmark here

Shin: Hell no. I didn’t want to do all of this, I wouldn’t have minded living a normal life, y’know. But school was a real bitch – for all of us, no doubt – and life didn’t look like it really had any positive spin to it until we started this shit. [Pauses] Hell, it’s in part thanks to you as well.Bookmark here

Takuya: Huh? What the hell did I do? I only came to talk to you when you wanted. We never talked about any of this. [Pauses] No, your brother… I didn’t mean for any harm towards him – Bookmark here

Shin: Not my brother, you moron. You really are a special kind of stupid, aren’t ya? Bookmark here

Takuya [Confused]: Then what?Bookmark here

Shin [Calls out behind him]: Ayo Elec?Bookmark here

Electra: What’s up man?Bookmark here

Shin: Drift and Higuchi here?Bookmark here

Electra: Yeah, they got here a while back. [Calls out] Yo Drift! Shin’s callin!Bookmark here

Drift [From a distance]: Alright, alright, I’m coming! [He walks forward towards Shin, Takuya, Yuki and Naomi]Bookmark here

Shin: Yo, what’s up?Bookmark here

Drift: Been a little bit man. [Looks at Takuya, who looks more perplexed than ever] This the guy we were supposed to meet?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, this is him.Bookmark here

Drift: Why’d you want me to meet him? Couldn’t ya have dealt with it?Bookmark here

Shin: Yeah, I probably could have, but I wanted you here as well.Bookmark here

Drift [To Takuya]: Oi man, nice to meet ya. What’s your name?Bookmark here

Takuya [Shakes his head and takes a deep breath]: Takuya. Takuya Kurou.Bookmark here

Drift [His eyes lower and he appears shocked]: Takuya?Bookmark here

Takuya: Yeah.Bookmark here

Drift: Wait. Wait, wait. It’s the same voice too… or at least I think it is… shit man.Bookmark here

Takuya: So, it is you, I’d take it?Bookmark here

Drift: Wait…Bookmark here

Takuya: Wilhelm, I presume?Bookmark here

Naomi [To Drift]: Ooo, he got ya there.Bookmark here

Yuki: Eh? Drift, y’know this old fart?Bookmark here

Takuya [To Yuki]: Eh? Who’re you calling old fart again?Bookmark here

Yuki: You, you damn hag!Bookmark here

Takuya [Shakes his head]: Whatever. [Laughs] So, Wil, how the hell did you end up here with these brats? Don’t tell me I shouldn’t have called you that day.Bookmark here

Drift: First off, I don’t go by Wil or Wilhelm anymore.Bookmark here

Takuya: Oh yeah, then what?Bookmark here

Drift: Drift.Bookmark here

Takuya [Chuckles]: You really couldn’t have come up with anything better, eh?Bookmark here

Drift: Well…Bookmark here

Naomi: It was my idea!Bookmark here

Drift: Yeah, it was her idea.Bookmark here

Takuya [To Naomi]: Why?Bookmark here

Naomi: He’s our driver normally with our van squad, and his metallic arm gives him some pretty good drifting.Bookmark here

Yuki: I second that.Bookmark here

Takuya: So, you got your name cause you can drift corners well? What is this, Tokyo Drift?Bookmark here

[Shin laughs behind him]Bookmark here

Drift [Shrugs]: I guess... [turns to Shin] man shut up Shin!Bookmark here

Takuya [Chuckles again]: Man, you kids never cease to amaze me. [Shakes his head] But wait, I didn’t even ask, how the hell did you guys meet? What the hell?Bookmark here

Drift: Well…Bookmark here

Takuya: Don’t tell me you’re the reason they’re into this type of shit…Bookmark here

Drift: Well…Bookmark here

Naomi [To Takuya]: Wait, wait, wait. How do you two know each other?Bookmark here

Takuya: Is that really important?Bookmark here

Shin [Nudges him and smirks]: Well, it kinda is now, isn’t it, grandpa? We didn’t know that you two knew each other… now explain to the crowd, would ya?Bookmark here

Takuya: Alright Shin, well…Bookmark here

[Flashback to a few days after Takuya left Shin’s house from the previous chapter – Takuya arrives at work to inform the higher-ups of the news regarding Ichigo's death]Bookmark here

Takuya [Enters the board room, where three men, Ryo, Raphael and Denis, in suits are sitting]: Good day to you all.Bookmark here

Ryo: Good day Takuya.Bookmark here

Takuya: I assume you received the news, correct?Bookmark here

Ryo: Yes, we did. Bookmark here

Raphael: Did you get to speak to his family?Bookmark here

Takuya: I had gone the day of the meeting, that’s why I had left. I assume that man had relayed that news to you lot?Bookmark here

Raphael: He only told us that you had to take an emergency, to which we excused you. Putting two and two together, it makes quite a lot of sense that you had to leave. [Pauses] So, what did you have to say to his mother?Bookmark here

Takuya: Just had to explain the situation to her and tried to help her keep her cool, which she did. It’s quite a tough situation, but she knew that in some way or another, something would go wrong. Obviously, she hoped for the best, but you can’t control everything.Bookmark here

Ryo: And his brother?Bookmark here

Takuya: Wasn’t there. She’ll likely explain everything to him in time. He’s just going into secondary school and should be able to understand a lot more stuff as he matures. Now isn’t the time for that though. I’ll probably try to keep in touch with him here and there as a brotherly figure.Bookmark here

Raphael: Does he want – Bookmark here

Takuya: Don’t ask that question. I’m not getting him involved in this stuff.Bookmark here

Raphael: Okay, but in terms of finances…Bookmark here

Takuya: Finances? What?Bookmark here

Raphael: Are they going to be able to sustain themselves off of the mother’s salary?Bookmark here

Ryo: I had heard that it was quite mid-level, or even lower. He was the real breadwinner there.Bookmark here

Takuya: Huh? What about the compensation that he’s entitled to?Bookmark here

Ryo: What compensation?Bookmark here

Takuya [His face visibly turns disgusted]: HUH? Don’t give me that bullshit!Bookmark here

Raphael: Calm down there Tak. Were you under the impression that he deserved compensation?Bookmark here

Takuya: Well no fucking shit! He was bloody killed while working! The hell do you mean ‘the impression’? What kind of God-damn façade?Bookmark here

Raphael: Again, this was an international affair, not a domestic injury or death. Have you even seen the conditions under the insurance? Bookmark here

Takuya: Man fuck the conditions! He was your damn ace! And you’re sweeping him under the rug like that?Bookmark here

Raphael: How is it fair to change the conditions based on one man though? I know that you’re close with him, but why would we do that?Bookmark here

Takuya: You shitheads don’t care about the people who work for y’all at all, do ya? We’re just tools to be used to keep the population under control, eh?Bookmark here

Denis: Not to be rude Takuya, but how haven’t you caught onto that as yet? Weren’t you one of the biggest advocates of the current system? Weren’t you next in line to work as one of us – but you got distracted by that man, Ichigo?Bookmark here

Ryo: A lot of your views changed when you started associating yourself with that man… what you just described is what we were created to be. We aren’t a family mate. These kinds of things happen.Bookmark here

[Takuya walks forward towards Ryo and slaps him across the face, which Ryo shakes off]Bookmark here

Takuya [Looks at Raphael]: So, you’re gonna give him nothing eh?Bookmark here

Raphael: He died on international soil, and it wasn’t an accident whatsoever. He participated in something voluntarily and died. We can’t compensate for non-accidents, especially those that happen on international grounds.Bookmark here

Takuya: So, basically, compensation’s hardly given out by you cheats, eh?Bookmark here

Ryo [Chuckles]: I don’t know why that’s such a surprise. I thought you were in on this stuff man, hell, you’ve even signed off on this stuff. How are we going to keep our reputation if money’s going all over the place to people that we have no business caring about?Bookmark here

Takuya: Fuckin shitheads man, all of y’all.Bookmark here

Denis: It’s a cutthroat business. We can’t do anything about this. Bookmark here

Takuya: But if I had said his brother was interested in joining, then what?Bookmark here

Raphael: The conversation may have been slightly different, to say the least.Bookmark here

Ryo: But you vehemently declined the kid from working for us, so what can we say?Bookmark here

Takuya: His brother fucking died because of this damn work! The hell else do you want me to say?Bookmark here

Ryo: That isn’t our concern.Bookmark here

Takuya: That isn’t? He was your god-damn ace! You can’t save some compassion for the people in his life?Bookmark here

Denis: Why should we? They aren’t providing us with anything.Bookmark here

Takuya [Reaches into his pocket and grabs his phone and smashes it into the ground in front of the three]: Take your company phone back. Take all this shit back. You fuckers aren’t worth a second more of my time. I don’t know how or why I kept working with such a corrupt, incompetent group of shitheads.Bookmark here

Ryo: Y’know, you don’t want to make an enemy out of a group as big as us, right?Bookmark here

Takuya [Pulls out a pistol from his pocket and aims it at Ryo]: Keep talkin there. I don’t go anywhere unarmed. And you fuckers can pull out your guns too, but you know I got the best reaction time here. I’ll kill your ass even if you kill me. Cutthroat business, isn’t it? You should be able to let Ryo die then, shouldn’t you? Or are you guys hypocrites?Bookmark here

Raphael [Looks at Takuya]: Put the gun down. No one’s shooting anyone here. Plus, you’re an informant. You aren’t a god-damn shooter. So put it down.Bookmark here

Takuya: Or what, eh?Bookmark here

Raphael: You can leave. We aren’t going to hunt you down or put a bounty on your name. We may be sly, but we keep our word. Hell, we’re keeping our word on that compensation too, it’s just in a manner that’s unfavorable to you. You can leave, do whatever you want with your life. Cross paths with us on purpose though and we’ll end you. You’d be smart to go do whatever the hell you want with your life.Bookmark here

Takuya [Drops the gun]: Fuckin shithead. Bookmark here

Denis: So, I take it you’re done then… we’ll clear you off our records by tonight. Do whatever you can with the rest of your life.Bookmark here

Takuya [Walks towards the door, opens it and walks out, slamming it shut]: Bastards.Bookmark here

Ryo [To Raphael]: You actually want to keep your word?Bookmark here

Bookmark here

Raphael: We’re a company of honor. We aren’t going back on our words. He’s one guy, and if he actively comes at us, we’ll take him down. We know enough about him, and he’ll have no way of getting any information on us. There’s no risk to this, and we keep our company’s honor.Bookmark here

Ryo: Honor? Really?Bookmark here

Raphael: Regardless of how we may feel towards him after the way he acted, we made a legitimate deal with him. Bookmark here

Ryo: That's all bullshit, y'know? We should be working to provide the best for ourselves - who gives a damn about anyone else man?Bookmark here

Raphael [Shakes his head]: This is what is best... we have to uphold our honor at least.Bookmark here

Ryo [Laughs]: Honor? Please. The damn reason we stayed afloat is because of Ichigo Taiki. And we don't even have the rights to his brother Shin to even train him... what the hell is the point of even keeping our own honor code? We're gonna be done for faster than we know it.Bookmark here

Denis: We're more than a one-man business Ryo. You yourself know that - Bookmark here

Ryo: Please... don't give me that. We've gotta start being cutthroat in every way to keep ourselves afloat. But I know that neither of you two would ever listen to me and my ideas, right?Bookmark here

Denis: That's why we're a three man council. As much as you make valid points, we cannot reciprocate those ideals. We follow this code and hell, if he does cross paths with us again, we'll make sure to kill him.Bookmark here

Raphael: Yeah. I don't see the downside in that at all. There's no need to break a mutual agreement because of a minor quarrel we had.Bookmark here

Ryo [Under his breath, laughing]: It isn't just Takuya, you damn morons. You both are unbelievably moronic with every action you take. 'Cutthroat business'? Cutthroat business my ass. That moron understands it better than both of you, and he'll make it a lot farther than you two will. This organization won't last much longer like this... I'll say that much.Bookmark here

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