Chapter 40:

Bloodlust and Loneliness


The thugs get to Jojo the moment he reaches the top of the stairs, tackling him and trying to drag him downstairs again.

Wagh! Lemme go!!

Jojo fights tooth and nail to get away from them without letting go of the bat, scratching at the floor as he tries to crawl away. Whipping his head forward, he gasps at the sight of Amon gripping Romeo by the head, and instantly, he’s filled with the strength to rip free from their clutches. Tripping over his own feet as he runs towards the two of them, he holds the bat high up.


Amon slowly turns his head towards Jojo, but he’s met with a flying bat thrown straight at his face. He releases Romeo to dodge its impact. He turns his gaze back to the pillar, only to see Romeo with his head hanging low, catching his breath... but now, with his bat firmly caught in his hand by the grip.

Jojo gets caught almost instantly by the thugs again, who keeps him pinned down on the floor. But rather than the pain of being captured, a strange sort of elation at the sight in front of him adorns his face.

Amon’s eyebrow twitches. Romeo slowly lifts his face, his eyes glowing and bangs obscuring his expression— a sight Amon recognizes all too well. Romeo is only Romeo at his most feral. This is the beast he so dearly treasures, the dog he wants leashed for the sake of Makai. A grin, so rare for him, splits his stoic expression. How wonderful it is to see Romeo this way again.

“Finally getting serious, Bloody Bat Romeo?”

Romeo doesn’t answer. He sprints towards Amon instead, swinging his bat at him. The blow misses Amon by a hair. His bat hits another of the concrete pillars in the building instead, cracking the surface from the sheer strength behind it. The impact causes rubble to fall from the ceiling.

Romeo draws the bat back and his eyes dart in Amon’s direction. Amon disappears from his sight, dropping down to land a powerful punch straight at Romeo’s stomach.


Romeo’s eyes go blank for a second, keeling over as he presses a hand against what feels like a broken rib.

Amon straightens up, still unscathed.

“...You couldn’t defeat me before, so what makes you think you can now?”

Romeo glares at him no different than a snarling animal. Only bloodlust pulses through his cloudy mind and nothing else registers to him, not even his aching body. Jamming his bat into the ground, he uses it as a support to stagger back to his feet, breathing heavily.

“You’re wasting your talents. Instead of fighting me, you should be doing as I ordered. We’d have been done by now if you had.”

Romeo barely hears him. He tightens the hold on his bat and swings it back over his shoulder, ready to strike again.



Yuri’s quiet voice knocks more sense into him than Amon ever could with his blows. He doesn’t look her way—he doesn't want to draw Amon’s attention to her—gritting his teeth instead.

But Amon notices his brief lucidity. He scoffs while cracking his knuckles and the bones in his neck.

“If you want me to hurt her that badly, you could’ve just asked.”

“Leave her alone!”

Romeo immediately dashes over, swinging his bat at him with all his might. Amon brings an arm up to block it, but for once, that alone doesn’t cut it. It knocks him off balance, not enough to make him fall, but enough for Romeo to take that fraction of a second as an opportunity to strike his unprotected side.

The blow shatters Amon's ribs, drawing a growl from his lips. He staggers towards a pillar, holding on to it while glaring daggers at Romeo. Romeo lifts his bat up high— higher than Amon’s head, ready to deliver the final blow.

“You little bitch—”

Amon cusses him out one last time before Romeo swings his bat with all the strength he can manage.


But the blow doesn't strike Amon. It crashes into the pillar behind him, deep fissures shattering the concrete. The ceiling rapidly crumbles beneath its own weight as the one support beam can’t hold itself. Romeo knew it; the weak infrastructure could barely hold under his last hit, never mind a strike done at full power. All around them, the building starts crumbling as more and more rubble pours from the ceiling with no sign it'll stop.

Amon, breathing hard, grips the crumbling pillar behind him. He glares at Romeo. Then, he grins before it turns into a cackle.

“Hahahaha!! You couldn’t do it! After all this time! You’re still nothing unless someone’s telling you what to do, ain’cha!”


“Finish me off, coward! Do it! Come on!! Finish me off or your girlfriend will—”

Just as Amon's lips twist into a vicious snarl, a chunk of the ceiling crashes down right where he stands.

Romeo gasps, looking up at the roof coming down in massive chunks. With every impact of the ceiling debris, cracks form across the floor. Even the first floor begins to rumble, too.

BOSS!!!” Jojo yells. The thugs that were pinning him down now run frantically down the escalator. “Tama burned down something downstairs, and the whole place caught on fire! We gotta get outta here!”

Romeo, still shocked by Amon's abrupt disappearance beneath the rubble, doesn't immediately process what Jojo says.

“Nnnh… Romeo…” Franz, looking disheveled, painfully makes his way to the top of the other set of stairs while holding on to the rail. “Yuri…”

Romeo swallows, then turns around towards Franz, nodding.

“Stay right there.”


Romeo rushes over to the elevator, getting hit on the head a few times by small pieces of debris. One, in particular, smacks his temple. The blood that trickles down from it almost blinds him in one eye.

He looks inside, his eyes meeting Yuri's own. The sight of him immediately startles her. Romeo feels a tinge of pain at her recoiling away from him like that. He averts his eyes and grips each side of the door again, slowly pushing it more and more open.

“Nngghh… Just… a little… more…”


Finally, the last portion of the doors slides away with ease. Romeo quickly kneels down and moves towards Yuri, circling his arms around her. Yuri feels her face heat up, confused for a second until she realizes Romeo’s only doing it to untie her hands behind her back.

As he does this, her eyes slowly look at Romeo, who is doing everything in his power to not look at her.

“... Romeo—”

“All done.”

Romeo coldly speaks before she can say anything, pulling away from her and standing up. He offers her his hand and waits for her to remove the loose blindfold on her own.

“We have to go now.”

After a second, Yuri nods sadly, taking his hand.

Romeo safely pulls her away from the elevator, hand in hand with her as he tugs her towards the escalator where Franz awaits. Yuri looks at Romeo’s back. Hidden from her view, Romeo allows himself to grieve over this bittersweet feeling— the sensation of Yuri’s warm hand on his own.

Yuri!” Franz perks up the moment he sees her, rushing over to them.

Romeo lets go of her hand, and Franz quickly pulls her into a one-sided embrace.

“I thought I lost you, my love…”


Yuri, still confused, slowly brings a hand to Franz’s back, barely touching him.

“Can you get her out of here?” Romeo interrupts.

Without letting go of Yuri, Franz looks at him and raises an eyebrow.

“Are you sure it should be me…?”

Romeo looks away and nods.

“I’ll go get the others.”

“Romeo, wait!” Yuri calls to him, but Romeo simply turns around and runs towards the other escalator where he'd last seen Jojo.