Kame was very late for his lecture, but thought he'd sneak in to sit somewhere in the back for the rest of it. It would hopefully serve to keep his mind off tonight and his miserable failure in the blocks just now, and Kame welcomed any distraction.
“Hey, pretty.” a familiar voice greeted him, distracting him from going to class where he was crossing the campus. Shirota Yu approached him with a grin and Kame decided that that was the only form of distraction he didn’t welcome right now – something that reminded him of Jin.
“Senpai.” Kame greeted back curt, not about to stop to chat.
“The weather’s getting warmer…how about a picnic?” Shirota suggested and Kame stopped unwillingly to answer, as Shirota didn’t cease talking despite Kame clearly appearing to be in a hurry.
“Sorry, but I don’t have time for that. I'm late for class.” Kame replied curt again, but with the same effect.
“Classes are almost over.” the taller man insisted, stepping into his way and this time Kame had to halt completely. “Oh, come on. Don’t pretend what we had means nothing to you! I know you like me~ Though not as much as you like a certain friend of mine.”
Kame pressed back a frustrated sigh. He had been avoiding Shirota all year, being mostly successful, but today it seemed everything went wrong for him.
“There’s really nothing I can do to help you?” Shirota asked, becoming serious then and studying him with a worried expression. “I know you're in a pinch of some sort and despite what happened between us I still regard you as a friend.”
“There is something you can do for me.” Kame said then and Shirota was eager to learn what it was. “Take care of that certain friend of yours and make sure he doesn’t forgive me once this is all over.”
The strange request left Shirota silent for a while and Kame took it as his chance to cut the conversation short, about to walk again when Shirota grabbed his arm, pulling him back in front of him.
“I don't know what's happened between you two lately and I don't know what's going on with you, but I do know this. There’s no changing that stubborn guy’s mind, so you better figure out something else I can actually do for you.”
“You can let me go.” Kame replied and Shirota's gaze slipped quickly from Kame's dark eyes to his hand on the slender arm between their bodies.
Without obeying, Shirota leaned in. “I said, figure out something I can actually do. My body seems to have a mind of its own.”
“Then start thinking with your brain not your dick, because I really don't like seeing you two together.” Jin's voice cut into their conversation and both men turned in surprise towards him, standing a small distance away from them. “And I still owe you for that dance...among other things.”
Shirota seemed to take Jin's advice as his grip loosened on Kame's arm, releasing the shorter boy. “I’ll dance with you anytime you like. You only need to ask.”
Jin ignored Shirota, as he approached them.
“You're early.” Kame said, eyes falling to the ground as he was close enough. “I thought you would give me a full day's head start.”
“I got bored waiting. Besides I read your visit to our blocks as a 'come and get me' signal.” Jin said, stopping before Kame.
“You read me wrong.” Kame said, but Jin just smiled.
“Oh, I don't think I did. Got your bags packed yet?” he asked and Kame didn't reply. “I didn't think so. Why waste any more time? A year was long enough, don't you think? Let’s take off now. I think you’ll come to enjoy spending more time at my place.”
It clearly wasn’t as much an invitation as it was an order to come over and stay.
“You shouldn't be here.” Kame warned.
“I need to talk to you.” Jin said.
“I don’t have time right now.” Kame insisted.
“Then make time.” Jin said, cutting off Kame's path and Kame was getting tired of people doing that. With a quick signal to Shirota to leave them, Jin added as the taller man was out of earshot, “You were right last night. I wouldn’t have hurt you. I thought I could, but I couldn't. I may be a bastard, but I'm not that bad of a person anymore. And I know you're not either, so stop pretending to be one and talk to me. Tell me what's wrong and I'll fix it.”
Kame didn't like having to look Jin in the eyes from this close of a distance, but if he didn't he felt he would give Jin too much ground. “You can't fix it.”
“It's your family, isn't it?” Jin guessed. “The ones who will suffer if you defy Masa. I knew he was holding you with something.”
“Walk with me.” Kame simply replied, starting ahead and cocking his head over his shoulder in anticipation for Jin to follow.
“Thought you'd never ask.” Jin smiled, continuing to talk as they walked, “A computer program captured the senpais, so that has your handiwork written on it, but did you have any part in Kanjani8 being caught too? Did you tell Masa that people were coming for me?”
“No, I didn't know anything about Kanjani8 until Masa told me to block their cell phone signals.” Kame replied and Jin realized that was why they hadn't even known Ryo and Uchi were in trouble – they had expected an emergency call that never came. Masa had only leaked the information to the rest of the gang somehow and the gang had charged without a second thought. “Though it was not so hard for Masa to figure out someone would come. He just grabbed who he could get his hands on.”
“You came to us when we found out something big is going down tonight.” Jin said and Kame wondered if Jin too thought he had been carrying out Masa’s plot when he had come to the blocks. “I know you well enough to be able to tell when you're sincere, but we can't turn our backs on an opportunity like this. Johnny will gain too much.”
Kame was silent, where he walked beside the gang leader.
“Don’t go there tonight.” Jin said then. “Don’t become one of them, Kame.”
“I already am.” Kame replied, not going to allow Jin ordering him to do something that Jin hadn't agreed to do either.
“What are you planning?” Jin asked. “You were genuinely scared for our sake, enough to break out of Masa's hold to stop us, why are you so sure we will be the ones in trouble? We outnumber you all by far. Johnny can't possibly squeeze in all his guests and enough security into one restaurant, meaning the tightest security will be placed outside and on the inside we will have the advantage in size. Also the slightest embarrassment at that party would prove damaging for Johnny, so why were you practically begging us to stay away tonight?”
“Give me one good reason why I should tell you-” Kame mumbled, but Jin caught his arm harder than Shirota had.
“I’ll give you several.” Jin replied.
“Jin, please.” Kame pleaded. “If you want what’s good for you then you stay away from me tonight.”
That made Jin laugh. “If I had known what was good for me I would've treated you just like any other boy toy, but instead I let you defeat me in the worst possible way a player can be defeated. I don't think there's much worse you can do.”
Kame strongly disagreed. Removing his gaze from Jin he continued to walk, hearing Jin follow close by.
He was not going to lead Jin to his doom. He was going to lead Jin somewhere safe.
The campus was slowly emptying. Without a word, Kame led Jin to a building he was sure wouldn’t be in use anymore, walking down the stairs to its basement. He stopped in a room at the end of a corridor, finally turning back to Jin again. The leader studied him, obviously trying to figure out what was to follow now that they had reached their destination.
“Was there something wrong with going back to your apartment? It’s nearby.” Jin teased, giving the room he was in another look. There were no windows on this level as far as he could tell and Kame had used his new lock picking skill to enter the place, which made Jin really wonder what they were doing there. “Or do you have a thing for libraries?”
As Kame stepped closer Jin knew exactly what he wanted the reason for them being there to be. “I really wish you would’ve listened to me.”
“I’m all ears now.” Jin said and Kame shook his head.
“It’s too late now.” Kame replied his voice soft and his hands equally so as he reached Jin’s face, touching it gently before tugging Jin’s head down and tiptoeing to meet his lips. At that point Jin stopped thinking.
He had expected more avoiding from Kame’s part, not a longing kiss and certainly not to get shoved at the bookshelf next. But it all made sense to him as he heard something click around his wrist and he understood that the wandering hand had really been looking for his handcuffs and not his belt buckle.
Kame’s lips parted from him as another click sounded in the empty room, restraining his cuffed wrist to the heavy shelf.
“Okay, this I didn't see coming. I didn't even know you knew I carried handcuffs.” Jin said, looking briefly at the pair of cuffs.
“Why should I be surprised? You always come prepared.” Kame replied, slipping out of the embrace.
“They come in handy.” Jin admitted. “I guess I should be more surprised that you figured out where I held the key.”
Kame’s eyes fell momentarily to the pockets of Jin’s pants. “I felt it when you had me searching for the key to my chain.”
“Figures.” Jin mumbled, remembering the feeling of Kame straddled on top of him, hands trying for his pockets while Kame’s lips kept him distracted. He pushed that memory away before it could distract him. “You do know I will be free in a matter of moments, key or not.”
Kame’s gaze escaped momentarily to the shelf that Jin’s wrist was cuffed to. It was too strong to break through, Jin would either have to pick the lock or break the cuffs. Knowing the leader, Jin had lots of weapons on him that could help him get free.
“But by then I will be far away.” Kame replied, taking one step back.
“I will find you.” Jin assured.
“I'm begging you not to.” Kame said.
“What's the big plan? What are you up to?” Jin asked and as if reading the answer from his face realization dawned upon the gang leader. “Wait. Mikimoto, the lawyer Kumada... Those are people we have a personal connection to. The dinner party… It's not just a big business deal. It's a trap! You want to lure us all there, don't you? You're planning on striking us again tonight. This was created to make us want to storm in just like you created the case you knew we would want to take to court. Both times we’ve been made to believe we stand a real good chance at humiliating Johnny, but that’s not true this time either, is it? You know what’s going to happen. You know we stand no bigger chance this time either. That’s why you came to warn us, to beg us not to go!” Kame didn't meet his eyes and Jin pulled wildly on his cuffed wrist as if he suddenly thought that would allow him to get free. “That's my gang there! And Pi and... You can't do it!”
“I have to.” Kame replied.
“Why?” Jin asked. “There’s something else you’re not telling me! What is the big plan? What are you hiding? Why are you arresting us all?”
“I told you not to ask me questions I can't answer to!” Kame cut him off, practically screaming it.
“I can't let you do it.” Jin said, picking out his phone from his pocket while Kame hastily brought out his laptop. Jin barely got to dial before his signal had been blocked. Seeing how his phone would be of no use he stuffed it back into his pocket. “I will stop you.”
“Then stop me.” Kame said. He really wanted Jin to. “I offered you truce, I warned you and I begged you not to strike tonight, but Masa was right. You wouldn't listen to me. I'm not someone you would take seriously. Now you're going to have to.”
He hastily put his laptop away and turned to walk before Jin could get free.
“I know now what it is that you wanted from me that I didn't give you. Something Masa did.” Jin said and Kame froze to the spot before he could take a single step, not turning around to face Jin as he waited for Jin to continue. “My acknowledgment. You wanted me to see what you could do. Needless to say you've shown me.”
What had he actually done that showed Jin anything? He hadn't won in boxing, he had failed to keep his mask on when the real Jin had stepped up to play and now he was hanging onto Masa's plan by a thread, begging for a way out and so close to blowing it now too. Masa’s original plan had included the capture of Jin too, but Kame wasn’t even able to do that. The trial too had been Masa's ideas mostly. He hadn't really done anything by himself.
“You're strong, Kame, but in a different way than me, Masa or any of us.” Jin said and Kame couldn’t help the surprise that flashed over his face, lucky that Jin hadn't seen it, but then again Jin could probably tell without seeing his face. “You are more than this.” Jin continued. “You survived all those years in my cell and it was not because you spread your legs. You were perfectly capable of standing up for yourself when you really wanted to and I knew that all along. I underestimated you in the beginning, but I acknowledge you now. In Korea too, all you would've needed was to trust yourself because you are strong-”
“I’m not like that!” Kame cut him off, forcing himself to turn around and meet Jin’s eyes. He felt his voice shake a bit as he continued, “You don’t know me. You don’t know how…terrified I was to meet you that first night, although I knew nothing about your reputation or the prison you ruled. You don’t know how I was trying to fit in from the start, afraid you’d see how I wasn’t tough like the rest of you and that it’d make me easy to bully. You don't even know how scared I was at the thought of seeing you today!”
He couldn't tell what Jin was thinking, but he made sure to check Jin wasn't just trying to distract him in order to get loose.
“You think too much of me.” Kame said. “You, who see me through better than anyone, should know just how much I’m worth. I willingly took your offer and became your boy toy and then blamed you for it when I should’ve stood my ground and not yielded to you. I fell in love with you while being your boy toy, then blamed you again for acting cold towards me, as if I had the right to expect more from you.”
He shouldn’t be giving into Jin, but Jin kept saying all those things about him without knowing what kind of a person he truly was. He wasn’t all of that.
“I was never strong.” Kame added. “All my life I’ve…I’ve just tried to be someone other people would like. In school trying to make friends I worked so hard for people to like me, but I never made any true friends and I always wondered why. Why couldn’t anyone like me when I was trying my hardest to be what they expected of me? It wasn’t until I saw you and your friends that I understood. You are who you are and that’s why you can make true friends. You all put yourselves out there. You let each other in, knowing they’ll also see the worst sides of you and that they’ll be able to hurt you, but you still keep each other close because you truly care for each other. I was never capable of doing that. When you think about it, being your boy toy was the most suitable role I could’ve gotten. I got exactly what I had been looking for before ever getting sentenced; someone who’d appreciate me if I did what he expected of me.”
“You would never have become my boy toy hadn’t I forced you into that position.”
“If I really am everything you said about me, I should’ve made that task harder for you than what I did.” Kame insisted. “But I gave in to you, because I was scared of being in prison with no one on my side and everyone against me.”
“Of course you were scared.” Jin said. “That’s normal.”
“Were you?” Kame asked. “Were you scared the first time you entered the prison?”
Jin’s eyes wandered from his for a while there. “It was different for me.”
“You weren’t, were you?” Kame concluded.
The leader’s eyes returned to his. “I knew what it’d be like. I had played with fire for so long before I finally got burnt. Besides, if you make it in our blocks you’ll make it in prison. I knew the games to play. And I was never alone in there. As you said, I already had friends.”
“And you deserve them.” Kame said. “It doesn’t matter if you weren’t good in school or if you gave up on the society. You never gave up on them. That’s more important than anything.”
Then he admitted something he definitely wasn't supposed to, as it gave Jin the last piece of ground he was standing on.
“I was scared of pulling this off too, knowing I’d have all of you as my opponents and that you’d probably hate me and do your best to destroy me.” Kame said, remembering how he had expected to be squashed like a bug at point blank. “My stupidity has reached a whole new level the past few years, but this took the prize. I just…wanted to do something I thought only I could do. Someone actually needed me, but in the end I'll probably only find out that I've just been played again.” He laughed at himself. “I even enjoyed acting cool. Aren’t I lame now that I’m back to being my old self again…”
He was so uncool. He was nothing like Jin in reality. No wonder the gangsters would never take him seriously, no wonder they hadn’t listened. That's why it had been so wonderful to hear Masa's words “I need you, Kame-chan. There is something only you can do.”
“I do know you.” Jin said and Kame raised his gaze, not sure he wanted to know what someone like Jin truly thought of him. “I always liked the old you better. You’re way more entertaining like this.”
Kame bet. He always gave Jin good laughs along with the headaches...
“You wear your heart on your sleeve, it's pretty impossible to miss it let alone break it.” Jin said and Kame guessed it had been pretty impossible for Jin to miss how it had been beating for Jin all along too. “You’re stubborn, you belittle yourself which made it easy for you to put yourself beneath me, but you’re warm-hearted and you naively think everyone is really a good person, even me, which probably allowed you to fall in love with me. And only you would have the guts to pull a stunt like this against all of us, but only while thinking this is for some worthy cause. I really want to know what that is. What is your price for selling out on us? I never could figure that out.”
“Masa did.” Kame replied and suddenly it hit him that he should already be on his way. Masa was waiting for him. How could he have said so much? He had never revealed to anyone before the weak sides he truly hid while pretending to be stronger and especially now opening up was definitely a bad idea. He had never showed anyone the holes unfilled inside of him, because he thought that’d make him look weak and he couldn’t bear being seen like that.
“Stop this and come back with me.” Jin tried again, probably thinking this conversation had allowed him to get closer to Kame, and it really had, but Kame still had to refuse.
“I have no place among you anymore.” Kame said, trying to gather himself and he made an attempt to leave again, but Jin wouldn't let him.
“When will you learn you don’t need a reason?” Jin asked. “You’re not in the way. You’re not a nuisance. You can stay if you want to. That’s reason enough. Just stay! Choose what you really want to do because I can see this isn’t it!”
Kame didn’t reply, but Jin could tell Kame was in a very difficult position and hadn’t made his mind up.
“I can see that you’re still wavering.” Jin added. “Come back with me.” Something wonderful clenched inside of him as Kame peeked unsurely over one shoulder and there was something in Kame’s eyes. They were looking at him like Kame wanted just that, but too afraid to ask for it. “They will forgive you, so just come. We'll stop all this together then we’ll spring the guys in prison free, like we did the last time. They don't say it, but they all think it. You belong with us.”
But then Kame turned his gaze from Jin's eyes and said, “I told you, there's no way...”
“There's always a way!” Jin insisted. “We can make it all right, together.”
Kame had wanted to believe that for so long, but they had come to a place it just seemed impossible.
“You and I,” Jin added, “we’ll probably fight and drive each other crazy a lot, but we’ll also love. And that is worth everything. If we both work together we can overcome anything.”
Using his heart again instead of his head, Kame walked back over to Jin, pressing lips against the leader's in another longing kiss.
“I forgive you.” Kame said, forehead resting against Jin’s and Jin felt Kame’s locks mess in with his. “I forgave you a year ago. I hope that one day you’ll be able to forgive me too.”
“I know.” Jin admitted. He had known all along. “HeeChul told me.” But it was nicer hearing it from Kame.
“But...” Kame started and Jin didn't like that 'but'. “I'm not the only one you've hurt. Whether it’s in prison or not, what you do hurts people and I don’t think that deep down inside even you feel good about it. That's why I'm doing this. I have to.”
“But you're not doing it.” Jin retorted. “You're trying to save me although you know you shouldn't. You cuffed me here to stop me from going to the dinner party tonight. You blocked my phone not so I wouldn’t be able to warn the others, but so that I wouldn’t be able to get help from them and still make it in time. God only knows what you’re going to do to my bike-” Jin had barely said when seeing the expression on Kame’s face and realization dawned upon him. “That second kiss…you took the keys to my bike!”
Kame looked almost guilty, tightening his grip on what he held in his hand.
“So I’m guessing you’re going to take off on it and leave me here, hoping I will be delayed and miss my ride to prison because you know I will do everything in my power to try to get there in time to save my friends even if it means getting caught by you.” Jin continued. “You’re doing everything you can, without the help of Masa or Johnny or anyone else, to make sure I’ll go free. I'm the stain on your righteousness, your only weakness in the fight for justice.”
Kame didn't reply.
“Call the cops.” Jin said.
Kame shook his head. “No.”
Jin took his wrist and Kame was afraid Jin would manage to take the keys in his hand too, so he gripped them as hard as he could. “You can’t let me off the hook just because you have feelings for me, can you? Go on, finish your work or let me go.”
Kame took a step backwards, eyes revealing traces of tears.
“You’re not being fair.” Jin said, grip tightening on him. “You chose to go along with Masa for a reason, now stick to it. Seize me and punish me. How else can I redeem?”
Kame shook his head, still trying to back away, but Jin wouldn’t let him do that and pulled him back in hard.
“You did it once you can do it again, right?” Jin said. “I'll pay for all the sins I've committed. If you want to prosecute me, I'll take the stand again and confess everything.”
“Get off me! Let me go!” Kame said, pushing away and succeeding in getting loose and regaining his foothold at a safe distance from Jin.
“Your complex is me. You can't punish me although you know you should. That's why I said you couldn't be with me the way I am.” Jin said and Kame wondered if Jin had just been testing him now. “I will always be on the wrong side of the law. I can try to come clean for you, but a part of me will long for the life I lived. But you know what? You're heading in the same direction as me whether you intend to or not. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. To make certain things right you have to wrong. That's what you've been doing with Masa. No matter what good things you think will come out of this, this little mission of yours is going to cost you more than you can imagine.”
“I know the costs.” Kame said. “I already paid them.” I lost you.
Fighting back his urges to miss tonight's event, Kame forced himself to turn around again. They had come so far it was stupid to turn back now. Even if it was unfair he wished Jin wouldn’t get loose. Jin probably would make it to the party. Those cuffs and whatever else he tried to create to slow Jin down wouldn’t keep the leader for long.
“Please don't follow me.” Kame said, reaching for his bag and his laptop.
But just as Jin had known Yamapi was coming for him when the leader had sat and waited in the holding cell, Kame knew that despite whatever he said Jin would come for him. He was only buying time.
He was almost by the door as he stopped and said something under his breath Jin still managed to hear, “I’m sorry for everything.”
He closed the door, blocking it with whatever he could find, but he could still hear Jin’s voice even on the outside.
Kame did the same to every door he passed as he hurried down the hall and back up to ground level. Turning the key on Jin’s bike, he rode it to the restaurant, where Masa was already waiting for him. He would barely make it in time with the last preparations. The gangs were most likely already on their way. With a heavy heart he did what Masa instructed him to do…
Kame was flipping through files, as Masa entered his office, stopping to peek over his shoulder.
“You know, those blocks used to belong to Johnny.” Masa said, pointing at an old picture in the file that lied among the other data that had been gathered on the blocks. Kame still recognized the place in the picture as part of the gangsters’ blocks today. “It was before the gangsters stole them from him. The very first gang, after they were caught as frauds while supposedly working for Johnny, they took control of a quarter of those blocks and it slowly grew. Numerous wars were fought before the borders today were formed, but the gangs are still growing in number and attempting to gain more space. That’s why it’s important for Johnny to become more influential too.”
“If those blocks used to belong to Johnny then you should know them pretty well.” Kame guessed.
“We did, but it was years ago. They’ve probably changed very much, but luckily now we have information available from someone who’s been inside them recently.”
Kame diverted his gaze back to the files. His heart felt heavy in his chest, as he flipped through more files Masa had on the Johnnys.
“How did you catch them the last time?” Kame asked, as he closed one file and took the next one.
“Believe me, it wasn’t easy.” Masa replied, watching Kame’s gaze freeze and the familiar troubled look formed on the younger one’s face, as Kame opened the next file. “You miss him, don’t you?” Masa asked, breaking the silence that had fallen over them as Kame hadn’t even realized he had been staring at Akanishi’s mug shot for the past few minutes.
Kame was taken aback, traces of guilt visible on his face until the boy managed to sweep them away, turning the pages of the file in a now rapid pace.
“It’s all right, you don’t have to put on a façade with me.” Masa said, sitting down next to Kame.
“I’m not sure…if what I did was right.” Kame admitted then. A few months had passed since Kame had come away with him and already Masa could tell Kame was growing both fond of him as well as placing an increasing amount of trust in him as well. It sometimes led to Kame opening slightly up to him, telling him things Kame had most likely never spoken a word about to any of the gangsters he held so dear. “I had him right there beside me. How could I not have appreciated the time we had more? Now it’s too late. He’s probably forgotten all about me by now. How could I have been so blind?”
“You see clearly now because he’s not here.” Masa replied and Kame looked at the detective. “You had to part from him to realize just what he means to you. You had to get control over yourself and your life, make your own decisions again.”
“But I lost him in the process.” Kame added, resting his face into his hands. “What did I do? He’ll never take me back now. He barely started dating me in the first place. Not that I deserve it after what I did…”
Masa rose from his chair. “Don’t be so quick to draw conclusions. You never know what the future has in store for you.”
“Knowing my luck, I do.” Kame mumbled from behind his hands. “I miss him. But you were right.” Kame confessed then. “I needed the space. Maybe we could’ve worked it out…it was going quite well, but…I needed some time on my own to figure things out. I needed for him to not be there and affect my judgement and I needed to see how badly I would miss him. I did. I just don’t know if what I did to him is forgivable…”
“Well, in all fairness. I don’t know if what he did to you is either.”
“I didn’t do this for revenge on him. It wouldn’t change what happened between us in prison.”
“No, but admit you like the idea of toying with him back.” Masa teased. “But beware this time you’re going to see the true him and everything he is capable of. The true Akanishi Jin will resurface again, because once Akanishi realizes that you’re not going to take his side, he will revert back to himself and when he does he will be a much more powerful opponent. You better be prepared and remember everything I’ve taught you. There’s still much for me to teach, but once I’m done with you, you will have a better idea of what you’re capable of.”
“You’re betting too much on me.” Kame said.
“Wanna bet?” Masa smiled and it made Kame smile a bit too.
“Masa?” Kame asked then and Masa recognized the hesitant tone, indicating Kame had been wavering not to ask whatever Kame was about to ask.
“Mmm?” Masa mumbled, a hidden encouraging tone in his voice, feeling Kame eye him as he sat down by his own desk and opened a few files before him.
“Where do I belong?”
Looking up from his files Masa met Kame’s eyes, confusion written in them. Confusion about this all.
“It’s a big world, Kame-chan. You can belong wherever you want to belong.” Masa replied, but Kame wasn’t going to be satisfied with that answer.
“You said you’d show me.” Kame insisted. “You said there was only one place I would feel like I belonged. Where is it?”
Kame was obviously not feeling like he belonged where he sat by his own desk in Johnny Kitagawa’s building.
Masa turned to him once more. “Patience, Kame-chan. You’ll figure it out soon enough.”
“Tell me.” Kame said.
Masa sent him a smile. “You have to create it first.”
Kame frowned to that.
“And that’s what you’re doing right now. One day you’ll come to notice where it is when you’re already there. Your heart will lead you onto the right way, just like it’s guided you thus far.” Masa added, turning back to his files and feeling Kame still eye him for a while longer before doing the same.
Jin cursed as he slammed into the door before him for a third time. Whatever Kame had placed in front of it wasn’t moving any time soon and his shoulder was starting to hurt.
He was glad he had asked for the info before Kame had rendered his phone useless so he knew where he was supposed to go. Now the only problem was getting out of the stupid library. He was trapped inside a section of it and if he knew Kame right then what was blocking the door on the other side was probably a bookshelf tipped against the door. There was no other way out and it was going to take a while before he got through, but once he did he would make it in time and he would screw up Masa’s plans. Then he’d make the detective pay for turning Kame against them and drag Kame back to the blocks if he so had to, call it kidnapping or not.
Taking a few steps back, Jin made ready to slam into the persistent door a fourth time.
“Where the hell is Akanishi?” Matsumoto muttered, sending mainly TTUN and Yamapi a look. “I can’t believe it can take him this long to go grab Kame-chan and lock him up in his apartment…unless he ended up locking himself in there too and right now they’re-”
“We haven’t heard from him and we can’t get through to his phone.” Ueda replied, turning to Yamapi. “What should we do? We can’t wait any longer and Shirota hasn’t seen either of them around the campus either. He said the last he saw of Akanishi was him leaving somewhere with Kame-chan.”
“Confirms my idea of what they’re doing right now.” Matsumoto mumbled.
“We have to consider the possibility of him already being caught.” Yamapi said, receiving disbelieving looks from the rest of Jin’s gang.
“Should we go after him?” Maru asked.
“No.” Tsuyoshi cut in. “We need everyone who’s not yet wearing prison clothes for this to work. We only have the advantage if we outnumber them. Once inside the troops outside won’t be able to move in if we block the entrances behind us and keep Johnny and his valuable guests hostage.”
“That still leaves the problem of getting everyone inside.” Toma said. “Wouldn’t it be better if some of us stayed outside?”
“No, we already have too few and you left two gang members at the blocks.” Tsuyoshi replied and Yamapi looked at him.
“Hasegawa and Kazama have many they feel responsible for and want to protect among the junior gangs. We were separated for so long, they have other obligations too besides News.” the leader of the gang answered, a little defensively. “Besides it’s good to have those two keeping things in order in the blocks. They’ll also inform us if Akanishi shows up there.”
“While the core of News tries to avoid prison?” Tsuyoshi added, eyes falling on Toma. “You were separated from News too for quite some time. How come you didn’t stay behind? If I remember correctly your leader pushed you out of a car the last time, allowing you to just barely escape prison. I must admit, I was kind of surprised to see you here tonight.”
“There’s no point in me not being here now that Masa already knows who I am.” Toma replied, not answering the rest of the questions as Tsuyoshi was already well aware Toma had used most of his time alone working to figure out how to get Yamapi and the gang out of prison in order to be reunited with them once again.
Tsuyoshi sent him a knowing smile, before turning his gaze back at the building. “Well, the more the merrier and we’re going to need everyone we can get. In order to get inside we have to split up. It’s easier to move undetected that way and it also allows us to cover more space. The restaurant is on the highest floors, overlooking the city. The ones to find our dear guests first contact the rest of us and we’ll form a defence line to take out any guards coming at us.”
“Okay, where are the entrances you found?” Ohno asked.
“There are three.” Tsuyoshi replied, bringing out a blueprint. “One here at the back door, another one here through a ventilation system and the last one is on the roof. There is one corner of it that is accessible from the next building. Split into your own gangs, I’ll join Arashi and we’ll take the back door. It’s the trickiest. We may have to take out the guards on the way, so everyone needs to move fast. Once inside we’ll be all right, I know my way around the building. We’ll move when the guests arrive. That’s when the guards will have their hands full getting them in safely, expecting trouble from us and expecting it from outside the building. Once inside seal off ways in so the guards won’t disturb us. The roof way can’t be sealed, but it’s a highly unthinkable route in. Akanishi can use it should he decide to join us later.”
“Here they come.” Junno said and they watched limousine after limousine stop outside the building.
“There’s Johnny and Masa, but I don’t see Kame-chan anywhere.” Koki said.
“Maybe he’s really with Akanishi.” Matsumoto said, adding in a mutter, “I swear, if Akanishi’s ditching us to make up with his boyfriend, I will-”
“It’s only better if Kame-chan isn’t here, then we don’t have to worry about him too. This is our chance.” Tsuyoshi said. “Let’s go.”
Heading off in their respective directions, the three groups circled smoothly the building, looking for its weak spots.
TTUN took the roof, sneaking into the next building and going up to its roof. They crossed the two buildings without anyone seeming to notice their presence there. News looked for the ventilation system, crawling in through it as they found it. And Arashi and Tsuyoshi took the hardest route in through the back door. Maybe it was because of the guests arriving in through the main entrance that the surveillance at the back was ridiculous and they escaped confrontation with all guards besides two, who they brought with them inside and hid in a closet.
“That was easier than I expected.” Aiba breathed out a sigh in relief, as they shut the closet door.
“Me too.” Nino agreed.
“A little too easy, if you ask me.” Sho said. “This is the biggest thing Johnny has arranged in a long time. How can he be so careless?”
“This is his favourite restaurant, but the opportunities for good security here have certain limits. That’s why he concentrated on the forces on the outside probably thinking he’d be safe ones reaching inside.” Tsuyoshi said as they entered the next room, not expecting to walk into a dozen guards already waiting for them.
“You were saying?” Matsumoto said and they immediately attempted to fall back, but that way had also been blocked by more guards with more weapons pointed at them.
“Hands in the air, there’s no way out!”
Although their initial reaction was not to obey, they were outnumbered and surrounded. Putting up a resistance in the narrow corridor with so many people would turn ugly. Their only option would be to trust the two other gangs to do their job right and get them to be released, or then look for an opportunity to counterattack.
Raising their hands to the back of their heads, they were handcuffed and lead into a small room, the door clicking shut automatically behind them.
Yamapi made it a point to avoid being caught by the cameras, not convinced Jin had succeeded in talking Kame onto their side and that the boy wasn’t watching the hallways through the screen of his laptop. Kame would know exactly where they moved if he saw them and be able to send the guards after them. They snuck down the hallways, weapons ready.
“Make it a priority to find the guests, but put Kame-chan up as a second priority. I’m not convinced he’s not here just because we never saw him enter. By the time we had all the information we needed to storm this place he could already have gotten here.” Yamapi advised the rest of them as they climbed up the stairs to the highest floor.
“I hear chatting. We must be getting close.” Koyama said, as the seven of them snuck out into the corridor of the highest floor, proceeding carefully in the direct of the noise.
At another end of the noise, Masa stepped aside to a table in a corner of the restaurant. “So far so good. The guests are enjoying themselves. How about our other guests?”
“Arashi is under control.” Kame replied and Masa peeked at the screen of his laptop.
“Good. We will not attempt to move them until we have the rest. The guards won’t leave the room. Keep it locked. Where are the other guards we hid in the building? Are they in position?” Masa asked and Kame changed camera images on his laptop.
“They are in position, but News keep avoiding the cameras, so I can’t lead the guards to them. I did catch them on some of the ones we hid extra carefully.” Kame replied and Masa patted his shoulder.
“Good work. What about AT-TUN?” the detective asked and Kame shut his eyes for a second.
“TTUN took the roof entrance. Jin isn’t with them.”
“He isn’t?” Masa asked in a knowing tone. “Well, not to worry, he’ll be here. Keep me posted. I’ll mingle with our guests before the main show.” the detective added, releasing his shoulder and Kame clicked on the camera showing Arashi locked inside a room several floors beneath them. They had never stood a chance. Even without his help, the whole place was filled with traps. Why hadn’t the gangs seen that? Why hadn’t they listened to him just this once? Kame didn’t want to imagine what kind of battles could’ve broken out if he hadn’t been here to lead the guards to where they would catch the gangs in a situation too hopeless even for a desperate fight for freedom.
He switched images, searching for clues of where News and TTUN moved.
There was no getting through to any of the other gangsters’ phones, even as Jin tried the pay phone on campus. Kame must’ve blocked all cell phone signals in the restaurant, knowing he would try to contact the others.
Frustrated he stopped trying, setting to run instead. He had to get there in time. He had to warn the other gangsters.
Kame had indeed taken off on his bike, so Jin grabbed the first cab he could instead. Stealing someone’s car or bike would draw too much attention that would only cause problems for the gangs at the restaurant if he came there with police cars on his tail.
He just prayed they weren’t all caught yet.
“No one really thought of the roof entrance.” Maru whispered as he and the three others snuck undisturbed across the roof, looking for the big terrace of the restaurant. Ahead of them they heard chatting. They were getting closer, but they had a strange feeling that something was closing in on them too.
Rounding a corner, Koki signalled for them all to take cover behind it. “Someone’s coming. Be prepared.”
As the almost inaudible sound of footsteps was close enough they all flew out to meet their enemies, weapons in hands.
“Koichi-chan-senpai! What are you doing here?” TTUN piped out, giving Koichi a shock and they lowered what they had in their hands.
“Oh gosh, I thought you were a guard!” Koki said, breathing out hard and giving Koichi then another look. “Which you kind of are…”
“Tsuyoshi kept me in the dark about your plans.” Koichi whispered. “I ran into Kazama and Hasegawa, and they told me where you had taken off to! I put on my old uniforms, hid the parts that implied it being a prison uniform, and ran over here.”
“What do you mean? Tsuyoshi used your contacts to find out about what Masa and Johnny was doing, right?” Maru whispered back.
“If he did he certainly didn’t tell me!” Koichi said, unknowingly raising his voice a bit.
“He probably didn’t want you to get involved, is all.” Koki said, trying to calm the ex-guard.
“Typical.” Koichi muttered. “I knew he was up to something for a while now. It didn’t sit well with him when Masa fired me for being connected to you.”
“He’s probably out for revenge.” Junno guessed.
“Come on, Koichi-chan-senpai. It’s this way.” Ueda said and the five men proceeded together closer to the terrace area.
“Masa, we have a problem.” Kame said, coming up to Masa, who was mingling with the guests.
Masa took Kame’s arm, leading him aside. “What is it?”
“Koichi just showed up here. He’s with TTUN and they’re moving closer on the terrace.” Kame said.
“Not to worry, we have Tsuyoshi. Koichi won’t be a problem then.” Masa replied. “But I do believe it is better to bring our honoured guests inside. The program is about to begin shortly anyway.”
“News can’t be far away either.” Kame added.
“We’ll be ready. I’ll be counting on you, Kame-chan.” Masa said, before returning to the guests, asking them to come inside and continue on their discussions there.
Breathing out hard, Kame returned to the computer, tracking the movements of the remaining twelve men.
A small distance away from the main dining hall, News had taken over the kitchen. The staff was bound and stored safely in a corner of the large kitchen. Every door leading to this floor had also been carefully sealed off, leaving only them, a handful of guards and Johnny with his guests alone on the highest floor.
“They just had dessert,” Yamapi said, inspecting the remains of cakes and other sweets brought recently into the room, “they won’t be missing the staff for a while.”
“Massu, stop eating that!” Koyama and Shige lectured Massu, who was stuffing appetizers, main dishes and desserts into his mouth.
“It’s not every day I get to taste something so fancy as the food Johnny serves in his best restaurant!” Massu defended himself, but almost choked on his cake as suddenly someone grabbed him from behind.
“Keep your voice down, Johnny is right outside that door.” Tsuyoshi hissed into his ear and Massu barely managed to swallow as Tsuyoshi then released him.
“Tsuyoshi!” the other members hissed.
“What are you doing here? Weren’t you supposed to be with Arashi?” Yamapi asked.
“They’re caught, I managed to escape.” Tsuyoshi replied.
“How?” Tegoshi asked.
“I came very close to escaping Johnny’s prison once if it hadn’t been for a certain guard handcuffing me to himself.” Tsuyoshi reminded them.
“So that leaves only us and TTUN, and there’s still no word from Akanishi.” Yamapi said, picking out his phone and frowning at what he saw.
“What is it?” Toma asked.
“The signal’s been blocked.” Yamapi answered.
“What?” Toma said and they all brought out their cell phones.
“We’re all blocked.” Massu said.
“Kame-chan’s here.” Yamapi concluded.
“If Kame-chan’s here, then does that mean Akanishi is already caught?” Tegoshi asked.
“I don’t know.” Yamapi answered, wanting badly to be able to contact Jin right now. It was bad enough that all gangs except for them and TTUN had been caught, what if TTUN’s leader was already on his way to prison? How would they break out so many with so few people and with him being the only leader left standing? He would force Kame to work his will. If he could get even Jin back they could together work some schemes just like old times. “We have to proceed. We can’t give up now, we are so close. Maybe we can negotiate the release of the others in exchange for Johnny’s allies.”
“You mean, letting Mikimoto walk?” Toma asked carefully and Yamapi didn’t meet his eyes.
“If that’s what it takes.” he answered, eyeing the door that was the only thing separating them from their enemies. “We should be able to see TTUN signal us from the terrace. We’ll move in from two fronts. If possible, grab Kame-chan. He can’t be allowed to use his computer.”
“Right-on!” Kusano replied and Yamapi guided the door open an inch or two, peeking outside, where he saw some guests, Johnny, Masa and through the crowd and the white curtains that hung in front of the glass over to the terrace.
“Koichi?” Yamapi mumbled for himself, recognizing the guard, who stood on the outside, appearing to be doing his job. TTUN were smart having used him as their signal of being in position.
“Out of the way!” Tsuyoshi hissed, pushing him aside from the door and peeking out next, eyes widening as he saw the familiar shape.
“That makes it one more on our side and we’ll have more once we get them to free Arashi.” Koyama said, joyful.
“They’re being held on the first floor…” Tsuyoshi mumbled as he moved away from the door. “They can act as our line of defence against the guards trying to get into the building.”
“We’ve got to go in now. TTUN will be moving in now that they saw we are in place too.” Yamapi said and they all lined up by the door, bringing out their weapons. “Ready? Go!”
They entered the big dining area at the same time as TTUN and Koichi left their hiding places behind the plants, tables and chairs, and rushed in through the glass doors of the terrace.
Both groups stopped, scanning the big area they stood in that was almost empty save for Masa, waiting for them by a beautifully decorated table.
“Tsuyoshi!” Koichi said, laying his eyes upon the man. “You’re all right?”
“What happened? The guests were here just a minute ago! I saw them with Johnny!” Yamapi asked the other group.
“We saw them too, but when we had moved close enough to enter they weren’t here anymore.” Koki answered.
“Where are they?” Yamapi asked, pointing his gun at the detective by the fancy table, when his attention was drawn to a room, which doors were closed. “They’re in there!”
“Let’s go!” Koki called for them all to follow, but before they could move another voice called out for them.
“Wait! It’s a trap!”