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[personal profile] snowlight
Title: キル (to cut, to sever, to kill)
Author: Renata Lord ([personal profile] snowlight)
Pairing: Amou->Misumi
Rating: PG-13
Note: A lot of this is just my headcanon. The actual canon will most likely turn out to be wildly different, but as Saezuru's new chapters are slow to come by, I guess I am safe for a while.

In a way, Amou was thankful that family members didn't feature in Japan's university graduation ceremonies. He'd heard from the exchange students at Aoyama Gakuin that in "the States", parents and siblings were practically required at the ceremony. But here in Tokyo, under a mild March sky, the day belonged to cute girls dressed in bright-colored hakama and half-drunk young men howling away at karaoke establishments.

Amou was quick to make his escape from the said cute girls and half-drunk young men. After the ceremony, he declined his friends' invitations to a last-hurrah meal, returned to his apartment, put a pot on the stove, and waited for the phone to ring.

When the call came, it was already past 10 o'clock.

He took a deep breath and picked up the phone. Unsurprisingly, it was Fujita on the other end of the line. There was a brief silence, during which Fujita presumably told his boss that Amou was at home, then Misumi came on.

"Congratulations on your graduation."

"Thank you, Misumi-san," he responded automatically, having already gone over this exchange a dozen times in his head, "for all you have done for me."

"You've worked hard. Your mother would have been proud."

And you? He bit back those words and only said, "thank you for thinking of her."

"When do you officially start at Matsumoto's?"

He really shouldn't have been surprised. Amou had kept mum about the companies he was interviewing at; even his school friends didn't know exactly which companies had offered him a position. But in retrospect, it was only natural that Misumi would find out.

That thought made him happier than he ought to be.

"Misumi-san, I'd like to talk with you about that. ... If possible, tonight? ... That ramen place, if you don't mind. ... No, I haven't really eaten dinner. I didn't go out with them. ... Thank you. I will be there in forty minutes. Good-bye for now."

He hung up the phone, stared at the small briefcase sitting on the table for a moment, then took it with him as he headed out.

*

Thirty years on, Ramen Moriya would be hailed by many internet travel blogs as one of those prized "hidden gems" of Tokyo. However, at this moment in time, it was simply a typical ramen joint tucked away in a maze of alleys.

Amou was familiar with this place. He led a frugal life as a scholarship student, preferring cooking for himself at home to eating out, but Moriya was his go-to spot when there was cause for celebration. It served up first-rate bowls of tonkatsu ramen at reasonable prices, and more importantly, it was Misumi who introduced him to this place.

Being born on the first day of January meant that before his mother fell ill, Amou never ate out on his birthdays. While she worked overtime during the holidays, the eating establishments near their apartment would all close down for the New Year. As he grew older, Amou learned to cook his own birthday lunch, a ritual that mother and son shared together before she headed out for work. Even after she was hospitalized, Amou still brought the "birthday set menu" to her bedside on that day—curry rice with pork, pickles, a salad, and miso soup. She had no appetite, but she braved through most of it. Misumi watched them both from the other side of the bed, impassive as stone.

"I will take the boy to dinner," said Misumi later that day, "birthday and all."

Amou didn't know what he was expecting when he got into the car, but he was certainly taken by surprise when it stopped in front of the unassuming restaurant, and even more so when he realized that they were the only customers. He later found out that the owner-chef was an old friend of Misumi's who had opened the place up just for them. It became a new birthday ritual in the years since.

Yes, he'd had nothing but good memories here. Yet as he stood in front of the restaurant's door waiting for the man to arrive, Amou could feel his skin prickling with anxiety. He had planned for this night, had dreamed of it. Yet here and now, he found himself trapped in that wonderful, awful place between hope and fear.

Just then, the black car pulled up.

*

The last regular customers were already leaving as they entered the restaurant. Fujita posted someone at the front door and followed them in, sitting at a different table not too far off. Under the warm-colored light Misumi looked almost gentle, but Amou was fourteen when he first glimpsed into the depth of violence this man was capable of, and he had been under Misumi's spell ever since.

After they got the obligatory small talk out of the way, he finally worked up the courage to say the words out loud while the man was busy chewing on a piece of chashu.

"Misumi-san, I will come work for you."

Misumi frowned at the brazen declaration. He put the chopsticks down and took a long look at Amou. Eventually he broke into a grin, but there was no humor in his voice.

"Don't make me laugh, kid. Who the hell gets a law degree from a fancy university and then join the yakuza?"

Amou met his gaze: "Someone who had decided to do so before even entering a fancy university."

He'd pestered Misumi about joining the yakuza right out of high school, but the man would hear none of it. Go enjoy life and all it has to offer, Misumi had said. A kid with your brain and looks will have no trouble fitting into normal society. It's what your mother would have wanted. Don't worry about the cost, I'll pay for all of it—

But Amou had turned the money down. In this matter alone, he did not want to be in Misumi's debt. He knew that he must retain control over his own destiny, if only to lay it down at this man's feet.

"You are quite right, Misumi-san," he folded his hands in his lap, right on top of the briefcase, "when you say that I can fit into normal society. I have done everything you asked during these past four years, and I'd like to think I've done them well. I made friends and ditched classes with them. Dated girls and took them to bed. Held part-time jobs. Joined an activity club or two. On top of all that, I received employment offers from three well-regarded companies."

For a fleeting moment, Amou thought he saw an expression akin to pride on Misumi's face.

"But I imagine you already know all that. After all, you have watched over me since I was fourteen. Yet I wonder, Misumi-san, how is it that you cannot see what is in my heart?"

Misumi still said nothing. Amou felt the tendrils of silence creeping up his throat, and words began to tumble out from his mouth, stripped of composure and grace.

"You say I should go live a normal life, but from where I stand, it's really just a slow and painful death. Please forgive me for saying this, but I don't think it's what mother would have wanted for me."

He pulled the briefcase up and took out the still-sheathed short blade.

*

The tanto's lacquered sheath was decorated with metalwork in the pattern of a crane. It was a gift from Misumi, but Amou's mother had picked it out herself. As far as Amou knew, she had never unsheathed the weapon, much less use it.

Yet here was the naked blade resting against the palm of his hand, sharp and cold.

"Fucking brat!"

For the first time in a long while, Amou saw Misumi's face contorting in wrath. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he heard Fujita getting up and coming over to their table. It was now or never, and his body made the choice for him. It was just as he practiced back in the safety of his apartment, over and over—hook your right hand's little finger on the table's edge, hold on tight to the handle with your left hand, and strike down in one determined motion—

He had imagined there would be more blood, though.

Fujita yelled something but Amou didn't hear the words. Amidst the waves of pain, he could only faintly make out Misumi calling his name. He almost blacked out but recovered in time to see Misumi towering over him like a vengeful deity.

"You stupid, selfish, senseless boy!" The man jerked him up by the collar and slammed him into the wall. The impact barely registered because of the burning wound on his hand, and all Amou could think was oh god, I hope I don't get blood on his suit.

Yet instead of a barrage of blows, there was only a heartbroken whisper.

"What am I supposed to tell your mother when I see her again?"

He managed to suck in some air before he could form the words: "Mother will understand me perfectly. She adored you."

In that moment, Misumi looked simply murderous. But in the next he was already turning towards Fujita, bellowing: "What are you standing there for? Go grab some alcohol and gauze, dumbass!"

Having obtained medical supply from the kitchen, the unfortunate underling was ordered to dress up Amou's wound. Misumi went to the restaurant owner to apologize for the unseemly episode, something about young people having no manners in these days.

Amou stared at the bloodied blade as Fujita went to work on him. He didn't scream when Fujita dumped alcohol on the wound, which seemed to have earned him a sliver of respect.

"Don't you ever wave something like that in front of boss again," said Fujita at the end. It was more of an announcement than a threat. Still, Amou nodded.

On the other side of the counter, Misumi was finishing up as well. He hadn't mentioned financial compensation, but he did say Fujita would come by later. The affable restaurant owner, Amou gathered from the conversation, was indeed a one-time yakuza. He briefly tried to picture Misumi running a place like this thirty years down the line, but dismissed the ridiculous notion just as soon.

"It's not my place to question your judgment, Misumi-san, but I do wish you would allow him to come here again," said the owner, "he always seemed happy here."

"Happy?" Misumi grunted, "stupid boy threw it all away. I hope it's worth it. Everyone knows that I never go easy on mine."

Amou touched his bandaged finger stump and smiled. Mine. That single word took root inside him, filling up his heart like a bloodstain spreading on cloth.

Yours. Yours. Yours.

END
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Renata Lord/茕蝶。
从LJ搬过来的。
最近在萌One Piece的柯罗和《鸣鸟不飞》的三角&天羽。
一直都是互攻党。

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