Pairing : Ryo x Uchi
Genre : Angst, violence
Rating : PG-13
Summary : Ryo learns the truth about Uchi's death.
A/N : Sorry for the long wait. Have been on a semi-hiatus I guess. And this one should have one more chapt before ending. I'm sorry if this chapt proves to be confusing. I guess this was the only way I could guarantee a happy ending. And I wanted one because Seme!Uchi and Uke!Ryo are special to me. Comments are loved.
Nishikido Ryo entered the dark, gloomy apartment, as he set the groceries on the kitchen countertop. Eerie silence enveloped the entire room and Ryo stared at the glaring headline of big bolded fonts on the front of the newspapers. “Yakuza Boss Dead in Gunfight”. For a moment, Ryo swore he didn’t feel anything. He hadn’t felt anything since Uchi was rushed to the hospital by Ohkura and his kobuns. He still remembered the lingering warmth of Uchi’s fingers threaded with his, and how that warmth seemed to slip beyond his grasp as they bundled him up in the car. After a few weeks, Ryo had come to accept the fact that Uchi was either dead or he wanted nothing to do with him. Ryo wished it was the latter. He didn’t care whether Uchi looked upon him as a transgression, he only wished that he was still alive. That somewhere out there, the God he didn’t believe in had spared Uchi’s life.
Ryo looked at the single picture, grainy and blurred of a black limousine and dozens of men dressed in formal suits. Apparently, the police had staked out the funeral because so many different factions of the yakuza world had attended and the underlying tension was thought to erupt in a fight. Nothing like that happened. In the end, the shateigashira of Shibutani-kai left the world, amongst the chants of Shinto priests in an oddly tranquil way, totally contrary to the fury of the violent life he led. In the end, Ryo didn’t have to make the choice after all.
He handed in his resignation letter the day before. Sir Murakami might not know the truth but part of him had never forgiven himself for falling into the trap of sentimentality. Something he thought he had always been impervious to. And part of him knew he was no longer the same person. He used to be consumed by hatred, vengeance, a desperate need to make things right. Now there was only emptiness, and a certain grieving pain that he only had a taste of love, before he lost it to Death.
Ryo was well-acquainted with cemeteries. His mother used to bring him here fortnightly, just to see his father. He would remember standing in front of the inanimate grave, puzzled over how something like this would make his mother cry. Wondering why the only memory of his father that lived on was this painful reminder of his death. Then he realized that graves were for the living, for the people who were left behind. A twisted source of solace and comfort, for the people to believe that their loved ones could hear what they were saying, could see their tears.
Ryo doubted dead people really cared about what was happening above. Even then, he found himself here, setting foot in another cemetery that imprisoned the soul of another of his loved one. A cemetery that looked strangely identical to the one he used to visit in his childhood, with the neat rows of graves carved out of stone. He climbed up the steps, to the top and he stood in front of the grave of the man he used to love. And still loved despite everything. Ryo bent over and placed the lilies on the floor. He didn’t plan on staying for long but somehow his legs refused to move, transfixed by the peace and the scenic beauty, overlooking the
And beneath the azure blue sky and the cawing of the northern migratory birds, Nishikido Ryo began to cry, his silent sobs carried away by the wind.
It was the first time he cried ever since that incident where Uchi came to rescue him. It would probably be the last. Ryo intended to move on with his life but for now, he wanted to grieve and immerse himself in his pain. The hot, searing moisture on his cheeks made him feel alive. Then he heard muffled footsteps and his mask settled into place as he wiped away his tears with the back of his hand. He was, after all, a consummate actor, long doomed to hide his true self under layers of camouflage. Uchi had been the first one to pry open his defenses and perhaps, he was going to be the only one. And Ryo wondered whether Uchi would be happy to know that.
He looked sideways and saw Ohkura, trusty right-hand man to Uchi. Dark somber outfit and a pair of shades which he took off upon seeing Ryo. There was no surprise in his eyes, as though he had expected Ryo all along. Ryo kept an impassive face and he didn’t budge. He simply stood there, back ramrod straight but it hurt. It hurt to see Ohkura because he reminded him so vividly of Uchi.
He saw Ohkura quirk a little smile at the bouquet of lilies on the floor and he simply jammed his hands into the pockets of his trousers, an uncomfortable silence between them. Then Ryo turned to leave, brushing past Ohkura before he felt the firm grasp on his arm.
“Let go of me.” Ryo said, the tremor in his voice betraying his brittle façade.
“The shateigashira is dead but the man you love isn’t.” Ohkura’s voice was so soft that it was carried away by the wind, the wind that caressed and played with the tendrils of Ryo’s hair as he stood there, trying frantically to piece together what he said. Trying to convince himself that it was another lie.
There was no expression on Ryo’s face, no visible strain of hope or wild disbelief. Just a certain sad melancholy.
“I’m telling you Uchi didn’t die.” Ohkura said, his voice gaining in strength and conviction. Ryo lowered his head and those ebony eyes were obscured by the locks of his hair. There was no response from him before the silence was broken by his faint trace of a whisper.
“This is his grave I’m standing at, Ohkura.”
“What if I tell you most of the police and yakuza world had never seen Uchi before? They knew his name but it didn’t matter to them whether this grave is empty or not.” He paused, waiting for Ryo to absorb the extent of what he was telling him. And Ryo was now studying him, with narrowed eyes, fierce and intent.
“Ryo, you’re smart. What does this grave tell you? That the shateigashira has left his throne. That he has quit. The real target has always been Shibutani-kai. Uchi is dispensable and staging his death is the only way he could cut off his ties with the yakuza world.”
“Why didn’t you tell me that?” Ryo’s voice was low and bitter.
“Because for the act to convince everyone, you have to be the first to believe it.”
He swore that there was anger in Ryo’s eyes, but at least that was better than the dead apathetic look a few minutes ago. Sometimes the truth hurt as much as the lie, that Ohkura had to admit.
“Where is he now?”
“Safe.” Ohkura swore he felt a certain amusement at how mundane, how bland their conversation sounded. Only the two men involved knew the undercurrent of emotions that ran underneath every single harsh breath, every punctuated pause.
“I’m no longer a cop.” Ryo said and Ohkura smiled. He slipped Ryo a paper and he saw the wild desperation in Ryo’s eyes, the joy that he failed to hide.
“The fact that you were a cop didn’t stop Uchi from loving you. I guess it doesn’t pose much of a problem now.” His gaze drifted over the sage green grass, the pristine rows of graves. “Uchi bought the apartment some time after he met you. I guess he was tired. We all are.”
He could see the surprise in Ryo’s eyes, that he allowed a trace of fatigue, of disillusion to creep into his voice. But the truth was, he wasn’t infallible. If he was like Uchi, who had someone to protect, he would not think twice about giving up the crumbling ruins of the world he had known for most of his life.
He turned around to leave, before he felt a light tug. “Who’s the next shateigashira?” He heard Ryo’s voice, and obviously Ryo was no longer a cop but his senses were long honed sharp and perceptive by his years of cadet training.
shateigashira - regional boss of the yakuza clan
kobun - child role, basically the followers of the clan