Synopsis: Cold Ghost Joel was just a regular ol’ park ranger, minding his own business when Yukihiro burst through a window and into his life. Now, he’s trapped in a web of deceit and danger that goes beyond ‘hilarious misunderstanding’ and driven straight to ‘mortal peril’. Will Joel survive the adventure? Will Yukihiro ever explain what it’s all about? Or will everyone just be eaten alive by bears?

Previous Chapter: Chapter 3: Don’t Dream It’s Over


Next Chapter: Chapter 5: Middle of Nowhere


Chapter4: When Tomorrow Comes 

So things hadn’t exactly gone according to plan.

Yukihiro had had a plan. It was a very good plan, where he managed to evade Yoshida and his goons, and he got to the Big Meet without anything going wrong whatsoever.

He had the package and a couple of duplicates, safe and hidden in his hand luggage. He was going to take the package to the drop off point, hand it over to Liu and that would be it sorted. As soon as Liu had the package, it would all be done with. It would be Liu who would deliver it to its final destination. Then he would get the hell out of Toronto, and back to somewhere safe like Taipei or Singapore. Of course he would hold on to the duplicates – he wasn’t an idiot. He even had something stashed away so he could set up his ‘retirement career’. It wasn’t likely he was returning to Kabukichō after all

Of course that all had to gone kingdom come when he had gotten to Toronto.

The flight had been alright, apart from a little bit of turbulence and flat champagne, the in flight movie had been alright. It had been getting from the airport and into Toronto that had been a real bitch.

Suzuki had been there, hanging around rather conspicuously in the arrivals pick-up hall. How the hell he had got there, Yukihiro had no clue. It was terrifying to think that the net was closing around him already, but he was lucky enough to escape him. Suzuki was never very good at this sort of thing, and Yukihiro had essentially previously been paid to follow people carefully and kill them without alerting them to his presence for a year or few now.

Obviously it meant that something had gone seriously wrong. Someone had spoken, had broken their silence. His position here was compromised; he’d have to move on quickly. He needed to find Liu quickly. Hopefully Suzuki and his men hadn’t gotten to him yet.

He’d managed to get to his hotel safely, and hadn’t been followed… at least he didn’t think he had. He’d changed taxis a couple of times, tried to double back on himself a few times. Suzuki had been easy enough to spot when he was trying to be inconspicuous, but the fact that he had managed to catch up to him so quickly did worry Yukihiro slightly. The memory of him standing in the arrivals hall in his dark suit and pretending to read a local paper kept rolling over and over in his mind.

He needed to get his mind off of Suzuki.

Now he sat clad in a towel, in his hotel room. He wasn’t very tall at all, but he couldn’t really be called ‘short’, not amongst his colleagues.

Rather than switch hotels, he stuck for the one he had already booked for tonight. He’d planned his escape routes in advance, and he would move on tomorrow night to somewhere different. He’d enjoyed a nice, long, hot shower – he needed it after well over seventy two hours on planes and in airports – with his gun close to hand, and then took in some room service, specifically Artery Buster Burger which came with three different types of cheese and thick cut French fries accompanied with both mayonnaise and tomato ketchup.

He lounged back on the comfy queen-sized bed. Ah, this was good, if it only last for another couple of hours. There just weren’t any words to describe it. It was a simple luxury he had been denied. Full up, Yukihiro stretched out across the duvet in battered plaid flannels from Uniqlo, enjoying warm bed covers and comfortable pillows.

Tomorrow morning was the appointed rendezvous time with Liu. He was to go to a family restaurant in Chinatown, and drop the package with Liu. Suzuki might have caught up to him here, but his position wasn’t necessarily compromised yet. He was at least duty bound to check out the situation and see how bad things were.

He had promised to see this thing through to the end. This wasn’t a promise he could really afford to go back on.

Suzuki… Of all the people he had to run into out here, it would have to be Suzuki. He was a good solid guy, but he didn’t have much in the way of tact or subtlety. He felt wrong for not saying anything, but he’d known that it had to be done. There was no other way; it would have blown his cover if he had said anything. Cruel fact was, Suzuki was NOT considered to be that smart, couldn’t scheme or plot. It wasn’t nastiness, because even Suzuki seemed to know it on a level. Telling the younger members to shut up when they gossiped about House altercations, and when he refrained from commenting in talks with Old Man Hanaoka, he had always done a crappy job of hiding his distaste for the politicking side of yakuza life.

But Suzuki must have known that something was up for a while now and not said anything to him, which was unusual. The thought that Suzuki might actually be capable of cunning actually frightened Yukihiro, because to enemies he was dangerous enough as it was. The thought that he was capable of thinking beyond the first punch was a new one.

For the life of him, Yukihiro couldn’t figure out why Suzuki had changed his attitude. And why now, of all the times had he decided to get involved?

He’d be careful; Suzuki might have brought all of the Hanaoka boys with him here. In itself, that was not a smart move. It’d be difficult for them to move about the city without the home side cartels noticing their movements. Maybe that meant whoever had brought Suzuki into it wasn’t that bright. That the bosses back in Kobe were dealing with it, and Suzuki would get dragged back to Japan, oh say in the next couple of hours. Crap, this was just getting more and more complicated the more he actually thought about it.

If Yukihiro was to be honest with himself, he’d never liked the thought of having to shut him out; when he was a younger guy and starting out, Suzuki had looked out for him, had kept his back and cleaned him up after his first kill. There had been a lot of slow summer nights spent drinking at San-Kichi and going to all-night karaoke… good times and shared experiences.

Yukihiro could remember Suzuki’s stares when he asked for him to set up an Irezumi appointment.

Most of the younger guys just go to a regular tattoo parlour now, got piercings done as well. And the bosses ain’t exactly gonna chew you out for it. You do know that irezumi is more painful than regular tattoos, right?

There had been a kind of smug, self-satisfied smirk on Suzuki’s face when he had said that. He stood in the bathroom doorway, watching Yuki scrub off his last assignment from his face – there had been an unexpected bodyguard and things had nearly gotten complicated. Yuki could see him in the mirror, muscles from more than ten years of street-fighting and work. He was plain and simple, unadorned you could say – short hair, black suit, none of the usual flash that most low level lieutenants liked to brandish for their men.

“If I’m going to do this, I want it done properly Suzuki-san. I’m asking because you seem to know every fucking person from here to Asakusa, so I’m assuming you can get it done. If you can’t, I’ll find someone else.”

They had been pretty big words for a high school drop-out facing down his lieutenant. The ‘here to Asakusa’ crack had been kind of below the belt – it was only seven miles away, but in a city with a population of twelve and a half million, it was still a big number. For some reason, Suzuki never decked him for that kind of talk, not ever, he just kept smirking, shaking his head.

“Hey kid, your call, your hospital bills. I’ll set it up. Now get your kit on for once, Terashima wants us to pick up some broad from the New Otani.”

That had only been a couple of years ago now.

He’d been told by Terashima that it was necessary, that the Hanaoka Family couldn’t be trusted in this matter. And Yukihiro trusted Terashima, and he could accept that fact, he just didn’t have to like it very much.

So it was time to stop thinking about it. He needed rest right now. Anything else could be sorted out in the morning.


Discussion for Chapter 4 at the Salsa Bazaar: What do you think Yukihiro has taken? What do you think his relationship is to Suzuki? What’s irezumi? Or would you rather see more of Miki and hawt dreams? Or moar bears?

Previous Chapter: Chapter 3: Don’t Dream It’s Over


Next Chapter: Chapter 5: Middle of Nowhere

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